Do you have a special, “heart-string” place that you visit again and again? I spend a lot of time in Maine these years since I have retired. I have been thinking lately, what makes Maine so special? What is it about your “heart-string” place that keeps you coming again and again?

I have been going to Maine my whole life. This past couple of weeks, I have “lived” in Maine, helping and having fun with my Aunt Theresa. I have had several conversations with people from around the country while I rested from “running” to the Bass Harbor Lighthouse, before “running” back to Theresa’s. They were in Maine for the first time, many of them. Listening to their comments, it struck me that sometimes during my life I have taken being in Maine for granted.

What exactly is it that makes Maine speical to me? Is it the smell of the woods…the ocean? The beautiful scenery? My family who live there? Or all of the above?  My heart-string place is very special. Even before my first memories I have been in Maine all through my childhood. When I was in the Jr. High years, I even spent almost entire summers in Maine by myself, staying with aunts and uncles, grandparents, and spending time with cousins. It was the only time that I ever spent much time with any of them, that I was able to remember. Michael and I spent our honeymoon in Maine on Echo lake thanks to friends of my parents, the Sawyers. During our married life, we have made numerous trips to Maine with our children. They have fond memories of Mt. Desert Island – the ocean, the carriage paths, the many trails we hiked during that time. One of our sons now takes regular trips to Maine with his children…they are building the same memories as we did.

Thankfully, we have been able to travel many places in the world, and they also have been beautiful places that we have loved. But, we keep returning to Maine, at least once a year. Besides family, there are “heart-strings” attached to Maine, as it is tied up in remembrance of times past. We all take experiences we have from our childhood on into adulthood with us, as we pass from children to teens to adults to parents, and now grandparents. Where is YOUR heart-string place?

Here are a few images from my most recent time in Maine…September IS the best time to be in Maine.

Perched on a Hilltop – Monsanto

North from Lisbon, Portugal, there is a unique village, perched on a hilltop.  It oversees all the surrounding horizons with old-world charm that has earned the title in the 20th century –  that of the Most Portuguese Village in Portugal.  This village started at the highest point of the mountain with a castle and the castle walls.  Outside the walls, the original settlement around the St. Miguel Chapel is also protected by a low wall.  All around you see rock ruins of places used to worship God.   Due to its name – Monsanto – meaning Holy Mountain…you will see many chapels, crosses and churches throughout the village.  The village itself has incorporated itself among the rocks, using them for walls of homes, even roofs.  It was a fascinating place to visit, one that I would love to re-visit during the flowers blooming.  Enjoy a bit of Portuguese color as you explore with me the village of Monsanto.  Perhaps I will add another themed post that will have scenes of Monsanto in it.

Sintra Castle – Inside and Out

One thing on my “visit-list” was Sintra Castle.  We traveled there one day, the same day that we visited the Moorish Castle, since they were close by each other.  It was a photographers paradise, for sure.  It is a World Heritage site, established on the top of the Sintra hills.  The castle was created by King Ferdinand II, and is an example of 19th century Romanticism.  It truly was “art on a hill” in every way.  Enjoy peeking inside and out through my lens.