Plenty happening at the Opera House this month

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For many Deer Islanders, winter is their favorite time of year. They can enjoy the beauty and character of the island, while still enjoying the arts.

Though the vendors from the Stonington Farmers Market don’t gather weekly, most don’t go into hibernation.

The Stonington Opera House, for example, never slows down. It shows first-run movies, art films and documentaries plus it schedules live performances, drama classes, staged readings, workshops and more throughout the winter.

On Sunday afternoon (Dec. 4), the Opera House will stage a reading of the Tony Award-winning play Art by Yasmina Reza. The show ran on Friday night to rave reviews – just ask someone who saw it!

Next weekend, the Opera House co-hosts the Holiday Hoopla celebration in Stonington.

Here’s the schedule of events for Saturday:

12pm: Pop-Up Market in Stonington Opera House lobby opens

12:30pm:  Photos with Santa, cookie decorating and ornament making in the theatre

1:45pm: Caroling in the theatre

2pm: Free screening of Happy Feet

Read more about it here.

And on Dec. 9, 10 and 11, the award-winning new film Moonlight will be shown at the Opera House. It’s about the ‘life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.’ Click here for showtimes.

You can support the Opera House’s year-round community programming by participating in the Village Gift Basket Raffle, which is going on now. Here’s what the Opera House says about it:

A beautiful heap of lovely treats and offers from local Stonington, Deer Isle, and peninsula businesses is now on display in the Opera House Lobby as a celebration of our ongoing efforts to incite art and create community together.

All proceeds from the Village Gift Basket raffle will directly support our year round community activities including films, Family Days, Open Mic & Karaoke events, and education programming. Raffle tickets are on sale now through December 18th, when we’ll pull the lucky winner’s name out of a hat after our Sunday matinee- just in time to treat yourself for the holidays or spread some serious re-gifting cheer!

 

The Farmers Market in Bangor

Come visit your favorite Stonington Farmers Market farmers and vendors today at the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor.

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Missy from Yellow Birch Farm and Matthew and Bob from Blue Hill Spoonworks. 

Avalon Kitchens is there, hawking their yummy clam chowder pies. The 44 North Coffee people are selling — what else? — coffee, and Bob Gillmor from Blue Hill Spoonworks is selling spoons.

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Megan and Melissa from 44 North

Yellow Birch Farm, Lucy’s Granola, JC Turnings and Daily Bread are also be in Bangor (hope we’re not forgetting anyone).

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Donna from Daily Bread. 

Saturday’s event was a rousing success and today’s promises to be even better. So support Maine’s small businesses and farms by starting your holiday shopping at the Maine Harvest Festival.

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Jorge from JC Turnings

It goes from 10 am to 4 pm at the Cross Insurance Center at 515 Maine Street in Bangor. There are 150 vendors — you can’t help but find that perfect holiday gift.

Tinder Hearth Offers Thanksgiving Specials

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It doesn’t take long for Tinder Hearth to sell out of bread.

If you’ve ever stood in line at the Stonington Farmers Market for Tinder Hearth bread, you’ll be pleased to know the Tinder Hearth Crew will be baking four – count ‘em, FOUR – special holiday loaves for Wednesday, Nov. 24th.

Tinder Hearth tells us their Thanksgiving Week bake schedule is Monday, Nov. 22 and Wednesdsay, Nov. 24.

Here’s what else they’ve told us:

This year we are changing the way we distribute the specials, and will NOT be delivering them to the stores. So to get your holiday bread, please call the bakery: 326-8381 to reserve your loaves, and plan on coming by the bakery on Wednesday to pick them up! (They’re at 1452 Coastal Rd. in Brooksville. Click here for directions.)

The breads are:

APRICOT WALNUT FENNEL

POLENTA PUMPKIN SEED HERB

RAISIN SPELT

NEW! BRIOCHE DINNER ROLLS  (10)

(The Brioche are simply dreamy… and come in a little pan so you can easily pop them in the oven when it comes time.)

Sending out love to you all!

-The Tinder Hearth Crew

Here’s where you can find every day Tinder Hearth bread:

The Galley in Deer Isle

44 North Coffee in Deer Isle

Burnt Cove Market in Stonington

The Blue Hill Wine Shop in Blue Hill

The Blue Hill Co-Op in Blue Hill

John Edwards Market in Ellsworth

Tiller & Rye in Brewer

The Natural Living Center in Bangor

The Store & in Orono

The Winter Market in Blue Hill (Mainescape on Saturdays 9:30-Noon)

 

 

 

 

Send a holiday gift box from Island Soap

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The Maine Connection Holiday Gift Collection

Here’s a terrific holiday gift for someone who loves Stonington: an Island Soap gift box.

We just heard from Gisele Bridges, who you may know from the Stonington Farmers Market. She writes:

“This year I’m delighted to include the work of seven great artisans and friends who live in my neck of the woods! You’ll have four gift boxes to choose from this year.

“These handcrafts are all made by hand and may be enjoyed during the holiday season and throughout the year as well as a few goodies to include with your holiday meals. This is the perfect gift to send that person who has everything or you might choose to buy it for yourself and have 13 separate handmade items for gift giving. Of course you might want to keep them all for yourself!

“Your gift box will include green tissue and fresh Maine greens collected from our coastal farm and tied with a red ribbon.

“Shipping begins December 1st and ends December 10th This item is AVAILABLE IN LIMITED QUANTITY so place your order early!

“Let us help make your holiday season simple! We offer gift shipping directly to your family and friends. Just indicate your gift recipient’s name and address in the “ship to” box at check out. Tell us your gift message in the special instructions box and we will include a handwritten gift card with your personalized gift message – our elves will take care of the rest for you!

“Our wish is that you enjoy the simplicity and joy of the season.

“Happy Holidays,

“The Island Soap Team”

Click here to submit an order for a gift set. There are eight choices, ranging in price from $14 to $124. And don’t tarry — the Maine Connections gift boxes have only limited availability.

Where to Get 44 North Coffee (and Gear) in the Winter

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Ah, the good old days of summer

If you’re addicted to the 44 North Coffee at the Stonington Farmers Market or at the Stonington cafe, take heart.

Though the coffee shop in Stonington is closed for the winter, you can still get 44 North Coffee in the Roastery at the Seamark building in Deer Isle Village. They’ll be open on Saturdays during the winter from 8 a.m. until Noon. Best yet, Tinder Hearth pastry will be available.

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So sad.

If you aren’t familiar with 44 North, here’s how they describe themselves:

44 North Coffee was born in 2010 on a small island off the coast of Maine.  Founded on the principle that fresh and ethically sourced coffee sips best, we custom roast 100% Arabica coffee beans in the upstairs of the historic Deer Isle schoolhouse.  We honor the hard work of the farmers who grow our coffee by fairly purchasing seasonal organic beans and we roast to levels that highlight the best tasting notes in each cup.  Enjoy at your own line of latitude!

If you’re looking for a holiday gift for a coffee lover, 44 North offers plenty of options. There’s a coffee club subscription for $366 with a choice of Blonde Pearl Espresso Blend, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia – Yirgacheffe, Guatemala, Honduras Decaf, Honey Process Honduras, Peru, Royal Tar Blend or Sumatra.

Or consider coffee gear, from a $115 Bodum Burr Grinder to a $10 canvas tote bag — and you can shop online! Just click here. Brewing devices are tried and tested every day at 44 North’s coffee lab.  Shoulder bags are crafted by Holly Mead (in the very same building where they receive and roast these fine coffees) and Audrey Yankielun of Massachusetts (who has a wicked talent for sewing and strong family ties to Deer Isle).

You can keep up with Melissa Rafferty and Megan Wood by checking in with their blog postings on their website.

Farmers ask: ‘Who can I sell my land to?’

Ask any of the farmers at the Stonington Farmers Market and they’ll tell you: Farming is hard work. But it’s also a labor of love. When it comes time to retire, farmers often hate the thought of their carefully tended fields, orchards and buildings turned into a McMansion and a lawn.

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That’s the dilemma faced by Leslie Cummins and Tim Seabrook. You’ve seen them selling peaches, vinegar and cider at the Stonington Farmers Market. If you were smart, you bought some.

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Leslie and Tim earlier this week in a story titled, “Maine farmers ready to retire wrestle with succession planning.”

Leslie Cummins and Tim Seabrook own Five-Star Nursery and Orchard in Brooklin, but they are considering selling the farm where they grow apples, pears and make apple cider. They would like to sell their land to someone who would continue using it as a farm instead of developing the property.

According to the newspaper,

It’s evident that Cummins and Seabrook have poured their hearts and souls into this venture, a source of deep pride and connection to their community on the Blue Hill Peninsula. But at 70 and 69, respectively, they’re ready to step back from the hard work of their daily routines and explore the possibilities of retirement.

“We are really ready to do the next part of our lives,” Cummins said. Already, they’ve bought a small house in town, close to friends, services and amenities. Now, they’re trying to find an appropriate buyer for the farm. And it’s not easy.

“Who do we want to sell it to, some rich dude from New York?” Seabrook asked. “We’d probably lose everything we’ve built here.”

The newspaper reports a New Hampshire not-for-profit called Land For Good is helping farmers like Leslie and Tim find other farmers to buy their land.

Read the whole story here.

 

 

Opera House Hosts Spooktacular Events

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Opera House, pastel on watercolor paper by Leslie Landrigan

Halloween is always something special in Stonington, and this year is no exception. The town celebrates it this year with a Spooktacular Saturday that includes costume judging, pumpkin carving, a parade and a FREE movie at the Opera House that kids will love.

Meg Taintor is the Opera House Arts’ producing artistic director. “There’s really no better way to spend a day than watching the island’s kids ham it up with crazy costumes,” she said in a press release. “This year, the Island Community Center, the Island Rec Board, the Town of Stonington and all the downtown businesses (including the Opera House) are joining together to create a full day of fun for the little ones.”

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The day begins at 9:30 am at the Island Community Center (summer home of the Stonington Farmers Market) with a costume judging before the trick or treat parade begins at 10 am. The parade route will run from the community center to West Main Street to Pink Street and back to the community center. After the parade, folks will head back to the community center to carve and decorate pumpkins at 11 am.

Then at Noon, the Stonington Opera House will host Halloween activities for kids, followed by a screening of the film Coraline.

In this 2009 film, Coraline Jones is bored in her new home until she finds a secret door and discovers an alternate version of her life on the other side. At first, this other life seems better than her own life – but soon she starts to see danger, and this intrepid little girl must rely on her resourcefulness, determination and bravery to save herself—and her parents!

For more information on Stonington’s Spooktacular Saturday, email info@operahousearts.org, visit operahousearts.org, or call 367-2788. To learn more about the Stonington Opera House Arts, click here.

Crafters Find a New ROOST

Some of the Stonington Farmers Market‘s finest artisans will be selling their unique handmade items at ROOST Maine in Ellsworth on Saturday, Nov. 12. (Yup, November is coming up on us!) It’s at the Moore Community & Conference Center on 5 General Moore Way, just off State Street.

ROOST will feature more than 25 local artisans, live music and light fare. You won’t find any junk there, because the show is curated and juried. There’s plenty of parking and admission is free.

Bob Gillmor, better known as Spoon Bob, will be there dispensing wit and selling his wooden spoons, cooking spatulas (right and left handed) pie servers, cocktail muddlers and magic wands.

Perhaps he’ll bring his two enterprising grandsons, Thomas and Matthew.

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Bob Gillmor, Thomas Coolidge and Matthew Coolidge.

Bob has been told many times his spoons are the BEST.

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A small selection of Bob’s spoons.

Robin Byrne of River Wind Woolies will also be there with gorgeous wool pillows she’s been cranking out this fall.

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Robin Byrne at the Stonington Farmers Market this summer.

Robin assures us we shouldn’t worry — she’s working on all of her usuals too, like felted jar covers, beverage bottle covers, gloves from upcycled sweaters, acorn ornaments and those adorable ball and bell garlands. “Who knows,” she said. “Maybe there will be a surprise or two this holiday shopping season!”

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Robin’s been having fun making pillows like this.

Gillian Mowrey of Mowrey Handcrafts will also be at ROOST. The ROOST folks say they’re so excited Gillian will be there this year.

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Gillian Mowrey behind some of her creations.

Gillian’s ceramic work includes wall plaques, vessels and bird baths. She loves animals and gathers inspiration from the animal kingdom. Gillian makes the most charming animal ornaments, like the fox pictured below:

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This one belongs on someone’s tree.

Stay tuned and we’ll bring you news about more of your favorite vendors who will be at the ROOST show.

 

 

 

Nancy’s Good News From Guatemala

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Nancy Wynne’s cheerful craft booth at the Stonington Farmers’ Market this summer is helping to lift the lives of extremely poor families in the Guatemala Highlands.

This month, the nonprofit finished its 25th home for needy Mayan families, thanks in part to Nancy’s continuous efforts and to the people who bought handmade Guatemalan dresses, hats or scarves from her.

To give you an idea of the conditions in which the Mayans live, here’s a picture of a ‘before’ house:

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The Guatemala Housing Alliance, working with the community, is building houses like this (note the happy inhabitants of their new home).

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To see a slide show of a house being built, click here.

From the most recent newsletter, we learn,

Three families worked together to build three homes. With labor their entire contribution, we are now able to build for those families whose poverty is most extreme, all the while strengthening community connections. And these are BEAUTIFUL homes, built of natural materials.

Nancy and her siblings formed the Guatemala Housing Alliance five years ago. The Island Ad-Vantage explained in a 2012 interview with Nancy how the far-flung siblings began the project.

“When my mother died four years ago, we wondered how we would stay together when the hub of the family was gone,” said Wynne

The siblings decided to focus on a project together—building homes and improving the lives of a community along Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The lake is located in the Guatemalan Highlands, home to a population primarily composed of indigenous Mayan…

[In 2011], the siblings decided to turn their “family project” into a nonprofit, moving from a few self-funded home building projects to a whole-community focus including scholarships and support for education.

To learn more about the Guatemala Housing Alliance, visit the Alliance’s website at guatemalahousingalliance.org.

 

 

Uplifting Documentary at the Opera House Thursday Night

Get inspired tonight at the Stonington Opera House, which presents a film about a Harlem-born artist and poet who lives on the Cranberry Islands. There, 94-year-old Ashley Bryan, celebrates joy, explores the mystery of faith and mediates the darkness of war and racism.

ashley_bryan_01You’ll be glad you saw Ashley Bryan’s World by Sedgwick filmmaker Richard Kane and Brooksville artist Robert Shetterly.

Ashley Bryan wrote and illustrated his first children’s book in 1962, when he was 40.  He was the first African-American to write and illustrate a children’s book that was published.

“I never gave up,” he once said. “Many were more gifted than I but they gave up. They dropped out. What they faced out there in the world–they gave up.”

Since then he published more than 50 books, mostly about the African-American experience.

Life and Times of Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan was born in 1923 in Harlem and grew up in the Bronx, where he learned to draw, paint and play instruments at school from artists and musicians in the Works Progress Administration. He went to Cooper Union School of Art on a scholarship, the only African-American to win one. He was drafted during World War II and served as a porter in the U.S. Army. After the war he went to graduate school at Columbia University, studying philosophy so he could understand war. He then won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Europe.

He taught at Queen’s College, Lafayette College and Dartmouth College, from which he retired in the 1980s. He moved to the Cranberry Islands, where he makes puppets and stained glass windows out of sea glass.

He was the U.S. nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006, the highest award for creators of children’s  books. He also won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for his contribution to American children’s literature in 2009.

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Melody Lewis-Kane and Richard Kane

Richard and his wife Melody Lewis-Kane are the founders of Kane-Lewis Productions in Sedgwick. Richard Shetterly is known for his series, “Americans Who Tell the Truth.”

The Stonington Opera House is a vendor at the Stonington Farmers Market.

Photo of Ashley Bryan By Sue Hill – http://www.winterswork.com/wwashl.html, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6508295.