Here I am again, back in New York and not quite up to speed, though August is a good month for a Manhattan-based critic to take a little time off. So far as I know, nothing much happened while I was gone, though I’m pleased (and a little surprised) to see that you kept on visiting www.terryteachout.com in my absence.
In case you’re wondering, I was visiting Isle au Haut, a Maine island where I spent several days holed up in a lighthouse built in 1907. Well, not quite–I was actually staying in the keeper’s house, which has been turned into an inn. No electricity, believe it or not, but the site is eye-bogglingly picturesque and the food is as good as it gets. (To find out more about the Keeper’s House Inn, go here.) It’s the only lodging available on the island, to which I had traveled in order to see whether I could locate the scene of a 1975 lithograph by Fairfield Porter called “Isle au Haut,” a copy of which hangs in my living room. I’ll be writing a piece about my adventures for The Wall Street Journal, so I don’t want to give too much away, but suffice it to say that no sooner did I discover that I’d have to spend a few hours tramping along a pathway known as the Goat Trail than I started to have second, third, and fourth thoughts….
En route to the Goat Trail, I looked at paintings. The Portland Museum of Art is currently hosting a first-class Fairfield Porter exhibition, and I spent an ecstatic hour looking at the Colby College Museum of Art’s John Marin collection, which is nothing short of spectacular. I also tried to visit the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, only to find the place locked up tight (they were hanging a show that opens today). So my vacation was far from unartful, though I made sure to spend plenty of time doing nothing but sitting in an Adirondack chair, watching the lobster boats off the shore of Isle au Haut. (I like to think one of them might have been piloted by Linda Greenlaw.) My goal was to gear down a bit–I haven’t taken a bonafide vacation for more than a decade–and I think I succeeded.