Laurel Hill Cemetery Comes Alive

I took these photos of blooming flowers, ivy, trees, shrubs, greenery, moss and other life forms during a couple of early mornings at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco. It was during these walks that I experienced a deep peace I hadn’t felt in a very long time. I hope the peace of this special place reaches you through this post:

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Something Supernatural in the Cemetery

Yesterday at daybreak Wayne and I went for a walk at Calvary Cemetery in South Portland. Walking in and photographing old graveyards and cemeteries has been a passion of mine for many years. If you haven’t seen my past blog posts please click the link, I think you’ll enjoy them. I didn’t sleep the night before because I had spent much of it crying and laying awake thinking about the hawk and Buddy. I wanted to honor his life and make peace with his passing in a somber, spiritual setting while getting some fresh air and exercise with Wayne. I also sensed there was something I needed to see.

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Higgins Beach Sunday Sunrise

We decided last night we would leave our house at 5:00 a.m. to watch the sunrise. It was very cloudy and drizzling–would we be treated to a show? We decided to find out. Wayne and I listened to the Grateful Dead playing “Fire on the Mountain” live in 1983 on XM during our ride which was perfect since the morning sunrise cast a magical pink “alpenglow” on the clouds. We had the whole beach to ourselves except for a surfer and a walker in the distance.

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Guest Post: A New Englander’s Tiny Balcony Garden in Italy

Many of us who are stuck inside small urban homes during quarantine (or any time!) may find ourselves wishing we had some nature within reach. My dear friend and Bostonite Stephanie moved to Italy many years ago and created a green oasis on her chic Florence balcony. I’m very grateful that she was so generous to share her story and beautiful photos with us here on Simple Living New England. Come see her flowers, fruit trees, bird friends and more for inspiration!

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Blustery Beauty at Higgins Beach

I got a parking spot at my favorite beach!!!! I smelled ocean air (40 degree air, but I’m no longer picky!) instead of whiffs of Clorox! As a way to prevent crowding my town of Scarborough closed the beach parking lots except for a small portion of one at Pine Point. They technically did not close the beaches nor did they prohibit VERY limited parking along the street so that those who live within walking distance can still go as well as those who could snag a spot. Today was my lucky day! It’s the first time in over three weeks that I actually went for a drive anywhere. (My wedding ring still fits, ha! I take it off at home.) I really needed to at least see and smell the sea from my car. I was so thrilled that I was able to actually park and take a quick, socially-distanced walk!

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A Serious Post: Maine is Shutting Down (For Now)

“Welcome To Maine, Now Go Home!” was a popular playful bumper sticker in the 1980s and 90s. As someone who will always be considered “from away” despite having first moved in Maine in 1986 I get it. However, the current sentiment is actually quite dire and with good reason. As of yesterday’s Maine CDC update we have less than 80 available ICU beds for the entire state of Maine.  Non-essential businesses, save for a few exceptions, are closed. The York town manager plans to ask the police department to put signs near the Maine Turnpike exit to warn visitors the beaches and parks are closed. “We don’t need the day trippers right now,” he said, noting local residents can get out for walks in their neighborhoods. Additionally as of yesterday beaches in southern Maine are now closed and Acadia National Park is also now closed due to coronavirus. I suspect that the beaches in my town will close. Portland has a shelter-in-place in effect. 

Yet we are Vacationland with thousands of snowbirds, seasonal residents and vacationers, many of whom are coming to Maine early to “escape” coronavirus and their local shelter-in-place mandates. Our population is growing yet we don’t even have the hospital resources for the year-round residents in this pandemic. This is terrifying. I hope people will choose to do the right thing as opposed to practicing their right to go and do as they please.

Relics From NYC: Peek Into My Past!

I’ve been reorganizing my filing cabinet and had a blast looking through some of my own personal ephemera and Lenox School yearbooks. You will know some of these people, bands and shows I’ve seen. Plus, I bet you didn’t know I’m a recording artist! (Sort of…)

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Thanksgiving Dinner in a 1700s House

I just love when I find a hidden gem and that’s exactly what happened for our Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go out to eat since it’s just the two of us this year. All of the local places serving T-Day dinner were charging between $80 – $90 per person plus tip! Spending over $200 to eat in a trendy or upscale restaurant on Thanksgiving in greater Portland is just no! (Portland was named 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetite.) We’re not into trendy places. We wanted something out of the way in the country that was simple, homey, historic, casual and delicious without fine dining pricing. Then I opened up google maps and did a search for places in “the country”. That’s how I found The Buxton Common, “a community gathering space for families, friends, neighbors and guests serving house smoked, rustic country fare in a revitalized 18th century home.” They were offering a Thanksgiving dinner for $32 per person! Sold!

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Behind the Scenes at Maine Wildlife Park with Curt Johnson

Wayne and I attended a Pow Wow at the Maine Wildlife Park this summer after which we spent some time exploring and looking at the animals. Unlike a zoo that operates for profit, the animals at the park cannot survive in the wild. It’s there that they are provided a safe forever home because they were injured, orphaned, or became human dependent while being raised illegally in captivity. The park is self-sustaining and owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife within the Division of Information and Education. Each animal becomes an ambassador for its species to help educate (and charm!) the public. It has a staff of thirty and over two hundred volunteers which includes retirees, college interns and during the off-season, inmates involved in correctional trade instruction. The inmates gain experience and can give back to the community by doing necessary tasks like painting, shoveling and maintaining wood furniture.

I contacted park Superintendent Curt Johnson about the possibility of volunteering next season. Since I’m always interested in learning more about people who work with and love wildlife I asked him after he interviewed me if I could interview him for my blog. Not only did he agree to it but he also offered me a rare opportunity to visit the park and see the animals after it had closed for the season! I felt so lucky and of course I accepted his generous offer!

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A Chairlift into the Clouds, a Carousel Ride into the 19th Century & More!

What a weekend! This is a long post loaded with pics and videos. 

Early Saturday morning our first stop on the way to Sunday River for the fall foliage chairlift ride was breakfast at Sunday River Brewing. Wayne ordered the S.O.S. and I ordered the corned beef hash omelette which was delicious. 

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