Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Twin Villages of Damariscotta and Newcastle, Maine

The North Side of the Bridge
"It is hard to find a prettier village in Maine than Damariscotta," said NECN.  Damariscotta ("a place of many alewives") and its twin village of Newcastle (named for the Duke of Newcastle) are as attractive as few other places are. 

This area has a deep history of shipbuilding, and was a hub in the 1800s.  And today, even though the year round population is shy of 4,000,  the two villages (separated by the Damariscotta River) have the bustling feel and vitality of a much larger community.


The South Side of the Bridge - The River Leads to Casco Bay and Muscongus Bay

It doesn't get more "Maine" than Reny's and Irving.
Waltz's Pharmacy has been in business since 1948.
A Watercolor of Downtown Damariscotta,  

Even the parking lot behind town has a lovely water view.
The Chapman-Hall house, the first house built in Damariscotta (1754) recently had it’s chimney (which services four fireplaces)  redone.   240 years old bricks were used, and it was done the old way, using lime and sand.

One landmark of the villiages is the Baptist Church.  Just last year, after three years, it got its steeple back, after raising over $500,00.00 (with a final $35,000.00 gift from a 92 year old town resident - :) !).
Old Church, New Steeple
A second landmark is Miles Memorial Hospital.  Miles, which has the rare combination of having top medical talent but also providing that incredibly personal care so hard to find in larger arenas.   This is in no small part to intense community support.

And of course, it has a water view.

Heading back over the bridge into Newcastle...
 
...past Newcastle Square...

There was a public fish chowder supper at the Newcastle Firehouse to raise money to help with home-heating bills.

...and down River Road to the Newcastle Firehouse...
...which was hosting their Fish Chowder Public Supper.
Of course, all of the fish chowder was homemade....
...(the firefighters turned their meeting room into a dining room, where it was hard not to admire the Kelly Green sweater),...
...as were all of the desserts....
...and all at the cost of $2.50 per person.
A third (cultural and intellectual) landmark is The Lincoln Country News.  The twin villages produce a suberb local newspaper.  Each week the LCN is bursting with original articles, photography, local columns, and community announcements.  And it is still full-sized. 

One reason for the newspapers' success is the presence of writing and other creative talent.  Not only does Damariscotta have a great bookstore - The Maine Coast Book Shop - as well as the very active Skidompha Library, but it is home to many significant authors.  And it certainly has been the subject of quite few books itself.

Damariscotta and New Castle, and their rich history in shipping, are the subjects of many books including this one...
...written by the author of Merchant of the Medomak and whose skills are used by Bath's Maine Maritime Museum).
There are many lovely places in Coastal New England. But two of the best will always be the twin villages of Damariscotta and Newcastle.

18 comments:

tammy j said...

i love it when you do these tiny tours of places you love, muffy.
i always feel like i've been there with you! thanks.
tammy j

Mark Biscoe said...

What a great job you have done - wonderful pictures and very interesting text. And THANKS for mentioning my books. Hope to see you folks again soon.

Best wishes,

Mark and Jane Biscoe

Jed Wall said...

Oh, Muffy! This is my very favorite post so far. Thank you for sharing your images of a place where I've spent so many happy hours with friends!

JulesTX said...

I just knew you would mention a library - lol

Thanks for sharing this tour.

A.U.G. said...

Small town medicine and the exceptional care that it ushers in is truly and wholly a lost art. That is precisely what so many health care providers today strive for "a focus that is driven on the idea of an individual approach. Send my well wishes to your mother.

j.mosby said...

I'll never get tired of classic New England architecture!
I remember visiting the town of Kennebunkport, ME and to my recollection there wasn't a tacky looking house in the whole town.

mary anne said...

I just love this post. Great job!

Anonymous said...

What a marvelous post!

Cheers!
Bitsy

Susan R said...

From the homes, architecture, town and people, there is so much charm and beauty.
I'll tell you what, when the kiddos are all grown and left home, I might just have to convince my husband that we should live on the east coast.
You just keep posting these wonderful tours, I'm loving it all.

Greenfield said...

Thank you for your wonderful photo choices for interesting examples of Old New England architecture at its unspoiled best--there is something so restful and RIGHT about those houses. . .

Grace said...

They certainly look charming! This makes me miss summer in Maine so much; I love all of the little towns like these.

Unknown said...

last year around this time I visited the town of Damariscotta and it was decorated with huge painted pumpkins before halloween, did they make an appearance this year? Damariscotta has got to be one of my favorite towns in Maine, so glad you did a post on it!

cpd said...

A few years ago I had the fortune to be in Freeport in the spring. While I was staying at the Harraseeket, it was recommended to me to go see the Darmiscotta Mills Fish ladder, as the alewives were spawning at the time. I have to say that it was perhaps the most fascinating thing I have ever watched.

Anonymous said...

Lovely! My neck of the woods... about 12 miles from where I grew up.

And yes, Reny's... very Maine. I used to shop there although it has always driven me a bit crazy, as stores like that do. I do have to point out, though, that Irving is a Canadian company, with headquarters in New Brunswick and Portsmouth, NH... not Maine. It has stations in Maine and in other east coast areas, but it is not distinctly Maine, although it may seem that way if one only encounters that company when in Maine. (I now live in NH and routinely gas up at Irving in this state.)

White Horse said...

Beautiful, thanks for the tour.

Anonymous said...

Muffy - yes you are correct about Irving when you word it that way, and good way to put it!

M said...

Another peek in the window of quintessential New England. Your photos and posts let me know all I have imagined about your area is real!

I was ready to sit down at the table with those folks. I think they would have made room.

girltuesday said...

What fun to see such a lovely tribute to my home town. Thank you.

My thanks, too, to Anonymous @10:47 for noting that Irving is not "distinctly, Maine" (although I take your clarified point, Muffy). To the contrary, Irving's forestry practices have long made for an uneasy relationship with the State.

For the commenter who asked about the pumpkins: the Pumpkinfest & Regatta is held every year. (http://damariscottapumpkinfest.com/)