Warning: I’m still blogging about August…. sorry, but I can’t seem to catch up!
Labor Day weekend we planned a great escape – to a remote island floating in the Penobscot Bay off the coast of Main. Our flight took us via Detroit (ridiculous, yes, but a lot less money!) and we got stuck there because our plane was overbooked. We got the total runaround – we were told we’d get a check to compensate us, instead we got a coupon. We were told we’d be staying at the Westin hotel in the airport, instead we were bused to the Best Western (which looked like the film set for a 80s mafia movie). The next day we were forced to fly to a differnt city and rent a car. But in the end we made the last ferry (within minutes!) and let salty air blow away all our stresses as we headed to Vinalhaven Island.
Our friend Clifton had invited us here to the house her great-great grandfather had built at the turn of the century. The house is amazing – all exposed wood, a claw foot tub and cozy window seats in the kitchen. It has running water but no electricity or cell reception, so it was the perfect place to get away! But we didn’t spend much time indoors. The house is perched on a private cove, with views of North Haven in the distance and larger mountains beyond. Soothing blends of blues, grays and greens greeting us on all sides. The deep, moist woods revealed lush glowing moss. Polished sea glass and pumpkin-colored starfish popped out from the seashore’s pebbles. And the gentle lapping of the ocean lulled us to sleep.
Johnny baking bread
We were joined by Clifton’s boyfriend, Johnny, a brilliant baker and farmer, and friend, Jacqueline, who’s working at an organic farm. So needless to said we ate phenomenal food. A small sampling of our fare: a happy chicken Johnny raised and Jacqueline plucked and grilled; the most amazing pulled pork sandwiches (and this from someone who a)rarely eats meat and b) has never been crazy for BBQ sauce); roasted eggplant salad with feta and pickled red onion; gorgeous heirloom tomatoes dusted with salt; sautéed kale with garlic; double butter buiscuts; and loaf after loaf of fresh bread – Dan alone consumed about 2 loaves a day. And I can’t forget the lobster, which we literally bought right off the boat and had with fresh corn on the cobb (dipping both in buckets of butter). For dessert we had the gooesty, richest chocolatey brownies (secret recipe here!), Nigella’s chocolate raspberry pavlova and a lemon curd and wild berry tart, all with lovely wine and champagne. Are you salivating yet?
Johnny, Clifton, Anna & Ted
So, as you can see, we spent a large portion of our time cooking, backing and eating, but we also found time to kayak, sunbathe, run, swim, play cards, read, relax, star gaze, sweat in the sauna and shiver in the sea! Plus, Clifton’s bro Ted and his friends joined us for the last few days, bringing our numbers up to a dozen!
Far too soon, it was time to go. It was hard to leave. Hard to say goodbye to the serenity, the friends, the sea and the summer.