Without a roof deck or garden, summer in Back Bay can only be enjoyed in public. Although we love the Esplanade, the Public Garden, and the outdoor café seating on Newbury Street, there are times when we crave a private, quiet spot of our own, with a table for meals, space for gardening, and a pair of lounge chairs for reading and computing. (And why not a pool, while we're fantasizing?)
For up to six months of the year, I believe we'd be spending every minute that we could outside in the fresh air. That's why a bit of private outdoor space is at the top of our "must-haves"list for house-hunting.
In the meantime, we get concentrated doses of outdoor living two or three times a year at the inn in Southwest Harbor. We often have the pool area to ourselves during the day, while all the other guests are out hiking, driving, kayaking, and biking. We unwind by reading, napping, eating, and even working out there. We also get our outdoor fix on the trails of Acadia National Park, and at a handful of exceptional gardens on Mount Desert Island.
One of our favorite destinations is Seawall, a rocky beach with short hiking trails, not far from our inn. While it's a beautiful, convenient spot, its chief advantage is that we can walk in flip flops instead of hot hiking boots. I've seen people climbing up and down mountain trails with rocky ledges in flip flops, and I know that's stupid. I'm a great believer in traction when it's necessary. But Seawall is flat, even though there are some daunting rocky areas that require careful stepping no matter what you have on your feet.
And once you're out on the smooth ledges, you can go barefoot with pleasure, and watch the waves break from a rocky seat. There's also "Wonderland Trail," an easy ramble through scrubby woods that takes you out to more ledges with lots of tidal pools.
Along the Wonderland Trail.
There are safe ways to get past these rocks and onto the ledges.
We love to explore tidal pools, so full of color and life.
Barnacles, snails, and seaweed.
A well-camouflaged seagull on a granite rock.
Pebbles from the sea.