Monday, September 14, 2015

Monhegan Island 2015 Episode One!!

Hooray! Knitting & Yoga Adventures Monhegan Island Retreat 2015 has commenced. This is the Ten Year Anniversary of the trip. I've been here seven times (plus I came on vacation the one year we skipped). Those of you who've been before, or who've at least followed the blog, will recognize that I often post a lot of shots that pretty much look like the previous year. Except, of course, in addition to always having enthusiastic returnees, we also have plenty of excited newcomers.

Yesterday began with us gathering in Portland and getting into various cars/van for the drive to Port Clyde. Lisa packed us great lunches including mini-pizzas from the Standard Bakery (which really maybe should be outlawed-- I love that place too much). And some macarons.

Above you can see Team Monhegan getting ready to board the Laura B. for the ride across from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island.

Le Macaron! 

The ride across this year was a little bumpy. Nothing like the Year of the Hurricane but still we were enveloped in a thick fog. This necessitated navigation by radar and also frequent sounding of the horn to alert other boats to kindly give us wide berth. I did see a couple of porpoises but beyond that the view was so shrouded I went ahead and focused on my knitting-- still working on the never ending Color Affection (aka Color Affliction) Shawl, and also on Eva's wonderful commentary.

Never a dull moment with Eva who has promised/threatened to once again give me a makeover. Oh goody! I love eyeshadow!
A little choppy. But we were in safe and steady hands. 
Once we landed we were immediately greeted by Birdman, aka Brian. There was a time, many years ago, when the birders and the knitters eyed each other with suspicion. But now Birdman is our BFF and he will lead us on a fowl walk around the island tomorrow and make that crazy sh-sh-sh-sh sound he makes to convince the birds that we are worthy of seeing them.

Stepping onto the island. Waiting for our luggage.
Every time I have ever been here, I've stayed with the group in Monhegan House, which is run fabulously by Holden and Sue. This year there are a lot of folks on the island considering it's shoulder season. So some of us staff are being put up in a house a ways up the road. This is the view from my room, which is aptly named Sea Room:

Here's a view of the inside of my room, with Norah, Sue, and Melora posing for both scale and beauty. As with my quarters at Monhegan House, I have been assigned a garret, which pleases me to no end. I always feel like Jo March when the ceiling is slanted. It rained pretty hard last night and I got to happily hear it loud and clear and it helped me sleep hard and deep.

Norah, Sue, Melora.
Everyone is SUPER PUMPED that our designer/teacher this year is Norah Gaughan, aka Queen of the Cables. I'm still finessing my joke about who needs cable (TV) when you have cables (to knit). I'll let you know once I get it to the funny stage. Norah will get us going today on a cabled cowl. I am both wildly intimidated and fantastically excited at the prospect.

At the opening reception we all received excellent swag bags which included gorgeous hand-thrown mugs Lisa made and ever curative chocolate. Of course being on the island is a cure in and of itself, so I might save my chocolate for when I get back and have to adjust to reality.

Susan Mills is also on the trip. Many years she has attended as our teacher/designer. This year she is attending as a participant, though good luck Susan, keeping me from hounding you with questions. (This is all Susan's fault-- she is such a patient teacher she has accidentally trained me to abuse the privilege of being her student.) Susan works for Classic Elite Yarns and she brought along some bonus swag for us. Thanks Susan!

As ever the food is ridiculously spectacular. Last night we ordered from the menu. I had the charred romaine with polenta croutons and the warm olives and, what the hell, the orange pannacotta. 

And after a nice long relaxed meal we met up in the living room to share our names and tell a bit about ourselves. Hello. My Name is Spike. And oh the things I could tell you...

My charred romaine with polenta croutons. As a vegetarian I do okay at Monhegan House.
Chocolate Espresso Mousse & Orange Pannacotta 

Every year I come here I spend a week in advance training my mind so that I won't over order at mealtime. Let's just say I'm still in the very early stages of training. Which is fine by me. Above is my breakfast frittata. So good.

And here he is: THE MAN! Holden Nelson, who year after year agrees to fulfill our needs and whims from gourmet meals to exquisite tea time treats and just the right amount of busting on those of us with, shall we say, bigger mouths than the rest of us. (I'm looking at you, Eva. And me, me.)

Just so very happy to be here. Cannot wait to get tangled up in cables in a little bit. 

More soon,

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