England → New England.Driving
north from New York City through Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire
towards Maine, the names of the towns on the map were comfortingly familiar: Glastonbury,
Manchester, Cambridge, Reading, Essex, Yarmouth. But the landscape – big
American trucks sporting Patriots and Red Sox bumper stickers, giant Stars and
Stripes flags billowing atop towering flagpoles, countless Dunkin’ Donuts
outlets (this part of America really does “Run
on Dunkin’”!), roads bordered by dense forests of pine, birch, maple and oak,
exquisite mansions, white steeple churches and picture-perfect shingled houses –
felt wonderfully unfamiliar. Closer to our destination, The Inn at Sunrise Point just outside of Camden on Maine’s mid-coast, we turned off historic U.S.
Route 1 to slip down a few of the knobbly finger-like peninsulas which jut into
the Atlantic Ocean. Here, in the picturesque fishing villages where lobstering has
been a way of life for generations, the briny tang of the sea mingles with the
smell of boiling lobsters and corn-on-the-cob, while the lonely cry of gulls –
hoping for a leftover morsel of buttery lobster roll – echoes overhead. Well-worn
timber docks are punctuated with neat stacks of lobster traps and bundles of
brightly coloured rope, while the deep blue water is peppered with striped lobster
buoys and bobbing dinghies.
Dragging ourselves away from the absurdly pretty
scenes, we drive onwards and arrive at The Inn at Sunrise Point just as the sun
is dipping behind the woods that line the entrance. An oasis of peace and tranquillity (especially after the fast
pace of NYC), the Inn is perched above the rocky shore of Penobscot Bay with
dazzling views across the water. Stepping onto the Inn’s porch, we breathe the salt
air deeply. The beautifully manicured lawn and magnificent oak trees at the
cliffs edge frame the glistening water vistas perfectly.Spying a clutch of Adirondack chairs on
the lawn, I vow to watch sunrise and sunset on each day of our stay….and I
manage it with the exception of one evening when a late summer storm rolls in.
Accommodation at the Inn is in rooms on the first
floor of the main house (terrific views), cottages (private and romantic) and,
fresh for 2014, three smart suites in a separate house overlooking the garden. Our
suite, The Longfellow, named after Maine poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, is
decorated in pretty shades of teal, sage green and white with wooden floorboards,
a sleek gas fireplace (a local mentioned that you know you are in Maine when
you need air-conditioning and heating
all in the one day!), and private balcony. Books and objects collected by Daina,
the owner, during her time working overseas adorn a bookcase spliced by a
white-shuttered arched window.
Bathrooms are stocked with white Turkish towels and
toiletries from Gilchrist & Soames while a wet bar (discretely hidden in a
cupboard in the sitting room) is perfectly pitched to guests who wish to remain
cocooned in their room.
One afternoon I can’t resist curling up in the bedroom
for a short nap. As the warm sun streamed through the windows creating
beautiful shadows across the room, I dozed off…and woke only just in time to
catch the last of the sunset from my Adirondack chair. Utter relaxation – and
peaceful sleep - comes so very easily at The Inn at Sunrise Point.
Eat + Drink:
Fuelled by the fresh sea air – and a week of eating in
NYC! – our appetites were primed for some excellent New England fare.
Fortunately for us, The Inn at Sunrise Point serves a tasty breakfast each
morning (the brioche-y French toast with crispy bacon and Maine maple syrup was
particularly good) as well as homemade cakes and biscuits in the afternoon (the
peanut butter cookies and tiny pumpkin cakes with maple glaze were entirely
moreish and, like a squirrel gathering acorns for winter, I stashed a couple of
extras for supper).
The welcome email from the Inn contains an excellent
list of restaurant recommendations in the local area and Daina and her team are
more than happy to assist with reservations (in the peak summer season this is
a must). We, however, were in Maine to eat lobster (mainly rolls!).
After much internet research (everyone seems to have a
different opinion on where “the best” lobster roll is in Maine), we tried
Young’s Lobster Pound (Belfast), Shaw’s Fish &Lobster Wharf (New Harbour),
Red’s Eats (Wiscasset), and The Clam Shack (Kennebunkport). All were excellent
but my favourite was the lobster roll from The Clam Shack (delicious clam
strips as well) followed by the lobster roll from Young’s Lobster Pound.
Owl’s Head General Store, Owl’s Head. Outstanding burger
(we sat in the garden and I was lucky enough to spot a tiny hummingbird – my
Camden Deli, Camden.Nice deli for light lunches and dinners, and a good option
if you are looking for sandwiches for a picnic.
Becky’s Diner, Portland and Two Sisters Coffee Shop,
Gloucester. Loved both these diners on the way to/from Camden.
There is no shortage of things to do in mid-coast
Maine but that must be balanced, rather agonisingly, with wanting to while away
the hours in an Adirondack chair at The Inn at Sunrise Pointdoing absolutely
nothing at all. The joy of settling into a chair with the weekend papers, shoes
kicked off, with a fresh coffee in hand, or sipping a glass of wine while listening
to the low thrum of a lobster boat as it motors across the bay, cannot be
If you can manage to drag yourself away from the
dreamy view, we loved –
Sailing on the Schooner Olad – An absolute must-do and the highlight of our stay in Maine.Sailing on this beautifully restored
schooner – she was built in 1927 - had us feeling like Captain Horatio
Hornblower and singing* Australian sea shanties. Under full sail, with the wind
in our hair, camera firmly attached (me!), and with entertaining conversation
from Kentucky-born First Mate Jeff, we had a brilliant time. During our
two-hour sail we spotted the bobbing brown heads of seals, a porpoise and other
windjammers in full sail. Further endorsement? Another gentlemen sailing with
us was on his 10th sail on the Schooner Olad….this year!
Lighthouse visits: We went a little lighthouse crazy
on this trip and visited Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (be sure to spend some time
in the excellent Fisherman’s museum and take a packed lunch for a picnic in the
grounds), Marshall Point Lighthouse (the pretty lighthouse made famous by Tom
Hanks in Forrest Gump), Owls Head lighthouse (my favourite! Refuel at the Owls
Head General Store on the way back with a burger and slice of pie), and Portland
Day trip to Monhegan Island. There are three boat lines which make
daytrips to this lovely little island 12 miles out to sea (Monhegan Boat Line –
the closest to The Inn at Sunrise Point, Hardy Boat Cruises and The Balmy Days
II). Take hiking shoes (it is essentially a car-free island), a picnic lunch
and explore the village, lighthouse and rocky cliffs.Monhegan is primarily a lobstering community (with a very
small year-round population) but in summer it attracts many artists who come to
draw and paint, inspired by the island’s rugged, isolated beauty. The weather can be unpredictable – it
poured with rain when we were there – so take rain gear! And if you are prone
to feeling a bit wobbly in the tummy when you are on the open water, note that
the ocean can be a bit frisky. Our
afternoon return to the mainland was in fairly feisty seas** but our excellent
Captain made sure we arrived back safe and sound.
Apple (and raspberry!) picking at Hope Orchards. We went on opening weekend and picked a
bag of apples to snack on. Somehow pick-your-own always tastes so much better
(and is so much more fun!) than anything from a supermarket.
Camden Hills State Park. For wonderful
views of Camden and Penobscot Bay, take the drive (or hike) up to Mt. Battie.
**after one particularly large wave we were (jokingly
– kind of!) making mental notes as to who we would team up with in a lifeboat
should things go awry.
September: NYC and Maine as travel destinations; Cocktails on the Hudson River at sunset on the Grand Banks, and drinks at the intimate Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar in the West Village; Meatball sliders and Bibb and Beets salad at The Little Owl (finally made it here this trip!); On our travels we went to two fun "authentic" diners for breakfast (where the waitress pours you coffee as soon as you sit down just like in the movies!): Becky's Diner, Portland and Two Sisters Coffee Shop, Gloucester (fantastic corned beef hash and home fries with homemade bread. Get a side of buttery, lemony hollandaise....just because you can, and its gooood); Watching the sun rise over beautiful Penobscot Bay, Maine from the Adirondack chairs at The Inn at Sunrise Point; Sacai dress (so many elements in this one dress - cable knit, chiffon inserts, pleating - but it somehow works so beautifully together); Rag & Bone Kelly skirt (my friend JK has been searching for an a-line leather skirt for the last 2 years. Somehow they are never quite right: leather too thin or too thick, too shiny or just the wrong shape. This one might just be a contender); MSGM plaid mock neck top (brilliant to dress up a pair of jeans....wear with bright pumps); Marc by Marc Jacobs Junko pleated dress (quirky and cute. Wear with a finely knitted fitted turtleneck underneath); Topshop lace trim runner shorts (beautiful pastel colour and love the little lace trim); Marni wool-felt peplum bustier (Natalie Joos wore a similar bustier at NYFW and looked amazing. I like the felt-wool and wintery colour of this one); ASOS coat in relaxed oversized fit (a coat to snuggle in....); Opening Ceremony Scuba mini skirt (fab with opaque tights and brogues).
I am an Australian lawyer turned photographer living in London;
I take a thousand photographs every day - some in my head, some with my camera;
I can't imagine doing anything else with my life- I am totally and utterly in love with my camera and with the people and things I photograph