Karenhammond's Blog

May 29, 2012

Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 9:14 pm

It was a glorious Memorial Day weekend here in Maine, the kind of weekend that reminds me why I moved here 15 years ago (although I’ve also come here for summer vacations since childhood).  Great weather, with sunshine and temperatures perfect for working in the garden, barbecues in every back yard, and heartwarming parades in most of the small towns and cities. Today it’s raining… but that’s OK. It’s back to work for most people and a rainy day probably makes it a little easier to return to their working lives. Most are not as fortunate as I am, with a commute that’s just up two flights of stairs to my office.

Summer is here, not officially of course, but here nonetheless. The summer enclave at the tip of my little island is bustling again as more and more seasonal residents arrive to open up their summer homes.  We have just one year-round little grocery and cafe, but in summer a second one opens from Memorial Day through Labor Day.  It’s usually so quiet here that it’s always fun to see the island come alive with people coming and going in the little shops and our tiny post office, catching up on all the news from over the winter. The crew on the bridge are keeping busy, gearing up for July 4 when they usually let more than 100 boats through the passage between the mainland and the island.

At a barbecue in New Hampshire over the weekend, someone asked how I could bear ever to leave Maine, even for a day.  She’s right…it’s not easy!  Even on a rainy day like this one, with fog rolling in and the lobster boats huddled together at their moorings, Maine has an awesome beauty.  Time to head back down those two flights of stairs, heat up a kettle of chowder, and enjoy life the way it should be.

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May 21, 2012

Maine’s Black Point Inn

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 3:29 pm

I just spent two lovely days at the beautiful Black Point Inn at Prouts Neck (Scarborough),  not far from Portland. If you’re planning a summer visit to Maine, this could be a great stop — especially if you love beaches, jogging, art, good food and wine, or all of the above! Inn guests have access to two sparkling-clean beaches, great for walking or jogging as well as swimming. I found the private roads around the inn perfect for an early morning run — no cars playing “gotcha!” with runners,  and it’s easy to find a flat or hilly route.

The restaurant has a decent wine cellar and good food. The cioppino made with local fish, shrimp, clams, and mussels was a winner. As for the art….well, this is Winslow Homer country, and his studio is just a short walk from the inn. Tours of his recently refurbished studio won’t begin until September, but in the meantime you can take in the scenery that so inspired him and drive the short distance to the Portland Art Museum to see some of his original works.

Black Point Inn lends bikes to guests, there’s an excellent golf course, and of course the scenery can’t be beat.  It’s the last of several old inns in this area that once welcomed guests for “the season,” year after year and generation after generation.  Many families do still make an annual trek, but it’s also a great place for a weekend getaway or a few days of R&R.  If your travels bring you to the Portland area, don’t miss it!  Check it out at blackpointinn.com

May 15, 2012

Maine in May

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 6:17 pm

Spring has well and truly come to my little Maine island. Each weekend more and more summer residents arrive to open up their houses and settle in for the summer season. Of course the big influx comes in late June when school lets out, but retirees are already rumbling across the old scenic bridge that connects us to the mainland.

After a bizarre winter — a couple of 80 degree days in March; a snowstorm in April; frost warnings earlier this month — spring flowers like lilies of the valley are popping into bloom a couple of weeks earlier than usual. And down at the local cafe, everyone is talking about the birds — pileated woodpeckers, flocks of goldfinches, nesting ospreys, bald eagles circling over the water — who seem to be especially abundant and in particularly fine voice this year. Probably they’re as happy as we are to see the end of another winter.

Maine is an enthusiastic part of Red Sox Nation, of course, with all the delight and depair that go with rooting for the most mecurial team in baseball. If you missed my story about Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary  in April, here’s a link:

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/04/08/2731786/bostons-fenway-park-celebrates.html

 The celebration will continue throughout the baseball season. If you can’t snag tickets, a tour of the park is a fun event in its own right.

 The Downeaster is a great way to travel between Maine and Boston. With a snack bar and free wi-fi at your fingertips and no parking hassles when you get to the city, how can you go wrong?

May 10, 2012

A Little of This, A Little of That

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 6:32 pm

First,  a quick update to my last post. Another Women’s Wellness Weekend is scheduled at the Woodstock Inn for April 26-28, 2013, so if you like to plan ahead,  jot the date down for next year.

Spring has definitely arrived here in Maine. A long spell of dry weather ended with several days of rain and now everything is green and blooming.  The first summer visitors are bumping over the swing bridge to our island, our one summer store will open next weekend, church fairs are popping up both here and elsewhere in the area, and all in all it’s exciting to see the start of another summer season. If you’ve never visited Maine, you’re missing a lot! Learn more at visitmaine.com.

May 1, 2012

Vermont’s Woodstock Inn

Filed under: Uncategorized — karenhammond @ 8:36 pm

I’ve just returned from a Women’s Wellness Weekend at Vermont’s lovely Woodstock Inn.  It’s always fun to travel in pursuit of new stories, and this was one of my favorite recent research trips.  The focus of the weekend was the inn’s luxurious spa, which offers a full range of treatments, but there were also excellent seminars–both serious and hilarious–on the topic of women’s health, as well as excellent, healthy meals prepared by the inn’s chef.

The village of Woodstock is lovely–one national magazine called it the prettiest small town in America–with a village green surrounded by Federal houses, a lively downtown area with independent bookshops, funky boutiques, pottery shops, and a variety of restaurants.

I highly recommend both the Women’s Wellness Weekend and the Woodstock Inn and Resort. You can get more info at these links:

wellnessweekends.net

woodstockinn.com

Back now in my office on a dreary, cold and rainy day,  I’m glad I seized the moment. Check back soon for more ideas on where to travel in New England in the spring.

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