Sunday, July 29, 2012

Wiscasset - Don't Pass it. "The Prettiest Village in Maine"

It is hard to imagine traveling in mid-coast Maine and not being forced to go through the exquisite bottleneck that is Wiscasset.

Wiscasset is known for unbelievable back-ups in the summer, especially on weekends. I have been stuck countless times in such traffic, which could be especially bad if one had just come through the Bath/BIW shift change.

Because all of that mid-coast traffic flows right through the center of the village, there has been, for many decades, talk of building a bypass. Finally after so much time, money and effort, (and nesting eagles) the committees have once and for all given up.

But this notoriety should not overshadow its true uniqueness. The town bills itself as "The Prettiest Village in Maine" and it is hard to argue that.

Earle Shettleworth, when he was the Director of the Maine Historic Preservation Commission (he is now State Historian), cites Wiscasset as one of three architecturally significant villages in the state, along with the towns of Paris Hill and Castine.

Samuel Chamberlain, in his book Towns of New England, chose Wiscasset to represent the State of Maine. He noted that millions were spent restoring Williamsburg, while Wiscasset remains essentially intact.

Great prosperity had come to Wiscasset as a result of shipbuilding/shipping in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which is why one sees the construction of what are arguably Wiscasset’s two finest houses, Nickels-Sortwell House and Castle Tucker, in 1807. (Both are now owned by Historic New England).

Pumpkin House, also built in 1807

"It was said that at one time one could walk across the Sheepscot River, from ship to ship, it was such a busy harbor," according the nomination form for the National Register of Historic Places from 1973 which also states the condition of the historic structures in Wiscasset was surprisingly good.

(I have long said that if Wiscasset had more money thrown at it, it would be ruined. The lack of conspicuous spending is conspicuous. As one Mainer said, referring to other Mainers. “They never painted their houses all at once. Each year they paint a different side.”)

“Today, its abundance of classical architecture is evidenced by the inclusion of 10 structures in the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) of 1936 and the subsequent inclusion of five buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. In 1973, a large part of the Village/Historic District became a part of the National Register.” (Source:

Moses Carlton House (1804)
Wiscasset Public Library - 1805
Castle Tucker
Old Custom House 1869/70


Back in the 70s the bus station occupied prime real estate.

Yacht Club - Wiscasset Style
The Sheepscot River
The Bridge from Edgecomb.

The Hesper and The Luther Little (We got this print at Granite Hall.)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Tolerance for Chilly

Cape Cod,  February, 1973 (Photo from TDP archives)
It is always entertaining to see the search terms people use.  Here are a handful:

"Muffy Aldrich Old Looking"

"Muffy Aldrich Age"

"Muffy Aldrich Annoying"

"Muffy Aldrich Old Money"

"Muffy Aldrich College"

"Muffy Aldrich Graduate School"

"Muffy Aldrich Family"

"Muffy Aldrich Phony"

"Muffy Aldrich Real Name" **

"Muffy Aldrich Blue Blood"

The refreshingly self-aware: "Muffy Aldrich Other Stalkers" 

"Muffy Aldrich is a Fake Prep"

(and the more economical) "Muffy Aldrich Fake"

"Muffy Aldrich Snob" (I get this one a lot.)

"Muffy Aldrich Income"

And the one that Bing conveniently auto-fills: "Muffy Aldrich Haters"

** Muffy Aldrich is not a nom de plume.  For better or worse, the name Muffy Aldrich is real, in as much as “Muffy” was a nickname foisted upon me decades ago and used by many friends; Aldrich is my husband’s family name.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Poll: 'Made in US' vs. 'Made in China' - Does it Matter to You?

When you are buying items of clothing, are you influenced by where a product is made?  For this poll: does it matter to you if a product is 'Made in US' vs. 'Made in China?"

The choices are:
  • I prefer 'Made in China' 
  • I don't care
  • I mildly prefer 'Made in US'
  • I strongly prefer 'Made in US'
*** The poll is closed.  Out of 890 votes, 63% chose "I strongly prefer 'Made in US'."