Sometimes a simple vacation can change a person's life. That is exactly what happened to me. I had been living in Florida for most of my life. I had graduated from Stetson University after studying Fine Art and Premed Biology in 2004. I had owned a flower business for 23 years. I had always called myself a painter since I was four. One day I decided to go to Monhegan Island, Maine for a ten day vacation!
The trip to Monhegan Island from Florida took more than twelve hours. This trip consisted of: three planes, a very quick taxi ride, and an hour ferry trip! It took 15 hours of traveling for me to arrive on Monhegan Island. I loved Monhegan Island! For ten days I painted plein aire (outdoors) each day!
I was amazed by the people on Monhegan Island. They respected and appreciated art! Plein aire painters were everywhere painting on Monhegan Island. Art collectors were eager to sit with an artist at the family style dinner each night. I loved being in a positive environment where art was being created!
I went back to Florida after my vacation.
I continued to paint palm trees with alligators sunning themselves near by. Once a mother alligator hissed at me! This scared me so badly I ran all the way back to my car leaving my painting equipment behind.
I was always nervous painting in Florida. Sometimes a redneck would drive by very fast with a loud smokey engine yelling out of their window strange comments. A few times rabid racoons chased me. Copperhead snakes or even rattlesnakes seemed to always be lurking nearby! Not to mention the wild boars often seen running through the woods. Scorching heat left me with heat stroke twice. I often forgot to drink enough water in the 100 degree heat. Plein aire painting had lots of dangers in Florida. All I could think of was painting on Monhegan Island.
The flower business I had owned for 23 years was not profiting any longer. In 2007 Florida was devastated with a recession. Flowers were a luxury item and not high on any Floridian's priority list! We wanted to sell our house fast! All I could think of was Maine.
So we moved to Maine! We sold most of our possessions at the largest garage sale in the history of Florida. We packed the rest of our treasures and divided them between my parents' house and a huge storage unit. Luckily our credit was still great at least. We financed a brand new airstream called the international seabreeze model. This airstream was state of the art 25 foot of aluminum heaven! We loaded our two golden retrievers into an older van, hooked up the airstream, filled it with necessities,
and headed for Maine!
We used our almost our last 1600$ for six months at a campground on Mount Desert Island. I went around everyday painting in Acadia National Park. Mount Desert Island had so many places to paint! Robert, a physical therapist, found a job. He loved Maine too!
Daisy and Duke, our two golden retrievers loved to swim in the cool ocean. They enjoyed the cooler weather. Duke and Daisy still tried to look for lizards. In Florida they loved to capture lizards. I could see their frustration once in a while searching in bushes and not finding any lizards. Where did all of the lizards go?
Soon Winter approached and we switched campgrounds so we could stay camping throughout the Winter! No one camps in Maine in the Winter! No one! But the Bass Harbor Campground owners let us camp! We did just fine.
Daisy and Duke were thrilled with the snow. Never had they seen anything like this!
Every morning Daisy was the first one to be awake. She would look out the Airstream window to see if there was snow. If there was snow she would bark! Daisy wanted me to hurry up and let her outside! I would put all of my winter gear on: gloves, hat, coat, boots. This took some time. Daisy was not very patient! Daisy kept barking. Daisy would hop around. I remember the airstream shaking! Sometimes Duke would start to howl too! Finally I would open the airstream's door. The dogs would jump out into the snow! They acted the same every time. They played like puppies even though they were both seven years old! It was such a thrill to them! They had so much fun it made me relax and enjoy the snow too.
The first time Daisy and Duke saw a snowman, they walked up to it, and just stared at the snowman. Daisy grabbed one of the stone bellybuttons and ran off! Then she came back to the snowman and lifted her front two feet knocking the head of the snowman. Then she jumped on the snowman's head smashing the ball. I was shocked! Everything was new to them. We all were having fun!
We did have a few problems camping in the winter at the Bass Harbor Campground. One night in January, I woke up to find icicles on my head. I called out to Robert sleeping on the other side of the airstream, to throw me my fleece hat. This solved the problem. Another night we had to evacuate in the early hours of winter morning because of CO2 alarms going off inside the airstream. Many times that night we had to evacuate standing in the dark barefoot in the snow airing out the airstream so the alarms would stop. Once we left the Bass Harbor Campground because of an approaching northeastern storm with winds over 50mph. We went to Millinocket. I enjoyed a hotel for two nights! I missed a bathtub. I didn't leave the bathtub for two days! We came back to the campground with a few large spruce trees down. Finally our water froze. No water for several months. We used the campground office for several months until things thawed. We should have purchased a hose heater. At the time 60$ hose heater was not a priority!
We purchased a second older airstream, a 1972 international. We used this airsteam as my painting studio! What a great art studio this was. We told camp ground friends this was our "his" and "hers" airstreams.
The next winter we house sat at Penury Hall in Southwest Harbor. For six months we helped look after a bed and breakfast inn. We learned how to operate a coal stove, wood stove, and work with an oil furnace. After being in a warm house for six months, we decided to buy a house! We camped long enough in our airstreams. We were ready to live in a house again!
We decided on Bucksport, Maine, to live. We purchased a two story bungalow home on the Penobscot East Channel on US Route 1. I had never lived on water before. Living on water is amazing! I really appreciate this house after camping for so long! The new house is commercial and residential. Lammers Gallery has been opened since 2010! Here is Lammers Gallery.
Here is another photo of our new house taken in the winter. You can see the Penobscot East Channel in our backyard. We can hear loons calling during the summer. We have seen canadian geese landing in the channel this winter during a storm. It was worth all of the challenges we faced to move here. It has been a dream come true.
Here is our backyard. We have two beehives now!