Midcoast Maine is not perhaps as well known as the southern beaches or the Down East locales such as Bar Harbor and Acadia, but it has its own special charm. Towns like Bath, Camden, Rockland, and Belfast showcase the Maine of lobstermen, shipbuilders, and farmers, while towns such as Castine on the many small peninsulas that jut into Penobscot Bay offer gorgeous views.

Disclosure: Penhallow is a fictional town, in which The Penhallow Train Incident and my latest release, Mrs. Spinney’s Secret, is set. If you want to check out the town on which it is based, head to Belfast. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, but if you meander through the towns
you’ll easily find the places I recommend.

You could say Penhallow is caught in a time-warp—populated by farmers and rather dazed former hippies, it combines Mainer down-to-earth attitudes with a gentle flower child feel. It’s often missed because Route 1 bypasses it. However, if you do want to get off the highway, it’s a great spot to stay, and right on Penobscot Bay. Activities abound, including kayaking, sailing, dolphin and bird watching, and swimming. Or you can simply explore the rocky shore for sea glass, pebbles, and shells.

The place to stay

Waldo B&B is a cozy Main Street inn in the middle of the coast town of Penhallow. The hero of Mrs. Spinney’s Secret, Jasper MacEwan, stays there; that is, until he and Cassidy Beauvoir, denizen of Amity Landing, find each other.

Local hangouts

Most locals head to Durkee’s for lunch. It’s not far from the B&B. Or you can take your cooler of beer and coleslaw across the river to Childe’s Lobster Pound and pick your own lobster. You won’t have to worry about eating a bad lobster like Jasper did—unless someone is out to kill you too!

Want something a little less casual? Follow the Red Hat ladies to Fedora’s. The Red Hats are an institution in Penhallow. Their leader, Edna Mae Quimby, is the wife of the sheriff and a formidable presence. The group can often be found at the restaurant on High Street, where they can keep an eye on goings-on. Be sure to stop in afterwards at Mindful Books, Cassidy’s used book store on Church Street. She will help you look for Summer reading or books on Maine, her specialty.

Need something to while away the afternoon?

Five miles down the road is the picturesque village of Amity Landing. You’ll love climbing the hills, and walking down to the dock and sailing marina. It hasn’t always been so peaceful though. A few years ago Hollywood descended upon it. Black Brothers Studios decided to make a picture based on the Penobscot Expedition, the worst naval rout in American history. You can take a little tour. Be sure not to miss Mrs. Spinney’s house—where the action centered. If you stay after dark, you might catch a glimpse or hear the telltale whining of the resident ghost, Snookie.

Midcoast road trip                      

Why not head down East to the Blue Hill Peninsula and Castine. This was the place where an American fleet was soundly defeated by a much smaller English force in 1779. Castine is a beautiful town filled with Georgian and Greek Revival houses. It’s home to the Maine Maritime Academy. Check out Fort George, where the English built fortifications in an attempt to wrest Maine from the Continental Navy. Try Danny Murphy’s for lunch, or for something more elegant, the Pentagouet Inn.

Mrs. Spinney’s Secret was released January 20 from the Wild Rose Press.

Here’s the story:
What do you do when Hollywood takes over your tiny Maine village to make a movie?
Cassidy Beauvoir, chair of the board of overseers of Amity Landing, is ready to throw the bums out; that is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition. It’s instant attraction until a series of deadly incidents threatens their budding romance. Are the attacks directed at the movie crew or the townspeople?
As the two search for answers, the trail leads them to long-held secrets of the worst naval defeat of the American Revolution—including betrayal, murder, and a lost hoard of English gold.

Purchase Mrs. Spinney’s Secret at these fine retailors

Google Play

It will also be available on Overdrive, Indigo, and other online stores.