Music and Dancing with Edith & Bennett and The Gawler Family Band – It’s a Trip of a Lifetime!

Introducing our newest specialty trip – Music and Dancing with Edith & Bennett and The Gawler Family Band!  This trip is the first of its kind and we are excited to break the Maine windjamming mold just ever so slightly.  The deck of the Riggin will be filled with music and song and our evenings ashore will be packed with concerts and contra dancing.  Performed by Edith Gawler, our own former crew member, Bennett Konesni, and The Gawler Family Band, this trip will be filled with music from these diverse, talented musicians.  Who knows, maybe we’ll even have a few special guests as well.

maine windjammer music and dancing cruise with Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni

Our 4-day/4-night adventure will take us to Belfast and Rockport and an uninhabited island where we’ll feast on lobster and dance on the beach to tunes from fiddle, drum, flute and who knows what else!?  (Here’s a sneak peek of fiddle tunes on the beach.)  What better way to launch a summer than with the happiness of harmony and the delight of dancing?  Here’s a link to a short and sweet video of Edith and Bennett playing in the galley together.

The Gawler Family Band

Remember to book your trip before February 1st to take advantage of our Early Bird special.  We are so looking forward to singing and dancing with you!

maine windjammer music and dancing cruise with Edith Gawler and Bennett Konesni

For more information about Edith & Bennett, the Gawler Family Band, or specific details about this special music and dancing cruise, go to the Riggin site.  We are happy to answer any questions you might have over the phone or by email. Or if you know what an amazing trip this will be and want to book your space now, here is the link!

Annie
Kinda dancing in my seat right now!

Maine Sailing Magic and Double Rainbows

January is typically a very busy month for bookings in the Riggin office with people getting their vacations times in order and planning their summers.  Really, what this means is if you are planning on sailing with us, now is the time.  Many of our trips are already full.  Take advantage of our Early Bird 5% discount (10% for repeats) if you book before Feb. 1st.  We’ll be so happy to welcome you aboard!

maine sailing double rainbow Photo by Ben Krebs
Beautiful double rainbow as we lay at rest in the harbor.

Knitting Project – Silverleaf

Silverleaf knitted shawl by Lisa Hannes Each day I like to wear something hand made. Most of the time it’s something knitted, but every once in a while a sewn item creeps in to my wardrobe as well. There’s something deeply satisfying about moving through the day with something created by and/or for yourself.  Something primal?  Perhaps.  Or maybe I don’t need to wax on about it, but instead need to say that I just truly enjoy it.  You get it, right?

After coveting a guest’s shawls for several years, I began to make my own luscious knitwear to envelop myself on those brisk sailing days (or really any evening on the Maine coast). My first was Authenticity by Sylvia McFadden and from that moment I fell head over heels in love with shawls.

My second shawl was Silverleaf by Lisa Hannes made with Madelinetosh Pashmina in Glazed Pecan. It’s yummy. I need not say more.  The yarn color is actually discontinued, I’m told, and it came to me by way of a fortuitous trade with a guest (on a knitting cruise of course) who knew my color wheel exactly.

Silverleaf knitted shawl by Lisa Hannes

Silverleaf knitted shawl by Lisa Hannes

Annie
Catching up to Patty

A Toast – To those we lost and those who joined us

As I look back on our year, I find overwhelming joy for how our Riggin community has grown.  And then there is sadness and grief for those who left us this year to join others on Fiddler’s Green.  May you all be blessed as you have blessed us.

Emerson Riggin, you were born last year, but we needed to include you in this post and welcome you. Your mom, Erin, and dad, former mate John Hatcher, met on the Riggin.  We love your middle name!!
A toast and an off-color joke to you, who came to sit in our office chair more than once while you planned and gathered your family for a trip of a lifetime. You will be missed,  Russell Wolfertz.
Welcome, Luna Mae, to the growing clan of young ones being born to our extended crew family. Former mate, Andy Seestedt, and his second daughter, Luna Mae.
We raise our glass to you both. When, on the deck of the Riggin, you promised again to love each other until you were parted, you gave us all such joy as we witnessed your joy in each other.  Priscilla Keene, rest in peace.
A toast to you – who blessed us with your kind heart and gentle ways for many years. You kept Santa alive in the hearts of our girls for so long. We are better for having known you.  Bern Allanson, your spirit will be missed!.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

Iron Point by Capt. Jon P Finger

It was one of the best seasons in our 21 years of owning the Riggin, filled with moments that we want to absorb deeply so that as winter settles in, we can unpack and relive them one by one.

Many of our evenings are spent under the darkening sky scattered with millions of twinkling stars and singing harmony with the girls to Jon’s guitar. One night, after music, someone pointed to this strange color in the night sky. It took us but a second to realize that it was aurora borealis, a phenomenon of electrons and light, which magically lit up the night sky.

So many beautiful lobster bakes were shared while sitting on the beach looking out at pine-studded islands, digging feet into the sand, splashing toes in the chilly briny Maine water and feasting on the freshest Maine lobster ever.

Whales! For the first time in over a decade, we saw whales in Penobscot Bay. For some time, we’ve yearned for sightings like we used to have and were blessed this summer. It gives us hope that the bay is changing for the good….

Every Race Week is special, but this year’s was one for the books. Even as we started the race, we were at the head of the pack. After a full day of tacking and strategizing, we were in the last leg and just under the hills of Rockport off Indian Head Light. The wind had died at this point to a whiff, and we were all yearning for the forecast 15 knots. With only two vessels in front of us, we saw wind begin to skim the surface of the water. Seconds later, they began to heal and then heal hard. And the wind was upon us. The Riggin gently healed over and when the physics of the sails began to dominate, she started to move forward and pick up speed. The wind drove her with such purpose as we went from a relaxed, everyday sail to a thrilling chase that had us pulling ahead of one of the two vessels. The Riggin finished 2nd in her class and overall! What a moment!

 

As always, it is a blessing to spend our summers with you all. We hope that this letter finds you all in the peak of health, in the throes of happy, and surrounded by the love of your family (chosen or given).

Annie
Full of blessings

Riggin Family Goes to Costa Rica

As we entered the second floor of the place that we would call home for the next five days, the expansive view of expressive sky, craggy mountains, and lush greenery settled around us, just as the heat and the moist air, like a light shawl or a deep sigh.

I’d forgotten how ‘outside’ living in a tropical climate can be. For us in Maine, most days “outdoor living” means layers of clothing. Even in the summertime when we are sailing, our wool sweaters, down vests, and hand-knit cowls are not far from reach. But here, in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica, not only were we without a single wool item or second layer, we looked out at three sides of a view though… nothing. No windows, no walls. While sheltered by the shade of the roof, the rest of the home was open on three sides to all kinds of weather. What happens if there’s a Nor’eater Jon thought? All day rain? Oh, right, not in Maine any longer. Right.

I’d forgotten the feeling of warm air on my skin, even as the sun goes down. Even as the sun is all the way down… no need for layers of clothing because the air is so warm. And no bugs like the Maine state bird (mosquitoes) ready to suck the life blood out of you. Just a couple of beetles and some moths drawn to the light of the night. (Although to be fair to the state of my heart, Maine does not have all sorts of snakes and bugs that can actually kill you.)

Jon and I spent three years in the Caribbean working on a yacht and moving up and down the Windward and Leeward Islands before we bought the Riggin. It’s been years since we’ve been back to a Caribbean climate and it didn’t take long for the sarongs, beach dried hair, and flip flops to feel like normal garb.

The impetus for this trip was to see where Chloe had spent the last 3 months of her studies. Based in the Cloud Forest of Monteverde, she explored the country through the lens of environmental science, studying the climate and natural world of Costa Rica with all of its abundance and diversity.

 

Monteverde, Costa Rica airbnb
Where we stayed the first couple of nights in Monteverde.
Costa Rica travel
Climbing the inside of a ficus tree
Monteverde, Costa Rica airbnb
Monteverde view
Costa Rica travel
Chloe trying to remember the Latin name to everything on the trail

Costa Rica travel

Our first foray into the mountains of Costa Rica was a hike into the… woods? The sensation of hiking into tree-shrouded trails, feeling the earth beneath our feet, and the birds chirping above felt just like hiking at home, except…. The leaves on the forest floor were not oak and maple, but rather, unknown The trees had abutments, vines, and epiphytes that covered their trunks. The birds did not sound like the birds at home. It was the oddest sensation of the familiar and the not, as if in a dream where you know where you are, but then it shifts into the unknown.

A trip to this country is not complete without the experience of zip lining! I could have gone again and again. Initially created by scientists to study the forest canopy in the 80’s, zip lining has become a staple of the ecotourism trade. Sailing over the tree tops, the unspoiled views are priceless. Our first meal, at Taco Taco a favorite of locals and visitors alike, introduced us to the flavors of the region. And thus I began dancing with avocados, cilantro, and lime. Also there, we had a flight of local beers which were unexpectedly good.

After exploring Chloe’s homebase, we made our way to Santa Teresa, a quintessential beach town with rolling surf, international visitors, and yoga galore. At the southern tip of the Nicoya Pennisula, there is just enough panache in Santa Teresa to make it feel like a groovy destination rather than a distant outpost. That overdevelopment has remained largely in check is due in no small part to the state of the roads one must travel to get there. Not to belabor the point, but these dirt ditches, rivulets, ponds, rock walls, and steep grades are distant cousins to the paved roads of our towns at home and yet, by the end of the week we found ourselves feeling somewhat confident in our driving abilities and blessing the roads that keep Santa Teresa so idyllic and low-key.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vrbo
The view from our Santa Teresa home
Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vrbo
Playing around with local veggies and food for breakfast (and lunch and dinner)

Once ensconced in the open air vrbo, we hardly wanted to leave to adventure. And some days we didn’t. Other days we explored the town, the beach, a nature preserve, and of course did some yoga. Casa Zen, recommended by our host for yoga, is a dorm-like hotel attracting all sorts of hipsters and 20-somethings hanging out in hammocks and a community lounge. Pranamar is on the other end of the spectrum with individual cabins set in lush grounds and an open-air yoga studio right next to the meandering pool.

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica vrbo
Silly faces (and Ella, if you’d held still, you wouldn’t be fuzzy, so don’t give your Mama grief)
Beaches of Santa Teresa
The Capt. on vacation!

Costa Rica travel

Santa Teresa is known for its Pacific surf, which attracts surfers of all ages. I wanted to get into the water to play in the waves, but had to screw up my courage to make my way into the 10 to 12 foot surf. After riding the waves for a while, with my trusty captain keeping an eagle eye on me, I made my tuckered way to his side on the sand. That said, even after going out into the fray, I’m not sure I was ready to do it again. It might have almost taken even more courage to venture out a second time the strength of the waves was so impressive.

Where we ate:
Fishbar – delicious mojitos and every dish was delightful and well-balanced.
Habaneros – right on the beach, watched the sun set.  Skip the margaritas and go straight for the ceviche, homemade chips, and the specials of the day.
The Bakery – After 3 months of tortillas, rice, and beans, Chloe was craving a pastry. She found satisfaction at this little gem which albeit caters to its visiting international clientele.
Sodas – The Tico (local Costa Rican) version of a Maine diner. Perfect for a bite of local eats or a fresh juice.

Costa Rica food
One of my favorite things about traveling. The soap comes in a tub, the cream comes in a box, and the creme fraiche (ish) comes in a bag.

As we said ‘so long’ to Santa Teresa and made our way off the peninsula, we stopped at Montezuma for a quick hike up to a waterfall. A little bite at Soda Tipica Las Palmeras and we were off to meet the ferry. I swore I would not step foot on a boat while were on vacation, but saving 4 plus hours of driving seemed a small price to pay. The North Haven ferry pales in comparison to this behemoth.

Montezuma, Costa Rica
Montezuma waterfall

Our last meal in San Jose, a hidden gem called Café Rojo, found only after following the gps in what seemed like one-way devilry, was a delight. A Vietnamese restaurant, set next to a local bookstore and art installation, it felt as if we could have been sitting down to a meal in any city in world. It was the perfect segue back into our busier stateside life.

Thank you Costa Rice for the adventure and relaxation in equal measure. Pura Vida!

 

 

 

Give Experiences, Memories, Time

Having just returned from a first-ever family vacation, I can attest with absolute certainty that there’s nothing that replaces time with family, making memories.  Presents under the tree are wonderful (and the hand-made ones are the best).  But even more, the gift of unrestricted time, to allow the day to unfold without an agenda and with each other, is truly without compare.

With that said, we now have a way to order gift certificates online.  You don’t need to purchase a whole trip, but could just contribute to a trip for someone you love.  I realize now, more poignantly, how we participate in these memories and are honored to do so.

Maine Windjammer - Schooner J. & E. Riggin
Photo credit Bob Trapani

Happy Holidays to you all!
Annie

Top 10 Gifts for the Bakers in Your Life

baking powder biscuits
As anyone who has sailed with us knows, Kitchen Aides and Cuisinarts are not a part of my tool kit on the Riggin.  They require electricity, something I don’t have in my galley.  What I do have is good, old-fashioned muscle and technique.  I use very basic tools to make very special baked goods and I don’t need a lot to accomplish this.

Also, because I have limited space, the tools I do have on the boat need to be ones that I use all the time or they need to do more than one task.  Here’s my list of tools that I wouldn’t go sailing without and that might spark an idea or two for the baker in your life, whether they bake on dry land or on the water.

My three favorite stores for baking and cooking tools are: The Good Table, Now You’re Cooking, and King Arthur Flour.  All are wonderful, local stores with a well-curated supply of useful baking tools.

Sifter – While a whisk will work for this task, there’s nothing that works better for making light, fluffy cakes.

Scale – The best bakers weigh all of their ingredients.  If nothing else, sometimes a recipe calls for a weighed amount and not a measured amount.  Super helpful.

Thermometer – All baking is about details and precision.  Don’t over or under bake anything again by removing it from the heat at just the right temperature.

Parchment paper – A gift from the non-stick gods.  Lining cake pans and cookies sheets with parchment or with a silicone sheet helps with the least favorite part of baking – the clean up!

Whisk – Just don’t try a baking life without one.  Great for thin batters, egg whites, and whipped cream, but a whisk will also work as a sifter in a pinch.  Just not for those super fluffy genoise cakes and such.

Rolling pin – Wooden ones are my favorite.  With or without handles, this is an essential piece of any bakers arsenal.

Pastry bag – At some point you’ll want to try your hand at pate au choux or decorating a cake.  The professional way to go is with a pastry bag and at least a few basic pastry tips.

Cookie scoop – Bake cookies that are all the same size by scooping them with this cookie scoop.  It makes the process go so much faster too.

Pastry knife – For making biscuits and pie crust, this tool is essential.  There isn’t a day on the boat that goes by where I don’t use this handy tool.

Bench scraper – Bread bakers, pie bakers, biscuit bakers and basically anyone who gets dough on the counter for any reason will love this tool.  Again, I use it on a daily basis.

Cooling rack – While this is one tool that I don’t have space for on the Riggin, I do use them at home all the time, and there I almost never have enough. 🙂

Annie
Also, doesn’t it go without saying that every baker (and cook) should have cookbooks that they love and trust (like Sugar & Salt and At Home, At Sea)?