Happy Halloween!!!

October 31, 2010

 

Arwen Witch

 

Arrrgh...me matey!

I LOVE Halloween! Unfortunately this year, Jay and I did not have an actual costume party to attend. We’ve had a lot of fun with our outfits in the past years, and had even started to get something together for this one, but I supose it will have to wait until next year.

 

Amish Halloween 2006

Space Odyssey 2008

Steam Punked 2009

At the last minute, we decided to have a few folks over on the Saturday before All Hallow’s Eve for some adult beverages, a bonfire and weenie roast.

Princess Giuliane was in attendance

All Hallow's Snacks

Spooky Halloween fog!

Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. As Christian beliefs took hold, Samhain celebrations became re-branded as All Soul’s Eve. By the eighth century beggars, rather than the spirits from the other world, would travel door to door on this night. In exchange for their prayers for the family’s departed, they were given a small cake, known as a Soul Cake. Paying homage to the history of my favourite holiday, I made some soul cakes for our gathering.

Soul Cakes

They are a mildly sweet, spicy cross between a cookie and a cake that is topped with currants. Perhaps more of a historical novelty than a culinary delight, but fun to have nevertheless. Thanks to all who stopped by and Happy Halloween!

The Dread Pirate Arwen


In search of a moose….

October 21, 2010

Jay and I just returned from a fantastic holiday in Camden, Maine. We had first began thinking about visiting the state of Maine while we were suffering through our excruciatingly hot and steamy summer. This past summer was even hotter than the usual tropical Virginia offering. It was bad news for both Jay and I who prefer much cooler climes. After visiting St. John’s, NewFoundland  for the George Street Festival in July/August 2008 and 2009, we started thinking about finding a cooler place “to summer.” The highest the temperature reached during our stays in St. John’s was 76 degrees-and they considered that a horrible heat wave! So we looked into purchasing some vacation property there, but much to our dismay found that it would be difficult to do so since we are not Canadian citizens. So we decided to go check out Maine, as far north as we could get (bar Alaska) in the good old U.S. of A. Unfortunately, we were not able to get away this past summer. October was the first opportunity we had to visit, so we decided to travel up and see the leaves change.

Camden is a beautiful little town situated at the point where mountains come down to meet the sea.

Main St. in Camden

Camden shops on stilts

Camden shops over falls

It was a perfect size town for us (about 5,000 people)-on the smaller side but large enough that there were plenty of restaurants and shops. When we first arrived in town, we set about getting some provisions to take with us to the Inn-snacks, sodas and of course some alcoholic beverages-champagne and vodka.

Maine Style Snack

Champagne,Veuve to be specific,-as if there were any other- was right there in the grocery store. We had looked about for liquor stores though and hadn’t seen any. Apparently in Maine one purchases liquor from what is known as an “Agency Store”-which is just a store which is licensed to sell the stuff. In Camden’s case this turned out to be a Rite Aid Pharmacy. Weird! An aisle of liquor among the cold remedies and candy!

Rite Aid Liquor Aisle

Buying Supplies

We stayed at the Inn at Ocean’s Edge in their pool house suite. The property was truly gorgeous, looking out over Penobscot Bay. There was a spectacular, heated infinity edge pool, hot tub and sauna available for the guests. Very relaxing!

The Inn at Ocean's Edge

Pool House suite

Balcony view

Pool House interior

Relaxing in the hot tub

Penobscot Bay

Sunrise from our balcony

We were only there for a short time, but we were able to visit Acadia National Park-where we took in the vista from atop Cadillac Mountain and went for a hike along seaside cliffs,

Atop Cadillac Mountain

Windy Mountain top

Sandy Beach

Cadillac Mt. viewed from Beach

View from seaside cliffs

Go for  2 hour sail around Penobscot Bay on the Schooner Olad (man… was that seriously COLD-air temps of 46 degrees and blowing about 25 mph!),

Schooner Olad

Jay raising the sails

Brrrrr!

Drive to the top of Mt. Battie to gaze down upon the town of Camden, followed by a hike up to Maiden’s View high above Megunticook Lake in Camden Hills State Park,

The town of Camden from Mt. Battie summit

Lea with harbour back-drop

Maiden's View Trail

Jay clears the path

Maiden's View of Megunticook Lake

Hang On!

and see lots of fun plants along the way.

Mushrooms!

 

More Mushrooms!

Tree Mushroom!

Oh…and the food! Seriously, every single meal we had was perfect! Lots of seafood-lobster and clams. Jay doesn’t eat seafood, what with the possible life-threatening allergic reactions and all, but there was always plenty of yummy options for him to choose from. We went to Cappy’s Chowder House twice and both times the food was excellent-great lobster chowder, clam chowder, burgers, home-made breads…YUM!

 

Cappy's Chowder House

There was a really great deli-The Camden Deli-(we wish we could find sandwiches like this around here!) and a wonderful italian restaurant-Paolina’s Way-best thin crust I’ve ever had! The food at the Inn in their Edge restaurant did not disappoint either-Jay had an herbed pork loin over hand cut pasta,I had an unbelievable lobster risotto. After some pre-dinner cocktails and a bottle of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo, we were thrilled we only had to stagger a few steps down a scenic, and thankfully well-lit, wooded path to arrive back at our room!

The Edge Restaurant

Did I mention how lovely the scenery was? (as if you hadn’t noticed…) Stunning! Vibrant colored foliage under clean, clear, crisp blue skies! I even woke poor Jay up once to point out how many stars were visible in the the sky. Temperatures right up our alley-the highest it got was 61 degrees one day and at night there were actually frost warnings a couple of times. The only thing we were a little disappointed about was that we have yet to see a moose. We looked for one several years ago when we went to Vermont. No moose there. So we had high hopes for spotting one this time. Nope…total moose free zone. Oh well…I guess it will give us a goal for the next time we visit!

To view all of our pictures from Maine-check out our Maine gallery.

Wishful thinking!


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