By Marti Mayne
Barbara Cooney, a children’s storybook author, wrote a wonderful story about how Miss Rumphius planted flowers among the rocks in her gardens and the seeds spread throughout the countryside. That story, entitled Miss Rumphius was make believe and Miss Rumphius was a fictious name and roughly based upon a true story. According to the New England Historical Society, the “real” Miss Rumphius was a woman name Hilda Edwards who arrived in South Bristol, Maine, from Bristol, England, in 1904, at the age of 15. She loved visiting her uncle’s cottage in Christmas Cove, however at the time there were no roads to Christmas Cove. Hilda Edwards had to take a train to Newcastle and then a mail launch down the Damariscotta River to get to the cottage. She returned to the cottage year after year, eventually bringing lupine seeds imported from her home country of England. After they began to bloom, every summer she cut bundles of lupine stalks and shook out their seeds over a wider space to spread the bounty of purple and pink flowers across the rocky roads and countryside.
She eventually gained the nickname “Lupine Lady”, just like in the Cooney story. And one of the best messages from the book was found in one of the final paragraphs when Miss Rumphius tells her niece: "You must do something to make the world more beautiful."
While they don’t have the same fascination with lupines as Hilda or Miss Rumphius, the innkeepers at Inns Along the Coast continue the tradition and many have planted lupine gardens at their own inns. Follow any of the Inns Along the Coast’s wonderful itineraries, staying at a different inn from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor, and you’ll not only find beautiful lupine gardens at the inns, but along the way too. The scenic route between all nine members of Inns Along the Coast is Route One, meandering through beautiful Coastal Maine Towns where lupines grow along the roadside.
Let’s take an armchair tour of what you’ll see when you visit any of the Inns Along the Coast’s gardens or on the roadside along the way. Did the seeds originate in Christmas Cove, planted by Hilda? It’s entirely possible that with the help of the wind when these beautiful flowers go to seed, that some of the plants you’ll see roadside today may have started in 1904 when Hilda arrived at her uncle’s cottage and began her planting career.
Starting in Kennebunkport at the Captain Jefferds Inn, you’ll find gorgeous gardens filled with lupines planted by master gardener and innkeeper Erik Lindholm. Alive in a vista of purple, these gardens offer guests quite a thrill when the lupines are all in bloom.
Moving up the Maine Coast along Route One, it’s easy to spot fields of lupines along the road. The wind easily spreads the seeds of the lupines once they go by creating fields of purple, pink and white lupines, standing straight like soldiers along the way. Our next lupine stop was along Route One, right outside of Freeport, home to the Brewster House B&B.
We continued our lupine tour traveling North once again on Route One. Soon we came to a gorgeous field of lupines and wildflowers right outside the turn off for Newcastle and Damariscotta, home to the Newcastle Inn.
We condinued North on Route One, passing Moose Crossing Garden Center outside Waldoboro, and had to stop to get a shot of the beautiful lupines there (we ended up taking home a few potted ones from the Garden Center too!).
While we didn’t find lupines at the Granite Inn, we did discover gorgeous purple irises in bloom in the gardens there. And across the street at the Ferry Terminal, another field of pretty purple flowers was found to add to the scene!
As we continued North on Route One between Rockland and Camden, we discovered field after field of wild lupines along the side of the road, just beyond Rockport, ME. These were perhaps the most spectacular lupine fields of all.
And finally we found ourselves in Camden, Maine. We wandered through the gardens at the Hawthorn Inn, and discovered not only beautiful Camden Harbor views, but of course, lupines too!
While our tour had to come to an end in Camden, Kristi, innkeeper at the Saltair Inn Waterfront B&B was able to capture some photos of lupines on Bar Island, just off of Bar Harbor. The lupine season is a little behind here, but if you look hard, you’ll find them.
So that’s the end of your armchair tour of lupines near the Inns Along the Coast. Don’t wait too much longer to take your lupine tour of these inns. The blooms are peaking throughout most of Maine now, but they don’t last long. However, once they go to seed, be sure to stop and grab a few to spread in your neck of the woods, just like Miss Rumphius!
When you take your tour, be sure to stay with one or more of the 9 Inns Along the Coast. Book directly with these inns for the best rates.
Consider one of the Inns Along the Coast for your next New England getaway, holiday or vacation.
Granite Inn: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: www.OldGraniteInn.com, reservations: 207-594-9036, 800-386-9036. Innkeepers: Ed & Joan Hantz
LimeRock Inn: Email: info@LimeRockinn.com, website: www.LimeRockinn.com, reservations: 800-546-3762, 207-594-2257. Innkeepers: Daniel and Ashley Bonneau and their daughter, Vieve.
Aysgarth Station B&B: Email: email@example.com, website: www.aysgarthstation.com, 207-288-9655, Innkeeper: Melody Kronenberg.