As you know, I was sent on a traveling assignment in South Paris, Maine which is located in the Western side of the state. I am happily housed in a cozy cabin in North Waterford facing a lake. My local post office is a little one room building and there’s Melby’s, a small market and restaurant 2 miles down the road. It’s perimeter is lined up with cars each morning from people stopping for morning coffee.
On my way to work I pass through the eclectic small town of Norway, Maine. As you can see by the photos (http://emiling.com) there are many interesting shops and restaurants that I think “the natives” are slow to appreciate. The most interesting building to me is The Weary Club of Norway, Maine.
The Weary Club, organized in the early 1920’s, was a gathering spot for local men who were thereby known as “the weary ones.” It’s believed the Weary Club got its name from the men who escaped to the clubhouse, weary of their domestic duties.
Conversation had to be restricted to fishing, hunting and a few other topics including village gossip. The club’s slogan, “The Weary Club of Norway, Maine – Makers and Dealers in Cedar Shavings, Social Gossip, Political Wisdom and Yankee Philosophy,” pretty much sums it up.
Whittling was apparently serious business while gossiping at the club. Membership to the club was said to be granted only to those who could carve a cedar shaving light enough to float. LOL!
Also along Main Street is The Fare Share Market, a local co-op grocery, and buy-local store owned and operated by a group of owners. Produce and goods have to originate within a 25mile radius of the store. (This rules out China) They also put on local art shows, lectures and workshops. It’s a fun place to explore. All sorts of colorful seeds and honeys along the walls.
Of the restaurants, I’ve only been to Ari’s Pizza and wasn’t disappointed. I ordered a calzone and the crust was tasty, without being doughy. On top of that it was enormous! I also purchased a homemade peanut butter whoopee pie that was delicious. I have yet to find time to try Café Nomad and Taste of Eden.
Last Sunday I was invited by the pastor’s wife to join a group for brunch at Maurice’s in South Paris. The food was a pleasant surprise. I was a bit concerned since the restaurant is housed in a two hundred year old clapboard house. I didn’t need to be concerned. They serve French Continental in an elegant atmosphere at very reasonable prices. I’ll return for another helping of their charm.
Afterwards I decided to take a hike up Streaked Mountain. I’d heard about it from co-workers and knew it wasn’t far outside South Paris going towards Buckfield. Turns out, Streaked Mountain is a challenging but rewarding hike. Once I made it onto the granite slope, I was rewarded with a scenic view of the Little Androscoggin River Valley, the Oxford Hills, the White Mountains. I understand on clear days you can also see the Presidential Range.
From the road, the first quarter or so of the hike is wooded and with loose rocks. I started to feel confident early on. However, the remainder of the hike is on the steep granite face of the mountain. The trail rises about 700′ in its short half-mile ascent! I really must invest in good hiking equipment if I’m going to continue with this activity. Mercy!
Keep checking for more Maine travel logs as I explore the area once it warms up.