Posts Tagged ‘Wiscasset’

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!

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!