Once more to Maine

22 August 2019

Here’s the thing: it is as idyllic as it looks. It’s blue ocean as far as the eye can see, and blue sky as far as the eye can see, and salty-seaweedy air, and cool evenings, and eating blueberries off the bush, and cousins who love each other, and reading all afternoon, and charming shingled cottages with actual lobster buoys hanging on the side.

And here’s something else, something I am becoming increasingly aware of with each passing year: these things don’t just happen, they are made to happen. This place, it takes people making budgets and writing by-laws and picking up brush in the sun and asking after each other’s children to keep humming along so beautifully. These family cottages, they take people agreeing on common rules and doing the dishes even though they’re on vacation and abiding alongside each other even when they couldn’t be more different.

It’s easier to go it alone, but it’s not more beautiful. That kind of beauty is hard to show in photos, but somehow, it seems to be reflected in the scenery of our beloved island in Maine, and that I can show you…

loading the truck

Shep in the cart

pushing the cart

For those who are new: “the island” is a small community off the coast of Maine with 36 cottages and one truck. Two of those cottages belong to my Dad’s side of the family and my Mom’s side of the family (that’s how they met – both have been in their families for generations, and they grew up going to this place each summer, just like I have!). The one truck can be used to help move the big suitcases (and VERY excited kiddos), but everything else gets pushed and pulled in Gardenway carts. Good thing Pop Pop has lots of help :)

kids in fields

coast of Maine

Shep on a swing

Shep had to wait almost a whole year for his first trip to Maine, but I think he’d say it was worth the wait!

reading club

The daily reading club :) No, June is not yet reading chapter books – she just wanted to do everything her big cousin was doing!

American flag

ocean view

The view from my Dad’s family’s cottage. How???

Maine coastline

Maine island

We had an early riser in our crew many mornings which, while not my preferred outcome on vacation, was hard to be grumpy about with views like this.

cousins on the boat

driving the boat

on the porch


One night we had a fire on the beach and roasted s’mores. It was so nice to wear a sweatshirt after the North Carolina heat!

beach bonfire

beach s'mores

maine coast

stripes on stripes

My stripes guys :)

sailboat dress

window seat

Even the color and pattern of the rock here is as familiar and comforting to me as the back of my own hand…

ocean's edge

rocky point

I saved a few of my favorite photos for last. They’re not the best lit or perfectly composed, but they capture that beauty I spoke to at the beginning of this post.

reading party

pile on dad

Snuggles, hugs, and lots of giggles.

I’ll leave you with this girl gang. So lucky to be together with these gals (and our guys!).

girl gang

Maine in previous years:
2014 (and a video – one of my favorites!)

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Kelly Strawberry
August 22, 2019 9:29 am

This is just too precious! And it really makes me want to visit Maine…I’ve never been. Gorgeous!

August 22, 2019 5:50 pm

What a beautiful family tradition! Maine has long been at the top of my “must-see” list! I’ve always wanted to visit real life lighthouses! :D

Stephanie Barnes
August 22, 2019 10:16 pm

We have a family pilgrimage to Maine too! Although our cabin is inland, in Belgrade Lakes, your Maine photos and stories seem so familiar to me. It truly is magical, and hearing my daughter say “Bye, lake! Bye, Maine!” as we drove away this summer had me in tears for a good five minutes.

Do you guys drive? We live in Virginia, so it’s a long way for us too—and getting harder with a toddler! If so, how is it with two kiddos?

August 23, 2019 9:20 am

What a sweet story about your parents! It’s like something from a novel :)

August 23, 2019 10:29 am

Emily — Your sentiments are put so beautifully. So glad to know you “get it.”

August 23, 2019 12:53 pm

I’m so marvelously jealous. How beautiful this is! So, how can a gal like me get to this place? Are the cottages available to rent? Is there a place near to this that outsiders can go to enjoy, but that offers the same views and atmosphere?

August 26, 2019 12:56 pm
Reply to  Em

Thank you!!

August 27, 2019 2:36 pm

Such a beautiful post! I attended a camp in Belgrade, Maine as a camper and then as a counselor and can attest that Maine in the summer has a unique magic. Also, ‘the Island’ sounds like a fictional story I would devour….maybe a potential retirement project? :)

September 3, 2019 4:41 pm

What a beautiful trip and even more beautiful memories made. I love seeing your kids with their cousins because I know well, that very same joy!