Goodbye Summer 2018

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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…

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

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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…

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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..

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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..

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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!

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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   cp23_1983@yahoo.com

Season Finale

It is pretty quiet at Mount Desert Campground  tonight.  I am the only one left, and tomorrow I will finish packing and head to Georgetown, ME,  three hours down route 1 where my wife and I will settle into our new jobs as farm care takers..   We are excited about the opportunity to live and work on a beautiful piece of land and to remain in Maine full time, but we are also a bit sad to see this, our final season at the campground come to an end.   Five days ago, every site was occupied for the Columbus Day Weekend holiday.. How quickly things change!   The squirrels have already begun to take over until May of 2018 when workampers return, energized, and ready to prepare the campground for another season.

I thought I would share some photos from the past few days …

a pointI paused to take this photo as we were cleaning sites on the “A” point at the beginning of the week.. the tide is out and there is some color showing near the tree that holds an active eagle’s nest which we observed throughout the season.

albino deer I caught this albino deer venturing across the road leading down into the campground… she has been a constant resident since we arrived for our first season, but we don’t see much of her once the campers arrive.

six hour canoethe boat project that the campground owner’s son and I have been working on… I put what i hope is the final coat of epoxy on  this week..  I will return later in the fall to help fit the gunnels, and then it will be time to test it out!

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Sunny, our cat, waiting under the covers till i got home for lunch… my wife left early, and I am now the  cat caretaker…  he tolerates me just fine as long as a refresh his food and water and clean his litter box…

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Site B7, just across the road from us… how nice when it happens to be vacant… the view is wonderful!  But we do enjoy the company of the campers, and it is a bit lonely to drive down there now with out a single neighbor..

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Today was my final sail aboard the Margarett Todd… it was a beautiful day, but the wind let us down.   I did the last two trips of the day..  It was a lot of fun to get back on the schooner these past few weeks.. it has been a neat opportunity to sail aboard a 4 masted schooner… surely the fulfillment of a boyhood dream of mine…

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Tomorrow, I will winterize our trailer, pack the remaining bags in my truck and say good bye to Mount Desert Island.  We have been blessed in so many ways these past three seasons.. enjoying working with great people,  exploring Acadia National Park, living in a beautiful setting, meeting interesting people…  but as this chapter draws to an end, we are also eager to begin a new one in an equally stunning part of Maine, taking on new responsibilities,  learning new skills, making new friends…  stay tuned!

 

August Light

august light 1There are all sorts of clues which remind us that the summer season is quickly drawing to a close…  Last night the temperature dipped into the 40’s, and we felt compelled to turn on the heater in our RV for a while this morning.   Kids are talking about the upcoming school year, and a family who was camping next to us had to leave earlier than planned because the father had to attend an event at the school where he works.   The swarms of mosquitoes ( ever present in Maine)  seem a little smaller, and the bees have made their presence known.. perhaps a bit more than in years past…

But one of the most striking signs is the light..  of course, there is less of it…  the sun vanished well before 8 pm last night, but we have enjoyed that special glow that is a hallmark of August Sunsets… and last night was particularly special.   The picture above is looking from our site across the road to B7 and to the sound beyond…

I took this as we were leaving for a walk around the campground.   We took a detour down to the docks and spent way more time there than we imagined… doing what we so love.. talking with campers, in this case, with a family who had just arrived for their first stay at Mount Desert Campground..    They could not have arrived on a nicer day.

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low tide on Somes Sound…

august light 3sailboats hidden from view behind  “The Lamb”  , a large rock next to our floats which barely break the surface at high tide…

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We will never get tired of this scene….

jt     cp23_1983@yahoo.com

A stroll around the neighborhood?

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( a shot that I took yesterday morning while we were cleaning campsites… )

Well not exactly, but kind of…   I was thinking about an evening stroll around the neighborhood many years ago.  We had just moved into a new development, and it was quite small, but it still merited a short walk after dinner.  We looked at the houses ( all of which looked the same)  and stopped to say hello to neighbors who happened to be sitting on the front stoop of their homes…  last night we did the water version of this same experience.   We walked down to the floats, got in our kayaks and took off!  This time we headed for Abels Marina.   But along the way, we stopped to chat with folks who happened to be on their moored boats, enjoying dinner and the sunset.

boat 1After stopping by to say hello to the couple who own this vintage Egg Harbor yacht ( built in NJ 50 years ago) we continued on our way towards Bar Island..

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The tides in Somes Sound range from 10 – 12 feet..  on the right is Bar Island ( not the more popular island in Bar Harbor that goes by the same name). At high tide, we can sneak through the cut that you see to the left…

We stopped along the way  to say hi to these guys….

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but we got a little to close  😦

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sorry guys!!!

There are a number of vintage boats at the marina.. unlike my neighborhood where all of the houses were cookie cutter townhouses with the only distinction being the color of the brick and whether they had two or three bedrooms,  these boats have wonderful and unique character.

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Perhaps the highlight of the evening was the time we spent talking with the couple who lives aboard this boat, along with their dog and two cats!boat 3_193951boat 2

Like us, they are working on the island this summer.. but their living arrangement is just a tad cooler than ours!

Life at Mound Desert Campground has been great this summer…  this past week we had a staff potluck with a Mexican theme…  so much good food!

food 1this is just one of two tables filled with food…

food 2not only does Barbara have talent with constructing salad,  but she also has a wonderful green thumb..  I could not pass up taking a photo of the color in her garden on this, yet another beautiful moring in Maine!

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So what is workamping all about?

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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.

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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

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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!

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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…

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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

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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)

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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…

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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..

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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

The best thing about living on Mt Desert Island

It is pretty difficult to figure out what the best part of spending 5 months of the year on Mt Desert Island.. but  a recent visit from my daughter and ex-wife made it crystal clear..  sharing it with others!    Although they had to schedule the visit during our work days,  we still had a wonderful time sharing the island with them…  The weather was somewhat iffy… but the rain held off for the most part..   One of the highlights was taking them to Thuya Gardens and discovering yet another Gem  right in our back yard.  We would have loved for them to stay longer – especially because we awoke to beautiful blue skies this morning, but it was lovely to share the time we had..   If you happen to visit MDI, be sure to put Thuya Gardens on your lists of things to do!

garden cottage TGthis is a small cottage behind the house at the garden.. marked STAFF ONLY.. but I could not help peeking inside 🙂

various shots of the gardens…

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a statue of a deer sipping water from the brook..

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Dad and daughter building a fire together  🙂

building a fire with alison    we can’t take moments like this for granted..   when I was Alison’s age, we had no idea that  my dad had only a few months left with us…