Posts Tagged ‘Hodgdon Island Inn’

COASTAL MAINE INNKEEPER’S WINTERTIME REMINISCENCES, RESOLUTIONS, RECIPES AND WRITING BLOGS – PART ONE

February 15th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Our "Old Kentucky Home", the Piatt-Fowler House, circa 1817

It’s Friday, February 11, 2011, the sun is shining, the sky is bright blue, the water is deep, dark blue, the temperature has warmed up to 14 degrees (Fahrenheit, that is) and I find myself sitting at my desk looking out at the receding snow piles that once stood 10 feet high and looked liked lookout posts for our fortress.  It’s beautiful!  But life does go at a slower pace here in the winter than where we came from (the bluegrass state) and it gives one more time to reflect …

This morning over breakfast (which by the way was Oatmeal Brule with blueberries, walnuts and bananas), Richard and I were reminiscing about where we were and what we were doing this time last year?  Now, we do have to admit that parts of last year went by in a bit of a blur, but this particular week we can recall with perfect clarity!

Moving Day! Of course, Mother Nature does not always cooperate ...

We were back in Kentucky, packing up the last of our belongings while our moving crew was simultaneously beginning to load said belongings.  Of course, Mother Nature does not always cooperate, and while this move was underway, we had some serious snow.  So serious in fact that they couldn’t get the moving truck up our old driveway to the Piatt-Fowler House and the movers had to resort to using a small rent-a-truck to shuttle loads out, but of course it didn’t stop snowing in between loads and every time, Richard and the guys had to dig the shuttle out.  We hoped it wasn’t an omen … at the end of the second day; everything was onboard except for our second car (which we had packed with everything from Richard’s paintings to the large antique family portraits).  As we stood in the cold, pitch black of night being whipped with blinding snow watching our car being crept up two narrow planks into the dark cavern of the moving van, I finally understood the expression: “my heart was in my throat”.  It all seemed so unreal, surreal and not to mention scary!

Unloading the car was a different story ... going into the truck my heart was in my throat!

The next couple of days were indeed unreal as we said good-bye to family and friends and began the 1,060 mile trek, with our beloved feline companion, Charlie Darlie, to our new home in Mid Coast Maine.

Thankfully we, our belongings and the fantastic North American Van Lines crew arrived safely in Boothbay and on Saturday, February 13th.  Richard went up to meet the truck and guide them to Hodgdon Island Inn.  He said then, and again this morning, that the sight which greeted him is one that he would never forget: 

It caused quite a commotion in Boothbay!

there was this huge moving van straddling the side of Route 27 as close as was possible to the Civil War monument right in the middle of Boothbay Common!  As you can imagine, it caused quite a commotion, especially as they made their way down Barter’s Island Road past the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (www.mainegardens.org), over the bridge and onto our tiny little island, but I’ll save that story for another day …

The perfect end to the 1,060 mile trek from the bluegrass state to the pine tree state.

CLOSE TO BOOTHBAY HARBOR,HODGDON ISLAND INN, MID COAST BED AND BREAKFAST IS PERFECTLY MAINE!

February 6th, 2011 by richard-pamela-riley

Boats, boats and more boats

The 2011 Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce (BBHRCC) Visitor & Resource Guides are now available.  Richard and I, as innkeepers of Hodgdon Island Inn, are members of this fun and resourceful organization.  This past Friday, feeling the need to get out and about after our glorious blizzard on Groundhog Day, we stopped by to pick up some up.  This year’s theme is “Boothbay Harbor 2011:  perfectly Maine!”I like that and I am in total agreement!  Call me prejudiced, but the Boothbay Region (Boothbay Harbor, Boothbay, East Boothbay, West Boothbay and Southport Island) is “perfectly Maine!” We have rocky coastlines, quaint villages, lobster wharves, art galleries, sassy shops, Mom & Pop restaurants, looming lighthouses, boats and more boats and pink sunsets.

A heated-to-perfection in-ground pool!

Of course, I have to say that Hodgdon Island Inn’s own spectacular Boothbay location plays its part and provides the picture-perfect Maine getaway:  slightly-worn Adirondack chairs perfectly situated at the end of the lawn overlooking our deepwater frontage and providing front row seats for our pink-of-perfection sunsets; a quaint general store directly across the street known for their near-perfect lobster rolls; a heated-to-perfection in-ground pool; and nine uniquely appointed guestrooms, all with private baths and water views making them the perfect haven to come home to away from home.  But then, I might be slightly prejudiced on that score too.

Come see for yourself!

Another one of our pink-of-perfection sunsets

Perfectly situated Adirondack chairs

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

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).

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!

Visit Maine Special

May 26th, 2010 by richard-pamela-riley

 MAKE YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE  -  BOOK NOW AND SAVE 10%

Rocky coastlines, lobster boats, lighthouses, starry nights, pink sunsets, good food, good company … everything you dreamed of experiencing in Maine!

Stay two nights or more at Boothbay’s Hodgdon Island Inn in your choice of our comfortable and casually-contemporary appointed Room Numbers 2,5, 7 or 8, all with water views,  and we’ll give you 10% off your entire reservation.

Special includes a full gourmet breakfast each morning, a fresh homemade dessert each evening, complimentary hot beverages and bottled water throughout the day and lots of personalized service.

Exclusions:  Offer does not apply for one-night stays and is good only on stays from June 14 – October 13, 2013.  Cannot be used with other specials or discounts and is based on double occupancy and availability. 7% Maine state lodging tax is extra. Please mention this special at the time of booking or put in the “Comments Section” when making an on-line reservation . Rates subject to change.