Vinalhaven

Monday, July 15th, 2002 | Travel

It’s foggy today, very foggy, like pea soup foggy. I’m on an island about an hour by ferry off the coast of Rockland, Maine, called Vinalhaven. I’ve been here since last Thursday with Bob and Reese, visiting our friend Elin.

Elin lives in a mid-nineteenth century farmhouse on a beautiful secluded part of the island called Crocket Cove. Elin met Bob years ago when she was a fellow student at the San Francisco Art Institute with Bob’s then boyfriend, Ed. (Bob has mined the Art Institute for at least three boyfriends over the years.) She influenced Bob’s interest in living a certain kind of life that includes being surrounded by fabulous and expensive objects and people. Reese calls her Princess Elin. She’ll casually mention this photo project with Katherine Hepburn, or that film her dad made with Kim Novak, or her dad’s involvement with the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller, or her mom’s martini on the top of the pyramid at Giza in her high heels and Audrey Hepburn hat.

Our time here consists of long walks through the salt marsh, swimming in the spring-fed pond, rowing around the cove, mackerel jigging, and planning and enjoying elaborate meals of lobster that we get from the local lobstermen, mussels and clams which we dig from the shore at the edge of Elin’s front lawn when the tide’s out, apples that fall from her trees, and greens that we pluck from her garden. There are only two other houses that are barely visible from Elin’s nook in the Cove. I’m in a movie where everybody wears linen suits and straw hats and they have languorous picnics on little islands that they row out to under parasols.

I’ve been pruning and shaping her apple and fruit trees for the past three years, most of which are 50 to 150 years old. They’ve been sadly neglected, but all have beautiful interior structures hidden beneath dead limbs and crisscrossing branches. Today I worked on the apple out near the cottage, which has a rotting trunk and propped-up limbs. It’s still full of energy and produces tons of apples, so I’m lightening up the limbs to reduce the weight, and opening the center to expose the complexly branching framework.

It’s cocktail time, so I must be going. I have to change into my cocktail clothes. Ta-ta!

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