March 16-18 this year was our favorite weekend, a time to look forward to every year. Jill and I make our escape to Maine. The first year, it was to build the list of shops we serve, but for the last two years, it was more to catch up with friends.
New England Made Giftware and Specialty Food Shows is a unique event. It's far from the biggest show we've attended, but it is the most welcoming and successful show we do. Gregg, Stefa, Whitney, and the rest of the team are fantastic hosts and show leaders If you know someone that would like to carry our handmade work in their marina, wedding venue, or gift shop, please let them know about us.
The artisans from Laurel at Nautically Northern, Alan from Tidepieces, and of course our friends over at Seabags of Maine.
Those are only a few of our friends at the show. We get to catch up with shops from around the region that carry our sailor knots, and we also get a chance to explore.
We were able to stroll around the Portland Headlight from the outside and enjoy the history and views. Seeing the sign Just like here in Connecticut, Maine has a maintenance season. Holidays are busy, and late Spring through fall is busy, but the winter and early spring are the time to rest up and get things ready. Portland Headlight was in that state preparing for the upcoming season. That said, we were able to explore the area.
The Maine Maritime Museum team was also working on their exterior property, but we were able to visit the museum. As you all know, we are just down the street from the Mystic Seaport. Maine Maritime is VERY different. While the Mystic Seaport is all about the 19th century and the age of sail, Maine Maritime celebrates the range of time from the age of sail through World War II.
The exhibits run the gamut from hands on explorations of navigation, the traditional arts of boat design (half ship models and lofting techniques). It has the knot work tools on display, which gained most of my attention, but what Jill enjoyed most was unexpected.
Jill found rotary dial telephones. The museum took the time to record voice of friends and locals that were involved in the lighthouse operation. You can pick up a rotary phone and dial numbers. Once you are done dialing, the overhead speaker plays audio with honest voices talking to you as though you were the light house operator. This museum spends a lot of time exploring the lore and reality of light house operation.
In addition to the hands on, there are also displays featuring the boat building trade both in wood to steel schooners through the Destroyers and Bath Iron Works trades just down the street. This visit was an amazing time and we will be back when the outdoor exhibits are accessible.