Wiscasset is a small town

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An email has arrived. “Subject: Crazy Blue House.” A property on Federal Street had been painted “Smurf” blue.

Dan and Tracey Whitneythe owners, tried to get ahead, to calm the neighbors who could have been alarmed by the audacious color of the boulevard in the historic district of Wiscasset.

One emailed: “That’s pretty jaw-dropping…maybe that’s the kind of traffic crier we were looking for to slow down fools coming down the hill.”

“Won’t be mad blue for too long,” Dan and Tracey wrote. “This is just the primer coat and will be top coated Monday and Tuesday with the more traditional Sherwin Williams Naval Blue.”

Well, in a small New England town of about 3,500 people, it became big news.

There is an email group list of about 100 people, mostly recent newcomers, second home owners, as well as old timers.

“Kindly love this blue,” wrote Cynthia Papas. “Me too,” wrote Terry Heller who then pleaded for someone to take a photo of the house because it’s not very mobile these days, having broken numerous bones in one foot. “Is someone going to TAKE A PICTURE?!?!? I’m missing all the fun.

Throughout the afternoon, neighbors noticed cars slowing down as they drove down Federal Street, past the Smurf house and blue and yellow Ukrainian solidarity signs.

Later that afternoon, further up Federal Street, there was a garden party, apparently to accommodate a couple who owned Birch, an upscale home furnishing and gift shop. Around 50 people relax, chat and smile. And it seemed like every conversation between neighbors started with “Have you seen the Crazy Blue House”? Everyone had.

This is not the story of a house being painted. It’s about this little town in Maine. It’s a place where people know your name. And your medical reports, And your loved ones. And they care about their neighbors. And their pets. Etc. It’s a real sense of community.

Here, a house painted a bold blue.. it’s news.

I spoke with a man who was born and raised here, started a family here, and retired here. I looked at the people at the party and said to the Wiscasset veteran, “I guess they’re the movers and shakers in town.”

He thought about it. There are Wiscassetins for life, it’s true, a few. There are recent arrivals, some propelled by the Covid or a desire for a simpler life. Finally, there are the “blue-collar Mainers”, who produce services or manufacture products. And different groups have their disagreements. Ask anyone if the multi-million dollar freeway project a few years ago alleviated traffic delays. The gubernatorial race this fall features a Trump fan running against a mainstream Democrat. Already the signs have been deployed.

Saturday’s party was also a sort of kick-off for

the week. The second annual celebration of Wiscasset’s maritime history begins Thursday. Historic businesses will sail on the port, Food trucks. an outdoor cafe, and nearly two dozen musical groups (from blues to classical)

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