The Joy of a Fine Set Table

Last week I spent a day with some fellow lady poets in Lincolnville, and our hostess Peggy offered us a truly luxurious seaside experience, including (but, of course, not limited to) comfortable rooms for each of us, a gorgeous home to explore, a rocky beach and a buttercup field, and a finely set table.

Now, as a resident of the north Maine woods, it’s impossible for me to treat any guests to an ocean view or a rainy walk on the beach at low tide. And while I have a small field near my home, it’s lacking buttercups and Queen Anne’s lace, and it’s a wonder if it’s mowed or attractive in its wildness.

My home is gorgeous to me (designed to my particular taste), but it’s not quite…large. It takes about two minutes to explore. No real complaints there, but one can imagine my delight in the new experience of such a grand estate, no?

That leaves an item on the list that I can’t shrug off for being outside my capabilities: the fine set table. Our hostess treated us to a couple lunches, a light breakfast, fish dinner, and each table was set to match the time of day.

Flowers by day became candles at night. We ate melon slices that the meal gods replaced with homemade bread during the evening meal.

Fennel on a charming plate. Cheese I’ll probably never eat again set near narrow glass vases supporting the stems and blooms of bright layered ranunculi.

What’s purchased or inherited mixed between what’s sown and harvested.

Whatever the circumstance, the fine table is one of fresh food, flower, and light. Possible anywhere there’s sunshine, earth and air.

Possible in the woods, by the sea, in the cities where folks are starting to plant gardens in parking lots and on rooftops.

It may be simple treasure, but it’s bounty nonetheless.


Jenna Beaulieu

About Jenna Beaulieu

Jenna is a writer and fine art photographer who recently moved from the Saint John Valley region to Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island. She’s a fan of excellent music, homemade gravy, and colored pencils (also, short books and long books, good pens, flannel, and when the June bugs don’t really come out much that year). For more about Jenna and her work, visit her website at