Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Frenchboro, ME on "Jumbie"

From left; Scott, Tom (Kathy's), Heather, Brenda, John,
Kathy, Gigi and Tom (Gigi's)
Kathy & Tom on "Jumbie" invited ourselves and Gigi & Tom on "Sapphire" to sail out to Frenchboro, a small island not far from Swan's. We were lured there by the descriptions of football sized lobster rolls for lunch. Just the trip on "Jumbie" was a treat. She is a huge catamarin and has hosted parties of 60 - so there was room for us all. The foredeck as you can see provided the perfect spot to relax and let Kathy thread us through the "local narrow and dangerous" second entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor. From there she just had to dodge hundreds of lobster pots that threatened to catch on their two engine props - no easy task.
Frenchboro has a population of 61 people, 21 households and 16 families, half of which have children under 18. There is an elementary school on the island through grade 8. This is not a fancy resort or summer home community. The homes we saw were quintessential Maine, simple and white.
Walking paths wind all through the island. Tom and Gigi have been there many times and led us through the woods to the long stony beach and then along the shore in a large circle back to the town. As you can see the views were spectacular and the day, beautiful. Unfortunately the little lobster shack with the promised ultimate lobster rolls was closed, but the "larger" "Frenchboro Offshore Store" on the dock was open. And the 1/2 pound lobster roll was delicious - and expensive at $16. John and Scott got the better deal with the lobster dinner; lobster, corn, cole slaw and dessert for $10. Tom (Gigi's) insisted that everyone have the blueberry pie for dessert and treated us. It was excellent.
Another lovely trip back to Swan's Island and in time for the Sweet Chariot Boat concert cruise around the harbor. Our cheering and waving brought them back for a turn around our boat. Everyone joined in on the sea chanty. What a terrific day!
Scott and I on the bow of Jumbie with John mugging behind

Yet another lovely schooner

Tom and Gigi of "Sapphire"

A close encounter

The lobsters waiting for the pot and us!

The tiny town of Frenchboro

Lobster fishing is the major occupation

Tom's promised football lobster rolls didn't materialize

View of the harbor from the hill

The long beach covered with smooth rocks

The rocky shoreline and the trail just inside

Another schooner off in the distance between the branches

One lovely view after another on this trail

And as you can see, perfect weather

The men chat while waiting for us ladies to catch up

Distinct trail markings

Kathy at the helm with Tom looking on

We arrived just in time for another serenade by the
Sweet Chariot Music Festival's boat and crew

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sweet Chariot Music Festival on Swan's Island

The cover of the program our first visit on Bob DeFeyter's boat August 1999
Gigi took these first 4 pictures, so I'm in them!

That's (from left) Kathy, Brenda, myself, Scott and Tom

Three of the ladies; Brenda, myself and Kathy

Scott and I relaxing on "Jumbie"'

There is lots of traffic on the water, here a lobster boat

The lighthouse at the entrance to Burnt Coat Harbor

The small community at Swan's Island

A schooner drops anchor for the night

Not all sailboats are big

Kathy and Brenda keeping watch for the Sea Shanty boat

Brenda on a high perch

And here it comes around the schooner (on the right)

Tom (Kathy's husband) joins the ladies

It feels like a regatta

Now Brenda, Gigi and Kathy pose

All our waving and singing finally paid off

And we get a somewhat private concert

I snuck in a photo at the beginning of the show (no flash)

From Buck's Harbor we motored down to Swan's Island and Burnt Coat Harbor (interesting name but I can't find a reason for it) to attend the Swan's Island Music Festival. Scott and I have come three times before; once over 10 years ago with Bob DeFeyter on his boat, and twice on our own boat in 2004 and 2005. Along with our friends Brenda and John aboard "Willow", their friends Kathy & Tom on "Jumby" and Gigi & Tom on "Sapphire" joined us. This was the 25th anniversary of the festival. It was started by Doug Day in his barn after being inspired by the last Fox Hollow Festival and the first Mystic Seaport Music Festival. Buckley Smith, a well known painter in Maine, paints a mural sized canvas behind the stage each year. There are at least 30 musicians each season and they perform 3 nights (they added a fourth this year) and 2 afternoons (around 4 -5pm) sessions on a boat motoring around the harbor. It is always the first week in August and mid week. Check out their website (sweetchariotmusicfestival.com). There is no accommodations on the island and the ferry doesn't operate at night so the audience either lives on the island or comes in their boats (or the schooners). Some of the musicians this year were Annegret Baier, Suzy Williams, Ann Randolph, Moira Smiley, Geoff Kaufman, Daisy Nell, The Backboners, Lisa Redfern, Jennifer Armstrong and Ritt Henn. The concerts are now held in the Town Hall upstairs while downstairs the performers meet everyone, sell CDs and there are refreshments. The concerts are sold out every time, but occasionally you can get a last minute ticket. This year we bought ours in advance, but Gigi and Tom managed to get last minute ones on the second night. The Backboners were playing as we were seated each night and then at 7:30 Jennifer Armstrong led the entire singing company in with the bagpipes. At the end each night there is ensemble singing as well. A number of the performers encourage audience participation too. There is acoustic music, plugged in, and a cappella. Annegret is an amazing West African drummer. In short there's a big variety and a different line up each night. Walking back in the pitch black through the quiet streets along the harbor is a special treat, and luckily we had two crystal clear nights. This is a very special event and place. We'll be back again.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Belfast, Maine

John blows a kiss over a terrific lunch

The camera is turned on me for a change
After our visit to Islesboro to attend the SSCA Gam we motored down to Ames Cove and walked around Dark Harbor. By the way the Indian name for Islesboro was Pitaubegwimenahanuk. I can see why it wasn't kept. In the midst of the beautiful homes were two fun stores, an Grocery/Souvenir/Craft/and lunch counter place, and the Artisan Books & Bindery. The first seemed right in place but finding a first class bookstore on this island was a miracle.
I LOVE the elephant. Nice to see old movie theaters still
Next we sailed north up to Belfast, whose Indian name was Passagassawakeag - try saying that at all.
Looking down the Main Street
This beautiful town has a wealth of antique architecture; Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate mansions and civic buildings. We wandered around getting a feel for the place and then settled in for dinner at Delvinos Grill & Pasta. What a treat. We all had wonderful food (I rated it Excellent on TripAdvisor) but John's seafood chowder was so good we decided to come back the next day for lunch.
Before that we walked up to the big Price Chopper and did some grocery shopping. The local Coop was really attractive and had a nice looking cafe as well, but rather expensive and we needed general groceries.
The art project here was benches - yeh!
The dock was busy so we decided to motor over to Buck's Harbor, spend the night there and fill up with water and fuel the next morning. The weather had been very nice although we dodged a severe thunderstorm the day before, and it continued sunny and calm.
Buck's Harbor is a picturesque quiet little spot but with a small but busy dock/marina. The next morning the water was so flat I took some lovely pictures of the reflections (see below). Then we were off to Swan's Island and the Sweet Chariot Music Festival - covered in my next post.
Great architecture for a small town

Another view down Main St. to the harbor

Great mini garden

Even smaller and in a old sink!

The oldest shoe store in America

Rocky beach but lovely park along side

Several busy docks and marinas on the harbor

Another great bench

The Visitor's Center is part of the oil company office bldg

We saw at least 20 benches and they were all different

Back in the dinghy and off to Buck's Harbor

This is the view that greeted me in the morning

Another view of this lovely harbor

An Outward Bound group anchored near us for the night

Busy fuel dock at Buck's Harbor