Kate Flora here, thinking about summer in Maine, and some of my favorite places. I’m about to embark on a trip out to Washington County, where I’m sure I’ll add more to the list. For today, though, I’m going to pick the place I see everyday–Bailey Island. When I was a child, we only went two places on vacation–to my grandmother’s house in New Portland, or to my other grandparents in Old Forge, New York. When we went to the beach, it was down to Port Clyde.
Until I stumbled on it, thirteen years ago, after twenty-five years of spasmodic searching along the Maine coast for my husband’s “dream house,” I didn’t know this little chain of islands existed, though I have a vague memory of coming to someone’s cottage off Route 24 once when I was at the University of Maine. But twelve years ago last January, our realtor at Rob Williams Real Estate called and said he was about to list a property he thought we might like to take a look at.
I’d just gotten back home after a day cruising the Portland Harbor islands, looking at a cottage, and remembering my father’s stories of spending his boyhood summers on Long Island, when I picked up the message. The next day, I grabbed my camera and headed back. It was sunny, but icy, and we slithered up a steep driveway, down a very slippery set of stairs, and into a little cottage. On the otherside was a broad porch for sitting, and Ken’s dream view. It was the beginning of our–so far–twelve year love affair with Bailey Island.
Cook’s Lobster House? Mackerel Cove? Land’s End Gift Shop? The photogenic little shack adorned with bouys? BIGS (Bailey Island General Store). Lobster rolls. Hotdogs and self-serve ice cream? The Giants Stairs? Actually, there’s way too much to describe, so I’m going to let you decide for yourself. Here is my Bailey Island.
On a tour of Maine gift shops? Well, many people are. On their way down to Land’s End, to the gift shop, many stop to photograph this iconic scene:
Bailey Island is geologically fascinating, granite, and what I believe are basalt intrusions, as well as thin layers of ancient sedimentary rock that have been turned on their sides, and flake like Turkish pastry.
One of the best parts of early morning are the lobster boats chugging past, or circling around the cove, surrounded by wheeling gulls, dodging their way around the pleasure boats, the whole thing softened by the lifting fog, and sometimes country music. In the afternoon, we’re sometimes treated to rap instead. I do the rap. I do the LOBSTER rap. The lobster rap.
At the end of the day, there are gorgeous sunsets and cooling breezes, as the bell from L.L.Bean clangs softly, and it’s time for a gin and tonic and a good book. Hopefully, by a Maine Crime Writer.