Author: OPI Blogger
“There’s no place like home!”
Cape Island, (called Witch Island by locals on the tip of Cape Newagen, Maine), was exactly that to a single mother, kindergarten teacher/educational advocate and actress. You may recognize her better for her 12 minutes of fame in the iconic movie, The Wizard of Oz with quotes such as “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!” or “ARRRRRGH! — YOU CURSED BRAT! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE! I’m MELTING! Melting! Oh — what a world, what a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?! ARRRRRGH! I’m gone! I’m gone! I’m going!” Yes, the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton lived here! Watch clip here.
In 1961, while performing summer theater in Brunswick, Maine, Margaret Hamilton (1902-1985) heard about some lighthouses that were being sold by the Coast Guard along the coast of Maine and thought she might like to own a lighthouse. One such lighthouse was Hendrick’s Head Lighthouse on Southport Island just outside of Boothbay Harbor. Although a lighthouse was not in the cards for Hamilton, she ended up with an entire island with a house built in 1852 and a fabulous view of Cuckolds Lighthouse, now known as Inn as Cuckolds Lighthouse.
She and her son, Hamilton Meserve, pooled their savings and purchased the island which is 10 acres at high tide and 20 at low tide. Hamilton took up summer residency on the island in her 60s and was known for rowing herself between the mainland and the island! Her son and his wife settled in Newagen in a house with a view of Cape Island, which still remains in the family for their children and grandchildren to continue to enjoy.
On Friday, December 7th, Snowlion Repertory Theater of Portland presented a staged reading of a new play, still in development, about Hamilton’s life. “My Witch: The Margaret Hamilton Stories” will tell of her love affair with Maine, her commitment to her craft and her struggle to balance her career with her responsibilities as a single mother. Read about the play here.
So, take a drive to the town landing on Southport Island, stand on the dock, close your eyes and click your heels three times and say, “There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!” When you open your eyes you won’t be standing in your ruby slippers in Oz, but you will see the ruby red house that was so loved by Margaret Hamilton. There may not be any flying monkeys or Skywriting, but if you try really hard you may just feel the kind-hearted spirit of a woman who loved acting, children and her island life on the coast of Maine.
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec, Maine is the Eastern most point of land in the continental United States!
So why is is called WEST Quoddy Head Lighthouse?
The original West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, under orders from President Thomas Jefferson, was built in 1908, but the lighthouse that stands today in Quoddy Head State Park was erected in 1858. I was there with a photography group and Ranger Sean was most welcoming and informative as were his two young boys who were playing outside. The Visitor’s Center is located on the first floor of the historic lightkeeper’s residence and Ranger Sean opened the lighthouse so that we could photograph inside. One of these days I will overcome my phobia of open circular lighthouse staircases and be able to get some photos of the views from the top rather than those I get of the staircase looking from the bottom up! We did take some very cool milky way photographs from the parking lot one night. West Quoddy Light, with its red & white stripes, is one of the most photographed lighthouses and is often seen on calendars and posters of Maine.
The state park stretches over 541 coastal acres and has some magnificent views. You can hike the trails and nature walks, have lunch at the picnic tables with lovely ocean views, explore the rocky beach or climb the coastal trail. West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is open from Memorial Day through Labor Day from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m..
So why is is called WEST Quoddy Head Lighthouse?
You’ll need a passport to visit East Quoddy Lighthouse, the sister light to our West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. It’s located across the bridge from Lubec on beautiful Campobello Island, part of New Brunswick, Canada. Campobello is where President Franklin Delano Roosevelt had his summer home which you can also visit on the island. Unlike West Quoddy Light, East Quoddy Light (also called Head Harbour Light) does not have the candy cane stripes of its sister light. Instead it is recognized by its bright red cross. You can access East Quoddy light by foot, but keep and eye on the tide so you don’t get caught on the island and have to wait until the next low tide to return! You can also enjoy the views of East Quoddy Lighthouse from a whalewatch or boat tour out of Lubec!
A few years ago I took Cap’n Fish’s boat trip out to Egg Rock from Boothbay and enjoyed the National Audubon’s narrated puffin cruise. I even got a photo of a puffin in the water with a fish in his mouth. However, this year I had a magical experience when I had the opportunity to see the puffins up close and personal on Machias Seal Island as part of a 5-day photography workshop I took in Lubec, Maine with Hunt Photo’s Bold Coast Adventure.
Machias Seal Island is the largest puffin colony on the Maine coast, with thousands more birds than any other site! You may have read about the dispute of Machias Seal Island in the news. There are 2 Canadian Lighthouse keepers on the island year round. They do 28-day assignments and are taken out with supplies by helicopter. Only two boats are authorized to go to Machias Seal Island, one from Canada and one from Cutler, Maine. Captain Andy Patterson of Bold Coast Charter Company in Cutler, Maine has been giving tours for 30 years and takes a daily 5-hour tour from May through around August 12th when the puffins leave the island with their young and become sea birds, living on the ocean. They are only on land to hatch their eggs. We also saw Razorbills and Arctic Terns.
After about a 45 minute boat ride on the Barbara Frost we spent a few hours on the island which is about 10 miles offshore (3-hour limit to be on the island) and got to go in the bird blinds for about 50 minutes. We passed Little River Lighthouse, which is available for rent, and on the way back we passed a seal colony sunning on the rocks. The puffins are comical and sound like little lawn mowers (or some say cows!) when they all get going in unison.
They are only about 3-6 feet away from you when you are in the blinds. Puffins can live more than 30 years and you don’t know which ones are 2 years old or 30 years old because they are the same size. I do think the older birds get used to having people on the island. They come back to the island where they were born every year. Some of them catch a glimpse of you in the blinds and when your eyes lock you can see into their tiny, little soul! It truly is a magical experience. http://www.mainebirdingtrail.com/Puffins.html
For a once in a lifetime opportunity, put a visit to Machias Seal Island on your Bucket List!
Experience the beauty and serenity of Acadia National Park! It really is a treasure in our own backyard.
This adventure can be done in a day trip from Ocean Point Inn. Leave early in the morning and you can get to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center in Bar Harbor in approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes via Rte. 1. Save gas & help the environment by parking your car at the visitor center while leaving the driving to the Island Explorer FREE Shuttles to get wherever you want to go! To enter the park with your vehicle and/or on the shuttle (although I was never asked for my pass when on the shuttle) you will need a Park Pass, that can be purchased at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. You will need to drive up to the summit of Cadillac Mt. since the shuttles do not take that route, but it’s an easy 17 minute, 7 mile drive from the Visitor’s Center. The views are spectacular and well worth it!
Once you’ve been to the top, return your car to the Visitor Center and hop aboard the shuttle to the Village Green where you can pick up a shuttle that travels the Loop Road. Be sure to pick up the FREE shuttle guide to see all the routes. Shuttles run from every 20-30 minutes early in the day to every 15 minutes at the peak times and are sponsored by LL Bean. You can hop on & off, explore at your leisure, walk the paths or pick up another shuttle to get to your next stop. This way you can spend as much or as little time at each attraction depending on your family’s needs without worrying about a parking space. The park is well maintained and there are restroom facilities at nearly every stop. I love the #3 Shuttle Route. It starts at the Village Green in the center of Bar Harbor and makes stops at the Sieur de Monts Wild Gardens of Acadia, Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs and back to the Wild Gardens before returning to Village Green.
You can walk around town and pick up the #2 Eden Street shuttle that runs until 10 p.m. and will take you back to the Hulls Cove Visitor Center. A fun thing to do in town is to check out Bar Island at low tide. You can walk to the island over a sandbar or even drive a car on it. Keep an eye on the tides though as you can easily get stuck until the next low tide if you aren’t careful!
You will be back at Ocean Point in time to hop in the hot tub and tell all your new friends about your great day!
With its debut in 1962, Boothbay’s Windjammer Days Festival is the official kick-off to the tourist season! There’s still time to make your reservation and come to OPI for the 56th Annual Windjammer Days Festival between June 24th and June 30th!
Organized by the volunteer, 501c3 non-profit group, The Friends of Windjammer Days, the festival grows each year with new technologies and numerous new activities that can be appreciated by people of all ages.
Watching the Parade of Sail (now known as The Gathering of the Fleet), whether from shore or a close up view on a harbor boat tour, has always been my favorite part of the celebration! However, there’s much more to enjoy. Festivities include a street parade, antique boat parade and a lighted boat parade. You can take in Windjammers Got Talent or watch the fun tug-o-war, the solemn Blessing of the Fleet and the festive fireworks over the harbor. For the athletically inclined there’s a golf tournament and a road race. Hey matey, you may even run into a pirate or two in your travels around town! You don’t want to miss Artist’s Alley located in Whale Park this year and don’t forget the food. Lots of tasty Maine seafood abounds! Attend the pancake breakfast or lobster eating contest! Check the full schedule for these . . . plus tours, storytelling and more!
Windjammer days isn’t all fun & games; it’s a bit of history as well. Visit the Boothbay Historical Society’s photo exhibit of the age of fishing under sail Thursday, June 28 – Saturday, June 30, 2018, 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM at 72 Oak Street, Boothbay Harbor.
So, come honor our maritime heritage and celebrate the vital role it has played and still plays in the lives of those who live in the Boothbay Region.
- 2018 Windjammer Days Schedule
- About Windjammer Days
- Boothbay Windjammer Days
- History of Windjammer Days
- Boothbay Historical Society’s Photo Exhibit
- Boothbay Register Article: The 56th Windjammer Days brings technology to the ‘Gathering of the Fleet’
Join us this season! We are celebrating our 120th consecutive year in business!
The more things change, the more they stay they same. Come experience the century-long hospitality and charm of Ocean Point Inn. This season our dining room will open at 5 p.m. and the bar will be serving cold beverages starting at 4 p.m.. This will accommodate our “early birds” while still providing sunset dining for those who arrive a little later. We’re happy to be hosting several family reunions and mid-day functions during this anniversary season.
Leroy’s Seafood will be in front of the Inn from 9-noon on Fridays again this year selling his lobstermeat & crabmeat while Brenda Blackman will be selling her pickles and spaghetti sauce. Check out our gift shop for our Anniversary merchandise!
We’ve added some new lily plants and have some new landscape surprises for you. A few new rock walls adorn the property protecting it from future winter storms.
We’re not the only ones celebrating this season. Along with Ocean Point Inn, J. Edward Knight Insurance in Boothbay Harbor is celebrating their 120th Anniversary having gotten started in 1898! Lots to celebrate in the Boothbay area!
Founded in 1898 by Capt. Edward Burnham, the Inn started with 20 rooms and a 40 seat dining room. The Main House and Annex (today’s Inn and Lodge) offered “rooms with electric lights and access to public bathrooms”. For a number of years the Main House itself was the Ocean Point General Store and Post Office. Guests would journey to Ocean Point by steamship, by train from Wiscasset, by taxi or motor car over log roads.
When the R.W. Burnham family ran the Inn, it was known as the “Pleasant View House” .
1946 Capt. Warren and Mrs. Mattie Barnes of Winchester, MA discovered Ocean Point while sailing the Maine coast, captivated like many of the summer residents and guests by the property’s spectacular and charming scenery. Nowhere on the coast had they seen such a dramatic open ocean setting with the view of spruce clad islands, the rugged rocky coastline, and the brilliant sunsets of this new western exposure. They renamed the resort “The Ocean Point Inn.” Embarking on this new experience as proprietors, they hoped to expand the property and offer its charm to more people. However, the Barnes’ were ever mindful of what first caught their imagination – the inspirational ocean view and unspoiled natural scenery. Accordingly they weaved their Inn into the fabric of this peaceful, seaside environment and Boothbay’s historic fishing and ship building region.
The Barne’s initial operation included the Main House, the Annex, and a restaurant serving three meals per day. Since people came for long stays in those days, it was customary to offer American plan rates including all meals and accommodations. During the 1950’s they made major improvements to the property. The old Annex was renovated into the Lodge with the addition of large wrap-around porches and full private bathrooms. More cottages were built, and the first floor of the Inn was enlarged to add dining room space, a better living room area, and a comfortable lounge. What we today call our “On the Rocks” dining room area was a wonderful living room where people would meet to socialize, play cards or just curl up with a good book by the fireplace. The center dining room, now called the “Upper and Lower Deck” was the lounge – no bar to be seen – just a room full of comfy furniture where one could enjoy a drink and ocean views.
The Barnes’s were surely hoteliers ahead of their time, and in the mid-1950’s they recognized the market request for more modern “motel style” accommodations. Thus, they purchased the Burnham farmhouse which they proceeded to renovate into colonial style guest rooms. The Farmhouse Motel section of the property was completed in 1964 and run as almost a separate operation. Their guests were served continental breakfast by lovely employees such as Ruth Habblitz and Flossie Turner who could entertain and inform as well as serve.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s guests staying a month or the entire season gave way to shorter term and busier sight-seeing vacationers. The new vacationer had different needs and once again the Inn adapted. To that end, rooms were enlarged and picture windows, porches, balconies, larger beds, and televisions were added. It was at this time that our wonderful outdoor heated pool was built. To date it still remains the largest hotel outdoor pool in the Boothbay region. Even the restaurant dining rooms were moved to the front of the Inn to enhance that wonderful seaside/sunset dining experience. But through it all the desire of our guests never changed – guests continued to visit for the exceptional ocean view, our non-commercial setting, and hospitality and friendliness so characteristic of the Inn and summers on the Point.
In 1985 Warren and Mattie Barnes handed over the ownership of the Inn to long time employees David Dudley, Mark Sweetland, and Tony Krason. Filled with the same spirit that captivated the Barnes’ many years earlier, we have continued the tradition of adapting the property to the times and our guest’s ever-changing needs while preserving nature’s gift, this precious Ocean Point.
In 2010 the Inn started being marketed as the “Ocean Point Inn and Resort,” but to many it will always just be “The Ocean Point Inn.”
Be a part of the Inn’s history and book your stay today.
When I think of food in Maine I think of lobster, blueberries and chowder in the summertime! What do Mainers/New Englanders eat in winter? What’s YOUR go-to comfort food?
My all time New England favorite comfort food memory takes me back to my Massachusetts elementary school and the meal I always looked forward to ~ American Chop Suey . . . and it had to be served with buttered green beans and homemade yeast rolls! When I taught in Boothbay Harbor, the cafeteria ladies used to let me know a day before they were serving it because they knew it was my best-loved meal.
I polled a few FaceBook fans for their personal favorites and some included chowder served with Oyster crackers, American Chop Suey (people from away may call it goulash), traditional New England Boiled Dinner with brisket or smoked ham shoulder, Shepherd’s Pie, (a great snow day meal traditionally made with lamb is known as Cottage Pie when made with beef), maple syrup on anything, beef stew with dumplings, mac & cheese, chili, chili on mac & cheese, butternut squash soup and don’t forget dessert: mouth watering Indian pudding topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting into the crevices! There was even one lone response for Rice Crispies with whole milk! These cherished culinary delights can make long New England winters a lot easier to swallow!
Ten things you didn’t know about Shepherd’s Pie
Shepherd’s Pie Recipe straight from Maine
In Praise of New England Boiled Dinner
New England Boiled Dinner Recipe
Guy Fiere’s American Chop Suey Recipe from Diner’s, Drive-ins & Dives
Beef Stew with Dumplings
Indian Pudding Recipe
Maine still has lots of traditional diners (some have been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!) and you can experience Maine Comfort Food year round. Seafood chowder, lobster rolls, lobster mac & cheese are just a few.
At The Weathervane in Kittery, Maine, their top 5 winter lobster comfort foods are listed as:
Lazy Man Lobster – OK, nobody’s saying you’re lazy. In fact, we know you work darn hard, so why not treat yourself to this satisfying dish. We shuck two Maine lobsters and serve ’em up in drawn butter. Less mess, more meat.
Lobster Pie – We take the tender meat of a whole lobster, add in our buttery crabmeat stuffing and bake it to perfection.
Fresh Fried Lobster Tails – Picture two freshly steamed Maine lobster tails …split, battered and fried until golden brown.
Baked Stuffed Seafood Combo – A delicious dish brimming with shrimp, scallops, haddock and – the star attraction – fresh lobster.
Lobster Bisque – Rich and creamy with just a hint of sherry, served piping hot in a warm, crusty bread bowl.
With Spring around the corner on the calendar, but our 3rd N’or Easter in 10 days on the horizon you still have lots of time to try some of these home-cooked winter favorites or visit a Maine diner and enjoy them prepared for you!
“A foggy day in Maine is better than a sunny day at work!” ~Anonymous
While taking a walk around Ocean Point, you may have seen this quote in a cottage window by Grimes Cove. Do you agree with it?
Fog can create havoc for travelers and when people plan their Maine vacations, they certainly don’t wish for fog! However, the ethereal mist can have a mesmerizing effect on you as you watch it travel up and down a river as you enjoy a cold beverage on the deck of a local restaurant or as it shrouds a nearby lighthouse on your morning walk.
According to The Weather Guys at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, “A fog is just a cloud at the ground. Fog formation can occur in two ways. First, the air is cooled to the dew point which leads to the formation of fog droplets. When the air temperature is the same as the dew point temperature, condensation occurs on tiny particles floating in the air. The second method of fog formation requires water to evaporate from the surface into the air, raising the dew point until condensation occurs.
Fog often dissipates with daylight. This is sometimes referred to as the fog “burning off” but that analogy is not correct. When the sun rises, the air and ground warm up. This leads to the air temperature being warmer than the dew point temperature, which causes the fog droplets to evaporate.”
Steam fog, or sea smoke is formed as very cold air moves over warmer water. We observe sea smoke over the Atlantic Ocean in New England when the air temperature is below 10°F. Photographing sea smoke is not for the faint of heart! Two years ago, on February 13th, 2016, I decided to photograph Whaleback Lighthouse off the coast of Kittery, Maine. It was 12° but I was convinced there would be sea smoke. I drove up to Great Island Common in New Castle, NH at sunrise and . . . no sea smoke! On February 14th I woke up at 5 a.m. and it was 7° with a windchill of -38°. I decided to wait until 8 a.m. when it was only -35°, not that it makes a difference at those temps! I dressed in layer after layer, packed my camera equipment into the car and make the trek again. Thankfully the wind was at my back. I set up my tripod and took a few shots before retreating to my car ever few minutes. It was well worth the trip and even though I checked it off my bucket list I am still waiting for the right moment to photograph a golden glowing sunrise behind the sea smoke! You can read more about The Science of Sea Smoke here.
I was at Ocean Point over MLK weekend and as I looked out my window at 7 a.m. there was sea smoke! YES! I was lucky to photograph the rarest and most beautiful type of Maine fog once again. Maybe I’ll capture that golden glow of sunrise sea smoke when I’m there in February!
So if you travel to Maine and experience a little fog, immerse yourself in it and enjoy the view! It can truly be breathtaking!
When I lived on Ocean Point year-round, it was tradition to ring in the new year at “Three Trees” (which is now Two Trees after this year’s storm). I’d have dinner with friends and then as the midnight hour approached we’d bundle up and head down to the water’s edge, braving the cold north wind to pop a cork on a bottle of champagne and toast the New Year with our rendition of Auld Lang Syne! We’d even run into other hardy Ocean Pointers! I remember some very cold NYEs where I’d ask, “Do I have to go?” but it was a tradition and it was always fun!
What do others do in Maine for First Night?
You’ve all seen the Ball Drop in Times Square, whether in person or on TV, but Yarmouth, Maine has its own tradition at 7 p.m. on New Year’s Eve at the First Universalist Church at 97 Main Street. Families can count down the New Year a little early and enjoy it together. Watch Steamer, the Yarmouth Clam festival’s mascot, as he is dropped from the church belfry! Get there early to get a good spot! Cookies and hot chocolate are served.
Portland’s First Night has a variety of activities to enjoy. Check out the calendar for the long list!
Belfast is celebrating their 21st New Year’s by the Bay from 2:00 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.. It’s a chem-free, family friendly celebration.
Looking for lights and fireworks?
It’s your last chance to visit Nubble Lighthouse at Cape Neddick, Maine with its Christmas lights lit until January 1, 2018.
You can head up North to either Sunday River and Sugarloaf if you are looking for fireworks. Both ski areas have spectacular fireworks displays that reflect off the snow for a magnificent ending to the year!
On New Year’s Day you can partake in or just be a spectator at one of the Polar Plunges around the state. Kennebunk Beach, Old Orchard Beach (Lobster Dip) and Portland Maine all host a polar plunge on the 1st day of the year. The ocean water is a balmy 61-62° in Maine during the summer, but in January the “normal temp” is a brisk 34° – Brrrrrrrrr!
As the sun sets on 2017
we at Ocean Point Inn want to wish you a happy, healthy New Year with many new memories to be made during our 2018 season. Don’t forget to book your room early for the 2018 season!
Who knows? I may take a road trip for old times sake and start a new NYE tradition ringing in the new year at Two Trees! HaPpY New Year!
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne,
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp!
And surely I’ll be mine!
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For the history and complete lyrics, click here.