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Let’s go for a drive…    Stonington

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Stonington … the epitome of a working Maine harbor. Early morning fog drifts over the islands, creating an ethereal view for anyone fortunate enough to be paying attention as they drive downhill into town. Fishing boats leave the harbor at first light, returning midday with the fresh catch.

This once-quiet little fishing village has undergone a transformation. Main Street has become a mecca for visitors, with galleries, shops, and restaurants offering a variety of tastes, smells, and visual delights.

Stonington is home to many fine galleries. Just past Lily’s Café on Route 15, watch for Alice’s Art studio on your right, offering her unique, found object folk art.

(click on advertiser name below to go to their ad)

1. Anne-Claude Cotty Studio
2. Art by Katy
3. Boyce’s Motel
4. Geoffrey Warner Studio
5. Inn on the Harbor

6. Jill hoy Gallery
7. Siri Beckman Studio
     (Airport Road)

Download a PDF of the Stonington Drive here (741 kb).

Moving on, as you approach town on Route 15, watch for the sign for Anne-Claude Cotty’s Gallery and Workshops on your left. A talented book artist and pinhole photographer, Anne-Claude is introducing her beautiful brooches of silver and other precious metals that incorporate her hand-colored pinhole photographs. She also offers workshops for young and old(er) alike.

Just beyond, you will see Geoffrey Warner’s Studio on your left. Geoff, a fine cabinet and furniture maker, showcases his own work, as well as that of a few other gifted artists. One of his most popular creations is the Owl Chair – available to purchase or you can take a workshop to assemble your own.

As you continue downhill, take a right onto North Seabreeze Avenue and stop in where Lorraine Lans shows her own work from her studio. Back on Route 15 (Main Street) and continuing downhill, we come to The Seasons of Stonington, offering fine wines and olive oils, gifts, plus an upstairs gallery.

Our next stop is the Hoy Gallery. The gallery, located in a large white barn, is a great place to stop and enjoy Jill Hoy’s vibrant landscapes of the coast of Maine.

Further downhill, we come to the miniature village, located next to Eagull Gallery. These miniature houses are on display all summer; each fall, island families take a house home and care for it over the winter, making any necessary repairs before it is returned to the village in the spring.

Next stop, the gWatson Gallery, exhibiting what owner Ron Watson describes as the best contemporary painting.   Ron’s love of jazz occasionally bursts forth with an evening concert in the gallery.  (Check local papers to see if it’s happening while you are in town!)

Where can I get an ice cream cone?
The Island Cow Ice Cream shop, between gWatson Gallery and the library, is hard to miss. You can sit on their little deck, or enjoy your cone as you walk along the sidewalk.

Across the street, the Granite Museum offers a fascinating look into the island’s granite quarrying history. For example, did you know that granite from Deer Isle was used in Rockefeller Center?

As we continue our walk, there’s Prints and Reprints. Offering a variety of old books and prints, this little shop is a fun place to browse.

If you need a little pick-me-up, stop into the Inn on The Harbor for an espresso or cappuccino. Or take a lunch break at the Harbor Café and rub elbows with locals as well as other folks “from away.”

While you’re busy wandering in and out of all these shops and galleries, don’t forget to look out on the harbor! Constantly changing, it really is one of the most beautiful harbors on the coast.

Isalos Fine Art, occupying the space in the building between the Town Office and The Dry Dock, shows paintings by Rebecca Daugherty and other fine artists.

Right next door, the Dry Dock offers wonderful gifts, jewelry, clothing, cards, and pottery from Maine artists.

On the corner the Opera House –celebrating its centennial year in 2012 – continues to provide us with another great roster of films and live performances (click here to read the article).

Continuing on West Main Street, we come to Marlinspike Chandlery on the water side, featuring artistic nautical weaving and rope work for everything from pets to boats.

Meanwhile, further along West Main, we walk down towards the water to Dockside, offering all sorts of nautical gifts and books.

At the corner of West Main and Allen Streets, you’ll find Bayside Antiques & Gifts, offering everything from gifts to porcelain to period and country furniture.

Get in the car and head out towards Sand Beach for a lovely little drive with great views and glimpses of the water.  Almost to the end, watch for The Art Barn on your right.  Penny Plumb has her working studio there, as well as a great assortment of art, antiques, and other unique items that just might say “take me home.”

When you get to Burnt Cove Market, swing right and pull into the parking area by Old Parish House Antiques for another fun diversion – and maybe you’ll find that perfect little tchochke or some fine old linens.

Next?  Make sure to drive out Airport Road and visit Siri Beckman Studio on the right across from the airport.  Siri’s paintings and woodcuts are just spectacular.

Another great stop outside of town is Art by Katy – open by chance and appointment on Weedfield Road about a mile from town towards Burnt Cove.  A visit here is always interesting, with Katy’s colorful paintings and an Airstream trailer converted to a small gallery.

I’m so hungry I could eat a bear …
In town, there are several places to eat. On the water, Seasons of Stonington offers breakfast, lunch, dinner seven days a week.  Stop in at their new Lobster Deck for – you know what!

Also on Main Street, you can find Fisherman’s Friend and Harbor Café – both offering good seafood, burgers, etc.  For the early birds, Harbor Café opens early for breakfast seven days a week.

For groceries, wine, etc. there’s the intown store at Fisherman’s Friend. Driving, head to  Burnt Cove Market and V&S Variety, out of town on Route 15A,  for groceries and a variety of other items – from soup to nuts to fabrics and hardware.

If you’re looking for fresh, locally harvested fish, lobster, crabmeat, etc., stop at Stonington Fresh Harvest Lobster and Fish on Route 15 at the corner of Cemetery Road.

©2010-2012 Arts Guide – a publication of Mozelle! Studio

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