I started to write this while sitting inside a wooden cottage in the midst of a dense mix of trees that nestle up next to a bay in a part of Maine that should pretty much be Canada. It was my sixth night looking out the windows into complete blackness. Eighteen windows to be precise. And no shades or curtains on any of them. (I realize that in the middle of thirty-eight acres of private forest it is a bit silly to worry about who might be gazing in at me, but that’s just the city in me.)
This first entry about our week away will focus on the property on which Joe(y) and I stayed. We did so many things that I want to write about in detail, that putting it all in one post would be a way to get it all cluttered up real fast. So I’ll be adding posts in the near future about those things as well.
But for now, let’s focus on the cottage:
Do you see the sleeping nook? Look at it again! It was really one of the things that sold us on this cottage. (Not to mention being on the ocean, the private granite quarries or the amazing price.) Again, no shades on the windows that look right onto your bed. A sane person might argue that this is a non-issue when in the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t imagine who would be out in the forest looking in at me, but they were there. I could feel their eyes glaring in. That’s why I strung up a blanket to block people wandering through the woods of Maine at night a glimpse of me asleep.
The main house on the property was built by a couple in their seventies who own and live on the land. They were great conversationalists and had many stories to share. We only ran into them a handful of times, either on the private road connecting the two houses or at the local coffee shop. They were transplants from NYC living out their best days on some pretty amazing grounds. I am completely envious. I was very nice to them so I’m hoping they leave me the property in their will.
The thirty-eight acres of land are surrounded by water on three sides. There are two granite quarries from the turn of the 19th century that have now filled with fresh water via underground springs. They have been amazing for cooling off after a day of mountain biking in Acadia National Park. At the top there were many blueberry bushes providing a post-swim snack. Rumor has it they almost used these quarries for a scene in Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary”. You can see why:
Walking down the dirt and gravel road back to the cottage from the quarry you come to a place where it forks into three paths. Two of those lead to different points on the peninsula where you can look out for miles onto the bay. We usually took the path on the right, the one that leads to the old wharf where the ships would load granite to carry on to their final destinations as curbs for metropolitan cities on the east coast and, as local folklore has it, the base of the Washington Monument.
One of the old granite pillars still stands with metal driven deep into it. This has been a great spot to lay out in the afternoon sun while watching the bald eagle that lives in a pine tree on the point soar by overhead. Consequently, we only saw the eagle when we had our dog Riley down there with us, which made me nervous, because in addition to fish and baby seals, it’s well known that eagles eat pugs as a mainstay of their diet.
The porch was another great feature of the cabin. There were some pretty incredible lounge chairs that I think my aunt used to have in 1980s. (Another thing this cottage had was the pink silverware I had growing up as a child, so it was obvious to me that these people had been picking through my family’s trash for some years to furnish their rental property.)
Sitting out at dusk while the birds settled down to silence while every slight noise in the darkened forest floor automatically became a bear creeping out of the brush to eat me was the most relaxing (fearful) time of the day. One night there was clearly a snorty growling sound coming from about 30 feet away. I have no idea what that was, but I went inside and shut all the windows. If it was in fact a bear, I knew the indestructible glass window panes would keep me safe.
The next day I walked around and shuffled my feet creating loud noises as I walked, reminiscent of when Haley Mills was banging two sticks together in the original “Parent Trap” to keep the mountain lions away. (Before Lyndsey Lohan ruined that for everyone as well. I assume anyway. I haven’t seen the version with her in it. But she destroys everything always).
The property was truly a find and even though I was apprehensive about staying there a week upon arrival, I eased into the setting just fine. So well, in fact, that I really did not want to leave Maine at all.
Next week I’ll put up Part 2….it may be about the food we ate, or the towns we visited, or something else. I haven’t decided yet.