Sunday, July 29, 2012

Rain Postpones Art

We have to leave today so we can be in South Paris for the show tomorrow at Moore Park. I finally got a wireless signal from the Lowe’s in Auburn, ME and find more than 150 emails, most of them junk. The one that really mattered was from the event coordinators who made the decision to postpone the show until Sunday. It seems some meteorologist expected severe weather including gale force gusts and flash flood type rains. It’s never an easy decision to use a rain date option even though that option had been on the posters and announced in all the press releases. The decision, not made lightly, involved 4 people. I just wish I could have found out sooner. we would have stayed in Acadia for another day. As it happened, the bad weather never materialized and I think it would have been a fairly good day. We’ll never know how many people might have shown up on that Saturday. Our extra day was spent in the Wal-Mart parking lot watching Red Box movies and it only rained a little in Auburn. We found out on Sunday the rain never materialized in South Paris.

Sunday morning dawned gray and dreary. We set up our tent in South Paris while holding our breath that we could get everything under cover BEFORE it rained. I’m happy to report we finished setup with about an hour to spare. The photo I chose for the Art Show judging was my shot of the sea grass carving an graceful arc in the sand taken on the Cape earlier this year, the piece I call “Nature’s Artistry”. The image received great reviews from many of the patrons and as it happens, I sold the piece but with 4 photographers and 3 prizes, guess who was left out?  When all things are considered , I guess I’d rather sell my work than get a bit of brightly colored ribbon. It’s just that validation for my work seems to eat at me, somehow making it important. Will I let that stop me? Not on your life. In fact, I’ve printed the same image to be judged in Littleton the end of September. Hope the judges there have a better sense of the dramatic.

I must say the event coordinators did a great job. It’s a wonderful venue with what could have been a high volume traffic flow. I’m looking forward to next year already. We’ve already discussed a plan to do the Yarmouth Clam Festival, the Moore Park Art Show and the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland without returning home.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fishing Or Catching

He said he wasn’t going fishing. I knew better. He found a commercial fishing boat who also ran about 120 lobster traps, the Vagabond, whose rates were very reasonable. It left from Beal’s Lobster Pier every morning and afternoon and since I really didn’t want to go, Carl made an afternoon reservation for one. I had plans to walk the beach and take a few more photos but woke up with a migraine and spent the day in bed. He came home happy, with Mackerel, Pollack, Cod, a Stone crab and a lobster. It seems pretty much everyone on board ends up with a free lobster to take home. It’s something the Vagabond has been doing for 29 years. Now, I love the ocean but can’t stand the smell of lobsters cooking in the pot and it was worse in the camper because it took longer to get the water back up to the simmer once the deed was done ( placing the lobsters in the water head first, I mean ).

I may have grown up on the ocean, love the smell of marsh flats and enjoy slogging through the mud at low tide but I’m one of those rare New Englanders who don’t like lobster or steamers. I do like some fish and scallops so it isn’t all bad.  Did I mention he came home happy?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Park Loop

When you’re planning a big driving day centered around photography, the last thing you want to hear is the pitter patter of raindrops on the roof of the camper. The second to last thing you want to hear is your husband playing the part of alarm clock long before you’re ready to get out of bed. It’s my own fault because honestly the book I was reading last night was too good to put down when I should have. Anyway, after stealing another 20 minutes or so, I finally got out of bed and was greeted by sunshine and blue skies. We couldn’t start the generator for another hour and agreed to hit the local coffee shop. The place is called Common Ground Soup Kitchen, a coffee and popover with free wi-fi kind of  place open 4 hours every morning and run by volunteers with all donated goods. Our hot from the oven popovers came with homemade wild blueberry jam and strawberry preserves. The donations left by summer patrons help the Soup Kitchen ( a misnamed establishment if there ever was one ) to care for the winter full time residents who may need a hand when all of us sun worshippers leave. Last year, they hosted 30 community wide family events including a huge Thanksgiving dinner. On most Saturday nights they have a family style pizza accompanied by open mike music. The building housed a traditional restaurant in 2006 and 2007 but switched to the all donation coffee and popover format in 2008. Since that time, they have satisfied for than 8,000 people and served more than 25,000 cups of coffee. I think this is a wonderful idea and know of many other tourist based communities that could benefit by this spirit.

Our trip along the Park Loop was a leisurely one since the first 25 miles were one way traffic at speeds of 25 mph and every ¼ mile or so there was a place for us to pull over to take photos. And when it wasn’t me asking Carl to park it, it was the thousand or so other shutterbugs who all wanted those drop dead gorgeous pictures even if it meant dashing out in front of oncoming traffic. I have to tell you my favorite was Schooner Point but there wasn’t a bad view anywhere. We had our lunch at the Fabrii picnic spot in the shade of some huge white birches but before that we went on a little nature walk at the Wild Gardens of Acadia. When I say little I mean I misunderstood the map and we walked about two miles without even being in the garden. Who knew? I guess I worked off my two popovers from breakfast.

A happy wrong turn in Southeast Harbor sent us along Somes Sound which was a lovely side trip and I highly recommend it but only in a passenger vehicle, no campers allowed.

We spent some time at the Beal Docks watching lobstermen unload their catch and decided to have supper right there on the wharf. I can certainly tell I got some sun and exercise today. The bottoms of my feet feel as if they are on fire and so does my nose and forehead. I took about 150 photos today most of them I consider vacation memory kind but there are one or two that show promise and may make the production line before too long.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cadillac Mountain

We had a few thunderstorms pass through during the night with more than a little rain. After a leisurely breakfast, Carl and I hit the road with the idea of covering some of the less spectacular scenery on the western side of the island but like so many plans, this one was thwarted by the pea soup fog and even if I could see what’s out along the coast, I didn’t have a shot through the fog. As we moved inland, the fog began to lift just in time for the rain to start. So much for photography. We changed our plan and headed to the Atlantic Brewery Company where you can sample about 6 different brews locally made in the company store where that very same beer is on sale. I had a sample of their Logger Lager and then moved on to their Old Soaker Root Beer.  Since Maine is famous for two things, lobster and blueberries, and lobster flavored beer would be just way too weird, the brewery also makes a pretty good blueberry soda and a not so good blueberry ale. In the spirit of cross advertising, they recommended our next stop be the Bar Harbor Winery which was our plan anyway. There, we sampled 7 different wines including a better than good blueberry wine. I had to bring a bottle of that one home with us. Our plan was to head into Bar Harbor for another brewery in the center of town but the place was hopping, with no parking available so Carl decided to pass on that one.

On our way back to Seawall Campground, we approached the turnoff for the road  up to Cadillac Mountain.
I knew the weather was less than optimal but I had to find out what the big deal was. Everyone who found out we were headed up to Acadia inevitably asked, “Are you going to go up the mountain?”  It’s a short drive but it’s a twisty one. Probably not more than a category 4 climb on the Tour de France but we saw many cyclists turning their wheels with vigor along the way. When we finally reached the summit of the 1530 foot mountain, the highest point on Mt Desert Island, we had quite a view in all directions in spite of the low ceiling, fog banks in the distance and the hazy humidity hanging in the air. I can certainly see the appeal on a good day where you would get a breathtaking view of the western Atlantic, outlying islands, the interior of the island, several lakes and the bustling little village of Bar Harbor.

Our way home took us through Southwest Harbor and I asked for a side trip to Clark’s point where the commercial fleet unloads their catch. It seemed as if the skies were lifting so we parked and walked around the dockside complex which also included the local Coast Guard station. About 20 minutes later, it began to rain once more so we turned for home.

Monday, July 23, 2012

On To Acadia National Park

July 23, 2012

I’ve only been to this part of Maine once on a dive trip some years ago and to be honest I don’t remember much from that trip except the water was murky and really cold, my thick neoprene wet suit was cumbersome and the seals didn’t want to play with us uncoordinated humans so the drive onto the island, today, was a pleasant surprise. We checked in to the Seawall Campground, had an early supper and then went for a short drive to the Bass Harbor Head Light. We spent about an hour climbing over gargantuan slabs of sea worn rock to get the best angle of the warning beacon still in use today and although we were hours ahead of the sunset, I could see this site had potential. It also had the potential for a sunrise shot but the climbing out onto the cliff side during that predawn light could be a bit tricky if you weren’t careful. You’d also need at least one flashlight.

We weren’t ready to retire just yet so we stopped at one of the many trailheads for a short walk. The one we chose was called Wonder Land and Carl figures it was about a mile through scrubby woodlands and over huge glacier scarred slabs of granite until at the very end the hard pack earth from so many feet gave way to the sea washed gravel. Carl was surprised there has been no sandy beaches on this side of the island. But, oh, the rocky coastline with countless tidal pools was beautiful. I grew up off the coast of Massachusetts on Plum Island where salt air played havoc with my naturally curly hair and I dealt with more than a few painful sunburns during my childhood. I felt comfortable wandering along the shoreline looking for subjects for my camera. Finally as will all good things, we turned for home and our camper. I hope it was a great sunset. I didn’t see it from the campground. Acadia is a National Park and has ranger programs most evening which we enjoyed very much while at Denali last summer. The programs for our campground are at 9:30PM at the amphitheater. That’s way past our bedtime.

Yarmouth Clam Festival

July 20-22, 2012

Well, as the name implies, we just had to have seafood one evening after manning the booth in the heat of summer. Carl had a good sized bag of steamers and a soft shelled lobster while I had grilled scallops served in a hot dog roll. Yarmouth is a great place and they really know how to throw a party. The event is in it’s 47th year so they’ve had plenty of time to work on the small details. Things like music in three places, road and bicycle races through the Main Streets, a fireman’s muster under the Route 1 overpass, a huge “food court” where all types of social organizations are responsible for an incredible array of foods ( more on this later ), a craft fair with over 100 artisans and an art show with more than 40 artists, games for the kids and even karaoke on the big stage during the day, no liquor required. They also had Smokey’s Midway and Carnival rides for those who have to do that sort of thing.

We talked with a lady who worked the Lime Rickey booth. She said everyone from the boy scouts to soccer  parents get together, decide who will sell what and what the prices will be and then Sysco sets up two tractor trailers, one refrigerated and the other frozen for them to buy their food as they need it. Only one booth can sell pizza, one for fried clams, one for lobsters and so on. The only duplicate was bottled water and that price was preset. We never had a Lime Rickey but they were served in lime colored plastic cups and we saw a bunch of them. Everywhere you looked people were strolling by holding lime colored plastic cups or sucking on lime colored straws.

Our participation in the Art show was a successful venture. Sales were okay, business cards disappeared and we networked with several local artists and picked up helpful tips and chatted about other events in the area. We even lucked out with our overnight accommodations. The event staff created a mini campground at the Travis Roy Ice Arena which is part of North Yarmouth Academy. It was so close,  we had only to cross route 1 at the traffic light, 5 minutes down a lovely walking path, cross Main Street and onto the Merrill Library lawn where our booth was located.

Our days were long, dusty and uncomfortably warm but the nights were perfect for sleeping, no air conditioner needed. We decided to spend one more night in Yarmouth before heading off to Acadia National Park for a few days. We hit the food court just at the end of the Festival and in time for a couple of bargains, a lobster roll for Carl and a kielbasa on a stick for me.