I promised that I’d do no more off-roading in my aged Prius after our almost-disastrous mud extravaganza in April. I really meant it this time, since I just replaced the springs last fall.
The casual tourist tootles up Route 1 and completely dismisses Northport as having “nothing there.” Its gems are hidden off the main drag. You almost need insider information to find Bayside Historic District, since it nestles in a net of back roads. It helps to be a die-hard shunpiker, as I am.
Long before I’d ever thought of moving to Maine, I’d saved Bayside in my GPS as “a cute little colony,” since I didn’t know its name. It was obviously a former religious camp meeting site, and I went back several times to take pictures.
Bayside was founded as the Northport Wesleyan Grove Camp Meeting in 1848. In its early years, it was a tent camp along the lines of Ocean Grove, NJ. Most of its surviving buildings date from its heyday, 1870 to 1920. It’s now secular. Its religious charter was dissolved in 1937 and its auditorium torn down the prior year.
There are dozens of tiny gingerbread cottages climbing down to the sea, making it a painter’s paradise. Ed Buonvecchio and I will be painting at a Chautauqua in July: Ocean Park, ME’s Art in the Park. Bayside is good practice.
As I left, I decided to ignore my GPS and headed off to what I thought was the Shore Road, only to find myself on a parallel dirt road running along a bluff. I gritted my teeth and climbed and dodged potholes—and was rewarded by this lovely view of Isleboro:
We find the most amazing things when we set out meandering.