Posts Tagged ‘Brunswick’


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 16th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

The sun is beginning to set on Hodgdon Island Inn

It is now Friday afternoon and the sun is beginning to set.  Richard and I have had a wonderful day here on our tiny little island in Maine. (I read somewhere recently that Maine has more than four thousand islands, but I will not digress).  We have progressed a little further on our current re-decorating projects (more on that later); we fed our resident seagulls and crows who are experts at landing on what you and I would deem slippery spots; we stretched our legs and walked over to the Post Office while dodging incoming cars to the Trevett Country Store at lunchtime; and stopped by our neighbor’s and got invited to have tea. As I said, it’s been a lovely day.

Maine has more than four thousand islands ...

That’s been one of the surprises that we have discovered in our new life here in Boothbay – there are so many places to explore (this week alone we have been to Newcastle, Damariscotta, Wiscasset, Bath and Brunswick), so many things to do; so many people to meet  and nasty bronchitis to get over once and for all.

SO, what all this boils down to is that I am way behind on my New Year’s resolution (like I am all alone here!) to test and post some new Hodgdon Island Inn or Pamela Byrne Riley-favorite recipes each month.  But henceforth (I have always wanted to use that word) I will endeavor (always wanted to use that one too) to adhere to my resolution.  Going forward, if I do not have a new recipe posted, let’s say, by the 15th of each month, you have my permission to nag me, okay?

This is NOT your grandmother's plum pud!

To get the proverbial ball rolling, I have already shared the much requested Baked Plum Pudding recipe which I was originally going to post in keeping with the old English tradition of serving a second plum pudding on New Year’s Day and will be posting my February recipes:  Barm Brack or Barm Bread in a tribute to my Mom and her favorite Irish saint, St. Brigid (see blog titled Nine Room Bed and Breakfast Inn On The Water Located Four Miles From Boothbay Harbor, Maine), second only to St. Patrick himself and  a super easy-to-make Raspberry Bavarian soufflé in honor of Valentine’s Day.

In honor of the Irish saint, St. Brigid, second only to St. Patrick himself.

Easy-to-make Raspberry Bavarian souffle


For March we must have something for St. Paddy’s Day of course, but the question is what?!

These recipes and more can be found at

As always, please feel free to share your favorites and if you have any suggestions re: recipes for me to try, I would love to hear from you!

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!