It’s winter on the Maine coast and Georgetown is left to its permanent residents, including the loons, eagles, foxes. It’s been a cold winter, so far, and walks along the beach at Reid State Park can be bracing, as can the occasional sled ride down our hill toward the cove (as shown above). We’re making preparations for the coming season, however. If you’re planning a trip to Maine next summer or fall, you’ll have best choice of dates and rooms if you reserve soon. The busy summer months are already filling up. You can check availability and make reservations on our website — CovesideBandB.com.
The July/August issue of Yankee Magazine contains an article on “Maine’s Peninsulas: A World of Their Own.” The article by Annie Graves provides beautiful photographs by Sara Gray and comprehensive descriptions of each of the Midcoast peninsulas: Harpswell, Phippsburg, Boothbay, Pemaquid, and — of course — Georgetown. The picture below of the chairs looking out to Gotts Cove from Coveside occupied a two-page centerfold and the writeup was very complementary. Here’s what Yankee had to say about Georgetown and Coveside, along with the Georgetown pictures included in the article:
Coveside B&B in George-town feels like a secret tucked down a lane, overlooking Sheepscot Bay. Gardens edge the shingled house and cottage that Tom and Carolyn Church have brought back to life; our deck overlooks a verdant lawn sloping to Gotts Cove. In the morning we linger over strawberry shortcake and a mix of scrambled eggs with goat cheese, red fingerling potatoes, bacon, arugula, and nasturtiums. “Less schmoozing, more schlepping, those are my instructions,” Tom says, before setting down the coffeepot and joining the lively talk between tables. “The thing about Maine,” he says, “you begin to let go.”
Naturally, he has a few suggestions: Five Islands Lobster Co. and Reid State Park, Maine’s first state-owned saltwater beach. “Each of the fingers [peninsulas] has its own personality,” Carolyn observes. “Topographically they may be similar, but Georgetown is the wildest. You couldn’t get here until the early days of the 20th century—it wasn’t served by the bridge.” (Nice, too, that we can see across the water to Southport Island, where Rachel Carson built her summer cottage in 1953 and found inspiration for her environmental classic Silent Spring, and where her ashes are scattered. “Here at last returned to the sea,” reads the bronze marker.)
Reid State Park is the perfect place to walk off breakfast. Distractingly beautiful, its Half Mile Beach is mounded with smooth stones, like slumbering elephants; beach roses crowd the sand; golden tidepools are edged with algae; and Mile Beach curves like a smile. The convergence of colors—sand, sea, stone, and sky—is a palette of perfect paint chips for creating your own oceanfront room. If time seems to slow down on the peninsulas, you could say that it stops on the beaches.
That’s not the only thing that stops. “I can’t feel my legs!” a delighted teen, up to her waist in the sea, announces to her brother. Ethan, a lifeguard who trains at Mile Beach every morning, sometimes in a wetsuit, confirms that today’s late-June water temp is a frosty 50 degrees. (Popham, he says, is warmer.) So is Mile Beach really a mile? It doesn’t look it. “Mile-ish,” he smiles, “but almost two miles with all three beaches combined.”
Post-beach, we succumb to the tiny Post Office Gallery, brimming with the work of four local artists, from wood-fired pottery to landscapes (cards, too). I’m admiring Lea Peterson’s color-splashed portrait of a lobsterman at Five Islands Lobster Co., a lively wharf/eatery where families crowd picnic tables, butter dripping from fingers and chins, celebrating the day’s catch. “He’s over there right now, working on his pots, cleaning them up,” she says of the lobsterman. Small peninsula: Paint or be painted.
Frankly, it would probably be a peninsular crime to slink past Georgetown Pottery, an institution since 1972. The porch groans with pots and bowls, and in the studio, you can watch the artisans at work. Owner Jeff Peters doesn’t look like a ceramics mogul—he’s busy lifting a heavy tray of mugs—but this is the mother lode of pottery. Room after room displays sinks, lamps, clocks, anything that can be rendered in clay. The patterns are pure Maine—blueberries, lighthouses, birches filled with light. It’s the best kind of success story: Guy starts off in a one-room log cabin (sound familiar?) and makes good.
Local Georgetown restaurants are frequently closed one or more nights during the week in the autumn, a particular problem for guests arriving in the evening after a long drive. We decided to offer the option of dinner at Coveside on several fall evenings when a number of guests were scheduled to arrive. We invited our Georgetown neighbor, Robert Masciola, to be guest chef. Rob’s family comes from the Abruzzi region of Italy and he is an accomplished cook. He (aided by his wife, Amy) prepared a memorable meal that featured vegetables from our local farm market, home-made pasta, local Five Islands Lobster, and a delectable apple caramel tart prepared by Carolyn (served with Tom’s home-made salty caramel ice cream). The menu and pictures (by Amy Masciola) are below.
The Georgetown Working League Fair, a staple of Georgetown summers for a century, celebrated its 100th birthday this past Saturday, August 10. The Working League began as a women’s group at the First Baptist Church in Georgetown, but has evolved over the years as a service organization devoted to raising money for the betterment of the community. The major fund raisers are the fair — traditionally held on the 2nd Tuesday of August, but moved this year to the second Saturday (a change much debated in the league), and the design and execution of an heirloom quilt, all hand-made by the master quilters of the league.
The fair consists of a large “white elephant” sale (of lightly used toys, nick-nacks, household items, and miscellany), a bountiful luncheon of lobster or chicken salad (served with focaccia, fruit, macaroni salad, blueberry cake, and a drink, all for $12!), an extensive sale of art works by local artists, a kid’s tent with face painting, stories, music, and an entertainment tent with music continuing throughout the day.
Proceeds from the money-raising activities of the Working League support scholarships for local students, and grants by the League for various efforts to improve the community.
The winter weather has been spectacular. After a substantial post-Christmas snowstorm, the temperatures have remained cold and the skies sunny — perfect for outdoor pursuits. Carolyn and I snowshoed from Route 127 to Robinhood Cove, through the Schoener Preserve, one of the many largely undiscovered preserves open to the public in Georgetown, to the western shore of the cove.
We survived Hurricane Sandy without even so much as a power outage. Lots of wind and rain, but more like a moderate Nor’easter than the punishing storm that hit further south. Sandy did make for some spectacular surf at Reid State Park, however. Here are some shots Tom took this afternoon.
This picture of our cove was snapped last evening by Justin Stailey, a frequent guest at Coveside and a serious photographer. Yesterday was uncharacteristically sultry while we prepared for Hurricane Earl. When it finally arrived after midnight, it was something of a non-event, at least in Midcoast Maine. We got a bit more than 2 inches of much-needed rain. And the humidity has finally broken after the longest heat spell in Maine history (Portland had four consecutive days of 90+ degree heat, a record). But we got very little wind — due, undoubtedly, to the fact that we spent much of yesterday bringing in the boat, kayaks and canoe, stowing away all the porch furniture, and generally battening down the hatches. The weatherman promises a week of sunshine, moderate temperature, and low humidity. We’re ready for fall!
Browsing the web, I came across a group of great aerial photographs of Georgetown, made by midcoast photographer Dave Cleaveland. His organization, MaineImaging.com, has photographed all but 30 miles of the New England coastline from the air. Here’s a shot of Seguin Lighthouse:
There are more beautiful photographs of Georgetown and the entire coast of Maine (and beyond) available for purchase on their website, http://maineimaging.smugmug.com/Aerials/Kennebec-River-toaugusta.
For most of the 13 years we have welcomed guests to Coveside B&B, there has been a lobster wharf across Gott’s Cove from us, serving up seafood, burgers, fried food, and great views. First was Lisa’s, run by a newly minted high school graduate who originated the shack on her father’s wharf and was recognized four year’s later as one of the “10 best” lobster wharfs in Maine by Travel & Leisure magazine. But Lisa graduated from college, got married and moved away. Then came Dena, Mama D, and Sara, all of whom lasted only a year or two. After a year without a lobster shack on the cove, we have a great new addition to the Georgetown scene — Big Sam’s.
The prices are very reasonable. This weekend lobster rolls (“the second best lobster rolls in Maine”) were going for $9.99 — several dollars less than the competition. The prices for boiled lobster are almost cheap! (click on the picture for an enlargement):
Here’s the manager — not Sam (Lisa’s father, who owns the wharf), but Justin (Sam’s cousin):