In honor of the beginning of summer, I am featuring several destinations featured in the book, Off the Beaten Path: Maine, a guide to unique places. If the places piqué your interest, you can find more by checking the book out of the library. I’ve also included web sites for the destinations featured in this blog.
1. “L.C. Bates Museum is situated on the campus of the Hinckley School just off Route 201 south of the intersection with Route 23. The museum was founded by L.C. Bates, a successful entrepreneur from West Paris, Maine, who financed the conversion of the industrial arts building to a museum in 1924. Thanks to benign neglect, the museum was preserved in a wonderfully archaic state. The place boasts a copious collection of minerals, baskets by the Penobscot Indians, cases featuring stuffed bear, caribou, and the peculiar calico deer (among other items). On the school grounds near the museum are several walking trails, which pass quite a few handsome stone edifices and memorials. The trails are open to the public during museum hours; ask for a trail brochure at the front desk.”
2. “Worth visiting when you’re on campus is the Colby College Museum of Art. The museum, housed in an open, modern wing appended to a more traditional brink structure, contains works by such Maine luminaries as Winslow Homer, John Marin, and Andrew Wyeth. The museum is particularly known for its collection of paintings by contemporary artist Alex Katz.”
3. “Learn more about the expedition at the Arnold Historical Society Museum, downstream from Gardiner on the river’s east bank in Pittston. This fine historical home dates to 1765 and is furnished with period antiques. The Colburn family lived in the house for nearly 200 years. Visitors get a quick education in the history of decorative arts and architecture in seeing how the house evolved over the years. The guide will also tell you about Major Reuben Colburn, the original resident, who hosted General Arnold and Aaron Burr for two nights while the final arrangement for the expedition were ironed out.”
4. “Another intriguing historic setting may be found in southern Oxford County, not far from Route 25. Paris Hill is notable both for its assortment of handsome Federal-style homes and as the birthplace of Hannibal Hamlin, a Maine political icon and vice president under Abraham Lincoln during this first term. This ridgetop setting with view toward the White Mountains serves as a fine back drop for an uncommonly well-preserved village of 19th century houses. “
“The Hamlin Memorial Library in Paris Hill is located adjacent to Hannibal Hamlin’s grand estate on the village green and is the only building open to the public. This stout granite building served as a local jail between 1822 and 1896. In 1901, it was purchased by one of Hamlin’s descendants and converted into a library and museum, which it remains to this day.”
5. “In nearby South Paris is the McLaughlin Garden and Horticultural Center, a popular stop for anyone interested in landscaping and plants. The gardens were started in 1936 by Bernard McLaughlin, an amateur gardener who worked in a local grocery store. After his death, the home and gardens were acquired by a nonprofit foundation, which now maintains the grounds and is trying to restore them to their former grandeur.”
Scott Handville, Assistant Library Directot