Guest Stories

A Family Adventure to Getaway Blake Brook

Mimi Olins has been living in Portland, Maine for 23 years. She’s a newly-retired art teacher, pursuing her dream as a ceramic artist in her home studio. She’s the parent “of two sweet and sour tweens,” and the spouse of “a generous-hearted baker, whose love and food feeds us all.”

Mimi and her family visited Getaway Blake Brook this winter, and they found a space to slow time, to truly enjoy quiet moments as a family as their kids grow older each day. Here’s what Mimi had to say of her Getaway.

We love a family adventure, to depart the familiar cold winter, to soak in the sun, to explore a distant city. But this time we could spare only a few days away from the busyness of work.

A skeptic of all things that come via Instagram ads, I was smitten by the escape into the woods of a remote camping trip, and the comforts of a downy pillow. The window beside our stacked queen-sized beds, a full wall of light, gifted us with hours of peering outwards, into the piney forest covered in freshly fallen snow. Our dogs, and us, were equally enthralled.

We brought the essentials for cooking and sipping, and our daughter delighted in unpacking our picnic supplies into the tiny fridge. She loves all things miniature and so the efficiency of the design was under non-stop evaluation as she imagined a life in her twenties, living so efficiently, with only what she needed. 

We recently began a family mindfulness time together. Partly as a way of increasing our gratitude, and perhaps also as a way of pausing the rush of childhood. Here, an hour and a half drive from home, we tucked in our cell phones—all four went into the cellphone lock box. We slipped into the closeness of our quarters, moving in the tiny space with more carefulness, drawing in our sketchbooks, hearing each other breathe and sleep talk. 

We had read about—and were excited to visit—Blasty Bough Brewery, but sad to learn that like the few other establishments mentioned online, things were closed during the week in the quiet town. But when I gave them a call, the owner, David Stewart, invited us to come by anyhow. The beers were delicious, the kids played Jenga while sipping cream sodas and visiting with the friendly pub pup, Charlie. We were reminded of the kindness and humanity found in often unnoticed places as we listened to David’s stories; we appreciated the gift of his time.

We brought cross-country skis and warm, light layers of clothing hoping to catch some wandering walks and ski trails. In the nearby Bear Brook State Park, we walked and skied in fresh snow on the Catamount Trail. There, we crossed a trickling brook, glazed in cool blue ice, both kids ventured off the path, hiding themselves in a thicket of standing and fallen trees. The dogs smiling, buried their noses into the snow, thrilled with the new smells. If they could tell me of the vole in hibernation, or the abandoned squirrel’s nest now decaying, what more life I could understand. 

That night, we found our silliness together. Board games became mom-is-bored-games, a laughing fit led to dares to roll skin in the snow. The warmth of the tiny shower tempting us to push our edge, knowing we would soon return to comfort. The leaving behind of our racket, our luggage, our usual ensnarements and escapes, the lightness of our leave. We will return. 

Feeling inspired to head into nature? Book your Getaway today.