One thing about Maine is that there doesn't seem to be counties, just townships (although I don't know if that's the term they use). You'll look at the map and it will show that you're coming up on, say, Belfast. You'll pass a sign that says "Entering Belfast" and think--great, now I'll see the town. But, in reality, Belfast might be another 10 minutes driving time or so. You're just in the larger area.
Today was a driving day. We headed out the door early to see the world--or at least coastal Maine. We had breakfast in Blue Hill at the Co-Op, a simple little cafe that nonetheless had good food--an egg sandwich for me, and a bagel with lox for mom.
We drove down highway 1 south, marking any antique stores or bookshops we might want to stop at along the way. One place I was very excited about was Penobscot books, which claims 40,000 volumes specializing in art, architecture and photography. We buzzed by it on the way north upon first arriving, and it's distinctive yellow building really stood out. We flew past it on the way south on this day, intending to hit it on the way back up.
Our furthest southern point today was to be Camden, a little bay town known for its Windjammers. It's one of those charming little sea-side towns, but didn't feel quite as antiquated or colloquial as others. We wandered the shops, including the magnificent ABCD Books, and spent an hour or so looking around.
We headed north to Lincolnville to check out the Windsor Chairmakers. Mom has always wanted windsor chairs for her big round dining table, and these are quite well known around the country. These were incredible--hand made and stained in a number of finishes and styles. Not cheap, though--a single windsor style chair will set you back about a thousand.
We ate at the Lobster Pound on an enclosed deck. I had a mediocre steak, and Mom continued her lobster streak, although this is the only one she has had in the shell.
We drove north, stopping at a few places and finally--finally get to Penobscot books. The store was great--the first thing I saw as I walked in was a huge Stanley Spencer monograph. It was a good omen.
So, I did my usual and found my way to the typography, book arts and design. A pretty good selection, although after about ten minutes in (just long enough for me to get through one shelf or so) the owner trundled through, said he was closing in five minutes and started turning off lights! It was only 3 or so, and Mom asked him if he always closed at 3. "Nope. Just tired today." So, without much time to look, Penobscot books will have to always be the place I could have left behind a lot of money, but never had the chance to.
North we went, stopping at galleries and antique stores that looked promising. Some were, some were a bust, but it was good fun. Our final destination was the Big Chicken Barn Books & Antiques, which is a massive old structure. Tons of books (just explain to me why they keep their typography and books books in the dictionaries section. Would Dewey approve?) I bought a few things. One of the proprietors was sporting a Utilikilt. I said "Hey! Is that a Utilikilt you're sporting?" He was not interested in talking about it. "Yes. They're very well built." Seeing that he didn't really want to talk, I continued to talk. "Yeah. Their factory is only a quarter-mile from my apartment." He was non-plussed. Less, even. He was anti-plussed. Maybe he was scared that speaking about clothing with another man would make him less Mainely manly.
We drove back to the island, and went on a wild goose chase for a restaurant that didn't exist anymore in areas in which it never existed, and in the end drove into Stonington to go back to the Maritime Cafe (which is where we had our windy lunch the other day). I was very pleased to find out that their dinner service was much nicer than their lunch service. Sadly, though Stonington is a dry town, so you can bring your own bottle in for a modest corkage, but you can't buy it from them. Not knowing, we had dinner sans wine.
I had a delicious pumpkin ravioli and a caesar, while mom had a steak (enough lobster, already, she cried) and a warmed spinach salad.
The conversation between the couple next to us was delightful. It was the woman's birthday, and as they drank a large bottle of white wine half through as they ate. Soon, she was lecturing him, and he was singing to her. It was quite lovely.
Afterward, we made the (seemingly long) drive back to the homestead, through the townships of Stonington and Deer Isle, back to the Eaten homestead and our home of the crickets.
Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: September 13, 2005 08:20 AM