Free Camping During Project Week

It’s a Huckleberry Finn sort of thing…

It’s so much fun to do Spring chores…wouldn’t you like to enjoy some free camping in exchange for help with our to do list? Everyone is welcome to share…paint, build, rake, tend the fires, cook, organize and celebrate our wonderful community!

For our 29th annual Ship Shape Weekend…we’re changing it up and expanding our plans to fill a whole week.  If time is tight, just come for the weekend and we’ll follow our traditional schedule but if you can stay a little longer and want to help, we’ve got all sorts of projects including building a greenhouse, a tiny house and expanding the trails.  May is a fickle month so we know we’ll be working around the sunny hours…we ask that you come and be part of the family…together we’ll figure out what can get done and how we’ll do it. Bring your tools.  We’ll make certain that no one goes hungry or overworks

Friday-Sunday The schedule proceeds generally like this rain or shine:

Drive in during daylight hours and choose a campsite. Friday night join us for pizza at the art studio…bring toppings to share and a beverage of your choice…we’ll have the dough ready for custom creations.

Saturday start the day with homemade doughnuts and coffee while we divide up the chores based on what you like to do. We’ll break for lunch…hopefully a BBQ at the beach if the weather is conducive. Dinner’s pot luck and a trivia game.

Sunday and Monday we tie up loose ends, eat leftovers and massage tired muscles.

More questions? Email us and we’ll save you a site relax@campocean.com or text (207) 930-5919

The best piece of advice I heard in 2022, while working in the studio, was from the 10% Happier Podcast: Stop and recognize happy moments when you’re in the middle of them. Literally stop and say out loud, “This is a happy time.” It’s a way to ground yourself in the joyful parts of your life. I love this! How many times have I muttered myself, “grrrrr” (or worse but why share?) when something went askew? It’s easy to express frustration but I want to start expressing Joy with greater frequency.

In 2023 I’m going to spend even more time saying…“This is wonderful!” and invite you all to join me…instead of a secret handshake, let’s make it our new conversation starter whenever our paths cross.

In true end of the year/beginning of a fresh year tradition, I want to share a few wonderful moments from last summer. As I was looking through the images to add to the post, I could feel my heart tingling from the smiling faces, the beautiful weather, the creative energy at work. Our atmosphere is a cocktail of summer camp, farm on the coast, art retreat and home. After 30 years, we’re all getting a little soft around the edges and a little less manicured but with time comes a patina that can’t be described…it just has to be felt.

This year we hosted more meals, gave away more produce from the garden, put another box on the bee hives and added chickens to our menagerie. Being able to offer something grown right here on the property to add to someone’s table is a pleasure that cannot be understated. Gift giving nourishes both us and our friends. It’s wonderful!

In 2022 we built more hiking and biking trails in the park and across the street…so humans and pets had more space to roam. Solitude is a precious commodity these days and sometimes it’s time alone that makes us better when we get back to being around others. t’s wonderful to enjoy so much space.

We took more time to eat and celebrate with those that we love so dearly! We’re not a tribe, we’re a wonderful family!

We let fire and light warm our souls and felt the inspiration that comes from being wrapped in reds, golds and yellows. It’s wonderful to feel warm inside.

We hosted more creatives who made music and traditional crafts. We took the time to listen to the lyrics and hear the stories of how people’s talents came to light. It’s a wonderful practice to remember that everyone has an interesting story to tell.

We had more sunny days in 2022 so we spent more time soaking up that sunshine! We made art on the side of the road while others sang from the stage. One passion informs the other and it’s wonderful to feel the energy swirl around us all.

We saw friends discover new passions and felt that surge of pride that can only come from being together and using our hands…we know it as children but it’s wonderful to remember it as adults.

We couldn’t have all this without you…thank you for being so wonderful!

Completely off topic, did you know that 2023 is the year of the rabbit in Chinese Astrology? The Chinese culture considers the rabbit to be the luckiest out of all 12 animals, and the sign symbolizes longevity, peace and prosperity. 2023 is predicted to be a year of hope.

by Terri Malloy

Gee’s Bend
Fiber College
Strung Together

Good Friends, Good Food, Good Music, Good Times!

Summer has come to an end but it didn’t go out quietly. Two weeks and our biggest events of the season were the culmination of an amazing summer at the Shores.

September 9, kicked off the Makers Guild of Maine’s Fiber College. Over 4 days, students immersed themselves in their chosen class, made new friends and enjoyed delicious prepared meals by Chef Patrick and his helpers. Most of the participants and instructors stayed at the campground in our cabins, RV sites or tent camped. This allowed everyone to relax and enjoy the evenings getting to know one another and soak up the beauty and atmosphere that makes Searsport Shores so magical.

Fiber College has been an integral part of Searsport Shores since 2006. It has morphed and evolved along the way but the main mission has remained the same: celebrate the fiber arts in all of its forms. Fibers (loosely translated to anything that can form a thread including wood, wire and melting metal, connect us to the natural world, time-honored skills, the global community, and to each other. It reminds us of all that it means to be human upon this great planet.

The first year of the pandemic we started moving towards immersive, small group workshops. Participants pre-register for one of the offered classes and spend 4 days with their instructor and other students deeply focused in one area of learning.

This year participants chose from Rug Hooking With Elizabeth Miller – A Rug by Any Other Name, Shoe Making with Molly Grant – Stepping Out in Style, Weaving with Bobbie Tilkens-Fisher – Tap into Tapestry and Dyeing with Rust with Samantha Verrone in her class The Alchemy of Rust.

Each class included 18 hours of instruction and additional time to work on their projects independently. This is one of the many perks of staying onsite. The class areas remained available so students could come and go in between all of the other happenings. There were also bonus classes to learn botanical printing, rope mat weaving, peg weaving. It was pretty impossible to leave here without your brain overflowing with new found knowledge.

As the days went by and I observed and moved throughout the classes and the gardens where the meals were held. I got to meet and talk to everyone and watch their projects go from idea to, in progress, to completion. Everyone seemed relaxed, happy and were enjoying the moments as they unfolded.

On the last day, everyone was encouraged to come down to the shore with their completed or in progress masterpieces for photos. Delicious breakfast smoothies and fresh baked muffins were on hand and the goats even joined in the fun.

On Sunday, we also hosted the first of two Community Days. Visitors could partake in ongoing demos and classes in Natural Dyeing, Botanical Printing, Peg Weaving, Mandala Dot Painting, Rope Mat Making and more. Tango’s food stand was open and had different offerings for each weekend. Live music played on the main stage and there were vendor stands set up by local artisans that offered a variety of handmade items and products for purchase.

All in all it was an amazing event. We have already started planning for 2023. You won’t want to miss it so mark your calendars now for September 7-10, 2023. There will be new, exciting classes and more changes as we learn a little more each year on how to make it better for all involved. Please feel free to leave a comment or send an email to relax@campocean.com. We would love to start a conversation and hear your ideas. Stay tuned for Parts 2 and 3!

Penobscot Bay is out your door…maybe a minute or two walk

by Terri Malloy

My name is Terri Malloy,  I’ve been a full-time RVer and workamper for over 8 years. For those of you that don’t know what a workamper is, it’s someone that lives self contained and travels to different places trading a space to live for either volunteer hours or space plus paid hours or some combination of the two.

I love my site!

I move about every 6 months or so depending on the contract. I’ve workcamped at many campgrounds, state parks and various other places such as rescue ranches and theme parks throughout the years. Traveling to 38 states, I’ve met a lot of people and seen a lot of campgrounds.

I found Searsport Shores accidentally. I was looking for an artist retreat to go to and Searsport Shores Campground came up in the search. When I saw “campground” in the name, I immediately called and asked if they used workcampers.

There’s Art Everywhere!

Deb answered the phone and said, “yes we do, I’m one!”.

She gave me Astrigs email address and suggested I send an email. I promptly sent off an email thinking I had about a 50% or lower chance of getting in. It’s very hard for a single to get into campgrounds the further north you go because the campgrounds are smaller and they want 2 workers for 1 site. I was hoping that being an artist would give me an edge.

I emailed Astrig and she said to get in touch with her the second week of October as she needed to wait until  the end of the season to see who was coming back.  This was July, so it was a long wait!

I dutifully called the second week in october and we chatted about the campground, art, music and the type of community her and Steve had spent the last 28 years building. I was in love and then elated when she said I would fit right in.

I arrived in May, just in time for clean-up weekend. This is the weekend before opening and they offer a free site for the weekend for people that will come and help clean, build, cook and bring the campground back to life after its long winter’s sleep.

It’s time to get to work!

I met so many people that weekend, many who have become dear friends since. Everyone worked hard, met for home-cooked meals at the end of the day and got to know each other in the evenings around the campfire. I knew then that this was a special place and this was going to be an amazing summer.

Woodfired pizza, music and new friends

Well we’re near the end of August now and my time here has not disappointed. I’ve created art, taught art classes, played in almost every weekly Open Jam Session, met great people and made lifelong friends.

September is full of incredible events. Starting with Fiber College, then the Gees Bend Quilting Workshop which runs concurrently with Strung Together, and Old Time and Bluegrass Music Festival. You can find more information on these events and register at http://www.makersguildmaine.org.

I will be going more in depth on each of these events in next few days. We still have a couple of Artists in Residence here, including Santa Steve, and the Sea Strings Orchestra will still be playing Monday evenings in the Garden and we will still have Open Jams on Wednesday nights.

This is truly a special place filled with love, community, like minded artists and lovers of art and music. If you’re looking to disconnect from the internet, TV, your cell phone and the outside world, I encourage you to visit.

You will leave renewed, recharged, motivated to create and keep the art and music spirit inside you alive until you return.

The Bay is Calling

As we slide into the end of August and Labor Day draws near, we’re hanging onto the last of the true summer days vigorously.

The weather is still warm and the nights are getting a little cooler, creating the perfect time for one last getaway.

Starfish, Seals, Porpoises, you never know what you will see.

We have many fun events coming in September and we will still have live music Monday and Wednesday nights and art classes available from several Artists in Residence. Learn something new or dive deeper into an existing passion.

The New Zeitgeist were our latest artists in residence.

We will be open through Columbus Day Weekend. Give us a call today – 207-548-6059 – to learn more about upcoming events and get your reservation started.

Happy 4th of July!

The campground was full of families laughing, playing and having a great time this weekend. The weather the past couple of days has been picture perfect. Our guests have enjoyed kayaking, clamming, fishing, playing in the Bay, campfires and just plain relaxing. Hopefully, everyone has enjoyed their 4th as much as we have!

Fresh Picked Strawberries!
Firewood to Create Your Own Campsite Fireworks

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s our day of love…can you feel it? In this virtual reality I feel like singing from the rooftop…

I love my husband! I love my family, I love my flock and little slice of heaven here on the Maine coast. I love the celebrations we host, the friends that we’ve made and the community that holds us tight. Thank you to everyone who supports us in our little world…we continue to promise to give back every step of the way!

Celebrating the snow!

I can’t believe how long it’s been since I visited our poor neglected blog…I’m making a new pledge to give it more attention as life settles into a more “normal” rhythm. What more perfect way than to share a videos of the flawless blanket of snow that covered us over the weekend? It’s 30 seconds of “nothing special”…just Penobscot Bay as it sparkles!

snowshoeing along the boardwalk at low tide

Our little bubble of a world has been relaxed and comfortable. The family came for the holidays and then Steven and I settled into our January routine of organizing paperwork, making charts, plans and lists of things we must get done before the snow melts (hear me wishing for a very long winter?). We’ve been pursuing our pleasures…me with the weaving, spinning and dyeing, Steve with the community orchestra and a myriad of other musical pursuits. On these very short winter days, the animals have remained happy and healthy and all of us have been consuming a few too many calories while reading and catching up on Netflix…but certainly the snowshoes helped today, right?

Burning calories

We’ve made plans to expand the playground and reservations are coming in nicely. I’m thrilled to have Elaine back “in the office” with us choosing sites for people. She’s very good at it, because she spent 15 years in the park and really cares about guest experiences. Last year she moved to VA to be closer to family. One of the gifts of Covid was learning that we didn’t need to be in the same space to work effectively. We’ve gotten some very nice press lately and we’ve needed the help. Did you see the article that came out in Conde’ Nast Traveller just before Christmas? We were chosen the Best Campground to visit this year! Wow!

I’ve got to run and feed the flock… but we wish you well and I promise to stay in touch more often.

I’ve missed you too! Astrig

May peace and health be with you!

It’s a Team Effort

Yesterday a dear friend took me on a short video tour of her office…an affluent space painted bright white, filled with creative people doing important things. But I couldn’t get past how “indoors” it all was…in my world I forget (and have perhaps never really known) that while others covet a balcony or a window view, I shift picnic tables to get out of the wind or into the right mixture of sunshine and shade.

As an example: This morning George our mechanic texted to say that he’d made blueberry muffins this morning and there were two with my name on them in the workshop (George has blueberry barrens). Deb (part of the office/gardening team) reminded me to stop and look at the peonies that Norma purchased for our new garden by the frog pond…full bloom beauties. Steve brought ice coffee to the middle of the garden so that we could plan out which peas should climb which trellises. I guess you could say that we’ve been “#cottagecore” before “#cottagecore” was a thing.

Last week we gathered for Clean Up Weekend…our traditional means of jump starting the camping season, always the week after Mothers’ Day. In case you haven’t heard about it, we trade campsites for help with the chores. The format is always the same: a huge to do list on a big white board, lots of good food and smiles to share and at the end of the day we pour Mermaid Water liberally (pineapple juice, rum and Malibu with lime) and salute the amount of work that was accomplished by so many willing hands. Steve and I are always humbled by the outpouring of support. When we wave goodbye to friends, there’s always a feeling of groundedness that can only come from being surrounded by a village…nothing feels overwhelming anymore. Clean up weekend is the 21st century version of a barn raising or quilting bee.

Chores are so much more fun when they’re shared! Thank you everyone!!

While all of the activity was swirling around in the park, one of our big concerns was that no one disturb the nesting mallard duck who had claimed the Rec Hall porch all to herself…it made perfect sense because she had soft bags of leaves to nest on (we gather them in the fall to use as bedding for the flock), it was warm and out of the rain and our fountain ponds were close by for fresh water and algae nibbles. She sat on those eggs for 27 days and we were on the other side of the porch when all seven of them hatched. We were so proud you’d have thought we had something to do with the miracle! Momma duck let the hatchlings rest for about 2 hours before she nudged them out of the nest and onto the deck and within 20 minutes they were in the stream swimming like they’d done it for ages…I haven’t smiled so much in ages!

Learn more about nesting birds

Looking towards the future, planned campground activities are taking shape now that we know that pandemic restrictions have lifted…but in deference to all, we’re choosing to celebrate summer 2021 outside and with socially distanced activities. It was a hard decision but we’re going to hold off on the lobster bakes until 2022 BUT we will be doing other food related celebrations with details to follow in the weeks to come. We’ll still be playing with fire though…Nate Winters will be teaching raku pottery this summer as a family activity. And you know about the Fiber College Touchstone Retreats happening every month…right? The proceeds of the retreats benefit the Makers Guild of Maine projects like the fiber tool and musical instrument lending library.

Nate Winters will be joining the campground on June 12, July 24, August 21 and September 11th to teach us raku firing…wrap your pots in seaweed, grasses, flowers and any other botanicals you can think of for one of a kind results…it’s AMAZING and can you think of a better souvenir????

Tomorrow we will begin to enjoy the rush of folks coming for a Memorial Day weekend camping trip. As I sit here typing on a picnic table in 80 degree sunshine, it’s hard to internalize that it’s still just May…as I articulate these thoughts, Steven reminds me that he know’s full well how warm it is because he feels like he’s a month behind with mowing already…how does that happen?

From the Ground Up!

100 years ago, our campground was part of a coastal farm that stretched from the ocean’s edge to the mountain on the other side of Route 1. Farmers typically fished in the winter and farmed in the summer so the lucky landholders enjoyed the best of both worlds. As we build the hiking trails and gardens across the road, we’ve come to truly appreciate the flexibility we have to work by the cool breezes of the water or hike in the shelter of the woods.

Part of responsibly managing these 150 acres involves culling trees and cleaning up “winter pruning.” As we’ve watched the price of lumber sky rocket, we’re particularly thankful for the white pine that was planted in careful rows 50 years ago under a government program to reforest the coast. Thanks to these trees, over the years many of our buildings have been constructed from the lumber that was grown here (as a side bar, we plant two trees for every one that is cut). These past few months, Steve’s been focused on all things wood, so first the logs went out of the campground…and then the boards came back. The next projects are another tiny house cabin, a big side deck on the garden kitchen for outdoor meals and dancing and another pavillion for gathering…I love the smell of sawdust in the air!

a little too excited about sharing a meal with friends!

My time has been occupied with all things Campground Office, Maker’s Guilds Retreats and our well loved flock. I’m grateful that we are now exiting the season of zoom and entering the season of face to face . Like many, I’ve been craving real smiles and sparks of conversation with friends old and new. Our friends are trickling back into the campground to help us run the summer season smoothly and we’re looking forward to a fluid blend of camping, food, and creative pursuits. Now that we’re all vaccinated, we’ve been able to share meals, although we continue to choose outdoor encounters over indoor ones ’cause we kinda like it. Last night we cooked pizzas in the wood range (that lives in the garden kitchen that was built with lumber from the campground 😉).

Our 29th annual clean up weekend happens in 4 days. The waterlines have been activated (but not all tested), the powers on and the lists are piling up everyday…supplies to buy, meals to plan, a big chart of who’s coming in and where their specialties lie. Clean Up weekend is the salve to our souls because just when we feel like the chores and repairs are more than we can handle, a calvary of fresh energy comes in and just like the bumper sticker promises, many hands make for light work! Besides, I get to indulge my love of making donuts in the lodge pot on Saturday morning!

We’ve changed things up a bit in the flock too. Those of you know who know our little Binx, know that he’s a fragile old soul that needs a bit of protection…long story short, his partner Bubbles was getting too rambunctious so she found a new home, and little Jellybean was in need of a gentle companion…so we did a little swapping. Don’t you wish all relationships could be so easily re-arranged? Now you know why our kids have 4 legs!

And last but certainly not least, we’re putting more of the touches on the Makers Guild retreats. Our first one is just a month away and I can’t wait! Three wonderful artists are gathering before hand for a bit of self guided professional development…and then they’ll be teaching 20 lucky students how to make a bespoke tunic from fabric they’ve been guided to dye with natural indigo, embroider it with stitches made from plant dyed embroidery floss and then cut and sew a tunic that fits their body to perfection. A tunic sound too daunting…there will be an evening wrap option too. Click here to find out more. In the meantime, keep creating happiness and stay healthy!

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