So much to do, in and around Camden!

DSC_0025I’ve just spent a wonderful week at my daughter’s in upstate New York. She’s lived there less than 2 years and I was reminded for the second time of how late spring comes to the coast of Maine. The trees here are just leafing out and are that beautiful new-leaf green color. The forsythia and tulips are in full bloom and we’ve just top-dressed all the inn’s gardens with a dark, rich brown mulch. Next, I have the pleasure of my annual half-day tour of local nurseries to find the flats of pansies and impatiens we’ll plant next week. My go-to nurseries for annuals and perennials are Plants Unlimited in Rockport, ME and Green Thumb in West Rockport, ME. We get most of our tomato plants and hard-to- find herb plants from the Camden Farmers’ Market and the Belfast Co-Op.

In town things are really picking up. Camden Public Library is hard at work on plans for both the Summer Harbor Arts and Books Fair, July 16-17, and the Fall Harbor Arts and Books Fair, October 1-2. Held twice annually in Camden Harbor Park and Bok Amphitheatre, this is the first year that the Camden library will host these fairs; hence the addition of “Books” to the title because, of course, a library just has to!

The Town of Camden is finalizing plans for the Windjammer Festival at Camden’s harbor September 2-4, and the Camden Garden Club is hard at work getting everything in place for the Annual House and Garden Tour on July 21. Then there’s the North Atlantic Blues Festival July 16-17 and the Maine Lobster Festival August 3-7. So many great things to do! Hope to see you here soon.

Spring Comes to Camden

spring 2016 flowersWell, it’s definitely spring in Camden and on the Midcoast of Maine! Warm(ish) with clear blue skies on Monday, so we mowed for the first time this year. Tuesday, thank goodness I was home so I could bring in all the potted plants I’d put out because it snowed! And today, Wednesday, the plants are back outside, the sun is shining and the tulips are beginning to bloom! What a roller coaster ride.

Speaking of rides, the Camden Snow Bowl is going to begin offering chair lift rides on summer and fall weekends. And bike rentals, including mountain bike rentals, on holidays and every Monday during the same months. The Camden Snow Bowl is a small, community-owned ski area in Camden, Maine, located about 4.5 miles from the town of Camden on Penobscot Bay. And it’s not just a winter play area anymore. Pick up a picnic lunch at French & Brawn or Camden Deli and spend the day hiking/biking/or gazing out to sea from the top of 1300’ tall Ragged Mountain. Sounds like a glorious day to me!

Maine Cooking with Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver's Home

Sandy Oliver’s Home

In the cold Maine winter of 2013, I made a point of driving to Searsport to hear Sandy Oliver speak at Penobscot Marine Museum on the publication of her latest book, Maine Home Cooking: 175 Recipes from Downeast Kitchens. I love that little museum, and especially its outdoor living history section, and I was charmed by Sandy. She’s a soft-spoken, lifelong New Englander with a smile that lights up her whole being. She loves the history of food, especially as it pertains to this part of the country, home cooking, gardening, and writing.

When I met Sandy, she had been thinking for some time about putting together a series of classes, taught in her home kitchen on the island of Isleboro, entitled “5 Great Things to do with _______”. (Fill in the blank with whatever is fresh in her garden, can be foraged on the island, or can be provided by a local hunter.) And I had been thinking about how I could possibly organize authentic, absolutely true-to-this-place-and-time food experiences for guests of my inn. So, we’ve put our heads together and will be offering 3 classes this year that will allow my guests to take the ferry to Isleboro and spend a few hours with Sandy, cooking in her kitchen and eating together at her table!

Sandy Oliver and her 'sous chef' Toby Martin

Sandy Oliver and her ‘sous chef’ Toby Martin

Sandy Oliver in her garden, she built the gate!

Sandy Oliver in her garden, she built the gate!

Fresh eggs coming soon...

Fresh eggs coming soon…

Friday, June 20, 2014:
“5 Great Things to do with Rhubarb (from Sandy’s garden)!”
I think a lot of us are beginning to appreciate the flavor of rhubarb, but still don’t have much confidence in what to do with it. Sandy can solve that problem!

Sunday, November 9, 2014:
“5 Great Things to do with Apples (from the island)!”
Right, most of us know the apple pretty well, but most of us also love a good apple. It’s a staple in New England diets because, unlike many other fruits, it’s well suited to growing here. The apples we’ll cook with will come from this island and Sandy has some lovely recipes, many going back in time to our early settler history.

Saturday, December 6, 2014:
“The Cratchits’ Christmas Dinner (including that perfect goose)!”
An old-time historic Christmas dinner which we will cook and share in Sandy’s home, and which you will then be able to re-create for your own family and friends if you’d like to.

Each class is limited to 5 participants (plus me, I wouldn’t miss these experiences for the world!) so do let me know if you’d like to take part.

Please feel free to phone me at the inn for more details. (207) 236-8053.

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