There can be no more magical spot than high on a hill overlooking Northeast Harbor on Mount Desert, Maine. Here is the view of the harbor, as seen from a walk up the Asticou Terraces in late afternoon in early July the evening before I my book talk for the Beatrix Farrand Society. We stayed on at the Asticou Inn, a historic multi-story wooden hotel that hasn’t changed much over time. It was unusually hot for this part of northern Maine — in the mid 90’s but it did not deter Charlie and me from walking across the road to the Asticou Azalea Gardens (pictured below) before setting off on foot to climb the steep hill of the Asticou Terraces to reach the Thuya Garden and Lodge on top.
The next morning, Michaeleen Ward, who had invited me to speak for the Beatrix Farrand Society that evening, had organized a marvelous tour of some of the best gardens on Mount Desert. I had previously visited the Rockefeller Gardens at Seal Harbor, so my first treat of the day was to see Kenarden, a beautiful formal garden designed by Beatrix Farrand and impeccably restored and maintained by Mr. and Mrs. Colket. Peggy Bowditch appeared early in the morning to be our delightful guide. Kenarden has many of the wonderful hardscape that was a Farrand signature, shown below.
We went on to Garland Farm to see where Beatrix Farrand had spent her last years, now beautifully restored and preserved by the Society. Here is Peggy with Charlie in the charming garden behind the house. We were joined by Michaeleen Ward and then Peggy, Michaeleen, Charlie and I had a lovely lunch along the water in Bar Harbor. Finally, we were graciously welcomed by Diana Wister whose elegant house overlooks the water and her own beautiful garden. One example of the high standards of horticulture and taste in evidence was a collection of six enormous fucshia standards in large tubs on the front porch, each a superb specimen. After that treat, I gave a talk to a lively audience at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor, where I was particularly happy to see several friends in the audience.