A Day on Sears Island

Since arriving at the campground in late May, Sears Island is quickly becoming one of my favorite places. Accessible by only one road, and completely uninhabited it is a great place to spend the day.

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The island is full of hiking trails, biking trails, and even trails for horseback riding. One of my first days here was spent biking the length of the island. As you peddle through the island you are rewarded by the almost candle-like scent of the trees and the unique island ecology.

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Besides all of the hiking trails on the island, the entire perimeter of the island walkable during low tide. On another one of my days off I set out hike around the island and it was so worth it. The island is simply breathtaking, and there are many unique rock faces that you wouldn’t even know about unless you hike around the back side.

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If I had to describe my time on Sears Island in one word, it would be peaceful. Walking along the beach, looking at driftwood, shells, and sea glass. No sounds except the lapping of the water and the occasional bark of a distant dog. I would recommend that anyone who has a free day to check out the island!

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Hummingbird Heaven at the Shores

Hello! I’m Nate and I’m spending the summer here at Searsport Shores. One of the first nature based projects I have worked on is our very own hummingbird garden. Hummingbirds are the smallest species of bird in the world, being shorter than 4 inches and weighing less than 4 grams. Don’t let their size fool you; they are an integral part of Maine’s ecosystem. These little guys are expert pollinators and play a big role in the success of gardens and wild plants.

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Besides the environmental benefit of hummingbirds, they are entertaining to watch and come in bright and vibrant colors. The hummingbirds that we are most likely to attract are Ruby Throated hummingbirds. Although other hummingbird species have been rarely spotted in Maine, the Ruby Throated hummingbird is our most common species. They are most easily identified by their bright red throats and their green tinted bodies.

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In order to know how to attract hummingbirds, I had to do a little research. From browsing online I made several discoveries about hummingbirds: they love to live around the edge of the forest, they need a nearby food source, and they are attracted to the color red. We set up our hummingbird area in a lightly forested space across from the gardens. Our gardens are full of flowers that hummingbirds love.

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Three hummingbird feeders were strategically placed in our hummingbird paradise to attract as many as we can. The area was completed with the tying of red ribbons everywhere we could fit them, in the hopes that our little friends will catch a glimpse while they fly by.

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If you’re looking to make your own backyard Hummingbird garden, check out this article by the National Audubon Society.                 https://www.audubon.org/content/designing-hummingbird-garden-15-ways-keep-them-coming

 

How wide?

So much about camping is subjective.  On the reservation desk we answer questions all of the time but no matter how hard we try, there are no definitive response.  When we’re asked questions like: are the sites big? are there a lot of children? are there barking dogs? is there privacy?, we hesitate and discuss among ourselves.

First of all, asking a 100 questions before you make a reservation is one of the best things you can do for both of us.  We’re always happy to receive lists of questions by e-mail if they reflect a bit of the time you’ve spent looking at the website and thinking about what you’re looking for in your vacation experience. But in the end, there are few simple answers because it all depends on where you’re used to camping, and the kind of attitude you and your companions have while you’re vacationing.

Here on the ocean, real estate is prime and expensive.  Our sites are closer together than inland parks.  That’s just the way it is.  BUT, if you’re used to camping in places where you have to choose between your slide outs and your awning, then our sites are AMAZING!  Privacy?  Well the trees don’t grow densely at the ocean…we have lots of mature trees on the grounds, so yes, we have many shaded sites…but there isn’t much in the way of scrubby bushes and privacy screening.

Living the adage that a picture is worth a 1000’s words, we just walked around and snapped pictures of a few of the oceanfront RV sites this evening…you decide for yourself.

Next week we’ll post some pictures of our inland lots.

I’m Nate…and I made a tiny house

Hello! I’m Nate and I’m an intern at Searsport Shores this summer, living in the ocean tenting part of the park. For the past few weeks I have been working on a tiny house to live in. As you can see, this shed was pretty bare bones at first, but I was able to fashion it into a nice little living space.

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Putting a couple of the windows on hinges was one of the first things I did, because if you’re going to live by the ocean, you’d better be able to smell that refreshing sea air. A house isn’t really a house without a bed, so the bed was the next thing I set out to build. With the assistance of Mike and Steve, I was able to put in a twin bed, shelving, and a table with room to spare!

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I also added some stained paneling to the back wall just to make it look a little fancier, which I think paid off. The final product is exactly how I envisioned it, a compact yet comfortable space with a beautiful view.

     fNate8 Nate3        It’s definitely an upgrade from my tent and I look forward to living in it this summer!

 

 

Poking Around

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I’m new here to Searsport Shores and it was a wonderful greeting. Driving in, my phone’s GSP somehow switched off but before I even realized it, the handpainted (!!!) billboard came into view. When I go into a campground, my eyes instantly become my grandfather’s. Would he be able to easily navigate the big rig around the corner? Yes! It’s a large driveway off a wide shoulder. We’d all appreciate the smooth sailing.

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Art gifts are the best gifts (a piece of artwork gifted to the studio)

After that thought, I see the space. A sign indicated the first path is group tenting. Could you imagine getting everyone together here? Because the air smells like the sea, everything is green and lush and in every nook and cranny there’s art and beautiful things to be seen.

Windchimes, metal-working art pieces, murals, colorful flowers, alluring walkways, magic tiny cabins, porch chairs, tomato plants; all the things I love.

Sun speckled stairway to the sea

When exploring the grounds, I let my feet lead the way. The animals and gardens were the first thing to catch my attention naturally. Steve told me the fiber goats & sheep are shorn twice per year. After meeting Norma tending the vegetable and herb gardens, I headed to the water! Down a shaded set of steps, I find a secluded beach with an expansive view… More on that later.

Traveling full circle around the space, I noticed large pull-through sites perfect for my folks preferences, oceanside tent camping that looked so dreamy to me, and each site with a personality all its own.

What a wonderful afternoon it was. I could get lost in that art studio. It’s truly a haven which pictures compliment but can’t explain the cool floor on my bare feet, the room piled with yarn, colorful threads, and magic art pieces.

Loom the rainbow!

Stacks of logs for the pizza oven!

I wonder about all the artists who’ve stayed in this space. You can’t even imagine the space for artists in residency! It’s truly remarkable and gave me this overwhelming feeling that I want to learn and create. It seems it did it’s job.

I’ll be back soon and I hope you are also enjoying this beautiful sunny day!

The Days are Still Shortening

We’re approaching the solstice, feeling the pressure of getting more done in a day than we have the energy or focus for…Maybe I don’t have the right to speak for “all of us” but I think you could listen in on most conversations at the coop and hear the same words.

I love this month’s darkness because it nudges me into my best creative brainstorming.  The questions on the edges of my mind have been finding balance between social media contacts and face to face contacts…and how to manage a good balance between time with people and time alone completely engrossed in projects that feed my soul.  All of this goes on within the schedule of doing campground and maker’s guild each day to keep the business moving forward in balance with studio time.

More and more, my phone tracks my days by making a visual recording that I can look back on when I can’t remember what I did this week.  I’ve become dependent on the device in my pocket…like having an external hard drive for my memory…how cool is that?  So my friends, this is what we’ve been up to these days…

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We’ve been happily making gift certificates for giving…it totally fits our personal philosophy of offering experiences rather than objects and Steve and I certainly appreciate the #buysmallbusiness effort of our guests.

 

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It’s become a tradition to carve and stamp holiday cards while listening to carols.  There is something so incredibly satisfying about a seasonal project that has a beginning, an ending and a prayer for peace.  If you’d like to receive one of our cards, leave a comment and we’ll mail you one from the Searsport post office…with pleasure!

 

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A snip here, and snip there before the snow fell gave me enough to make the front door look festive! We’ve been planting Christmas trees for years and I love taking the goats for a walk along the beach while we gather berries and cones and greens for every empty container in the house.

 

 

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We’re working on a new logo for the Maker’s Guild…the umbrella organization that creates Fiber College, Vacationland Bluegrass Jam Camp and the Old Time Music Campout in September. We’re not 100% satisfied with the logo but can’t figure out why…any thoughts?

 

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My first ever cookie swap was with Kendra who lives just down the street…what a great excuse to put everything on hold and eat cookie batter!

 

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The conversation went something like this: “Me: sweetheart, you’ve been working hard at so many projects lately, why don’t you treat yourself to something that’s only purpose is to give you pleasure. Him: that’s really nice…let me think about it”  A week later a traxcavator shows up in the yard…”Me: huh?  You didn’t buy another piece of equipment did you (imagine frowning face).  Him: You said do something for my own pleasure…this is mine for 72 hours…I’m headed across the street.”

Happy Chanukah and enjoy the solstice…we’re getting ready for the family to arrive for Christmas through the New Year and we still need to find our ornaments.  We were going to put up a tree today but the forecasted high is 15 degrees so maybe we’ll wait a little while longer to go out and make the cut.

10 Reasons I Love November in Maine

10 Reasons

#1…The sky is clear blue, the oak trees still glow in orange and the seaweed is a beautiful shade of deep yellow-green.  November is a glorious time to walk the beach and find shells and sea glass that get churned up from the weekly storms that seem to brew with more spectacular drama…and then all is calm and sparkling.

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#2…We get to wear sweaters, boots and long scarfs that coordinate with our mittens.  Don’t you just love wearing a completely new wardrobe?  If you’ve got a memory as short as mine, it’s a surprise to see all the clothes I had completely forgotten about and can we talk comfort for a moment?  This is the time of year to snuggle into thick cotton shirts, mohair sweaters (from our goats of course :)) and heavy socks in hiking boots…heaven.

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#3…It’s the season of hygge…(sounds like who-ga).  The Danish version of cocooning…snuggling in and practicing the art of slow living.  Another way of saying it is the absolute knowledge that you are absolutely where you should be, when you should be…doing what you should be.  It’s such a relief from feeling tugged in 50 directions when the days are long and warm.

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#4…It’s totally OK to sleep 8 hours every night.  When it starts to get dark at 3:30 and the sun doesn’t come up again until 7, who’s to say it’s wrong to snuggle into a warm bed at 9PM?

#5…It’s time to dive into a new project without interruption.  For me it’s about spinning, knitting and weaving with friends in the studio.  For Steve it’s about playing more music and planning concert dates and trips for the coming months.

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#6…It’s time to make soup…and desserts…and try new recipes.  By now our cold storage and refrigerator are overflowing with the late harvest and it’s a real responsibility to use up the baskets of green beans, carrots, beets, tomatoes and bell peppers before they become goat food.  I love to pick out a cookbook, blow off the dust that’s accumulated since last March and start sampling new recipes and re-discovering old favorites.  Last night was carrot pie from a Russian Vegetarian cookbook…how can a crust of butter, oat flour and sour cream be anything but exquisite when it’s filled with sweet and sour carrots and doused with chicken broth that has simmered all day long?  And the calories don’t count because we worked outside in the cold and deserve to be pampered.

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#7…In November, nobody judges when you curl up in a chair with a stack of magazines, a cup of cocoa and totally ignore the telephones and notification dings for hours on end once the sun slips behind the trees at 3 in the afternoon…or spend hours on the computer playing with the photos that go into a blog post ;).

#8…There’s a not so subtle nudge to get outdoors and hike before the snow flies…and before the waistline thickens (see #6) while the sun is still shining (see #6 to understand the potential conflict).  The flock loves to walk on the beach nibbling seaweed so it seems that we do this every afternoon that the wind isn’t blowing us off our feet.

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#9…I’ve start scrolling through podcasts while organizing the closets; I love ones that explore creativity, philosophy and humor.  I’m continually amazed at how much quality content is available for free on the internet with a little bit of digging.  Right now my favorite podcasts are the Creative Pep Talk, Fresh Air and The Daily and Philosophize This!

#10…It’s time to laugh and re-connect with friends & family…over coffee, over lunch, over drinks.  Our friends understand that our lives are devoted to the responsibilities surrounding Campground and the Makers Guild from April until October…you might say that we binge on our friends the same way we binge on Netflix…and November is the month it all begins…more photos to follow…it seems I haven’t collected any good pictures of friends lately…huh.

Campground fire at Searsport Shores
Another fun evening clean up.

There’s still two weeks left to enjoy, may we all make the most of it!

Astrig