Postcard from…Kate Pickett

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-06-19 at 1.46.01 PMDear AVENUE,

Kate Pickett gives us the inside scoop on Seal Harbor, Maine

Upper East Side native Kate Pickett surrounds herself with creativity and beauty. After stints in investment banking and at Harvard Business School, Kate founded Pickett’s Pressa bespoke letterpress printing company. When Pickett is not busy dreaming up new designs or helping customers put together their one-of-a-kind creations, she travels to Seal Harbor, Mainea place she has a special affinity for, having spent summers there since childhood. 


Home away from home

One of my favorite places in the world is Seal Harbor, Maine. Although I grew up on New York City’s Upper East Side, Mount Desert Island, Maine, has always felt like home to me. I remember, as a child, not being able to sleep the night before our 10-plus-hour drive to the island. When we crossed the bridge onto the island, Mom would wake me up, and I’d roll down the windows and take a big breath of cold, fir-tree-scented air. That smell was heaven . . . and it is still is!


Cottage life

We stay with my mother, at her cottage. She has a heavenly garden, and now my children look forward to going each summer as much as I do! I’m an artist, and for generations artists have been drawn to the landscape of Acadia National Park. We’re lucky because my mom’s cottage is right on the border of the park, and we can walk from the house onto the carriage trails and see some of the most beautiful views in the world!


Maine-stays and favorite activities

Our activities center around family, friends and being outdoors. We love swimming and tennis on the old clay courts, and my children take sailing lessons at the same yacht club where I learned to sail. Summer favorites are square dances at the club on Wednesday nights and hiking up the Jordan Cliffs; and we love picking out our lobsters at Abel’s Lobster Pound and watching them cook right there. My children have been hiking up mountains on the island to pick wild blueberries since they were two—and of course baking and eating blueberry pies with my mother’s famous recipe! Also. . . there is hardly any cell coverage! So we talk and read when we aren’t doing something outside. The Seal Harbor Library is one room and 100 years old, and one of the most charming places in the world.


Insider’s guide

For the perfect day: Head straight for Acadia and get outdoors! Biking, walking or hiking are part of every day. After a hike, we like tea and popovers at the Jordan Pond House. If you can get an invitation, the Rockefeller Garden is gorgeous, and a real treat. Charter a sailboat for a day at Hinckley Yachts and see the islands by water—the best way to

see them!

For dinner, if you have a boat, you can’t beat the views from Islesford Dock on Little Cranberry Island. The food is amazing and totally organic and locally farmed. For shopping, the Kimball Shop & Boutique in Northeast Harbor is my go-to place for chic tableware and hostess gifts. My son loves golf, and the Northeast Harbor Golf Club is charming and rustic, and still open to the public. If you need a place to stay, the Asticou Inn is an island staple, with gorgeous views. We also like the historical Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor, which has a great dock for watching sunsets, over cocktails with friends.


Generations of friends

The best part of coming back each summer is connecting with all the families who have also been coming to the island for

generations. The island has been a summer retreat since the 1800s, and the families all know each other. It’s so fun to watch my children developing relationships with my friends’ children, who are my parents’ friends’ children. Everyone really looks forward to connecting, since many of them live all over the world! My best childhood friend from Seal Harbor lives in Kabul, so it’s always a treat when I get to see her.


Summer vacation vibe

Seal Harbor has always influenced both my work and home life. For work, so many of my designs are inspired by the island—all of my illustrations for Pickett’s Press are hand drawn, and I sketch a lot in the summer, when I have more time. Our nautical section of designs on my website is huge. It’s impossible not to be inspired on Mount Desert Island—Frederic Church painted some of his most famous paintings right on the mountains we still climb today.

For my family, we try to bring Maine home with us at the end of each summer: clean, simple living; focusing on family; healthy lifestyles. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of New York City, we all try to pause and slow down like we do in the summer.


A rebel and her rock

My favorite souvenir is a perfectly round rock from Hunter’s Beach near Seal Harbor. But sshhh, I think it is frowned upon to take one home.


I can’t travel without . . . 

. . . my sketchbook!



Casual and cool

Pack like a local for Maine . . . Although

many New Yorkers head to the island in the summer, it’s a very casual place. You never know when you might be hopping on a friend’s boat for a cocktail sunset sail, so wear boat shoes! And it can still get chilly at night, so I always pack warm sweaters and feet pajamas for the children.




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