BELFAST--She works hard for the money, that’s for sure. Captain Sadie Samuels catches lobster all week on her own boat, FV Must Be Nice.
The afternoon I’d stopped by her new lobster shack, located right on the Harbor Walk in Belfast, she’d already been up at 4 a.m. to go haul.
“The bait guys were late this morning, like 5 a.m., so I got a late start,” she admitted. Yet, by 10 a.m., when most of America is only an hour into their work day, Sadie got off the boat, and headed for her lobster shack, Must Be Nice Lobster Co., to begin churning out lobster and crab rolls all day to hungry customers.
And even when her day was done, at 6 p.m., she said she was still going to cook and shuck the lobsters that she’d caught today for tomorrow’s lunch menu.
Sadie is 27 and has been lobstering since she was a child.
“I got my student license when I was seven, and then my commercial license when I was 14, which is when I got my first boat,” she said. “I was fishing off my dad’s boat, and he allowed me to fish some of his gear, like 20 traps. I wanted more but my dad was like ‘you can’t take all of my gear; you need your own boat.’ So I got a tiny little outboard with an electric hauler.”
Even though she has lobster fished all of her life, Sadie’s father insisted she go to college, but even while she was attending college in California, earning her degree in printmaking, the sea still called every summer.
After graduation, she came back to Maine and began lobster fishing full-time.
As for the boat’s name, it’s a cheeky reference to how the lobstering life is perceived by those who don’t work in the industry.
“My sister and I came up with it,” she said. “We were like, ‘what will people say when they come down to the boat?’”
“We don’t know for sure what the future of lobster fishing is going to look like, so, I’ve been expanding a bit,” she said, of the lobster shack. “For the last three years I was selling my lobster rolls at the United Belfast Farmer’s Market, and recently found this mobile truck, so this was the next step. I kind of jumped on the opportunity. For this year, yeah, it’s a lot. But, that’s what’s winters are for.”
PenBay Pilot readers may remember Sadie from a recent story on Susan Tobey White’s series painting “Lobstering Women of Maine.” (See related story).
Sadie said it has been interesting to see customer reactions when they realize she is both the captain that supplies the lobsters as well as the lobster shack owner.
“Some people look at me in disbelief, and say to me, ‘you don’t look like you could do that [haul lobsters for a living].’ But, I want little girls to see me and say to themselves, ‘I can be a fisherman like her!’”
The best part about Sadie’s shack apart from her infectious smile, is how affordable she makes her product.
She offers $16 lobster rolls and $12 crab rolls, all freshly picked. And here’s something you never see: she also offers mini rolls for half that price. A crab roll mini costs the same as a McDonald’s quarter pounder with cheese.
“I just figure a lot of the time young kids can’t afford the full roll, so that makes it affordable for them, or for people who just want to try the taste of it,” she said.
Must Be Nice is open from Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. near Heritage Park on the Harbor Walk until October.
Stay in touch with their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
UNITY— Walking through meadows of apple trees, and by clusters of wildflowers and sculptures, I entered the grounds of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association in Unity on Saturday, August 17 intent on one thing: drinking beer and eating bread.
MOFGA’s first Bread and Brews Festival did not disappoint, drawing nearly 200 people from all over the state. I’ve been to many brew fests around the state, but this one felt small and intimate with 11 breweries in the main area of the Common Ground Education Center
“We heard from many of the brewers that they appreciated how small this was,” said Torie DeLisle, MOFGA’s Director of Development and Membership. “One of the brewers told us that at the large scale brew festivals, they often feel like they are just processing orders, whereas at this festival, they got to really had time to talk about their beer and ingredients with people who were very interested. So, they felt that they got some real interaction with the participants.”
Co-sponsored by the Maine Grain Alliance, the festival highlighted the many ways that Maine-grown grains are enjoying a renaissance in Maine, in both baking and beer. Many people didn’t know until they came to the festival how much the farmers, bakers, businesses and brewers all collaborate and intersect, using Maine grains in a variety of ways. For example, many brewers are sourcing their fermentables—barley, rye, wheat and oats—locally, rather than import from gristmills and farms out of state. See my 2017 related story below.
“The connection between farmers of Maine-grown grains and brewers has really deepened over the years,” said DeLisle. “To give you one example, one Maine brewer who came here, buys the grains from the farmer and runs it through the system to make the beer. When the grains are spent, the brewer then send them to a baker, who uses them in a special beer bread, so you have this full circle process—definitely a collaboration we’re trying to foster.”
The festival was also different from a typical beer tasting in that there was an educational component with multiple demos and workshops in both baking and brewing. Eli Rogosa, founder of Heritage Founder Conservancy, was one such notable presenter, who gave a workshop on “A Taste of Ancient Grains.” A renowned “seed steward” and author, Rogosa traveled the world to collect rare and ancient wheat species, called landrace wheats, which were on the verge of extinction when she brought them back to the United States. These heritage wheats are far superior in proteins and nutrients than commercially processed wheats and tend to grow exceedingly well in Maine’s short growing season.
“We were lucky to have people like Eli and other key people in Maine who are at the forefront of the grain revolution giving classes and baking bread with the participants,” said DeLisle. “We have a wood-fired oven and were kicking out wood-fired bread all night.”
And those who chose to stay the night and set up their tents on the grounds were treated to a “breads and spreads” breakfast Sunday morning. Beyond that, the festival offered food trucks, live music, samples from other vendors and for lack of a better word, a pretty organic experience.
Based on the success of this festival, DeLisle says there’s already plans int he works for a 2020 festival. “We may not make it too much bigger, but will round it out even more,” she said. “Our ongoing role is to create an educational experience that helps brewers connect with Maine growers. We’re even starting to have a conversation about creating a MOFGA-inspired organic beer for next year.”
Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one after drinking all that beer and eating all of that bread to think: “Time to jump back on that diet tomorrow.”
“We were joking that maybe we should probably start out the day with a 5K run,” said DeLisle, laughing. “We’ll see: stay tuned.”
For more information on future MOFGA events visit: MOFGA
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BLUE HILL—If you’re looking for a fun little road trip this summer no farther than an hour from the Midcoast, Fairwinds Florist, a shop in Blue Hill, is an artistic destination with a whimsical attraction. On the left side of the shop stands a vintage cigar machine. Instead of cigarettes, however, the glass partition for each knob reveals a tiny piece of art made by a local artist. For $15 you get a token to feed to the machine; the choice of artist is yours.
There’s a childlike feeling to tapping a coin in the slot, pulling the knob and watching a little white box slip out into the metal tray. You don’t know what you’ll get exactly, but the surprise is worth it.
On Monday, July 22, Fairwinds held an “Art Box Party” to celebrate the sixth anniversary of The Art Box and to invite people to try out the vending machine.
The Art Box is the idea of Michele Levesque and Michael Rossney, owners of EL EL FRIJOLES Mexican food a taqueria in Sargentville and Makers’ Market Shop & Studio in Brooksville.
“The cigarette machine dispensing art is not my idea,” said Levesque. “It’s an idea we came across in Chicago from a machine in a place called The Artomat and I was really intrigued, so I bought a piece. It stayed in the back of my head for awhile and we decided to find our own vintage cigarette machine and offer art that was more local. We wanted to do something for the artists of the peninsula and advertise their work a little, as well as provide an affordable way for people to collect art. We’ve got kids who come in here and are already art collectors because of the Art Box.”
Levesque and Rossney are artists whose work The Art Box dispenses.
“We currently have 11 artists that are involved with the project and sometimes we have artists who rotate through, but 11 is about all I can handle,” said Levesque. “ Every artist except for one lives here right here on the peninsula.”
Art ranges from hand-painted wood blocks, mixed media, altered books, found object sculpture, textiles, photography, handmade tiny books and other personalized items that can fit into the regulated sized box. For more backstory on the individual artists visit: The Art Box
One of the artists on hand that evening was Amelia Poole, who makes encaustic collages by layering vintage book pages and drawings with wax and resin. One particular piece that Carol Gregor of Brooksville bought through the vending machine was constructed from old handwritten letters.
Poole was happy to discover that someone had chosen her artwork, so she explained what it was: “This is a son in Korea writing back home to his father, in Bangor, named Sterling Diamond in 1951.”
“Sterling Diamond! What a name,” said Gregor.
The Art Box is a permanent feature of Fairwinds Florist shop. You don’t have to wait for one of their artist receptions; you can come in at any time and purchase a token to get some art from the cigarette machine. $10 of the purchase goes to the artist.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
BELFAST—A new brewery has quietly opened in Belfast, but unlike most hyper-local rural breweries, Frosty Bottom Brewing is choosing to operate not as a public tasting room, but as a “brew share,” similar to the Community Supported Agriculture model of farm shares and fish shares that currently enjoy a popular following in the Midcoast.
Roy Curtis is the owner of Frosty Bottom Brewing, with friends and shareholders Zafra Whitcomb and Jon Thurston helping him brew. All three were individual home brewers who enjoyed getting together as sort of an informal club and experimenting with a variety of styles before Curtis started the company this year.
Frosty Bottom Brewing’s rough-sawn pine brewery and tasting room sits at 18 Hunt Road in Belfast adjacent to Curtis’ house, which he built with friends using a stand of pine that was specially reserved for the brewery located on Frost Hill Road.
For that reason, “Frost” was incorporated into the name as well as the logo.
In addition, Curtis built an apartment over the tasting room that he intends to rent out in July as a unique Airbnb listing calling it “room with a brew.” Downstairs, half of the structure is the “brewing side” with a one-barrel brewing system that produces 30 gallons when they brew every two weeks.
“Ultimately, our goal is to have 60 gallons each month,” said Curtis.
The company’s model was born out of a hobby and aims to remain a hobby; that is, the purpose of the brewery is to generate enough product to sell to shareholders, who pay an annual fee and get in return, a growler (one gallon) of two different brew style each month—or 24 styles annually.
In addition, every shareholder has the privilege of stopping by the semi-private tasting room for an exclusive free tasting of whatever the brewers are currently making. Right now, the brewery has sold all of its 2019 shares, primarily to friends and family, many of whom, helped to construct the brewery.
“We’re excited to try brewing new styles we’ve never done before and the ideal shareholder will be someone who is open to trying absolutely everything,” said Thurston.
While the CSA model for brewing isn’t new in other parts of the country, it is unique in Maine. Only one other Maine brewery has adopted this model. Side by Each Brewing in Lewiston, also offers a Community Supported Brewing program.
As both Curtis and Whitcomb are both currently employed full time and Thurston is retired, they aren’t looking to expand much more beyond this original goal, until the time is right.
Given their limited license with the city of Belfast, the brewery cannot sell beer at its tasting room location, but may only offer free samples to those in their shareholder program. For interested parties in a brew share, Curtis said he’s always willing to give a mini tour of the facilities when it works with his schedule and that those looking to sign up for a brew share may email him for consideration on the 2020 list.
“When we open up shares for 2020, we’re hoping to take on 40 shareholders,” said Curtis. “Forty of the gallons will be for them and the other 20 gallons per month will be for tastings.”
“Waldo county is pretty rich with the CSA-movement and brewing for us is very connected to local agriculture,” said Curtis.
Along with using hops from Thurston’s farm, the brewery buys Maine grains from Blue Ox Malthouse and once the grain is spent, it is fed to local pigs.
“And the brewery is really an outgrowth of the community-supported model,” he said. “As home brewers we all shared in the cost and labor to make a product, so this is really an outgrowth of that.”
For more information visit Frosty Bottom Brewery on Facebook.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BELFAST— The addition of Perennial Cider Bar & Farm Kitchen is exactly what Belfast needs right now.
The grand opening at 84 Main Street (formerly the yarn shop) took place in a cozy basement space dominated by a copper-topped bar. Chef-owner Khristopher Hogg took turns serving the dozens of curious apple lovers who came to see what a cider bar is all about.
With plenty of seating at the bar, several surrounding two tops and a nook that can seat up to six people, this small place can pack them in and still feel lively and comfortable.
On the liquid side of the menu, Perennial offers traditional and heritage hard ciders from Maine, New England and beyond. Each cider they’ve chosen is distinct and they offer upwards to 25 different ciders, from the bottle, can and on tap. See who they source from here.
Cider by the glass (8 oz pour) ranges from $6 to $9 and cider on tap (8 oz and 12 oz pours) range from $4.5 to $7.
Along with several ways to enjoy a flight of cider tastings, there are also ice ciders (served neat on ice) for $5 and cider apertifs, along with a non-alcoholic kombucha and a cider vinegar shot.
Most people are not cider connoisseurs and that problem is solved with The Pommelier’s Choice on the menu (a riff on Sommelier), allowing the taster to be interviewed on one’s beer, wine and spirit preferences, before the knowledgeable bartender determines the customer’s palate and picks the best flavor combinations in the form of a three-glass flight (three ounces each) for $9.
A flight of Rocky Ground Dahlia, Cornish Common Fruit and Whaleback Traditional Dry from Lincolnville, for example, ranged wildly in flavor. Whereas the Rocky Ground was more of an earthy, honeyed flavor reminiscent of adult apple juice, the Cornish, Common Fruit, with its ripe strawberry and oak, was effervescent, bright and sweet. Then, the Whaleback knocked it out of the park with hazy tartness and an overall harmony that made the third sip feel like the last act in a third-act play.
Though Perennial does not make its own cider (yet) Hogg is a cider enthusiast himself and wanted to create a space for others to appreciate this burgeoning scene. Over the past decade he’s managed farm-to-table kitchens in Boston, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington state where he started Perennial as a traveling supper club. The food side of the menu, as website describes, was inspired “in the tradition of the tavernas, tapas bars, farmhouses, and street corners” with the best available local ingredients. Small plates such as coppa (cured pork shoulder, fir-infused honey and chamomile mayo) run you $4.5 to $6, along with snacks such as deviled eggs, charcuterie boards, small comfort foods and a cold-frame salad.
This cider bar fits in perfectly with Belfast’s character and is sure to be a local’s favorite, along with a hot spot for visitors this summer.
Open Wednesday to Saturday, happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m. Dinner and full cider program goes from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday and 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Check their calendar regularly for upcoming tastings, talks, and other events.
Photos by Kay Stephens, who can be reached at email@example.com
ROCKLAND—This past November, Ada’s Kitchen Bar Manager, Stacy Campbell, was invited to Portland,Oregon, during Portland Cocktail Week, to learn the latest trends in Event Management and mixology.
“There were 20 purveyors of every kind of alcohol you could imagine, but at one point, I was offered a non-alcoholic Negroni,” she said. “I tried it and had to ask again, ‘is this non-alcoholic?’ It was awesome!”
(Side note: Ada’s Kitchen is sort of know for their Negronis, as our last PenBay Pilot story “What’s In That Cocktail” attests.)
While bars have always offered a non-alcoholic choice of beverage, in Maine, the non-alcoholic craft cocktail, or mocktail, trend had to originate with Vena’s Fizz House in Portland, Maine, which debuted the botanical-infused mocktail when it opened in 2013.
After Campbell got a taste of the flavorful non-alcoholic spirits in Portland, Oregon, she began to imagine its possibilities at Ada’s Kitchen.
“First of all, I have a lot of friends in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), who would like to come out to a bar and be social, but have the option of ordering something that’s non-alcoholic and good, ” she said. “I put out a short survey on my Facebook page asking if people would be interested in mocktails and within a short period of time I had more than 100 comments saying yes.”
Apart from the typical seltzers and juices, Campbell knew, after what she’d tasted in Portland, they were going to need to up Ada’s game.
“The botanical non-alcoholic spirit in the Negroni I tasted in Portland is called Seedlip and it is different from anything out there,” she said. “It’s more complex and and you can smell and taste the natural flavors that come through the distilling process.”
Seedlip is a UK company that produces the distilled non-alcoholic spirits, based on herbal remedies published more than 300 hundred years ago by a physician named John French. The company, which produced its first batch using herbs and a copper still in 2015, became a international sensation, with iconic restaurants such as The Savoy, The Ritz and even Buckingham Palace vying for a bottle. Read more of their story here.
A bottle of Seedlip is £27 or $35 and Campbell was able to purchase several for Ada’s Kitchen and have them shipped to Rockland.
“Then I got to work, putting together a number of recipes that work best with the flavor profiles,” she said.
The Garden Tonic is Ada’s best seller on the mocktail menu. Using Seedlip’s Garden 108, made from natural botanical distillates and extracts (peas, hay, Spearmint, Rosemary, Thyme, Lemon hops), the mocktail contains jalapeno, lemon and just a splash of Brooklyn-based Fever-Tree Tonic.
“When you open the bottle, it’s this incredibly bright, fresh, smell,” she said. After she mixed the non-alcoholic spirit with the other drink’s ingredients, the visual result was like a garden in a glass with fresh basil, a long strip of cucumber and an expertly peeled coil of lemon rind swirled throughout.
Given the complexity of the mocktail and its imported ingredients, it costs just slightly under what a cocktail would be priced (around $8-9), but then again, what you’re getting is the little black dress of mocktails, not just tonic from the gun and the plop of a lime wedge.
“Right now, I’m trying to create our own version of the non-alcoholic Negroni,”said Campbell.
The discovery of Seedlip has led her down the path of searching for other fizzy mixers and high-quality ingredients.
“I found a soda from Italy that tastes just like a Campari. And now I’m working on trying to find something that approximates a Vermouth to complement that.”
CAMDEN— The “quiet” side of the Camden harbor, the marina and boatyard owned by Lyman Morse at Wayfarer Marine, is about to bustle with more traffic this spring with the opening of Blue Barren Distillery, a small-batch craft distillery and tasting room that will sit right next to Rhumb Line.
Co-owners Andrew Stewart of The Drouthy Bear and Jeremy Howard, a seventh generation blueberry farmer, and part of of Brodis Blueberries in Hope, are behind the small operation.
Stewart, along with his wife, Shannon, owned the Hope General Store for nine years before moving to Camden and buying a house on Elm Street, converting the downstairs into The Drouthy Bear pub. The Stewarts still have deep connections to the Hope community, which is where their friendship with Howard was forged.
The Drouthy Bear is the only establishment in the Midcoast that focuses on rare Irish and Scottish whiskies, so opening a distillery wasn’t a far leap.
“My entire adult life in Scotland was spent working in restaurants and bars from the time I went to university,” said Stewart. “And I used to travel all around Scotland visiting the distilleries. So one day at the pub, where most good ideas start, Jeremy and I got talking about how the blueberry industry was having a real hard time on the market, with prices dropping from $1.75 per pound to 20 cents a pound. We were just thinking of ways to use blueberries in other products and thought we could make a brandy out of them.”
The small talk turned into a serious interest when two years ago, the duo traveled to Boston to tour Bully Boy Distillery in Boston, the first distillery in Boston opened since Prohibition.
That visit solidified their intent and from there, they began to educate themselves on the distilling process through books, the internet, multiple interviews with other distillers and even a course on distilling in Chicago.
The biggest pieces to fall into place involved finding the right location, getting a loan from The First, working through the endless hurdles of federal and state licensing and choosing the best still.
They eventually landed in a small dark blue building that abuts Lyman Morses marina, an industrial space, which used to be a machine shop. It took months of research to decide upon a small batch Vendome Copper & Brass Works still from a venerable company that has been making stills since 1900.
The stainless steel and copper one-hundred-gallon pot still dominates the corner of the room while four giant plastic vats called totes, containing the purple mash of fermented blueberries take up the other half.
On the day of my visit, Stewart was confined to the space for a period of 12-14 hours on the first stripping run. Multiple mason jars sat on top of the vats containing the clear alcohol in its various stages–the foreshots, the hearts and the tails of the stripping run. The point of this run is to strip as much alcohol from the mash as possible—the result of which is called “low wine.”
What’s left over is the leftover water, sediment and yeast and bits of blueberry stem and hull, which eventually they may use in secondary products such as soaps, hand creams and fertilizer.
“A blueberry brandy is going to be our first product,” said Stewart. “But, it will be a once-a-year small batch.”
‘We want to sell it, but our goal is to make a local product that the community is proud of.’
co-owner of Blue Barren Disillery
Stewart and Howard initially envisioned it would only take a month or two to harvest the blueberries, ferment them and run through the boiler on their initial stripping run back in August. But, between paperwork and the delay of getting the still, it took so much time, they had to harvest the blueberries and have Oyster River in Warren ferment the product for them.
“We’ve already learned a lot, so next year, we’ll be able to take the fresh blueberries after the harvest, mash them and directly distill the brandy that way,” said Stewart. “Every year, every batch of blueberry brandy will taste different based on a number of factors, such as the weather and harvest time, which affects sugar content. Even the various different blueberry clones that have developed naturally over thousands of years have completely different flavor profiles from each other. Our goal because it will be an annual product is that each batch have its own identity.”
As Stewart poured the clear alcohol into multiple glass jars, he has learned by sniffing the product to know at which phase of the stripping run it’s in.
“I’m learning as we go, but a master distiller will know just by smell after if it has had air or after its been in a barrel, they have enough experience to know how the flavor profile will change,” he said.
After the blueberry brandy, Stewart and Howard will move onto a Scottish-inspired gin styled after a Plymouth gin as well as rum with six new products by May or June.
“Everyone thinks of Scotland as the ‘whisky country,’ but there has been an explosion of gin over the last decade with more than 100 gin distilleries in Scotland, and a huge exploration of styles and flavors,” he said.
Blue Barren Distillery had hoped to debut their brandy, eau de vie, at the U.S. Toboggan National Championships February 8-10 with a vendor booth. However, due to labeling issues and delays caused by the government shutdown, the product is again delayed and they will be selling cocktails using other Maine distillers to support the growing craft distillery movement in Maine, as well generate income to launch their space.
By May, they hope to renovate the machine room into a tasting room with a lab and include outdoor tables on the deck with an awning facing the ocean.
“Drew [Lyman] has been incredibly supportive and kind and really excited to have something for people who come in on the boats for also for the community at large,” said Stewart.
The opening will be a boon to Camden, which has never had a distillery before.
“Our goal this year is to stay local; not even try to distribute,” said Stewart. “We want people to enjoy it here first. The goal is for people to think of us as part of the community and something they are proud of.”
For updates stay tuned to their Facebook page.
ROCKLAND—It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Lacy Simons, owner of hello hello books in Rockland.
In mid-January, she got a call at the bookstore from a representative of Publishers Weekly, who told her that hello hello had been chosen as one of the five nominees on their shortlist for the 2019 PW Bookstore of the Year Awards.
“My first reaction was that I was just really stunned and then I honestly had to stop myself from crying a little,” she said. “ I can’t remember that last time I was so caught off guard. I’m a serious over-preparer and overthinker as a mother, a business owner, as woman in general, so to be truly surprised was a big deal. I had to pull it together.”
It just so happened Simons was traveling to attend the Winter Institute, the annual conference of the American Booksellers Association Conference (ABA, the trade association for independent booksellers in the U.S.) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 24 where the official announcement was made.
She serves on the ABA's invitation-only Bookseller Advisory Council and frequently gives talks and moderates panels about bookshops and small business practices. Simons was present when Publishers Weekly announced hello hello books as one of the nominees.
“I got to be surrounded by the people who truly understood the significance of this and it was especially extraordinary,” she said.
2019 PW Bookstore of the Year Shortlist
— Lacy Simons
The PW Bookstore of the Year Award has been given every year for the past 26 years. Five bookstores were nominated this year, from a pool of more than two dozen nominees. Each winner was chosen by a carefully selected panel of five jurors, each with years of experience in the publishing industry. The decision was based on a long list of criteria including: buying, marketing, customer service; community involvement; management-employee relations, and merchandising and what makes the store unique.
The motto of hello hello books, which opened in August of 2011 in the space behind Rock City Cafe in downtown Rockland, is “small but powerful.”
“When they called me, they emphasized that they wanted to focus on newer and smaller stores this year, stores that are having an outsized impact on their communities,” said Simons.
“For me, it means an opportunity to talk about the larger picture of starting a small business in Maine and what it takes to keep it going year round. We’re all thinking of creative ways to improve the sales margins, and one of the benefits of being so small is that we’ve been able to evolve with our customers.
“On this micro level, we’re able to grow certain areas of interest on particular subjects of books, and as a result of that, cultivate this loyalty among our customers and have an impact on the reading culture of Rockland. And that’s what strengthens the ties to the community.”
Last November, Simons spoke on a panel discussing how challenging it was to not only start an independent bookstore, but to delegate aspects of it to her three employees. (See related story.)For now, Simons is just getting back to work. Winners will receive a write-up in Publishers Weekly in May 2019 and will be honored at an awards ceremony in New York City. This year’s winner will be named in late March and will be featured in the pre-BookExpo edition of Publishers Weekly magazine. The awards will be presented at BookExpo in New York City in June
Where to get out of the house and be social in Midcoast Maine
Whether you're new to the Midcoast and just want to find something social to do during the week nights or you're sick of being cooped up inside all winter, we've got a rundown of the most social happenings every night of the work week. Come with friends or come alone and meet new friends.
FOG Bar & Cafe (Rockland)
Type: Open Mic Night
Time: 6:30 to 11:30 p.m.
Vibe: The downtown hot spot just moved their Open Mic to Monday night to make room for more theme nights. Most of the acts are musical at this point, with a nice diversity of styles ranging from comical to serious. They'd like to open it up more to poetry and performance art.
The Drouthy Bear (Camden)
Type: Trivia Night.
Time: 8 p.m.
Vibe: This is a homey Scottish pub with delicious food, fantastic beer, great people, and a wonderful atmosphere for sitting by the fire. Trivia Night offers 60 questions in six different categories that change every week. Teams of four or fewer can play with a suggested donation of $1 per person. All proceeds to charity. Don’t feel like Trivia? They also have lots of board games available at any time.
Badger Cafe & Pub (Union)
Type: Trivia Night
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Vibe: The Badger Cafe & Pub has an open, neighborly feel to the restaurant and tiny bar (with outstanding craft brews). Anyone can drop in and play on trivia teams (up to five people per team) and it costs $2 per person to play. The winnings are split between the first place team and the middle place team. If you show up alone, you can either play as your own team or join up with a team that is short. As one player said, “Swearing is allowed and only sometimes frowned upon.” Call ahead for any questions 207-785-3336.
Rock Harbor Pub & Brewery (Rockland)
Type: Open Mic Night
Time: 8 p.m. to midnight
Vibe: Rock Harbor Pub & Brewery is Rockland’s only microbrewery and it's got a homey, pub feel where the audience can belly up to the bar while the performers do their thing. The crowd is wide-ranging, from late 20s to 60s. They offer a drum set for performers and one of their regulars can always be counted on to bring his stand up cello bass to accompany musicians. The gentleman who runs it can also play almost any instrument to accompany newcomers as well. The Open Mic is mostly musical, but they're open to any form of performance.
Belfast Breeze Inn (Belfast)
Type: Game Night
Time: 4 to 7 p.m.
Starting on February 1 the inn is offering an adult game night with a different game each week such as Scrabble, Cribbage, Charades and various board games, along with a selection of soup, sandwiches salads, pizza and bar snacks along with beer and wine. Game Night goes until April 26. There’s a $5 minimum per person. Reserve your space by calling 207-505-5231.
Hatchet Mountain Publick House (Hope)
Type: Cards and Cribbage
Time: 7 p.m.
Vibe: This cozy, rustic pub wants to offer a mid-week reason to get together and this is a great spot for folks who live farther from the coast to gather and play some games. Starting January 11, they’ll start with cards and cribbage and offer something different on Thursday nights.
Sea Dog Brewing Company (Camden)
Type: Thirsty Thursday Trivia
Time: 7 p.m.
Vibe: The upstairs of the Sea Dog is turning into a winter haven for locals with their new Thirsty Thursday Trivia Night. Johhny Tofani is the MC and Kristen. Every week it will be a different theme. $5 to play and teams can e any size. A cash prize awarded at the end as well as a “loser’s prize.” Check their Facebook page because once a month they also offer a “Paint Night.”
Hatchet Mountain Publick House (Hope)
Type: Darts and Dice
Time: 7 p.m.
Vibe: See description in Wednesday’s listing. They’re considering a dart league, Texas hold'm tourney as well as grub and grog specials.
Myrtle Street Tavern (Rockland)
Time: 9 p.m.
Vibe: This is one of Rockland's longstanding local taverns with a range of participants in their 20s to 40s. Nice, friendly people. The Open Mic sets are mostly musical. There's always a core group of talented people who come in rotating with new people who drop in. The music can range from bluegrass to country to rock and roll.
Cupcakes and Canvases Paint Party
Type: Group painting
Time: 6 to 9 p.m.
Vibe: Twice a month, LOUGH loud SMILE big, a cupcakes and custom party supplies store in Rockport hosts a fun evening of eating, drinking and painting!
They provide cake pops, cupcakes and snacks, as well as water and coffee. You are welcome to bring a BYOB, if you'd like. They provide ice, wine glasses and openers.
They also provide paints and materials to create a masterpiece for $30 plus tax. Call to learn which Fridays they are offering this event and reserve your seat. 230-7001.
Cuzzy's Restaurant & Pub (Camden)
Time: 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.
Vibe: Cuzzy's is the only local's tavern left in Camden with the unofficial motto of “The liver is evil and must be punished!” Held upstairs in the bar, their Karaoke Night has a pretty big following with its regulars, who even made their own Facebook page dedicated to it. The vibe is fun and supportive, especially in the case when someone without a whole lot of vocal training gets up to sing. Some pick goofy songs and others really nail it.
Restaurant/Bar Owners: For any additions or corrections, please contact the reporter below.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it building, but well worth circling back around to. The Red Barn Baking Co., just on the Camden/Lincolnville town line on Route 1, is known for its insanely coveted baked goods, but the other half of the century-old barn is a treasure trove.
Inside the two-story barn, one quarter of the first floor is dedicated to the bakery. The rest of the space is for approximately 30 individual vendors who share it, featuring there an eclectic mix of upcycled art, refinished furniture, vintage repurposed housewares, textiles and original creations. Each “booth” has its own distinct personality —sort of like 30 micro-stores within a store.
“There’s a lot of unique talent here,”said retail manager Kris Brown.
Many of the people who have space in the Red Barn have full time jobs, but they go on search missions for unique items, are able to curate them and successfully use the space to display and sell them.
“It’s been amazing to watch what goes in and out of here,” said Brown.
There’s even gourmet food items, such as jams, jellies and sauces from Northwoods Gourmet Girl and the Maine Chef near the front entrance.
“From what I understand, this barn was an antique place for 40 years,” said Brown. “I’ve had several people come in and tell me about a restaurant that used to be opposite the road from this place so it’s well known.”
Co-owners Katie Capra and Dale Turk originally purchased the large barn in 2014 with the intent to just sell Capra’s baked goods.
“For the first year we were open, the other half of the first floor and second floor was just sitting open and empty,” said Capra. “Knowing that it used to be an antique store, we thought ‘why not make it one again and kick it up a notch?’ Not only would it support local people, but it would serve as a draw for the bakery.”
The idea and investment paid off and the first year of the marketplace, has been very successful. “The marketplace has definitely grown along with the bakery and we’ve been pleasantly surprised,” said Capra. “We’re always keeping our eyes and ears open for new ideas to do with it.”
For the holiday season, the biggest sellers have been homemade wreaths and vanilla candles. For people who love shopping local and supporting locals, it’s a place worth checking out.
“The energy is here is amazing,” said Brown. “Positive people, all around.”
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.