(AKA Lincoln’s Log)

A whimsical and reasonably accurate account of the lives, events and apparitions on the southwestern side of Mount Desert Island, Maine                 44.3358° N, 68.3194° W

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Press Herald: Surge in hospitalization did not occur

April, 18, 2020 – The Portland Press Herald this morning is reporting a flattening of virus patients in Maine hospitals. That’s good news for those who feared the health system would be overwhelmed. There remains plenty of beds, equipment and resources in hospitals. (See below chart).

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Hancock County last week ticked up to six cases reported with one recovery and one hospitalization. But will this hold up, especially as the weather warms? How long will Acadia stay closed? I can imagine a scenario where tourists will overwhelm our little hospital in Bar Harbor, which is more accustomed to dealing with broken bones and cuts and bruises.

Governor, state legislators meet in secret

State Rep. Brian Hubbell, who represents Mount Desert, confirmed by email that he participated in a Covid 19 briefing by Gov. Janet Mills on April 6 which the Press Herald deemed a violation of the Freedom of Information laws for open government.

“The House Democratic caucus was invited to a conference call with Governor Mills on April 6. I joined that call,” Hubbell wrote in his reply to my question by email. “The Governor used the call to update our caucus on her administration’s activities in response to the COVID-19 civil emergency since the legislature adjourned on March 17.

“I am not aware of any other legislative briefings by the Governor, although I presume she similarly briefed the other three caucuses,” Hubbell said.

That would be the two Republican House and Senate caucuses, and the Democratic Senate caucus.

Mills is doing a very good job, methinks. But I can’t imagine any information that she wouldn’t want to share with the public. I’m grateful that Hubbell responded to my email so quickly.

Warm winter had its upside …

SOUTHWEST HARBOR – Even amid a pandemic I still view the cup as half full. Al Pettigrow tells me he’s saved a small fortune in heating cost this winter owing to the warm winter. Man should know. He heats nine buildings on Seal Cove Road filled with boats from picky owners who want the constancy of temperature during winter storage. Me? I picked the middle solution: cold storage inside.

Couple of guys down at the marina told me last summer heated storage actually can save money from not having to winterize your boat. Poppycock, says Al. Never a good ideas to skip winterizing. In Al I trust.

The ice on Long Pond and Echo Lake broke in Mid March, and locals say that’s the earliest they can remember for years.

I’m excited to test the waters with a new batch of flourescent green nightcrawlers I bought from a mail order house in Canada. Only a few worms died during shipping. If the bass won’t bite these babies, I’ll give up fishing. Thanks to the state of Maine for free fishing in April, but I already had purchased my license. Oh, and how about those gas prices? I filled my truck for $20!

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SOUTHWEST HARBOR – Our friends Ralph and Frances Reed are back from Florida and have opened up Quietside Café for the 24th season.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that this will be their last season, having been evicted by the new owner of the building at 360 Main Street. That’s according to their post on Facebook.

I’ve become somewhat inured to the inevitable changes which take place each year on the island. I’ve been coming here since 1984. Each year when I cross the causeway I wonder what has unfolded since I was here last. It broke my heart when the A.V. Higgins store closed in Somesville. They had the best rotisserie chickens which were the sine qua non of any last minute dinner plan. The Top of the Hill was the closest restaurant to our cottage and even though the food was just okay, it was awfully convenient. The list goes on – Fiddler’s Green, Moorings, the newsstand on Clark Point Road, the breakfast joint across from Sips, the eccentric Acapella music store, the barbershop in Northeast Harbor where I got a $5 haircut.

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But there is something hugely different about the Quietside Café because it’s personal. We befriended the Reeds through our children. Their daughters bookended our son in age. He loved going to Quietside and hang with the girls over ice cream. Ralph and I shared a familiarity with the military where my father was a 30-year Army veteran and Ralph did a 20-year stint. I called him “Sarge” for many, many years.

Over the years the business grew from an ice cream shop to serving full meals. Frances also came to claim the crown of best pie maker on the island. We happily joined the nightly queue snaking out the door each night.

But the lights will still be on through the end of the year, although the pandemic is certain to wreak havoc. Quietside hired an army of young immigrant workers during the summer. Sometimes there were five or six different languages spoken. The visa program is suspended, and even if it were to be activated there still is the daunting 14-day quarantine before anyone can work.

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Sawyer’s Market undergoes change

SOUTHWEST HARBOR, April 16, 2020 – Work is visible inside Sawyer’s Market on Main Street, suggesting that a sale is imminent. The wine section is being eliminated and the store cut down in size. That space will now be occupied by Little Notch bakery next door.

Merlin Kesselheim would make for a great manager of the market. He had been assistant

manager before the store was closed in February after a furnace puffback filled the

market with soot. Much of the inventory had to be thrown out.

Owner Brian Worcester put the store on the market soon after.

Retaining the building at 344 Main Street as a market would be welcoming news for area

businesses as Sawyer’s was a major draw on the Quiet Side of the island.

It was a must-go destination for me until about 10 years ago when the butcher sold me a

big rack of spoiled lamb. Also, the market started to become extremely expensive serving

the needs of the summer people from away. I now do all my grocery shopping at the IGA.

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Work inside to remove wine section and to shrink market (left photo). Little Notch

Takeout (or pickup) a salvation

We’ve been feasting on Maureen Cosgrove’s excellent food since the lockdown. The

owner/chef of Rogue Cafe in Southwest offers pickup Wednesday through Saturday.

Check out her Facebook page for the menu and order it right online. Her bagels are

amazing. Also, I highly recommend Jennifer Worcester’s vegetable chili and haddock

stew from her shop Sips. 2.0 next to the post office at Southwest. Now that Quietside has

opened, I’m eager for a lobster roll and a slice of blueberry pie. I also hear good things

about Peter’s Trout’s fried chicken down at Manset.

 

 

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This big guy flew onto a tree right in front of us on a walk on Manset Road. I’d never

been so close to an eagle before … speaking of walks, what a perfect time to explore

Acadia and surroundings. The park loop is closed to cars but the Park Service said you

may hike in … great time to see Thunder Hole, Little Long Pond, etc. Great opportunity

for cyclists with no cars on the park roads. Schoodic Park is open to cars …

 

Watch out for ticks though! I found one imbedded in my neck. Got a dose of Doxycycline.

Sent the tick to the labs at UMaine. Tests for Lyme came back negative!

 

 

Postscript:

I am a retired media executive who is now a Maine resident. I served a 17-year sentence at the Boston Globe (I’m a Yankees fan) before heading off the the greatest city in the world to work for the New York Times. My happiest years were the 13 I worked at Hearst Corporation. I have been coming to this island since 1984 and finally moved here. Send tips and items to lmillstein@gmail.com.