Category Archives: Events

An Island Home: Six Historic Houses of Westport Island, Maine

Yowza!

The Westport Island History Committee and friends are happily celebrating a successful first historic homes tour on the island. About 150 residents and visitors turned out on Sunday, September 16, to view six historic Island homes. The Community Church was also open for viewing and the Town Hall was dressed up with historic homes’ displays, flowers and table arrangements to welcome visitors with a light — and reportedly superb — luncheon. Making it all happen, took a village…

The seven-member House Tour Committee Co-Chaired by Callie Connor and Judy Hughes worked for a year and a half to stage this event. Committee members each brought talents to the table that wed history and historic preservation backgrounds with creative, accomplished Westport Island event planners. Essential to this effort were the homeowners, their families, about 62 volunteers, the History Committee, the Westport Volunteer Fire Department and the tasteful entertaining flair of Louana Frois with the help of Simply Susie’s Catering and flower arranger Posies in the Pines.

Visitors came from near and far. They came to see neighbors’ lovely homes, to see how other groups conduct historic home tours, to see an ancestor’s home, to see the fine features and workmanship of old houses — or all of the above. Effusive reviews were passed on to homeowners and volunteers throughout the tour and in succeeding days…

“Westport Island’s Home Tour was a delight! My guests were blown away with your wonderful selection of historic homes, your excellent signage, and lovely lunch included with the ticket
Well done‼
1. Excellent signage
2. Super Historical Map intro to understand owners and how land was passed around
3. Friendly & knowledgeable house greeters
4. Wonderful luncheon
5. Excellent parking staff, no question about where or how to park…”

“We thought the tour was a grand success and that the prep you all did was very impressive, thorough and very interesting…Bravo to all!”

I am sure I speak for the many that attended your wonderful tour. The houses were a joy to see, the owners/docents generous with their time and cordial attitude. As far as the luncheon, the tables were artfully and beautifully appointed and certainly befitting good food! Lastly, the tour revealed the real Westport.

Since Callie Connor joined the History Committee in 2015, she had a vision for conducting a Historic Homes Tour on Westport Island. Callie, a Professor Emerita of Classics, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a devotee of historic preservation. She serves on the boards of multiple North Carolina organizations dedicated to illuminating and increasing appreciation of history as told through everyday homes and architecture. Callie and her husband, Bob, are both academics with a passion for history that carries forward into daily living. They bought the historic Cornelius Tarbox, Jr. home on Westport Island and have been working to preserve the home and solve the mystery of who painted the folk art marine murals decorating the entryway since they arrived.

The History Committee had never sponsored an historic homes tour, but was “all in” once fellow member and Island entrepreneur Judy Hughes heeded the call to join Callie in defining and developing the event. The House Tour Committee was born and enlisted veteran Island event organizers Ann Springhorn, Carole Dunbar, Tania Hayes, Ruth Nelson and Sally Howe. Callie developed the criteria for selecting the homes that would be highlighted on the tour, focusing on those with both external historic character and interior historic features that had been preserved. Multiple homes fit the bill, but the first selections each offer a very interesting vantage point on Island history.

All participants learned something new and interesting from the research done by House Tour and History Committee members, from the homeowners and from the brochure which provided thumbnail histories of each house. To all those that contributed, thank you and take a bow…

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Photo credits to: Mary Coventry, Jeff Tarbox, Archie Bonyun and Crissy Swartz.

Perfect Weather, Perfect Neighborhood Barbeque

The Westport Volunteer Fire Department (WVFD) thanks all for a great evening

serving under a thank you signOnce the annual WVFD Barbeque was underway, a turn of the head left and a turn of the head right from the entry of the Town Hall gave a view of parked cars as far as one could see. About 230 friends, neighbors and volunteers turned out to visit, enjoy a barbeque dinner and support the fire department. When just-retired Fire Chief Bob Mooney arrived to join the annual get-together, traffic was so busy, he couldn’t find a parking space and had to move on…

It was sad to miss Chief Mooney’s company, but affirming for new Fire Chief Stacey Hutchison that his first barbeque as Chief appeared to be an overwhelming success. When all expenses are paid, the WVFD will likely have raised $2,500 – $3,000 from dinner & dessert donations, T-Shirt sales and raffles. And surely there was a nod of appreciation for the sounds of the Old Grey Goose Band who stepped in to serenade us when the Back to Basics Blue Grass Band was otherwise engaged.

Putting together the annual barbeque is a monumental event for both the fire department and the Community Association. The fire department focuses on food, cooks, servers, set up and logistics. The Community Association focuses on promotion, dessert, entertainment and organizational details. Then
there are generous event sponsors who help to underwrite the event — Bath Savings, Norm’s Used Cars and John E. Bailey (whose donation honored the memory of WVFD Fire Chief Alan Anderson). This year also saw a new “guardian angel,” Liz, the innkeeper of the Squire Tarbox Inn who, along with the inn’s new owners, allowed us to piggyback our food order on the inn’s so the WVFD could benefit from wholesale pricing and reduce costs. Thank you all!!

…And — congratulations to Robert DeLong for walking away with $212 after winning the 50/50 raffle!

If you want to help with next year’s event, speak to Fire Chief Stacey Hutchison or one of the Co-Chairs of the Community Association, Drew Porter or Art Weber.

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The Community Association Does It Right

Puts on a spread, helps us connect and leads a community thank you!

For those who followed the Burma Shave signs leading onto the island last Saturday and accepted the invitation to attend the Westport Community Association’s annual “Meet & Greet,” life was good. The Meet & Greet provides an opportunity for year-round and summer residents to reconnect, sip wine, sample hors-d’oeuvres and trade laughs — and perhaps an occasional fish story.

This year also gave us an opportunity to thank Bill & Jill Cooney for years of service dedicated to preserving and caring for our historic Town Hall. Bill resigned this year as Chair of the Town Hall Committee where he has led fellow volunteers in a tireless effort to maintain and update the hall as well as to beautify the grounds of this historic property. Since the inception of the Town Hall Committee in 1993, the town has seen the Town Hall transformed from an historic structure in need of care to a well-preserved and proud symbol of our island’s history, as well as a functional gathering place for our community. Bill had been its chair from the beginning — February, 1993 — to April of this year.

Thank you Bill and support team Jill and fellow members of the Town Hall Committee. Of particular note, a special thanks to Bob Mongeon — carpenter, heating technician and jack of all trades — who also retired this last year. And thank you to the Community Association for the work, refreshments and thought put into this delightful event!

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Selected photo credits to Laurie Jaramillo

The Community Association’s First Pancake Breakfast Was…

Awesome!

pancake breakfast collageWhether you call them hoe cakes, johnnycakes, flapjacks or pancakes — they were great. Dick Barker brought his secret recipe; and he, Jim Hatch and Brad Adler served up some “satisfyingly” fluffy rounds to flavor with your choice of real maple syrup, blueberries, chocolate chips, jam or all of the above…

Friends and neighbors came and lingered over coffee and the chance to connect after a long, cold winter. More than 100 people ate, served their neighbors, laughed and conversed…and, they raised more than $300. Great job Community Association! Nice way to kick off the season.

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Professional collage courtesy of Laurie Jaramillo

A Beautiful Day for a Run, or Walk

Westport Island’s 13th Annual Shore Run

On Sunday, the sun shone on the 13th Annual Westport Island Shore Run 10K and 5K Fun Walk. The numbers of runners and walkers were the lowest ever (something to work on for next year), but the weather was simply perfect for a scenic outing with friends.

The 10K race by the numbers: Garret Bonney, Boston, took first place with a time of 47:25, a 7:38 pace. Leslie Couper, Falmouth, took the top women’s spot with a time of 50:52, an 8:12 pace. Nora Bradford was the top finishing Westport Islander with a time of 55:35, an 8:57 pace. And Top Dog, Besor, with handler Gail Reinertsen, Brunswick, finished with a time of 1:08:19.

The 5K fun walk by the numbers: there are no numbers, but it was a beautiful walk! Top Dog: Gracie, with her handler, Westport Island Town Office star Dedee Greenleaf-Hodgdon. Congratulations to all the finishers!

With the generosity of sponsors Wayfair; Maine Yankee; Sheepscot River Marine Service; Bath Savings Bank; Ames True Value Supply; Sharon Drake Real Estate; Newcastle Jeep, Chysler, Dodge; the Westport Island Brewing Company; Sparhawk Gear; Norm’s Used Cars; Wiscasset Ford, First Federal Savings, Hodgdon Yacht Services and the Hampton Inn of Bath, it’s estimated that over $1,000 was raised for the Westport Volunteer Fire Department.

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Photo credit: photo of Garret Bonney, Bib #20, by Rob Whitney