Driving from Portland to Mt. Desert Island is about a three-hour drive. Some years we meander up the coast and make a stop at Reds Eats, the internationally known lobster shack in Wiscasset that has been featured on the TV show Dumpster Dives and Drive-ins. However, this year, when we drove into the charming town – billed as “The Prettiest Village in Maine” – we found the Reds Eats line was more than an hour long. That wasn’t too unusual – as the owner once told me – it’s “good eats” and she’s correct!
What was different was the temperature. It was around 90 degrees and very humid. That’s odd for Maine. We decided it was way too hot to stand outside in the sun. So Joseph and I drove past Reds and continued up the coast. The route we take is especially rural and bucolic. Joseph and I both find it very relaxing.
We didn’t make any other stops until we got to Loudon’s blueberry farm outside Ellsworth. Happily, the Loudon’s still had a couple 5-lb boxes
for sale and we got one. Since we stop here at least once a trip, we’ve gotten familiar with the owners. I was surprised to how physically changed Mrs. Loudon was. She was still chatty, but shorter, somewhat bent over and moving slower. However, I gotta give her credit – she’s still in the game.
I put the blueberries in the car and headed for Ellsworth. As we rolled through the main drag of town, all three blocks of it, I looked around to see what had changed. Our favorite breakfast spot, The Riverside, was still there. So was Finn’s Bar, the Airline Brew Pub and the arts center building.
A few minutes later Joseph and I pulled up to the Walmart to get some supplies for the cottage. Then we made a beeline for Mt. Desert Island.
As we drove down Route 3 from Ellsworth onto Mt. Desert Island, my insides noticed…and I could feel the muscles relax.
Then, with great joy, we saw the sign for Windward Cottages. I made a right turn onto the dirt road that would take us to our cottage. It was only seconds until I saw the welcoming waters of Clarks Cove. My joy doubled.
Joseph and I rounded the bend that would take us to the end of the road and cottage#5, “our” cottage. As we passed each of the four dark green cottages that lined the road, we looked to see where the other cottage-dwellers were from. On this Saturday, it was CT, NY, and PA.
Then…there it was…Cottage #5. Yayyyyy!
Glad to get out of the car, Joseph and I climbed the three white wooden steps to our front door. Then we saw the note cottage-owner Ollie Wenger had left a note taped to the glass. It wasn’t the usual “here’s what to do in your cottage” note. Of course, after thirteen years here, we didn’t need it. Ollie’s note read simply and happily: Joseph and Annmarie: “Welcome!” Ahhhh….I was “home.”
We unlocked the door and, before unpacking, gave ourselves a good look at the peaceful water of Clarks Cove and the beginning of the sun setting over it.
We unpacked the car and, once settled in, we drove to Bar Harbor in search of something to eat. We ended up at Testa’s – a Bar Harbor mainstay. Our server, Nikolai, was really good – even telling me which drink was a “better pour” for the money. As I enjoyed my blueberry lemon mojito, I ordered lobster bisque and lobster mac and cheese. Both were good – not great – but not disappointing.
We got back to the cottage where I was loving the full moon over the cottages and then over the cove.
Glad to be on Mt. Desert, glad to be at “our” Windward Cottage!!
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Every year, for the last 19 years, I trek to Maine. Find out what keeps me returning year after year in The Maine Diaries.