When last summer ended, I proclaimed it my best one ever – in part because there were no complications from an employer or romantic upheavals. Instead, it was filled with new adventures, explorations along the Bold Coast and out on the waters, introductions to fascinating characters and geezers (both positive terms, in my estimation) who live here at least a goodly part of the year, plus a sequence of fascinating artists in residence combined with local painters and photographers and their galleries as well as a world-class chamber music series by mostly resident performers. Whew! And, oh yes, I had plenty of time to devote to a new book and setting up posts for this blog. I even got a new laptop, which meant importing and tweaking everything.
This time around has simply amplified everything.
The temperatures are generally cool on the island – often ten degrees less than what’s happening on the mainland even just seven miles to the west – so I rarely suffered from sweltering. On the downside, heritage tomatoes are rarely found here. Remember, in Dover I lived on tomato-and-mayo sandwiches from the beginning of August into October, some years, though in no small part due to global warming. Even so, the ocean temps here are too cold and the currents too treacherous, for any swimming, though inland lakes and streams provide a welcome alternative.
Well, that’s only half of it. Summer is when Eastport comes into its full glory. The streets are swarming, like a big party. To think, I’m experiencing the ideal of summering on a Maine island, combined with a lively artistic dimension! Never, in my wildest dreams, would I have expected that.
But all good things must come to an end.
Three-quarters of the Eastport’s population is what Mainers call Summer People. Now they’re mostly going-going-gone and we’re on the verge of getting back to our more essential state, something akin to a ghost town.
Not that we go down that easily.
This weekend featured the annual Salmon Festival, a delightfully low-key event highlighting local musicians, galleries, and crab rolls served by the senior center and Episcopal Church on Saturday and salmon dinners on Sunday, as well as tours of the salmon farms at Broad Cove.
The event honors what was once the Sardine Capital of the World in its current incarnation as a center of aquaculture in the form of salmon.
But it’s also a prelude to next weekend’s blowout, the Pirate Festival.
On Saturday, a mini-flotilla, armed with water balloons and squirt guns, sailed down to invade neighboring Lubec. Next week, they’re expected to return the favor, all in good spirits.
What’s made your summer special?