Have you ever admired a stone wall winding through a field in New England? The most common antique structures in New England are its rock walls. Many were built by our European ancestors, but stone masons continue their craft even to this day, adding their personal, artistic touch to their work.

Before stone walls were built, farmers used wooden, zig-zag rail fences to separate their farms. It has been estimated that there are 16,000 miles of stonewalls across the six New England states. Most were built between 1790 and 1820 during an expansion of farmland.  The period from 1775 to 1825 was known as the Golden Age of stone wall building when more stone walls were built than at any other time. The walls served as boundary markers as farmers each spring moved them aside. Horses and oxen would drag stones on a wooden skid to the sides of their field. Taller walls served as pens for their farm animals.

Ocean Point Inn has been updating its gardens and rock walls. More photos coming after the “Spring Thaw.”

There are many online videos devoted to the construction of sturdy walls. Here are some helpful hints.

1. Safety – wear long pants, long sleeves, goggles, gloves and steel-toed shoes.
2. Work in an uncluttered workspace.
3. Sort and arrange your rocks in piles:
° Large, flat stones for your base
° Heartstones for filler rocks
° Pinning stones – smaller stone wedges to hold up the face rocks
° Face rock – to show off sides of the walls
° Through stones – long rocks placed sideways to tie face sides together
° Topping rocks – Flat, wide rocks to finish off wall and put weight on top
4. Dig your base 8″-12″ and level off.
5. Keep your course level. Use a string to keep your fence even.

The more time you take to place your stones, the better the outcome will be!

Just a few days ago we were in the middle of “Stella,” a March blizzard, but hope springs eternal that the gardens will be blooming soon at OPI!

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Ten years ago the Ocean Point Inn began increasing and amplifying its gardens and general landscaping. At that time our main features were the beautiful red geraniums that decorated many of our buildings.  This has been an OPI tradition for the past seventy years.

We now boast eighteen gardens decorated with perennials of many heights, colors and textures.  We have three stonewalls which help define our boundaries and provide backdrops for some of our gardens.

Over the years our plants spread and multiplied providing new plants to create new gardens. Most seasons they survive but some have to  be replaced due to Maine’s harsh winter weather.

A water element is always relaxing and you can enjoy watching our ducks swimming in the duck pond among our beautiful waterlilies. You can see that even the ducks take time to admire our aquatic plants and smell the lilies!

We use some of our plantings as cut flowers in the Inn.  Some of our favorite flowers include hydrangeas, hosta, rose campion, daisies, black-eyed Susans, phlox and lobelia.  The flowers flourish near the ocean and really love the fog!

Enjoy sitting amidst our gardens while enjoying the peace and solitude, a book, a cold beverage or a gorgeous OPI sunset!

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All Photo Rights Reserved © Bev Tabet Photography

Cod was what first brought Europeans to America for fishing.  The cod became very popular as a North Atlantic fish and that popularity led to the decline in cod we have today.Codfish1 cod2 cod3 cod5 cod6 cod7

Native Americans first fished for cod using hooks they made from bones and nets from natural materials.  Bones from the cod have been found in middens. (see former Blog Post on Middens)

About the time Columbus came to America there are reports of cod as large as men.  They were very plentiful and could be scooped from the sea in baskets.

The Native Americans showed the Pilgrims how to catch cod as use the parts not eaten as fertilizer.  They also taught them to catch and eat quahogs, clams and lobsters.

The Pilgrims established fishing stations with one in Penobscot Bay, Maine.  They caught the cod by sending two men out in a dory with hand lines.  The fish were dried and salted before being sold to Europe.  A poor quality product of cod called “West Indies Cure” was fed to the slave population in the Caribbean.  Cod fishing made the colonies prosperous.

In the 20’s and 30’s they started using gill nets and draggers to catch cod and the business increased throughout the 50’s.  Factory ships started catching and freezing the fish at sea.

In 1976 The Magnuson Act prohibited foreign fisheries inside the 200 mile zone around the United States.  Cod fish caught commercially has dropped significantly due to strict regulations started in the 1990’s.

Had cod fish never lived in the Gulf of Maine, our American history might have been very different.  Cod was once a natural resource of great political importance.  The fish could be salted, providing a long-lasting good source of protein.  During times of no refrigeration this was very important.

In the 50’s I remember being able to easily catch large cod near the White Islands off Ocean Point using the big wooden hand lines with fish line that smelled of creosote!  Cod was served at a lot of Maine tables in those days.  Salt cod served in a white sauce with eggs and potatoes was popular.  The salt cod was available in little wooden boxes in the markets.  Kids kept the boxes to store treasures in despite the fishy smell.

A New Year’s Resolution is a tradition that is most common in the Western Hemisphere, but is also found in the Eastern Hemisphere. res8 People make a promise to do an act of self-improvement or something nice for others.

Many resolutions had religious origins.  The Babylonians started the New Year by promising their gods to pay their debts and return borrowed goods.  The Romans made promises to the god Janus.  In the Medieval times, the knights reaffirmed their commitment to chivalry after Christmas.  During the Jewish high holidays, they seek and offer forgiveness for their errors.  Similarly, Christians make Lenten sacrifices.res1

As we near the end of January, how are you doing on the resolutions you made on January 1st?  Have you lost weight?  Has your diet improved?  Are you saving more money?  Are you exercising regularly?  Keeping those well intended resolutions is very challenging.

If you are going to succeed, it is best to have started before New Year’s Eve according to psychology professor, Art Markham.  You need preparation time.  Resolutions fail because people do not work hard enough at making them succeed.  Old habits get in the way.res5

First you need to focus on positive goals, not negative goals.  The negative goals are what you wish to stop doing.  You need to develop new habits and keep a record of your progress.

Make sure your plans are realistic.  For instance, if you are a total couch potato, do not set a goal of starting to walk six miles a day.  You are setting yourself up to fail.  It would be better to start by saying, “I will walk 30 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Once you succeed with that, increase your time gradually by 10 minutes each day.res2

Change your environment to help you stay on track.  If you are trying to diet, have only low calorie healthy snacks around.  Remove the chips and candy from your house.  If you are exercising, find a buddy to go with you.  It will make you much less likely to cancel and having someone to talk to makes the time go faster.

Accept the fact that there will be ups and downs.  Do not become discouraged on a down day.  Learn from it and keep moving forward.  Be kind to yourself and do not give up.

The top 10 resolutions are:res4

1.  Lose weight

2.  Getting organized

3.  Spend less, Save more

4.  Enjoy life to the fullest

5.  Stay fit and healthy

6.  Learn something exciting

7.  Quit smoking

8.  Help others

9.  Fall in love

10. Spend more time with family

45% of Americans usually make New Year’s Resolution, 17% infrequently make resolutions and 38% never make resolutions.  Unfortunately, only 8% are successful in achieving their resolutions.  75% maintain their goal for one week, 71% for two weeks, 64% for one month and 46% for six months or more.res3

Even if you can feel yourself slipping on your resolution, do not give up.  Stay positive, look at the record you are keeping and put yourself back on track.  Reward yourself periodically as you reach a goal.  You will be much happier with yourself if you maintain your goal.  Good luck – it is not too late to regroup and start again.

As you are purchasing the latest popular “toys” for children on the upcoming holidays, stop to think how these toys have changed in just the last 50-75 years.  Television is bombarding us with the latest electronic gifts of this season.  Fifty to seventy-five years ago in Maine very few people even had television to see such advertisements!  And, if they did have a TV, the number of channels was limited to three at the most even with a large antenna and rotor on the roof or “Rabbit Ears” on top of the set!  Children spent very little time watching television compared to today.  The first children’s show in Maine was the popular puppet, Howdy Doody!  How many remember the opening song, “It’s Howdy Doody time?”

Children were outside and active everyday.  After “supper” children in a neighborhood gathered to playhideandseek Hide and Seek, kickKick the Can, Giant Steps, Red Rover, Simon Says and Duck Duck Goose.  It was safe to rungames1 around the neighborhood and some games like Street Hockey were played in the street.  As dark approached, the mothers would call their children or ring a bell announcing it was time to come home.

Because safety was not an issue in those days, children were more independent.  At a young age, they could walk or ride their bikes to a neighborhood store, school or a friend’s house to play.  They learned to make good decisions and solve problems on their own.

Indoorpickupsticks games included Jacks, Pick up Sticks, dominoes Dominoes, Checkers, Mr. Potato Head, Rag Dolls, Yo-Yos, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Dress Up, Comic Books, Paper Dolls, Tops and View-masters.  For contemporary  children it is hard to imagine having fun doing these things.  The lack of video games, ipads, television cell phones, etc. forced children tojacks spend more time outside and play creatively.  They used their imaginations to create games from what they found.duckduckgoose

Families took car trips and played games with their children as they traveled.  Games included I Spy, Searching for License Plates, Counting Cows (you doubled the number if you passed a church and lost them all if you passed a cemetery) and singing songs.

The elementary school playgrounds offered other games.  Jumping Rope was big and the children jumped to wonderful rhymes such as:

House to let,

Apply within,

When I go out,

Mrs  ? (surname of next child) comes in.

jumprope

I had a little puppy,

His name was Tiny Tim.

I put him in the bathtub,

To see if he could swim.

He drank up all the water,

He ate a bar of soap.

The next thing you know,

He had a bubble in his throat.

In came the doctor

(person jumps in)

In came the nurse

(person jumps in)

In came the lady with the alligator purse.

(person jumps in)

Out went the doctor

(person goes out)

Out went the nurse

(person  goes out)

Out went the lady

With the alligator purse.

(person goes out)

games2

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, switch off the light,

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say goodnight.

Goodnight, Teddy Bear, goodnight.

hopscotch

Polly in the kitchen,

Doing a bit of stitching,

In came a bogeyman,

And frightened her away!

redrover

All in together girls,

Very fine weather girls.

When I say your birthday

Please run out.

January, February, March, etc.

 

Hopscotch was popular.  The pattern was drawn in the dirt with a stick.  If you played on the sidewalk, the pattern was drawn with a piece of chalk.  The chalk was often pocketed from the classroom blackboard!

Marbles were played on the playground.  Children had a cloth bag to hold their marbles and they often traded marbles with friends.games3

Ball Against the Wall games could be played by an individual or a group taking turns.  Girls were more likely than boys to be drawn to this activity.  The accompanying rhymes determined how the game was played.  The following defines common actions with the small pink rubber ball.

Plainy:  The ball is simply thrown against the wall and caight.

Clappy:  As for Plainy, but clap hands when the ball is in the air.

Rolley:  Roll arms over one another when ball is in the air.

To Backey:  Clap hand behind back

Hippy:  Place hands on hips

Tippy:  Touch the ground

Jelly Bag:  The two hands are held together at the wrists and the fingers are spread wide to catch the ball.

Basket:  Weave and lock fingers of both hands together, with the knuckles facing backwards to you; the ball is caught in locked palms or “basket.”

The following rhyme includes the above actions.  “Plainy, clappy, rolley, to backey, Hippy, tippy, a jelly bag and basket”

 

Farmer in the Dell was a circle game that starts with one child, the farmer, in the center.  Another popular circle game was “Ring Around a Rosie, Pocket full of Posies,Ashes, ashes, We all fall down.”

 

Skipping was a favorite game and it too was done to rhymes like the one below.

Charlie Chaplin went to France

To teach the ladies how to dance.

First he did a heel-toe, then he did the kicks,

Then he did the rhumba, then he did the splits.

 

 

Ice skating was a winter activity that most children enjoyed.  They skated on local ponds, flooded school playgrounds and flooded backyards.  The ‘rinks” were often lighted and they skated in the iceskatingevening as well.  No one complained about having to help shovel the snow off the ice or the occasional frostbite in a toe!  Sidewalk skating was done with the metal skates that buckled over your shoes.

These games and toys are a far cry from the games and toys used today!  AS you have children around for the holidays or home on school vacation, try playing some of these games of the past with them.  They may actually have fun!

 

 

Have you ever heard of mincemeat?  Have you ever eaten mincemeat? If you answered yes to these questions, you probably grew up in a home in Maine or New England where it was a tradition in years past.  Read on to learn about mincemeat and its history!

Mincemeat was developed as a way of preserving meat without having to salt it or smoke it some 500 years ago in England.  mince1This pie is partly from a medieval tradition of spiced meat dishes, especially minced mutton.  These pies became know as “Christmas Pies.”

Today mincemeat pie is served as a dessert with more fruit than meat.  When spices becamemince8 more plentiful in the 17th century, the spices in mincemeat increased.

The Christmas Pie started when the Crusaders returned from the Holy Land with an assortment of oriental spices.   It was important to add three spices, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, to represent the three gifts given to the Christ child by the Magi.  It was considered very lucky to eat a mince pie on each of mince4the twelve days of Christmas,

In 1413, King Henry V of England was served mince pie at his coronation.  In 1545, a recipe for mince pie was in a book on Tudor cookery and feasts.  In 1588, “Mynst Pie” was in “Good Hous-Wives Treasurie” by Edward Allde.

From 1649 to 1658 Oliver Cromwell saw Christmas as a pagan holiday and he abolished it on December 22, 1657. The traditional mincemeat pie was banned and not restored until 1666 when King Charles !! rose to the throne.mince6

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries mince pies were made in exotic shapes.  In 1659 the Puritan influence reached the American British Colonies.  Boston banned mince pies from 1659-1681.  Those caught celebrating with a pie were fined.

If you did not grow up with mincemeat, chances are you do not know what it is.  From the name you might assume that meat was the main ingredient, but this is not the case.  It is mostly fruit and spices.  Brandy is often added, but the suet has been replaced by butter.mince5

Mincemeat was brought to New England by English settlers in the 17th century.  It was originally a “Christmas Pie”, but the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas.  the pie began to appear as a Thanksgiving tradition.

In the “old days” Mincemeat Pie was traditionally served in Maine on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Today it has lost its popularity except with some of us “old timers!”  I happen to love it,mince3 but the younger generations have little or no interest in trying it.  As a child growing up in Maine we had venison mincemeat pies for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Mincemeat is readily available in the grocery stores and can be used pies, tarts, cookies, bars, ice cream, ice cream sauce, cake, muffins, scones and crumble.  In my opinion, it is delicious in any form!mince7

Try it – you may like it!

The holiday season is upon us and everyone is thinking about gifts for Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Pancha Ganapati, Bodhi Day, Birthdays Anniversaries, and more.  But, are you feeling like your house already has too much stuff?  Too little time to wrap and ship gifts?  Not enough time to go to stores?  Traveling for the holidays and can not take packages with you?

If you fit into any of the above categories this Blog may be custom made for you!  The gift suggestions here may all be done online or by phone with no need to go shopping and battle the hustle and bustle of crowded stores and parking lots.  They require nothing larger than an envelope for mailing and no wrapping paper or bows.  Your house will not be filled with “stuff” that may only be of interest for an hour, a day or a week.  However, the heads of the recipients will be filled with wonderful memories of a different type of gift.

 

The first suggestion is, of course, the beautiful Ocean Point Inn which sits along the ocean seven miles out to sea from Boothbay Harbor, Maine.aerial#4 inn1 From now until December 21st you may purchase a Holiday Gift Certificate and get a 20% Discount.  Wow!  That one is hard to beat.  The certificate may be used for the Inn, the seaside Dining Room and/or the Gift Shop.  Go to http://www.oceanpointinn.com and see what a spectacular gift you could give someone…or give yourself!  Call the Inn at 207-633-4200 and Nate or Duey will get that Gift Certificate in the mail for you.  This suggestion is guaranteed to please!

http//www.sailmainecoast.com/gift-certificate/ A Maine Windjammer sailing vacation makes a perfect gift! winjammers And, it can even be mailed to you in a special sea-going bottle.  What a great gift to look forward to next summer.

https://www.mainehuts.org/gift-certificates  This is a wonderful four hutsseason gift where you may hike, snowshoe, cross country ski, mountain bike, swim, fish and paddle.hut2 The four “Huts” are Eco lodges built along an 80 mile trail system.  They have hot showers, toilets, heated bedrooms, a great room, a reading room, and screened porches.  What a great adventure for the whole family…even the teenagers will love it!

http://www.mainegardens.org  The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is an absolute gem offering days and weeks of pleasure.  You may get a botanical gardensGift Certificate Membership for one or two adults or a family.  Not only do you get free admission, but you will receive advance notice on all the great events plus discounts on many things.

http://www.balmydayscruises.com/ lobstertraphaullwhaleCap’n Fish’s Boothbay Harbor Boat Trips include Lobster Trap Hauling, Seal Watch, Whale Watch, Puffin Cruise, Kennebec River Cruise, Music Cruise, and Harbor Cruise.  Fun, fun fun!

http://www.balmydayscruises.com/  The Balmy Days does daily trips to theHarbor TourOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABayLady wonderful off shore island of Monhegan.  The Bay Lady, a beautiful Friendship Sloop, will give you a relaxing sail of the harbor.  The Novelty provides Harbor Tours and regular ferry service to Squirrel Island.

https://www.northcountryrivers.com/maine-moose-safari-wildlife-watching-tours.htm moose_home This company located in Bingham, Maine, offers several high adventure activities.  From May to October you can do a Maine Moose Safari White-Water-Rafting-Maineand White Water Rafting.  When I did the Moose Safari we saw so many moose right up close and personal!

http://www.mooseheadcabins.com/snowmobiling/  Enjoy a winter vacation of snowmobilingsnowmobiling-tour-1024x768 at the The Cozy Moose on Moosehead Lake in Greenville, Maine.

http://www.saltwaterfarm.com cookingsdchool Classes at the Saltwater Far on the Coast of Maine in Lincolnville offer seasonally inspired hands on cooking.  They will start taking reservation for next season on December 1, 2016. They use locally grown produce and fresh fish!  Go home with a new menu for your next dinner party!

http://www.savethewhales.org/adopt.htm  Adopt a Whale!  It is the perfect gift for any age.whale

http://www.fruitshare.com/fruit-clubs/fruit-of-the-month-club/  Have a Fruit of the Month deliveredfruit to someone for three, six or twelve months.

http://www.wineofthemonthclub.com/  You may give a gift of wine for four, six or twelve months. wine The gift that just keeps on giving!  They also have Gift Certificates for baskets and wine accessories.

http://www.mainekayak.com/  Sea Kayaking, Lake Kayaking and Whitewater Kayaking are available from Maine-Sea-KayakingMaine Kayak located in Pemaquid, Maine.  Overnight Kayaking Trips with one or two nights at the Ocean Point Inn are very popular and loads of fun.

https://www.cheaptickets.com/events/categories/sports-tickets/  Tickets to Sporting Events,baseball-tickets Concerts and Theaters all over the United States are available here.  Lots of  interests are covered here.

 

 I hope you find something useful in these suggestions.  Over the years, I have personally found this type of gift a great success.  Do something with your whole family….no cooking for Mom,  no assembling bikes for Dad, no bored children!  The memories will last much longer than the game that was used once.  Gather your credit card, addresses and a phone….your shopping will be done before you know it!

Thanksgiving will be here before we know it!  Have you planned what you will be serving for the special feast?

roast turkeyI’d like to share with you a “Traditional Maine Thanksgiving Dinner,” from Ocean Point Inn. Having grown up in Maine, I have to say this is almost the exact same menu I had as a child.  Definitely remember that turnip which I dislike to this day!

  •        Roast Turkey
  •        Onion and Celery Stuffing (not called dressing in Maine)
  •        Mashed Potatoes
  •        Gravy
  •         Parker House Rolls
  •         Squash
  •        Turnipth dinner plate
  •        Creamed Onions
  •        Celery stuffed with cream cheese
  •        Green and Black Olives
  •        Cranberry Sauce
  •        Pumpkin and Apple Pies

People debate whether a fresh Maine turkey or a frozen turkey is best?  Butter injected or store brand?  And, do not forget the wild turkey!! wild turkeys I have only had wild turkey once and it must have been on the run for months as it was tough as LL Bean shoe leather!  But, everyone has their own opinion on this.  There are certainly dozens of wild turkeys running around Ocean Point Inn these days.  I wonder if any of them will end up on a Thanksgiving table??

Some insist you have sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green bean casserole, pumpkin cheesecake and on and on.  The menu today is limited only by one’s imagination and favorite foods.

Our classic turkey dinner is very popular, on our menu on Sundays at the Ocean Point Inn, its “Turkey Dinner with all the Fixin’s.”  You want to eat early on Sunday evenings if you want Turkey as it usually sells out quickly.  Many people return every Sunday evening just for the turkey.

cornucopiaBesides just having leftovers, some feel the best part of the turkey is turkey sandwiches the next day.  These sandwiches can vary as much as the meal itself ranging from just meat and bread to lettuce, stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayonnaise.  Of course, there will always be the discussion of which is best – white meat or dark meat?  A distinct advantage of cooking your own turkey is having the carcass left to make turkey soup, a wonderfully warming late fall treat.roast turkey

We do lots of planning to come up with the perfect menu and table decorations, but ultimately the day is for being thankful and sharing food with family and friends.  It does not matter where we are, who we are with or what we are eating. cranberry We are thankful for what we have.

One Thanksgiving I spent the day on an uninhabited tropical island.  We  grilled lobster and ate fresh conch we had caught. These treats were served with salad and orange cake plus lots of rum punch.  Somehow this experience and setting made everyone  especially thankful that Thanksgiving Day.  You could swim, walk the beach or hunt for shells to work off the meal.  Or, some found a fishnet hammock hung between two palm treats the best way to work off the meal!!

This year I will have Thanksgiving dinner on a tropical island but in a traditional table setting.  The guests will be from different parts of the happy thanksgivingcountry with different traditions.  Everyone, no matter where they are from, will be thankful on that day.

May your Thanksgiving be full of fun, family, love, traditions and much thankfulness.  Enjoy!

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“Maine – the Way Life Should Be” is what many residents feel about island life off the coast of Maine. They feel there is just nothing like a Maine island community.  And, this is true but with many interpretations!

While working on this blog post, I discovered a wonderful book called “Hauling by Hand – The Life and Times of a Maine Island” by Dean Lunt.  The book is not easily found but there are some used copies available on Amazon.com from third party providers.  A great read for anyone with an interest in Maine and its coast.haulingbyhandweb

Most of the islands along the coast of Maine have residents whose familoies have been there for generations.  Other residents were there for a summer job or a vacation and fell in love with island life.

Before writing this blog, I talked with a young man who grew up on an island off the coast of Maine to get his perspective.  He lived on the island for 18 years.

There are definitely pros and cons to island life!  The pros are great community life, island and lack of fresh produce. beauty, peace and quiet, helpful people, use of the barter system and a safe environment.  The cons include the cost of living, lack of activities, weather, emergency services, and lack of fresh produce.

The outer islands are gorgeous with great beaches and beautiful scenery.  Holidays are a big part of life and the island communities organize activities during the celebrations.

Taking a ferry to the mainland with your car is expensive.  It requires organization to make all the purchases for the next few weeks and get back to the return ferry on time.  Most island residents have freezers to keep food ahead but fresh produce is a challenge.  The island general stores have basics but they charge double the price.

Income on the islands is limited.  For the most part they are fishermen, carpenters or own a small business such as lawn care.  Many arrive for the summer only and buy up and buy up the oceanfront and ocean view land for building.

The schools are generally grades K through 8 and students have to go off the island for high school.   Home schooling is on the increase.  With ferry rides each way commuting to the mainland for high school makes for a very long day, especially if you do after school sports or activities.  There is not much for children to do unless the island has a recreation center or a school gym. Swimming and bike riding are the summer activities.  Many children growing up on the island feel trapped and it is like “being in jail.”  Yet others thrive with the experience and become successful.vinalhaven ferry

For years the Sunbeam, a missionary ship out of Bar Harbor, was the only medical service available to the outer islands. Lately clinics have been built on islands and a doctor comes out for the day.  It is necessary to go to the mainland for dental care.  Ferries do make emergency runs during the night.  Today Life Line Helicopters can be called and they land on cement helipads at the island.

Many of the islands are “dry” islands and alcohol must be purchased on the mainland.

Lobstermen have very strict rules on where fishing grounds are located.  vinalhaven2They refer to the “invisible line” between an island and the mainland.  Only a few fish year round.  Lobstering is more difficult for the island fishermen because of the boundaries.

Have you ever thought you might like to live on an island off the coat of Maine year round?  I suggest you rent for a year before buying and be prepared for some challenges along with the pluses!

Stay tuned for Ocean Point Inn news!
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For thousands of years people have piled rocks to mark trails so they would be able to find their way and not get lost.  These stacks of rocks are called cairns and are found worldwide, including Ocean Point!  A cairn is defined as a human-made stack of rocks.cairns

If you want to build a cairn, find an open area away from plant growth.  Pile your stones as high as possible for the best visibility.  Your cairn needs to be stable so fill in with small stones as needed.

Be sure to build your cairn only in an appropriate area that will not damage the ecosystem.  At Ocean Point you will see them built on the granite ledges along the shore.  They are often made stable and balanced with sand granules from the shore.  All of the pictures on this post are of cairns at Ocean Point.cairn3

In addition to trail markers,  cairns are built for burial monuments, ceremonial purposes, hunting, etc.  They range in size from small stone markers to artificial hills.  An ancient cairn style found from Alaska to Greenland is the inuksuk used by the people of the Arctic Region.  This tundra area had few natural landmarks.

Coastal cairns, also known as “sea marks,” are found in Scandinavia and the Maritime Provinces of eastern Canada.  These coastal cairns even appear on navigational charts.  Sometimes they are lighted or painted white for better visibility from ships.

Some people are offended by cairns.  David Williams, the author of Cairns, was a ranger in Arches National Park.  Visitors built many cairns here, but none of these were legal and some led to environmental damage and lost hikers.  A fellow ranger in Acadia National Park describes taking down cairns all over the park.  Hikers no longer see the natural landscape because of the cairns.cairn4

The cairn craze has exploded into wilderness areas.  Moving rocks increases erosion.  Every time a rock is moved a potential home for insects and mammals is lost.

Here at Ocean Point when the cairns are built the winter storms usually wash them off and Mother Nature creates a new landscape.  To build cairns or not is something to think about?

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