Out With a Bang

Summer comes late and leaves early in Maine.  Most folks say the season is from July 4 through Labor Day.  That’s not very long!

Windjammer FestivalHere on the midcoast, Camden says good bye to summer with the Windjammer Festival when schooners from the area join Camden’s fleet and take over the harbor.It is a fun filled weekend with activities and displays of all kinds.

Windjammer FestivalNothing brings more cheers than the lobster crate race, definitely for the young and nimble!

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Some schooners are available for cruises on Penobscot Bay, always a favorite adventure for visitors.  With all sails up, the windjammer is a majestic sight,  a symbol of a bygone era.

Other schooners host an open house to give folks an idea of what it’s like to live aboard.  It’s pretty close quarters, and one has to have a real sense of adventure to enjoy a week long stay.  From what I’ve heard, the food is quite good so that’s a real plus!

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Yes, summer goes out with a big bang on Maine’s midcoast, but except for giving up my white jeans I’m going to enjoy it until it’s officially fall.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

 

Out With a Bang

Windjammer FestivalSummer is a very short season in Maine.  July 4 marks its beginning, and when Labor Day comes it’s pretty much over. Summer does go out with a bang at least in Camden where it’s Windjammer Festival weekend, and crowds gather for the last big events of the season.

The midcoast of Maine is home to a number of these beautiful old boats, and many of them come sailing into Camden Harbor.  Some will take passengers out for a sail on Penobscot Bay

while others allow visitors to come aboard to get a feel for what it would be like to live aboard for several days.

windjammerThis year I joined friends on their boat in the harbor to view the windjammers as they came in.  What a sight they are.  In the distance, their sails catch the wind,

but as they near the harbor entrance sails are dropped.

P9021179.jpgKeep in mind these ships have no engine so they are met by a small boat called a pusher that aids them in safely navigating the harbor.

One by one the magnificent ships pass by with excited passengers aboard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand maybe a ship’s dog taking it all in.

The schooners may be the main attraction, but there’s plenty more activity for people of all ages.  I get a big kick out of the lobster crate races.  The key to success here appears to be youth and light weight.  Me, I’d be right in the water before getting started!

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No festival would be complete without fireworks that illuminate the sky and draw shrieks of delight from the crowd.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHow I enjoy all that is so quinticensial Maine.

I’d love to know how the end of summer is celebrated in your area.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Small Town Happening

You’d think that living in big city Houston half the year I’d not be surprised by  what happens in small town Maine but such is not the case.  Again and again I am surprised and impressed by the quality of events that occur in my part of the midcoast.

6X20CC-logo-e1407202941552A great example is the Camden Conference held annually in February, planned and coordinated by committed volunteers.  The topics are timely and the speakers excellent resulting in an audience of nearly 1,000 attendees from various parts of the country.  No sooner is one conference over than work begins on the next.

Camden-Conference-2016-Africa

This year’s topic was The New Africa with subjects ranging from economic growth to governance to corruption to security challenges addressed by impressive speakers, all of whom were either native Africans or had considerable experience there.  All presented an interesting perspective on this continent about which we really know so little.

I’ll not attempt to recap all that I heard but for that which left me with food for thought.

  • 70% of the population is under 30 meaning that youth is the future of Africa making it imperative for educational opportunities to improve.  On a continent of one billion fewer than 5% have more than 7 years of schooling.
  • To move forward, the continent must see itself as a whole rather than 54 separate countries with different agendas.  Considering all the tribes and the multitude of languages, that is a monumental challenge.
  • More  competent leadership is a must in Africa.  Historically, leaders have not served their people well resulting in their leaving in droves for lack of opportunity.
  • Africa has become a continent of consumers rather than producers which makes it a great market for other countries but does not allow internal economic growth.
  • 73% of the food is imported, an astonishing amount for a continent that is hugely arable.
  • America needs to treat Africans as equals, not as recipients.

Certainly, there were many other important points, but these are ones I heard reinforced by most of the presenters who I felt were very realistic in acknowledging the challenges that Africa is facing.  What was a little disappointing is that the so called power elite are not looking as much to America as to China and South Korea for their development models. This seems to me another indication of the diminished global influence of the U.S.

Having visited Africa and feeling a kinship with the place, I found the conference made me more mindful of the real issues this huge continent is facing. Additionally, it gave me increased appreciation for those who have the benefit of education staying in their countries, meeting the challenges and attempting to make a difference.

Should you be interested in learning more about the new Africa, these titles are recommended: Love is Power or Something Like That, The Brightest Continent, Emerging Africa.

And, if you have an interest in current subjects, consider a winter visit to Maine’s midcoast to attend the Camden Conference.

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind

WPC: Descent

Toboggan championshipIn February each year, the National Toboggan Championships are held at the Camden Snow Bowl in Maine.  Talk about descent, it’s fast and furious and the challenge is staying on the toboggan. I’d much rather watch than descend!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Not With A Whimper

Sadly, Labor Day marks the end of summer in Maine. It doesn’t leave with a whimper in Camden, however, as the town fills with people who come to enjoy the Windjammer Festival.

WindjammerCamden is home to the Maine coast’s largest fleet of windjammers, and during Labor Day weekend others from nearby Rockland, Belfast and North Haven dock at the harbor.  Most of these grand old ships are over a hundred years old, and some have been given historical recognition.

WindjammerI love seeing their tall masts and complex rigging outlined against the sky.

WindjammerWindjammerWindjammerSpeaking of rigging, sometimes it needs checking for adjustments, and today, it was a young woman who had the task.  Watching her shimmy up the rope ladder gave me a little heart flutter as the top of that mast is a long way up!

Windjammer FestivalMost of the windjammers are day sailers, meaning they take passengers out for 2 hour cruises, but some go out for several days at a time giving guests opportunity to experience life on an old sailing vessel .  Keep in mind, these are not luxury liners and quarters are tight, about the size of a closet.  Best not to have claustrophobia here!

Windjammer FestivalHeads are as tight, and it doesn’t take long for passengers to decide showers are not a must!  I’m thinking traveling on Pipe Dreams is much more comfortable but without some of the adventure.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhile windjammers are the main attraction of the weekend, there’s lots more entertainment.  A crowd favorite is the crate races where mostly lightfooted kids compete.  Too much weight on the crates sends the participant right into the water which is more than a little chilling!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALike me, many people capture images with a camera while others set up easels on the dock to sketch and paint.  Certainly, there is lots of subject matter.

windjammerAs activity winds down and the weekend draws to a close, people and windjammers depart for their respective homes taking with them memories of summer’s farewell.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Serendipity

When my blog friend Cuisine Kathleen issued a challenge to create an end of summer table, I thought I can’t do this.  Summer comes late to Maine and leaves early, and I want to hold on to its sunlight and bright colors as long as possible.

Camden HarborThen serendipity stepped in as the hosts for our August gourmet gathering chose to take advantage of summer’s fleeing moments by having our dinner outside. Nothing could have been more perfect than overlooking beautiful Camden Harbor and the Camden Hills at twilight.

Maine gourmetEverything about the evening was just right from the simple table to the lobster that was on the menu.

Maine gourmetSee the rocks on the table?  They are for cracking the lobster claws.  

Maine gourmetOther crackers were available, but you’ve got to have some real muscle power to crack those claws when the lobster is hard shell.

Maine gourmetAdding a touch of late summer were the hydrangeas which are just beginning to bloom and will last through the fall, turning pink as the season changes.

Maine gourmetAfter an enjoyable hour catching up on all our summer activities, dinner was served.  This, my friends, is a 2 pound lobster, baked and stuffed with a mixture of clams, crab, shrimp and scallops.  Talk about a great way to bid farewell to summer!

Camden HarborAs evening fell, and we were surrounded by the beauty that is Maine, we all expressed our gratitude for shared friendship and for being in a place we so love.  I am a very lucky girl and very grateful to the friend who made it possible for me to share in Cuisine Kathleen’s challenge!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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Here’s the Story

In the three years I have been writing about Maine, many of you have asked how we got from Texas to Maine.  Well, here’s the story and it’s my own fairy tale.

P. C. Lewis PhotoBefore we  married, the hubby captained a yawl that raced the Southern Ocean Racing Circuit.  Following a race that ended in Bermuda,  a fella  asked the hubby if he would sail his boat to Castine, Maine.  There was time until the next race, so that opportunity offered a new adventure.

foggy dayOff the coast of Maine came up one of those thick as pea soup fogs which forced an unexpected time out in Rockland, a couple of hours down the coast from Castine.  When the fog lifted and it became one of those glorious Maine days, the journey was completed and the hubby was blown away by the beauty of the Maine coast which he talked about for years.

Now, fast forward to a year when the hubby agreed to take a whole week off from work and our daughters decided to give up a summer of softball tournaments.  I decided it was a good time to surprise the family with a vacation in Maine.  Great idea, but the only places I had heard of were Kennebunkport, Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor.  In none of those places could I find a house to rent at the late date I began my search.

Then, out of the blue I got a phone call from a lady who heard I was looking and had a place in Camden, totally unknown to me.  She described it as a condo which was a real turnoff as I envisioned it as a Houston type high rise, and I had in mind a cozy cabin.  “Well,” she said, “it’s better than what you have now!”  Right, so I took it.

camdenThus begins the first of our 22 years visiting Maine, and I am forever grateful for that phone call as it led us to a place  with which we immediately fell in love.  As we drove that first time into Camden, we let out a collective WOW! as it looked like a scene from a photo book of beautiful places.

Camden HarborOur hearts began to beat a little faster when we turned onto Bayview Street and glimpsed the beauty of Camden Harbor backed by the Camden Hills.

Camden condoAnd the condo wasn’t a high rise after all.  It was part of a charming group of dwellings right on the harbor.  For the next 10 years we rented in that same location, and each year Maine became more a part of our heart.

Somewhere along the line we, or maybe I, dreamed of living in Maine, and I entertained the fantasy by looking at houses.  The hubby had no interest in one of the beautiful old homes that he felt would require continual maintenance, but that was about all that was available.  Then, one day as we biked the dirt road, we saw a house being built on Rockport Harbor.  It was in a beautiful location and best of all from his point of view, it had a dock.  He commented, knowing it was not a likely possibility, that if I ever found a place like that we might consider a second home.

StoneledgeThree years later, we heard the house was being sold.  We flew up, took a look and a few hours later the place was ours.  You can’t begin to imagine what a departure this purchase was for us because  for all the years of our marriage we had been so sane, making decisions that made sense.  This one made none, but after spending time here, each year adding another week or two so that now we are half time, it makes perfect sense.  I am grateful every day that we stepped outside our box and began an adventure that has brought such joy, not only to us but to family and friends.  So far, it’s been a real happily ever after tale.

That’s my story.  What is yours?

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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