Tag Archives: Maine

A Stay at Nebo Lodge

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We wake up early on Friday morning to the smell of blueberry muffins baking in the oven. After quickly packing our bags we make our way downstairs and are greeted by Teddy’s parents, up with the morning sun. We catch up with them while nibbling on muffins and sipping espresso. The sound of NPR hums in the background (a comforting morning ritual in their home). After a quick bite and a chat, we get in our 2002 Volvo X-Country wagon and make our way to Rockland to catch the ferry to North Haven. The weather dances between showers and sunshine. But whichever it decides to do, we can’t wait to get to the island.

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On island, we un-board the ferry and make our way to Mullins Lane. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the dock and we are at Nebo Lodge’s front door. As we enter through the door, we are greeted by the smiling face and bouncing curls of Kimberli who welcomes us to the inn and leads us to our room. Each room is named and ours will be Dogfish. I’ve never been more excited about a hotel room. It’s light and peaceful with a skylight, gas fireplace, private bath, and cozy seating. The rug, linens, and throw pillows are by my favorite designer Angela Adams (a North Haven native). On the walls hang landscape paintings by Maine artists. A couple pieces are for sale and I’m tempted to write out a check then and there for one depicting a calm Maine coastline. The bed looks so comfortable it’s hard not to tuck in for the night. But it’s 4pm and we want to explore the island before the rain rolls in.

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Before heading out, we decide to poke around the inn and bump into innkeeper Liz Lovell (Kimberli’s sister) while doing so. She introduces herself and shows us the other rooms that are vacant while chatting about the origins of Nebo. The inn’s owners, Chellie Pingree and daughter Hannah, intended for the inn to feel familiar and comforting while providing a genuine North Haven island experience. Not only does the inn draw visitors for its cozy rooms and delicious restaurant, it provides employment for roughly 70 people. Liz and I discover that we have a mutual friend in Laura Serino, who is also out on the island for the summer. This is island life, everyone knows everyone.

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Before getting back to her many duties, Liz reminds us to partake in the afternoon refreshment in the pantry, perfectly chewy chocolate chip cookies and refreshing iced tea. We hear the kitchen and dining room starting to come alive with preparations for supper as we head out the door, cookies in hand. A kitchen staff member is clipping herbs from one of the many herb pots on the kitchen porch as we walk down the path to town. It’s July 4th so shops and galleries are closed, but we make a note to revisit the Gift Shop, Fox i Printworks, and the Hopkins Wharf Gallery the next day.

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It starts to rain so we head back to Nebo, take showers (oh hallelujah for the water pressure!), and get dressed for our dinner reservation. Downstairs, the bar is hopping and the tables are filled with happy diners. We grab cocktails at the bar (finely crafted by Ian) before being seated in a corner by the fireplace. The tables are dressed with mix-matched vintage linens that delightfully coordinate with the Angela Adams aprons the gracious wait staff are wearing. It begins to pour outside, but the dining room is cozy. The low lights flicker against the bouquets of wild flowers which, we overheard a waitress tell a neighboring table, are from Turner Farm. For good reason, chef Amanda Hallowell also sources a lot of her fresh ingredients from Turner. We order the steamed Pemaquid mussels to start, followed by Fried Fish Reuben Taco for me and Maine Crabmeat Cacio e Pepe for Teddy. The mussels are hands down the best I’ve ever had. We sheepishly ask for more of the fresh bread to soak up the remainder of the broth before they take the plate away. Our main dishes arrive and are equally memorable. The ingredients are distinctly fresh and my fish Reuben taco is a welcome update to the traditional dish. Too stuffed to enjoy desert we make our way back to our room, crawl into bed, and fall asleep to the soothing sound of rain hitting the window panes and the low buzz of laughter in the restaurant below.

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In the morning, the rain is still coming down hard. We make our way downstairs for the continental breakfast and find a spread of freshly baked blueberry muffins, strawberries, yogurt, and Rock City coffee in the same room we ate in the night before. In the morning light we notice more of the intricate details of how well this room is decorated. We take our time, enjoying our coffee and eating one too many muffins. Our waitress checks in with our stay and shares with us her own relationship to the island. A Philadelphia native, she has worked summers at Nebo Lodge in the past but this year marks her first living on the island year round. She juggles work at the preschool, Fox i Printworks, and working at Nebo. We’re excited to hear that she plans on staying on again this year. After breakfast we check out of our room, sad to close the door to Dogfish behind us. We check out with Liz and share our gratitude for the incredible stay and remarkable service. Despite the rain, we decide to throw on our raincoats and explore the island some more before the 3:45pm ferry back to the mainland. Liz informs us we can leave our bags in the pantry and to let her know if we need anything at all.

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Surprisingly, there are quite a few people milling around town. Everyone waves, nods, or offers a hello. We heartily offer greetings in return. The Gift Shop is filled with shoppers and we see owner June Hopkins at the register helping customers, as she has done for the last 60 years. Half of the space is a gallery and is currently exhibiting work by a local artist whose use of color is inspiring. We head next door to check out the Hopkins Wharf Gallery, co-owned by June’s youngest son David (her older son is painter Eric, and a friend of Teddy’s parents). His partner David Wilson is in the gallery with their two small dogs. He shows us around the space while talking about island life. We come to learn that he is the artist who painted the magnificent mural on the walls of the dining room and reception area at Nebo. We’re bummed to find that Fox i Printworks is closed through the weekend. We peek through the windows and get excited about the designs.

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It’s nearing 3:45pm so we grab our bags, say our final farewell to Nebo (for now), and make our way to Waterman’s Community Center to wait for the ferry. There’s coffee and sweets with an honor system for payment. Teddy remembers the first time he visited North Haven when he was younger. It was in the winter and Waterman’s had become the hub of social gathering for the community. People had been playing games, knitting, reading, catching up on the week’s goings-on over coffee. The sense of community was so palpable, he had immediately fallen in love with the island. I am feeling that same emotion now as I watch locals and summer residents pass by each other in the street, exchanging hugs and hellos.

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On the ferry back to Rockland, we watch the island grow smaller behind us. We make a promise to each other that it will be a place we revisit every year. A place that will always remain special in our hearts – in no small way thanks to our stay at Nebo Lodge.

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Nebo Lodge

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This 4th of July my husband and I will be staying at Nebo Lodge on North Haven Island in Maine, and we couldn’t be more excited. The restaurant, fronted by chef Amanda Hallowell, has been praised by magazines like Bon Appetit and Downeast for its delicious seasonal menus using local ingredients. The inn, managed by Hannah Pingree (daughter of owner Chellie) and Pam Mountain, boasts cozy rooms decorated with decor by designer and fellow North Haven native Angela Adams. Not only does Nebo sound incredible, North Haven is an island I’ve been eager to visit. Teddy has visited several times, once while helping his father custom build an impressive kitchen in one of the beautiful homes on the island. We look forward to spending time exploring the island, and enjoying the hospitality and good food at Nebo Lodge. Stay tuned for a post about our visit!

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Get Back Stay Back

Portland, ME based writer Joseph Conway has been touring with his first book, Get Back Stay Back: 2nd Generation of Back-to-Tthe-Landers. The book observes 13 families that have exchanged the rat race of modern urban life for the self sufficiency of a simpler life in the woods and fields of Maine. The stories are poignant and challenging as these families face the challenges, and reap the rewards, of their lifestyle choice. Conway also traces the development of the original Back-to-the-Land movement in the 1960’s in this compelling book. I highly recommend picking it up to read for yourself, then share with friends and family.

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Tradlands Spring 2014

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Loving Tradland’s new shirts for the Spring. Their shirting is seriously one of the best I’ve found for women. These images from the lookbook are fresh, approachable, and leaves you longing for summer days in Maine.

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More & Co.

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The weekend after Thanksgiving I finally had the opportunity to stop by the shop More & Co. in Portland, ME. After months of following each other’s twitter, instagram, etc. I was very excited to put a face to a name. Also, my mother-in-law had discovered the shop over the summer and was eager to get me in as she knows my weakness for good taste and beautifully made pieces and objects. We popped into the store after grabbing some lattes on a rather drizzly day and I was able to chat with Maria, one of the four creative brains behind More & Co., which is also a creative agency. Read her delightful Q&A below to learn more about the agency, the shop, and what they have planned for the new year!

Q. More & Co. is a group of four like minded creatives living in Portland, ME. Can you tell us a little more about yourself and your three partners?

A. We are two sets of sweeties all of whom have a background in creative fields. We have all studied art and design but beyond that, we all love to travel and learn new things. I’d say that we try not to take ourselves or our work too seriously. We want to connect with the projects we do and the items we carry in our shop in a cosmic way. (Hope that doesn’t sound too crazy; it’s true!) We like to surround ourselves with beautiful, useful things and enjoy playing out in the natural landscape of Maine.

Q. What brought the four of you together to create the creative agency?

A. CDR and I started More, a small art studio on the East End in Portland, several years back. It was just the two of us with a letterpress and a few work tables. We wanted to use the space to create art and share it with people. When we left that space (bad landlord!), we worked out of our apartments for a while and brought Ryan when we accidentally got a “client.” We had been talking with Ryan for a few years about working together and this just seemed the time. Hence, More & Co., was born. Lynsey, Ryan’s sweetie, came on this year as a partner when we opened the shop. We are really just a group of besties working together and trying to have fun!

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Q. When did you open the shop and what inspired the team to dive into retail?

A. The shop opened on May 30th of this year. Our travels inspired us to open a shop. We kept seeing things we loved along the way and dreamed of a space where they could all be together. We also wanted to create our own product line that would sit next to these goods. We wanted to make a shop that we would want to shop in! :) It happened organically from there.

Q. The shop seems to be in constant rotation – there is always something new and exciting. Can you explain how you curate the goods in the store around themes?

A. We decided to go with the concepts so that it would keep things fresh for us and for those who are making things for us. The traditional shop model, while fine, was just not for us. We needed it to be connected to something bigger. If we had concepts and themes, that was our chance to do just that. Now when you walk into the space, hopefully, you feel the vibe as a whole movement and not just a space full of stuff to buy. We hope you will visit the shop just to be inspired! We hope the themes and concepts are interesting for our customers and visitors as well.

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Q. Is it challenging to be consistently developing new themes and curating around that? Or do you find it’s better for the retail experience – for you and the customer?

A. The challenge we have is keeping up! We love our concepts and won’t give those up but it is a good thing we have a full creative team in place here at More & Co. to help with photography, design, writing. It takes a group to pull this kind of thing off and we all work very hard. Perhaps too hard! ;) We are committed to bringing our customers the rotating themes in the space, though, because we ourselves love it! We want to love what we do.

Q. What do you find challenging and rewarding about running a business in Portland, ME?

A. Well, Portland is a small town. It’s always challenging to do something new in a place where most of the shops look the same. That said, we have had great feedback and support. People may think “I have to buy something” when they think of shop. We don’t want people to feel that way about More & Co. Our shop is just as much a place to just stop in and poke around as it is to shop. That’s a new concept for Portland, perhaps? Here we have art spaces and galleries and then there are shops. There is nothing in between. Everyone always wants to put you in a box. “What are you guys?” is the question we get a lot. I love that. Doing something challenging is fun!

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Q. More & Co. is on holiday from December 23 to February 14, can you give us a hint of what’s to come in 2014? And maybe what to expect when doors reopen on Valentine’s Day?

A. Well, you are the first person we are telling …. Our opening concept for 2014 is called THIS IS LOVE. It will feature some of our most loved items from the first 6 months of our life as a shop. We will be pulling together items we love and items you all love. We are so excited to open back up on Valentine’s day and share the love through the long winter season. After that, we will have a robust summer collection with several layers as well as a small autumn collection and then our holiday feature again. It’s going to be a really fun year!

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Q. Finally, what are some of your favorite gift ideas for this holiday season?

A. Right now I am in love with . . .
OLO
FLOTSAM + FORK (especially these)
HANSEL FROM BASEL (especially tights)
ALDER & CO. (especially Aurelia)
PORTLAND APOTHECARY (Forest Soap is my favorite)
JENNY PENWOOD

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