Posted by: jeannineatkins | March 21, 2011

Maine Weekend

After I presented to the International Reading Association on the North Shore, Peter and I headed north. The next morning, we drove past the house where we were married and stepped into the library we first visited together, often. Then we drove into Maine, where we walked on the beach and ate lunch with a fine skim of sand. I took off my shoes. Everybody was smiling.

We booked a cottage at the White Barn Inn, where I wrote watching three ducks dive, leaving converging V shapes in the water. The next morning, Peter pulled open the shade to see soft fluffy flakes drifting over the river, which the ducks had abandoned. The land was turning from brown to white.

Weather: New England. But it was great to eat fish ‘n chips, mahi-mahi tacos, and chocolate chip-dried cranberry cookies. We drove between great views and bookstores. I’m excited about 13, RUE THERESE, which I bought at Kennebooks. The novel by Elena Mauli Shapiro was based on a Paris neighbor’s box of keepsakes, with no relatives to claim them. Postcards, letters, pens, photograph, rosaries, and lace gloves spurred her imagination for fiction that explores mysteries of the past, with what looks like a bit of ooh la la and maybe some oh and perhaps a bit of ew. We’ll see. I’ve been a long time fan of Margaret Drabble, and can’t wait to share her view of inspiring meadows, gardens, and houses. On the way home we stopped at the Toadstool Bookshop in Keene, NH, where I picked up stories by Laura Furman, a novel by Carol Edgarian, and Radioactive: Marie and Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss, which is lavishly illustrated and connects the history of radioactivity with more personal episodes about amazing couple who discovered it.

I’m glad to be home, and the dogs glad to see us, though I miss the room by the river. Peter offered to take a video of the changing tides, but I said it wouldn’t be the same. Even if the screen was huge. And mostly I didn’t watch the water, but just once in a while looked up from my notes and saw that everything had changed, slightly, but significantly. I hope on my paper, too.



  1. “Lunch with a fine skim of sand”–I love it!
    And that book on top of your pile (A Writer’s Britain) looks fascinating. I’ve always wanted to do such a trip to the UK. (A number of my favorite sites don’t actually exist–such as some of Dorothy Sayers’s settings, or of course Hogwarts. But I’d get as close as possible!)

  2. Beautiful! I love Maine!
    Thank you for sharing it with me. xo

  3. I love the picture of the two of you together, and the picture of you writing from that gorgeous room. Welcome home!

  4. What a lovely looking retreat! More and more, these days, I love getting away to write. I’m grateful to have a home office, but these days bills, filing, gift wrapping, birthday cards, etc. all provide distraction. If I had a bigger house, I’d try to make my office ONLY for writing, but that’s not feasible. So, getting away to write? Perfection! Thanks for sharing!

  5. That’s funny about not being able to see Hogwarts. Someone really needs to work on that. Drabble’s book is more about writers for grownups, but there’s a charming book by Joan Bodger (written pre Harry Potter) called How the Heather Looks: A Joyous Journey to the British Sources of Children’s Books. We have our own places where we encountered our own Poohs and Mr. Toad, but it was a pleasure to read about this family trip through England.

  6. Always happy to share Maine with you, Laura.

  7. Thank you, Jeni!

  8. Oh, Debbi, you know what I have to say to that, don’t you? I’m happy Bob’s business sometimes takes him to cool places, but why not eastern New York or western New England? You can retreat here any time, and I think you should!
    Meanwhile, enjoy those coffee shops. Sometimes they can help me focus (though I already miss Popovers in Portsmouth, NH. Someday we must write there!)

  9. Oh! what a truly wonderful idea! I would love that! I was just saying to Jo this morning that I want to try to plan a retreat out that way later this year! I’ll keep you posted. xoxox

  10. It sounds like you had a lovely weekend! I’m very jealous. I love Kennebunkport, and daydream about it. I always feel like sand and good food revitalizes my imagination. 🙂

  11. As a lover of Maine, I’m shocked I never went to Kennebunkport before. But I will be back, and can see why you daydream. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  12. Samantha! (didn’t recognize your face at first behind the coffee mug!)

  13. Hellooo! I should’ve introduced myself properly. 🙂 I finally decided to reacquaint myself with LJ and come out of the lurking shadows, especially when I saw this particular entry!

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