Saturday, August 30, 2014

Day Trip - Bustins Island

Right off the coast of South Freeport lie several small, imaginatively named islands like Pound of Tea and Sow and Pigs. The largest inhabited island, Bustins, is completely seasonal. Residents and guests arrive during May and depart again in October. That's not to say the island isn't a happening place during those brief months! With its own Post Office (zip code 04013), store, library, community hall, golf course and sailing farmers market Bustins is a thriving summer community. (FMI and to find summer rentals or houses for sale, see the Bustins Island Community website.)

I hopped aboard the Lilly B, the island's ferry, with my friend Sue and we headed out to meet up with another friend for our weekly writing group. Always fun to combine work and pleasure!

The best time to head to the island is on the weekend when the Nature Center is open. As you can see in the map above, there is a road that goes around the island. It's an easy 2 miles walk along a dirt road. Stop along the way to take in the stunning views. It's best to bring along your own water bottles and snacks. Although this is not the wilderness, it's courteous to haul your trash away with you.

Enjoy the day in pictures...

Bustin's Island ferry Lilly B
Lilly B
Lilly B's Captain and Crew
Sailing class on the Harraseeket
Casco Castle on the Harraseeket River
Casco Castle
Bustin's Island cottages
Cottages along the west shore
Bustin's Island octagon house
Octagon House near dock

Bustins Island dock
Bustins Island dock
Bustins Island
Pumping water

Bustins Island
Red canoe

Bustins Island
Gardening with a sense of humor

Bustins Island
Relax, enjoy the view

Bustins Island
Maine scenery

Bustins Island
Lots of evidence the folks on Bustins are a relaxed crowd

Bustins Island
Love this use of old globes in a garden!

Bustins Island
Golf Course

Bustins Island
A perfect day
 The fee for the ferry is $24 round trip. (2014) Reservations are not required but you might want to check on weekends that there is room. Lilly B Ferry schedule. The ferry departs from the Town Dock in South Freeport, near the Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster. Be prepared to tell everyone on the ferry who you are, they're a really friendly bunch!

White Cedar Inn bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Maine Solar System Model

"To infinity and beyond!" we exclaimed as we drove south on Rt 1 in Presque Isle. Winter is long up in Aroostook County so folks have time to come up with some interesting ideas. Vodka made from potatoes. The Phantom snowmobile. A scale model solar system.

The vodka we can find right here in Freeport at Cold River Distillery. The Phantom snowmobile is a great idea but it's not for me. But a scale model solar system? OK, I'll give it a try.

We decided not to stop at UMPI (University of Maine Presque Isle) to see the sun. Finding the Science Building would not be difficult but we still had a long drive ahead of us to get back to Freeport from Edmundston, NB. Then, oops, we drove right by Mercury, but quickly pulled in at the Budget Traveler Motor Inn to view Venus. (We found the distances on the website to be a little off, but most of the planets are easy to find anyway.)

Maine solar sytem model Venus

Next up was Earth - located at Percy's Auto Sales. Rock kept yelling out the car window at me to make sure I got the moon in the photos. Sorry, the moon is just too small and Rt 1 was just too busy for me to keep backing up to get the shot.

Maine solar system model Earth

You'll notice that all the planets are tilted properly as well as being sized appropriately in comparison with each other. The entire drive from UMPI to Houlton is 40 miles. It's fun to be on the lookout for the next planet and realize it's that GIANT ball at the side of the road!

Maine solar system model Jupiter

Driving along, this ditty popped into my head: Bend and stretch, reach for the stars. There goes Jupiter, there goes Mars. (OK, if you remember that, you are ancient like me! Romper Room. 50's TV show. They once called out my name for my birthday. I was in heaven. Thanks Mom.)

Along that line, we missed Mars. Drove right by it. We did, however, see the wind turbines at Mars Hill. Not quite the same thing but impressive nonetheless.

Maine solar system model Saturn

Saturn was very nicely taken care of. Lovely garden, benches to sit on, gorgeous view all around. Again, getting the moon in the photo was out of the question. Every model has a place to pull off the road. Don't park in traffic.

Uranus was so sad I'm going to skip the photo. It's located outside the unused old town hall in Bridgewater. 

Next up, Neptune. Neptune was completely missing its sign. Still, it's hard to miss the planet by the side of the road.

Maine solar system model Neptune

The final stop on our solar system trek was at the Houlton Information Center. (You need travel info about Aroostook County? These folks have it! They also have limited info for NB as well.)

Although certain people no longer recognize Pluto as a planet, the folks at the info center proudly display their model in the entryway. Go inside for a brochure that gives you mileage and signposts for where to find all the planets and the sun. It's a fun way to explore with your kids and some of the model locations are a great place for a picnic.

Maine solar system model Pluto

Coming across the border from Canada, we asked the customs guy where to find the Four Corners Park in Madawaska, Maine. You can see it from the crossing, it's that close. If you do the Solar System Drive on a motorcycle, might as well keep going and stop at this park.

Four Corners Park Madawaska Maine

   And, of course, we stopped to take a picture of Rock in front of the place his family started out. If you've heard the story you know his family were Acadians who were pushed off their lands and forced to settle in New Brunswick or New Orleans. (That's what the colorful sign is about - the recognition of the Acadian families.)

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich

Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich
Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich
We don't usually make breakfast that contains meat because so many of our guests are either vegetarians or don't eat pork products. We had a serendipitous day when there were no dietary restrictions so we threw everything together and made the Monte Cristo Breakfast Sandwich with Currant Jelly.


Thin sliced ham (about 2 pieces per sandwich)
Thin sliced turkey (about 2 pieces per sandwich)
Thin sliced cheese, you want something with a kick that will melt nicely (2 pieces per sandwich)
Dijon mustard
Good toasting bread
2 large eggs per 2 sandwiches
Splash of heavy cream
Powdered sugar for garnish
Currant jelly (don't skip this, the jelly adds a nice tang)

Make the sandwiches:

Lay your bottom slice of bread on your clean work surface and spread on the mustard to taste. Add one slice of cheese, 2 slices of ham, 2 slices of turkey, another slice of cheese. Spread mustard on the top slice of bread and place that on top of your sandwich. Repeat until all the sandwiches are made.

Whisk your egg batter together.

Heat the griddle to about 325. Add butter to griddle. Dip just the top and bottom surface of the sandwiches in the egg batter, don't dredge! Place on hot griddle and cook until bread is browned on both sides and cheese is melted, about 4 minutes per side.

Cut, plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with currant jelly on the side. Would make interesting hors d'oeuvres as well. Cut off crusts after cooking, cut into 4 squares, skewer some dried cranberries on a toothpick and push thru layers.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032