This Saturday and Sunday. There is a brand new studio opening up in Wiscasset you can stop by and see their work Saturday from 10 – 5pm and Sunday from 11 – 4pm. To find other studios to visit in Midcoast Maine check out Maine Pottery Tour for more information.
“Our opening exhibit will feature children’s art from schools in Lincoln County. All schools in the county were invited to participate. We feel that the experience of exhibiting in an art gallery can help develop a life-long pleasure in creating art.”
The show is open Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 pm until May 19th. The gallery is located at 15 Warren St. in Wiscasset.
On Saturday steam trains depart the Museum grounds at Sheepscot at: 10:30 AM • 12 Noon • 1:30 PM for a 40- to 50-minute, 5-mile round trip. 10:55 AM • 12:25 PM • 1:55 PM Tour our Museum grounds and see restoration projects underway in our shops. Try your hand at operating a hand car in our yard. Visit our gift shop and learn more about the Maine two-footers!
Every year the “Maine Pottery Tour” is on the first weekend in May. During these days pottery and ceramics studios in Maine open their doors to the public. It’s a fun day and a chance meet the artists, peek in the kilns, see demonstrations, and shop for pottery and other handmade goods.
Several studios are welcoming guests in locations near our hotel.
The closest studio is a brand new one just in the process of opening here in Wiscasset. Midcoast Crafts is located at 75 Main Street, just up from Red’s Eats. They’re in the process of remodeling their studio but are opening up early for the event.
Wiscasset Woods Lodge has been welcoming guests to Mid Coast
Maine for over 100 years. Our cottage rooms were originally rustic roadside
cabins built in the woods beside the road when the “Atlantic Highway” was
developed to bring tourists to Maine around 1912. These types of cabins were once
common along what is now Route 1 as a way to earn extra money during the
summers. Moody’s Diner got its start in the same way at around the same time.
In addition to the ten original cabins, six cabins were built by the water in
Newcastle, then in the 50’s moved across from Foster Auction House and finally
moved to our property in 1975.
The property also housed the Forest Inn. Originally built as an open-air dancehall located on the south end of the property. In the 1960’s the inn was bought by the famous Maine wrestler Jackie Nichols. By then it was enclosed with a dance floor and restaurant on the ground floor and 6 rooms on the second floor. It was the only nightlife between Bath and Boothbay which meant that many people frequented it even though it was known for being a rough place. Jackie’s wife nicknamed it “The Bloody Bucket” because of all the paid and free fights that took place there. One night in 1975 the inn mysteriously burned to the ground. The cause was never determined but many locals think the fire might have been started by some of the women in town. That’s how unpopular it was with the wives.
The steady increase in tourism into Maine led to the construction of a two-story motel building to double the number of rooms available. The Whitfields, who were then the owners, didn’t want to take on any debt, so only built what they could pay for in cash. In 1971 the ground floor of the motel was built and rented out, then in 1972 the second floor was built in three parts and lifted on top of the first.
In 1990 the Gillies bought the hotel. Bill Gillies loved woodworking. He gutted and remodeled most of the cabins giving them vaulted ceilings and a knotty pine interior. When trees fell on the 8 acres of woods around the hotel, he would often mill them himself and use the wood in the rooms.
We purchased the hotel in the winter of 2015. We put in a commercial kitchen and now serve our famous hot, homemade breakfast to our guests every morning. We also built a trail through our 8 acres of woodlands which kids and dogs love. In addition we gutted and remodeled 6 of the old cabins that had stood vacant for 20 years. We now have 7 pet friendly rooms, 2 suites and a handicap accessible room.
We’re hosting an open house in conjunction with the Wiscasset Area Chamber of Commerce. The even will take place on Thursday, May 16th from 5 – 7pm. We’ll have several rooms open to walk through and you’re welcome to try our famous hot breakfast. If you’re in the area please stop by and visit.
Sarah Castro has always loved architecture. Growing up in North Carolina she always drawn to Maine because the architecture is so approachable. “You don’t have to be a millionaire to own an historical house here.” In fact her mother, Mary Castro, bought an older house in Wiscasset after retiring 4 years ago.
With her love of historical buildings, Sarah picked the right place for her store. Little Maine Mercantile is located at 49 Water Street, just down the road from Red’s Eats. Her store is in Wiscasset’s oldest commercial building, built in 1797. Over the years it’s been a hardware store, general store, and toy store. The building has charming remnants of its days as a hardware store. Behind the front counter are cubbies where bolts were once stored, the size markings can still be seen on the face of the bins. Cut into the floor towards the back of the building are different sized holes used when selling rope. The bulk of the rope was stored underneath the building and was threaded up through the holes where it could be cut to length depending on the buyer’s needs.
Little Maine Mercantile shares the store space with Spruce – a coffee and smoothie bar run by Julie Ambrosino. The two met at their full-time jobs in Portland. Sarah worked in a marketing firm in the same building where Julie worked. They both still hold down their full-time jobs, because of this the store is only open part of the week. Sarah’s mom helps her run the store on the days Sarah works in Portland.
Their best selling items are the Vena’s Infusions, little jars of dried fruits, bitters and sugar that you add alcohol to for a flavorful and interesting drink. The other big sellers are dog treats purchased by people living in the village. She also sells carefully selected goods made exclusively in New England. Sarah believes in supporting local artists and is open to carrying whatever items people let her know they need.
Sarah really enjoys Midcoast Maine. “The area is so beautiful
and the people have been exceptional, really nice to us.” Sarah also feels blessed
to be doing this together with Julie from Spruce. She hopes the store will
become a community gathering place and can envision a day when they might be
able to host small performances or screen movies.
Little Maine Mercantile opened at the end of the tourist season last year so they don’t know what to expect for business during the summer but said they did well around Christmas time. For now they’ll remain open Thursday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm.
Many of Meghan Olcott’s favorite childhood memories are of playing in the kitchen with her mother. By the time she was 7 Meghan knew that she wanted to own her own bakery. She set out with determination to do just that.
Meghan is now a classically trained
chef with a passion for baking, she earned her associate degree in Baking and
Pastry and a bachelors in Culinary Arts and Management from The International
Culinary School at the Art Institute of Charleston (South Carolina). During and
after college, Meghan worked in front of house and in kitchens in order to
learn all aspects of the industry. She had two goals, to own her own
bakery and to move to Midcoast Maine where she’d summered every year as a
Meghan was working as a pastry chef in New Harbor when she saw a facebook ad for what is now Creamed Baking Co. She hadn’t planned to open her own place for another 5 years but when she saw the opportunity she jumped on it. At 24 Meghan achieved her dreams. This will be her second year. In celebration of her first year, Meghan will be raffling away a birthday cake on Creamed’s birthday, May 5.
She had a great first season with her
most popular items being her homemade hot fudge, favored whoopie pies, lattes,
cakes, cheesecake, fresh lemonade, ice cream sandwiches, and bagels
(several people now have weekly bagel orders). Meghan serves Wicked Joe and
offers a variety of latte flavors. Meghan loves making food like you would see
in a magazine that you can enjoy here and that is affordable. She enjoys
braiding pie crusts and decorating cakes and cookies, she’s even held a couple
of decorating classes where people get to decorate their own cakes and cookies.
Meghan has many plans for her second season. In addition to making and selling homemade baked goods in her store she’s also going to run a booth at the Union Farmer’s Market, will be part of the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, and a vendor at the roller derby in Camden. In her store she’ll add new items to her menu such as popsicles and mini cakes. She’ll also start selling milk, eggs and increasing her selection of sandwiches on her fresh baked bread – as she gets numerous requests for these items.
When asked if anything surprised her,
Meghan said “The community was a lot more welcoming than I expected and I’m really
happy about that” adding “everyone’s so friendly”. She says that
Wiscasset is the picturesque small town she has always dreamed of having her
Her store is located down the stairs
right next to Red’s Eats. Her store has a back porch with chairs looking onto
the water and the newly paved Railroad Avenue with its lit walkway. Meghan said
that once the paving was complete, she saw an increase in customers who would
stop in on their way to or from their cars and she’s looking forward to even more
business this year.
Creamed Baking Co. opens for the season on April 10th. You can stop in and try her baked goods for yourself from 9 – 5 during the spring, fall and early winter and 9 – 7 during the summer.
This article was written as part of a project by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight local businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. More articles in this series can be found below.
Al Morris of Turner, Maine moved his dairy operation to Wiscassett in 1839 to be closer to the Turner Creamery, which was located on the waterfront on what is still locally referred to as Creamery Pier.
At that time, Wiscasset Harbor was a busy commercial port, as Wiscasset’s scenic protected harbor and location at the crossroads of several frequently traveled land routes made it appealing for the dairy farmer, the merchant and the traveler alike, much as it is today.
He married Wiscasset born Mildred Dunning, and they bought the parcel of land known today as The Morris Farm from the Albee family, which still farms Albee Farm here in Wiscasset today. Together Al and Mildred raised four children who all went on to be a part of the growth of the town. Son Forrest continued to farm the land on Rt. 27/Gardiner Road, and passed it to his children, who allowed the community to preserve it in Trust for future generations through the Maine Land Trust Forever Farm conservation efforts after Forrest passed on.
Today the farm is open to the public from dawn till dusk, and locals and visitors are welcome to enjoy a self-guided tour of the barn and gardens, hiking trails, educational programs, a summer farm camp for children and many events open to the community. The farm also features the Morris Farm Store, which carries products from local farmers and craftspeople, local produce, eggs and dairy, and participates in the Farm Fresh Rewards program to help families use food security benefits to buy fresh, healthy from local farmers.
The other Morris children who went on to help shape the Wiscasset we know today were, Stanley, who ran the Wiscasset Oil Company, Dorothea, who became the telephone switchboard operator for the town, and daughter Millie married Red Delano and they established another longtime family business and Wiscasset visitor favorite, Red’s Eats.
The children weren’t the only offspring of the farm to thrive in the community after the farm became community owned. The herd from the Morris Farm dairy operation were sold to farmer Lee Straw of nearby Newcastle. To this day, Straw’s Farm heifers and sheep graze the pastures of the Morris Farm in summer, and Straw’s Farm fresh raw milk is available at the Morris Farm Store and in the 24-hour egg and milk stand in the lobby of the Education Center, which also features local favorite Willow Hill Farm eggs.
This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Elizabeth Palmer. Other stories in this series include:
Kasey McNamara’s story is similar to several of the people we’ve met during our interviews of local merchants. People who were living somewhere else doing something else when they decide they needed a quieter, simpler life for themselves and their family.
Kasey was living in Boston and working in finance on the regulatory side of mutual funds. There she met her husband, Jay, and had their first child. They quickly decided that Boston wasn’t where they wanted to raise their children. Houses were so expensive that the only ones they could afford meant long commutes into work each day. And they wanted a quieter pace of life and safer surroundings to raise their children. They decided to move back to Maine where Kasey grew up and Jay’s parents moved to in 1986.
While living on Westport Island, Kasey had her second child and in 2008 began working part time at In the Clover. Once the kids grew older she decided to start working full time again. She left the store and went back into the world of finance. That only lasted a couple of years. Kasey quickly found that she was no longer wanted to spend her day sitting behind a computer screen and missed working with the staff and customers at the store. She and Jay discussed it and decided to take a chance and see if then owner, Kelley Belanger, would be interested in selling someday.
The timing was perfect for everyone and in 2017 Kasey and Jay bought the store and haven’t looked back. Jay handles all the accounting, bill paying and business management side of the company. Kasey manages the staffing, purchasing, the look and feel of the store, and the day to day running of it. They now have just a 10 minute commute to work and are able to be there for all their kids numerous school and extra curriculum activities.
Kasey is enjoying buying the clothing and goods sold in the store. The first year most of the merchandise was already purchased and the second year she was conservative as it was her first time buying. This year she’s felt able to take more risks and is always looking to update her collections. She makes an annual buying trip to NYC and quarterly trips to Portland to meet with vendors. She aims to keep up with trends while not being “trendy”.
When asked what the style is in fashion, she said that fashion is more wide open then it’s ever been. “Fashion is now about being comfortable and feeling good about yourself. If you like a particular style of jean then wear them. Nothing is ‘out of style’ anymore.”
As a store they try to support that, they don’t just cater to one look. If customers have clothing preferences they’ll try to bring in items that match it. This has brought them a loyal customer following as has their focus on customer service. If they get an item that they know a regular customer will like, they’ll call them or even send photos. They have several out of state customers who regularly purchase clothes from In the Clover and have them shipped.
If you haven’t visited In the Clover recently Kasey invites you to stop by and see what’s new. She and her staff are happy to help you find the clothing and accessories that makes you feel both comfortable and beautiful whatever your style.
The entrance to the Shelter Institute is just outside Wiscasset on Route 1. You’ve probably passed the entrance a thousand times, seen their post and beam sign with the rotating holiday decorations and thought, “I should stop in some time and take a look. And while you might not have been in yet, the Shelter Institute hosts people from all around the world. They come to attend workshops, buy woodworking tools, and order custom designed timber structures. The Shelter Institute has recently had attendees from Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Japan, Puerto Rico, South America and France. They’ve designed and built structures all around the US and the Caribbean.
While it has world reach, the Shelter Institute has Maine roots. Pat and Patsy Hennin started the business in 1974 in Bath, Maine. Originally in the space above Reny’s they later bought and renovated the building that now houses Brynes Irish Pub. Patsy remained very active in the business up until her death in 2006 and Pat is still highly involved. Their children, Blueberry Beeton and Gaius Hennin now run the majority of the day to day operations. Everyone in the family live nearby and enjoy all the outdoor opportunities that Maine has to offer, especially boating.
As the courses and structures became more popular they found they needed a larger site that would allow students to practice raising buildings and provide space to house their growing fabrication business. They knew they wanted to remain close to Bath and their regular customers, and they knew they wanted to be on Route 1 because of the great exposure to all the vehicles traveling back and forth regularly. In 2000 they bought 68 acres of land on Route 1 for their new location. The campus includes a retail store, classroom, and workshop.
All of the class offered by the Shelter Institute are approved for the GI Bill for Veterans and many institutions consider the classes job training opportunities. The Design Build Class is college accredited through the University of Maine Augusta. Shelter was founded on the idea of learning and teaching. Pat and Patsy believed in the importance of the individual having an understanding of the world in which they live; literally their home. As a commemoration to the passion for learning that Patsy Henning infused into the Shelter Institute, the family created a scholarship program for local high school and college students to help them attend trainings and gain skills. You can find out more information on their classes, tools, and scholarships by visiting their website, Facebook page or Instagram.
Or next time you’re driving by why not stop in and see everything they have to offer.
This article is part of a series produced by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight area businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other stories in this series include:
We have 7 pet friendly rooms and a 1/4 mile hiking trail that dogs love!
All of our pet friendly rooms are on the ground floor with a separate entrance. This makes it easy to get your pet onto the trail or into your car without worrying about disturbing other people.
Our pet friendly rooms also have linoleum planking. It looks like wood but you don’t have to worry about your pet’s paws scratching it and it won’t stain like carpets.
We do allow pets to be left alone in rooms. We just ask that you put up the Do Not Disturb sign when you’re out. Our rooms have been insulated with pets noises in mind.
Our 1/4 mile hiking trail is near the pet friendly rooms. In fact our One Queen Bed pet friendly rooms have a private back porch that leads directly onto the trail. We have garbage cans throughout the property and give you a roll of bags when you check in.
We also give copies of PETMaine to all pet owners and have provided additional information on local pet resources, dog parks, pet friendly restaurants in your room.