May 2014 Newsletter


Greetings from the Harraseeket Inn!  The summer solstice is upon us, marking the longest day of the year and the pivotal moment when, at precisely 6:51 am on June 21, the earth's axis tilt points us as directly toward the sun as we ever get here in the northern climes.  From that moment on, we'll continue our orbital journey toward winter.  If the planet's rotational axis was vertical, the seasons would never change and we'd never  savor these precious green and golden days as much as we do now.  The weather thus far has still been cool but this past winter was so long and harsh and spring was so short and cold that many gardens

robins in the rose arbor
Baby robins in the rose arbor 

here in Maine are behind schedule.  When I measure the impossibly slow progress of my own garden, I have to remind myself that in early April, the ground was still covered by two feet of snow. The perennial gardens here at the inn look 'wicked good', in spite of all the seasonal challenges Mother Nature has presented us with.  This is thanks in great part to our wonderful and multi talented gardener and florist,  both of whom were hired and

Ruby in Yellowstone Canyon
Ruby at Yellowstone Canyon 
trained by Ruby McDermott before she retired this spring.  Ruby is now traveling across the country in a camper van, having the time of her life, and tho we miss her, we wish her every happiness in her new adventures.  It was Ruby who designed the landscaping here at the inn nearly thirty years ago.  She and my mother combined their visions to create the beautiful perennial gardens we enjoy today.  People, Places and Plants, a Maine horticultural magazine of yore, wrote an article about my mother twenty years ago, and  rereading it today sure brings back memories.  Her quote at the end is especially poignant, given that she's now 82 years old.  Many of our guests  greet her by name, which always puts a big smile on her face, and tho she no longer works full time, (I would never dare say she was retired) she still pauses as she strolls through the gardens to dead-head spent blossoms or pull a stray weed.  

Nancy and Chip Gray
Nancy and Chip Gray
My mother was instrumental in charting the course of the Harraseeket Inn, from it's conception 30 years ago, to procuring locally grown foods from area farmers and promoting a sustainable and  environmentally friendly philosophy.Sometimes when we share a meal together in the Broad Arrow Tavern, she'll look around and reminisce about the early years.  "Do you remember when this place was just a bed and breakfast and you were running it?" she'll say to me.  Oh boy, do I ever. Thirty years ago and it feels like yesterday. Five guest rooms then and ninety three now.  We've gotten bigger but the important things never change. Good old fashioned Maine hospitality will never go out of style, the inn's gardens will always be beautiful, and my mother's vision will guide us into the future with unflagging determination and unerring grace.


This is the time of year when every ounce of daylight is poured into Maine's brief growing season, and there's little rest for those who make their living from the land.  The farmers and fishermen  who provide us with  locally raised and harvested seasonal provender are hard at work from dawn to dusk, and the fruits of their labor will provide our talented chefs with the freshest of

Fishbowl Farm
Maine farmland Trust 

Maine grown ingredients.  We're proud to support the Maine Farmland Trustand Maine Organic Farmers and Growers. These organizations form the back bone of Maine's sustainable agriculture.  As my mother is fond of saying, "No land, no farms.  No farmers, no food."  

Included in this newsletter are several photos courtesy of the Maine Farmland Trust, including the one of my mother and brother, highlighting the farmers and farms that help keep Maine a special place.  We hope you'll join us in thanking them for their hard work.


***Upcoming Events:


*LLBean  Summer in the Park Fourth of July Celebration and Free Summer Concert Series   Check out the great schedule of events and plan to have some fun in Freeport this summer!


*Summer Menus in the Maine Harvest Dining Room and Broad Arrow Tavern are up and running.  Come try some new entrees or enjoy your old favorites! Sit by the outdoor fire pit on the patio and share a glass of wine and good conversation with fellow travellers.  It's just amazing the number of lasting friendships that have been forged here at the inn!


Victoria Wyeth lecture, Friday evening, July 18th at the Harraseeket Inn .  Back by popular demand, the  only granddaughter of the late great artist, Andrew Wyeth, will give an hour long presentation of the legend and his art.  Ms. Wyeth lectures all over the country and internationally as well. This is a dynamic presentation and slide show, highly recommended, and free of charge! Plan on an early supper and please join us at 8 pm.  


Last month's trivia question asked who was Henry David Thoreau's guide on his legendary canoe trip in Maine.  Joe Polis was the name of the guide whose picture was in the newsletter, but I gave a nod to Joe Attean as well.  Both Joes were instrumental in guidingThoreau's adventures in the Maine woods and bringing him home safe to share his writings with the world.  This month's trivia question has to do with the name of one of the farms that provides us with wonderful produce.  It's called Six River Farm after which six rivers, and where do these rivers all meet?  All correct answers win a voucher worth $5. toward food or lodging on your next visit, and from all the correct answers one will be drawn to win dinner for two in the Maine Harvest Dining Room or Broad Arrow Tavern.  You may redeem up to 12 vouchers at one time, a value of $60., preferrably the year they were won but we are lenient that way. We realize not everyone is lucky enough to visit Maine every year.


Happy Summer Solstice, and we hope to see you soon!

Best regards,

Penny Gray

The Gray family