Still life with baked goods

Scratch Baking Co.



Standard Baking Co.

White and blue

Wyeth Center

North Haven ferry

Owl's Head Light

From the ferry

Nebo Lodge entrance




Do Not Disturb

Main Street signs

View from Ames Knob

Window box




Leaving the landing


I knew the trip was going to be good when Cindy suggested we meet in Portland, Maine, travel up the coast, ferry across Penobscot Bay, and land at Nebo Lodge Inn on North Haven Island for a weekend in July.

Long-distance friends who haven’t seen each other in years, we were casting around for a destination that would serve our mutual need for the ocean and good food. And when Cindy saw this brief mention in Bon Appétit, and then passed it along to me, our vacation weekend fate was pretty much sealed.

A great place to stay booked and at least one fabulous meal scheduled, filling in the rest of the details was easy. A week before our trip, we were still passing each other links for bookstores and bakeries. With just about 72 hours together, including sleep and driving/ferry time, we’d come up with enough interesting things to do, eat, and see to fill a week.

But here’s the thing: time became magically, summerly slow. The more we did, the more we were able to do. The hours elongated and we found time to do almost everything we wanted.

Our first morning, we made a beeline for Scratch Bakery, in time to get our hands on still-warm, fresh bagels. With our coffee, tea, and bagels, we sat out front of the bakery, talking, watching people come and go, absorbing the coastal sunlight.

All that morning, as we wandered over the cobblestone streets and into the shops (and bakeries and bookstores) of Portland, time was our ally. We almost began to take our bonus minutes for granted.

Until we were a bit further up the coast, that is, at a favorite lobster spot, when we realized we were an hour and fifteen minutes away from the ferry we’d planned to take to the island. The ferry that was leaving in forty-five minutes. The ferry we believed was the last one of the day.

Then Cindy remembered there was one more ferry, and we relaxed, and drove to the ferry landing, and had time to wander the little town of Rockland, where we tasted beautiful fruit-infused balsamic vinegars and smooth, strong olive oils, wandered through art galleries, and found our way by accident to the Farnsworth Art Museum and its collection of N.C. and Andrew Wyeth paintings.

We made it to the island. And to our room, named “Butter”, with its three windows that provided a beautiful breeze, morning sunlight, and a peek of the harbor. Pale yellow curtains and bedspreads. Everything else was white, clean, and calm. A summer still life.

And time again slowed.

We changed for dinner. We ate, drank, laughed, talked. The place was hopping. Locals, and folks like us. It felt like the only place to be that night.

The next day, we packed in all we could: a leisurely breakfast, a hike, time on the front porch for reading (which quickly became time for chatting), a bike ride, iced tea and cookies on that same front porch, more time for reading, a relaxed dinner at the little place by the harbor. After dinner, I headed to the beautiful community center and watched a movie, while Cindy returned to “Butter” and her book.

We stalled time as long as we could. Night came. Then morning. Cindy found one more pocket of time for a final hike up to Ames Knob while I wandered the Inn, taking pictures and watching the ocean light.

On the early ferry, we sat in companionable silence, watching the island recede and the ferry’s wake ripple, each pulling apart the still-warm banana-coconut muffins we had taken from the breakfast table at the Inn minutes earlier.

52 Photos ~ This is what I found


This photo is in response to this week’s theme for the 52 Photos Project. You should participate, too! Read about how it works here. You can see a gallery of everyone’s photos for this week’s theme here. To see a list of all my blog posts for this project, go here.

52 Weeks ~ Reflection (27/52)

RSiegel_Week27 - Five Islands, Maine

Our engagement began near the ocean. We married in a coastal city, in a round room, by the harbor. 20 years on, where else to celebrate but the ocean?

So we took ourselves to Maine this summer, stayed in a deliciously tacky motel by the harbor’s edge, in the middle of what turned out to be the Windjammer weekend celebration. Schooners sailed into the harbor. A parade went down the street, practically next to our road-side room. Lobsters heard us coming and scuttled into deeper, colder water for safety.

But no such luck for them. We went to our favorite lobster spot (from whose dock you can see that view up at the top of this post). Repeatedly. And ate the giant, fresh-off-the-fishing boat shedders with our bare hands—no nut crackers required—our chins and elbows dripping with sea water.

We drove up and down the coast, talking, as we often do, about someday moving to the ocean. We kept saying, “the goats would love it here”, when we really meant, “we would love it here”.

But I know that’s just vacation-brain talking. Of course we love it there. What’s not to love? Beautiful landscapes, great food, the reliable repetition of the waves’ pulse on the shore. No work. No bills. No responsibilities.

I remember when we first moved from a city that never felt like home to Vermont. It felt like we had moved to permanent vacation. When I went out to the mailbox, the air smelled like camping. The pine needles on our trail to the river felt soft and smelled of mornings waking in a remote camp site. The wood smoke from our first wood stove was intoxicatingly relaxing. The country drive to work revealed mountains, trees, farms, distant hovering clouds. I thought, I’ll never stop noticing all of this.

But, unfortunately, I do. At least for a bit, when I’m in a rush for the week, running errands, meeting deadlines, making appointments, worrying about people.

Then I remind myself to slow down. Look around. Observe.

Look where I am? And look who I’m with?

No matter where we live, if we’re together, it’s home.