I summer in Maine. Of course I do; I live here year round in the same dwelling. But sometimes I envy those who actually do summer in Maine. Cousin Elmer and Gladys do; they own a second home in York, arriving here from Pennsylvania. One friend has a big house in town, but owns two properties on a lake. Another friend has both a farmhouse and a lake house in Harrison.

But then there is a former neighbor who lives here year round, but has a summer property, not in Maine, but on Shelter Island.

Even my dolls had a summer camp. Made out of a cardboard box and equipped with homemade denim sleeping bags, the camp and dolls would go out on the back lawn.

Luckily for those of us who don’t own summer houses, we have friends and relatives who do. And they welcome us to their places.

Starting this spring, I pretended I was summering in Maine. On three occasions I rented the suite at the Spring Point Inn on the Southern Maine Community College campus. Looking out the windows from the sitting room, I felt as if I were many miles away in a quaint seaside town.

Summers I do stay in Maine. Why travel out of Vacationland? Although it’s crowded and lines are long everywhere, I make the best of it. I make a summer list and check things off. I take day trips and go to a local beach on the weekends.

The closest I feel to summering in Maine is my annual long weekend in Northeast Harbor. Staying at the same inn every year, I feel as if I truly belong there. The past two vacations I have been allowed to stay there alone before the inn opened. I looked around the rooms, had coffee in the sunroom and felt like a grande dame. The owner of a huge shingled house with several guest rooms for my summer visitors … in my dreams.

Walking toward the harbor, I saw a house with the sign “Summerhouse.” I wondered what it would be like to live there.

Eating lunch out on the deck of the Asticou, looking at the boats docked in the harbor, I heard real summer people talking about their plans. Later on in my stay, I watched the tourists get on a boat going on an excursion around the island. I have toured in a boat around Cranberry Island, a wonderful trip.

Dining on the patio of the Bar Harbor Inn, a new experience for me, I could see the shore path and picture the early visitors who came by steamer. While sitting outside, I thought “How lucky I am” to be able to be here, if only as a tourist.

In my wildest imaginings, I will someday own a summer property on Mount Desert Island and properly “summer in Maine.” But for now I am making do with living in South Portland – and summering here, too.