In Searsport, life is pretty much “normal” in our campground centric world. Steve’s outside re-designing the gardens to make the entrance to the garden kitchen more attractive, Mike & Wayne are building picnic tables & benches, Julie & Kent (one of two new couples who will be helping us this summer) are cleaning and organizing the office/rec hall while they quarantine for 14 days, Deb is painting signs and I’m in the house tending to reservations, Makers Guild of Maine “stuff” and summer programs. While I blinked the crocuses came up but we’re still a long way away from daffodils and forsythias.
We expect to hear more about when and how we will be permitted to open but for the moment we’re thinking that we’ll host self contained campers by Memorial Day. We’ll keep the bathhouse closed in the beginning and do all of our check in/check outs from the porch. We’ll have plenty of space to stagger campers throughout the park so distance shouldn’t be an issue…and goodness knows we have plenty of places to explore in the region that are remote enough to avoid anyones exhalations. We’ll follow CDC guidelines about masks and disinfecting.
In Official news, we’ve had information on seasonal camping and reservations procedures.
All in all, the wildly fluctuating weather is creating a lot of extra work and the virus has shaken our foundations…our hearts are with those who are feeling the impact more immediately than we are and our faith in humanity is hitting the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. We can still count on the tides, the curiosity of a lamb, the nourishment of a home cooked meal and anticipation we feel at the beginning of every camping season…be well and please stay in touch,
Astrig & Steve
Our Maine life has remained relatively normal. We don’t usually spend much time away from home when Spring clean up is demanding our attention…and the daffodils are coming up right on schedule…just after the pussy willows started feeding our honey bees. Our hearts go out to those who are confronting Covid-19 on their doorstep.
The one thing we can control is our day to day healthy living right here at home. Steve and I make a tea that supports our energy and well-being. It’s three simple ingredients with centuries of comfort: bladderwrack, tumeric and ginger. Each supports digestion, reduces chronic inflammation and directs energy to our lungs. This is all important during a pandemic but actually, it improves life in a Northern coastal climate regardless of what’s going on in the bigger world.
Bladderwrack is that beautiful seaweed that grows lushly on our rocky beaches. For years we’ve harvested it to fertilize our gardens, steam the seafood we prepare for our lobsterbakes, add it to soups & stir fries and steep it for this tea.
First go to the beach and harvest the freshest looking bladderwrack you can find at low tide. When you find it, cut it from the rocks leaving enough to regenerate (we leave 6″). A small basket full will be enough for a large jar of tea. Although there’s some confusion about rockweed and bladderwrack (Steve’s holding bladderwrack in his left hand and rockweed in his right) both are healthy and can substitute one for the other.
It’s a simple tea recipe…just dry all of the ingredients in the sunshine, chop them finely, mix them in equal proportions or to taste. When your ready for a comforting cup of tea, steep a couple of spoonfuls for about 20 minutes and inhale the vapors…it’s a marvelous blend of sea brine and exotic warmth that will carry you back to your time here on the coast. We don’t find the need to sweeten it but if you’d like try a local honey or maple syrup to taste.
P.S. Bringing the flock along to help with the harvest only makes the experience better
I hope this note finds you and your family well while we navigate the stark reality created by Covid-19. Personally I’m oscillating between feeling both blessed and ragged; fortunate because I can stay busy planning things like our summer camping season, Fiber College and the new coat I want to spin, weave and sew, but raw from images of refrigerated box cars behind hospitals, service people without masks and empty streets.
I hope that you’re finding solace in your handwork, cooking or books, and are able to take advantage of the time and opportunities created by social distancing to focus on projects that bring you joy, comfort and the chance to feel in control. Here in Searsport we’re getting the campground ready slowly by picking up fallen tree limbs, re-digging trenches and gathering up mountains of acorns that the squirrels didn’t need this winter. We’re also inside putting the final touches to the new Maker’s Guild Website we’ve dreamed about for years, which tells the story of our not for profit creative community and will showcase all the details of this year’s events when it launches in the near future. We’ve (finally!) learned how to use Cloud based software to polish photos, edit text and video conference…and sorting through images from the 14 years of happy gatherings we’ve enjoyed together has been comforting and inspiring! It’s fun to see how we’ve grown and changed….and makes the grey hairs I now sport seem earned rather than inflicted!
In past years, Fiber College (September 9-17, 2020) has always launched its calendar of classes on April 1st, but this year we’ve decided to do things a little differently. We’re on track to give you the very best line up of classes that we’ve ever offered, but given the way everyone is being impacted right now, it’s taking a little longer than usual to pin down some of the final details….and we don’t want to add another the pressure to people’s lives. And honestly, the launch just doesn’t feel right yet. Even as I’m writing, our Governor has announced a new order to Stay at Home. So please indulge us for another week or two while we work out a few more details, give extra time to friends in need and show additional bits of kindness to the people who are keeping our groceries on the shelves, our community safe and our vital systems functioning.
In the meantime, here’s a taste of what’s in store. We gathered together the images (Steve wrote and played the music track) for this quick video previewing all the class photos that we’ll be posting soon. We hope you enjoy it! Stay safe and if you feel as though you are swimming up a flooded Spring stream, pause and look at the birds that are singing from the branches. There is still so much to celebrate!
With a heart full of love and gratitude,
P.S. We’ve just adopted a bottle lamb…an Icelandic that Coral, our lovely assistant, has been nursing into health…This new addition to our wooly family makes us smile so expect way too many pictures posted to our facebook and instagram pages
P.P.S. If you would like to learn more about our nonprofit arm, Maker’s Guild of Maine you can click over to the website and at the bottom you’ll find a place to sign up for our e-mail updates https://makersguildmaine.org/
“There should be a place where only the things you want to happen, happen”
― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Whenever we meet “first-timers” at Searsport Shores, we love taking them on a walking tour to discover some of the campground’s “secret treasures”. There are secluded spots hidden throughout the woods, along the trails, and even in plain sight . . . if you know where to look!
One of the best hidden surprises of all is the “Umbrella Tree”. You can climb its carved steps, sit under its cozy canopy of branches, and listen to the gurgling of the stream below.
Or, if you want, you can just climb up, smile, and pronounce yourself Queen of the forest!
Would you like to hunt for the Umbrella Tree?
Here’s a hint: Start on the path behind the playground, look very, very carefully and listen for the sounds of running water.
There are forested paths and hidden bridges throughout the woods, just waiting to be explored. Start here and choose any path!
In the Ocean Tenting area, you may pass the “Swing Site”. When you do, you have to stop for a few minutes (no one will see you!) and swing as high as you can – be a kid again!
“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”
― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
If you just need a few moments of quiet, wander into the vegetable gardens, find an old
mattress spring trellis covered with fat green leaves and just sit for awhile.
The squash won’t mind.
And did you know that on the second floor of the Art Studio there is a livable little house made entirely of vintage doilies? Sometimes I still can’t believe it’s real!
Lace drifts from above a little bed dressed with a vintage coverlet and handmade pillows.
While a little desk creates a quiet place for journaling.
A lacy flowered curtain covers a window overlooking the gardens, just daring you to push it aside and take a peek.
While the ceiling features shiny glass wishing balls . . . and even a doily skylight!
Hidden in the woods across from the studio are the horseshoe pits, built by campers . . .
And named by them too! *credits to Jolene*
Tucked in opposite the “Pits”, near the entrance to the campground, is the Dog Park, where our canine campers get to run free . . .
and meet new friends!
And I almost forgot about the Searsport Shores goats with their own little community of goat-sized houses, church, school and out-buildings!
Speaking of little buildings . . . these three tiny houses are hidden behind the art studio. Each one sleeps two people comfortably and, yes, they are for rent at the campground office. (No goats in these!)
One thing that is never hidden here at Searsport Shores is the love that is all around us.
It’s what makes Searsport Shores such a special place.
“Oh, please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!”
― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
Hope we’ll see you soon – to discover the secret places at Searsport Shores places that make you happiest!
A few days ago, we shared a “Sneak Peek” of the newly updated “Store at the Shores”. As we filled the shop for this summer, Astrig wanted to focus on unique or hand-made local products. Here are a few of the new little treasures we can’t wait for you to see when you visit.
I love some of the names on our local Goat’s Milk Soap . . . like “Goatmeal” . . . or “Pasture Prime” (think carefully before giving this one to your BFF!) Since a visit to Searsport wouldn’t be the same without the bleating of Astrig’s adorable goats, this local soap would be a perfect reminder of happy summer days at the Shores.
We’re also introducing a line of hand-stenciled 30″ square flour sack towels. Aside from bringing happy Maine memories into your kitchen or camper, these machine-washable towels actually get the dishes dry and silverware shiny.
And, with a little imagination (and a few clips) , they make adorable curtains, like these in the store.
And we still haven’t shown you my favorite new product – a line of jewelry from a Portland studio called “Picadilly Pendants”. Beth, the designer writes, ” I can be caught daily in my home/shop obsessing over new designs and foraging for unique prints, metals, beads and ideas to make my creations. I have found, with the exception of family, that this is what makes me so incredibly happy”.
These pendants each feature sections of antiques maps showing Searsport, Penobscot Bay, and surrounding towns. A perfect souvenir or gift from the Shores!
I love Beth’s “Maine” and “Love” bracelets. They come in silver, gold, or rose gold colors and are so reasonably priced that you may need all three!
Even better, 20% of every Picadilly Pendants purchase is donated to a number of Beth’s favorite charities and non profit organizations.
You’ll find these, earrings, pins, key chains and more in our new “Jewelry Corner”. There’s even fancy lighting and a mirror so that you can try the jewelry on.
Just to the left of the Jewelry Corner is a gorgeous selection of hand-crocheted hats in a variety of delicious colors. All of Ann’s hats are made with 80 – 100% Maine wool. (Almost makes me wish for winter . . . NOT!)
We’ve also added more local foods to the store’s offerings. Like these yummy honey products from Sharon Perez.
If you’re looking for a unique gift, our Honeybee Yo-Sox and Royal Honey flour sack towels coordinate nicely with Sharon’s products. And we can’t wait for you to try the jams and jellies from El’s Kitchen in nearby Winterport. I love the Dandelion Jelly!
As you can see, our little shop is full to the brim and just waiting for you to visit.
Next time we’ll show you some of the many new toys we’ve recently unpacked at the store. In fact, our favorite junior camper, Vera, is already pointing the way to the toy department! (Is she just too cute for words???)
ever so slightly misogynistic sign says, let’s pretend that, “Your husband called. He said to buy whatever you want”.
Thanks to the Facebook Group, The Real Housewives of RVing, for all of their suggestions about how to add a little magic to our shop. We can’t wait to see each of you at the “Store at the Shores” !
After three years of “baby steps”, the Searsport Shores campground store (think water hoses, propane tanks and a lovely selection of RV tires) has been transformed into “The Store at the Shores”, a fantastical place full of Maine-made crafts. yummy yarn, foods, jewelry, hoodies, honey, toys, mermaids and sundries.
So many people contributed to the project: long-time camper Jolene came up with the name, Steve painted the floor (and Astrig dusted it with glitter, of course!), Mike built the shelves, Deb painted the signs, and Cheryl researched new products (while nagging Astrig to order them!)
Here’s a sneak peek . .
We’ve got the cutest (and warmest) camping Sox you’ve ever seen: “Glamping”, mermaids, lobsters, honeybees and more – for men and women.
And for those chilly evenings around the campfire, a new selection of “Searsport Shores” t-shirts and hoodies in bright summer colors.
There’s even a little corner in which to sit and knit or spin while you’re thinking about how you might start (and finish!) your Christmas shopping right here at the Shores.
With new Searsport Shores imprinted ornaments arriving next week, what could be better than enjoying a summer afternoon at the Shores while contemplating a balsamy Maine Christmas? Check the blog often for more peeks at the new items arriving daily at the cutest, most magical, little general store in Searsport!
And yes, guys, we still sell RV tires!
The gardens are still filled with lupine and most of our Spring chores have been accomplished…now comes the excitement of the summer holidays…bring on the iced drinks, the smoky bbq and lots of ice cream!
Next week we’re going to celebrate with food, friends and if the weather Gods smile…warm temperatures and sunshine! If you’re here on Tuesday we’ll be firing up our 1921 potato chip machine…if you don’t know about warm potato chips, you’ve missed one of life’s greatest treats. We’ll have sprinkles and dips to share but let’s make it more special: Bring your favorite homemade dip for everyone and get your chips for free!
Wednesday we’ll continue the Makers Guild of Maine sponsored Wednesday at the Shores program. It’s a picking party on the porch (bring your stringed instrument and we’ll have the song books ready to go), pack a picnic, learn more about harbor seals with the Maine Harbor Seal Project and learn to weave a rug with discarded t-shirts (in fact, if you have any old t-shirts or sweat shirts that you’re not wearing please bring them along for our project). We welcome anyone to set up a vending table of hand crafted, grown or produced wares at no charge.
Thursday starts early because we need to be lined up for the Searsport Parade by 10:30. We’ll decorate a float with the kids and add lots of music. Our little town celebrates the 4th just like you remember it…with Chicken BBQ, Firemen’s games and lots of smiling. That night there will be fireworks from Moseman Park…you can travel the mile to get there from the campground or simply catch them across the bay from our beach (oh yeah, we’ll light a bonfire so bring the marshmallows if you can still eat sugar after our free monster hot fudge sundaes).
Saturday we’ll start preparing for the Lobsterbake early in the afternoon…at the moment we’re dithering between Strawberry Shortcakes, Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream and Peach Cobbler for dessert…want to offer an opinion? This is the only thing that you need to plan ahead for…because we only cook for 50 people, make certain that you’ve reserved a ticket if you’d like to join in the fun. You can find more information here.
Steven and I and our incredible crew are looking forward the excitement of summer swinging into full gear. If you’re already coming, fantastic! If you’re thinking about coming, please give us a call because we’d love to have you join our little world for a celebration that brings us together with smiles and generosity across the picnic tables. Just pack your favorite pillow…everything else will be good!
It has been hard for me to wrap my head around our upcoming time on the coast of Maine, as it has been such a cold and wet spring. I started to think I was going to have to pack our snow pants! With the emergence of the sun (finally!) and some warmer weather, our snow pants and jackets hang clean and drying on the line and we are really getting ready to head to Searsport Shores!
My family and I spent a lovely few days there last August, after finding the campground almost by chance. Usually, we camp in wilderness areas, but using Maine as a stop-over on our way to Nova Scotia, we decided to try out a campground and were thrilled with the friendly people and amenities of Searsport Shores! (My gosh- hot showers, laundry AND a sink to wash dishes! Firewood and ice! A playground AND an indoor playspace! For those of you seasoned campground campers, these things might come as no surprise, but we usually pack in everything we’ll need for the week in our kayaks, or maybe a canoe, all our food is canned or dehydrated, and all our firewood found and sawed by hand. Plus my child gets to bring just one toy for the week.) In the relative luxury, the fresh sea air and the calm ocean, my child and pup had their first ocean experiences. We so enjoyed the grounds, including of course the amazing rocky beach, the forest paths, the beautiful gardens, playground, goats, and of course the artist studio last year, that by the end of our 3 days, I was hoping to become an artist in residence for the next season!
Now, I am tying up loose ends, completing my residencies in my local middle school and preschool, getting my office, studio and home tidied up and ready to be left. We have most of our vegetables and flowers in the garden, with a few more things to plant this weekend, before the last mad-dash week of work and school and then…the magical journey begins!
Oh, and by the way…My name is Alexandra and I will be the artist in residence at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground for the third week of June. My family, including my husband, 5 year old and sweet pup Lena will be on site for the week as well. We have a few friends joining us and can’t wait to meet everyone else! I am a glass and multi-media artist living in the Burlington, Vermont area, originally from the Finger Lakes region of New York. My passions include finding the beauty in little, everyday moments, celebrating the elegance of nature and helping others find joy in making art! Check me out on instagram @mindfulartscreations, and at my website: www.alexandraturnerart.com .
See you at the beach!~
People say that college is some of the most interesting years of your life. Well I decided to move 9 hours away from my home and live in a tent for the summer to liven it up just a little bit more. Hello, my name is Owen Samsel. I am working as an intern for Searsport Shores blog posting and managing social media for the camp ground. Currently I am a sophomore at the University of Maine studying Civil Engineering.
My first experience at Searsport Shores I was only around the age of seven. Our family had three young boys all involved in cub scouts at the time thought why not have a camping trip be our next family vacation. Specifically, the parts of this first journey I remember the first night thereafter setting up our obnoxiously large Coleman tent which was probably about the size of two minivans put together. I reelect my mother encouraging us to slip on our bathing suits and head down to the ocean. At this point, it was just starting to get dark with high tide coming in closer my brothers and I spotted a large piece of driftwood in the stream, drug the log into the ocean and tried to ride it. Instead, we just ended up flopping into the cold water of the Penobscot Bay.
I remember waking up in in the mornings to the smell of pancakes with fresh Maine blueberries with possibly some of the sweetest maple syrup I had ever had in my life which was locally made. I enjoyed walking the rocky beaches and exploring the tide pools never knowing what creature you are going to find next hiding in the rocks or the sea weed. One of the staples of Maine being lobster, my family made sure to visit the local lobster pound plenty of times. Moments like these are what lead me from my Pennsylvania home to the coast of Maine.
As time went on, we came back for a few more vacations. Even using it as a place to stay during my college visit to the University of Maine. Now I get the experience of living here for the whole summer and getting to experience it for even longer! I look forward to the summer ahead of me and to all the new people I will meet.
Hope to see you soon!
Money can buy a campground. College or apprenticeships can teach budgeting and wise investments. Computer marketing skills can spread the word about a park…BUT the special ingredient is the people who share their talent and love to create a community that energizes, inspires and relaxes the souls that come down the road.
This past weekend we relied on the help of friends old and new to jump start the camping season. Our chore list seemed endless on Wednesday but when folks started driving in on Thursday with rain gear and smiles, suddenly it felt like we could move mountains…and we did…mountains of leaves and debris and odd jobs that have been sitting on the edge of our minds for months.
May the camping season begin! With love and gratitude, Astrig & Steve