December 21st marked the “official” opening of winter, yet spring has been teasing us in Maine. Rain and wind has cleared the snow and ice off the roofs, melting much of the white stuff off the ground. This is winter? The officials must be wrong. Considering we got snow two days before Halloween, what’s a gal to think when we have patches of bare ground at Christmastime? Other than the still bare trees, it looks like spring. We even had a day that got up to 50*. A few days ago I rode home with my window down because my car was so warm.
In Oregon this would be due to what we call a Chinook, and the temps would be 30-40 degrees warmer than we’re experiencing. Old Man Winter said I’ll give you a pretty day with the sun shining down from a clear blue sky, but I’m keeping it cold enough so you don’t forget what season we’re dealing with.
Deciding to take what I could get, I headed out for a little adventure and drove down to the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, located halfway between Muscongus and Sheepscot Bays. A pretty drive no matter what time of year.
The light was commissioned by President John Quincy Adams in 1827, but had to be replaced in 1835 due to the use of seawater in the mortar. The light was automated in 1934 and added to the National Register of Historical Places April 16, 1985. It is currently owned by the U S Coast Guard and licensed to the American Lighthouse Foundation. The residents of Maine voted for this lighthouse to be on the 2003 quarter when the US Mint honored all 50 states with that particular coin.
For me, seeing it again after twenty years, was like greeting an old friend. One who had changed very little. These days a long ramp leads up to the lightkeeper’s house, now a museum. The museum is only open when volunteers are available. Evidently, those volunteers must’ve been getting ready for Christmas. The white picket fence, surrounding the house, now holds more ground and was festooned with green wreaths sporting red bows. The row boat we’d climbed into for photo ops all those years ago was missing. Still, the view is breathtaking.
The sun glinting off the waves as they beat upon the rocks, as they’ve done for thousands of years. Ice hiding down in the crevices of those rocks, as water trickled beneath that crisp layer. The wind whipping my scarf into a knit weathervane. No snow covered the ground, but the grass was frozen and bare places gave a glimpse of mud season to come. Stately pines speared up into the sky forming a windbreak for the house. Across the small cove houses peek out beneath more trees. Imagine the view those home owners must have!
While the lighthouse park was by no means crowded, I was not the only one willing to brave the brisk wind to enjoy this beacon of safety. Along my drive were various holiday decorations to be enjoyed, people bustling from shop to shop, or gathering to visit family and friends. What I found most impressive, aside from the lighthouse, was the huge chunks of ice slowly moving down the Kennebec River. Last year Coast Guard cutters had to break up the ice on that same river to help prevent flooding.
Most of my day was still spent inside, but when that interior is a car, and you can stop at any time to take in a view, listen to water flow, or simply to appreciate the architect of a building, you feel as if you’re outside. I view soaking up some sun and fresh air as my Christmas gift to myself.
Make sure to tuck a little adventure into your own stocking!
THANK YOU, Di, for another dish. And something to consider whether it’s Christmastime or not. Maine may not be on many people’s radar for a vacation adventure, but you’re giving us good reason to check it out. Whether it’s reading your Men of Maine series, trekking north in person, or both!