The Edge of Land: Cove Dreams

Drive down Route 129 from Bristol far enough and you get to Rutherford Island in S. Bristol. It’s a beautiful place — frequented by lobster boats and summer renters, it’s not exactly a tourist hot spot but it is exactly what you want Maine to be in the summer. There is a feeling of exclusivity there, exuded by those lucky enough to own a house on the island and those who fish the waters around Christmas Cove. But feel free to go anyway. I’ll let you in on a secret spot there. You can bring a lunch and nonchalantly drive into “town” knowing where to go.

Let me take you on a little drive first…

Down Route 129

Over the swing bridge (closed for the moment).

Packing his catch.

Yeah, did you see that sign? That’s what you’re looking for. Drive past beautiful stately homes, the boats of Christmas Cove bobbing at anchor, and a tennis court and you’ll see this sign when you feel like you could drive no more. When you feel like you’ll drive off the edge of the land, hang a right and go down a steep hill and find this little jewel of a beach…

It really is the perfect place for admiring the sea, sweet baby feet in the sand, and the ripening beach plums, signaling summer’s peak.

You will feel like you are in your own little world — your private piece of the Maine coast. And it is yours. Shhh. Don’t break my reverie.

(Erin)

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Sheepscot General Store

Driving past the hayfields, you would never expect to come upon a store. Especially one like this.

Or maybe this is exactly where a store like this should be.

Ben Marcus and Taryn Hammer have done an amazing thing with a store that had been closed for years. They reopened it and re-established a community base and hub that had been vacant for years. Whitefield is a center place for an amazing number of farmers and craft people, and here they gather and exhibit their wares. For years, those of us that had grown up in the sweetness of the Uncas Farm store missed it’s community. However, 15 years ago, it was nothing like what Ben and Taryn have turned the place into.  Yoga classes, talks, dance classes, a lending library, movies, take out pizza (with organic, local and even gluten free options!!!), an open mike night- hosted by Bert Koller, and an incredible selection of the region’s finest foods, beers, and craft-ables.  It is a market all it’s own.

Ben is the man out in the fields, more often then not, while Taryn “mans” the store. From outside perspective it is a dream come true, working a farm with your sweetheart and making it all work. The social involvement and community eyes must make for an interesting and very busy life. I applaud my dear friends, Ben and Taryn. They have a strength for this sort of endeavor that is rare. What is truly wonderful is that it’s worked. Every single ounce of it.

(this was the greeting my daughter got… although she did give me a hug…)

the spring tree/plant sale. Hard to walk away empty handed… (I sure didn’t…)

best deal around for a cup of coffee…not only that, but like any well known cafe, they have WIFI, so you can sit for hours and make that joe LAST… (that is, if you don’t have children or a life to attend to…)

Great beverage selection…and right by that is the bulk snack shelves, which my youngest took it upon herself to rearrange. Multiple times.

“Folk Art” as Ben puts it. (That is Taryn and my little one lost in the lid selection.)

For more information about Sheepscot General, visit their site. They are host to many activities and festivities through the year- which are great fun for all. Enjoy the beautiful country on the way up! (And stop in at some of our favourite farms!! Treble Ridge, Thirty Acre, and Swallowtail Farm and Creamery. )

(ida)

The Alewives Return

No, not married women who drink ale. Fish. Specifically, this fish.

The  alosa psueodoharengus. Read more about the alewife here.

We are lucky enough to live close to Damariscotta Mills, which is technically located in Newcastle. Every year the Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder plays host to thousands of migrating alewives. It’s the oldest alewife fishery in the state of Maine! Watching the alewives return is an amazing sight. The water literally goes black with the fish and the gulls and other birds of prey have a grand time with an easy catch. So, we caught a break in the rain and decided to go welcome them back as they make their journey upstream to Damariscotta Lake.

I really wish I had caught a picture of the bald eagle we saw swooping down to pick up a fish. It was majestic. In a purple-mountained sort of way. Nature at her most impressive.

This makes an awesome field trip for any child fascinated by nature (wait, so any child!), but my one year old was also thrilled by the circling seagulls. We incorporated a study of the alewife into our lessons this week, so Emmaline recited fish facts while watching the action.

Memorial Day weekend will be a perfect time to go visit, as it’s the annual Damariscotta Mills Fish Ladder Restoration Festival. Their website promises a great time: “Join the fun as local cooks create special food–a pig roast on Saturday, homemade donuts and a chicken barbecue on Sunday, and lobster and crab rolls on Monday. There will be live music, activities for kids, demonstrations…probably even some smoked alewives to try.”

We attended last year and can attest that it IS a great time. There was a fantastic fish-centric puppet show and delicious food. Our favorite fabric store, not-so-coincidentally-named Alewives, also located in Damariscotta Mills, always joins in the festivities. According to their website, “Here at the shop, we’ll be painting faces, showing the Alewife documentary, selling ice-creams and sodas, and helping to raise money for the Fish Ladder Restoration Fund. A wonderful time is had by all on this very special weekend, and we can’t think of a better time to visit the shop!” I couldn’t have put it better myself! Any excuse to pick up some new fabric….

So, get yourself over to the fish ladder and mark the festival on your calendars!

(Erin)

Country Road

The rain in Maine falls mainly on the… everywhere. Is there an end in sight? Despite the general dreariness of late, we did get a bit of sun last weekend and I found myself reveling in the particular luxury of only one baby, one stroller, one Sunday afternoon and one lovely coastal road to meander.

Is there anything lovelier than a country road in the springtime?

The sun-dappled shadows of trees on the road, the stone walls, the green grass, the smell of apple blossoms… balm for the soul.

In springtime in Maine, there is no shortage of newly sprung wild vegetation and flowers along the roadside to entice even the most novice of naturalists. A good Wordsworth-like walk is not complete without noticing the green and growing delights of the countryside. I found emerald moss, trout lilies, bluets (or “Quaker Ladies”), dog violets, blueberry blossoms, apple blossoms, and fiddleheads. And stone walls and old romantic farmhouses.

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I hope you find your  own country road and wish you many peaceful miles.

(Erin)