Sunday, August 23, 2015

Maine: Pemaquid and Poland

     Continuing southward along the Maine coast, we enter a unique area.  During the last ice age, ten thousand years or so ago, the leading edge of glaciers ground through significant mountains and valleys as they scraped their way to the sea.  

     It is interesting to note that the weight of the glaciers had compressed the land over 100 feet.  Over the first few thousand years following the end of the age the land slowly rebounded.  This means the coastline was well inland and just receded to this point recently - geographically speaking.

      This created a geography rich with countless waterways, inlets, coves and harbors as well as a huge compliment of small coastal islands.  When you add to the mix several rivers that empty into the sea, you end up with a relatively small area that has well over a thousand miles of "shoreline."

     In most every protected cove a small village has sprung up.  This one is named Pemaquid.  

     Originally most of these towns focused on wresting a living out of the sea, supplementing that income later with exports of forest and stone goods.  In the last few decades tourism has become an additional revenue source.

     Of late, lobstering catches have seen significant growth and folks are building summer cottages and retirement homes. 

     It seems that around every turn there is another quiet, secluded spot that offers deep water and thus ready access to the waterways and the sea.

     The value of abundant resources was appreciated early on.

     At the site of the earliest European settlements in Bristol Maine forts were built and destroyed by invaders with regularity.  The first was built in 1630, then rebuilt in 1633, 1676, 1678, 1729 and 1745 as the English and French waged war back and forth trying to gain control of the area.

    At the onset of the Revolutionary War in 1776 the towns folks dismantled the fort so that the British wouldn't try to establish themselves here.  But they rebuilt the fort after the revolutionary war and the British then occupied it during the war of 1812.  After falling into decay the state acquired the property in 1902, and in 1908 rebuilt this single tower with the original stones.  It was quite the contested spot.

     In Pemaquid we had the chance to catch up with one of the women who helped the visiting choir when we were in Rockland.

     Nancy has been a photographer for many years in the area.  She combines photographs with verses of poetry that she writes.  She then prints and frames these works - they are really quite nice.  We were able to get her a small website going - you can see her work by Clicking Here.  Please take a glance at it - maybe we can get her a few "hits" going.

     Nancy is part of a unique enterprise - a craft co-op.

     A couple dozen local artists and craftsmen got together and purchased this old property.  They operate a craft co-op out of it - and the artists themselves own the property.  They all work a couple of days a month as sales clerks.  The place seems to do quite well this time of year. 

     The work of one of the local potters caught my eye.

     They make whole dish sets with unique designs.  Here is another item in one of the displays.

     For those of you uninformed as to the use of such a utensil, here are the directions for its use.

     A bracelet clasp assistant.  Exactly what I thought it was.  Those of you who had other ideas might be more familiar with the work on display at another local craft shop.

    For 200 years Maine has allowed prisoners to make crafts and sell them.  These days the state pays crafters 1 to 3 dollars an hour to work and keeps the rest of the proceeds.  

     Many of the items are quite well done and very popular, with some selling for tens of thousands of dollars.  The store was closed when I passed by; the photo above came from the Portland newspaper.  The piece is of a local lighthouse done entirely from bits of various types of wood.

     With the prisoners busy making crafts, everyone else gets busy breaking rocks.  I love all of the landscape architecture that folks put together.

     I could see it being enjoyable to work on a project over the years, constantly on the lookout for stones that have just the right shape.

     Summer has hit its stride, and you can almost feel it waning.  A few weeks ago it was getting light shortly after four am, now it is well after five.

     We swing inland and pass through the town of Poland.

     The unofficial motto of Maine is "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."  There are many properties that people have built over the years.  But, unlike the south, an unsound structure won't last long.  

     On an out of the way road there is a small stream and waterfall.  There is a trail marked with stacks of flat rocks.

     Following the trail you emerge into a clearing where there is a large round tent - or "yurt."

      Inside is surprisingly nice.  A Ben Franklin stove probably keeps it quite toasty in the winter.  

     There is a guest book, book shelves and lots of little artifacts that various people have left over the years.  Hidden in the woods behind it is a small sauna with its own stove and steamer.  

     It is one of those places you could see yourself hanging out and "just being" for a week or two.

     One of the ongoing battles here is the war between snow plows and mail boxes.  We have previously seen mailboxes set in buckets filled with concrete - here are a few other approaches.

     These folks seem to think that if the plow operator knows his plow will take some damage he might stay a bit further out.

     Here is one that hangs on chains - kind of a "go with the flow" approach.

     And this one seems to have given up the fight.

     And a sign that caught my eye:

     What better name than "Winchenbach" if you are going to do excavation work.

     That brings us to today's "Faces in the Crowd."

     I guess that is a horny owl?  It was on the wall of the yurt. 

   And today's parting shot of the "Towmater," spotted in a local parking lot:

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Make it a great day !!

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