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Entries in kancamagus (1)


Artists and florals and lobster traps-- oh MY!

Today started a bit late, but for good reason. Who doesn't turn down sleeping in and some homemade french toast? 

With some advice on a few scenic route options and a few goodie bags of road food (thanks Bill and Lorrie!) I got on my way heading east-- off to Maine via the Kancamagus Highway.

It may have been a slower way to get there, but I guarantee it was the absolute prettiest way to get there.

After crossing the White Mountains, lakes, rivers, snow-packed landscapes and lots of moose crossings, I finally rolled into Maine in the early afternoon. Driving toward Portland I see a thrift store off the right side of the road in Bridgton. I parked in hopes I could pop in for a few photos and a chat.  

Inside the Bridgton Hospital Guild Thrift Shop I meet Heather, who is stopping in while waiting for her husband Joe to finish up across the street.

She says she's a found object artist and she often looks for items at thrift stores, auctions, and yard sales to incorporate into her pieces. She likes that by using found objects, she's not adding to her footprint as an artist. "It's reusing, it's recycling," she said. "And it supports all kinds of people in the community." 

Her husband Joe comes in to join Heather, and tells me he's also an artist, working in custom airbrush painting.

They've been married for two years and Joe admits he wasn't much of a thrifter before he met Heather. She also loves that he enjoys it with her and doesn't wonder why she's bringing home random finds.  

"I've always loved old, unusual and broken things-- that's why I married him," she said. "It was in our vows!"

She says she's also found some of her best stuff on the side of the road.

Raising three sons as a single mother, she says one of her sons once asked why his clothes had tags on them-- she'd been buying used clothing for them their whole lives that he had no idea that new clothing had tags!

Now that's thrifty!

As all three of us make our way to the door, Heather spots a floral Hawaiian print dress that she tells me would be perfect on me. She grabs it and holds it up to me, I cave in and try it on-- even though I'd been secretly eyeballing it the moment I walked in.



I love those serendipitous stops like this where all the stars align-- a great conversation, a great shop, a great dress and great photos!

Back on the road, I set my sights on Freeport, where my friend Matt told me I could find a great thrift shop he once went to that's just across the street from the LLBean outlet. 

Boy was he right!

I easily found the the Freeport Community Services Thrift Store right where he told me it would be, and just as I stepped out of my car, the manager Lynn was standing with a customer in the parking lot. "I like your car!" she said, pointing to my Goodwill stickers. Well that was easy! I give her a quick rundown of the project and she's eager to take me inside and show me around. 

Not only do they have this store, but it's attached to-- and supports-- a community center. Built six years ago, it's housed in three restored historic Mallett houses, which were origianlly built by E.B. Mallett, a Freeport shoe manufacturer. He built about 200 of these homes for his employees to live in during the 1860's and 1870s. Only a few of them remain. 

Lynn takes me on a tour of the building, which also houses a teen center, a food pantry, the town's archives and a giant community room. 

They recently expanded to an annex, which houses their donated antiques and furniture. Lynn hops in her car and tells me to follow so I can take a quick look. 

What greets me as I walk in-- an antique lobster trap. A LOBSTER TRAP!

Hello, Maine! 

You wonderful Subaru-driving, dog-loving, kayak-owning, seafaring, lobstah-trapping, thrift-loving MAINE!

I get a call from Jane, my Goodwill contact in Portland and we make a date for dinner at a place where we can get a tasty lobster roll. She pretty much read my mind.

I have to admit, I've been looking forward to this part of the trip for this exact reason.

With brown sugar butter sauce? Whoa boy, was it tasty! Thanks Jane and crew for showing a gal a good time!

Sure beats eating a sad bag of microwave popcorn in a lonely hotel room.

So I leave you tonight in Portland, Maine, where I'll check out a nearby Goodwill store in the morning before heading south(!) finally to Boston. 

The end of the lower 48 thrift tour is nearly complete-- one week left!