Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Nervous Nellie's on Deer Isle, Maine

On sunny days of summer and early fall,
I’m painting on the coast,
but grey days are writing and blog days.

Not that my blog is grey today
thanks to a bright red bird
called Nellie.

My teenaged son and I
visited her tearoom and gardens
this time last August.

How can I describe Nervous Nellie’s?
Even the owner isn’t sure:
“I always feel stymied when I try to describe Nervous Nellie’s: a cottage industry that is actually in a cottage? A quirky living museum of island life and culture? A folk art sculpture garden that feels magical, hilarious and poignant all at once? A colorful shop of handmade goods and a tea room with homemade goodies? A sandbox with great toys? A dog that smiles?”
Whatever it is, Nervous Nellie’s is well worth the 3-hour drive from Portland, Maine. From the Blue Hill area, you cross a suspension bridge to Little Deer Isle and onto a narrow causeway to Deer Isle. Then you tell your learner’s permit son NOT to pull over into the sea when an ambulance approaches from behind with sirens blaring. Step on the gas!

Nervous Nellie’s was just
the place to unwind.

Artist Peter Beerits forms
his life-size creations
out of found
and donated objects,
mostly junk.

My son noticed that
this whimsical creature
was born from
the guts of
a baby grand piano.

In the woods, we found the junk court of King Arthur . . . and some other folks:

Nervous Nellie’s isn’t so much a sculpture garden but a sculpture town. 
We stepped inside Red’s Lounge . . .

To hear some blues.

Then we shared a quiet morning
from another time.

After a real tea with Nellie,
we went back
to my friend's cottage
with jars of jam
in a lobster fisherman’s bait bag.
My favorite was Blackberry Peach Conserves.

It tasted like sunshine.

Book to read on Deer Isle:
My favorite Sarah Dessen novel, 
The Truth About Forever
revolves around a teenaged boy
who makes sculptures out of junk. 
His girlfriend has a summer job catering. 
Wes and Macy would love Nervous Nellie’s too.

Next Post: Wednesday August 31st 
It's time for another mom-son vacation
before school resumes (yikes!)


Shaista said...

It looks a fascinating place, although a little unnerving?! Your blue skies and water are dreams for me - Cambridge is a bleary blurry grey today... Oh where hath summer gone??

P.s. Am going to Bruges this weekend for a birthday treat (to myself I mean!).... Have you been??

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Sarah

I do agree with Shaista--a fascinating and may I add a very different place! It is my dream to visit Maine and your blog has given me some great place I would love to visit.

As always thanks for sharing! Hope you and your son will have a nice vacation--my daughter started back to school today.

Tracy :)

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

School's already started here. Hard to believe. And way too hot to concentrate, in my opinion.

I finished State of Wonder this week. Write me and tell me what you didn't like about the ending! I have a few thoughts of my own.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

What a whimsical and charming place Sarah! I'd love to taste the blackberry/peach conserves.

troutbirder said...

Methinks Maine has more than a few cottage industries specializing in the idiosyncratic. What fun!

Sarah Laurence said...

Shaista, it was a bit unnerving since the sculptures were life size and surprisingly realistic. We had a gorgeous sunny day today, but this has been an unusually wet August. I went to Bruges with my friends the summer after we graduated from high school. It was charming and had terrific food. You’ll love it. Happy Birthday!

Tracy, already in school? Yikes! My kids don’t start until the day after Labor Day although sports preseason has already started. I hope your daughter had a good first day.

Pamela, September is early enough for school. I always feel bad for the kids as the weather is so delightful then. I emailed you about State of Wonder and am looking forward to hearing your reaction to the book.

Bonnie, you can order the jams online, link below. They are expensive but worth it.

Troutbirder, I love the idiosyncrasy of Maine.

Alyson | New England Living said...

That is amazing! I'd love to go there. Looks so charming and inspiring. Maybe one of these days I'll get to spend an extended period of time in Maine.

Ellen Booraem said...

I love NN's, and haven't been there this summer. A great place to take guests.

If you have time during a Deer Isle trip, Sarah, we should have lunch in Blue Hill sometime!

khaki said...

I love it! How bizarre and yes, worth the drive. Laughed out loud - yes, step on it, not pull over into the sea. hahaha. Funny. What a neat little place!

Sarah Laurence said...

Alyson, drop by Brunswick when you do. We’re right off 295 and Rt 1 and it would be fun to meet in town for lunch or similar.

Ellen, Blue Hill looked enticing. Next time I visit my old college roommate on Deer Isle, I’ll look you up too. She invited me this August, but I’m too busy with work and other family plans. Give me a shout if you’re passing through Brunswick too, another good lunch spot.

Kacky, somehow I’ll survive the experience of teaching my son to arrive. He’s actually quite a cautious driver for a 17-year-old boy. New situations like that throw him (and me) for a loop. It does help to laugh through it.

Donna said...

What a unique place! I hope your summer has been going well!

Anil P said...

Magical world. Fascinating. Stills the moment from times long passt, and maybe helps reconnect in that moment.

Island life and culture. Serene.

I quite liked the "In the woods, we found the junk court of King Arthur"

It seems just the place to meander in and unwind.

Sarah Laurence said...

Donna, it looked like your summer has been fun too.

Welcome back, Anil! I was thinking of you after the India-England test match. Your team showed excellent sportsmanship. I'm still working on the cricket scenes in my latest young adult novel. It's tricky figuring out how to introduce this foreign sport to Americans. Less might be more.

Elizabeth said...

What a curious place! Rather fun, I think.
So sad summer seems to be drawing to a close.
I have been thinking of you lately and wondering how your writing is coming and whether you have been taking a summer break.
All best wishes. I will be most interested when you get your new pup.

Rose said...

What a great place! I love the court of King Arthur. Have fun on your trip--you're a brave Mom:)

Jan said...

Have a happy time, Sarah.
Always feel good after reading your postings!

☆sapphire said...

I heard about Hurricane Irene on the news. Are you alright? I really hope you and your family are all safe.

This is a lovely post, Sarah. What a funny place! The sculpture town sounds great. Love your blue sea photo!

A Cuban In London said...

The images, the text, the descriptions. Everything sounds fascinating.

I'm back now. Had a fab time in Cornwall.

Wish you the best to you and your lovely family.

Greetings from London.

Sarah Laurence said...

Elizabeth, I can’t believe it’s the last day of August but at least it still feels like summer. I did lots of travel and little writing this summer, but now I’m in the midst of revising my mystery for adults. I’ll email you end of next week once it’s off to my agent for feedback. We get the puppy that weekend too.

Rose and Jan, thanks! My son and I had fun this time on a different island, Nantucket. We had to leave early because of the hurricane. Our visit started with the mini earthquake. All very exciting for my son.

Sapphire, by the time Irene hit Maine, it was a tropical storm. Lots of branches came down and neighbors lost power, but the damage was far greater in the south.

ACIL, welcome back! I love Cornwall. We were there for 2 days in June. I’m back from my second vacation to Nantucket Island. It’s the busy week before school starts for my kids. I wish I could be back at the beach.

cynthia said...

This looks like the perfect place to settle in with books. Jealous!