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Saturday, July 6, 2013


     For fifty years Belfast, Maine, was known for slaughtering chickens. Every hour the huge bay front factory would lop of the heads of 22,000 broilers.   The remains would get dumped into the bay for great white sharks, seagulls, and other creatures to enjoy.  A local told me the harbor had no boats then, "The water was always covered with pink foam,  chicken blood, I guess".
   Things changed. The plant closed thirty years ago, nature cleaned the harbor, and Belfast in now a tourist's dream.  A big, busy boatyard has replaced the chicken factory.  There are all kinds of fresh, new businesses as rent is surprisingly cheap ($7 a square foot vs. $100 in Coconut Grove).  Artists and entrepreneurs are everywhere. The business activity leads to great things.
     The movie theater is still open after 101 years. Art galleries and studios are all over.  We met a couple who had opened a Laotian restaurant, "Laan Xang", overlooking the bay. Here is my salad's view. 

Chase's Daily, one of the more successful restaurants, also has a bakery and farmers market. 


Our host, Paul, took us for a ride on his giant boat but what we really like is rowing. We begin every day by going out with with a group of seven. Our morning team plies these tranquil waters in 32-foot Cornish gigs. They were once used to run harbor pilots out to incoming ships. 
      On July Fourth we yearned for simple things, more than explosions in the sky.  We found them in Brooks, a town of 600 ten miles north. 
   Their celebration began with a small patriotic parade that led to the fairgrounds.  A day full of activities included a pig scramble, arm wrestling, and a yodeling contest.  In the scything workshop "Lao" showed us how to cut grass the old way, sideways (try as I may I can not rotate this picture).

   Horse teams competed to see which one could drag 5000 lbs. of concrete the furthest.  Where's the SPCA when you need them?
 A fellow named "Erwel" spends weekends impersonating John Wayne.  When I asked if I could have my picture taken with this man pretending to be someone else, he pretended to hit me. 
 We're happy to be spending July in Maine.  In Miami the John Waynes really hit you.

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