Friday, July 18, 2014

Welcome to Castine, Maine!

Are we there, yet? Almost! Yes, the road to Castine is long and winding, but this coastal gem is worth the drive, a visit and certainly an extended stay.

What makes Castine so special? Its rich 400-year-old history? Perhaps its idyllic peninsula setting situated on one of New England's deepest harbors? The many lovely period homes laid out graciously amongst towering elm trees? Or, surely, the multi-generations of families that call Castine home must mean this small town is special?

I'd say all of the above, which is why Tom and I decided to buy a home here. We had considered other towns in Maine but ultimately decided they were either too touristy or sleepy, and lacked the sense of community that Castine possesses. 

Please let me tour you around our beautiful town. BTW, this post is almost as lengthy as Castine's history, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy these photos from our most recent stay. Click on photo for an enlarged view.
Founded in the early 17th century, Castine is one of New England's oldest towns. Its strategic location at the mouth of the Penobscot River meant it was fought over and occupied by the French, Dutch and English. Throughout Castine, charming signs and markers indicate sites of significance.
Once a bustling merchant and ship-building town, many handsome Federal and Greek Revival style homes still grace its streets.  
Not all the houses are painted white. This stately Federal is glorious in yellow. 
A red cape and pink cottage.
There is a saying in Castine: Under The Elms And By The Sea! Many elm trees still line and shade our streets - they are cherished as well as fiercely protected!
The town is blessed with four celebrated churches.

ABOVE: Built in 1790 and situated on the Town Common is The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Castine, the oldest meeting house of eastern Maine. 

BELOW: Trinitarian Congregational Parish of Castine, UCC is located on Main Street. The handsome steeple stands proudly among Main Street's historic homes. 
The Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Holy Hope is located on Perkins Street. Its pristine waterfront setting is so serene.
Trinity Episcopal Church is also located on Perkins Street. This striking stone building has such a presence.
Let's head over to the Town Common where you'll find Maine's oldest municipal library, Witherle Memorial Library (below).
On Thursday mornings during the summer, there is a friendly farmer's market with organic produce, baked goods, fresh flowers, local crafts and more. Who can resist such a face? Pure sunshine!
There are many public parks and sites to enjoy, such as Wadsworth Cove Beach.
Don't miss Dyce Head Lighthouse (Ca. 1828) tucked at the end of Battle Avenue.
A peek at the Golf Club's Clubhouse. 
Next, a stroll to the town center to check out the oldest U.S. post office in continuous operation (above).
Two lovely historic inns right in the heart of town. 
ABOVE: The Castine Inn
BELOW: The Pentagoet Inn
 Nearby is The Manor Inn on Battle Avenue.
Shops and businesses along Main Street.
Off of Main is Perkins Street, where many of the historic houses have enviable waterfront locations. BTW, the wonderful Wilson Museum is perched on Perkins. When I visited, they were having a demonstration and serving old-fashioned donuts - YUM! Thank you, young ladies!!
A charming boathouse!
Speaking of water, Doug and Karen Koos treated us to a boat cruise around the harbor. Castine is even more magical from the sea! Many thanks to the Koos! 

If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you'll remember that Karen Koos is a realtor, and she helped us find our home in Castine. She has been wonderful in every way - from the many showings to helping us settle into town. Check out Karen and her team's listings at Saltmeadow Properties - they are the authority on Castine real estate.
We were joined by Missy and Jonathan (Tom's niece and nephew-in-law). It was their first anniversary, and we're honored they spent it with us in Castine!
On July Fourth, celebrations started early in the morning with a kid's parade. Families from all over the Peninsula joined in the festivities.
Though the fireworks were postponed to a week later (due to weather), the town remained energized.
And I have to say: Castine sure knows how to put on a show! Just spectacular!!
Hope to see you soon in Castine!
Cheers,
Loi
PS - For more information, please visit Castine Historical Society and Castine's official site.

77 comments:

  1. Wow - it looks absolutely idyllic Loi! And how charming is Castine's Main Street? All it needs is a quaint Swedish antiques shop :)

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  2. Such a beautiful and charming place to visit! I sure hope I can visit Maine one day!

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    1. Lisa - I hope you visit Maine, and make the trip to Castine - it's worth it!!

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  3. As I looked at each beautiful photograph the one word that keep flowing through my thoughts was magical. Truly magical Loi, blissful summer wishes to you and Tom.
    XO,
    Vera

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  4. Loi thank you so much for sharing your lovely historical town with us! There is an abundance of charm at every turn! I can see why you chose Castine for your second home!
    Xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

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  5. Castine is such a beautiful town. My husband lived in the house at the Dyce Head Lighthouse in the 60's and has many funny stories of playing in the lighthouse.


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    1. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you'll show your husband this post. Cheers

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  6. Hello Loi, I love towns full of history like Castine. I am sure that as you settle in you will discover more and more of what really gives the place its character, and why.
    --Jim

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  7. What a charming, storybook town! The children's parade is a brilliant idea - wonderful and a perfect time to visit. Enjoy your beautiful new home and community. xo T.

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  8. Loi,

    Such a visual treat for us today, touring the beautiful Castine! As I've said before, it is utterly idyllic for its heritage homes, gorgeous landscape and beaches, and charming, storybook lifestyle! Thanks for the lovely, guided tour which makes me want to leave the Greek Aegean for New England!

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. My pleasure, Poppy! The next time you return to Canada, perhaps you can visit Castine. We'd love to have you!!

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  9. WOW i am so homesick for new england right now! i loved growing up there and this town looks so dreamy and full of charm and history, just how i like it! what gorgeous homes- i can see why you and tom settled on castine!

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  10. Dear Loi, it is easy to see why you and Tom settled on Castine. What an incredibly charming and picturesque town. The architecture is wonderful and as someone who loves history, I would relish the pride the town takes in their own. Enjoy your summer! xoxo, Phyllis

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis! Can't wait to hear more about Bowdoin and Bates. Love the photos on Instagram.

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  11. dear loi, one of my readers sent me over here to see the pink cottage photo you posted as i'm about to paint my cottage pink. what a beautiful cottage and whole town this is. thank you for sharing and now i'm off to see more of your lovely blog. xo janet

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    1. Oops, I just sent you a link too on your blog, Janet lol. Now I'm in love with a pink cottage!

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    2. A warm welcome to you both! Thanks for your visits, Janet and Yuko. Cheers!

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  12. Oh my gosh I am in love. Thank you for the most wonderful virtual vacation, love how it feels like a place where everything is calm and peaceful, the pace slows down just a notch, people smile,etc.....love the Americana vibe and old fashioned feel, so my kind of place! My sisters husband is from Maine and every August they go up for 2-3 weeks and it;s always hard for them to see it end, they love it up there.
    You have chosen well....thank you for giving us a tour, I can certainly see why you love it so!

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  13. Many years since I was in Castine but always enjoyed it there…….and anywhere in New England! Lived in NH and MA for 12 years before moving south so traveled the length and breadth of that beautiful corner of the country. Maine IS my favorite state - we always spent summer beach time at OGUNQUIT and KENNEBUNK…….can still taste the lobster and steamed clams!

    Lovely post Loi - great photos of everything in town and by the shore. You and Tom will have a fun time I know.

    Hugs - Mary

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  14. Loi, thanks for taking us around Castine. It's a charming spot and your photos make me long for a return to the beautiful Maine coast. The historical feel and the water views make it ideal for me. I know you and Tom must have delightful stays. Can you enjoy your home year round?
    Loved seeing the 4th of July celebrations. It's heartwarming to think that just such celebrations are being held all across our country on the 4th.
    Happy Summer to you! ~ Sarah

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    1. Thank you, Sarah. Yes, the house is well heated, and we do plan on visiting during the colder months.

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  15. Your photos are wonderful Loi! Such a picturesque spot to vacation or reside. The Federal and Greek Revival style homes are spectacular and I must visit Maine JUST to see those! I've never been here however it IS on my bucket list. I can feel the charm and closeness in this town and I know food and shopping must be incredible.. all that and you get a history lesson too:) Looks like you are having the perfect summer Loi! Enjoy you day:) xxleslie

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  16. As I have mentioned before we used to take biannual trips to Maine. It is a place like no other! I am dying to make a trip. It was always so beautiful in the fall...

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  17. Dear Loi,
    Castine is not only charming, it's IDEAL!!! You have surely found HEAVEN!!!
    xo Patty

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  18. Loi,
    What a wonderful town. It's so picturesque and beautiful. I love hearing the history and the traditions. The 4th of July parade was like something out of a movie. Wonder Woman and the little soldier were so darn cute.
    You and Tom selected well and will undoubtedly be so happy there. Thanks for bringing us along.
    xo,
    Karen

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  19. Loi, I am sure you will be very very happy living in such a beautiful community. The photos were sensational and Castine looks charming, historic and welcoming. You have found a piece of Heaven.

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  20. Love Castine!! Beautiful pics, looks like you're having a fabulous time. Sure you don't want to be back here in DC w/all our lovely humidity?!

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  21. Gorgeous photos of your town. These make me want to book a flight and vacation there.

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  22. your ambassadorship of castine is no doubt far reaching.
    as i sit in illinois i suddenly have a longing to visit this town and an unbeknownst longing for a second home! naturally i shunned all my responsibilities this morn ing and sat back for a good read and visual treat. next up was your recommended realtors listings.......sigh

    i am forwarding this post loo to a british friend who loves americana, this will be perfect for her
    xx
    debra

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  23. Hello Loi,
    Thanks for the tour of Castine. It looks charming.
    I had to get the map out to check where Castine is, using Boston as my reference. Now I know!!
    Hope you and Tom have many happy days there,
    Liz x

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  24. Even with your pictures before Loi, I can see why you guys fell inlove with Castine. But with this latest tour around your marvelous town, I know why you guys ended up buying a home here! It's like living in a postcard! Beautiful, welcoming and oh-so-pristine! You will have many happy days and make beautiful memories here for sure!

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  25. I can see how Castine must have attracted you! It looks so classic small-town America, and lovely. I know you're working when you go there now, but hopefully soon this will be a wonderful place to get away from the busy life. :) Some of the homes remind me of homes I have seen on "This Old House."

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  26. What a treat to see your new town and can't wait for more peeks into your home…know it's looking amazing. We are finally getting close to finished in Beaufort (2 years and counting…), but it's such a fun process. Can't wait to see your talent and your beautiful new home come to life! Love the charm of Castine…

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  27. What a charming and beautiful town Loi. You and Tom chose well. The houses are so historic and grand. The shops look so interesting too. It's so American. The best of all is the sea views. It must be so nice to go swimming there in the summer.

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  28. Loi, what a wonderful tour! Your little seaside town is absolutely beautiful. I also appreciate the charm, history and strong sense of community. They are the same qualities we looked for when buying properties in our favorite communities. Who wouldn't be happy in Castine?? I hope you and Tom get to spend a lot of time there:).
    Hugs,
    Sarah

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  29. Good morning, Thank you so much for sharing. Castine looks an amazing place to live; forget bright lights big city, this is my kinda place.

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  30. Oh my, history!!! Loi, I am charmed beyond measure by your town of Castine! Bookmarking this post for the trip we will "someday" take to Maine. It's so close and I just know my boys would love it! The shot of the elms lining the street with the sea at the end gave me tingles. Loved the parade and so happy that you are in such a beautiful place and able to enjoy it with those you love!

    Cheers to Maine!
    xoxo Elizabeth

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  31. So utterly charming, I am in love with all those historic homes!! Have a beautiful weekend! xo Karolyn

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  32. Olá,
    que lugar lindo e encantador, me despertasse o desejo de conhecer.
    Tenha um ótimo fim de semana.
    Bjos Anajá

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  33. Loi, you picked such a charming town for your home! It's just beautiful and I hope that I can convince my in laws that we need to check it out on our next visit to Maine (one brother lives near full-time in Edgecomb, the other has a vacation place in York) - or I'll need to steal a car and make a break for it. I especially love the picture-perfect Fourth of July parade - it's exactly what an Independence Day celebration should be. Hope you have many, many happy years in this lovely place!

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  34. Castine is such a special pretty little town and you have captured it so beautifully, Loi. The town is lucky to have you and Tom as its new residents. Thank you for taking us on a little vacation with you!

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    1. Cindy: Tom and I are lucky to have discovered Castine! Since you were there last year, you know exactly what I mean. We love it!

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  35. I need to spend more time here in the STATES!I have never been past NEW YORK CITY.........I definitely need to explore!Love the old homes!You are so lucky to have found a home there!Do keep a look out for my GREAT 4 TIMES I think GRANDFATHER.GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE.............I have found out city's and places have been named GREENE after HIM!He was born in R. Island.I do believe the house is still there.He was best BUDS with GEORGE WASHINGTON!Let me know if you find anything!!!One day I will take a road trip..........and visit you TOO!

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  36. Dear Loi,

    You have certainly found a charming getaway. Your photographs reveal a thriving town that is unspoiled, and nothing says that more to me than to see children excited to be in an old-fashioned parade.

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  37. Wow! Loi its simply stunning and so quaint. loved all of the pictures and the beautiful homes and building. They just don't make them like this anymore! xo

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  38. I agree with all of the other comments…. Castine is definitely a unique and beautiful town. Living in California, I am not used to being surrounded by so much American history, but I can understand why that would be appealing. We chose to move to Ojai for many of the same reasons that you chose Castine… the natural and architectural beauty as well as the sense of community.

    Thank you for sharing Castine with us!

    xo
    Brooke

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  39. wow what character Castine has! These are lovely photos of your new home town. The people and the places are so charming and friendly. I love the water and the boathouses and the history! Thank you for sharing that with us. It looks like you are quite at home there and loving melding with the community. I am happy for you both! Hope you have a lovely weekend. xo Nancy

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  40. You have really captured the essence of your new town...thank you for sharing this beautiful slice of old fashioned Americana! Enjoy the rest of your weekend, Loi! xoxo

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  41. What a beautiful place Loi, I can understand why you were drawn to Castine. Lots of history, gorgeous houses, great shopping, wonderful communiy vibe and being so close to the water is also such a treat.
    Fantastic photos, I really felt like I came along for the ride. Will you get a boat?
    Now, I know you picked some up for me, so wheres my old fashioned donut. Yumm!

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    1. Thanks, Paul! We'd love to have a boat! Someday.....hopefully, soon :)

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  42. What a lovely place to live and visit. I've never been to Maine, but reading this post sure made me want to move there! Is that your summer home you have in Castine? xx

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  43. Loi,
    Fantastic! What a great ad for our town.
    Look forward to your next visit.
    Sylvia & Bill

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    1. Thanks so much, Sylvia and Bill. We really enjoyed meeting you!! And what a stunning home you have! Hope to see you in August :)

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  44. Jean & LouiseJuly 20, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    Dear Loi,
    Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures of our beautiful Castine. No wonder we love it here. You captured Castine perfectly.
    My wife and I met you and Tom in the Town Hall when you were hoping to make settlement on you home. We were there getting our marriage license. We wished you well and you the wishes. Looks like the well-wishes worked for us all!
    Hoping to meet you on Main Street or at the Breeze.
    Jean and Louise of Back Shore Road

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    1. Hi, Jean and Louise! So wonderful to hear from you all. We'll be back in early August, and hope we can catch up! Here is my email address: topiaryplants@gmail.com
      Loi

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    2. Jean and Louise - I don't have your contact info.....can you please send me an email? Thanks!

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  45. I'm drooling over these gorgeous photos of Castine. The historic homes are so lovely and charming. Maine is such a beautiful state, especially along the coastline. So glad you found a great community, and I'm anxious to see the home you purchased.
    Mary Alice

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  46. What a wonderful town with such an interesting history and the most beautiful and charming houses!
    I can imagine that you're looking very much forward to move into your house soon, being surrounded by beauty, having such a lovely neighbourhood.
    Enjoy summer!
    Sunny greetings from the Périgord,
    xxxk

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  47. Loi-
    I am in love with this own. How American can you get? So many beautiful homes, crystal blue water, and lush greenery!
    Thank you so much for taking us along.
    Teresa
    xoxo

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  48. i was not aware you snapped that pic of me in my wonder woman glory. (you're welcome!). what a charming place to kick back. take me to the lighthouse, please!

    michele

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  49. Castine looks amazing Loi, no wonder you chose it. Even the name "Castine" is beautiful.
    Enjoy your life there!
    Di
    xoxo

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  50. Thanks very nice blog!

    Also visit my blog great home ideas

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  51. Hi Loi, Thank you for the lovely tour! The colorful historic homes really caught my eye as did the quaint hometown feel of your beautiful photos!
    What a cool place to put down some roots. Summer Cheers to you and your family! Monica

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  52. Hi Loi...Maine looks like a wonderful place...I would love to visit...loved your post on Kim's blog...your home looks beautiful!

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  53. Beautiful! Loved seeing this beautiful place through your photos!

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  54. Hey Loi! I hope you don't mind that I read your post whilst sipping wine; pas le cafe;) Having a dutch father and french mother, I felt oddly like my ancestors are lurking somewhere in the neighbourhood, hope you don't mind…they are really friendly, love food, laughter and …well…wine too! Some day my friend, this french/dutch girl will no doubt be on your porch looking for a chat and tour;) xob

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  55. A wonderful tour, thank you! Stopping by after seeing your library at Savvy Southern Style!

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  56. My brother and sister in law, along with their daughters have been in Maine for the last week and are loving every minute of it! Love the tour Loi, it is quintessential Americana, and looks like a lovely place to spend the summer!

    xo Kat

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  57. I love Maine, I have friends who live there, and would so join them in a minute if all possible :)
    Your home tours is wonderful, such beauty Loi in all you do and all you visit.

    Looking forward to what August will bring for you?

    Xx
    Dore

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  58. My first thought was how family friendly it seemed; warm and welcoming! Beautiful and so quaint. I enjoy your tours! How lovely that boat ride must have been! x

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  59. Thank you so much for hosting! Beautiful room as always! Thank you for sharing!
    architects-origami-house

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  60. So beautiful, Loi. Kind of hoping you wouldn't tell everyone just how wonderful it is so Castine would keep its quiet lovliness. Guess it's too good a secret to keep under wraps. Thanks for reminding me.
    b

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  61. Loi, this is quintessential Americana at its best. What a wonderful town to live in!!

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  62. Hello Loi,
    What a wonderful set of photos to help us appreciate the beauty of Maine. It looks so peaceful. It's a beautiful place indeed! I hope you and Tom are enjoying your summer. I can't believe it is mid August already. I've just started getting used to the idea that it's summer...ha ha.
    Susan

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  63. AMAZING houses :) I can move in tomorrow haha

    Check out my new post....Inredningsvis Swedish summer vacation in Österlen:)

    I wish you a great autumn

    LOVE Maria at inredningsvis - Swedish decor, food, and fashion

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  64. Loi, your photographs are so realistic it feels like I could walk into each picture.

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  65. Your pictures are amazing!! I love New England architecture.

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Many thanks for your visit and comment. If you have a question, let me know and I will respond here. Loi