|Stephanie and Doug Freidly|
Gretchen and I are heading north; first to Stephanie and Doug's wedding in PA and then on to Maine.The wedding was a fabulous event; a great venue, great food and drink and a treat to see all of the family. We had a wonderful time. Thank you Priscilla and Phil for a wonderful weekend. It was really neat that Granny and her brother, Uncle Bill, could both be at the wedding!
So the Friday before the wedding while Gretchen was socializing with the family women, I went to the Philadelphia Art Museum since I had never been inside the building. Look at the photo below. Is it a photograph or a painting?
It is a very realistic oil on canvas painted in 1886 by William Michael Harnett. It really looks like a color photograph,
This morning after the wedding we picked up SunShower in Orwigsburg where we left her and headed to Portland where we spent the week sailing on Casco Bay. We rented a slip at the Maine Yacht Center which was an ideal location for launching, sailing, and watching the July 4th fireworks. We loved sailing in the Bay and would come back in the future if we could find a reasonable place to rent for a few weeks. The MYC is the only marina I've visited where the dock hands watch for you to return and are waiting at you slip to help you tie up!
Portland was a really neat city. We had always driven by on the Interstate but never stopped to explore. We liked the fact that the residential character of the city is being preserved and that it is really a walkable city. Neat waterfront with parks, and an eclectic Old Port section with restaurants and shops. Sailing here was fantastic with a lot of islands to explore that also provide protected waters for small boat sailors.
|Lighthouse at entrance to Portland Harbor|
Time to move on and we continued North to Deer Isle. Our apartment is nice. It needed a little sprucing up for us to feel comfortable but it is on the water and the rental includes a mooring for SunShower.
Sharon, the owner is very nice. She even moved her boat to an older mooring so we could use the newer one. The Deer Isle/Stonnington/Blue Hill peninsula area is a lot more rural than the Bar Harbor area. We found a nice ramp in Buck's Harbor and had no trouble launching SunShower at high tide. Our rental is on Eggemoggin Reach next to the bridge that connects Deer Isle to the mainland.
|SunShower moored on Eggemoggin Reach..Deer Isle Bridge|
The Reach is a great sailing area, 13 miles long. As I write this we are getting very close to finishing our second week on the Island. We have sailed all but two days. Most of the time there is 8-12 mile per hour winds which let you "reach" along the waterway with its rock shores and beautiful homes. Yesterday we sailed East on the reach for about 6 miles to the point where the renowned Wooden Boat School is located. It was a fantastic day on the water with 10-15 mph winds.
|Wooden Boat School workshop|
The school is located on a gorgeous 60 acre campus in Brooklin which was at one time a family estate. It has all types of sailing, seamanship and boat building courses; typically residential lasting one or two weeks. The campus is also the home of The WoodenBoat Magazine.
|Instructor showing off woodworking skills on this kayak?|
Exploring the region by car has been really interesting. Stonnington, at the southern tip of Deer Isle, is the lobster center for the region; it's harbor filled with work boats and commercial fishing piers. Looking out at the harbor, I was glad we were not sailing on this end of the island...there were hundreds of lobster buoys dotting the water! We noticed walking through town on our first visit, the Harbor Cafe had strawberry/rhubarb pies. So we stopped to see if we could order a rhubarb crumb pie! The pastry chef said she could do that and the pie was delicious. We glimpsed some local color when we attended Fisherman's Day. The family oriented low key event raises money for the foundation that supports families of fishermen who have died. Crafts, games, music and food were all part of the day.
The Stonnington Opera House shown in the background of the photo of Fisherman's Day below is an arts venue that's been around for a century! One of the annual events is a Shakespeare Festival. They hold auditions in New York and bring a professional troupe to Deer Isle for the event. We went to see Cymbeline, a contemporary production with songs and the actors playing multiple parts designated by costume changes. It was entertaining, easy to follow and well well done. We never saw Cymbeline and this production was wonderful!
|Fisherman's Day Festival|
Blue Hill is the cultural center of the area and the only town with a decent grocery. We went to a play that was written by a local man called Stream Crossings staged by the New Surry Theater. The cast did a good job but wow....was it a depressing play....all about a man barely coping with mental issues derived from Vietnam. On a lighter note, we went to a chamber music concert at Kneisel Hall that was awesome! Kneisel Hall is a summer camp for 51 gifted musicians from the best conservatories in the U.S. Obviously, the faculty needs to be outstanding to teach the students; they are and they give weekly concerts?
|Kneisel Hall stage|
The concert hall is a small venue seating about 200 people. It's like listening to a concert in your living room...well OK...like in the Doughton Abbey parlor! Dmitry Kouzou and David Bowlin played a unique duet by Martinu' and Gretchen and I could not believe the sounds springing forth from Dmitri's cello. The audience was yelling and clapping at the conclusion for three ovations. The Kneisel Hall Artistic Director for 27 years is pianist Seymour Lipkin. He has to be in his eighties but he can still play the piano with ease, evident when he and two colleagues (Laurie Smukler & Joel Krosnick) played a piano trio by Schubert. So, if you are anywhere near Blue Hill in the summer, treat yourself to a concert at Kneisel Hall! Blue Hill is home to a solar powered three barreled microbrewery, the Deepwater Brewing Company. We stopped for dinner and sampled the three beers they had for the week. The beers were all good (no porter or stout) and since the brewery is associated with a gourmet restaurant the pub fare was wonderful!
Castine is an interesting village. We stopped to walk around and discovered there was a big education institution there but it took awhile to find a sign; it's the Maine Maritime Academy. A public college with associate, bachelors and masters degrees in maritime engineering, management, science and transportation that enrolls 900 students. It's definitely hands-on education with a port complex and many types of sailboats and commercial ships. Students can pursue a Captain's License with their degree and log the required "sea time" on these vessels. Why didn't I know about sailing and this school when I was seventeen? :)
On a rainy day we drove to Bangor since we never visited before. Not much to report; we think the town has seen better days. However, on our way back we stopped at Bucksport to visit the observation deck on the new bridge that crosses the Penobscot Narrows. It is a striking bridge with neat views from the observation deck. An amazing fact I read was when the old bridge was judged to be unsafe and not repairable, it only took four years from concept to completion of the new bridge! The photo below was taken from Fort Knox (circa 1850)....a fort next to the bridge that was never used! So there is a long history of wasteful government spending.
We visited our haunts from last year on days with little breeze. It was nice to walk around Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor. We also hiked one of our favorite carriage roads in Arcadia NP, stopped for a beer (Coal Porter) at the Atlantic Brewing Company, visited our favorite organic farm and wine shop!
|Eggemoggin Reach Buoys, West & East|
If one sails on Eggemoggin Reach, a goal is to see the designated East and West portals. But to accomplish that goal, fair winds are needed. From our mooring, the East buoy is 16 miles round trip and the West a 10 mile round trip. The second week of our stay we reached the West end and the third week the East end. So we have sailed the Reach and the days we were on the water were just fabulous sailing days with fair winds that moved SunShower 4-5 mph on close reaches under clear sunny skies.
One of the great things on this trip is that Gretchen came into her own as a sailor. Pictured above she is sailing back to our mooring from the East buoy with a good breeze; one of the many times she took the helm during our sails! She also learned to back the boat up under power, approach a mooring and pick up and drop a mooring. Not to mention the education we both got ( plus sore joints and muscles) rowing a dinghy a substantial distance out to our mooring! Incidentally, this trip is the first time we have had to consider low tide for anything other than putting SunShower in and out of the water at a ramp. Why? Well, the dock at our house is grounded at low tide. So it's not possible to take the dinghy in or out for about 1 1/2 hours on either side of low tide. The last two days of sailing for this trip are behind us and they were both great days. We pulled SunShower out of the water this evening in Buck's Harbor at high tide.
- Buck's Restaurant is a fine dining experience hidden behind the Market in Buck's Harbor. Folks know about it though; reservations are a must!
- Dan Fogleberg lived on Eggemoggin Reach until an early death from prostate cancer. We downloaded our favorite tune...Leader of the Band.
- Paul Stookey has a place outside of Blue Hill. We talked to a guy who was in a wedding he was singing at! Also saw signs for a benefit concert in August for a local charity.
- We've noticed that even if the winds are fair, the Reach clears of sailboats between 5 & 6 p.m. We thInk the sailors in these parts are really conscientious about being home for cocktail hour! Speaking of cocktails, Gretchen and I have decided that we really like Gin and Tonics in the summer.
- Gary and Laurie will not be able to join us for dinner this evening on their way back from Newfoundland. Why you ask? Well, their ferry ran aground! Can you imagine? Good news is that no one was hurt. Can't wait to hear the whole story.
- It's August 1st and Gretchen and I are married 43 years today! It is hard to believe...that's a long time....but it has been a great run and we're looking forward to many more years in the future!
|Great sailing vacation!|