Maine is the perfect destination for a summer getaway and is known for its small vacation homes called camps, cabins or cottages. They are where you can spend an idyllic summer and enjoy a feeling of simpler times, or as the Maine slogan states, “the way life should be.”
As I celebrate 10 years of blogging, let me take you back to where Back Road Journal began…sitting in an Adirondack chair on the back deck of a small lakeside cottage in Maine. My husband and I were living on a farm, an hour north of Boston, in a small town in New Hampshire. Our 1730’s historic home was on 13 acres of land with three hundred of apple trees. We loved where we lived but my husband’s dream was to find a small lake house in Maine where we could spend summers near the water. When we started looking for that summer house, I was dreaming of a cute cottage like I’d seen in the beautiful home design magazines while my husband was looking at magazines that featured a slightly more rustic style, referred to as camps in Maine.
After many trips north, we found a listing just 45 minutes north of Portland, Maine that would make us both happy. It was located in the picturesque town of Naples which is on Long Lake in the heart of Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region. We would be able to walk to the center of town for events like the annual blues festival or classic wooden boat show, watch the 4th of July parade, have a lobster at one of the local restaurants or to simply enjoy an ice cream cone.
The property had its own private little beach and boat dock. The small house was more rustic than I was hoping to find, with a washer/dryer standing just inside the front door. It was a fixer upper that just “needed a little work” so we decided to go ahead with the purchase. Of course, we uncovered problems that soon led to work we hadn’t planned on like new flooring. After months of renovations and spending more money than we originally planned, the very rustic little 900 sq. ft. building with sagging, insect infested floors was transformed into a cute little summer getaway.
The cottage now had an open concept family/dining room with wide pine floors, cream colored wainscoting and pale yellow walls. The new kitchen had white wood cabinets, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, pantry and a sitting area off the kitchen with a cast iron gas heater where we could sit and sip a cup of coffee on chilly mornings.The small bathroom got a walk in shower, a granite topped vanity and built in shelving for storage. We closed off an outside door, removed a hallway and created two closets. One now held the washer/dryer that used to sit just inside the front door.
Shades of coral, lime green, turquoise and yellow filled each room of the cottage, colors reminiscent of a summer flower garden. The cottage was comfortable, a place where we could put our feet up, read a good book or play a game of scrabble.
Outdoors need a lot of work as well. We had a gravel drive and stone walkways installed. Vegetable and flower gardens were planted with perennials that would survive Maine’s harsh winters. Our summer months were spent outside. Walks and gardening in the morning, out on the lake in the early afternoon then sitting on the deck with a book. In the late afternoon, we would sit at the end of our dock, have a cocktail and watch the beautiful sunsets over the mountains in the distance. Most of the summer, our meals were eaten outside on a wooden picnic table under the gazebo.
When friends or family visited, there was always swimming, boating, tubing, and jet skiing right from our beach and dock. For more summer fun, we could take them on a cruise around the lake on the Songo River Queen paddle boat or they could fly over the lake on the seaplane that took off and landed right in front of our cottage.
Beautiful yet a little rugged, Maine is far different from the areas where I’d spent most of my life. While only two hours away from our farmhouse, the Maine cottage provided a simpler way of life. The state has a slogan, “Maine, the way life should be” and I agree. I believe our most relaxed, happiest times were spent at our summer lakeside getaway. I can close my eyes and picture myself back at the cottage, sitting on the deck in the early morning quiet, only interrupted by the occasional sound of a loon. It was a pint size slice of heaven where I wrote my first post. Ten years later, a few of my original followers are still with me and I so appreciate your support. Over the years more of you have stopped by and decided to follow as well. You have stayed with me through our move from New England to Florida. You’ve followed along on our travels and you’ve enjoyed trying many of the recipes I’ve developed over the past ten years. Without you, there would be no reason to blog, so I thank you for your friendship and welcome each new follower.