Huckleberry Hideaway for Lovers of the Light

One of my most favorite things to experience at Light Heart is time alone on retreat at the Huckleberry in the Spring. I start the day in the hot tub— no jets. It’s about the pleasant contrast of being submerged chin deep in warm water and cool, crisp air on the face. Distant hills beyond Taunton Bay glow with the sun rise, mist rises up in the valleys.

So still, so quiet.

It’s hard to leave, but I do love my cup of morning tea which I sip from my stool, watching the sun’s progress as I journal.

To have nowhere to go, nothing to do, is there anything better? There’s not a single place I’d rather be before Summer’s bugle plays Reveille, than at the Huckleberry Hideaway, reveling in the Light.

Revel in the Light, Shine the Light, Be the Light!

Spring’s blessings to you from Joanna


Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful!
We almost want to say bad things to try to keep a secret but the positive energy must be shared… Perfect mountain cottage that feels like a home. Has everything you need for a perfect get-away. Cozy fireplace with plenty of wood. Towels, full kitchen, soft sheets. Watch amazing sunsets from the balcony. Watch the sunrise on the trees while still in bed. Walking trails just outside the door and Acadia not too far away. Too many amazing features to describe! Joanna is the perfect host– shows you what you need then let’s you have your space. We will be back again. ~  Cinnamon B., September 23, 2016


Just Ask

David had a license plate on his truck that said Just Ask.

What is it that you’ve been wanting and have been so wrapped up in the wanting, that you forgot that perhaps, all you have to do is ask?

Before winter had even shed its first snow flake, I was asking for and having faith in a shorter, milder winter. As each storm approached I asked that if it wouldn’t upset the apple cart too much, could the storm please go out to sea. We had two storms that produced enough white crystal medicine to ski or snowshoe on– fair enough. It’s been wonderful to walk the trails of Light Heart Retreat in hiking boots. There was never a time when the trails were not accessible.

I know I am not the only one in New England to have taken the stance that nothing ventured, nothing gained, and I might as well Just Ask. It doesn’t look  like the photo above here yet…However we are well on our way to an early Spring or at the very least, a timely Spring arrival.

Water Fairies and 2 Orbs 3/04/2016

Orbs and water fairies dancing at Light Heart Retreat enjoying an early ice out on the morning of March 3, 2016.

When we ask for something, it is good to remember that just because we haven’t received it yet, it doesn’t mean it’s not already on its way to us.

Many of you have asked me for recipes. I don’t just follow a recipe, it’s always evolving. Some recipes, like soups and salsa, I have in the recipe box inside my head. Others are in the old Apple Works program and I’m unable to access them. ( I hope this doesn’t happen to the aforementioned recipe box.)  Then there are those recipes that no one has been able to reproduce. And yes, I do have a proprietary feeling for these and some others.

So there! You see? There is a Cooking Deva and she is listening. If only she weren’t the Cleaning Deva, Bookkeeping Deva, Laundry Deva, Lawn Mowing Deva, Gardening Deva, Reservation Deva, All Purpose Deva– then perhaps, just maybe or maybe not, you would have received a recipe. So here is a recipe for you for pumpkin bread below. If it’s not the one you asked me for, please let me know and I may put your requested recipe on the docket for another blog post.

I can highly attest to taking a retreat at the Huckleberry Hideaway this time of year. The light is beautiful. It’s warm in the sun. It’s a good time to work on a project that you’d hoped to have completed by now. It’s a great time walk the trails here or at Acadia National Park, see a movie at Reel Pizza, visit Jasper Beach. Spring is coming early this year and you’ll soon be mowing the lawn and a whole lot of other things. You could prime your pump for all the upcoming doing, doing, doing, with a gently paced and well fed stay here at the Huckleberry Hideaway at Light Heart.

If you don’t, I will. And when I hear the Barred owls calling Whooo cooooks for you? to their potential mate, I’ll answer,  I doooo! 

Blessings for an early Spring and Shine your Light!




Chunky Pumpky Bread from the Light Heart Retreat Kitchen

You can use any cooked, orange-fleshed, winter squash with this recipe. When using your own squash or pumpkin, decrease water to 1/3 cup.

Beat together in medium-sized bowl:
4 eggs
2/3 cup water (or milk or buttermilk make it more cake-like)
1 cup light olive oil or melted butter
2 cups or a 16 oz. can pumpkin

Sift together and stir in a large bowl as this is the bowl you’ll be finishing in:
3 1/3 cups King Arthur all-purpose flour
3 cups organic sugar (not too coarse)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg (decrease this if your don’t love nutmeg)
pinch of cloves
Optional: 2 cups chocolate chips, 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds or chopped nuts,
1 cup Bob’s Red Mill flaked coconut. These are my favorite additions
for Chunky Pumpky. For a more traditional bread add 2 cups of raisins. I also do a blueberry/coconut version. 2 cups blueberries (thaw first on paper towel if frozen) and 1 cup coconut.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add wet mixture to this. Stir to mix and then stir in the optional ingredients of your choice. Grease and flour 3 large bread tins or 4 smaller ones. The baking time varies according to the size of the pan and optional ingredients. Use a tooth pick to test. The larger size will take an hour plus. The smaller pans start checking at 50 minutes or less. If you’ve got a good sniffer you’ll smell this when it’s done.

Additionally your mouth may begin to water and kids will start bugging you about it’s readiness.

Clackers & zuke bread

Grandsons Kyle and Colby enjoying some Zuke bread after a dowsing lesson.

If you’re bread isn’t done, but is already brown on top, place a piece of tin foil loosely over the top and continue baking until a tooth pick comes out clean. This bread freezes wonderfully.

I like this bread best, not when it’s hot, but when each flavor has had a chance to stake it’s claim after a couple of days. That would be loaf #2 or #3 as loaf one will be long gone. ENJOY!

Trout Fishing in the Light Heart

It’s a big treat for David and myself to go into Bar Harbor after a busy day’s work at Light Heart Retreat and see a quality movie at Reel Pizza. We recently saw Salmon Fishing in the Yemen about a Sheik with a love of fishing who has a dream of introducing salmon fishing into his country but, it’s not about the fish…

We enjoyed a refillable bowl of buttered popcorn– real butter and we topped it off with nutritional yeast that Reel Pizza provides. David stretched out his 6 foot 6 inch body in the roomy aisle with the popcorn resting on the counter in front of us. Others were seated up front on living room furniture eating pizza or nachos, some drinking wine and beer. This is how we go to the movies in Downeast Maine!

Fishing in the Light Heart. This past Saturday we stocked Rainbow Trout in our large quarry for catch and release fishing for our guests and our own quiet enjoyment of seeing them rise. An added benefit of having fish in the quarry is seeing the birds that come to fish for them: Great Blue Herons, Bald Eagles, Osprey and the little bird with the big head, the Kingfisher.

Our grandsons, Kyle and Colby love to fish. They’re like two little old men out in the canoe, all quiet and contemplating their lines in the water until they catch a fish.Then they’re all excited about it, no matter what it is, and no matter the size. After the fish is released they’re still again.

Grandson Kyle on recent trip with his Great Grandfather, Dickie, on Lake Ontario.

Kids don’t need a pill to help them concentrate and experience calm…They need to be in nature.

When you’re out on the quarry in a canoe, fishing or not, you’re taking in all the shades of green and blue, of sky and water.  The bull frog chug-a-rums and the green frogs answers with short croaks and a long twang. The little tree frogs trill from their hiding places blending in with the granite and tree bark. The sun and breeze feel wonderful on your face. Time stands still.

While I was typing this out I received an email from my father, outdoor sportswriter, Dick Pinney, with this photo. Do you know what kind of fish this is? It reminded me of the many hours spent out on the water fishing with my Dad and a Landlocked Salmon I caught with him on Alton Bay in New Hampshire. It wasn’t a warm spring or summer day. It was the first fishing of the year and I was wearing a snowmobile suit! I drew a picture of that salmon to size in my sketch book. It was a big sketch book and a small salmon!

For all the fish I’ve caught, it’s not the fish that comes first to mind when I remember fishing with my Dad. I remember what it felt like. And even on that chilly spring day when I caught a salmon,  it felt Good!

We have so much to offer both individuals and families on retreat here. I’ve never written much about fishing on the quarry. It’s not about the fish…

Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is the not fish they are after. ~ Henry David Thoreau

Come cast a line out, swim with the fishes or maybe even kiss a fish, and find what your soul has been longing for…the peace and beauty of Light Heart Retreat.


Late Spring is All Abloom Downeast and in Acadia

This is a repost from 2011~

As I am writing this on May 18th, our lawn is definitely abloom in dandelions. With this cool, damp spring, we are going to have just about all of our spring flowers and shrubbery blooming at the same time as our leaves unfold. Our spring seems to burst forth, all at once, though for the observant, it unfolds its beauty, a little each day.

Though Spring has arrived a tad late this year, there is one facet of our Downeast spring that has shown up right on time…the black fly.  Native Mainers love them. They keep the year round population down around here. David and I love them too.  The black flies signal gardening time and the arrival of spring warblers, who feed on them.

I’ve had pretty good success convincing black flies and other insects that David and I are their stewards; they should be kind to us. Those times when they are overcome by black fly mass consciousness to consume, we resort to hard core tactics, aka, Hard Core Bug Off. It’s the best natural bug repellent we’ve used and we’ve tried them all. It conditions my hair and skin, too and the scent is agreeable.

Now…why would I tell you about black flies when I want to fill cottages between now and the high season???

I am excrutiatingly honest when people contact us for a reservation here during this period. Most expect it to be summer here on Memorial Day weekend. We will have a few hot days between now and the official start of summer, but more often it’s in the sixties,  with a brisk sea breeze (keeps the bugs away). For those who think that the Bar Harbor area is a quaint northern version of the Jersey shore….I’d rather direct them elsewhere then risk their being unhappy here.

This is a great time to visit Acadia National Park and have the trails to yourself. The ocean side trails are virtually bug-free and the top of Mt. Cadillac is minus the big tour buses of summer. After  hiking in Acadia, you can go downtown to Bar Harbor and not have to wade through three cruise ship’s worth of tourists on the main drag. It’s a lovely place to stroll, shop and dine in or on the deck.  You can take in a  movie at Reel Pizza in the comfort of an easy chair and enjoy their bottomless bowl of popcorn with real butter.

Here at Light Heart Retreat, it’s a magical time of year that we relish, despite the long days working the vegetable gardens, doing landscaping, spring cleaning cottages and …

We love listening to the frog songs through the spring season into summer. It begins with the quack of wood frogs as soon as the ice is off the little quarries. Next, the spring peepers sing well into June. After dark we walk out to Bragdon Quarry to listen to the tree frogs. Their trilling is so loud, you’d think you were in a tropical rainforest.

The green frogs are just getting warmed up here this week. One young guest asked us last summer, “What makes the sound at night that boings like a rubber band?” Then last, but not least comes the competition amongst bull frogs.

The time leading up the Summer Solstice is highly energetic here, especially on the full moon in June. It’s when we’ve taken some of our best photos of colorful orbs, blue-white swooshes and intensified auras around our flowers. It’s wonderful to be out after dark, hearing the frogs, sitting by a campfire or wandering around the gardens and out to the standing stone circle with your camera.

So who would enjoy visiting here over the next 4 week period?

  • Hardcore outdoor fanatics who can’t get enough of Maine no matter what time of year it is.
  • Those who would enjoy being a tourist without the crush of high summer, who would appreciate Light Heart Retreat’s well-appointed cottages and the quiet, natural surrounds to return to after a long day of window shopping.
  • Hikers who want the trails in Acadia all to themselves. You could even do mindfulness meditation on the trails this time of year.
  • Someone who has a creative project that needs to be finished up by working inside. Your only disturbance will be the call of the Hermit Thrush. Need inspiration for your creativity? The Hermit Thrush varies it’s melody slightly each time it sings. Every melody it sings is original.

Light Heart Retreat in the spring isn’t for everybody. For some, it’s downright heaven! A big High Five to you Hardcore Lovers of Maine. Hope to see you soon.

Autumn’s Splendor at Light Heart Retreat

My walk out to Bragdon Quarry this morning revealed splashes of gold and red maple leaves amongst the evergreens and along the granite ledges. There were many rusty-orange toadstools, the biggest I’ve ever seen here.

There was a section of mossy trail that was laden with tiny white mushrooms, the top of which was slightly bigger than a common pin. Approaching the quarry I heard a spring peeper and then the wing drum of a ruffed grouse, I’d put up.  Yes, this has been a strange entry into fall in Maine, with one foot lingering way back in springtime and one foot in the wood burning season.



It’s good to be home. David and I just returned from a 12 night stay on Prince Edward Island.  We very much needed a rest and as peaceful and beautiful as it is at Light Heart Retreat, it is quite a challenge for us to be able to turn our backs on the to-do lists, the phone messages, the gardens, and the back log of office work that accumulates over spring and summer.

Being away gave us a great appreciation for just how well we do our jobs here, in providing a quality stay in an especially unique and tranquil setting.  We stayed in two cottages on PEI. The first was a glaring example of a poorly executed guest cottage. The second cottage gave us the gift of experiencing what it must be like for those who find their way to a cottage at Light Heart Retreat. The dynamic between the husband and wife owners even reminded me of David and myself. You can hear me tell The Tale of Two Cottages by clickinghere .





I just looked at the 7 day forecast for our area and gave a sigh looking at tomorrow’s forecast for some considerable rain. And then….the little sun icon showed up every day after that with the cooler temps we associate with crisp Autumn days in New England. It’s coming folks! The bright foliage, the smell of woodsmoke in the air, apple crunch and apple pie…Oh, typing that gives me an idea, instead of a sweet bread awaiting you in your Light Heart Retreat cottage, how would you like an apple crunch instead?



David and I milk this time of year, taking advantage of there being fewer tourists and traffic. We hike the trails in Acadia and visit Schoodic Point. We go apple picking at Sandy River Apples , hoping every year to see that 90+ year-old Francis Fenton is still doing what he loves.



We walk on the beach at Lamoine and David gathers seaweed for his compost pile. We browse the shops in Bar Harbor, Eden Rising, is our favorite, and grab some calamari at Geddy’s . We go in to a movie at Reel Pizza where you can sit in the comfort of an arm chair with a bottomless bowl of popcorn. We visit Hammond Hall
for a play or to hear music at Schoodic Art’s Last Friday Coffee House.

At home, we’re still harvesting vegetables right up until the frost, which means you’ll often find me in the kitchen putting up the bounty. When not at work at Buell’s Granite, David is working on the firewood and campfire wood supply for LHR. Late afternoon you might find us sitting on the far side of Bragdon Quarry, catching some late rays. We’re glad for sunny, crisp blue days and yet we don’t mind a rainy day or two to spend inside by the fire reading and napping.

So, what will it be? Pumpkin bread with chocolate chips or apple crunch? We hope you’ll visit David and myself to experience the more gentle pace that Autumn brings here to Acadia, Bar Harbor and to Light Heart Retreat. We promise you that no matter what the weather is, you’ll find a past time to tickle your fancy or soothe your soul.



You can see more information on the venues I’ve mentioned above by clicking on the highlighted links. To see availability for the Huckleberry Hideaway, Blackberry Cottage and the Quarry House go our website and see the individual link for each cottage to the calendar at HomeAway.

Blessings for all the riches and splendor that Autumn has to offer,

Joanna & David

P.S. Update on 10/5/10~ David and I visited Francis Fenton and his daughter, Carol today at Sandy River Apples. They’re doing a beautiful renovation on the barn, built in the early 1800’s. Francis is another year older since last  we saw him. At 95 he’s as quick and spry as ever. His secret? Eating applesauce daily made from his heritage apple variety called, Wealthy. Are you a quilter? Carol will be hosting a quilter’s retreat next summer. You can contact Carol for more information at the Sandy River Apples link above.

The President Slept Here

This is a repost~

Spring came early to Light Heart Retreat and beautiful summer weather followed, right on its heels. I had an email from Marian in Vermont this past weekend that it was 97 degrees there and that she was headed for the river. While most of the Northeast,  had temps into the 90’s, we were a balmy 83 degrees here with a good breeze. Nights have been in the low 60’s. The quarry water is warm, while still being refreshing. Mosquitos have been nonexistent during the day, their presence noticeable only after dark.

I’m reminded of the question asked in the Kevin Costner movie, Field of Dreams,“Mister, is this heaven?” For David and myself, and our guests at Light Heart Retreat, the answer is, “If it’s not, it ought to be!”

Are you hoping to squeeze in a retreat out of what remains of this summer? We still have a few openings left for the summer season here even though I am getting inquiries everyday. It seems many people thought they might forgo their summer vacation and have changed their minds. Now it’s not so easy to find a cottage that’s the right size, the right price and available at a time that matches their scheduled time off from work. Have you reached that point too? I hope we can accommodate your last minute retreat, here at LHR.

Here are 10 good reasons to consider a stay at Light Heart Retreat this summer:

  • 1. As Maria, our current guest at the Quarry House pointed out to me, “It’s like you’re an island here.” Yes–we are. Kind of like Madagascar! We’re just 2 miles from Rte. 1, at the end of a dirt road with just one neighbor outside our entrance.  It does look and feel like a totally different world here--a calm island oasis, amidst an ocean of chaos.

  • 2. Do you have children? The Quarry House provides plenty of space for all with it’s large great room and piano room. Kids have room to run on the spacious lawn and the granite slopes gently, like a beach into the water. 03/31/14 Update. The Quarry House has been retired. Light Heart Retreat is now for Adults Only. We enjoyed the families…our first calling is as a retreat for adults and we know there are many good opportunities for vacation in Maine for families)

  • 3. Can’t visit Stonehenge? Neither can we, so we built our own. It’s a great place to meditate to seek answers and healing. And what great photo ops! There’s a 12 foot granite bench to sit on and view the sunsets from.
  • 4. There is nothing quite like sitting around a fire to stir the soul to story telling and song.There are not many places one can go and enjoy a campfire these days. Each cottage has it’s own fire pit.

  • 5. When was the last time you cast a line? You can be a kid again at Light Heart Retreat. Bring a fishing pole and cruise the quarry in the canoe or walk the perimeter casting for bass.  Gotcha! Kyle & Colby caught these in Great Bay, not our Quarry!
  • 6. Oh the stars! No night pollution here. Imagine sitting at quarry’s edge, looking into the water and the stars shining back at you,  huge, sparkling pools of light. Don’t worry about the noise you hear behind you in the trees. It’s not a bear.

  • 7.It’s porcupines. Another reason to visit here. Have you ever seen a live porcupine? It’s likely you’ll see one here, or several, waddling across your lawn or perhaps they’ll be hogging the dirt road when you’re coming in or going out. Also,if you don’t see an eagle, raven or osprey on your stay, it’s because you’ve forgotten to look up.

  • 8. There is something so soulful in the bullfrog song that echos off the granite walls around the quarries. It was one of the offerings of LHR remembered by our recent guest, Niklas, from Norway.
  • 9. If you’ve come here alone or as a couple and it’s seclusion and solitude you seek, Bragdon Quarry offers just that. We’ve left a canoe out there, chairs and floats. All you need to do is bring your refreshments and novel and spend a day with just the sounds and sites of nature.  Now we’re talkin’–heavenly!

  • 10. The President slept here. Well, okay–not at Light Heart Retreat, but in Bar Harbor with his family last weekend. We are 25 minutes from Acadia National Park and the beautiful seaside towns of Mount Desert Island. Acadia Park and the town of Bar Harbor are one of the most visited places attracting visitors from all over the world, and for good reason. Find out about this national treasure here.

I could give 100 reasons for you to visit Light Heart Retreat, but this is a blog post and already too long by blog standards!

How to proceed with a reservation:

  1. Please go to our website first. You’ll get a good overview of the retreat and its amenities.
  2. Once you decide which cottage you’d like to stay in, you can click on it’s link to HomeAway where you can see an availability calendar and the specific amenities for your cottage.  Our rental week begins and ends on a Saturday during the summer season.
  3. Once you’ve found the week that works for you, you can send us an email inquiry from this site. If you don’t have school age children, and we don’t have an opening left that works for you, early September is a great time to visit LHR, it being hot in the sun, cool in the shade and what we in New England like to call, good sleeping weather.

We hope to see you soon!

Reason #11 to visit LHR, you need it soooo bad! Don’t you?

Blessings for a cool place, on a hot day!

Joanna & David