I worked for a while today at the Stonington Public Library. It’s a nifty little facility with free wireless, a good reading table, and a really excellent book selection for its size. And, like most small town libraries, it’s at the center of it all. While I was there, numerous people stopped by to pick up a book, chat up the friendly librarian, and talk about what’s going on.
Libraries are one of those civic institutions that hold towns together. Stonington has a really good one.
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.
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.
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?
We took a great boat ride today among the islands in and around Stonington Harbor. As we cruised along, we enjoyed watching this majestic sailing ship, its sails full with a fine breeze, navigate the waters. It made for a beautiful scene on a beautiful day.
This afternoon we were walking and met up with a few locals who showed us some of the trails around Green Head Point — trails we would never have found on our own. The trails led down to the waterway between Deer Isle, Peggy’s Island, and Crotch Island, where the big quarries are to be found.
Based on what we’ve seen, you could probably set up a quarry wherever you wanted. Granite seems to be everywhere.
Stonington puts on a terrific fireworks show to commemorate Independence Day. They shoot off the fireworks from somewhere in the harbor, and you can see the display for miles. Not bad for a small seaside community at the end of Deer Isle!
It’s not easy taking photos of a fireworks show with an iPhone, by the way.