Friday, August 24, 2012

Postcards from Maine: Road Trip

We spent part of a day exploring another part of Maine, the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle, including the harbor town of Stonington. It's quieter and less developed there than Mount Desert Island and we had enjoyed a rainy-day visit a few years ago.  

To get to a Maine island, you can take a bridge if you're lucky. 
Otherwise, you need a ferry, the mail boat, or your own boat...

Gentle, woodsy, water views in Blue Hill.

The meat cutter from Chicago told us to be sure to visit Nervous Nellie's Jams and Jellies. This decades-old business is a small operation run by a couple — you can view the kitchen, which is not all that much bigger than the average "chef's" kitchen in a suburban McMansion. 

Apart from the jams and jellies, which are quite good, the point of a visit is to explore the extensive sculpture installation created by Peter Beerits, the male partner in the jelly business. We have finally figured out who buys all that rusted stuff at places like the Brimfield Antique Fair and puts it to artistic use: this guy. The property includes many small, creatively furnished, highly atmospheric wooden buildings that also hold sculptures of people and creatures. There are many more sculpture and found objects to discover in the woods, too. Visitors are free to walk around and interact with folks like this:

Two buildings on the grounds.

Some of the buildings have drawing pads, pens, and push-pins, so visitors can comment or otherwise express themselves and pin their work to a wall. I drew a pair of cats on my note, which asked why there weren't any cats around. The place should have had them roaming everywhere, but we saw just one dog.

This quartet greets visitors near the parking lot.

We bought a jar of cherry-peach conserve, which is perfect for me since I can never make up my mind between those two flavors.  Then we headed to Stonington for lunch in the local cafĂ©.

In Stonington, we bought those two cat pillows filled with balsam from The Dry Dock, a gift shop described as a "creative department store" on Main Street. Can you spot the real balsam cat and the fake one in this photo? (I don'y know why it came in sideways.)

We walked around town, enjoying the water views, the beautiful old buildings, and the ice cream. We also spotted another fake balsam cat; we remembered from our previous visit that there seem to be lots of fluffy-tailed cats in Stonington.

Not a balsam cat but perhaps a prototype

Scenic Stonington

Two porches, two chimneys, one turret

The view of the harbor, with the houses on the hillside, has been painted many times; we were happy to  recognize it after seeing it framed in various New England galleries over the years. If you click on the photo below to enlarge it, you'll see an artist working at an easel: 

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