Goodbye Summer 2018


One of the projects that I worked on this past summer was this deck in the front of the cottage that we all home – at least for the summer… We have actually had a number of  mosquito-less mornings and evenings to enjoy on the deck..   but just last week we began the move from this cottage to the one where we will be spending the winter.. our second in Georgetown.

During the past few weeks we have enjoyed the opportunity to get on our road bikes  Our first ride was to Reid state park.  it is just 6 miles away, the the distance suited us just fine for the time of day that we left.   I did not have my phone on the ride, so no pics to share.  But we did get to explore the Todd’s point beach for the first time.. it is about a mile beyond the beach that is closer to the park entrance.

Our second ride was the park loop road at Acadia.. we took a day trip up to Mt Desert to visit our friends at the Mt Desert Campground.   It was a beautiful day and so enjoyable to visit for former colleagues there.   The ride around the loop is about 22 miles… It was crowded – and traffic was heavy till we got beyond Thunder Hole.. but after that the roadway was pretty easy to negotiate… These are some pics from that ride…



we had a packed lunch along with us, and stopped at this turnout to eat…




We have so many fond memories of the 3 seasons that we spent working at Mt Desert Campground…   a beautiful spot to live and to play!

Our most recent cycling trip was on Westport Island..  the tip of the island is only a mile or so away from where we live..  but it is about a 45 minute drive to get there by car.   We decided to park at Norm’s used car sales and to ride from there..   that made it about a 22 mile drive.    Westport Island is off of rt 1 near Wiscasset.. you really will only end up there if you are intending to go there..  it is a quite town with very few businesses, so the traffic was fairly light compared with the road down to Georgetown.   It was a great afternoon.. beautiful weather..  nice road surface..  a perfect ride.    We met some folks along the way – talked about life on Westport Island..  and even made plans to return the following Monday evening for  pizza at the  Squire TarBox Inn!    I have just a couple of pics from the ride..

a beautiful example of New England architecture..

fp3and a place to buy our next pie…


Some of the other pics that I took did not turn out so well…   the  pizza on Monday night was delicious..  there was a band playing some blues music , and a nice crowd of locals who obviously appreciate the opportunity to have a place to socialize on what is otherwise a very quiet island..

Another trip that we took recently was to Monhegan Island.. this was not a trip for bikes, but rather, an opportunity to do some great hiking..   A few years ago I posted about a trip to Monhegan with some students…  this was Janet’s first visit.   The weather report called for a foggy morning  which would clear with sunny skies by afternoon..  that never happened, but it was perfectly ok.. we enjoyed  the mystique that began with a 10 mile boat ride through the fog.. to land on this small island, known for its appeal to artists..    it is certainly an experience!

fp9this is a shot looking down on the landing.. there is a great little cafe there  where we got a sandwich and soup while waiting for the boat on our return…

we headed out on what I suspect is the typical hiking pattern of a counter clockwise direction around the island.. fp12

the hiking is great.. lots of cliffs on the east side of the island..  it can be pretty dramatic..


we made it a good way around the island and then headed back to the village via the Cathedral Woods trail..   we picked this one because it is known for its fairy houses..



it is so neat to see the creativity that folks put into their creations…

On the way back, the boat captain took us close to some shoals where seals like to  rest on the rocks..   we saw a bunch of them… and then we filled out a customer satisfaction survey on the boat, lured by the prospect of winning a free trip.. which we never win..  except, wait.. Janet Thatcher.. yup.. she won.. looks like we will be heading back next year!


I just took this photo yesterday..  the light of summer is gone… fall is definitely in the air, even though we still have a number of beautiful days ahead of us… we know what is coming, and it is time to prepare..  maybe a little more wood for the stove ( there are still some standing dead oaks around)   putting the summer clothes in bins and getting the warmer ones out… finishing up some painting projects while we still have some warm air…  all in all,  Life is good in Maine!      comments or questions?     email me at

So what is workamping all about?

C point 1

Well, our experience is somewhat limited.  We understand that many jobs at campgrounds come under the title of camp host.   At Mount Desert Campground, there is a bit of emphasis on the work part of  workamping…   and we like it that way 🙂

This is a pic of  the point in the C section of the campground after  a number of trees were cut down…   We arrived at this location around 8:30 this morning, after enjoying a strategy session in the warmth of the office….   we are told that the temperature could break 80 degrees on Thursday, but today was cold and foggy and drizzly.   So, this type of work is good for generating heat!

2 hours later, this is what the site looked like.

c point 2There is so much truth to the phrase “many hands make light work” … well,  maybe not.. this was not light work, but  it certainly was completed in a relatively short amount of time!   of course, it was many hands aided by a tractor 🙂

this is what the campers will see when they arrive late next week.

c point 3

looks pretty nice!   and where did all of this stuff go?

on the pile 🙂

c point 4 A large truck will come by to pick this up in the next few days…    of course, not every day of workamping is like this, but we do spend the month of May  preparing the campground for the season.  It is great work – very rewarding both physically and mentally..  and we sleep really well 🙂


Summer 2016 (where did it go?) part 1 – Mount Desert Campground


Once again, Janet and I had the opportunity to live, work and play on Mount Desert Island (Acadia National Park)  as members of the staff at Mount Desert Campground.   How did we get to the end of the season so fast?    Perhaps it has to do with age… so many folks have advised that life slips past at an ever increasing rate, especially after 50…  This certainly may play a role, particularly in my case as I quickly approach my 57th birthday.   But I suspect that it has more to do with the fact that, since our arrival at the end of April, our lives have been filled with spectacular visual stimulation, laughter and fellowship with friends and colleagues,  and opportunities to meet new people with interesting stories…  it has been a busy summer, and I have certainly ignored this blog, but, over the next few weeks, I plan on catching up.  This first segment had to do with the campground itself  –  a stunning piece of property on the shores of Somes Sound.   It is a privilege to be able to spend the entire season in Maine, and especially, to work and live here.   I encourage anyone thinking of planning a camping trip to Maine in 2017 to look us up..   and if you happen to stay here next year, stop by for a visit and a cup of tea at site B18!


a view looking across the road at site B7 with the sound just beyond..  this was taken just after I arrived at the end of April ( Janet joined me a couple of weeks later)

2-mdc-maya view of the sound and Sheep island from one of our waterfront sites… early May3-mdc-may

sites along our waterfront…  DownEast Magazine printed a special publication touting  100 best things about Mount Desert Island  ( part of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of Acadia National Park)     Our campground was recognized as having the 7 best campsites on the island…  that was pretty special!

4-mdc-mayanother view of our waterfront, taken from a campsite…5-mdc-july

another look at  sites B7 and B8.. Janet’s garden is well-established at this point.   Evening in the campground is such a special time…


one of our jobs is the check on the boats twice each week… usually early in the morning… the view from the docks is constantly changing…  this is looking out towards Somesville Harbor


taken the same morning… looking between our waterfront on the right and Sheep Island on the left with a glimpse of  The Lamb  ( a small rock ledge close by the docks)


Low tide in the evening..  The Lamb is pretty prominent at low tide!    the tidal range here is around 10 feet, give or take – even more dramatic around the full moon…


can’t quite get enough of the scene taken from the docks!   Sunsets here are often dramatic.

10-mdc-septView of the floats taken from site C25 ..   the dory has not been in the water for a number of years.  My son and I built is when he was a freshman in high school..  he is now 27 and about to be married…   I did some quick rehab on it and launched it with the plan of doing some more work on it next spring so that it will be in great shape for the 2017 season.    The Lamb takes a prominent spot in this photo..  approaching low tide.. near the end of the season  as we have already reduced the rental fleet of canoes and kayaks..


taken just this morning..   some of the trees are beginning to turn… pretty chilly morning at 32 degrees, but the sun warmed us up rather quickly, and we had a wonderful day working in the campground..  built two picnic tables,  cleaned sites,  built the framework for a new tent platform, cleaned up flower gardens,  removed tree debris after cutting down a tree..   all in a days work!

It was a great summer …  we plan on returning next year.  Unfortunately, some of our colleagues will be doing other things and will not be rejoining us… but we look forward to keeping out friendships alive..   and, we look forward to greeting our campground friends as they return during the 2017 season!    jt

new job!

schooners in the morning

The one down side of spending half the year in Maine is that we have not yet figured out a way to bring our sailboat along with us.  So, I decided to become creative and see if I could land a part time job as crew on the local schooner… and it worked!   (somewhat to my surprise)   I happen to have spent at least 3 more decades on this earth compared with the rest of the crew – but so far, despite me looking dumbfounded on more than one occasion,  my crew mates have been gracious and forgiving!

One of the challenges is that I am only spending one day a week aboard  the Margaret Todd –  and even though we generally make three trips a day,  I could stand a little more repetition 🙂    … there is a lot to learn.. but it is a real pleasure to be on the water again.

boarding for a sunset sail

Here we are, boarding for a sunset cruise .. until last evening,   I needed at least 3 layers to be comfortable.. this particular night, I had 4 layers on, and I felt bad for the guy who was only wearing a t shirt!

foggy evening

Ran into a little fog on this particular cruise..   another chilly one, but it was beautiful despite the lack of a sunset ….    so now, in addition to living and working at the most beautiful campground ( mt desert campground)  ever,   I also get to sail on the only working 4 masted schooner in New England..  life is pretty good  🙂      jt


Living the Dream at Mount Desert Campground

I thought I would add a bit more about what life is like as a workamper…at least, what it has been like for us.   This is our second season at Mount Desert Campground, and it is the only campground that we have worked for, so our experience is somewhat limited..  but it sure has been sweet!

Our morning routine often finds us working on projects..  yesterday we rebuilt a tent platform  on B8 – directly across from our site..    every once in a while, you have to pause and look up from the hammering to appreciate the opportunity of working in such a beautiful place!

workamping 1this is what the job looked like after we had removed the old deck..  after loading the old boards on the trailer, we started laying the new ones…

workamping 2and this is what it looked like after we completed the job ( yes, we leave the ragged edge on purpose!)   not too long afterwards, a family showed up and set up their tent.. it turns out that their daughter was a student of my daughter’s at pre-school last year…  we are continually reminded of just how small the world is!   ( and how friendly campers are  🙂   )

sunset at our siteand, at the end of the day..  we get to relax with just a 30 second commute to our camper 🙂  I may have already posted this pic, but  i love it!   in fact, last night our co-workers showed up for a few games of corn hole..  lots of action and lots of laughs..  a great way to end the day…  jt

Bike ride around Eagle Lake

eagle lake 4Yesterday was the kind of day that just had to be enjoyed..  a nice breeze, plenty of sun, not too hot…  I spent the morning applying bleaching oil on the shed, and then,  we set off for a bike ride ..  Eagle lake is a short 5 – 10 minute drive from the camp ground..  It is a popular access point to the carriage roads of Acadia National Park.    Apparently, the folks in the pic thought that it was a great day for a ride too!    Janet was out once before, but this was our first ride together, so we planned on just doing the ride around Eagle Lake..   one might think that sounds like a nice, level path, but, in fact, as we have found with most bike rides on the island,  there are climbs and descents everywhere –  no such thing as a level ride here!    But it was totally enjoyable to be on our bikes and to view the lake through the trees as we rode.  eagle lake 3the carriage roads form a great network of routes to cycle ( or hike or ride horseback)   –  we are continually amazed at the resources that outdoor enthusiasts have available  here on Mount Desert Island..  there is always something to do!

eagle lake 2

Sargent and Penobscot – Acadia National Park

Sar Pen hike1

The same evening as the great smoker disaster ( not really)  we mentioned that we were planning on doing a hike the next day..  our hosts suggested  visiting the peaks of Sargent and Penobscot mountains.. in that order – one of their favorites…   The brief plan was to park at the  Jordon Pond House and hike along the pond ( west side)  towards the Bubbles…  much of this path is  a built up boardwalk that is intended to minimize the impact of hikers on the fragile shoreline..   it was here that we encountered the snake..   it looked a bit menacing, but it really just wanted to get off the path..   as fortune would have it,  the hikers coming towards us at that moment happened to be snake experts..  they quickly identified it as a male  king snake, and told us all about it, including the fact that its diet included other snakes..   ( but not people.. although it would not hesitate to bite if provoked!)

at the end of the pond, we began the somewhat steep ascent of Sargent Mountain .. Sar Pen hike 4

it was a great day for a hike..  but we picked a challenging one for our first outing of the season!     We stopped along the way to enjoy our lunch and then continued up, soon reaching the point where the trail intersects the carriage road.. Sar Pen hike3when you are cycling across this bridge, it somehow does not see nearly as awesome as this view from the trail…

Sar Pen hike5once above treeline,  we encountered some very pretty flowers..   dainty, but clearly hardy.. they must endure some rather harsh conditions during the winter!


Sar Pen hike6the views are rather rewarding… this is looking over to Penobscot from the summit of Sargent..  The Atlantic is beyond, with a few of the islands just off of Mt Desert – I believe that they are the Cranberry Islands…   maybe we will get a chance to visit them this season…   One of the highlights of doing this hike is that the vistas along the descent seem endless..   of course that means that we were rather exposed for an extended period of time..

Sar Pen hike7

Along the way from Sargent to Penobscot,  the trail dips down and passes  Sargent Pond.

Sar Pen hike8this is a view of Jordan pond from the summit of Penobscot..   at this point we were pretty hot, and we agreed that this would not be a hike we would want to do in mid-August!   we prefer the wooded trails at that time of the season..

We enjoyed the hike, and the views,  and it was a glorious day… one of the unintended, but appreciated benefits was that, following the hike,  we both had the best night’s sleep since our arrival in Maine!    jt


Asticou Azalea Gardens

Az Garden 2

this is an experience that is especially cool this time of year..  the Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine.    I did not arrive here till the end of the first week in June last year, so I missed the peak for this garden..  Today was beautiful and clear,  and we were off and had plans to so some neat things.   A quick trip into Bar Harbor to do some errands and then the drive to Northeast to see the gardens…

the pics on the website are far better than mine.. but i will include some  of mine just the same.   I certainly appreciate the beauty of the flowers and plants, but like so much that we experience on Mt Desert Island, what really moves me is the  foresight and amazing effort that was put into creating and maintaining sites like this.    The same is said for so many of the trails that we hike, the carriage roads that we ride,  for Acadia Natioinal Park and all that it entails..   we are constantly reminded how fortunate we are to be here!    The sand garden is a particularly cool creation…

Is this the way it is supposed to work?

fire in the smoker

The smile faded once he turned around!   We were invited to our coworker’s site for pizza… very special pizza, made from with his own dough, with his own sauce, cooked in his outdoor smoker..   it was not going to be smoked… he just used the smoker because it was capable of reaching higher temps than the stove in his camper..   but…  apparently, there was a lot of fat and grease left inside from the last smoking activity.. and it caught fire… and we sent smoke drifting across the campground..  As I looked through the smokey haze in the forest,  I was reminded of what it must have looked like during a battle in the civil war ( or the war of northern aggression for those whose perspective is slightly different than mine)     The sad part of the story was that the pizza stone inside cracked due to the higher than intended temperature inside the smoker…   we ended up baking the pizzas in the camper stove, and they turned out just fine.. a real treat, even if dinner ended up being somewhat later than originally intended..    we were so stuffed with pizza that we made the very difficult decision to forego  smores…

Recent Project

It is just a small shed.. but it took a while to complete..  for the most part, I was able to devote a couple of hours after work here and there, but I did have the luxury of a few days off that came in handy as well..    I learned a lot from the project – namely sequencing of different parts of the job in a way to make things go smoothly and efficiently  ( next time)… can’t wait to put some of my new ideas to use on the next project!   In the meantime, it will certainly be handy to have an extra closet during the season.. shed just  before bleaching oil     thanks for checking out the post!    jt