Considering Winter (from Bailey Island, Maine)

So you may have noticed that we have a pretty rigid “no winter” policy around here. Or had a “no winter” policy, I should say. We’ve worked hard to completely avoid the season, and have done so rather successfully for the last three years 🙂

But hey, nothing lasts forever, right?

So here we are. In the midst of a Maine winter. And now that I’ve (rather happily) survived my first “real” blizzard, I think I’m entitled to an opinion on this whole winter business.

Running along the river in Brunswick, Maine

Now I know I’ve already mentioned the rain vs. snow debate, but I’d just like to reiterate for anyone that missed it that SNOW is still DEFINITELY better than rain.

Until you’ve experienced the harshness of 150 days of dark gray (this might actually be a little generous, I’m pretty sure Vancouver is gray from about October to June) you can’t understand how darned depressing that nonsense is! Maine, on the other hand, just keeps plying us with these bluebird days where the sun is SO bright and everything is happy.

Cue gorgeous blue sky shots:
Bailey Island, Maine in January

(These are the days that we pretend spring is around the corner and ignore those obnoxious “the crocuses are blooming in Vancouver!” emails)

Bailey Island, Maine in January

Bailey Island, Maine in January

(Although if we’re being honest, the pictures above are from last week… It looked more like this one below today… we’re not getting suntans 😛 )

Cedar Beach on Bailey Island, Maine in January

The downside of all this blue sky is of course the cold. Well and the volume of snow. I’ve never experienced “snow drifts” before, so I’m learning a whole new language…


The bug, in particular, looks quite ridiculous in the middle of a big snow pile… and this was just at the START of the blizzard!



I discovered that walking from the back door to the driveway was going to be a bit of a challenge, so *TADA!* it was time to debut the snowshoes 🙂 With polka-dot rubber boots, for good measure. Because I’m too cheap (stubborn? dumb?) to buy another freaking pair of winter boots (tall boots, short boots, waterproof boots, warm boots, fashion boots… but I’m holding out on new winter boots).


Now on this topic of being cheap, I need to bring up my new favourite subject: Heat. In particular, the price and value of being “warm”.

See, our house has this AMAZING furnace that heats our house up like nobody’s business. The problem is that within 5 minutes of the furnace kicking off, our house also cools down like nobody’s business. Our first month’s (November) heating oil bill was $240.

Now I don’t know about you, but for somebody who has lived ENTIRELY BILL FREE for the last three winters, utility bills are about my least favourite thing in the world. So $240 for heat when it wasn’t even “real” winter yet seemed RIDICULOUS.

Cue the thermostat games.

We now heat our house to 60 (15 Celsius) for a half hour in the morning, and for an hour or two in the evenings. The rest of the day — and the rest of the night — the heat is at 45 (7 Celsius) because that’s as low as the thermostat will go, other than one little electric oil heater that I pretty much live glued to.

(Because people, that electric heater? It costs $2.40/day if you run it on HIGH for 24 hours! So running it on low only costs $0.80/day and that my friends is the kind of math I like).

This has resulted in a number of “why are you so bundled up?” Skype-conversations, but it has also meant that we’ve continued to pay around $225-$250/month for heat, even as the temperatures have continued to drop.

Exxxxxcellent 🙂


Figuring out what’s fun in the cold and what’s not has also been a learning experience.

Running in 20-30 degree (-6 to -1 Celsius) weather? Super fun!

Running in 10-20 degree (-10 to -6 Celsius) weather? Totally different story, and not fun!

Looking at marinas in snowstorms?


Actually reasonably fun, if entirely treacherous (wood docks + ice = scary business).

Taking selfies on a winter adventure drive with the truck that has studded winter tires and 4-wheel drive because it’s a blizzard so everyone is staying home for a “snow day”?


Totally fun.

In fact…

I think I might love winter.


But SHHHHHHHHH, don’t tell Brio. She’s definitely not feeling the same 😉

(And to be fair, I’m only one blizzard in. Check back with me in another month or two)


PS: On an entirely unrelated note, do you want to own Brio’s twin sister? Cuz there’s a Nor’West 33 that’s been recently listed in California.

I don’t know the owner or the broker or anything like that, but I do know this is a pretty little boat with a great reputation (although I am slightly biased) and I think it’s fun to know other owners of Nor’West 33s. So buy this one, and we can be boat buddies 🙂

If you’re interested, the listing is on Yachtworld.


Considering Winter (from Bailey Island, Maine) — 2 Comments

  1. Leah & jon
    Thanks for te winter catch up info
    We are in a relaxed summer here victoria Australia.
    Meltemi looks beautiful after her slipping new antifoul anf gull cut and polish and now a replaced mainsail
    Lot s love stay warm
    Isn and maralyn

  2. If your heat was $240 for November than you truly have no insulation in your house. Heart goes out to you!! Last year I house sat in Harpswell and heard the BEST winter line of my whole life “…and please don’t turn the heat below 67˚” I did happy dances for weeks.

    Hang in there! it does get sunnier, even if it gets snowier 🙂

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