I’m telling you, there’s really nothing like waking up to a 38 degree (chilly) house with a full day of visiting and shopping in the Carrabassett Valley planned. We’ve been having so much fun this year. We’ve met so many people I just can’t stand it. It’s like every time we go out, we’re taking names and numbers. Perhaps we’ll have a party one day. Well, probably not but a party certainly would be a lot of fun.
We’ve been struck by the cold front that’s sweeping almost the entire USA. Really, I don’t mind. Before I got out of bed this morning, I pulled the blankets up so they covered half of my face. I knew I’d start shivering the moment I pulled them away, so I stayed there as long as I could. Laura was already up and getting ready, but I tried to stay hidden for as long as I could.
The reason it was so cold in the house is because we had to let the fire in the wood stove burn out overnight. If our plan is to leave for the day, I don’t like having the stove hot while we’re not here. That’s part of the compromise we have to deal with for paying so little for heat during the winter. It’s cheap, but it really dictates what we can do and where we can go. If we left for too long, I’m sure we’d return to frozen pipes and other problems. The place warms up awfully quickly once I get things lit up again though. As I sit here and write this post, my back is nice and toasty because the wood stove it rosy red. I wouldn’t give this up for the world.
Laura and I have been talking about this trip for a week. Our goal for Christmas this year is to buy each other a few small gifts that would fit into two stockings. I already bought two and currently have them hanging from the wall near the pellet stove. I wrote some of my ideas down for her stocking. They are chocolate, candy, coffee, tea, beer, candles, incense, wine, soap, a coloring book (she has her eye on one), food from Reny’s, books and figs. While I’ll probably only get her a few things, this is the pool I thought I could choose from.
The idea for today’s visit to Kingfield was to check out a few shops we haven’t gone into yet and to try to gather the beginnings of our presents. We’ve already admitted that they won’t be a surprise since we spend so much time together, so we’re doing the shopping out in the open. To me, that’s fine. She doesn’t seem to have an issue with that either.
We had to run over to Madison for something this morning, so we decided to take a different route up to Kingfield. We’ve never gone on this set of roads, so I was excited to see what they were like. From Madison, we’d pass through the towns of North Anson and North New Portland. Little did I know that there would be a mountain right in the middle of our route. It was awesome climbing it and seeing all the new snow on the backside of Sugarloaf. It was like we were driving through the hills of Vermont. Very cool.
That’s Kingfield right down in the valley. Incredibly cute little town.
Much of the time was taken traveling on Route 16 between North New Portland and Kingfield. I was fairly surprised to see how beautiful that leg of the trip was. It was full of all types of pine trees and was really quite nice. I think we’ve decided that this will be the new way to go. It’s only a few miles longer than the other way and we don’t have to deal with that bumpy dirt road that sits north of our town lake.
I tried to take a picture of the road I’m referring to. I think it came out okay.
It’s kind of tough while driving.
Our first goal was to stop by the Carrabassett Coffee Company to pick up a few pounds of coffee. My buddy Steve told me that this is a good place and I’ve been meaning to get there. Since coffee was on the list for Christmas, today was the day. The thing is, they closed at noon, so we had to get done what needed to get done in Madison and then quickly get up there. Luckily, we made it with plenty of time to spare.
They had a decent selection of unique flavors of coffee. We even made a few new friends while there. The fellow who was working the counter looked out the window and complimented us on our car. Then, he complimented us on a few other things, which I thought was nice. Since we were all buttered up, I promised him that we’d come back if we liked the coffee.
Ultimately, we decided on Rooster and Back Draft. I have no idea what these are like, but the fellow said they were dark. That’s good enough for me. Dark coffee and beer. That’s all I want.
Our next goal was to visit a small shop that sits just outside the village. It’s called Scentsations and it’s very interesting and full of nifty items. The last time we stopped by this store, we grabbed a few sticks of incense. They sell 10 sticks for only $2. I don’t know if that’s good or not, but I do know that Laura has fun picking them out.
Today, we bought some more incense. We also found a treasure trove of cookbooks in their upstairs section that were on sale for half price. After taking my sweet time browsing through each and every one, I decided upon a collection of magic called Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi. The book’s cover price is $35, so we got it for $18.46. That includes the tax. I just took a look on Amazon to see what others think about it and to find out the price. I was pleasantly surprised. Apparently, it’s rated at 4.6 stars by 859 people and costs $21.49. This time, I won. I love winning.
This is Laura’s gift to me. Unfortunately, it’s not going to fit in my stocking, so we’re going to have to let it rest beside it.
I’m so excited. It’s got so many incredible looking recipes. I know I just told you about my collection of cookbooks yesterday, so I guess I’ll have to update that list for future posts.
By this point, I was getting revved up for our next stop. We’ve already been successful with the most important things on our list and I was ready for more. I knew that we had to go to the local Shurfine grocery store to get some eggs and other things, so I thought it was time to get that out of the way. Tranten’s it was.
Well wouldn’t you know it. Tranten’s sells wine and beer. Since beer is on my list, it didn’t take long to make it to their selection. Ultimately, we didn’t find much in the way of the dark beer we enjoy so much. There was a lot of ale, but not stout. They did, however, offer a very small selection of stout that was hiding near some other stuff, so I grabbed a few bottles of it.
The two types we got were Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout and Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout. I’ve tasted the oatmeal stout before and liked it, but I’ve never had the chocolate stout. I’m sure it’s good. Both of these bottles are going in the stockings. They should make for an entertaining Christmas morning in our PJs.
As I was taking pictures of the beer, Voleman decided to jump on the counter to help. After seeing this, I just had to share his cute little face with you. Laura was waving a ball behind my head so he would look up. He’s not cross-eyed. He just looks it in this picture.
Only two more places to go. First, we’d stop by the Orange Cat Cafe for some coffee and breakfast and then the art gallery again. First, the cafe.
I’m so glad we did this. We’ve passed by this cafe a million times but never stopped. Now, since we introduced ourselves to everyone who works there and found them to be extremely friendly, we can visit for a coffee and breakfast whenever we’re in town.
It’s such a cool place. They’ve got an interesting dining room that is quite relaxed. There are couches and tables and streamers and all sorts of decorations. Did I mention couches? Yes, the kind that you sink right into.
Since I was just sitting there doing nothing after I finished the breakfast, I thought I’d take a few photos for you. Enjoy the tour.
This first picture is of the staircase. As I mentioned earlier, it’s decorated and it’s really neat.
This next photo is of the room right next to where I was sitting. There’s a big table, a couch and another small cafe type of table and chairs.
Check out the cat in this next picture. His name is Copper and I think he’s the inspiration for the cafe.
Here are some more tables and chairs.
This final shot is my attempt at being artistic. I just snapped one looking out the window.
Oh yeah, these next two are Laura’s. She snuck her camera out as well. The first one is of some butterflies mounted on one of the walls and the next one is of some house plants on the table.
Moving on to our last stop, the art gallery. I know I already showed you what some of the inside of this place looks like in a previous post, but there’s more. I still needed to get Laura a gift and I knew the gallery had collectibles as well as artwork, so I thought it would be in my best interest to see if I could find something nice. We went in and looked around.
I first looked in the antiques room.
I found a nice picture of a lady, but I decided against it. Somehow, I didn’t think she’d like it.
So I went out and into another room to check out some artwork.
Nothing struck me, so I turned around to take a closer look at some locally made dishware. These items were made with the Sugarloaf logo.
While it was very nice, I’d either have to purchase all of it or none of it. I didn’t have enough money in my wallet for all of it, so I moved onto some hats, pillows, towels and quilts.
They didn’t do it for me. It wasn’t until I heard, “Bob, I found it. I found what I like.” It was a Christmas tree ornament made by Susan P. Hudson of Beech Hill Farm. I agreed that it was beautiful and I bought it.
Laura likes it because she can hang it on the Christmas tree during that season and on the window for the rest of them. I’d say that’s a job well done and a very productive day.
Now, onto worrying about the impending snow storm. We’re supposed to get over a foot tonight and tomorrow morning.