Archive for the ‘Maine Coast Activities’ Category

Hodgdon Island Innkeepers spot sign of spring in Freeport: “18 Days and counting till Ice Cream Season starts”

March 26th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

LL Bean Store Window Freeport, Maine

Today, Richard and I made a trip into Freeport with some very dear friends from “back home” (Kentucky & Ohio).  Freeport is only 45minutes away from our nine room inn on our tiny island here in Boothbay, Maine .  Our day started off with grey skies and about an inch of snow giving our friends a taste of winter 2011 in Maine, but by noon it was all gone and Mother Nature had decided to smile.  The sun was shining and Freeport was hopping.  The huge parking lots behind L.L. Bean were pretty full.  It felt like everything and everyone was waking up after a long winter’s nap.  As we came around the front of the L.L. Bean home wares building, we were stopped dead in our tracks!  People of all shapes, sizes, genders and ages were learning how to cast fly fishing rods. 

One of Pamela's favorite haunts - Bridgham And Cook LTD.

It was mesmerizing to watch, but we eventually tore ourselves away and headed for Main Street and some of our other favorite haunts like Jones of New York, Mangy Moose, Cool-as-a-Moose, Brooks Brothers, Clark’s of England, Bridgham & Cook British Importers, Sherman’s Bookstore and of course, all of the L.L. Bean stores.

In the course of all this “exercise” we got thirsty and were in the process of trying to decide how we would quench our thirst when we spotted the sign that read “18 days till ice cream season begins!”  Just think – tonight the moon will be the fullest it’s been in 21 years; tomorrow is the first official day of spring and in just two weeks and 4 days (April 1st) ice cream season will be here!  How cool is that?!

To celebrate we tried out the new coffee shop/café located on the lower level of the L.L. Bean Flagship store.  It was fun and it was good.  The coffee shop showcases Coffee by Design from Portland. This was our first time to try their products and I have to say we enjoyed our Cappuccino (Richard) and Mocha (Pamela) Frappes respectively and our friends enjoyed their Roasted Red Pepper Quiche and hot teas.

Then it was down the street to the Georgetown Pottery and Edgecomb Pottery.  I’m afraid I could spend hours in each and still not see all the beautiful shapes, glazes, art and giftware there.

We finished our Freeport adventure off with dinner at the Muddy Rudder.  There was a brand new menu to choose from and between us we sampled Panko Baked Haddock, Hanger Steak, Baked Haddock and sirloin tips accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes with a side of crisply steamed julienned beets.  It was all very good and our waitress was cheerful and attentive.  It was, as they say, the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Directions to Freeport from Hodgdon Island Inn:  turn RIGHT out of driveway onto Barter’s Island Road; make a slight LEFT onto Corey lane; turn LEFT onto ME-27 to US-1 South; turn LEFT onto US-1 South through Brunswick; take I-295 South to Freeport Exit 20.  Follow signs to Freeport and parking lots.

P.S. At the time of this posting the number of days left til ice cream season is now six!

March Madness Prevails at Boothbay Harbor Region Bed and Breakfast

March 14th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Our westward view over the Sheepscott

All those sayings that we are all too familiar with regards happenings in March just happen to be swirling around in my head today.  You know, sayings like:  “Beware of the Ides of March” or “March comes in like a Lion and goes out like a Lamb” or “When Irish Eyes are smiling – they’ll steal your heart away” – you know those sayings.  It all started this morning as I sat at my desk in the Owner’s Quarters here at Hodgdon Island Inn  looking out of the window.  The window showcases our westward view over the Sheepscott and it appears that our snow fortress is weakening. 

Our snow fortress is weakening!

 The walls of snow are melting away before my eyes.  I am reminded of that infamous “I’m melting “ scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy douses the Wicked Witch of the West with the bucket of water – only here on our tiny island in Boothbay, Maine, Mother Nature is doing the dousing and our once wicked white world is turning into a pool of spring greens and browns!

OMG!  March is a very busy month in the State of Maine! Kicking off the month  there was the annual yum-yum fest known as Maine Restaurant Week, March 1-12th, where one can get scrumptious three-course meals at a set price; then we had the 2011 Flower Show in Portland this past weekend, March 10-13th, titled “The Enchanted Earth”. The show is a collaboration of green industry landscapers, growers, gardeners and industry retailers dedicated to the continued success of everything about “Gardening in Maine”.

Beware of the Tides of March!

Higher tides than ususal predicted this weekend

Next up is the Ides of March (March 15th), but the TIDES OF MARCH is much more appropriate.  Why you ask? Because at every full moon, when the earth and the sun and the moon are lined up in space, the gravity of the sun and moon reinforce each other and the earth’s tides become particularly high.  It is predicted that the tides will be higher than usual, especially on Saturday hence the “Beware of the Tides of March”.

 Now we’re counting down to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th.  For many it is a day of partying, parades, eating corned beef and cabbage and drinking green beer  (Sarah’s Cafe, fun restaurant on Route 1 in Wiscasset). For others it is a day of prayer and contemplation. For me it is a day filled with many memories, lots of love, much laughter, a few tears, good Irish music and an Irish jig or two.   I may have mentioned that I am first generation American-born of Irish ancestry, but I don’t know if I mentioned that I am also an Irish step dancer.  My mother, Sheila, was born in a town on the coast outside Dublin, Ireland not too dissimilar from Boothbay Harbor

Currant soda bread is cut in wedges to serve;whole wheat soda bread is featured.

But most importantly of all:  one must eat Soda Bread on this great day!  Now I could write an entire blog on Irish Soda Bread because there are as many different recipes for it as there are shades of green on the Emerald Isle, but we stick to the Byrne Family recipe which has been handed down for many generations.  I have shared this family heirloom with you in the recipe section of our blog I hope you enjoy it!

And the last of this month’s fun activities here in the Pine Tree State is Maine Maple Sunday set for March 27th .  Most sugarhouses offer free maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how pure Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugar bush tours, music, and so much more. 

March isn’t the only month with lots of things to do and see here in Maine .  Come and see for yourself.  And as always, if you need a place to stay, we’ll be here on our tiny island and as is customary in Ireland, Richard and I will  bid you “cead mile failte” {Cade (rhyming with “wade”) meala fault cha. Fáilte is said quickly} – a hundred, thousand welcomes!

Hodgdon Island Inn is located about an hour northeast of Portland; three hours from Boston; three hours from Bar Harbor

March 7th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Follow signs to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

By Air

Fly into Portland International Jet Port ( ); rent a car, call for a limousine service or make arrangements to be met by a Boothbay Harbor Region( taxi.  Private planes may fly into Wiscasset Airport; rental cars and taxi services are available.

By Car 

From Portland ( follow I-295 to Brunswick.  Take Exit 28 or Exit 31 to Route 1 North.  Follow Route 1 through Wiscasset.  Just across the river bear right onto Route 27 out of Edgecomb south to Boothbay (  After 9.3 miles, bear right at the Boothbay Civil War monument, across from the town common. Go straight at the stop sign.  After a quarter mile, bear right onto Barters Island Road.  The Inn (  is about 1.2 miles down the road (you will go past the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens ( and cross over a bridge under construction) and our driveway will be on your left just before the Trevett Swing Bridge (, General Store and Post Office.



February 24th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Our "first date" in our new home ...

Last week Richard and I decided it was high time we went out on our “first date” in our new home and what better time to do it than around Valentine’s Day.   So we made plans … dinner first, followed by a play.  We were both very excited and found ourselves looking forward to our night out!  It was a huge success, I am happy to report!

For dinner we chose a restaurant in Bath recommended by a fellow Barter’s Island Community Club member. 

Solo Bistro decor is "Maine Modern"

The Solo Bistro ( was super!  The décor is “Maine Modern” with pale wood tables and brightly colored chairs.  The choices were wide ranging and the prices competitive.  We opted for the three-course Prix Fixe menu of the evening.  We had no regrets as we savored our spinach salad with vanilla white balsamic vinaigrette; Maine Shrimp Risotto with tomato, leek, eggplant and Greek olives; and chocolate chip cookie sandwich with pumpkin marshmallow ice cream drizzled with caramel sauce.  Our waitress was friendly and attentive, but not intrusive and we left knowing that we would definitely put the Solo Bistro on the “must do that again” list.

Then it was off to Brunswick and the play.  The play was a production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at the Theater Project adapted by Joe Hanready and J.R. Sullivan and directed by Christopher Price.

The Theater Project ( was founded in 1972 as a non-profit community-based theater in Brunswick, Maine.  Its mission is “to change young and old; to enrich and inspire their living, and provide a safe environment for original and dynamic exploration.”  If this production of P&P is any indication I would have to say that they wholeheartedly fulfill their mission.

Now I must admit I am a Jane Austen devotee and am pretty fussy about adaptations of her work, but I am happy to say that the performance and staging at the Theater Project was fabulous – just fabulous and did Miss Austen’s work great justice!

The auditorium seats about 75 or so and it was a SOLD OUT performance.  The ages of the audience ranged from vivacious and charming college students to low key and charming old timers (like us). But one thing was clear – everyone there was enjoying the play.  The set consisted of one small round dining room table, four would-be Chippendale chairs, two upholstered benches, two wooden benches, two topiaries and a crystal chandelier that magically appeared or disappeared as was needed to indicate that we had moved to Pemberly or to the infamous residence of the infamous Lady Catherine de Bourgh.  The furniture was moved in and out of position by two young ladies attired as servants who occasionally draped a lace tablecloth over the small round table and topped it off with a vase (pronounced with a short “a” sound of course) of flowers and who always curtsied. 

The ensemble cast was very good, especially the actress playing Elizabeth.  She was delightful and I would liken her performance to that of Jennifer Ehle’s in the A&E version also starring Colin Firth.  But it was the actor playing Mr. Collins, who in our opinion stole the show!  He was awkward, self-effacing, slimy, cow-towing … and that smile – Yuk! In short, he was perfect!

Richard and I thoroughly enjoyed it – we discussed it on the way home and again over the next few days.  And of course it inspired me to once again drag out my much beloved, dog-eared copy of P&P … you know what they say:  once an Austen devotee, always an Austen devotee.


February 24th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Bath, Maine - a New England City

If you have ever driven along Route 1 headed towards the Boothbay Region from the southern part of the state you have passed through Bath, Maine.  You would remember it – It has a very unique profile.  Bath, built along the shores of the Kennebec River and unlike the towns of Boothbay Harbor or Damariscotta for instance, is a city. On one side of Route 1, the view is that of a very typical New England city – tall white church spires, domed public buildings and preserved remnants of impressive 18th and 19th century mansions and storefronts.  On the other side of Route 1 is one of the city’s crown jewels: the Bath Iron Works (BIW). 

Massive cranes tower above Bath Iron Works where state-of-the-art military vessels are still built

This center of shipbuilding is outlined by the massive cranes which tower above the facility where state-of-the-art military vessels are still built.  And just beyond BIW is the other of the crown jewels in the City of Bath: the Maine Maritime Museum.

Now several times this winter, Richard and I have set off to explore any number of sites within a half hour’s drive of Hodgdon Island Inn and Boothbay, and somehow we have found ourselves back at this, and I quote, “mecca for boat lovers” and history buffs.

Maine Maritime Museum: the state's premier marine museum!

It is no wonder that the Maine Maritime Museum is the state’s premier marine museum!  The setting, on 20 acres along the Kennebec River, includes the award-winning Maritime History Building and Welcome Center (where the permanent and temporary displays are housed along with the gift shop), the restored original buildings from the Percy & Small Shipyard where wooden schooners were built in the 19th century; a late Victorian home; and the boat shop where volunteer craftsman build and restore small boats.  The displays and artifacts are amazing!  The staff welcoming and the volunteers enthusiastic and knowledgeable!

You definitely don't want to miss this!

 On February 19th, a new exhibit opened in the John G. Morse, Jr. Gallery.  It is called “Cold Waters, Cold War:  The 21st Century Navy in Maine”.  It is an amazing story about the part Maine played in naval and defense operations during the Cold War.  If you’re a Tom Clancy fan, you definitely don’t want to miss this!  If you consider yourself a patriot, you definitely don’t want to miss this either!  The exhibit runs through August 7, 2011.

To get to the museum ( from Hodgdon Island Inn, Boothbay:  take Barter’s Island Road, making a slight left on to Corey Lane which becomes ME-27.  Take ME-27 to US-1 South.  Take US 1 South to exit for ME-209/DOWNTOWN HISTORIC BATH/PHIPPSBURG (you’ll be on Vine Street). Turn LEFT under bridge on to Washington Street.  Go past BIW and MMM will be on the LEFT.


February 16th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

A town in Maine called Damariscotta

In a town in Maine called Damariscotta (pronounced dam-uh-riss-COT-ta) on the Pemaquid Peninsula, about 15.5 miles from Boothbay Harbor, there is an incredible local book shop and café right on Maine Street.

The Maine Coast Book Shop and Café  is probably Number Two on Richard’s and my list of favorite places to escape to.  It’s about a 20 minute drive from the inn along River Road just off Route 27.  (An easy way to find the turn off for River Road is to remember that River’s End Farm is located just across the street from it).  River Road meanders (a quintessential Maine descriptor) along the Damariscotta River, past beautiful 18th and 19th century Federal and colonial-style homes and several impressive brick structures (Damariscotta’s sister town, Newcastle, was not only a thriving shipbuilding town in the 1800’s, but a brick making center as well) and the Glidden Point Oyster Sea farm.  The topography of the land is such that the drive is anything, but monotonous.  You go up and down and around bends, through stretches thick with trees and then along open fields until the harbor at Damariscotta pops into view.  I find myself momentarily reverting to that childhood habit of eagerly watching for that first glimpse of the town and its buildings reflected in the river and being the first one to shout out “there it is”!

Maine Coast Book Shop short drive from Hodgdon Island Inn

Richard and I are book lovers and avid readers.  I’m afraid we have yet to make use of a Kindle or a Nook, and it’s not because we are against the concept as we read the NYT daily on our iPhones, it’s more because there is something comforting to us when we hold that tome in our hands.  I also feel connected to my now deceased parents and grandparents as I turn pages – I can hear the shushed reminders to turn the pages quietly and be careful not to break the book’s spine … SIGH.

The book shop in Damariscotta has something for everyone.  They seem to have a sixth sense about what they stock and it’s very hard not to come out without making a purchase.  The staff is also very obliging and very knowledgeable.

Richard and I are proud members of the Cafe's "Coffee Club"

The café is an amazing place as well.  Richard and I are proud members of the “Coffee Club” (purchase ten coffee-related drinks and the next one’s free!).  There are many wonderful coffees to choose from as well as fine teas and fruit drinks, but it’s their cappuccino smoothies topped (translation: the space between the top of the liquid and the top of the domed cover is filled, and I mean filled), with real cow-made thick, rich sweet cream that do it for us.  They also offer an array of fresh baked goods, sandwiches, soups and chowders.

You can literally unwind and watch the world go by ...

Sitting in the café, looking out at Main Street, you can literally unwind and watch the world pass by.  The cars whizz by; drivers with their tongues between their teeth, attempt to parallel park; people glide in and out of any one of the very cute, very different and/or very eclectic shops, galleries or restaurants; run into the ReXall Drug Store complete with a 1940’s soda fountain; or just pop into the Post Office. Invariably they end up in the book shop or the café.

People glide in and out of any one of the shops, restaurants, galleries, etc.

“They” are mothers and daughters in the middle of a shopping spree, friends meeting to catch up, young people socializing after school, business folks checking in (free Wi-Fi), and oh yes, did I mention innkeepers catching their breaths?

If you’re in our area, this is definitely a must-see/do!


January 25th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Boothbay Region Land Trust

One of our favorite places

Here at Hodgdon Island Inn, Richard and I have come to claim Porter Preserve as one of our favorite places in Maine in the Boothbay Region!  No matter the time of year there is always beauty and magic to be had at Porter Preserve

Boothbay Region Land Trust's preserve on Barter's Island

There is always beauty and magic to be had

We love to meander along the trail (to be precise:  the 0.86-mile loop trail) and take in the spectacular views of the neighboring island, the water and

Well marked trail around the preserve

A peek into the "Enchanted Forest"

the “enchanted forest”, (especially at sunset, but then you know how much we love our pink Maine sunsets!). 

Porter Preserve

Pamela's favorite spot in Porter Preserve

We have also seen seals lolling around the ledges at low tide while eagles and ospreys fly overhead.  To get to Porter Preserve from Hodgdon Island Inn Bed & Breakfast just turn left out of the driveway onto Barter’s Island Road; go over the Trevett Swing Bridge; turn left onto Kimballtown Road and follow the signs to Porter Preserve as the road dead ends into the parking area for the preserve just past the cemetery (or if you’re looking for a stretch of the legs, it’s an easy walk from the inn).

Boothbay Region Land Trust Porter Preserve

January 25th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Here at Hodgdon Island Inn, Richard and I have come to claim Porter Preserve as one of our favorite places in Maine in the Boothbay Region! No matter the time of year there is always beauty and magic to be had at Porter Preserve. We love to meander along the trail (to be precise: the 0.86-mile loop trail) and take in the spectacular views of the neighboring island, the water and the “enchanted forest”, (especially at sunset, but then you know how much we love our pink Maine sunsets!). We have also seen seals lolling around the ledges at low tide while eagles and ospreys fly overhead. To get to Porter Preserve from Hodgdon Island Inn Bed & Breakfast just turn left out of the driveway onto Barter’s Island Road; go over the Trevett Swing Bridge; turn left onto Kimballtown Road and follow the signs to Porter Preserve as the road dead ends into the parking area for the preserve just past the cemetery (or if you’re looking for a stretch of the legs, it’s an easy walk from the inn).


January 25th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Jnauary snow totals for Hodgdon Island Inn is twenty plus inches and counting

It really snowed!

Hodgdon Island Inn

near Boothbay Harbor, has the honor of being the closest Bed and Breakfast to the beautiful and ever-changing Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.  Our nine-room inn is located just 9 tenths of a mile further down Barter’s Island Road directly across the street from the Trevett Country Store.  

Located directly across the street from the Hodgdon Island Inn

Richard and I love the gardens!  Although I have to admit that most of our time spent in the gardens is in the off-season.  Like today – it snowed, I mean really snowed (12 inches), and so we decided to get out and stretch our legs and take in the sights.

The unpretentious sign at the entrance

What a gem of a place!

 As Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is only a short walk from the inn, we wrapped up and eventually made our way there. What a gem of a place!  From the unpretentious sign at the entrance to the delightful driveway up to the gardens and trails, this tranquil place soothes the soul.  This past July we saw the grand opening of the Children’s Garden.  What a day of excitement and traffic and happy people! This garden was designed for children of all ages and I have to tell you that some of our guests (well past their childhood years) did not want to leave this incredible garden of sights and senses!  This year we are witnessing the construction of an education building and garden.  When it’s completed it will be the “greenest” building in Maine.  How cool is that?! In short, no matter the time of year, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens are well worth visiting.  So, for that matter is the Hodgdon Island Inn Bed and Breakfast rated Number 1 in Boothbay, Maine by Trip Advisor.

Events Calendar

June 15th, 2010 by richard-pamela-riley

Below we’ve listed some of the top area events however there are many, many more, from festivals to fairs, music events, car shows, and more. Please visit;; or for a full list of all events in the region.




23        Mid-Coast Model Festival, Owls Head Transportation Museum (through March 24)

24        Maine Maple Syrup Sunday, Statewide




13        Maine Photography Show, Boothbay Region Art Foundation (through May 3)

26        Fisherman’s Festival & Blessing of the Fleet, Boothbay Harbor (through April 28)



19      Tea & Tulips, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay (Mother’s Day weekend)

25        Maine Days, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (Free Admission for all Maine residents through May 27)

25        Owls Head Spring Antique Auto & Aeroplane Show (through May 26)




01        “2nd Annual Hop Swap Days in the Boothbays”, Boothbay Harbor Region

02        12th Annual Women’s Ride, Freeport

08        1st Annual Owls Head Horse Power Power Vehicle Auction & Show (through June 9)

09        40th  Annual Old Port Festival, Portland

14        7th Annual Maine Blues Festival, Naples (Father’s Day weekend)

22        Bowdoin International Music Festival, Brunswick (through August 3)

25        51st Annual Windjammer Days Festival, Boothbay Harbor (through June 26)

27        The Boothbay Playhouse:  SPAMALOT (though July 13)




03        40th Anniversary Heritage Days, Bath (through July 7)

04        Old fashioned Fourth of July fun, fireworks and celebrations, Boothbay Harbor

04        Reading of the Declaration of Independence, 2PM, Colonial Pemaquid, Bristol

12        Camden Maine Windjammer Parade of Sail, Rockland Breakwater

13        Camden Open Schooner Tours, North End Shipyard and Windjammer Wharf, 4PM

13        North Atlantic Blues Festival, Rockland (through July 14)

19        Celtic Celebration, Belfast (through July 21)

19        50th  Annual Clam Festival, Yarmouth (through July 21)

21        12th Annual Maine Lobster Ride & Roll, Rockland (Please note this will be the first time for the ride to be on a Sunday)

25        The Boothbay Playhouse:  ONCE ON THIS ISLAND  (through August 10)

31        66th Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland (through August 4)




August Open Boatyard Days, Statewide

05        Camden Music festival

12        Olde Bristol Days, Bristol

16        34th Annual Highland Games, Topsham Fairgrounds, Thomas Point Beach (through August 18)

17        36th Annual New England Auto Auction, Owl’s Head

30        Camden Windjammer festival (through September 1)

31        Owls Head Vintage Motorcycle Meet




14        Open Lighthouse Day, Statewide

2nd Annual Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce Claw Down

30        Pemaquid Oyster Festival, Damariscotta




05        Pumpkin Fest and Regatta, Damariscotta (through October 14)

12        Fall Foliage Festival, Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay (through October 13)

26        Owls Head Great Fall Auction & Flea Market (through October 27)




26th Annual Harbor Lights Festival, Boothbay Harbor