It’s been a beautifully warm and dry spring. In the past couple of weeks we’ve hosted many more guests than we usually see before Memorial Day Weekend. Some years I cringe at the thought of sharing our muddy roads and cold fog with people who have traveled so far to be with us; but this year, the flowers are huge, the grounds are ahead of schedule (thanks to the weather and the crew’s hard work) and the sun has been kind.
When the ocean is sparkling, it’s easy to feel like we’re living in a magical place, and our tagline “tidepools, gardens, goats and honeybees” takes on a life of its own. We plant with the intention of feeding ourselves, growing herbs for flavor and healing, making things pretty and nourishing the soil.
There is a seemingly effortless quality in how our grounds flourish in the everchanging combination of groomed gardens and controlled wild spaces. Really, the gardens are a result of carefully feeding the soil with sea weed, compost and worm castings and the hard work of our dedicated team who spend the summer making the park better… and choosing plants that thrive in our environment. We find our plants most often the local fire department and garden club plant sales and from our friends at nurseries who grow plants from seed and propagation…we don’t get our plants from the big box stores.
Yesterday Sue Riley asked me what the gardens were looking like this week and in particular, the state of the lupines. I don’t need a big excuse to abandon the office and the computer to take pictures of our world…so take a walk with me, the plants would love to meet you…
It’s hard to believe Memorial Day weekend is upon us…if we won’t have the pleasure of your company, we hope that you’re surrounded by friends and family. If we are lucky enough to have you share our world…make certain you find time to wander through the gardens. If you’d like us to draw you a mapped trail of some of our favorite plant nurseries (including stops for lunch and cocktails) don’t hesitate to ask.
Now’s the time when the reservations start flooding our world…the sun is shining, the tents and RV’s are begging to be opened up and aired out. In the Spring, most of my morning and evening work hours are spent in front of the computer, answering e-mails, returning phone calls and booking sites.
This is my 23rd summer of this responsibility and I take it as seriously now as I did before I had grey hair and needed glasses. About two thirds of our guests are either returning campers or have been referred by friends and family. These folks usually fall into two categories: they either love us and feel like any site in the park would be fine because they know that to the best of our ability all the sites are level, spacious and comfortable OR they have very specific sites in mind and are willing to plan their vacation dates around the availability of those sites. These are easy bookings because there is a lot of confidence on both of our parts.
The other third of our guests will be staying with us for the first time. Like any new relationship, there can be trust issues on both ends of the telephone. In a perfect world, people will trust me to choose a campsite to the best of my ability based on their vacation dates, site availability and their use of abundant adjectives for ideal site descriptions. There is a certain amount of compromise required if the only goals are “privacy, oceanfront, July and weekend”…but with a little wiggle room I can usually find something nice. First, I understand how important this getaway is…when Steven and I travel it’s fiercely important to us too that our time/money is spent as well as possible. Second, almost 100% of our guests understand the atmosphere we offer and want to be part of THIS world, so consideration and friendliness are the norm and not the exception…it’s good to know that your neighbors are wonderful too. Finally, we don’t try to fill all the sites in the park so when you get here, we’re happy to show you the site we’ve chosen and then offer up any other available campsite.
As I write this, I realize that maybe another good article would be about the difference between campsites and the reason behind some of our policies…stay tuned, because I’ll ponder this while I work in the garden and get back to you. This would be a great time to comment with questions I should address in the next posting. In the meantime, I’ve started a collection of photos of specific campsites that should help first time visitors envision our sites. and a request…if you’ve stayed with us before and have some great pictures of you and your family on a campsite…could I have copies please? you could either e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org or put them on Facebook. I get so wrapped up in the summer, I forget to get outside and take pictures.
I’ve been looking for a postcard image since I made coffee two hours ago and still no luck…but as I slog through the pictures, I spend most of my time smiling because of the memories they bring back. Because it’s reservation season and we seem to have more “new” guests than we’ve ever had, I thought you might like to see some pictures that show specific campsites.
These are photos that we’ve accumulated in no particular order. Nothing has been staged and most are snapshots taken for a different reason than showing the site. I say this because you’d think that because I live in paradise, it would be easy to show you breath-taking pictures. Well, the truth is, most of the activity that I’m involved in during the camping season generally happen in other areas of the campground (like the rec hall, lobster shack, art studio and gardens), not on people’s campsites. AND it feels a bit close to stalking when you barge in on someone’s campsite and ask to take a picture…do you know what I mean?
With the aforementioned caveats in place, have a marvelous, good-surpise-filled day and I hope that these pictures are helpful if you’ve never been here before and that they trigger a smile if they remind you a time you’ve spent here in the past.
So here are two requests: 1. If you have nice pictures of your campsite, could I please have copies and 2. If you have a fool-proof photo filing system, I really need to hear about it.
Saturday was the quintessential Maine winter day…not a cloud in the ski, visibility for miles and air so crisp you want to breath deep because even locals can smell the fir trees on days like this.
You may have read my post before about Brooks Maine…well Saturday I drove Rt 7 straight North, through Brooks to get to the annual spin-in held at the Newport Elementary school (you can see more photos and details here). But the drive over reminded me, to remind you, that once or twice during your stay you should drive this road through rolling farmland, beautiful lakes and apple orchards. It would be a challenging bike ride, a spectacular motorcycle or sports carve drive and still perfectly safe in a large RV or dually truck.
It must happen to you…I was so busy enjoying the scenery that I forgot to take pictures. Flicker to the rescue! I found some shots (like the one to the left) that Carol Tetrault took…click over and check out her photostream…You’ll be convinced to have us plot you a personalized itinerary…and we’d be happy to.
This is what it looks like to stand at site 93 and look to the ocean…site 73 is the site in front of this one…both are really wide, shaded wonderful sites…a minute to the bathhouse and playground…2 minutes to the beach…
Between you and me, I wish it would get cold and snow because I’m tired of new projects and that tiny little voice that keeps nudging me to take advantage of our unseasonably warm weather (think 50’s, not 70’s). But alas, it’s still really nice out and this morning Steven was outside working with a crew by 7AM…this time they’re expanding the workshop space underneath Dad’s deck…’cause boys never have enough room for their endeavors 😉
We got together this morning for pecan Cinnamon rolls and coffee…just to catch up a bit and talk about the months to come…but as always, the subject drifted to camping…and then to “what are we going to do next summer?” And the 50’s-60’s weekend was born…just like that.
Tentatively slated for July 30-August 1, Searsport Shores Ocean Camping will pull on our poodles skirts, fire up the muscle cars and dance to Rock & Roll Legends and Surf Tunes. Got ideas? We need them. Please come camping for the weekend…Bob promises it will be memorable 🙂 More to follow as we figure it out.