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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Prouts Neck/Portland, Maine Hit List

Artist Winslow Homer could see this craggy coastline from his studio window.

Another view from the studio today.

Northeaster, Homer's painting of Prouts Neck, 1895. Now @ Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Portland Museum of Art wraps it up! The lady there wrapped these presents for Fig and Punch. I bought the Warhol notebook for me.

I've seen so many great things today in Prouts Neck and Portland that I'm resorting to a hit list. My mind and soul are like sea sponges that soaked it all in.

My menu from the wine-pairing dinner at the Black Point Inn [BPI] is covered with penned notes, like a high school yearbook. The Andy Warhol notebook I bought at the gift shop at the Portland Museum of Art is filled with juicy tidbits. Since I want a little time to rest and luxuriate in this lovely hotel and it's already after 11 p.m., here come the bullet points:
  • Deck. The deck off my room has a lounge chair. I can hear the waves and see the water. Need I say more? Am I really going to be home on my little old street in New Jersey at bedtime tomorrow night? Yes--yes I am.
  • Dinner. Large Damariscotta Oysters [from Maine] served on a bed of ice; BPI Signature Salad, with plump blueberries; Lavender Roasted Breast of Chicken; and my Seared Filet Mignon presented on a small raft of Sour Cream and Chive Potato Strudel. The oysters are a tried-and-trusted classic here, said William Benner, executive chef. We love their sweetness and liquor. I generally leave the oysters to H., but I'd add that these were briny and bracing.
  • Time travel. When you come to Prouts in the summer, it's like being back in the 1950s, noted Kristen Levesque of the Portland Museum of Art. You see kids riding their bikes in their tennis whites to the courts. At the BPI, you can order a picnic basket lunch, complete with blue gingham. Inside? You might have turkey sandwiches, homemade cookies, pickles and drinks. You wouldn't want foods that require forks and knives on the beach, said general manager Phil Kronenthal. The blue and white Dudson china, made in Stoke-on-Trent, England, has seen many a summer. I ate off it at breakfast, tea time [fat chocolate chip cookie] and cocktail hour in the sun room. 
  • The neighbors. Glenn Close lives up the road and the NFL commissioner, I heard, lives across the way from the inn.
  • The Winslow Homer room in the Portland Museum of Art. Mounted: Pine planks from the wall of his Prouts Neck studio on which he had written Tumble, tumble, turn [believed to be a reference to waves]. Under glass: his watercolor box and artist's canvas stretcher. On the wall: His black oilskin cap. That cap moved me the most; so personal. Unearthed by archaeologists at his studio space: a white porcelain cup, chess pieces, a metal spoon.
  • The artist's wise words. One quote: Look at nature, work independently, and solve your own problems. And: When you paint, try to put down exactly what you see.
  • The cliff walk behind his studio. It's part of the tour, unless it's snowing or pouring rain. I ate up the tour. SOOOOO cool to see where a master worked. Call 207.775.6148 for reservations [$55 per person, discount for students].
  • étaín boutique. A lingerie boutique on Congress Street in Portland. Nicely edited collection. I like to check out shops when I travel. I see we have our shopper with us, said another writer on the trip shortly after meeting me.
  • Aurora Provisions. They do the food for the cafe at the Portland Museum of Art, and the mozzarella, basil aioli, cucumber and tomato sandwich on focaccia was so good. They pride themselves on farm-to-table, and that mozzarella was the softest, most tempting ever. Unusual desserts, like Flourless Peanut Butter Truffle Cookies [$2.75 each], with a whole chocolate truffle pressed on top of each big round. Coincidence: My nephew recently moved to Portland and works at their shop on Pine Street. I plan to stop by tomorrow.
I'd love to write more, but I'm tired. And who wants to come to a dream hotel and work the night away?

Good night to you.

  1. Pitched a story idea.
  2. Took afternoon nap on comfy sofa with cozy blanket--door to deck open for breeze.
  3. Went out on deck again to listen to waves lapping in moonlight.
  4. Trying to take home a valuable lesson: That time away and a clean desk in a place where someone else does the dishes and housekeeping is good for my spirit and mind--and creativity.


  1. Fabulous! Are you there for a certain client, or just to generate story ideas? Also, did you see my e-mail? Would May 22 work for lunch?

    Travel safely, Alice!

  2. Hi Eileen. I was invited on a press trip with other writers to see Winslow Homer's art studio, which was renovated by the Portland Museum of Art and is open to the public for [paid] tours. I've written for Coastal Living and its website....and write travel pieces for GH and I'm pitching. May 22 sounds great. thanks, Eileen. it will be so good to see you. love, alice

  3. Excellent! Want to pick us a place somewhere around Princeton? I will take another pass through Nora's drawers and bookshelves! :)