As promised in my last post, which lauded the virtues of breweries on the Blue Hill peninsula, I’ll take you to Brooklin itself, the tiny town of under 900 occupants with the charm of a quintessential (I love that word because I can spell it) New England village. First stop is Sandy’s Provisions, located in the old post office right in the center of “downtown.”
I imagined E.B. White coming here back in the 1930’s and 1940’s to post a package or pick up his mail. What would I say to him if his ghost appeared while I poured myself some of Bucklyn Coffee’s “0-Dark-30?” Deciding I’d be tongue-tied, I move on to the counter, where Sandy takes orders for “Breakfast Buddies,” her homemade version of a breakfast sandwich that is so fresh and delicious you know you’ll never, even out of desperation, order one from a fast food joint ever again.
In an adjoining room, barista Dave presides behind his espresso machine and serves the coffee he roasts at another location. We’ve come every day for either a morning “road” coffee to take on our travels for that day, or for an afternoon “cuppa,” where other pilgrims and citizens were happy to talk to us. One gloomy Thursday, we chatted with new transplants. “What brought you here?” I asked. The woman shrugged and said, “We visited once and just decided to move here.” She was from Akron, Ohio and he was from everywhere. Brooklin seemed like a good fit, and I am gleaning as I go that that’s how a lot of people get here. Dave, too, liked good conversation. I truly felt like I was back in Italy…just a little more countrified, New England style.
Across the main street Friend Library, circa 1912, sits snug under the newly-leafed trees. “Friend” is a fortunate choice of names, because the staff is truly friendly, welcoming and informative. It took me until my second visit to get up the courage to ask if they loaned items to visitors. “Of course.” And within minutes I had my very own library card. My husband asked if he might come up in the fall to give a talk on one of his academic specialties, “Mediterranean Noir,” and the answer was, “Of course.” Can’t wait until our return visit in September for that.
Zig-zagging back across the main drag, I stopped at Betsy’s Sunflower, a cottage filled with books, artwork, kitchenware and much more. Betsy runs her store with a confidence and professionalism born of a career bookseller. She brings many authors in for readings and signings, and she promises the same for me, when my beer book is published next year. Great! Another reason to return.
On our last morning there, it was warm enough to take our Breakfast Buddies and coffee out to the old, wooden porch, where my imagination again took over. I wondered who rocked here, way back when. Who traded local news, complained about the long winter, made a deal on a new wooden dinghy? I almost heard them in the shadows, then elbowing me a bit for taking up too much room. Or maybe, someone was nudging me to “do tell” my story. “I’ll be back, is all I can say.”