Celebrating in Boothbay Harbor


It’s 4:00 p.m.

The hour that’s become my favorite time of day because of the slow down, the light, the cool air, relaxing with a glass of wine and afternoon snack.

When I’m at home, on a weekend, my chores are done, and I’m ready to sit a spell before it’s time to start making dinner and transition into evening.

But today – oh today - I sit in the most comfortable chair (firm is how I like it), high atop the hill on McKown Street, in my charming room at The Topside Inn Bed & Breakfast in Boothbay Harbor.

It’s quiet.

And peaceful.

The sun is beginning to cast shadows across this hill above an expansive view of the harbor.

As I write (too inspired not to), the afternoon breeze gently blows in through the large window beside me. I sit just above the beach-y blue + white awning of the wrap around porch of this quaint inn. I can look down toward the shops and piers of Boothbay Harbor and the footbridge.

The inn is gorgeous, light, airy. Beautifully updated and designed. The innkeepers, Buzz and Mark, are warm and gracious, so at ease with hospitality. Breakfast was abundant – homemade granola and yogurt, single servings of fruit salad in stylish white bowls, eggs benedict with either salmon or black forest ham on biscuits, cinnamon coffee cake, breads + flavored butters + jam for toast.

Breakfast tables were in the sunroom and on the front porch. There was quiet morning conversation by guests from New York, Ohio, Massachusetts…and us, from Maine, all planning our week-day holiday.

My husband and I have just come inside this afternoon after an hour sitting out front in the white Adirondack chairs which grace their front lawn and beautiful plantings. It’s so warm on this early fall day – early September in Maine usually is. From our vantage point, we watched boats and sailboats gracefully cruise the harbor.

Now it’s time for cheese and bread, slices of an early Mac, a glass of Prosecco, a little downtime, a nap before dinner.

We tooled around downtown after lunch on one of the wharves….just a little.

We’re not here for shopping.

We’re here to relax, see coves and parts of the world we’ve not seen before, shoot photos, explore….and celebrate.

It’s September 11th.

For us, like many, a day when celebration certainly doesn’t seem tasteful. Like all Americans, we always pause on this day. We share subdued conversation of “remember when…” and hearts full for so many who faced hatred and tragedy.

We were changed forever on that day sixteen years ago.

But….ironically, this date has become a joyous day for us as well.

For the last four years, every September 11th, we’ve flown to Savannah, Georgia to bring our younger son to college at SCAD (Savannah College of Art + Design). After a top notch experience and education, he graduated in June…..and so, for the first time in years, we are NOT flying to Savannah on this day.

And as all parents of college-aged kids know, when college is finished, celebration is warranted -- for the child, for the parents, for the friends and grandparents and all who have supported the family through.

We are celebrating, with Prosecco in champagne flutes, that college for our 2nd son is complete….and we were free to drive 1 ½ hours north to Boothbay Harbor, in the state we love, to spend an early fall afternoon relaxing and breathing in the magic and wonder of this coastal town.

Joyfully, we talk about milestones accomplished in our family….and retirement for us, one day.

Our new finds this trip – driving to Southport Island, seeing Hendricks Head Light and so wishing we had brought our bathing suits. Early afternoon, the beach and sea were pure sand – not rocky or filled with seaweed and air temps in the mid-80’s. To be honest, the ocean was likely mind-numbing, but as Mainers, we like to say “invigorating” instead. We happen to like that jolt and wake-up that comes from ducking under in icy sea water. I always scream involuntarily when I duck.

I tell myself it’s good for my circulation. Likely, a wives tale, but no matter.

We drove to Ocean Point in East Boothbay – a must if you come to this neck-of-the-woods.

Southport Island and East Boothbay are like two fingers of land on either side of Boothbay Harbor.

At Ocean Point, you can drive down to the tip to view Squirrel Island, Cuckhold’s Island Light, and other tiny islands. As you drive, sometimes, water is on both sides of the road. The roads are curvy, narrow, flanked with my favorite type of island cottages, gray-shingled with large front porches.

This area reminds us of the backside of Peaks Island, the fingers of Harpswell, and Sargent Drive in Bar Harbor.

It reminds us of all that is wonderful about Maine.

The air is fresh and sweet. Clean. Untainted.

Tonight, we’ll walk back down through town, over the footbridge to the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort for dinner on the water as the sun continues to drop in the sky, on this most beautiful September day. Their large deck is a perfect spot to view the sunset.

Tomorrow, we’ll take the Lazy Jack schooner around the bay for a couple hours.

A gorgeous September 11th, as I’ve noticed since 2001….a day that always seems to be a beautiful weather day, warm with blue sky and puffy clouds.

Remembering with reverence, a day we’ll never forget.

Now also celebrating with joy, a milestone we’ll never forget.