Breakwater Vineyards

Leaving the wine casks behind we returned to see what Jeanne had in mind to show us. She led us to another barn where we could see a small chicken coop and some fencing.

 She began calling and suddenly a head popped up, and then another and then some goats came into view followed closely by the rambunctious kids.

Oh they were sooo cute.

One of the mama goats climbed up the fence and tried to eat my shirt sleeve. After some sweet talking and ear scratching she seemed to “zone out” and released the clothing, content to just stand there while I cooed and scratched. Goat Whispering! 🙂

Jeanne explained that Breakwater Vineyards was committed to being environmentally  conscious. She envisioned a time when she would be able to make goat cheese to offer for sale along with her wines.

The chickens seemed happy next to the goats and Jeanne confirmed that they were good egg producing hens.

The animals are all part of the goal to be closer to the natural world and utilize the land’s resources more effectively.

The Vineyard is about 5 minutes from downtown Rockland, Me. The name Breakwater Vineyards comes from the mile long barrier that protects the harbor called a breakwater. A portion of the profits of the vineyard are donated to help the restoration efforts of the historic lighthouse.

More than 3000 grapevines grow on the 32 acres of farmland that make up the winery. It is well worth the stop if you’re in the Owl’s Head area.

If you are a oenophile (wine connoisseur) I’m sure you will be interested to know that there is a Maine Wine Trail for Maine Vineyards just as there is a Coastal Wine Trail of New England covering southern Massachusetts.

There are 19 wineries on the Maine Wine Trail.  They offer wines that range from Fruit Wines to Distilled spirits.

If you are interested in more information you can check out

and don’t forget the winery that introduced us to all of this.

As much as we enjoyed this little visit, the afternoon was passing quickly and we still had quite a drive ahead of us. It was time to say goodbye and hit the road again.

On the road to Bar Harbor

Was it only Monday that I packed up my car to head to Maine?  Seems so much longer ago than that! The sun was shining and I was on my way by 9:30 am . 3 stops later for gas, cash and miscellaneous and I was on Route 24 for the first leg of my trip. My GPS routed me through Boston via the expressway (known locally as the “distressway”) but other than a slow-down by the Granite Ave exit because of an accident, (not me) I made good time.  On the north side of Boston the traffic was clear and it was smooth sailing up 93N to 495.  A quick hit on 495 and I was following the GPS directions to Joe (JR)’s house in Plaistow. I pulled up right at 11:30 exactly as the GPS predicted.

JR saw me pull up and came right out. WOW looks like we’re really running smooth here but no, a glitch. JR was so anxious to get going that he locked his car keys in the house. He wasn’t driving so he didn’t need them… except his luggage was locked in his car…OOPS! A quick call to his parents brought the cavalry to the rescue and in short order we had his gear in my car and we were back on the road.

First stop was at the rest area in Maine where we met our first Moose.

Then it was on to Owls Head, Maine. This was JR’s pick of the day. He worked at the Thornton Burgess Society for a time and really liked the people there. He visits as often as he can to keep in touch. JR’s really good about nurturing friendships. He doesn’t let distance interfere and really puts a great deal of time and effort in keeping his network strong. In any case, at his last visit he was told that Jean, a former co-worker, had moved to Maine to open a Winery and he wanted to drop in to see how she was doing and renew the contact.

He had the address so into the GPS it went and we were off. It was a pretty nice day for a drive. It had been sunny in Taunton, overcast in New Hampshire but as  we moved farther north it cleared again. I’d never even heard of Owl’s Head much less been there so I didn’t know what to expect .

Owl”s Head appeared, by our drive through, to be a quaint New England town, a nice tourist destination, not too crowded or urban. Owl’s Head is located on Owl’s Head peninsula which extends into Penobscot Bay. As you can imagine, it was quite picturesque.

The Vineyard is Breakwater Vineyards located at 35 Ash Point Dr, Owls Head Me. It was easy to find with it’s gleaming white house located on a hill overlooking the water.

The house and it’s lawns and gardens are elegant and beautiful.

I could have stopped our trip and stayed right there, it was that lovely.

Jeanne greeted JR with enthusiasm then invited  us into a beautiful room where wine tastings are held.

JR did the sampling, as I was designated driver, and pronounced the wine very good. We bought a bottle of American Riesling to take with us to Bar Harbor. We had visions of sitting outside sipping our wine at the end of the day. While JR sampled the wine, I made friends with the black lab that was keeping Jeanne company. When they were done  “catching up” Jeanne took us out to a big barn which had been converted into the winery and turned us over to Jake to show us around.

Jake did a great job of explaining the process of wine making but soon we were going back to meet up with Jeanne.

She wanted to show us one more thing before we went on our way.


Wine Trail New England

I don’t know about you but when I think about wine country I think of France or Germany or domestically, California. I know a lot of other places are getting into the wine making business. I’ve enjoyed wine from Australia and South America but I just didn’t think of New England for wine.

Maybe I should just say that I didn’t think because we had grape vines  that were always covered with big purple grapes each summer where I grew up in the Adirondacks and my neighbor made his own wine from them. When I visited Peace Field House in Quincy there was a grape arbor so the signs that grapes grow here are all around me. Of course I have no idea if these grapes make good wine.

I enjoy a glass of wine occasionally with meals or with cheese and crackers. When I vacation with my sister that is one of our rituals, kicking back with a glass of wine after a long day of sight-seeing but I would never pretend to be an expert. I read descriptions about a note of this, a hint of that. Fruity vs dry, and I don’t know what it means. I just know what I like. The wine must be light (if white) and smooth and not too sweet. If a red it can be heavier but again, not too sweet.

So imagine my surprise when my friend Jay told me about the Wine Country in my backyard…literally!

I headed for the internet and there was the Wine Trail which winds through southern New England from the tip of Cape Cod through southern Rhode Island to Connecticut. 9 Vineyards make up the stops on the Wine Trail promoting Coastal wines of New England. Like the Passport program for the National Parks, these Vineyards promote the Coastal Wines of New England with a Passport Program of their own. For more information head to

 The common thread that ties these 9 Vineyards is the Atlantic ocean. With the southeast facing coastline, warm gulf stream in summer and fall, a cool grape growing climate results in a section of fine wines, mostly of the white and sparkling variety with a few reds sprinkled in.

Since I was heading to Dartmouth anyway I thought I’d try to see one of the wineries. I’m not sure what I expected. I’ve never been to a wine tasting nor have I ever set foot in a winery. When we were in Sedona we thought about a wine tour but there were so many other things to do that we never got to that. I guess I imagined driving through the vineyard with rows of grapes rolling by until I reached the winery. With that vision in mind I headed off to find one of the Dartmouth wineries.

There are 2 located in the Dartmouth area, Sakonnet Vineyards and Running Brook Vineyards. The Web page for Sakonnet said they were open Friday, Saturday and Sunday so that eliminated them. Running Brook gave their hours as daily Noon- 5pm. so that’s where I headed.

Running Brook Vineyards is located at 335 Old Fall River Road, North Dartmouth. Their web page is

I left The Buttonwood Park Zoo and headed off to  find Old Fall River Road. It took me all of 10 minutes to get to Running Brook from the zoo! That was a little mind-boggling …from Urban Zoo to rural Winery in 10 minutes. The Winery is clearly marked with an attractive sign.

I took a right through the open gate onto a dirt track and drove slowly up to a large building.

 There was a tent set up outside with tables.

 I didn’t see any grape vines. The “road” continued on around the building but I thought it might be better to stop here first. A car had just driven off around the building and another man in work clothes was just getting into a truck. I stuck my head out of the car window and asked if I was in the right place for Running Brook.

The gentleman got back out of his truck and asked me if I’d seen the sign at the gate. I said yes. His response was , “Well you’re here.”

I pulled into a spot next to the tent and got out of the car. My host wasn’t the most talkative so I tried to think of questions to ask. Since I had nothing to compare  this experience with I’m sure he thought I was asking really stupid questions. I think he took pity on me because after a few minutes of my babbling he asked me if I wanted a tasting. It was afternoon so , why not? I said yes.

He told me to follow him and we went into the big building. A rough wooden counter  separated customers from the rows of big, wooden barrels. Almost immediately I noticed the aroma. It smells sooo good! Getting my nose back inline I noticed labels on the barrels indicating the type of wines apparently aging or fermenting or whatever wines do in each of the big casks.

 As I was looking around my host was setting out a row of wine bottles , a package of oyster crackers, a wine glass and a ceramic pitcher.

I confessed that I didn’t know what to do. Was I supposed to hold it in my mouth and then spit it out or  could I drink it. That finally got a smile. He explained that it was personal preference but that he’d suggest drinking  it. Now I was laughing and beginning to relax. I told him as long as I could walk out after the tasting then drink it I would. I was looking at the line of bottles he’s set out and wondered if I would be walking by the end of this experiment! 🙂

We started with the whites. The bouquet was wonderful. The wines varied from mellow and smooth to one that made me say ” it was having a party in my mouth. ” It wasn’t a sparkling wine yet it made my tongue tingle like a sparkling wine. I even tried a white Merlot. I’m not a fan of white Merlot and this was no exception but that’s just me. If you like white Merlot you would probably like this wine.

I tried the red Merlot and that was pretty good. We finished the tasting with a sweet dessert wine that was a little too sweet for my taste but that I am sure would hit the spot if you like that kind of wine.

I bought a bottle of the Pinot Gris to take home with me, picked up my passport  brochure and collected my stamp.

The tasting was well worth the $7.00. The wines ranged in price starting at around $15.00.

Running Brook Wines are not available in stores. You need to stop by the winery to pick them up. You can also buy them by the case. I never got to see the Vineyard but my host pointed out a lovely picture in the brochure of green grapes, not purple, on the vines. He said those were the Running Brook grapes.

There was a sign at the entrance that said wine tours and events on Sundays 1 pm but the winery itself is open 1-5 daily so stop in, have a tasting, buy a bottle ( or 2) and spread the word!

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Now I’ve only 8 more Vineyards to visit to complete the Coastal Wine Trail!