|Paul's Marina at Mere Point|
Looking back, Casco Bay was our playground this summer. In June, Joe and I fell in love with a Maritime Classic; we named her This Side Up and officially became boat owners. I mentioned our newly acquired boat to a neighbor, and I’ll never forget his reaction, “It’s Disney World out there.” Turns out, he was right. The best view of Maine is from a boat. As soon as we moored This Side Up at Mere Point, we knew we would see Casco Bay in her best light, and we did. Several times a week, we would ride the blue highway to Chebeague Island, Basin Cove, Orr’s Island, the Cribstone Bridge, Bailey Island, and a little cove at Birch Island.
|A Halfway Rock Postcard on display at Chebeague|
Of course, we occasionally had to pilot our boat through fog and circumnavigate a few ledges, lobster traps, and oyster farms, but there were also eagles, sailboats, coastal homes, and seals to admire. We delighted in studying our chart, identifying the islands and finding our way to Chebeague (pronounced sha-beeg by many and sha-big by the locals). In July, we visited the Chebeague Maritime Historical Society, and I learned that the lighthouses at Halfway Rock and Ram Island Ledge were built by men from Chebeague; granite from the island was used to build the Washington Monument in D.C.; and the island’s name comes from a Native American word meaning “isle of many springs”. Our lunch at the Chebeague Island Inn, was a postcard moment. The grandness of the old inn reminded me of Gatsby and the roaring 1920’s. On our way back to Paul’s Marina – the quintessential Maine marina with Judy’s General Store at its heart – we passed Hope Island’s red barns and spied a group of kayakers near shore.
|Kayaks on Casco Bay|
|Main Street Bath's Greatest Hits before the parade|
When we weren’t on the water, we nested in Bath. The Fourth of July may seem like a distant memory to some, but I’ll never forget Bath Heritage Days’ parade, especially the Main Street float, a tribute to ice cream shops, jukeboxes, and poodle skirts. (Yes, I wore a poodle skirt for Maine Street Bath.) Maybe you caught a glimpse of that MSB time machine and hummed along with the director, Amanda McDaniel, and the rest of us as we played Doris Day’s love songs and Elvis’s rock & roll. From the start of the Five Mile Road Race to the fireworks that night, Bath was celebrating along the Kennebec. If Labor Day marks the end of summer, the Fourth of July marks its beginning, and Bath knows how to start the party!
By the end of July, the summer concert series, hosted by the Chocolate Church Arts Center and Main Street Bath, was fully underway. Every Tuesday and Friday night, music lovers gathered around the gazebo at City Park to listen to jazz, big-band music, country ballads, and even a barber-shop chorus. It was live entertainment with a spectacular view of the Zorach’s Spirit of the Sea, the Winter Street Center, and the Patten Free Library! On Saturday nights, the music moved to Waterfront Park where the Fleetwood Mac Band drew an impressive crowd at the beginning of the summer, and the Yellow Brick Road Band, led by Bath resident Gerald Brann, drew a crowd of 500 on August 31.
|Bryanna, a dreamer.|
On August 17, two weeks before Brann’s band gave the Kennebec crowd an encore, a stellar rendition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, the Bath community brought back its locally grown holiday, Kindness Day. I had the pleasure of attending the first Kindness Day celebration on August 16, 2014, and I remember meeting Bryanna, one of the original dreamers, the rising senior at Morse High School who brought a day for random acts of kindness to life. I remember she was standing on the corner of Front and Centre Streets with Taylor, her friend and fellow dreamer, and I snapped their picture. Five years later, I found Bryanna standing on the same corner wearing her purple T-shirt with its now famous statement, “Be kinder than necessary.” She was also wearing the same smile, proving that kindness stays with us. As a new school year begins, let’s hope the classroom seats are filled with dreamers, like Bryanna and Gerald Brann.