...to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free....

09 June, 2011

overnight at the cottage

There is nothing that compares to the smell of a summer cottage.
Equal parts wood smoke, must, sunshine and fresh air,
it calls up memories like few things can.

When I was a girl, the house I lived in each summer was closed up 
the other three seasons.  I loved returning to it each June,
and hated to leave it in September.
I recognize that smell whenever I encounter it,
and I am transported.

This is the seaside cottage of a dear friend and her extended
three-generation family.
Each year when it is her time to have the cottage,
she invites a small group of women
who have been together for over 30 years
to join her there for an overnight. 
I am blessed (for so many reasons) to be part of that group.

There are no granite countertops in this cottage.
No Wii, no wi-fi, no reliable cell phone service.
Instead, there is the peace and comfort
of comfy chairs, old books, new-ish magazines,
and loving conversation.

I was lucky enough to be able to retreat to here
with my friends the day after 
Pokey's death.

How much it meant to me, to be in this place,
with these women.

The fire was a welcome addition, as the nights
are always cool at the waterfront--
especially in early June.

This is the fireplace in the adjoining dining room
My friend's mother embellished many items
in that house:  bottles, lamps, dishes, fireplace screens.

 A huge table in the dining room, to accommodate the large family.
No need for curtains on the windows.  There are 
no neighbors in sight, and so much beauty right outside that
begs to be looked at, in any weather.

A stove, microwave and refrigerator is what you find
in this kitchen.  Unlike the summer house where I grew up,
there is running hot water, but no dishwasher,
no fancy cooking tools, limited space (and...wallpaper,
which I love!)
Despite the lack of 'updating' here, you wouldn't believe
the delicious food that comes out of this kitchen.

The sun pours in on the stairway, which is the first thing
you see when you enter the house, and which
takes you to the two floors containing seven bedrooms upstairs.
I have taken a million photos of this stairway.  It is magic to me.
There are two bathrooms, and only one bath in this cottage.
People make it work.  Imagine!

It was impossible to capture the little dormer in the room I chose
on the third floor.
All I can tell you is the wall is all one color--
yet the morning sun on the dormer walls was
all multi-layered shadows and brightness.
I slept to the sound of gulls and woke to the sound
of lobster boats heading out for the day's catch.
The stars through this window at night were magical.

The front yard speaks for itself.

As does the ocean beyond, and the peaceful and ever-changing
view down at the rocks at the edge of the lawn.

For some of us, the idea of a perfect summer destination
is paring down to utter simplicity--
making do with less Stuff, while absorbing
the magnificent bounty of what surrounds us.

This house is one of those destinations.

Thank you, Nina!


  1. Looks and sounds like a little piece of heaven!!

  2. oh, this is definitely a wonderful place to escape to. what a wonderful friend you have to invite you and others to join her!!!

  3. I am drooling over this post and this house, Mike. I love everything about it. I love a fire on those cool June nights. Wow ~
    What a beautiful place to heal, too.

  4. What an utterly beautiful and charming cottage! I hope you get to spend many more nights there.

  5. This has to be the best lead-in to summer that I have seen. What an inviting and charming cottage; I wanted to peak through all the doors and sit at that marvelous table, sipping on coffee and chatting. It sounds and looks like a perfect spot for an overnight.

  6. Oh Mike you've so captured what Maine is all about in this one. Love it. And it sounds as if the universe provided the perfect timing for you too. ~Lili

  7. Wonderful that you had this time to be with friends in this place ...I could almost feel the freedom from the hustle of the everyday life there!!
    There is nothing like a few days in a cottage at the coast here in is this beautiful state...wouldn't trade being a Mainer for anything!!

  8. Mike, what a wonderful place! I would never want to leave!
    Thanks for sharing and thanks Nina!

  9. Wonderful, wonderful post!!! Not only are you blessed to be a part of a group of long-time friends, but you get to celebrate your friendship at such a gorgeous place!
    Your description took me there! Thanks for sharing.