John Travolta, Mathew Brady, Claude Debussy & Andrew Wyeth

They were all with me on my trip to midcoast Maine. If you manage to get through this lengthy email, you’ll get a virtual tour & find out why. Click on any of these photos to see them larger. I’m having a cup of coffee as I start this, in my new hen mug from Bath, ME… where we stumbled upon a very good BBQ joint on our way home, of all things. If you ever get tired of unbelievably fresh, delicious seafood in Maine (not), go there. Even I had the pulled pork with no regret, which is saying a lot. Anyhoo…

I love Maine. It’s a great place to be outdoors. Can you guess which is our vehicle? (Pat yourself on the back if you picked the diesel Jeep Liberty wearing bikes aloft.)

Biking Islesboro ME
After a great night’s sleep in our gorgeous room & a fabulous breakfast from a gourmet menu at the Spouter Inn B&B, we rode our bikes to the ferry landing, took the ferry across to Islesboro. We biked all over the 14-mi. long island, clocking 30 mi. total, which included a mad dash of a ride back to the ferry landing late afternoon. The biking seemed easy despite rolling hills, since we stopped frequently to take pics, grab sandwiches at a lone store, or poke around shorelines & other remote places like this old cemetery.

I love old cemeteries. I like to wonder about the people buried there, who they were, what their lives may have been like, what they are doing now. Ever see the closing cemetery scene of Thorton Wilder’s Our Town? I wonder if the spirits of these folks are sitting in chairs upon their graves. The poetry on the headstones is fun to read. 87-yr.-old Lucy Pendleton’s stone was special to me. It read:
Weep not that her toils are over,
Weep not that her race is run.
God grant we may rest as calmly,
When our work, like hers, is done.
I’ll have to remember this if I drop dead after my upcoming 10K, HA!

Also on Islesboro, I give you Pendleton Point. Nice view, eh? The whole island was a beaut. No wonder famous peeps past & present kept summer homes here (John Travolta). And you can’t have an island in Maine without a lighthouse, so here is Islesboro’s Grindle Point Light.

Hiking in Camden Hills
Camden ME is along a harbor, the town rising up in hills around it. Old homes, churches, storefronts & public buildings all nicely kept — even an “underground wing” & outdoor amphitheatre at Camden library, so cool! This is the dusk view from Atlantica Seafood Bistro, where we watched schooners mooring for the night as I tasted the best rare tuna I’ve ever had. Melt in my mouth. I had thought breakfast at the inn — Scrambled Eggs Supreme w/Lobster — was going to be my best meal that day. Wrong-o.

Mt. Megunticook (elev. 1,385 ft.) overlooks Camden, the harbor & the sea beyond. Nice views on the way up, but the peak is treed so there’s nothing on summit but a big cairn. Not even a USGS marker, phoo.

Time for Reading & Learning
One of my favorite things about staying at B&Bs is that they always have great books laying around the common areas. We often come back from dinner & lounge about reading whatever looks interesting. In Camden, I was drawn to a window display of antique cameras, photos & books on the history of photography. Back at the B&B, I discovered the very same book on Mathew Brady (see it in the background of the photo I took earlier that day?). So… I got to read about early photography, his portraits of famous people, his coverage of the Civil War & so much more, well into the evening. Geez, I can’t even get to bed early on vacation, how sad is that?

Deer Isle for Art & Music
Lots of art galleries & lobster fishing in Stonington ME, but I got a little sidetracked on music by accident. We’d planned one night at a country inn on Deer Isle, before heading home. Two pianos in their modest livingroom tipped us off that our hosts were musicians. Hello, Steinway! I wanted to touch it, but didn’t dare strike a key. Later that night, I heard the quiet sound of piano & snuck out of my room to eavesdrop from the dark stairwell.

Next morning, we actually saw the photos & framed concert ads in the stairwell. Our unassuming elderly host with the cute British accent was a retired professional organist who used to play Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Montreal Symphony Orchestra… holy crap, no wonder he sounded good! At breakfast, I offered sheepishly that I just started piano lessons, don’t know much about music yet, but am eager to learn. He asked what I liked thus far & I told him jazz piano, but I also love Debussy’s Clair de Lune & desperately hope to play it well someday.

As we signed the guestbook to depart, he sat down & played it… live, by heart, on a Steinway, just for me. It was amazingly awesome to hear & see it played, right in my face :-) Highlight of the trip & it figures, I got no photo. I got Pumpkin Island Light instead, off the coast of Little Deer Isle. Whoop-de-do, after Clair de Lune live on a Steinway!

Rockland ME & the Farnsworth
Our last day was reserved for the Farnsworth Art Museum. I wanted to go there because it rivals the Brandywine River Museum in PA (been there) for the largest permanent collection of Andrew Wyeth’s art. The best part is that the Olson House, remarkably preserved, is open for tours in Cushing, ME, just a few miles away.

Why’s the Olson House such a big deal, you ask? Because Andrew Wyeth was self-admittedly obsessed with the Olson house. That house, its contents, its people, were pictured in much of his work. To go to the house itself & see reproductions of his paintings hanging in the very rooms he painted, see the scenes he depicted, look out the same windows, see the same architectural features in the same gray light… it’s the nearest one comes to getting inside the artist. For a split second, I get to be Andrew Wyeth. One of my favorite Wyeth paintings is Master Bedroom. I’ve never seen the original, but I’m sure I will someday. Probably by accident. Meanwhile, I was in the house, in the room.

The End. This sets a record for my longest blog post to date. Guess I really wanted to remember this trip.

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13 Responses to “John Travolta, Mathew Brady, Claude Debussy & Andrew Wyeth”

  1. heatherlorin Says:

    Looks like a fun trip! Great post – I did not know about the Olson House. Very cool.

  2. christine Says:

    I love B&B’s – we especially appreciate eating local food, as well as sampling the the B&B’s special-item dishes… we stayed at a B&B in Maine (just before New Year’s Eve) & we were the only guests… talk about feeling special… we had ginger-pumpkin pancakes the next morning at breakfast with apple-chicken sausage made by a friend. Just thinking about the tasty meals makes my mouth water!
    Love your post & it’s not too long!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Mmm, ginger-pumpkin pancakes sound delish, especially this time of year! B&Bs are great. An adventure every time, since you never know what you’ll get, unlike a Holiday Inn. We’ve been the only guests before too, but this trip, both inns we patronized had at least 2 other couples there… which makes breakfast fun, also (meeting other traveling folks ever so briefly).

      I’d love to try some B&Bs where you are, but the airfare to get there would break me before I arrive, darn!

  3. mike Says:

    How big were those snails?
    I do not have a good sense of perspective with that shot, but it looks like it was taken from a distance and so hopefully the snails were about 6 feet tall.

    That is a beautiful epitaph, I might have to rethink my planned poem, “Here lies fertilizer. The End.”

    Finding that same Matthew Brady book back at the B&B is a lovely example of fate. He’s probably smiling today (as you would believe) because he scored two photos in your post.

    Piano? Do you listen to Ben Folds? You may want to. I’ll mention him in a near-future post.

    I’m gonna run that Master Bedroom scene by my wife, I would prefer a little less clutter in our bedroom.

    Excellent summary of your trip both for the reader and for you.
    And, welcome back!

    • henniemavis Says:

      Places I laughed:
      – “Here lies fertilizer. The End.”
      – “…smiling today (as you would believe) because he scored 2 photos…”

      Re: Wyeth’s interiors, rethink this: 2 adults & that dog in that 19th-century full-size = clutter. Besides, eyes are closed in a bedroom most of the time… & when they’re not closed, I sure hope you’re gazing at other things & not around the room, geez! (This comment brought to you by People for the Defense of Bedroom Clutter.)

      • mike Says:

        I just realized it’s a new month…awaiting the next “oh crap” e-mail. Haha

        For the record, I can handle fishing.
        The kids have to do the reeling in though, because I don’t have a fishing license. We’re not gonna catch and eat them anyway, even though my daughter wanted to eat the bass.
        I did cut up about 20 blue fins at the beach one time to use for bait. I felt so barbaric.

        Now, I do things like paint my daughter’s fingernails. And my son’s…:-)

        Well, off to my cluttered bedroom, which I can’t navigate with my eyes clothes, at the risk of injury.

      • henniemavis Says:

        No apologetic emails from me, now that I know you’re a bait-fish slasher? If I accidentally stomp your sensitive side, the barbarian in you can take it! I might dodge any retaliation hugs — but I’ll let you paint my nails, no questions asked :-)

  4. Julie Says:

    Wow, it looks like you had a fantastic vacation! You posted so many beautiful pictures too! I am a huge history geek so I would of loved the Olson House:)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and delurking:) I love comments and if you wouldn’t of commented I would of never found your blog. I will have to look back at earlier posts and check out all of your awesome art! Happy weekend!

  5. meghan Ling Says:

    Do you just take AND find magic everywhere you go, HM? Your trip looked like a sweet dream to me…
    the light house, boats, shore line, docks and coastal buildings…it was all gorgeous. I’ve never been to Maine but I will some day!
    Thanks for the mini-vacay and narrations, you always make me *smile.*

  6. mary taitt Says:

    WOW! What a great trip! I tried to like the post, but it wouldn’t work.

    I think I somehow missed this one earlier. So much to see! I love that first picture. So Mainey!!!! Terrific.

    The whole post is fun. I love Maine!

    I love old cemeteries, light houses, lobster traps, wharves– the quintessential Maine trip for sure!

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