Posts Tagged ‘Boothbay Harbor’

GROUNDHOG DAY, Nor’easters and Tiny Little Islands in Maine

January 31st, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

The view from Barters Island, Maine

Our tiny little island in Maine

Oh my!  Looking at the calendar this morning I realized that Wednesday is February 2nd or more, importantly, it is Groundhog Day in the USA.

Now, we all know that the nation’s official groundhog lives in Punxsutawney, PA – hence the name Punxsutawney Phil and that if he sees his shadow when he climbs out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob, there will be six more weeks of winter weather.  If he does not see his shadow, there will be an early spring.

Thinking about Phil, I realized that I had not seen one of his species in Midcoast Maine since Richard (my husband) and I relocated to Hodgdon Island Inn last year. I have seen gulls, loons, geese, crows, eagles, osprey, seals, red foxes, wild turkeys, red squirrels, grey squirrels, porcupines, lobsters and the occasional Maine Coon cat in my travels around Boothbay, Boothbay Harbor, Wiscasset and Damariscotta, but no groundhogs!

My curiosity got the better of me so I called up my favorite search engine and went looking for “groundhog day in Maine”.  Boy did I get a surprise! 

Storm surge

Storm surge in Boothbay Maine

Up popped information on what was termed “a notable nor’easter” aka The Groundhog Day Gale of 1976.  When all was said and done there were no deaths as a result of this massive four-day long storm, but it ravaged the coastal areas of Maine and left behind over $2M worth of damage.

Apparently it all started when an upper cyclone was stationary on January 28 across the Desert Southwest of the United States.  A system in the northern branch of the Westerlies known as a Saskatchewan Screamer, similar to an Alberta clipper, moved east-southeast across Canada beginning on January 30, luring the system in the United States eastward. The cyclones merged by February 2, becoming a significant storm over New England before lifting northward through Quebec.  By February 6, the storm finally dissipated.

 In Maine, winds had gusted to 60 knots (69 mph) in Rockland and 100 knots (115 mph) at Southwest Harbor. Blizzard conditions were experienced for a few hours as the storm moved up into Canada. Coastal flooding was seen from Brunswick to Eastport.  A tidal surge went up the Penobscot River flooding Bangor for three hours.  About 200 cars were submerged and office workers were stranded until waters receded.

Oh my!  Now we knew, from our many previous visits to Maine dream-hunting, that Nor’easters usually occur in Maine in the months between October and April, and we were also aware that they can form at any time of the year.  What we didn’t know was just how long a shadow good ol’ Punxsutawney Phil can cast!

Nor'easter at work

The term "nor'easter" is often used to refer to any strong rain or snow storm that occurs in the northeastern US

I must admit, that as I check the weather updates this afternoon, I am looking at the predicted storm which is supposed to hit us here on our tiny little island in Maine on Wednesday a little differently than I did yesterday.  I wish all of us (especially Phil) a very overcast Groundhog Day 2011!

NINE ROOM BED AND BREAKFAST INN ON THE WATER NEAR BOOTHBAY HARBOR MAINE

January 30th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Hodgdon Island Inn's western view.

Yet another pink Maine sunset!

It is almost 4:30PM ET here at Hodgdon Island Inn, just a mere four (4) miles northwest of Boothbay Harbor, Maine and the sun is just now getting ready to set!  I am excited because the days are getting longer. My desk faces westward and I am watching the great “golden orb “sink down behind Sawyer’s Island as I hear the clicking of the timers beginning to kick lights on throughout the house. The water is reflecting yet another pink Maine sunset tonight tinged with touches of lilac and pearl grey.  It is beautiful!  Somehow at sunset I am often reminded of my Mom. 

She was a brave, kind woman.

"My Mom"

My Mom was originally from a large town and seaport nestled at the foothills of the Dublin Mountains in Ireland called Dun Laoghaire (anglicized as Dunleary) as was her mother.  That seaside town is not much different than some of the towns around us here in mid-coast Maine:   Bath, New Harbor, Bristol, Camden, to name a few.  They were brave, kind women who never passed up an opportunity to smile and they never failed to make the best of things. Tomorrow, February 1, is an important day for the Irish – it is the traditional First Day of Spring and it is the Feast Day of St. Brigid. As you can well imagine, it was a day to look forward to growing up – special outings, special food, special breads.

February 1 feast Day of St. Brigid and traditional first day of Spring in Ireland

Barm Brack - special bread which is customary to eat on the feast day of St. Brigid.

And just who is St. Bridgid you might ask? Saint Brigid, or to be really correct Saint Brigid of Kildare, is a saint of many names: Brigid of Ireland, Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd, Bride, Naomh Bhríde or „Mary of the Gaels“. Living from 451 to 525 (it is said).  She was an Irish nun, abbess, founder of several convents, held the rank of bishop and generally venerated as a saint. Considered as one of Ireland’s patron saints, she ranks only behind Saint Patrick himself in importance.

In Ireland, the special bread which is customary to eat on the feast day of St. Brigid as well as at Samhain, or Halloween is Barm Brack or Barm Bread. 

Traditionally, it was part of an annual fortune-telling ritual. Similar to the English ritual of hiding  tokens representing what fortune has in store for whoever discovered the prize in his or her slice of  plum pudding. Family and friends would gather to have tea and Barm Brack, with each anticipating their fortune.

The tokens baked into the Barm Brack were a pea or a thimble, a piece of cloth, a coin and a gold ring. If your slice contained the pea or the thimble, you could expect another year of being an old maid. If, on the other hand, your slice revealed the gold ring, you could expect to be married within the year. The cloth, symbolizing rags, meant poverty or bad luck in the year ahead. The coin signified fame and fortune were on the way!

Although some versions of Barm Bread or Barm Brack are leavened with yeast, beer or ale, baking powder, or baking soda, one thing that appears to be common in most forms of these breads is the preparation of the fruit. Before the raisins and other dried fruits are added to the batter or dough, they are soaked for a period in hot tea until they are plump and rehydrated. This makes them wonderfully soft inside the baked bread.

It can be eaten at breakfast or at tea time and some establishments in Ireland serve Barm Brack with every meal. My favorite recipe, as always, because I have found it to be the easiest and least time consuming, is from Angela Hynes’ book The Pleasures of Afternoon Tea.  I will add it to the recipe section of the website.

P.S. February 1st may be the “traditional” first day of spring in Ireland, but meteorologists would say that the first day of spring is actually March 20th .

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).

COASTAL MAINE BOTANICAL GARDENS

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.

GREETINGS FROM HODGDON ISLAND INN, Boothbay, Maine

January 25th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Pamela Byrne Riley and Richard Riley

Hodgdon Island Inn resident innkeepers, Pamela and Richard, look forward to Year number Two!

Richard and I (and our beloved and very regal feline companion, Charlie Darlie) hope that 2011 will be a very happy, healthy and prosperous one for you and yours!

What a year 2010 was!  As we wrap up our very first year as innkeepers at Boothbay’s own Hodgdon Island Inn, we can honestly say “there was never a dull moment”!  The fun started the moment we walked out to greet each guest and continued through the start of each day with helping to plan the day’s adventures and/or debating the merits of which area attraction should be on the “must see” list.  Should it be Boothbay Harbor? Pemaquid Point Lighthouse? Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens? The Boothbay Region Land Trust’s, Porter Preserve? or a Balmy Days Cruise to Monhegan Island?  And the fun continued well into the evenings while sitting with our guests (aka extended family members) on the porch under the stars, or around the remnants of the dessert tray in the living room.

Our resident feline, Charlie Darlie, the embodiment of Lewis Carroll's Cheshire Cat: now you see her; now you don't!

But the best memories of this past year are of you:  our guests, our friends, our extended family!

As Anonymous once said “some people come into our lives and quietly go.  Others stay for awhile and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same.”

Thanks for leaving those footprints on our hearts.  We will always remember the time we spent together.

We can’t wait for Year Number Two!

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 www.visitmaine.com; www.mainetourism.com; www.gotravelmaine.com or www.boothbayharbor.com for a full list of all events in the region.

 

MARCH

 

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

24        Maine Maple Syrup Sunday, Statewide

 

APRIL

 

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

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

 

MAY

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)

 

JUNE

 

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)

 

JULY

 

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

 

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

 

SEPTEMBER

 

14        Open Lighthouse Day, Statewide

2nd Annual Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce Claw Down

30        Pemaquid Oyster Festival, Damariscotta

 

OCTOBER

 

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)

 

DECEMBER

 

26th Annual Harbor Lights Festival, Boothbay Harbor