Quest for Beauty ~ Maine Adventure

On a day like today, what would be better than a quest for beauty? Let’s leave the heartbreaking 😢 world behind for a little while and go see Maine! It’s October, and we have MUSICA . . .

We planned this trip a few months back . . . to drive north to see our friends Sharon and Jeff who were coming from California to stay in their camp on the rocky coast of Maine . . . so here I am, your own private tour guide, just in cases you’ve ever wanted to see Maine, which I have to say is a destination that could keep a person enthralled for a very long time. 💝

Doesn’t it look fun?

Happy, as always, Joe and I travel better than almost any other thing we do. All our troubles and long work hours stay far behind us, and we are free. We have more stuff than we will ever need, big cups of ice tea with shots of lemonade in them from Micky-Dees, the radio is playing, the trees are beginning to turn colors, we’re on the open road, who could ask for more?

We stopped at the BEST farmstand. Herricks ~ and while we were there, they brought in fresh corn, just picked in the field. Be still my beating heart!

Hill and dale we go, past villages and rivers and church spires, and the only thing breaking the old-fashioned-ness of it, were the myriad of telephone wires, my pet peeve in life. You can’t get away from them these days! If you are a time traveler like I am it’s hard to pretend it’s 1800, even with the luv-lee church spires, when your view is criss-crossed in black wires.

Fields and meadows . . .

We traveled north on Sunday, look at everyone going back home after the weekend ~ which was nice, because the rest of our trip was pretty much traffic free! See the throngs of people on the left of the photo? They are standing in line for lobster rolls at a famous eatery called Red’s Eats in Wiscasset . . . we thought, yes! We will stop there on the way back, we’ll be there in the middle of the week and have it all to ourselves. And across the bridge we went… breezing along with the breeze . . .

Into the small town of Damariscotta . . . very adorable, would look like 1845 except, of course, for the wires. I promise I will never talk about the wires again. You will just have to see them without me pointing them out.

The Damariscotta River runs right through the middle of town and they make the very best of it. Damariscotta is also famous for their yearly PumpkinFest!

Lots of small charming ma-and-pa shops, excellent yarn and quilt stores that people drive from miles around to visit!

Sharon and Jeff invited us to stay in their Air BnB apartment ~ it was a lovely place with a darling kitchen, filled with books and comfy places to read them. This was my view from the sofa on our first morning where I was sitting drinking my tea and writing back to all the lovely comments you left on my last post, thank you so much! 💓

The next days we went over the river to walk through the old neighborhoods to take pictures of houses because we love  New England architecture so much . . . walking along, kicking up leaves, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees . . .🍂

This was the street we (too many wires but don’t tell anyone I said that), filled with leafy shadows and the ghosts of days gone by . . . 🍂

Most of the houses were late 18th, early 19th century. I wish when they said 18th century, they meant 1800s, because I am never-endingly confused by hearing 18th century, then immediately having to re-compute weak brain to 1700s. It never seems to get automatic, I have to think. 🤔

Porches and bird feeders . . . and porch ceilings painted traditional blue like the sky . . .

Out of focus, but there is no way I am leaving out this cranberry enchantment.

Picket fences and rock walls, all handmade . . . In a thousand years I will never get tired of this view of a peaceable kingdom, where all is tinged with the sounds moths beating on porch lights, of baseball games on the radio, slamming screen doors, the smell of cookies baking . . .

Very interesting upstairs windows on this one . . . perhaps that’s where they practiced piano . . .

Love the blue door with the little “lights” over the top, the trellis’s on both sides, the criss-cross windows with the reflections in them, the glassed-in porch, the big ole tree . . .

Porches and low branches and pots of chrysanthemums . . .

And wild asters everywhere . . .

Bunches and clumps of them all the way down to the river . . .

A huge harbinger of fall in New England woods and coasts . . . Free, they re-distribute themselves every year, seeds fly through the air, and there they are the next year, for the picking.

And in Maine, as here on the Island, huge hydrangea bushes, turning colors like everything else . . .

And right in the middle of this neighborhood, is a graveyard, from a time when families stayed nearby even in death.  (I loved how they painted the telephone pole white to make it “blend”  . . .)

See? There are houses on all sides, the barbecue is there too . . . your history was as much a part of you as your now . . .

The tree of the goddess, the magical hawthorn tree’s red berries hanging over the fence, the world decorates itself for fall!  MUSICA

Of course, we did lots of this . . .

Another thing Maine is very good at . . . and nice prices I might say!

Baskets full of vintage Christmas linens. . .

And we stopped for lunch, warm goat cheese to go with the lobster salad!

Maine lobsters, Maine oysters, YUM!

Then out for more antiquing . . .

I bought a silver serving spoon and a white cotton lace cloth for my bread basket . . . thinking holiday dinner parties!

Signs like this everywhere . . . farmer’s and fish markets too, fresh local delights.

And they still hand out these flyers from the 1960s.

The recipe for boiled lobsters is just like Joe’s, except he puts cut lemons in the boiling water.

And off we went to Sharon and Jeff’s camp, near this little fishing village called Christmas Cove. Don’t blink or you will miss it, and for sure, you don’t want to miss it.

Out of town and onto a finger of Maine coastline. . . the Maine coast is ALL FINGERS. A travelers delight, so many little crevices to explore. We’re about mid-way up.

See? There’s a finger right now . . . smells of salt and pine. . . and takes us to

. . . a dirt road leading to the cottage, then a path through the woods.

Deep in the woods, voila, we find it!

All kinds of wonderful critters populate this area, fox and moose, chipmunks and red squirrels, too. And although Sharon is a master gardener, not a bit of a garden here, hard to garden on rocks . . . she lets real be real.

And she lets candles be candles. This is the living room, their house has perhaps ten rocking chairs in it, most of them on the porch.

Which you get to by going through this door. Note reflection, because that’s what’s behind me.

 Speaking of reflections: I’m outside, on the porch, looking back inside through a large plate-glass window with the reflection of the sea behind me and my own reflection in the window glass . . . on the far wall inside is a mirror made like a window, you can see me in it, and the lamp that’s in the foreground of this photo, AND the view behind me.  Plus a cozy chair with quilt . . . and the unlit candles on the coffee table. I love this photo.

And now, I’ve turned around, the window is behind me and view is no longer a reflection. The sound of the waves, the rocking of the chair . . .

Here I am, rocking with Sharon’s husband Jeff . . . Note delicious edibles on table . . . we wanted for nothing . . .

At one end of the porch is this tiny screened in room; no bug dast destroy ambience of deliciousness . . . table is set . . . pears are lined up on the window sill . . .

Into the kitchen we go.  I love seeing our cups on other people’s shelves!

 Sharon and Jeff, being from California, despite Maine connections, are weenies such as I, and will not cook a lobster. Joe was our only hope, and he came through like the hero that he is. We may not cook it, but we will totally be the hypocrites that EAT it. ☺️

We also had farm-stand corn on the cob, dripping in foreign butter, salt and pepper and this wonderful healthy kale salad from our blog girlfriend Martha  . . . here’s the recipe . . .be sure to massage the kale to make it soft.

And took it outside, to eat with the sound of the waves . . .

lots of candles, glasses of pink wine . . . we stayed out there forever because it was a gorgeous evening . . . stars and crickets and the waves . . .

Then we came inside and made a fire with the owls whose eyes light up . . . and basically, to sum up, we did this every night while we were there, as we solved all the world’s problems and rocked the night away . . . We’ve known each other many years, our rocking is different than it used to be!


Just your basic evening in heaven . . .

Another dinner . . .

Sometimes we couldn’t see that finger of land north of us because of the fog . . . but there it is!

More candles . . .

And another cozy fire . . . but this one is different . . .

Because it’s our last . . . we go home the next day . . . we are talking about Joe’s legs, because I think they are like the legs of a four-year-old roller skater.

Sharon talks with her hands . . . she’s a communicator!  MUSICA

Before we go, we need the love photo . . .

We now pronounced them man and wife, kissed them good bye, said thank you, thank you, see you in California . . . And off we go, down the long dirt road . . .

And the next day, we head straight for the little town of Wiscasset, the one we passed on the way in, where that crowd of people was waiting in line . . .

We are nice and early, they haven’t opened yet . . . not a soul around . . . perfect.  We’ll be back.

Such a famous place, they even have paintings of it in the art galleries . . . must be good! We can’t wait to find out why! Off we go to work up an appetite . . .

By shopping this luv-lee little town . . .

Look what’s in the window of the antique store!!! All Petey’s friends! (If you’ve read A Fine Romance, you know who Petey is!)

There was a wonderful women’s clothing store called In the Clover with fabulous sweaters and scarves. . . and across the street, this fantastic shop filled with original and wonderful stationery and gifts, called Rock Paper Scissors … I had a great time visiting with the creative owner and buyer, Erika, and found the perfect handmade diary for our next trip to England. I also did some rather magnificent Christmas shopping, just little things, but really special little things. 😘

She had interesting and creative jewelry too ~ go there if you can, but try to go on week days, when it’s not crowded, because this is a very popular little town. We started back over to Red’s Eats to get our Lobster Rolls, and AGAIN, there was a line around the BLOCK! 😱 But, we had to catch a ferry. No Red’s Eats for us. Must go back another time.👍

Time for one more antique store stop. And in the parking lot, we saw this! Oh, to be famous! Ha ha ha!

And we needed to get our pumpkin allotment . . . The little ones for over the front door, the big ones for the porch and garden . . .

Off we go! Leaves blowing up behind us!

This is the sky out the car window as we’re heading for Woods Hole to catch the boat . . .

And from the bridge that goes over the man-made canal that separates the Cape from the mainland . . .

As the clouds followed the sun into the sea, we followed them to our boat . . .

We were on our walk yesterday and, like we often do, stopped to see our friends Bruce and Gail Kissell. They live in a little camp like Sharon and Jeff’s, right on the water, and asked if we’d seen that gorgeous sunset.  I said, “Not from your front row seat!” Gail had taken photos! She sent them to me, and these are them ~ wasn’t it amazing? Love the reflection in the sea and wet sand.

The clouds chasing the sun into the sea . . .

And this wiggling, squiggling, green-eyed fuzz ball was our reward for coming home . . .💕

We unpacked, and put up the pumpkins and hung the wreath . . .

And distributed the pumpkins . . . 🎃🎃🎃

I need to go out and see the world sometimes, to bring home the juicy creativity that lives out there in such abundance, but I’m just a homebody at heart. 🏡

POLDARK started last night!!! Did you see it? We did, and I recorded it so it could play while I was working on this post. So good. Look how long her fingers are. I think my little finger comes up half way to hers.

Odd view, but this was us last night watching Poldark. That’s my shawl on my leg on the left, Jack’s between it and the arm of the chair, but for some reason he liked hanging his head over the edge . . .

I used my camera to look down there and see if he was happy, and he was. The paws are my favorite. My little prince.

Yup, home, and back to work. Today I have to choose the embroidery thread colors to include in the new cross stitch kits we are having made!!!! This is the fun part! More info on that to come!

I designed two little cards and sent them to Kellee this morning. You are going to be able to print them out to include with your cup-gifts for the holidays  . . . two kinds, one for a Merry Christmas one for a Happy New Year. Soon I’ll give you a link so you can print them on card stock.💞 And I think Kellee did lots of fall “Free Stuff” for you to print out ~ Enjoy! 😘

I hope you enjoyed our Maine Adventure! I loved reliving it! Best part, the memories! Have a luv-lee rest of the day. The Constant Nymph, with the impossibly young Joan Fontaine, just came on TCM, leaves are falling 🍂, you-know-who is waiting, and my new British Country Living is here! Happiness! Wishing you the same! XOXO

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698 Responses to Quest for Beauty ~ Maine Adventure

  1. Jan says:

    Just had a phone call from my Maine painting buddy – Red alert to check out your blog – so charmed – that part of Maine is dear to me, and all the places are places Ive been, even the sweet little Lovejoy apartment ! Didn’t make it there this year, but that wont happen next year!!!! I also remembered that sometime this year I sent a little package to you – a copy of my very own garden book – inspired by you. I never heard from you , not that I don’t completely understand, good grief one blog post has over 600 comments, so you probably never got it – okay no more rambling – love your work and love your books, just LOVE!!!! Jan Powers, Stone Well Herbs

  2. Kathleen from Philly says:

    Susan, I hadn’t read the blog in a bit so I thought I’d catch up and when I saw you were in Maine, I couldn’t believe it! You seemed to travel the exact trip my sister & I take every fall over Columbus Day weekend. Been doing it for over 20 years together. We call it our Annual Girls’ Fall Getaway/Shop Until You Drop Trip. Sometimes girlfriends or our other sisters have joined us, but mostly it is Sue & I, talking, laughing, definitely eating, sometimes crying, but always having the best week of the year together. It is such a good time and we both love Maine. Did you get to Pemaquid Point lighthouse? It looks as if Sharon is quite close to it. We were there for the hunter’s moon, magnificent! We mostly stay in Boothbay Harbor, love it there. I dream of living in Maine but it will probably just be a dream. We go up for a week in summer with my kids & grandkids, so we are happily indoctrinating the next generation on the joys of Maine. Looking forward to your cross stitch projects, lovely!!! Just in time for winter! xoxo K

  3. Rita Baker says:

    Yet another lovely post. Just read this now as we returned last night from across the pond. One of my all time favorite trips was 20 plus years ago, after 20 plus years of marriage, when I finally convinced my husband to take us to New England. That trip was a dream come true, perfect timing w/fall colors in peak. We had two glorious weeks, seeing the Maine coast, (Acadia Nat’l. Park was one highlight among many), Vermont, New Hampshire, & Rockport, Mass. By the way, is the Sharon in this post from Cambria? There is a garden shop called Heart’s Ease there that was founded by her & I read she moved to Maine years ago. The charm of her shop went totally downhill when she sold it, & IMHO is no longer the same, sadly.

    • sbranch says:

      Yes, Heart’s Ease was Sharon’s wonderful charming store! She had it for years, I even did a book signing in her garden there. One of the unfortunate (and sometimes extremely fortunate!) facts we learn as we grow up, nothing lasts forever! xoxo Thank you Rita, welcome home!

  4. Marty from NYC says:

    Dear Susan:
    Others have said it and frequently, but turning to your blog is what gives me strength to keep on keeping on when things are hard and cheerful times when the world looks bleak.
    I have turned to your blog for companionship, for ideas, for something silly to bring a smile, for curiosity about how others cope with the difficult or enjoy the happy moments in life.
    But today is different for reasons to numerous to mention and what I thought was “someone saved my life today” and that is what you and all the girlfriends, guy friends and beautiful four-legged babies do. Much love, Marty

    • sbranch says:

      You are so sweet to tell me Marty. I’m happy to be here . . . sitting around the Girlfriend table with all of YOU!

  5. Linda says:

    Luv your handmade natural leaf and flower 🌺 🍁🍂appliqué!
    Perfect way to decorate your sweater on a nature walk!

  6. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    After the pleasure of watching VICTORIA AND ABDUL, I looked up Victoria.
    No wonder she was such a feisty character, she was a Gemini. I’m one too – yea!
    Almost wish I’d called out “go girl” in the middle of the movie.

    Screamed “go for it” to Kevin Costner in TIN CUP! He must have heard me cause he went for it. 🙂

    Reminded me of the affair between Edwina Mountbatten and Nehru!

    Sometimes we’re too quick to judge and forget everyone’s human!

    • sbranch says:

      I heard someone saying on the radio yesterday, empathy, compassion and kindness, three most important characteristics in a human being. Or as my mom said it, “Put yourself in their place.” Isn’t it wonderful how simple and clean were the teachings of our mothers!

  7. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Shoulda done that! Found Black Dog coffee mug in Antique Store yesterday.

    On a budget & just splurged for your calendar and Santa mug. The only other mug I have is also an exquisite porcelain, hand painted with gold from Russia.

    Slept on it, realize I don’t have a “guy mug” for Mr. Right when he comes along…….Certainly want him comfortable and not drinking from feminine cup.

    Off to buy it as soon as store opens and wait for “my Joe*” to come and use it.

    *Yes, I remember your Joe managed Black Dog….maybe he sold this cup to whomever bought it and brought it to Santa Barbara for me to have. 🙂 Thanks!

  8. Jan says:

    Saying Hello again , and on this wet autumn day in the midwest Im reminded of Maine and New England. I sent a comment last week when I read your Maine Post, just checking to see if I did it right? Hope you got it! Love from Illinois.

  9. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    Remember Indian Summers in California?

    It’s 12:50 pm, 93 degrees and climbing in Santa Barbara…….

    • sbranch says:

      Indian Summer can’t come out here until we have a first freeze . . . after that, if it warms up, we get to call it Indian Summer! 93 in Santa Barbara, yikes!

  10. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    97 degrees and climbing @ 2:30 with 12% humidity…..RED FLAG ALERT for fires – especially after our heavy winter rains! Excessive heat thru Sunday.

    PRAYERS are greatly appreciated – especially for all the animals. Thanks.

    • sbranch says:

      Sometimes we get 90 degrees here, not too often, BUT, the humidity will be 89% and that is when you have to chew the air before you breathe it! Be careful out there!

  11. Sandra in Santa Barbara says:

    got up 99 & low humidity.

    Went out after dark and soaked (reclaimed water) lawn & plants. Read it’s better to soak occasionally rather than sprinkle frequently…..I soaked! We still have butterflies, Anna Hummingbirds, towees (sp?) who love to pull worms out of lawn, blue jays, woodpeckers, crows, doves, little brown birds, skunks, opossum, racoons & squirrels who run across busy intersection via overhead wires! They all need to eat!! All this is in downtown Santa Barbara!

    So nice to have this blog to share with all you lovely like minded people. That’s what it’s all about. Thanks to each of you & Susan for making it happen!

    Prayers welcome – especially animals.

    Much love to each of you!

  12. Marisa in Florida says:

    You’ve made my Christmas shopping so much easier! Thank you!!!

  13. Karen Gunther says:

    I love reading your blogs and Willard. I love all your sayings.

  14. Susan in NJ says:

    Happy Autumn, Susan! I, too, love fall… sweaters, soup, crisp air, glorious colors, pies in the oven, Thanksgiving… everything. Enjoy!

  15. Francine Pedro says:

    Love, love, the teapot plate! Oh, a bit of tea heaven. Love fall in New England!

  16. Tanya White says:

    I always enjoy your blog!

  17. Nancy Ryan says:

    We are planning a trip to Ireland too. So excited.

  18. Patricia Swiger says:

    i am taking you with me too…after 40 years in my house i am downsizing..born and raised in Pennsylvania i am moving to another state…grieving my house but all your books, all first editions from your beginnings will make me happy…Please know your sharing has always been appreciated by me…love you Susan xo

  19. Elizabeth says:

    Susan! I have loved your work for many years! I love everything you do! Your art, (those darling dishes!),your home, your travel. Everything! You are living my dream. We visited the Vineyard several summers years ago. I still miss it…especially seeing your photos! Several of our daughters came out to work for the summer, so we came along to see where they were living.(I get that from my mother- she always had to SEE where we were living to know that we were ok.)

  20. Susan Hutchinson says:

    Your visit makes me hungry for lobster. All we get in Michigan are those poor things that float and crawl around in tanks in the grocery store. Poor things. They can’t really count as lobsters. Michigan is finally getting color and also rain! We had such a dry summer and now we are going to have the wettest October on record. Blah. No walks for us without boots and a big umbrella,

  21. Georgia M says:

    Hi, Susan! Georgia from Chatham, MA; Hunt Valley, MD and Newark, DE — Please enter me in the contest! It sure took its time coming, but it seems Autumn has finally arrived, I’m loving morning coffee in my “Autumn” mug!

  22. Barb Walsh says:

    I love your new plates and mugs. I love the mugs I have they hold my coffee every mornign and my tea in the afternoon. And the little dishes I use those all the time for pins for stitching and paper clips and candy corn or Hershey kisses. I need sustenance when I quilt after all.

  23. Kathie Kaiser says:

    What beautiful pictures! I wish I could see it in person….

  24. Wylie says:

    I would love to win the set of your beautiful dishes! I’ll share with my best friend!

  25. HI Susan, So enjoy all the Willards Girlfriend.

    Coming your way in Martha’s Vineyards next Sept.

    I want to send you some of the wonderful Truffles I get from a company in Texas that I buy and sell as I’m a Wedding and Event Planner. I have Cal Address as I have bought from you items sent from there. I come and see you at most of your book signings inn Southern CA and even up in San Luis Obispo. these are Turkey Truffles and Oreos that are just adorable and unbelievably wonderful. Have a wonderful Fall season, which I wish we would have in CA…………as right now its over 100 degrees. Enjoy ! Madelyn

  26. Donna Higgins says:

    I look forward to seeing your photos and art. I enjoy reading your thoughts.
    Always a positive lift!

  27. JoAnn from SoCal says:

    Fall seems a bit far away here in Southern California. We’re having another record breaking high today….100. Love your blog and Willard!!

  28. Sharon Beattie says:

    I hope I win the prize!

    Here’s a saying I love–

    We are never more that one grateful thought away from peace of heart.

    Brother David Steindl-Rast

  29. Sally Gainer says:

    enter me

  30. Christy N. Coy says:

    Hello Susan!

    I was so surprised and delighted to receive a “Willard”….!! SO wonderful and beautiful to behold, your special gift of love “seeing beauty”. XOXO

    Fondly remember meeting you at Elmholm on MV back in 90s while visiting my husband’s kin. I believe I stuffed little fresh tomatoes that were yellow and orange with some kind of cheese stuffing…..ha! Wouldn’t we all like to be like you???!! I purchased A Fine Romance, looking forward to another bright SB world to explore.

    God bless you and Joe.
    Christy Nelson Coy

    • sbranch says:

      So I saw your name, and thought could it be, because I have never heard the name Elmholm, if you can believe that! So I Googled it, and what an interesting story I found, since our house was built by Gilbert Smith! Thank you for saying hello Christy!

  31. Bonnie says:

    Please enter me !

  32. Nancy Brand says:

    This blog is so picture perfect!!! Do I see another fall book in our future? Everything is beautiful…and I could go on and on! ❤️❤️❤️

  33. Laurel says:

    Enter me please! I just love everything you do and are!

  34. Deborah says:

    Please enter me, I love your sayings they help heal and that what I have used them for since my divorce.

  35. Carol Roth says:

    Each and every part of your blog is wonderful. Please enter me.

  36. Rebecca from Washington State says:

    Hello Susan,
    What fun to hear about your road trip to Maine! I just completed a cruise from Quebec City, through the Canadian Maritime Islands, down to Bar Harbor and Boston. Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park were alive with fall colors – beautiful! Now I need to return to Maine for my own “road trip” to visit all the darling Maine towns you just introduced. Soon 🙂
    Please enter me!

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