The snow is finally starting to melt here at Summer Village. The staff is anxiously awaiting opening day!
Until recently, it was difficult to find connected bike paths in southern Maine. There were short trails here and there and there were trails at the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park and at The Mount Agamenticus Conservation Region, but nothing that would take you from point A to point B with towns and stores in between. Last year, however, the Eastern Trail was partially completed and the section between Kennebunk and South Portland was officially opened.
The Eastern Trail which will eventually run from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to South Portland, Maine (65 miles) is a section of the larger East Coast Greenway Maine (381 miles). The Maine trails are then part of the East Coast Greenway which will run from Calais to Key West—a total of 2900 miles! Right now, the trails are a mix of on- and off-road. Eventually, they will all be paved trails that will be open to bicycles, walkers, and sometimes off-road vehicles and/or horses.
A good place to get on the trail is at the Kennebunk Elementary School. From there cross Route 95 on the new pedestrian/bicycle bridge and you’re on your way. Have fun.
At just over a mile, it may not be the most challenging walk you’ve ever taken but it may be one of the nicest. The Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Maine, is one of New England’s only paved, public shoreline footpaths. It moves along the “margins” of the coast and links Perkins Cove and Ogunquit Beach and offers magical views of the Atlantic Ocean. There are beautiful plants and flowers along the route and if you find a view you really like, you’ll probably find a bench nearby so you can enjoy the sight at your leisure.
The Marginal Way began through a donation made by Josiah Chase of York in 1925. Through the years, many other Ogunquit landowners gave parcels of land that lengthened the footpath by another 1/4 mile.
The Marginal Way has survived hurricanes, development booms, and municipal budget shortfalls. Credit goes to Ogunquit’s Marginal Way Committee and the non-profit Marginal Way Preservation Fund. The town, with the help of the Army Corps of Engineers, has maintained the property for decades—using techniques, like the donation of memorial benches, to raise the needed funds. After the federal government reduced/eliminated funds, the non-profit Marginal Way Preservation Fund was established. If you would like to make a donation to this Fund, please go to The Marginal Way Fund.
I know, it’s still summertime, but fall will be here shortly. And with it comes beautiful weather and a peacefulness that is hard to find in the summer. A lot of guests have already booked cottages for Labor Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, and Columbus Day—so please make your reservations as soon as possible. Don’t miss your chance of being in Maine in the fall.
Fall is a great time to visit Maine. My favorite time is during the week—the traffic is minimal, I can find a place to park, and I can go out to restaurants without waiting for a table. I especially like to meander among the stores and restaurants in Ogunquit and Kennebunkport looking for just the right gift or a peaceful meal of mussels or haddock.
There’s also a lot to do outside. The ocean is still warm, the sun still shines (you’ll be the envy of your friends with your renewed tan), the beaches are less crowded, and did I mention, less traffic. There are also a number of walking and biking paths throughout the Wells area. If you are determined, you can even ride your bike all the way from York to South Portland! So give us a call, make your reservations and enjoy all that fall has to offer.
There are a lot of things to do with the kids when its raining. Most of these activities take place inside. Why not embrace the rain and go outside–take a walk on the beach, a hike in a nature sanctuary, or go to Kennebunkport at high tide and watch the blowing cave.
This is a small cave in Kennebunkport where an opening in the rocks spouts water up to 30 feet into the air just before high tide. The water enters a small cave below and is forced out the hole in the back—just like a whale blowing out water.
You may get wet but who cares, you were wet already.
P.S. Nearby stands a small dolphin carved from a dead tree.
Address: 188 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport
Directions: Turn left (north) out of the Summer Village driveway onto Post Road (US 1), continue for almost 5 miles. Take a right on ME 9E (Port Road) and continue for another 4 1/2 miles. Take a right onto Ocean Avenue. Almost immediately, take another right to stay on Ocean Avenue. The Blowing Cave is at Sandy Cove, just east of Cape Arundel, around two miles from town.
The cottages may be closed, but there’s still things going on in and around Wells. Beginning December 1st, Kennebunkport will begin its 26th annual Christmas Prelude. Two days later, Ogunquit starts its 25th annual Christmas by the Sea Celebration and on December 11th, the Southern Maine Christmas Parade takes place in Wells.
Each year the business community and local residents recreate the spirit and joy of the holiday season for the Annual Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude. This year, the events take place on December 1-4 and December 9-11. This is an ideal time to visit Kennebunkport and warm up to the spirit of the holidays–crisp fresh snow (maybe), warm log fires, and a nip in the air.
The events include:
• Tree lighting ceremonies in Kennebunk, Dock Square, and Cape Porpoise (lobster trap tree)
• Santa arrives by lobster boat escorted by two very special “lobster elves” in Dock Square
• Candlelight caroling at the Franciscan Monastery
• Prelude champagne reception at The Nott House
• Holiday shopping at boutiques, shops, and galleries with festive holiday refreshments and seasonal sales
• Bonfire and Christmas carols
• Prelude craft fairs featuring hand-made Maine products
• Blueberry pancake breakfast
• Down East lobster bake
For more information about this event, go to Christmas Prelude website.
Christmas by the Sea Celebration
The festivities begin on December 3rd with a Santa’s Workshop, ice skating, and a holiday tea party and continue through Sunday the 4th. The celebrations start up again on Friday the 9th and end on the 11th with the Southern Maine Christmas Parade in Wells. The Christmas by the Sea Celebration is very family-oriented, so bring the whole family and enjoy this very special time together.
Among the many events planned are:
• Gingerbread decorating class
• Spirit of Giving holiday party
• “The gift of the Magi” musical
• Chowder and Chocolatefest
• Marginal Way Preservation Fund meatloaf competition
• Christmas caroling by the local Daisy and Brownie troops
• Town tree lighting ceremony
• Ornament making and cookie decorating
For more information about this event go to the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce website.
A few days ago, I was writing about apple picking for The Cottages at Summer Village Newsletter and thought that it might be fun to blog about Maine apples. There can’t be that many; heck, most of us can only name 5 or 6 apple varieties. It should be easy.
Then I started to do a little research, it turns out that there are over 7,500 varieties of apples in the world; 2,500 varieties in the United States alone! Guess it won’t be that easy.
So instead of making a list and a description of each apple in Maine, I thought it might be more fun to look at some apple facts.
- The apple was first discovered in the Middle East by Alexander the Great and was brought back to Macedonia as root stock. Archeologists have found evidence that humans have been enjoying apples since at least 6500 B.C.
- The science of apple growing is called pomology.
- Apples are a member of the rose family.
- The crabapple is the only apple native to North America.
- Apples were brought to North America with colonists in the 17th century,and the first apple orchard on the North American continent was said to be near Boston in 1625.
- In colonial time, apples were called winter bananas or melt-in-the-mouth.
- The apple is the official state fruit of Rhode Island, New York, Washington, and West Virginia. The apple blossom is the official state flower of Michigan and Arkansas.
- Apples are a great source of the fiber pectin. One apple has five grams of fiber.
- Apple trees take four to five years to produce their first fruit.
- At least 64 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2008. Forty-two percent of all apples produced were grown in China. The United States produced approximately 6.6%, followed by Iran, Turkey, Russia, and India with approximately 3.3% each.
- To keep potatoes fresh and prevent sprouting, put an apple in the bag.
- Americans eat approximately 19.1 pounds of apples a year.
- Apples are eaten with honey at the Jewish New Year of Rosh Hashanah to symbolize a sweet new year.
- To prevent discoloration of peeled apples, place peeled slices in a pan of cold water to which a pinch of salt has been added (for each whole apple peeled).
- When making salads, dip apple slices in fresh lemon juice to prevent slices from turning brown
- It takes about 36 apples to create one gallon of apple cider.
- Every wonder why you can bob for apples? Fresh apples float because 25% of their volume is air.
Looking for something to do on the weekend after Labor Day. Check out the 24th Annual Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. It will be held on September 11th and 12th from 10 am to 4 pm.
This prestigious event brings nearly 100 artisans, selected by jury, to exhibit their arts. Sculpture, jewelry, pottery, painting, clothing, and photography are among the crafts being exhibited. Add music, food, and environmental education to this mix and you have a wonderful round out the 2-day festival.
During the crafts festival, Dr. Chifuru Noda will play acoustic guitar to set the mood. Lunch fare will feature chowder, sandwiches, pizza, hot dogs, ice cream, and scrumptious desserts.
There is also a raffle. Many of the exhibiting artists contribute a handcrafted item to the Laudholm Raffle, which also features a beautiful handmade quilt created by Laudholm volunteers. Raffle tickets can be purchased online.
“The crafts festival benefits Laudholm Trust, which supports the research, education, and stewardship programs of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve and the care of the Wells Reserve’s historic setting. “The crafts festival is our most important fund raising event of the year,” said Diana Joyner, president of Laudholm Trust. ” The money we raise helps us maintain our beautiful historic site while supporting the science and education programs of the Wells Reserve.”
Admission is $7 per person ($5 for Laudholm members). The Wells Reserve at Laudholm has a no pets, no smoking policy. For information, call 207-646-4521 or visit www.wellsreserve.org
Fall is one of my favorite times in Maine. The days are still warm, the air is clear, and the evenings are pleasantly cool. There’s less traffic and I can finally get into my favorite restaurants around town. It’s more peaceful–a perfect time to sit on the beach and read a book or go to a Spa and have a massage. Later, as the leaves start to turn, it’s a pleasure to just wander on trails through the woods.
September Spa Special*
Come any two nights, or more, Sunday through Thursday and receive 20% off your cottage rental. Bring some friends along, walk the beaches, attend Stonewall Kitchen’s cooking school, or go to our special spa, Naviina in Wells and receive a 10% discount on all their services. Or , during September 5th through the 17th, come to Capriccio in Ogunquit. Capriccio is a town-wide festival of art, music, poetry, ballet, live theater, concerts, design at various venues and architectural tours.
October Fall Foliage Special*
Come any two nights, or more, Sunday through Thursday and receive 20% off your cottage rental. Go to the Fryeburg Fair, Maine’s largest agricultural fair complete with six days of harness racing, a farm museum second to none, the world’s largest steer and oxen show and a reputation known throughout North America. Or, on Oct 21-23, 2011, come to the Annual OgunquitFest, a weekend festival that includes a scarecrow contest, a haunted house, a classic car show, the Bridge to Beach Bed Race, pumpkin decorating, ghost stories, a craft bazaar and much more. Or you may want to go for a hayride, or pick some apples, or simply drive around and view the lovely foliage. Whatever you want to do, why don’t you let The Cottages at Summer Village be your home base.
*All specials begin on September 5, 2011 and end on October 26, 2011. Specials can not be combined with any other offers or discounts. Not applicable to previously reserved cottages.
After reading Yankee Magazine’s recent article on the “Secret Beaches of Rhode Island,” I began to think about which beach in the Wells area was my favorite. Some people love Drake’s Island Beach with its long sandy beach ideal for walking and others love the hustle and bustle of Ogunquit’s Beach Street Beach with adequate parking (most of the time), toilet facilities, and restaurants. But I love the Wells Harbor Beach the best.
You can get there by going north from Summer Village on Route One. Go through four sets of lights and then take the 1st right onto Harbor Road. Just before you get to the boatyard and town dock, take a right and you’ll come upon a circular road with a Gazebo in the middle. Go to the top of the circle and you’ll see a lower parking lot on your right (or left, if you came in the other way). Park your car and find the opening in the sea grass, walk down the path and you’re there.
It’s a small beach and there’s not much sand to sit on at high tide but it’s wonderful for children at mid- and low-tide. There are lots of sand bars and tidal pools with crabs. Around the time of the full moon, an adult can even walk (with maybe a little swimming) across to the more frequented Wells Beach. Around the north corner of the beach is a deck that let’s you get off the sand and have a dry place to eat lunch. Or you can go up to the covered picnic area and eat lunch in the shade. If the kids get tired of the water, there’s a playground area with lots of things to swing on, climb on, and jump on. Or walk over to the town dock floats and take the kids crabbing. All you need is a little string, something for the crabs to grab on (like an onion bag), and a little bait (sold at the boatyard store). There are also public toilet facilities next to the boatyard.
I really like this little beach. The people are friendly, it’s less crowded than most beaches around and most of all, parking is free.