From time to time, we like to get together in a group post. Sometimes it is writing tips or writing books, sometimes it is Maine food or how we celebrate holidays or the books we’re giving or want to get for Christmas. Today, we’re sharing some of our favorite Maine summer activities.
Kate Flora: I wish I had some photos from last week, when I took a wonderful trip down memory lane to my childhood on a Maine lake. The farm was perched on a hilltop in Union, with a long hill running down to the pond. One summer afternoons, that’s where we could be found, usually along with friends and neighbors who also liked to end their days with a swim. Last week, my friend Karin Rector (we’ve been friends for almost 70 years!) was renting a camp on Crawford Lake, so the two of us took inner tubes (the real kind that went inside vehicle tires) and paddled out into the lake, where we bobbed in the waves and talked for at least an hour. The water was perfect. The sky was blue with whipped cream mounds of clouds, and while we floated and reminisced, a family of loons swam past.
Maggie Robinson: Years ago, a friend and I took our kids blackberry picking down a long dirt road in the woods. In those days, I made jam and jelly and syrup, canned, froze, and generally tried to be as back-to-the-land-ish as a suburban New York girl could be who found herself in Lee, Maine with four little kids.
I mentioned that the bushes were pretty beaten down and broken, and Suzanne replied, “Oh, that’s just from the bears.” Needless to say, I speed-picked and have not really been back in those woods since.
Now I don’t have to–I have blackberries in my backyard, along with three blueberry bushes. I still have to speed-pick to get ahead of the chipmunks and birds, but there’s nothing like fresh Maine berries in fresh muffins. Here’s the much-spattered basic muffin recipe from my ancient Fannie Farmer Cookbook. You can add whatever berry you like!
John Clark: Berries, berries, berries. Summer is rife with them, given adequate rain Exploring logging roads can offer wild strawberries, raspberries and later on, blueberries. Occasional handfuls of boxberries and even wild cranberries add to the ‘eat-as-you-go joy of finding new territory. My other guilty pleasure is finding images in puffy summer clouds. Beth and I saw a fire breathing serpent on our way back from picking blueberries this morning.
Susan Vaughan: When I was a teen in West Virginia, my favorite summer activity was swimming with my friends at the nearby lake. Many years later, I married a guy who grew up sailing. So when we moved to Maine, his priority was buying a sailboat. So for several years, we sailed our 19-foot sloop named Iris on Penobscot Bay. He taught me the basics of crewing for him. I’m still no sailor, but loved being out there, especially watching the Schooner Races.
In 2001 we did a canoe and camping trip with a guide on the West Branch of the Penobscot River. If you read my 8/11/22 blog post, you’ve read more about that. I enjoyed the canoeing and seeing the wilderness around us, including a moose. I did not enjoy sleeping in a tent.
More years later, we own a camp on Crawford Pond. I love to see the loons that populate the lake, especially when they have chicks. This summer, there are two chicks. We have no sailboat, but tool around the lake in a motorboat named Scribbler (a nickname for a writer). Early in the mornings, we paddle to various spots in a canoe my husband built. Our dock is crowded with various other watercraft enjoyed by our friends and us. Like Kate, I love floating around on my inner tube, especially in this summer’s baking heat. Needless to say, I still enjoy summertime on and near the water.
Matt Cost: Summer in Maine for me is about golf, outdoor music, beaches, and driving with the top of my Jeep. The availability of so much music is amazing to me. I recently did a book signing in Damariscotta. Afterward, I had a beer with my father and listened to music at Schooner Landing, drove back toward my home and stopped at the Bath Waterfront Park for some Bluegrass music, and contemplated going on down to LL Bean for their outdoor concert series.
The LL Bean summer concert series (only four miles from my house) brings in some world class bands for free. You are allowed to drop chairs starting at 6:00 AM, so if desired, you can get front row seating for these concerts. On the fourth of July I did just that and enjoyed Pink Martini with China Forbes, an orchestra that travels the world playing a mix of jazz and pop. It was followed by a light show that replaced the old fireworks and was just amazing.
Another favorite summer venue is on the Brunswick Mall. Wednesday nights they bring in amazing local talent such as the Delta Knights, Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations, and Bonnie Edwards and the Practical Cats.
This is just a smattering of the offerings. Art walks, craft fairs, summer festivals, and so many more places are offering up, usually free, often fantastic, music all summer long.