A bit of Downeast in the North Woods

So August 1st rolled around and I was feeling pretty bummed about being in northern Maine. Driving back from Machias after my last visit was certainly the most conflicted I’ve felt since our first drive to Clayton Lake last September.

Summer, or more specifically August is one of my favorite times of the year in Downeast Maine. It’s magical. There’s something about that cold sea fog that burns off on a sunny summer day mixed with the distinct smell of the ocean and fragrant wild roses. Maine Wild starts to run through the night this time of year. The low rumble of the plant can be heard from across the river and the sweet smell of blueberries fills Machias bay. Tourists come from all over the state, country and other parts of the world to experience the small and simple coastal life even for a few days.

This will be the first time I will miss the annual Blueberry Festival in Machias. As locals we like to complain about the super influx of strangers walking our streets during that busy weekend. Even with a little complaining, many of us find it exciting and participate in all that is offered while others, do everything possible to avoid the mayhem. The arrival of the event is always a little bittersweet as it marks the end of summer. If you’ve never been, check it out! www.machiasblueberry.com


Since I was feeling blue, we loaded up the car and set out on the dirt for an evening ride. Thanks to another Warden family up this way, we were pointed in the direction of a possible blueberry patch. My heart smiled so big when I saw those blue berries. Thank goodness Evan was there to help pick because we had two “Blueberries for Sal” kids with us. They ate every one they could get their hands on.

image image image

Fresh blueberry muffins were on the table the next morning for breakfast. My great grandmother’s recipe….a staple in my family. 🙂



Nanny D’s Blueberry Muffins

  •  2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup crisco
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups blueberries?? (I never have measured…just dump as many as you want in!)

Mix sugar, flour, baking powder. Add crisco and cut into dry ingredients either using a pastry blender or your hands. I usually do the latter. Combine milk and egg in separate bowl then add to crisco mix. Gently mix until combined…DO NOT OVER MIX!!! Cook for 5 minutes at 425 then turn down to 400 for 10 or so more minutes. I find the extra temperature at the beginning helps give them a little height.

Now just to be clear, even though I have moments of homesickness, I still appreciate the woods. Every day is feeling more like fall. It’s so wrong but I felt giddy today when I had to put on a sweatshirt in the afternoon. It feels awesome to wake up to a cold house. Busy season is right around the corner. 🙂

Rianne Ackley

About Rianne Ackley

I grew up in Downeast Maine but have recently relocated to the North Woods. I live in Clayton Lake where I am a stay at home Mom to two beautifully wild little boys and wife to a Maine State Game Warden. I am a lover of the simple things in life...a good book, a song, a rainy day, a bowl of white popcorn, etc. I have a slight obsession with all things food. Love cooking it, eating it, looking at it, smelling it, reading about it, etc. I am a firm believer that life is what you make it.