Blueberry Bliss

This old lost post from Mary Beth's kitchen pulls me back to the Little Island House. Kim and Charlene rented out the top floor,too, then, and it was filled with plants and wonderful books.

Renting a cottage on Maine's Mount Desert Island is one room in my own personal heaven. Stay in Kim and Charlene Strauss's The Little Island House or Jeanne Fernald's The Captain's Quarters in Bass Harbor for a special experience. Enjoy your morning coffee with warm sourdough and Blueberry Bliss jam, surrounded by dahlias, morning glories, rose hedges, and sweet peas clambering over old, stacked lobster traps, while you watch the extraordinary tides ebb and flow. The Little Island House actually becomes an island during high tide. Pure magic.


The Little Island House

Bass Harbor, Maine


There will be plenty of time for lobsters and sweet corn after a day of hiking in the Acadia National Park. But on the first night, do yourself a favor. Find a big cast iron skillet — don't worry — I think it's a rule: they have to have one in a Maine coast cottage rental (along with a lobster pot) — and roast a chicken while you watch the sun set over Bass Harbor.

Rest the bird on thickly sliced Vidalia onions — available at Sawyer's Market in nearby Southwest Harbor — and stuff it with a large bunch of fresh thyme, an entire head of garlic sliced crosswise in half, a little salt and pepper and a whole lemon, cut in half. Season the outside and rub in some olive oil, then bake at 425 for about 1 1/2 hours. This recipe is based on Ina Garten's recipe for Perfect Roast Chicken from her marvelous book, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.

Meanwhile, find another oven-going pan, toss some whole new potatoes with the freshest carrots you can find and a little olive oil; roast them for the last 40 minutes.

While the chicken is roasting, head outside with good whiskey, some warm whole grain bread, one of many excellent local Cheddars, and hopefully a romantic companion. Find a good spot on the rocks to sit and watch the tide come in, the gulls, the cormorants with their wings outstretched in the wind, the lights and steam rising from lobster pots at Thurston's Lobster Pound across the way, and just gleam for sheer joy in the moment.

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