By Newlin Tillotson
Blue Hill, ME- For as long as I can remember, I have been venturing to Blue Hill, Maine every summer to spend a week by the ocean with my family. The tall pines, rocky beaches and dark blue sea draw me to the area year after year. I visited the villages of Stonington, Blue Hill and Deer Isle the week of July 4 to take in the local charm, seafood restaurants and a plethora of art galleries.
After grabbing a basket of fried clams for lunch at Fish Net in Blue Hill, I stopped in Handworks Gallery on Maine Street to check out the exhibited work by local artists. Handworks Gallery features the crafts of jewelers, potters, wood workers, photographers, painters and fiber artists. The gallery is full of vibrant colors with a strong ocean influence.
On the floor throughout the gallery are floor cloths created by Dale Macurdy that attract the eye with swirling colors, reminiscent of the ocean tide. There are book works including an accordion book by Marcia Stremlau and a variety of sea glass and silver jewelry created by local jewelry artists. For those looking to take a memento home from their summer excursion to Maine, Handworks Gallery has many moderately priced wares and art works.
A drive along Route 15 toward Deer Isle offers a number of stops including Hutton Gallery, Turtle Gallery, Susan Webster Studio and RED DOT Gallery. While on the way to get “muddy boot” ice cream at Harbor Ice Cream I stopped in the Deer Isle Artists Association’s Gallery to check out the work of the DIAA member artists. The gallery has rotating shows throughout the summer with different themes. While there were an abundance of seascapes, there were also fiber works, photography and sculptures on view.
Every Wednesday, Deer Isle also offers a local farmers market where you can find fresh local fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers at the Old Elementary School on Church St.
The vibe in the villages is friendly and residents are welcoming. The simplicity and inspirational landscapes of coastal Maine will have me visiting for years to come.