Kate Flora: I suppose there are those who’d say that if we already have a place in Maine on the ocean, why would we ever need to leave? It’s a fair question. Most summers, I am so busy with gardening, writing, and houseguests that I wouldn’t think of leaving. Then again, most years, we punctuate our lives by taking vacations, while since Covid arrived, vacations have been suspended. So when my husband suggested it would be fun to take a drive up the coast, I agreed. It was amazing what a treat a small getaway turned out to be.
We began our adventure with a stop at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, just before the rain came. (In fact for a while we had to huddle under a tree during a shower.) But the gardens are always a delight and it was a nice start to an otherwise rainy day. The gardens are trying out a new dahlia garden, so I took a lot of pictures.
Then we drove on through the rain, stopping Rockland to visit the Farnsworth Museum. It was greatly changed from the museum I used to visit as a child, and as it was a rainy day, every tourist in Maine had the same idea, so our visit was short. I’m afraid, as a crime writer, I probably spent more time musing about the people than the paintings. Was was up with the small, sharp-faced woman who refused to wear a mask despite a dozen signs, or the older couple who ambled in a cut the long line–deliberate or inattentive? Was that a couple or a father and daughter? And why was surprised to see those tattoed bikers?
After a futile attempt to find lunch–everyone who wasn’t in the museum was in a restaurant, we got sandwiches at a take-out stand and ate in the car.
Then it was on to Belfast, which is a very different place from the home of a large chicken processing plant it had been when I was a kid. Lots of art galleries and crafts stores. We decided to grab coffee and a dessert, but found it was a dessert desert, until we found Darby’s. We ordered coffee and a brownie sundae to share and oh my! It was big enough for a family of four. And delicious.
A long drive through the rain brought us to Blue Hill and the Blue Hill Inn, where we spent a pleasant evening. The innkeeper suggested we have dinner at Arborvine, just around the corner, and it did not disappoint. After a year of very rare restaurant meals, a delicious meal in a lovely room with great service is such a treat. A stack of lobster and avocado? Pate? A pork tenderloin with macadamia nuts? Roasted ducking? A perfect martini? It was almost too much and even though we were only gone for two days, made it feel like a true vacation.
The next morning the rain stopped and we drove down to Brooklin and Stonington, then across the bridge to Little Deer Isle and Deer Isle. The bridge was steep and narrow and scary. The seaweed a deep yellow. The vistas endless small, rocky islands with pointy evergreens, just like you see in so many paintings.
We took some short hikes, though the trails were basically rivers and swamps after all the rain. It was so nice to see towns I’d always heard of but never visited.
Even though the hiking wasn’t great, the moss was the most amazing green from this year’s rain, and as soft and spongy underfoot as a thick pile carpet.
We finished our drive back down the coast by driving to the top of Mt. Battie and looking down at Camden Harbor, followed by a delicious dinner at Franny’s on Chestnut Street.
A short but delightful break.