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Homes

Playing By Heart

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.

Tollef Runquist: A Painter Follows His Bliss

Painter Tollef Runquist’s colorful canvases draw on place and experience. Recently he has been inspired by his son’s playthings.

The Pull of an Island

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.

Dancing Around

The growing community of Maine’s tango dancers travel to Portland to attend milongas, and to Thomaston for a seaside summer tango retreat.

Rhubarb Musings

Rhubarb had a place in the China trade and the tart treat was served aboard vessels in the mid-1800s and featured in a letter to Queen Victoria.

Maine’s First Summer 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.

Modern Rustic

An architect designs an efficient yet elegant one-story home where his parents can enjoy their retirement.

Architectural Sparkle: Lowe Hardware

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.

Stellar Art

She may be 99, but Stell Shevis, master enamellist and life-long artist, continues to look for new experiences and creative outlets.

Marine Art from the New York Historical Society

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.

Maine Course - Sea Salt

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.

Two Maine Rock Gardens

Two Maine gardeners, Vickie Cunningham in South Bristol, and Douglas Cole in Rockport, have worked magic with rocks and stones and a ledge or two.

Summer Eats

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.

Maine Course

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.

The Art of Richard Estes

Known for his paintings of the city, this realist long ago added Maine to his repertoire.