words + photography OLGA MERRILL


Into Dream

ithas been more than seven years since I first set my feet in Maine, just before a magical Christmas. During my first short visit, I heard how beautiful Maine was in summer. It sounded like winter was not welcoming, but I spent my childhood in northeast Russia, in a place where I could almost wave to Alaska. Maine’s fresh cold water, salty smells and the light reflecting on the water touched me and brought back my childhood memories. I loved it from the first moment in December 2012 and I am happy now to call this place home.

Maine is a northern state. There’s something magical to me to be in the North. The sun hits Russia first in the area where I was born and the sun hits the United States first here in Maine. The light brings energy for our land, as morning light gives people power to enjoy each brand new day.

For decades, the calm harbors and sparkling sun on the running waves, rocky coast or sandy beaches, plus wonderful seafood and a lively artist community, have called to many to come to Maine and immerse in the beauty all around.

Despite the pandemic, the stream of people chasing urban escape in Maine does not run out. Maine is such a source of retreat. It has always been. The healing power of natural beauty such as fresh sea smells, sounds of roaring waves, and mystery fog is more essential now than ever!

Harpswell was one of the first places where I started to know Maine and still is one of my spots for contemplation. I adore having it close to Brunswick, where I live.

My Mainer husband and I love to come to Basin Point in Harpswell to pick up fresh lobsters at Erica’s Seafood, It’s a popular lobster shop and takeout stand. It’s a family business run by Tom Butler, Andrea Hunter and their daughter, Erica. Tom sells fresh lobster, and he often tells sea stories or tourist fun stories. I love to see him pack lobster in boxes ready to travel to different states. He told me about a seaplane that arrived from Nantucket to pick up a few fresh lobsters and fly back. Yes, it looks like someone from Massachusetts uses Erica’s as a convenience store. If you want the best lobster and the distance is not a problem, this is one of the best places.

I love to watch this harbor overlooking Casco Bay, a working harbor, which also hosts yachts from different destinations. As the lobstermen go home, the boats remain to rest in their own sanctuary, and the yachtsmen are back from their adventure of catching the wind.

Do you love uncertainties? Like a woman’s mood, the weather here can change every half hour. Basin Point and Casco Bay have given me many wonderful scenes to enjoy in different weather and often inspire my art.

The Dolphin Marina and restaurant is another place where both sailors and land travelers will find a warm, casual, welcoming atmosphere.

It’s really appealing to me that the Dolphin uses fresh, local products for lobster stew, crab cakes and seafood fra diavolo. I enjoy it when my husband and I spend a wonderful evening there.

Restaurant seating inside has 180° water views which I love to enjoy while listening to the music of rain with my favorite cocktail, a Pain Killer. On
a fair day, outside people can enjoy their meal paired with a fresh
breeze, birds watching, while observing the changing tide and the passage of time.

In these upside down times, I recommend picking up takeout from the Dolphin or Erica’s Seafood and totally escaping … as I love to do on the rocky shore close by, watching the sunset while listening to the sounds of waves as the day goes into night, into dreams.

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Favorite ...
Comfort food and time of day or night you most enjoy it?
I love beer after golf!

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