Stonington, ME

Stonington waterfront on a foggy morning
Sept. 9, 2012        On the southern tip of Deer Isle, we returned to the tiny community of Stonington.  Having visited this town twice in the past two years, we were fairly familiar with the downtown but had previously failed to explore many of the outlying areas.  Alan was meeting with 3 artists to spend a week plein air painting in the region.  Since I was stranded at our campsite, my mornings were occupied with baking and writing.  Our afternoons were spent exploring the Isle. 

Along the path to Barred Island
Sandbar leading to Barred Island
Founded in 1987 by concerned citizens, the Island Heritage Trust owns and manages 18 Preserves on the Isle and manages two properties for the Nature Conservancy and one for the Maine Dept. of Conservation.   What this means for visitors is a wonderful variety of well maintained hiking trails and conservation of shore land, wildlife habitat and forest.  Our first outing took us to Barred Island, accessible by a sandbar 3 hours before and after low tide.  It was a fairyland area with white and red spruce and balsam fir along the trail, and carpeting of lichens and mosses covering the forest floor.  Monsters formed by overturned trees created a spooky feel to our walk.  Arriving an hour before peak low tide allowed us to spend a few hours enjoying the beauty and tranquility of the Island.  The screeching seagulls and terns broke the silence as they fished for lunch.  Offshore, perched on a briefly exposed island, cormorants hunted away from the competition of the other birds.  At peak high tide, the bar, which allows visitors to venture out to the Island, is covered by 5 feet of water, so you don’t want to miss the changing of the tides. 

Overlook from Haystack
Haystack Mountain School for Crafts is located a few minutes outside town on a picturesque overlook of the Atlantic at Jericho Bay.  The award winning campus, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, is the site of internationally renowned classes on blacksmithing, clay, fibers, glass, graphics, metals and wood.  Students live, eat and work at the school and the studios are open 24/7 allowing students the opportunity to work on projects whenever the creative mood may strike.  Wandering around the campus, one can understand how inspiring this setting would be to the artistic process.

Peter Beerits Sculpture
Driving to Haystack, we noticed a funky business that demanded our attention.  Nervous Nellies Jams and Jellies is a “cottage industry located in a cottage.”  Providing a wide variety of condiments ranging from Strawberry Rhubarb Conserve to Hot Tomato Chutney, the creativity and inventiveness in the jams barely scratches the surface when compared to the Peter Beerits Sculpture on the property.  

Alan playing along with some "musicians" at Red's Lounge
Wandering around the property, you will find a fish and a lobster playing checkers, a full sized Silver Dollar Saloon complete with “customers”, Red’s Lounge, Hardy’s General Store, a 10-foot flamingo and on and on.  The playfulness of the sculptures will definitely bring a smile to your face.  His wife, Anne, is responsible for the Nervous Nellie Store, where jams and chutneys are available for tasting and for sale and the Mountainville Café serving coffee, tea and homemade scones.  Nervous Nellie is the primary character in a collection of children’s book, written and illustrated by Peter.  Quirky, yes, but there is something a little magical about this place; it’s a must do.  

Our adventures in Stonington are not yet complete.  More stories and pictures will be coming soon.
Red's Lounge

Inside Red's Lounge

Playing card at Johnson's Market

Alan chatting with a local

Silver Dollar Saloon

Piglet Nursing

10-foot Flamingo

On path to Barred Island

Alan exploring

A miracle of Mother Nature

Alan hard at work

Strange creature on the shore

Stonehenge at Stonington?

Sometimes the path was a little uneven

Stonington Harbor

Along the trail

View from Barred Island

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