My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Vacation: Searsport

Vacation: Day #7 (the 4th of July)...

Since it was both a holiday and a Sunday, most of our July 4th was pretty laid back, so this blog entry is too. I confess that though we spent the morning of the 4th exploring Searsport on foot, I actually took some of these photos on various days throughout our stay. But I realize you probably wouldn't be any the wiser if I didn't tell you, unless you're a detective sort who pays very close attention to differences in things like attire, placemats and dishes, or weather! :-)

We started out our day with one of Janet's delicious breakfasts. We had this particular one - mushroom stuffed baked tomatoes - two times, since it was a favorite of ours. So although it's not what we ate on the 4th, it's a good representation of our vegan breakfasts at Elm Cottage...

In addition to the entrée, at every breakfast we had muffins or scones, toast from homemade bread served with different local jams or homemade applesauce, juice, and steel cut oats served with a variety of fresh fruit, homemade soy milk, and homemade soy yogurt. (Our mugs contain delicious Dandy Blend, which we'd brought from home - Janet's now a fan too! Good stuff!)

But the deliciously Italian-seasoned Mushroom Stuffed Tomato was the star of the show...

(See? Different plate and placemat! Would you have noticed?
Charlotte the bus driver probably would have! LOL)

And one of our favorite muffins Janet fed us (which I've made twice since returning home, subbing an organic pear for the apple, sucanat for half the amount of agave nectar, and using pecans as well as walnuts for the topping), Confetti Muffins...

A very pretty muffin on a delightfully pretty plate!
(Love those Maine blueberries - on as well as in dishes!) :-)

This is Maggie, Janet's 17 year old dog, who's just as sweet as can be...

Maggie can't see well anymore, but she can spot a camera!
I had to stand far away and take this with a zoom,
since Maggie's not fond of having her photo taken.


3/11/1993 - 11/15/2010

You are loved and missed, sweet Maggie!

And now for our little Searsport walkabout...

In Mosman Park, where we viewed the fireworks display the evening before (and also flew our kite that afternoon, as well as found and returned the adorable but wandering canine Miss Millie Murphy to her visiting Rhode Island family), was this sweet gazebo, festively adorned for the holiday...

We were diggin' the sailboat on the trashcan!

Though you can't get a sense of its size or amenities from this photo (it's 4 acres of picnic spots, a ball diamond, a saltwater beach, the gazebo and - as this sign announces - a playground), you can see its proximity to the water and its pretty views!

When I first saw Searsport's beautiful public library, The George A. Carver Memorial Library (where Janet volunteers) on our 4th of July morning walk without my camera, I knew I had to go back with my camera (and get a look inside when it was open!)

The library, constructed in 1909-1910 at a cost of $25,000 (a huge sum in those days) with a donation from the heirs of Capt. George A. Carver (and books donated 37 years earlier by David Sears, for whom the town is named), was built from stones taken from the Carver farm and Moose Point shore (you'll see a bit of Moose Point - where we did some hiking on the afternoon of the 4th - in my next post). According to the lovely email I received from Carver Library's director in answer to my query about the original building's cost, "the Carver family members were very involved in the design of the building, inside and out, and spared no expense... the building has an Italian marble floor, beautiful oak shelves and furniture, and brass lighting fixtures. It was the first public building in Searsport to have electricity."

A strongbox containing documents and articles was sealed into the building's cornerstone, with instructions that it be opened on the 100th anniversary of the library's dedication - which will be this October 13th! After opening the strongbox, they'll be replacing the original contents with contemporary ones - writings, drawings, keepsakes, etc - which won't be opened for another 100 years. I wonder what the folks of 2110 will make of it all? I think that time capsule sorta stuff is very cool! (But you probably already know that about me!) ;-)

Oct 2010 Time Capsule Update: Here are a couple of news updates about the time capsules, past and present...

After 100 Years, Who Remembers Where They Put the Time Capsule? ~ an article from the Bangor (ME) Daily News that's mostly about the challenge to locate the time capsule! (Civil Engineers in the audience take note, it was one of your compadres who saved the day!) ;-) It also discusses the unfortunate condition in which the contents were found ("sort of a blob" seems an apt description), and plans for the contemporary time capsules.

Time Capsule Revealed in Searsport ~ a news broadcast from WABI about opening the time capsule and its contents (watch the video to see the "blob" for yourself), and info about the new time capsules, which will hopefully be more impervious to the next 100 years of the elements!

It's a shame they don't build them like this anymore!
The little children's garden is very sweet,
and a circa 1999 accessible entrance is visible in back.

Searsport, like most of New England, boasts some beautiful architecture. While not the most magnificent nor historically interesting homes in the town, we thought these two were lovely and worth photographing...

This one's gingerbread trim and flowers really won me over!

I took this one while on a bike ride around town. How could I resist? The summer-green trees, the quintessential New England church steeple set against a pretty sky, and the flag waving its 4th of July greetings...

Coming up next: Our 4th of July adventure on the high seas of Belfast Harbor! :-)


  1. Laurie,

    Seriously now, I'm sure all plate and placemat detectives will be keeping a very close eye on you from now on!

    Janet's place settings are lovely.

    The breakfast fare at Elm Cottage sounds perfect...nothing better than homemade bread. And, that stuffed tomato looks fab...what was the sauce around it like? You've got me craving stuffed tomatoes now.

    I drink dandelion root tea on a regular I'm really interested in trying that Dandy Blend.

    Maggie is adorable, you can see her sweetness in the photo...bless her heart.

    Searsport really seems lovely. Sounds like they have such nice amenities and community spaces...and I imagine it's not overcrowded either so they are all the more enjoyable.

    The time capsule project sounds neat! I wonder what they will put in there?

    I love those church steeples too. Do they sound the bells? That's one thing I miss about living in small town Ireland: church bells.

  2. Those mushroom stuffed tomatoes look amazing! The muffins sound quite delicious, too. How lucky you were to stay at such a great B&B! I'ma gonna have to make some of those muffins....

    Maggie is absolutely adorable. There's just something about senior dogs that melt my heart. How cute that she's camera shy!

    I love the library. It reminds me of a small house that's on the north side of the city here. The location it's in is horrible, but it's such a little gem with the same type of stone walls and such character. I think you would love some of the old homes that are closer to the lake here. They have such cool designs!

  3. Rose - Oh, I know it. The Plate & Placemat Private Eyes will be scrutinizing my every photograph now! ;-)

    The sauce with the mushrooms in it was very savory and flavorful. It was veggie broth seasoned with rosemary, basil and oregano, and also had some onion, balsamic vinegar and Bragg's in it. Doesn't it make your mouth water? Mushrooms and tomatoes are two of my favorite things, so I could have eaten that every day!

    We really love Dandy Blend. We stopped drinking coffee a couple years ago, and it's a wonderful substitute. And very handy for traveling, since it's instant. We like sweeten ours with sucanat and add a bit of chocolate soy milk! :-) It's starting to show up in health food stores (ours is where I first found it), but we didn't find it anywhere in Maine, not even at Whole Foods. Amazon sells the smaller pouch size, too... but we buy it in the 2# size now!

    Maggie's darling, you'd love her. Searsport too! :-)

    I don't know what they'll be putting in the strongbox exactly - photos and documents and articles, no doubt, but Janet mentioned keepsakes too, and I wonder what sort? Wouldn't it be fun to get to help choose what to put in there?

    We didn't hear any church bells there, but I wish I could have been in Bar Harbor to hear that carillon by the village burying ground play! I can't imagine that it goes unused. Church bells in small town Ireland... sounds lovely!

  4. Molly - Oh yes, I highly recommend these muffins! They're delicious! I'm going to make some more when it turns cool again (100º here today, hardly baking weather!)

    You and Rose would love it at Janet's - rescued dogs (both seniors!) and cats, delicious vegan food, beautiful gardens, darling house, lovely hostess... what's not to love? :-)

    I love old home and homes with character, so no doubt I'd enjoy seeing the houses nearer the lake! What a shame that the little house that the Carver library reminds you of is in an awful spot - probably wasn't at one time! Do you get by it often? Maybe you could take photos of it and some of your favorite of the "near the lake" houses sometime! I'd love to live in a cottage or bungalow someday. I love the Craftsman style houses, along with several other styles.

    Sometime I'll have to email you and Rose a photo of the Peacock House! It's near where AdventureJo lives, outside of Detroit. Really neat place!

  5. I've never heard of Searsport, but it sure looks charming. I put Dandy Blend on my wishlist at Amazon, so next time I place an order I'll give it a try. It sounds very interesting. Thanks for the info. And thanks again for your beautiful words over on my blog comments.

  6. Gilding Lilies - Searsport is small and fairly quiet, so I'm not surprised you've not heard of it before. It does get a little shout-out in the 1991 thriller Deceived, though! :-) It is a charming little town, we enjoyed it.

    I think you'll really like the Dandy Blend! In case you missed my mention of it in my comment to Rose, it comes in a smaller (7.5 oz) package too. We like ours stronger (we used to drink French Roast coffee), so we use the heaping spoonful amount for ours. Let me know how you like it!

    And you're most welcome for my comment on your blog. That picture is just lovely! :-)

  7. I don't get by that house often, but that's a great idea for a future post! :)

  8. I loved the decorated gazebo in the park - to me that says New England. Thanks for pointing out the sailboat on the garbage can, I would have missed it.
    My favorite building was definitely the library. I'm so glad you added the second view of it so I could see it at an angle. It's so tiny. Also thanks for the link back to the time travel blog -I had really enjoyed that one and it was good to be reminded of it. I hope you'll keep in touch with the library director so you'll know what was in the time capsule -I'd LOVE to know if you find out. We should make guesses and see who comes closest. My first guess is a photograph of Searsport in 1910.

  9. Jo - I loved that gazebo too, and kept waiting for a brass band to show up and start playing Sousa marches! But if one did, we weren't around to hear it. They had a bigger gazebo like that on the Village Green in Bar Harbor, and one night there was a brass band playing in it! That was sure fun!

    If I don't find out from Chase (the library director) what they find in the strong box, I'll find out from Janet and will let you know! I love your guessing game suggestion, and your guess is a good one, bet you're right! My guess is a 1910 newspaper article about the library.

  10. I bet your right about the Newspaper.
    My next guess is a music record album (or whatever they had in 1910!). This is an educated guess based on my reading that this was a time when all over the world people were dancing our dance crazes and playing our jazz tunes.
    I'm glad you're planning on finding out!

  11. Jo - That's a fun guess! And it would be fun to put a CD of current top musical hits from the various genres back in the strongbox for the folks of 2110 to hear. But the way technology advances and makes things obsolete so quickly anymore, CDs and the ability to play them will probably have been left in the technological dust decades earlier!

    Okay, my second guess (and something I'd put in for 2110) is a grocery store and gas station receipt! (Though hopefully long before 2110, people are wondering what a gas station was because the internal combustion engine was also left in the technological dust decades earlier!)

    Also a fun thing for both the past and future strongbox would be a catalog or ad flyer for typical household goods and appliances. I always love seeing those old ads for various health and beauty tonics and elixirs, garments, housewares and kitchen gadgets, etc.

  12. Great ideas! We've had the discussion at work about not considering CD's acceptable for file storage for the very reason you mention and because they think the stuff on CD's will dissappear after a few decades anyway.
    I too love old ads. Which made me think of a Life Magazine. I have a couple OLD copies from the years Jim and I were born and the ads are the best parts! My sister also bought copies on the weeks the girls were born. So my next guess is a Life magazine. How's that for getting specific!!

  13. Jo - LIFE Magazine's a good guess! (And very specific indeed!) :-)

    I bet there will also be photographs of Searsport, the library under construcion, the library staff and/or benefactors, and the town's high muckety-mucks (such as there were!)

  14. UPDATE: I finally found a news blurb about what they found when they opened the 100 year old time capsule! Hopefully the TV station will keep this page on its web site for a while. Do watch the broadcast so you can see the condition they found the time capsule and its contents in! =8-O

    In case that link ends up going to a non-existant page someday, here's what the news story said about the contents...

    Inside they found some old newspapers, including a New York Times and a Republican Journal Newspaper dated October of 1910 along with a lot of other local memorabilia from that era.

    Not exactly frothy with details! Oh well. Maybe the condition of the contents has something to do with that!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

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