Thursday, October 27, 2011

Down East – Yoga, Colour and Quiet time

Mount Desert Island has long been one of our favourite places. For the past two summers our schedules have not worked out to allow us a summer holiday there.

Then a few weeks ago my husband had a week’s holiday. I asked permission of my students and both of us, and the cats, were on the road.

The colours were incredible. A Harlequinade of every imaginable shade of crimson, carmine, magenta, scarlet; gold, ochre, flame, saffron; plus henna and year-round greens. We wanted to stop every five minutes to capture the glories.

One reason I go to Maine each summer is to re-connect with Laura Neal, another yoga and meditation teacher, owner of Yoga @ Cattitude in Bar Harbor.  Earlier this summer I could not unfortunately attend when Laura was ordained a Zen priest. This time we shared a meditation session and I enjoyed yoga classes at the studio.

Temple bells from the Fair Trade shop hang in my Yoga Space, a reminder of these island days.

We stay on the quiet, west side of the island. In Moncton we live on a busy main road and like most people are surrounded by noise every day. The silence in Maine was so restoring. Rather like being wrapped in a cocoon. It was almost tangible; waking to soundlessness, going to sleep in deep, deep velvet quietness.

Lobster from Thurston’s was a treat, as were popovers and lunch at Jordan Pond, another of our much-loved locations.


Few places can compare with the small beach and bay in the village. That’s where we often sit, read, meditate, watch the water and the gulls.

  The stones are so beautiful that though we go to the beach saying “Just three stones each”, it rapidly becomes obvious there are so many; white striped, mottled, smoothed by the ocean. These are now memories in our garden.

En route to Ellsworth on the mainland a must-visit is the colourful Bali shop. A few years ago I found a great mirror there for our fish-themed bathroom.

Most of the fish décor I have designed and made and I found some small wood fish in Bar Harbor with which I intend to create my version of a collage I saw priced at $65. At the Bali shop we found an interesting tin fish.

Another favourite place is the Courthouse Gallery in Ellsworth. We were lucky to attend the opening of an exhibition of Still Life paintings and a talk by the artist Harold Garde, about his 60 years of painting.

More fish and beach inspired art here delighted me.

Back on the island, near Bar Harbor I discovered Serendipity. A committed vintage, ethnic and pre-loved clothes buyer I was happy to find a mirror-embroidered Pakistan caftan and equally happy to know all proceeds are donated to the town’s food bank.

Northeast Harbour is always a visually evocative town to visit. Shaw Jewelry shows some of the most creative jewellery, often incorporating beach stones as well as precious ones.

Streetscapes included this garden Ganesh/elephant and a fabulous vintage car.

A week is never long enough to respond to all Mount Desert has to offer, but after two years away it provided enough memories to keep us happy until next year.

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