Catholic Good Girl?

Grindstone Neck, ME

This is one of my favorite days on vacation – the day I call my “Catholic Good Girl” day. It’s the day Joseph and I drive north to Winter Harbor and go to Mass at the tiny St. Margaret’s Church on Grindstone Neck. The chapel was built years and years ago to accommodate the Irish kids who traveled from Ireland for the summer to work for the wealthy summer cottage owners.

Those days are long gone. Now the chapel services the summer Catholics so they don’t have to make the 30-minute drive to St. Joseph’s in Ellsworth. When Joseph and go, on the Saturday before Labor Day, it’s the last service for the summer.

This morning we left our Town Hill cottage to do laundry and then have brunch in Ellsworth. By the time we headed north to the Schoodic Peninsula, it was early afternoon. We parked at Bunkers Harbor in Gouldsboro – sort of the beginning of the walk along the ocean.

We walked along the shore for a couple of miles, and
I love every inch of this walk. There’s something about the combination of the rocks and trees leading up to the shore and the endless horizon that makes my insides relax and my heart feel happy.

Walking Schoodic

Joseph and I walked until 3:45, getting back to the car with just barely enough time to change out of hiking clothes and get to Grindstone Neck and St. Margaret’s. Parking is always a challenge. The road is barely wide enough for two lanes normally, but on Saturday from 4-5pm, one of those lanes becomes church parking.

So by the time we got into the church, the priest was at the top of the aisle waiting to “process” to the altar. I nodded at him, grabbed a hymnal and mass card, and followed him down the aisle to an empty pew. Joseph had stopped to use the bathroom (an outhouse outside the front door of the church) but he joined me a few minutes later.

The priest, Father Cahill, is a tall, gray-haired, craggy-looking guy. but likable. He’s a former pastor who is now the parochial vicar from St. Joseph’s. Based on the way he said Mass, including some one-man-show singing, he seemed to be a fan of the dramatic. However, he gave a good sermon and I enjoyed the mass.

When it was over, Joseph and I helped the “organizer” – Rose, a midlife schoolteacher – to close the place down for the winter. That includes flipping up the pew cushions, locking the windows, taking down the altar cloths, etc. We pack whatever stays in the church and then cart the remainder to Rose’s car. We like doing that, and good thing – only one other person stays behind to help, so we know Rose appreciates it.

Afterward, I tried to find the new bar I saw on the way up, but I couldn’t. So we went back to the Pickled Wrinkle in Birch Harbor before going to Schoodic Point for sunset. Joseph and I had a drink and something to eat. It was close quarters and, when the server brought the second drink, Joseph knocked it over…spilling on us, the table, and the people at the next table. Fortunately, it’s a  very laid-back place and everyone was cool about it.

We left the Pickled Wrinkle with just enough time to get to the Point. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bad sunset at Schoodic. Some are better than others, but even the “bad ones” are good. However, this one was a really good one. We left feeling very peaceful after a pretty full day!

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What are the Maine Diaries?

The Maine Diaries is a fun look at my annual adventure to New England where I unwind from normal life and reconnect with myself.

I was captivated by the Maine Coast on my first trip there in the late 90’s. In the years since, I’ve traveled up and down the coast from Kittery to Calais but I spend most of my Maine time Downeast. I love the adventures I have and the chance to unwind from the world and restore my inner clarity. I chronicle my experiences in The Maine Diaries.

Maine Diaries

Every year Annmarie Kelly embarks on a trip to Maine where she reflects on her life, the years challenges and successes while seeking solace and adventure in the beautiful Northeast wilderness.

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