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Vacay in Maine


MDI sounds more like a DIY store than a natural wonder, but it is in fact a most beautiful place. I sit on a grassy slope, shaded from the late afternoon sun by a kindly tree, the view ahead an ebb tide gently draining the harbour where 100 boats are moored, a romantic scene of tranquillity and order. We are staying on the edge of the Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island, one of the dozens of islands off the Atlantic coast of this most northerly state of eastern America.

(Why use an acronym when there are wonderful words in the English language?!)

I like

… the breeze, that takes the edge of the daytime heat; I like that the evening temperature drops, and the nights are cool.

… that cars stop to let you cross the street, with or without a zebra crossing marked; and that there are free busses to get you round the island all day and into the evening.

… the open air swimming pool in the guesthouse garden: so refreshing to have a daily splash about and be able to do some stretches to ease my back; and I love that we came across an only-slightly-chillier lake, nearly at the top of the mountain, where we could wild swim, surrounded by trees and rocks and pondweed. And a coooooold sea swim in the pristinely clear waters off the wonderfully named Great Cranberry Island too.

… that we walked for 4 hours up and down traffic-free ‘carriage roads’ and trails in Acadia National Park, to the highest spot on the island, giving us a long view in all directions of water and forest and sky. The smaller paths were well marked enough to make navigation easy, but rocky enough (and the season late enough) to leave them nearly empty of other walkers. There are few birds to be seen, but many many many many mushrooms: there is a rule banning picking them, so Luca pronounced this mushroom heaven: for the mushrooms, if not for people like him, whose fingers itch to harvest them!

… kayaking out of Bar Harbour another day, with a guided group. We were led on a round trip of about 5 miles, out between Bar Island, Sheep Porcupine Island, Burnt Porcupine Island and Rum Key – what great names! – getting sunburned in the process, happily so, and spotting bald eagles, cormorants, petrels, gulls, porpoises, a deer, and a seal as we went. Sometimes I wish that capsizing could be made a little less difficult: who wouldn’t rather be IN the water than on top of it on a hot day?

… a brilliant open air performance of Twelfth Night at the North East Harbor Marina.

Hilarious slapstick Malvoleo.

… lobster! Glorioius lobster. Lobsters are glorious! I understand why people say they come up to Maine to eat lobster, and then go home. I really do.

… the best collection of giftshops ever. Really. I have not quite got it in me to spend my inheritance to actually leave with a case full of these original, quirky, fascinating, fun, colourful, attractive […you name it…] things, but when Christmas comes round it might be that I regret not planning my gifts better and earlier. I did splash out on a scarf, a blue-green-mappy sort of scarf (it’s blue and green and the design is a map) which I will enjoy wearing. And some alpaca socks for Luca, who loves alpaca socks.

… our last night farmstay, inland a little and not far from Boston, where Kathy let us milk the goats, Fern and Sophie, and feed one baby from the fresh warm milk.

… time spent with husband and daughter. A wonderful thing, always.

In no particular order: a nice nice holiday.


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