In an era of YouTube music videos and dwindling public school arts budgets, Farmington, Maine, teenagers are lining up — and auditioning — to play the jigs and reels heard at 19th century barn dances. Part of the credit goes to a rural tradition of family and friends playing music together. The catalyst, though, is Steve Muise, the orchestra teacher at Mt. Blue High School.
It took some time, but eventually Great Gott became the heart of an island-based business for Claire and Carly Weinberg. Their company, Dulse & Rugosa, uses seaweed and botanicals grown on the island to make skin care products, and has allowed them to make a living in the one place that has always felt like home.
Built for a Louisiana hotelier and his wife, the jaw-dropping rooms of Portland’s Victoria Mansion constitute the first and only extant interior by 19th-century design star Gustave Herter. Today, more than 150 years after it was built, the mansion retains 90 percent of its original furnishings and grants a rare look at 19th-century design.
Founded by Bill Lowe of Owls Head, Maine, who started out making special metal fittings for yachts, Lowe Hardware has expanded into the high-end custom hardware home market. The company makes doorknobs, pulls, hinges, cabinet handles, and even fittings for furniture, in finishes that range from shiny or rough bronze to gold-plated brass or nickel.
The New-York Historical Society has sent an impressive array of its marine and maritime art holdings, mostly 19th century, to the Portland Museum Art for the 2014-2015 winter season. “The Coast & the Sea: Marine and Maritime Art in America” offers an excellent opportunity to take in a clutch of sea-going artifacts, plus ships, seascapes, and portraits by a top-notch lineup of painters.
If you heat your house with wood or own a woodstove, winter is the perfect time to make sea salt. The process, explains Karen O. Zimmermann, is simple: collect salt water in buckets and boil it down in a large pan on the top of your woodstove.
Seafood shacks have strung together a summer narrative for writer Deborah Corey's family. Each spring she and her family wait for the seafood shacks to open, marking each of their opening days on the family calendar. When Corey envisions a map of the Maine coast, she sees the shacks marked by red thumbtacks.
Whelks are not one of Maine’s more glamorous seafood offerings; gnarly and intimidating they require careful cleaning and preparation, including getting them out of their spiral shells. But as food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins explains, once the hard work is done, whelks make a tasty meal.