Allen Island, summer home of the Wyeth clan. A Maine Favorite.

It’s Friday morning and I am feeling a bit guilty for not posting for nearly two weeks.  My goal, when we are “on the hard” is to post at least once a week.

However, I do find inspiration somewhat difficult when I am not out on the water. Well, I’d better get over it as shoreside is where I’ll be for a bit.   The good news is that later this month Pandora will be in New Bedford to celebrate the arrival of the Charles W. Morgan, the whaleship from Mystic Seaport.  New Bedford was the Morgan’s home port when she was an active whaler and this return visit will be her first since the 1940s.  After millions spent on her restoration over the last few years, this visit to New Bedford, for the Morgan is a big deal.  I’ll certainly be writing about this later in the month.  Stay tuned for that.

However, right now, Pandora is sitting patiently in her slip in Deep River with sails off and out for repair.  Speaking of self inflicted damage, Yes, an awkward segue, I know, I was shocked and more than a bit embarrassed to discover that I had furled the genoa on backwards, at least a year ago.  What I mean is that the sun cover, designed to protect the sail cloth from UV damage, was furled on the inside of the sail instead of being on the outside.  As a result, some damage was done to the leech of the sail.  It’s being repaired but I feel like a jerk making that mistake. Oops.   Well, the sails will be back in good shape soon.  All it takes is $$ to make things right.  Oh well….

However, enough fretting over this round of “Boat Dollars”.  For the uninitiated, a boat dollar is one thousand times more than a “normal” dollar.  Talk about inflation.  It seems that any visit to a sailmaker always leads to spending at least one boat dollar.  How is that?  Don’t know.  I guess that it just is…

How about something about moving around, no make that cruising on boats. Yes, that’s much better.

As I mentioned in my last post, I will be writing a series of “favorite places” over the next few months.  Hopefully, I will be visiting some of them again soon but for now I’ll just write about these great spots.  I’ll also be referencing past posts that I have written about those places in past visits.  I have also added a new “button” on the home page called, amazingly enough, “Favorite Places”.   Very creative, right?  

In my last post, “Yes, Bob, I guess you mean the one you wrote almost TWO WEEKS AGO”, (yes, that’s the one) I wrote about Booth Bay Harbor a wonderful place to begin a cruise in Maine. 

From there we normally head east along the coast to Muscongus Bay, an easy day sail with the prevailing SW winds, to Allen Island, summer home of the late Andrew Wyeth.  

Along the way to Allen Island, if you are heading east from Boothbay area, there is a great spot, Little Egg Island, that boasts a colony of puffins.  These little birds bomb along from the island to sea like little bullets. It’s fun to watch them.  This “puffin cam” is not actually on that island but it’s pretty cool.  It takes a bit of time to load so be patient.

On our last visit to Allen Island we spied his wife Betsy sitting on a bench outside of her home on the island.   I wrote about this in a post in 2011, photos and all.  Of course, Brenda enjoyed “knitting with Betsy” even if Betsy didn’t know Brenda was “with” her.   Well, we won’t be too picky on that point, will we?

The island is absolutely beautiful and is reminiscent of a Wyeth painting.  The island is a perfect example of what can happen when you combine wealth with good taste, in this case, an “artists touch”.  Of the many buildings that make up the Wyeth “compound”, this is one of our favorite. And no, the cross isn’t a family marker, it commemorates the visit of George Weymouth on the ship Archangel, explorer who visited the island in 1605. Interestingly, Weymouth kidnapped a number of local “savages” and brought them back to show off “at court” in England.  As you can imagine, they caused quite a stir with King George’s and his cronies.  Here’s a link to an interesting article about Weymouth’s visit, “savages” and all.

The Wyeth compound is actually made up of two islands, Allen and Benner.  There is no landing on the island without the permission of the owners.  Sheltered between these two islands is a lovely little harbor where the Wyeth family maintains moorings that visiting boats are welcome to tie up to for the night.  It’s a very nice service.

On the chart the harbor looks a bit daunting but getting in from either the north or south is easy.   Just be aware of the granite ledge to port as you enter from the south.  However, it’s well charted and is easy to see.  The harbor is protected from all directions and is very scenic.   Some of the local lobstermen store gear and their pots on the Wyeth docks.  I am sure that they keep the family in “bugs”, that’s Maine lobsterman talk for lobsters,  all summer long.

About three miles north, further up the bay, is a great spot to visit, Port Clyde. From there you can take a ferry out to Monhegan Island a lovely island known for their local artist community.  We have not visited Monhegan ourselves but hope to at some point.  Perhaps the biggest draw for me would be to take the mailboat, a wonderful old wooden beauty that runs from Pt Clyde to Monhegan island on a regular schedule.  While you are in Pt Clyde, you might want to have lunch at the general store.  It has a fabulous view of the harbor and the food is good too.  The store has a fairly good selection of groceries.  Not far from Allen, is Hog Island, home of an Audubon camp.  Actually, when we were last there in 2011 the camp wasn’t operating but we were free to explore the island.  It seems that the camp is back in business, at least according to their website.   They also have an “osprey cam”.  It takes a bit of time to load but it’s very cool.  If you’re viewing this post at night, well, come back when it’s light.  I understand that these guys travel south in the winter.  We saw some in the Bahamas this winter.  I wonder if it was the same ones?  Hmm…

The camp maintains (a relative term) several moorings for boaters to use.  We have picked up them in settled weather with good results.  These moorings are in such a picturesque spot we have used photo on our boat “calling cards” taken here for several years now.   Darn but I can’t find that photo.  Oh well.  Trust me, it’s a nice spot.

A nice day trip is to run from Allen Island north to Pt Clyde and then head up through Friendship and west to Hog Island.  It’s an easy run and will take you though some of the most scenic areas in Maine.

Well, writing about these great spots is making me want to jump aboard Pandora and head to Maine.  However, in spite of my recent ramblings about going there, our plans have changed, again.

Actually, I can’t stand the idea of missing out on a warm winter.   The idea of a New England winter with the cold that comes with that, is a bit of a non-starter for me.

This means that we have scrubbed our Maine for this year and I will again run Pandora south for the winter.  I don’t know if we will visit the Bahamas again or if we might try the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas.  That might be fun. Perhaps we can get down there early enough to visit Key West for New Years.  I am told that they have a “red shoe”, complete with a resident “drag queen” named Sushi, that drops to the street at the stroke of Midnight.  The gay community has a big presence in Key West and, based on this video, they are a group that really knows how to throw a party.  Would be a hoot, that’s for sure.Yes, a bit different than the ball in NYC but hey, it’s warm.  NYC at 10 degrees or Key West at 80?  Hmm…One way or the other, perhaps the best thing about Pandora is that we can take her anywhere we want.   For now it’s fun to think about what’s possible and it’s more than possible that we will head south for the winter, details to come.

Well, there you have it…   A single post that includes sail repair, puffins, ospreys, a classic wooden mail boat and a drag queen video.  How’s that for variety?  Some might say random is a better description.

More to the point, I have work to do on Pandora and the sun is out.  That’s all for now.

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