You’re just in time for breakfast at the Inn at Tanglewood Hall. This charming 1880’s Victorian “cottage” in York Harbor is where Len and I spent our first two nights in Maine.
It was a good spot to celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary (obviously I was a child bride :)). During our early years as a couple in England we stayed at many, many B&B’s — everything from a farmhouse serving bacon so fresh it oinked when you bit into it, to a tiny room above Haworth’s Black Bull Pub, where Branwell Brontë pretty much drank himself to death.
No matter where it’s located, staying at a B&B is always an adventure — it feeds my interests in history, architecture, interior design, food and hospitality. With fond memories of our long ago stays in Yorkshire, it was good to fast forward to the Yorks in Maine.
It begins when you’re little and you read a picture book about bears and blueberries. You have no idea where Maine is and have never seen real blueberry bushes in person, but this story of mothers and cubs stays with you always.
As you grow up, you develop an eternal craving for lobster and blueberry pie. You eventually hook up with L.L. Bean, fly through Bangor airport on the way to Europe, and after you get married you hear interesting stories about “Maine people” from your in-laws in New Hampshire.
After starting a book and food blog, you notice there are lots of very cool author and artist types (in addition to Mr. McCloskey) associated with Maine: E.B. White, Barbara Cooney, Margaret Wise Brown, Gail Gibbons, Carrie Jones, Melissa Sweet, Cynthia Lord, Cathryn Falwell, Ashley Bryan, on and on.
Many friends who don’t actually live in Maine flock to the Southern Coast every summer and return refreshed and inspired with blueberry stains around their mouths and a decidedly dreamy look in their eyes.
So I asked myself — what is it about Maine that could spawn the likes of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow as well as Stephen King? Why are there more poets per capita in Maine than any other state? Is the lobster that good?
Moreover, how did I manage to reach near fossilization 29 years of age 🙂 without ever having set foot on Maine soil . . . or sand? And what’s this I keep hearing about Portland being a foodie paradise?
“There was no day that dumplings couldn’t make better.” ~ Pacy Lin
Pass the dipping sauce, I’m in dumpling heaven. ☺
I’m thrilled to be serving up Newbery Honor Author Grace Lin’s brand new middle grade novel, Dumpling Days (Little, Brown, 2012), as our very first Soup of the Day for the new year!
Before I tell you a little about it and tempt you with some of its dishes, please put on BOTH of these bibs. You’ll definitely need double protection for this fabulous feast of a book, which is absolutely brimming with gustatory goodness.
Oh, and don’t forget your passport:
In this third novel featuring beloved heroine Pacy Lin, she and her family spend an entire month in Taiwan visiting relatives and preparing for Grandma’s 60th birthday party. Instead of traveling to her parents’ faraway homeland, Pacy would much rather spend her summer going to a fun place like Hawai’i or California where she could see her best friend Melody. But her parents want Pacy and her sisters to “know their roots,” to experience the “island of treasure.”