Our home base was Camden where there are numerous entertainments: a harbor with boats that will take you out for a sail; plentiful restaurants; some charming shops; an abundance of well-fed Golden Retrievers and Yellow Labs happy to be admired by strangers; a library, a new bookshop, and used bookshop, and; a large candy shop.
On a sunny afternoon, we walked around the town.
I am a big fan of window-boxes and the residents and merchants of Camden take them seriously. Windows are adorned with wonderful, riotous combinations of flowers and plants: impatiens, begonias, petunias, coleus.
But of all the sights on Main Street, this one grabbed my attention.
Sea Bags! Totes made of recycled sails, sewn in a workroom in Portland, Maine.
That’s a concept, a product, and a company that I can get behind.
You can read all about Sea Bags here, but I will give you a quick introduction.
The bags come in a few shapes and sizes — courier, small tote, large tote, plus smaller accessory pouches. Some of the bags incorporate numbers, letters, and other insignia from old sails, others are made from the plain white fabric of old sails and are adorned with new appliques or printed with nautical motifs. A new generation of Sea Bags is rolling out, with zippered tops and other features.
Ultimately, I could not choose and we left without buying anything.
ARe yOu KiDDiNg? Of course I bought one.
I did stupidly ask, “Can I wash my bag if it gets dirty?”
Um, Directrice, the sail used to live outside. It got wet every day. The rope, too.
But the store manager, a former high school biology teacher, kindly told me that there are no stupid questions. Note: There is also a “Care and Instructions” tag tied conspicuously to each bag, explaining that the bag is machine washable.
In case you are wondering what old clothes I am wearing today, you’ve seen them all before: an army green utility jacket, a short-sleeved white blouse, a floral camisole, white jeans.
The number 5 doesn’t mean anything to me personally, but I liked the red,
the font, and the off-center placement of the number.
The other Maine company I will bring to your notice is Swans Island: a small textile company that hand-weaves the most beautiful blankets, wraps, and scarves from fine wool raised on . . . Vinalhaven Island. You can read more about it here.
For our last excursion, we drove to Waterville to visit my mother’s alma mater, Colby College. We went especially to see the new Museum of Art that opened in 2013.
I don’t know about you, but I love feeling enveloped by the quiet, elegant environment of an art museum.
Oh no! We didn’t write down the name of this piece or the artist. But it is a representation of the moon, the word tattoo is in the title, and the artist is from Cuba.
I thought this was Ellsworth Kelly, but I was quite wrong. It’s Al Held.
Even the service areas of the museum are beautiful: a psychedelic stairwell!
After the minor exertion of driving and looking at art, we rested.
Final Recommendations: Our best meal of the trip was at 40 Paper in Camden (Italian), where we sampled three pasta dishes and a grilled steak. Everything was delicious. The reviews of 40 Paper on Trip Advisor are somewhat mixed, but they may be the vagaries of Trip Advisor, which we have previously discussed. We also like Fresh & Company tremendously; the menu is innovative and thought-provoking. I think, but am not sure, that the menu was tilted toward Asian cuisine this year; last I would have characterized it as new American. If you are looking for a rental, try On the Water in Maine; they do a great job vetting rental properties and, in our experience, accurately represent the properties listed.
Jacket: JCrew; Blouse: ASOS; Camisole: Vince; Pants: JCrew; Sandals: Donald J. Pliner; Courier bag: Orla Kiely; Tote: Sea Bags
* Final for Maine vacation 2017. Not final forever.
** Because I am obsessed with feuds and geographic rivalries, I invent them even where they may not exist. North Haven and Vinalhaven are two small islands in Penobscot Bay within easy sight, sail, and — do I even need to say it? — missile-range of one another. How could they not have some bad blood between them? Perhaps an unhappy 19th century inter-island marriage? A mid-20th century dispute over where the mail-boat docks first? A history of negligently-staged fireworks displays? As we saw in the parking lot at the top of Mt. Cadillac, the humans don’t need much encouragement to take umbrage.