Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Wear and Tear Repaired at a Reasonable Cost' on York Street, New Haven

One of the most comforting things to read in a store is the phrase "Wear and tear repaired at a reasonable cost."  This tells you that the company is selling things that they know well and that they expect to be of service for a while.  This is the case at J. Press on New Haven, Connecticut's famous York Street.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Muffy Thanksgiving Tip

Heritage Breed Turkeys
If the turkeys' free-range foraging takes them onto public roads, don't herd them from behind (as a sheep dog does), but call them towards you with the promise of food.  This can save many Thanksgiving dinners in the community.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Preppy Music? A Reader Question and Question for Readers

There are distinctively preppy cars, clothes, and hobbies.  Is there such as thing as 'preppy music,' and if so, what is it? 

Specifically, there was a question in the last post that read:
On a wholly separate topic, you have told us a little about your taste for British television and about some of your favorite books, but how about music? Beyond the Prelude to Bach's Cello Suite 1 in G, is there an artist, genre, etc. that is, IYO, quintessentially preppy? What does TDP's playlist look like?
This is, of course, very complicated. First, it may not even be "playlistable". Preppy music may in part be defined by the attributes of: high quality, live, intimate, shared across generations, and ideally played in venues that don't involve tickets.

More so, when it comes to music, most of us are "of our time."  Nevertheless, some would argue, intellectually, that the traditional hymns might be high on the preppy music list. Consider:
  • Hymns cross a range, from piano to organ to a cappella, from professional to amateur, and from formal events to more casual gatherings. 
  • They are at home at a Vineyard wedding, graces before meal at summer camps, all-school meetings at prep schools and, of course, Sunday services.  (At Choate they sing "Rejoice Ye Pure in Heart" and at Groton and St. Paul's they sing "Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones." Many prep schools have an official hymn where the words have been written by an alumnus.)
  • They are close to timeless, and will likely be around hundreds of years from now.  (Obviously, that has not always been the case. Even beyond the 95 theses, Congregationalists did not sing hymns until the late 19th century, and thought that the organ was the instrument of the devil. For a timeline comparison, it was in 1865 that Lord Tweedmouth developed the Golden Retriever in Scotland.)
An 1888 Edition
 A Hymn Reference.
  • Hymns were undoubtedly a context in the life of so many role models of prep in the last century and earlier.
  • Many to this day include snippets of hymns in email signatures.  One sailor signs off with "Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee, For those in peril on the sea!"
Still, this answer, while very left-brain for most, may not be emotionally satisfying, and even too Calvinistic on its own. Given that, what might be other examples of preppy music?

The Vineyard Sound, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eliza B. of Eliza B.

The Exceptionally Charming Eliza B. of Eliza B.

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),... 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.