1 At Skylands, every weekend starts with an exciting hike. For my birthday, three friends - Doug Newhouse, Dan Hinkley, and Robert Jones - climbed to the top of Beehive, one of the most exhilarating hikes in beautiful Acadia National Park.
2 As I said - exhilarating!
3 Boat rides are also a very important activity. Here is half of the group about to board my boat. We went off in search of seals.
4 We were all amused that this pair of ospreys decided to build their nest atop a channel marker. A great spot, actually, as they have a bird's-eye view of fish swimming below.
5 Along the way, we navigated through wisps of mist.
6 When we arrived at Bunker's Ledge, a small island in the mouth of Seal Harbor, we found lots of seals. They just love this seaweed covered mound.
7 In the evenings at Skylands, we play pool, ping pong, and shuffleboard. Daytime activities include bike riding along the trails in Acadia.
8 Breakfast the next morning was alfresco. This day we had nectarine pancakes, waffles, and Canadian bacon.
9 The grounds of Skylands look magnificent!
10 These walls never cease to amaze me.
11 G.K. looking statuesque in these fine surroundings
12 And speaking of statues - there she is! A larger-than-life bronze 1934 nude, reclining woman, called La Riviere, by French artist Aristide Maillol!
13 This urn on the terrace, planted with begonias, was glowing in the sun.
14 And these purple begonias are stunning! The cascading green is baby's tears.
15 The terrace gardens are quite lush and the Orienpet lilies are amazingly full and tall.
16 You may recall when this Eric Soderholtz urn was planted with Alocasia last June. Its growth is fantastic!
17 There were so many lilies in the garden to cut and decorate the house with.
18 This is an arrangement of alocasia and feathery asparagus fronds from the vegetable garden.
19 Another amazing lily arrangement at the front entry way
20 Two of my guests brought their horses to join me riding through Acadia on the carriage roads.
21 My Friesians, Rinze and Ramon, enjoy visiting Skylands and Acadia National Park.
22 Muffin and her husband Jimmy really enjoy riding on these pristine carriage roads.
23 And I really enjoy their company.
24 These carriage roads were carved into the granite peaks and built to last.
25 Another boat ride took us to Islesford Dock on Little Cranberry Island, where we had a delicious lunch. Jane Heller had a great time.
26 Many of us ate steamed lobsters, served with lemon and drawn butter.
27 Another hike was to Great Head in lightly falling rain. Here we are on top of the highest cliff overlooking the sea. Andy Nussbaum and Muffin Dowdle are two wonderful friends.
28 And so are Dan and Robert!
29 Another great breakfast - smoked salmon from Russ and Daughters, New York bagels, watermelon, and beautiful fruits from Olson's in Silicon Valley
30 A hike on Sand Beach was another diversion for me and my guests.
31 Sand Beach is the largest and prettiest sand beach on Mt. Desert Island.
32 My chow chow, Ghenghis Khan, in the carriage house before a Bar Harbor buckboard, designed for use by hotels as a beach wagon during the holiday season. It was built around 1915 in the town of Bar Harbor, the biggest town on Mt. Desert.
33 Three close friends - Charlotte Beers, Dr. Holly Bannister, and Memrie Lewis
34 Sarah Carey made my birthday cake - a giant baked Alasaka.
35 We took a jaunt to visit the amazing Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Garden in Seal Harbor.
36 This garden was designed in the late 1920's by renowned landscape designer and local Mt. Desert Islander Beatrix Farrand in close collaboration with Abby Aldrich Rockefeller and John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
37 This lovely and colorful garden has been passed from generation to generation and is meticulously cared for to look pretty much as it did in its original form. It's only open to the public for a few days per year at the peak of bloom.
38 When you're on the go, as we are in Maine, you get really hungry, especially when the food is so fresh and delicious. These beautifully prepared vegetables are all from my garden.
39 Lightly toasted crusty bread from Balthazars
40 All make for a healthy and gorgeous lunch - sauteed artichoke hearts, haricovert salad, sauteed green pepper, French potato salad, and sweet sliced tomato.
41 One night we had barbecue and everything was delicious.
42 One of the many delicious desserts we made for the weekend - a fresh apricot galette - very flaky and yum!