Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome to Castine, Maine!

Are we there, yet? Almost! Yes, the road to Castine is long and winding, but this coastal gem is worth the drive, a visit and certainly an extended stay.

What makes Castine so special? Its rich 400-year-old history? Perhaps its idyllic peninsula setting situated on one of New England's deepest harbors? The many lovely period homes laid out graciously amongst towering elm trees? Or, surely, the multi-generations of families that call Castine home must mean this small town is special?

I'd say all of the above, which is why Tom and I decided to buy a home here. We had considered other towns in Maine but ultimately decided they were either too touristy or sleepy, and lacked the sense of community that Castine possesses. 

Please let me tour you around our beautiful town. BTW, this post is almost as lengthy as Castine's history, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy these photos from our most recent stay. Click on photo for an enlarged view.
Founded in the early 17th century, Castine is one of New England's oldest towns. Its strategic location at the mouth of the Penobscot River meant it was fought over and occupied by the French, Dutch and English. Throughout Castine, charming signs and markers indicate sites of significance.
Once a bustling merchant and ship-building town, many handsome Federal and Greek Revival style homes still grace its streets.  
Not all the houses are painted white. This stately Federal is glorious in yellow. 
A red cape and pink cottage.
There is a saying in Castine: Under The Elms And By The Sea! Many elm trees still line and shade our streets - they are cherished as well as fiercely protected!
The town is blessed with four celebrated churches.

ABOVE: Built in 1790 and situated on the Town Common is The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine, the oldest meeting house of eastern Maine. 

BELOW: Trinitarian Congregational Parish of Castine, UCC is located on Main Street. The handsome steeple stands proudly among Main Street's historic homes. 
The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Holy Hope is located on Perkins Street. Its pristine waterfront setting is so serene.
Trinity Episcopal Church is also located on Perkins Street. This striking stone building has such a presence.
Let's head over to the Town Common where you'll find Maine's oldest municipal library, Witherle Memorial Library (below).
On Thursday mornings during the summer, there is a friendly farmer's market with organic produce, baked goods, fresh flowers, local crafts and more. Who can resist such a face? Pure sunshine!
There are many public parks and sites to enjoy, such as Wadsworth Cove Beach.
Don't miss Dyce Head Lighthouse (Ca. 1828) tucked at the end of Battle Avenue.
A peek at the Golf Club's Clubhouse. 
Next, a stroll to the town center to check out the oldest U.S. post office in continuous operation (above).
Two lovely historic inns right in the heart of town. 
ABOVE: The Castine Inn
BELOW: The Pentagoet Inn
 Nearby is The Manor Inn on Battle Avenue.
Shops and businesses along Main Street.
Off of Main is Perkins Street, where many of the historic houses have enviable waterfront locations. BTW, the wonderful Wilson Museum is perched on Perkins. When I visited, they were having a demonstration and serving old-fashioned donuts - YUM! Thank you, young ladies!!
A charming boathouse!
Speaking of water, Doug and Karen Koos treated us to a boat cruise around the harbor. Castine is even more magical from the sea! Many thanks to the Koos! 

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you'll remember that Karen Koos is a realtor, and she helped us find our home in Castine. She has been wonderful in every way - from the many showings to helping us settle into town. Check out Karen and her team's listings at Saltmeadow Properties - they are the authority on Castine real estate.
We were joined by Missy and Jonathan (Tom's niece and nephew-in-law). It was their first anniversary, and we're honored they spent it with us in Castine!
On July Fourth, celebrations started early in the morning with a kid's parade. Families from all over the Peninsula joined in the festivities.
Though the fireworks were postponed to a week later (due to weather), the town remained energized.
And I have to say: Castine sure knows how to put on a show! Just spectacular!!
Hope to see you soon in Castine!
Cheers,
Loi
PS - For more information, please visit Castine Historical Society and Castine's official site.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Foxed Grey + Holiday in England

Hi, there!

Are you enjoying these carefree, lazy days of summer? What are your favorite summertime activities? Mine include eating ice cream (that's an activity, right?), combing outdoor markets, touring gardens and lots of walking (so I can have more ice cream). By the way, July is National Ice Cream Month :) 

However, I'd say traveling, especially road trips, would top the list. I could get in my wagon and just go! So while I'm on the go, check out these photos from an earlier trip to the southern coast of England.

But first, the winner of the signed copy of An Affair with a House is Inga from Lone Star (comment #47). Congratulations, Inga! I will be in touch regarding shipping. Thanks to everyone for making this drawing such a huge success. There were 450 entries!! 392 comments qualified as 58 were duplicates, follow-ups or anonymous / unknowns without information. A very special thanks to Phyllis Higgerson of Henhurst Interiors for both the book and her captivating photos of Bunny Williams' garden. I couldn't have asked for a lovelier guest post - thanks, again, Phyllis!

Now let's take a little holiday to the southern coast of England.  
Welcome to historic Emsworth, a small maritime town lined with specialist shops, quaint cottages with cute names, and local eateries.
Emsworth's picturesque harbor has long attracted sailors, artists and visitors. Cheers, Mr. Harbor Master ;)
Driving into the city of Chichester to visit the majestic 900-year-old Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. Don't miss the free concerts. There is also a hearty lunch with tea at the Cloisters Cafe.
What's this? Foxed Grey - looks like a shop specializing in French antiques. I'm going in! What fabulous pieces! Let me stop drooling, and walk myself over to meet the proprietress, Fiona Lewin. Love your style, Fiona!
Look at all the dreamy mirrors with their original mercury glass plates. . .
. . .and the painted antique furniture!
A stylish grouping of old perfume bottles.
Antique flatware with ivory, mother-of-pearl or silver handles in vintage jam jars from France.
Vintage homespun towels draped on an old orchard ladder - clever! Fiona is a styling whiz. If you visit Foxed Grey, please tell Fiona that Loi sent you :)

Foxed Grey
 25 West Street
Chichester
West Sussex
PO19 1RZ
Outfitters to the gentry. . .hmmmm, sounds so posh! Maybe next time when I'm wearing smarter shoes.
Next, a visit to picture-perfect Bosham. There was an unhurried atmosphere around this quiet, little coastal village.
Bosham oozes charm. I could live there!
Thanks so much for visiting.
Happy July!
Loi