On our recent trip to the Pine Tree State, we stopped in Camden, Maine to visit some art galleries. “Stop Wait Wave” is painted on the sidewalk next to the crosswalks on Camden’s busy main street, substituting for a Walk/Don’t Walk sign.
The painted sidewalk notice is similar to the x-shaped “Stop, look, and listen” signs that you used to see at railroad crossings. In Driver’s Ed class we were taught that you were supposed to stop at the railroad tracks, look both ways to see if the crossing was clear, and then turn off the radio and listen for the whistle of an approaching train before you decided to proceed. The “Stop Wait Wave” signs are based on the same principle, except the “wave” is to ensure that you’ve alerted the oncoming drivers that you’re crossing.
As a committed pedestrian, I’m a big fan of the wave when you cross the street — especially in these days of distracted, texting drivers. In fact, I give the wave even when I’m crossing with a “Walk” sign. The wave is a friendly gesture, and the motion can help to get the driver’s attention. If you wave and you get some kind of wave, nod, smile, or other acknowledgement from the driver in response, you can be pretty sure that the driver isn’t going to proceed into the intersection and knock you down. It’s a sound defensive walking strategy, and it was nice to see that the Camden, Maine authorities agree with my view.
If it were up to me, I’d paint “Stop Wait Wave” on every downtown Columbus crosswalk.
A visit to Stonington is always good for at least one gorgeous sunrise. This morning, it was as if the sun and sky decided it was time to compete with the colorful fall foliage.
Yesterday we took a bit of fall tour, driving from Stonington over to Castine. It’s a roundabout trip that takes you on winding roads that skirt the bays and coves and inlets of the craggy Maine coast. Along the way you see some beautiful scenery — like the view above of the Eggemoggin Reach in the distance and some colorful trees from the commanding heights of Caterpillar Hill.
Castine is a charming town that is the home of the Maine Maritime Academy. It has a long history that dates back to the 1600s. If you walk away from the downtown area you’ll find streets that look like movie sets, with tidy federal-style homes and white picket fences and trees sporting their blazing fall colors. Many of the houses feature signs in front that tell of the history of the area, and the intermittent clashes between the French, the Dutch, the Mohawks, the British, and finally the Americans who fought over this strategic spot on the shoreline from the 1600s until the War of 1812.
As is always the case with coastal Maine, it all comes down to the water. There aren’t many tourist here in October, which makes it a quiet, peaceful time to visit. You’ll get a chance to experience some beautiful colors, but also the serenity of the solitary sailboat moored on the quiet waters of Penobscot Bay.
Yesterday we drove over to the Brooklin Inn to listen to a performance by BOOM — the Baroque Orchestra of Maine.
Heidi Powell, on baroque violin, and Max Treitler, on baroque cello, performed two sonatas by Georg Freidrich Handel and two familiar pieces by Archangelo Corelli, and Ms. Powell also performed a beautiful solo piece, the Passacaglia in G minor for solo violin by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber, that I had never heard before. The concert took place in one of the central rooms of the Brooklin Inn with an audience of about 40 people — the kind of intimate, up close and personal setting that was the normal performance venue when baroque music was the prevailing music of the day back in the early 1700s. It was a wonderful performance of my favorite genre of classical music, which Ms. Powell and Mr. Treitler made even better by providing some interesting commentary to introduce each piece, talking about the differences between baroque instruments and their modern counterparts — and even answering a question from the audience. I should add that, after the BOOM performance, we had a very fine dinner thanks to the Brooklin Inn kitchen.
It’s pretty cool that this part of Maine has its own baroque orchestra — but then again this area is full of surprises and interesting things to discover, and there are lot of people out there who have a passion for classical music generally and baroque music in particular. When I thanked Ms. Powell after her performance and asked whether there was a BOOM website where we could make a contribution toward future performances, she said there wasn’t one, but we could send an old-fashioned letter and she’d let us know about future performances via postcards. It’s an example of the kind of old-school, off-the-grid approach to the modern world that you often find in this area — well-suited to a group that performs vintage music with authentic instruments.
Our local newspaper in Stonington is the Island Ad-Vantages, covering all of Deer Isle and Little Deer Idle. It is printed once a week and provides all the news you need to know — and some conversation fodder, besides.
We all try to follow national and international news — to the extent our blood pressure can stand it, at least — but the news we really care about is local. Up here, that means reporting on tourism, the lobster and fishing business, development activities, and coming events. I want to know whether the local businesses and restaurants did a good trade and will be here next summer, and I’m glad to read that they did. I’m happy to learn that a food truck stationed in Deer Isle will be back, but that local labor shortage is a concern. Hey, if you are looking for a job, come to Stonington next spring! Every business is looking for help.
What’s playing at the Opera House over the next few days? Are there any good yard sales this weekend? And the local police blotter and short reports on local closed court cases are always a fruitful source of discussion topics. The latest edition of IA-V reports, for example, that one man from the area was fined $150 for “molesting silver herring gear.” What do you suppose he was doing?
A really good local newspaper, like Island Ad-Vantages, tells you a lot about your community.
Last night we did some exploring and drove to the far end of Little Deer Isle. There you will find the Pumpkin Island Lighthouse, one of many scenic whitewashed lighthouses that dot the craggy Maine coastline. This particular sentinel warns mariners of the shoals along the northwest entrance to the Eggemoggin Reach, a popular waterway that connects Penobscot Bay and Blue Hill Bay.
It was a beautiful day, with clear skies and only a slight riffle on the waters of the Reach. The Pumpkin Island Lighthouse is one of those places that seems untouched by time, and a still afternoon was a good time to enjoy its calm, quiet beauty.
The leaves are starting to turn on Deer Isle, and these ferns on the loop around Dunham Point are leading the way. I had no idea that ferns could be as beautifully colorful as, say, birch or maple leaves. Walking past them was like walking past campfire flames.