As I’m working on this week’s blog (where did that term come from anyway?) Rick is out getting some needed weed whacking done (lucky guy). We’re both very aware of the weather right now. Last night we went to sleep on the hottest night we’ve had in the house, windows wide open. Lily (not typical) wanted out around 2 am, just to cool off – I was happy to step outside with her! Refreshed, back to sleep. And about 2 hours later, we all were awakened by a crazy ENE wind coming right past our window – and it hasn’t stopped since. Right now its blowing pretty steady at about 15 knots with rain due anytime. Pretty much guaranteed we won’t have any visitors – lol.
Friday thru Sunday of 4th of July holiday, with similar weather, brought zero visitors – such a let down. However Monday made up for it a bit. With an outstanding day of sunshine, we had more than 45 people show up to enjoy the island and visit the Light! It really was such a fun day. We even got to watch a momma swallow feed her babies in the birdhouse. One little bird was so anxious, he would about fall out when she came in with the goodies. By next morning they had already flown off to expand their horizons. Tuesday it was back to wind and clouds, still we had 2 different families come up. One couple was on a week trip aboard a small 24’ sailboat! Need I mention they were young? They really just stopped for a much needed break to dry out a bit. Fortunately they decided to come up the hill, so we had a chance to visit with and take them up the tower. I’m hoping they had a great day yesterday while the sun was shining and made it back to dry land today.
Luck was with us for our “go to shore” day this week. The sun was out, temps were up. Got our errands done quickly, and with a planned appointment cancelled on us, we played tourist for awhile. Took the 30 minute drive to Freeport, known for being the home of LL Bean’s flagship store. It felt so extravagant to stroll around the town, shopping a little, admiring all the fun LL Bean merchandise, eating out at Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen (granddaughter of LL). It was a busy day and fun to people watch!
We realized on this trip, that really the favorite parts of our “days off” were the 1/2 hr. boat rides to and from Popham Beach. In the experienced hands of our USCG licensed Cap’n Ethan, we sit back and enjoy the fresh air, waves and views along the way. Sometimes the water is relatively calm; other times, like yesterday, rolling swells might be one way to describe it! It’s a good thing that neither of us tend to sea sickness! You never know when you’ll catch sight of seals, or an occasional porpoise. There is mention of white shark sightings by some of the local fishermen, but nothing we’ve seen. (Thank goodness?) And then there’s the short little jaunt in the dinghy, carrying us & supplies to the beach, bringing the Wednesday warriors & their supplies back to the lobster boat “Grasshopper”. Almost a guarantee that someone will slip and get a little wetter than hoped, usually to everyone else’s amusement. This week was a little more exciting. Due to a so far unrepairable leak, the dinghy was losing air fast enough that someone had to be aboard pumping it back in. I knew we had crossed some sort of “islander line” when we thought this was more funny than it was scary. There are plans to replace this dinghy before long – lol!
Popham Beach is quite the village. Since we arrived in May, we’ve had time to do a little exploring and look forward to more. The beach itself is a sandy 3 miles ending at the Popham Beach State Park. The place can be packed on a warm summer day, cars parked quite a distance down Route 209 when the lot is full. At the northeastern end you’ll find historic Fort Popham, a civil war era fort built from granite blocks. Though used by the Maine Infantry, construction was never completed. It is an interesting place to spend time scouting around and learning local history. The most fascinating thing to me is that Popham was the first location that the English established a permanent colony in America. Before Jamestown, before Plymouth, the Maine colony began in August 1607. The “Virginia” was the first ship built in North America at Popham during that time. There is currently a huge project in Bath, ME building a life size replica of the Virginia – it’s called Maine’s First Ship. There is hope of a launch this October!
I’m still reading about how the Popham colony came about and why it failed to survive after just 13 months. Imagine if it had flourished, how different would our history books look – and how different Popham and Phippsburg would look. Hmmn – I’m thinking the residents and summer visitors are glad that things turned out the way they did. It is such a cozy place to live or spend time. And of course there’s Spinney’s Oceanfront Restaurant – a long time favorite for both visitors and locals alike. We were disappointed to learn they aren’t open on Wednesdays – Darn!
Well, with tropical storm Elsa on her way northeast tonight, a gale watch and high surf advisory in tomorrow’s forecast, we need to make sure our hatches are battened down – and what the heck does That mean???