One way to combat the Midwestern mid-winter gray sky blahs is to consciously think about a better, sunnier, place and time. It’s even more effective if you really try to lock in specifics about where you’ll be and what it’s like. My happy mental place of refuge these days envisions a bright, cloudless, pleasantly warm summer day in Maine, sitting on a deck overlooking Stonington Harbor and feeling a slight breeze ruffling by. Russell’s Christmas presents — he made us a smiling, radiant Mr. Sun and a cool Maine key ring holder — help to keep the mind focused on those ultimate summer days.
February is always a tough month, where it’s impossible not to be sick of winter because it seems like it’s been winter forever. Rather than despairing of ever becoming truly warm and blessedly free of a drippy nose again, why not indulge in some of the power of positive thinking? Better days lie ahead, and the current crummy weather is just going to make the eventual sultry summer all the sweeter.
Route 15 runs right into the Square Deal Garage on the outskirts of town. It’s an iconic, well maintained, throwback building that has a a distinctive Maine feel to it. When you see the red Pegasus, you know you’re almost to Stonington.
A truly glorious sunrise over Stonington Harbor this morning, as a cool breeze blows and a rooster crows in the distance. This is a pretty little corner of the world, and one with moderate summer temperatures, too.
Small towns always seem to be filled with interesting characters and interesting stories. Stonington is no different.
One such story lies behind the “mini-village” of tiny houses and buildings found at one end of town. You can get a sense of their scale from the picture with Betty, below.
The buildings are the handiwork of Everette Knowlton, who began building them in 1947 and placed them on his property. By the time he died in 1978, he had constructed an entire village, complete with church, school, grocery store, barns, gas station, and homes. The purchaser of his property after his death donated the village to the town, and every year townspeople store the buildings for the winter and return them in the spring for everyone to enjoy.
I think the last part, about the citizens of Stonington storing the buildings for decades, is the coolest part of the story. It tells you something about the community.
After leaving Portland and heading north on 295 and 95 until we reached the outskirts of Augusta, we turned onto Route 3 and headed due east. From there, it’s two-lane road and local places — no chains or franchises.
This morning Russell and I stopped at one of those local spots, Lori’s Cafe, for a late breakfast. It’s right on the side of the road along Route 3, in a tiny town called Liberty. It’s the kind of place where the wait staff is friendly and unhurried, the food is served piping hot, there’s a box of little candies by the door — and you might just get your excellent coffee in a “hello Beautiful” cup. My pancake and sausage patties really hit the spot, too.
Lori’s Cafe is a great place to linger over a second cup of coffee. . . so we did. It’s also a great place to come back to . . . so we will.
On our way back from Boston we made a stop in Portland, Maine to pick up some supplies. Portland has a pretty cool and pedestrian-friendly downtown filled with interesting buildings, and businesses. Our destination was a quirky art supply shop across from the Maine College of Art.
Every day we hear a low, sad sound — a kind of moan that comes in from somewhere out in the Stonington area harbor. It’s a very melancholy sound to hear on a quiet summer evening.
The sound is made by the Mark Island lighthouse, to caution ships that they are approaching the shore. We chugged past the tiny lighthouse on Sunday, on our tour of the harbor. The Mark Island lighthouse foghorn obviously serves a useful purpose, but why must the sound be so plaintive? Why not a happy burst of uplifting music instead?