Long ago, before we moved to Maine, I came home from Barnes and Noble with a picture book of Maine. Our one vacation to Boothbay had planted a seed and I couldn’t stop thinking of all of the beautiful places I’d like to explore someday. In the book there was a black and white picture of the harbor taken from the island village of North Haven that intrigued me. Grey shingled buildings, summer homes, lobsterboats, sailboats, yachts, schooners were all surrounded by some of the best sailing waters in the world. I thought to myself that maybe one day, if we’re lucky, we might get there and experience it for ourselves!
Sure enough, a year or two later we had moved to Camden, Maine and our first island trip, by ferry, was to North Haven to see if this idyllic island getaway could hold up to the picture I had seen. Well it wasn’t even close. It was magical, unlike any place I had ever seen. I noticed the deep, unusually dark green water as the ferry pulled into the harbor, with boats coming and going, wakes of white water highlighting the summer activity. The quaint harbor surrounds the North Haven Yacht Club, a small shingled building on stilts that is located just to the left of where the ferry pulls in.
North Haven is inhabited year round by some hardy souls and is a summer retreat for many. It is a working island for lobstering but also has its own 9 hole golf course, a small restaurant or two and a very small town for tourists to enjoy meandering around.
In our 12 years living in Maine, we took many trips to North Haven. The island inspired me to paint many paintings. I’ve included three, the first being Dog Days of Summer. The boatyard dog was hanging around that day, the colorful sailboats were all lined up and the low tide was creating some nice reflections on the water. This was a small painting but one I could see myself painting again much larger. When I look at it, it makes me miss being there.
North Haven Yacht Club is part of our personal collection. It was inspired by having seen that photo years earlier and by working from my own photos from a similar location. I had fun with the brushwork and colors and it too brings back fond memories of day trips to North Haven.
Lastly, North Haven Harbor was my first painting of North Haven. I took the image while still on the ferry, arriving the very first time at the ferry terminal. The painting is one of my early works, slightly more primitive than I would paint it today. The painting still reminds me of the excitement I felt as an artist/photographer that day.
One memorable trip to North Haven was being invited to a lobster lunch with President Bush 41’s sister, who was vacationing on the island. She is a family friend of Jen and Jen’s mom. We thought it would all be fun to reunite on the island and have lunch together. Well, I was trying to be helpful taking over as bartender. After making our host a Clamato and Vodka cocktail, I went to place it on the countertop next to her and the glass caught the lip of the countertop! The tomato based drink made a bull's-eye for her sporty white summer pants!!!! I was completely mortified and apologetic. She couldn’t have been nicer and laughed it off, which makes the whole memory a funny one and not a tragic one. ☺
One rough sea ride to North Haven on the ferry had me nervous, for there was a large dump truck overloaded with bricks on the ferry. I thought for sure we were going to capsize and that I would soon be facing my fear of sharks head on. Somehow we arrived safely and I lived to tell about it! ☺
On one very foggy ride home on the ferry, the ferry all of a sudden threw the engines into reverse and we came to an abrupt halt. A forty foot sailing yacht came within inches of a collision. I couldn’t understand how with GPS and radar anything like that could still happen. We continued on our merry way as if nothing happened.
The ferry leaves out of Rockland, Maine and it takes roughly an hour and a half to get to North Haven. The ferry ride alone is worth taking for the experience and scenery. As far as I know, the ferry has never gone down, so don’t let my stories dissuade you. ☺
Mix in some time on the island, a lobster roll and some chowder and it’s a great way to spend a day!