My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Vacation: Searsport's "4th" of July

Vacation Day #5 (concludes) and Day #6...

We now re-join our Down East adventure still in progress...

After leaving Harborside, we drove through more pretty countryside to our destination of Searsport, on the west side of Penobscot Bay, and checked into our Vacation HQ for the next 6 nights, the delightful Elm Cottage B&B...

Our sweet hostess Janet has created a lovely oasis for relaxing between adventures. Her garden and pond with fountain waterfall is such a tranquil spot to spend some time...

And lucky us, the timing of our visit even coincided with the blooming of the first water lily blossom...

Janet's back deck was another relaxing spot, prettily festooned with Tibetan prayer flags and wind chimes, where we took a little break with some iced tea and vegan snacks...

But there wasn't too much time for sitting around, because we had a 4th of July parade to march in! (Because the 4th fell on a Sunday, Searsport and several other local communities celebrated the 4th of July on the 3rd this year). Janet co-founded SAFE, which provides free dog and cat food and cat litter to people during times of financial hardship (a main reason animals are abandoned or surrendered to shelters). She generously invited us to carry SAFE's banner in the parade...

Between carrying my half of the banner, an American flag some local political candidate handed us just before the parade started, and a couple of fistfuls of dog treats that we tossed to spectator dogs along the parade route, I had no free hand (or opportunities) with which to take photos of the actual parade. But it was pretty much your typical, quaint small-town 4th of July parade, with probably a lot more fire engines in it than most, since when it came to fire trucks, every surrounding community had at least one in Searsport's parade!

But I did take a couple of photos as the parade formed up, so here are some of SAFE's members, two legged and four legged, who marched behind us...

After the parade and a bit of shopping and strolling in town, we went hiking on 936-acre Sears Island, which is connected to the mainland by a causeway built in the 1980s. Two miles long, one mile wide and with 5 miles of sandy and rocky shoreline (601 acres of the island are protected under a permanent conservation easement, with the rest to hopefully follow!), Sears Island provided a diverse, peaceful and wonderful place to hike. Here I am on a trail through some bird-filled woods that open into a sunny fern meadow...

...and here's BW perched on a piece of driftwood along the shore, enjoying his apple to the sounds of surf and seagulls...

Since everything was closed that evening, BW and I had picked up some provisions for our dinner at the little local grocery store. While Janet went to a party with friends, she graciously let us use her kitchen to cook up our pasta, to which we added black olives, organic tomatoes, organic basil, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a dash of salt...

Janet's festive placemats provided a perfect backdrop
for our simple yet colorful meal! :-)

BW and I relaxed after dinner in the living room accompanied by Calico, who was enthralled with the streams of people walking past the house on their way to nearby Mosman Park to watch the fireworks display...

We weren't about to be left behind, so we headed to Mosman Park too, settled in on a blanket Janet had left for us, and enjoyed an incredible, professional pyrotechnics display directly overhead! It gave me a chance to experiment with the fireworks setting on my new camera, which took me a while to get the hang of (and really would have benefitted from a tripod). But I got some totally groovy effects! :-) So sit back and ooh and aah to your heart's content (without the deafening percussion and gunpowder smell!)...

I see critters even in fireworks displays. Here are some golden Tarantulas...

And a lovely, luminous jellyfish...

Coming up next: A little walking tour of Searsport, followed by a seafaring adventure in Belfast for the actual 4th of July! :-)


  1. Oh, I'm glad the vacation posts are back, because I'm definitely ready for vicarious enjoyment.

    Elm Cottage looks like a great place to call home (or B&B)...the gardens and pond are lovely...the lily blossom is a rare beauty. She probably got her petals in gear when she heard you two were going to be in residence for a while.

    Janet's org is so cool, much needed and very thoughtful... I so admire people who start their own charity orgs...remarkable people. It's so cool you got to carry the banner in the parade...what an honor to be included in the community happenings...and you two are perfect diplomats for the cause.

    What an industrious day...I'm assuming that you didn't hike all of the 936 acres after parading (Lol) ...but I wouldn't put it past you...both of you seem blessed with boundless energy and enthusiam!

    Good to hear that a good portion of Sears Island is's hoping along with you that the rest will follow.

    Your pasta looks so fresh and delicious, and I love Calico...she's after my own heart and her hiney doesn't look unlike our own calico family member, Cheeky.

    It's been years since I've been to a fireworks...great shots! I'm assuming all this happened on July 3? Can't wait to see the actual 4th.

  2. Rose - Thanks! I'm glad they're back too. I need to turn in my "What I did on my Summer Vacation" paper by October! LOL

    Elm Cottage was a perfect Base Camp for our Penobscot Bay explorations. It's only got two guest rooms, but we were still glad we had the place to ourselves the whole time!

    SAFE is a great idea and has done really well. It's a shame it's needed, but nice that it's there! I admire folks who start up grassroots orgs like that too. And wasn't it amazingly gracious of Janet and the other SAFE members to let us carry their banner in the parade? We definitely felt at home! (And bless your heart for your diplomat compliment!)

    LOL, no - we didn't hike all 936 acres of Sears Island, but we probably could have! It was a great day for it, and since the banner was pretty light and the parade was pretty short, we still had some stamina left. ;-) We hiked one of the interior trails and then hiked out to the shore and about halfway around the island along the beach before turning back. It's such a diverse and special place (the largest uninhabited island on the east coast, according to the brochure), I sure hope they protect the rest of it instead of mucking it up with container ships and storage tanks and all that happy crappy.

    We have a lot of energy, but it's definitely not boundless. However, there's nothing like being on a fun vacation to really amp up the energy and enthusiasm levels, is there? :-)

    I love a meal like that pasta dish. Simple, easy, quick and delicious, and easy to throw together in someone else's kitchen!

    Janet has 4 cats, but Calico was the most gregarious and hung out with us a lot. We'd usually find her laying on the floor outside our door in the mornings and when we'd get back from wherever we'd been. When she'd see us, she'd roll over on her back for a belly rub. Reminded us of our dogs! And isn't she pretty? Just like Cheeky. :-)

    Yup, all those festivities were on the 3rd. We had a lot of fun on the 4th, though we didn't do anything particularly 4th of July-ish that day! Hope to post it next week, but I need to find time to work on it first! Eeek!

  3. It's funny Rose said that about the 936 acres because I did a double take and had to re-read it myself! LOL
    Those were some great shots of the fireworks. I like what your enhance setting did to the first one.
    Elm Cottage was so different than I pictured it. It looks so charming and in a few ways, it reminded me of the B&B we stayed at in Shipshewana - remember our verboten bottle of wine on the back patio?
    Your pasta looked so yummy. Yup, I could definitely be happy if you just became my chef and fed me!

  4. AdventureJo - LOL, okay you two... you and Rose were right, my phrasing did make it sound like we'd hiked all over all 936 acres of Sears Island, so I've clarified my wording! :-)

    The fireworks shots were really fun to download and see on the computer when we got home. My favorite "enhanced" one is the last one!

    How did you have Elm Cottage pictured? Oh yes, I absolutely remember our contraband bottle of wine on the B&B patio in Shipshewana! LOL! That was such a fun trip, and a fun evening! But remember my horror at discovering our wine-stained plastic cups in her kitchen trash can the next morning, and trying to retrieve and sneak them out of there without being discovered? We're such delinquents. ;-)

    I'd love to be your personal chef! That would be fun, wish I could do it! (You should check out Rose's blog sometime, you'd hire her in a red-hot minute!) :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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