It was Todd's birthday this weekend, so we took a trip up to Hallowell, Maine, on the Kennebec River. One of our favorite habits is staring at old buildings and imagining what we'd do with them if they were ours. You know how you do, like imagining a whole other life that seems quite possible for a magic fifteen minutes or maybe even an hour. I love those little windows of dream time, especially when shared with the coolest person I know. Hallowell is the perfect place to indulge in this habit of ours because it is pure architectural perfection. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's packed with antiques shops, too! At the Antiques Mall we bought a set of three old (I mean old) lockers from a high school in upstate New York. They're going to hold belts and ties and scarves and whatnot back at the homestead in Massachusetts.
One of the shops downtown is guarded by ferocious beasties and graced by two Buddha heads.
I am in love with these two buildings.
We often speak of Southern Gothic literature, art, and architecture, but growing up in Maine, I always felt that there's a Northern Gothic, too, and places like Hallowell epitomize this style and feeling,
Think of the wonderful patina of Savannah, place it up north in the cold with less light and a mix of Victorian and colonial houses, and you start to get a sense of what Hallowell is like.
Someone is redoing this massive beauty high on a hill. Think of the ghost stories you could write here! Speaking of which, Stephen King's house just up the road a ways in Bangor is well worth a look, if you're ever in Maine.
As you head south of Hallowell on the back roads, you encounter sweet Maine villages like East Pittston, where you'll find a gorgeous compound of houses that all appear to be part of Tuttle Antiques.
Lovingly restored, the houses glow in the late-afternoon sun.
We stopped briefly in Dresden to get gas at a tiny store with pumps from the 70's that had--I'm not kidding--duct tape on them. Not sure what it was holding together, and I probably don't want to know. I felt like we were on an episode of the Red Green show. But across the street was this lovely church with the sun setting behind it.
Back in Portland, we hopped on the ferry to head home. The sky was burning pink behind us and the stars were waking up in front of us. I asked Todd if he'd had fun.
"Yep," he said. "Best birthday ever."
"You say that every year."
"And it's always true."
P.S. If you're ever in Hallowell and you need a great meal, go to Slate's. They make all of their own breads, croissants, and muffins; their food is tasty; and we had the sweetest waitress ever. Their bakery is just a couple of doors down. We had to split a pumpkin whoopie pie. All that snooping around old buildings had made us hungry!
P.P.S. Before I forget, the pretty leaf-skeleton lantern on my new header is by Pachadesign. I bought two from Sammy and Glenn to have for my table during the holiday season and beyond. They are so delicate and beautiful that I can't stop taking pictures of them, even when there's no candle inside.