Saturday, August 27, 2011

Exactly How Far North Do You Live, Sippican?

Well, let's not get nuts. Those "reindeer" don't live in Rumford, where we're from. They live in Norway.

Norway is a town about a half-hour south of here. My wife and I like going to Norway, and not just because you see elks that don't belong to a lodge. We like going to the coffee shop downtown, and look in awe at the person behind the counter with the gumption to put out business cards that refer to him as the "executive chef" of the place. I'm unsure if there's an assistant vice-president in charge of paper cups and Sweet'n Low or a Minister without portfolio mopping the floor. I'm afraid to ask anyone anything in there. 

My wife thinks the passel of elk was in South Paris, not Norway. Could be. I'm new around here, and don't leave the house much on top of it. I usually just set out on the von Schleiffen overland route -- driving in western Maine is like being a WWII re-enactor -- we're driving through South Paris, invading Norway, rolling over Poland. Nuvi's crisp, vaguely Scandinavian-accented directions lend a Quisling touch to the directions.

We were on our way to Kennebunk on business. I'd never been to Kennebunk. My soul has become somewhat corroded by owning a painted house in a sea of aluminum and vinyl siding in my down-at-the-heels mill town. I needed to see some paint. Kennebunk is painted, thank goodness.

Kennebunk isn't Kennebunkport. Kennebunk's very particular about such matters. The town's slogan on its webpage is: "The only village in the world so named." The next town over is Kennebunkport, but their point, whatever it is, still stands. At least Kennebunkers can sleep serene in their Kennebunks at night, knowing that they aren't arrant liars like those Kennebunkportholes who claim that their burg is: "The place to be all year."  I didn't notice a prison in Kennebunkport, and I've been in Maine in the winter once or twice, so I doubt the veracity of this statement.

Kennebunkport is for the rich swells with whales on their pants, I think. Kennebunk folk just wear lime-green slacks and white shoes at their clubs, with no cetaceans, like regular people.

Everything really old in Maine's along the coast. I live in a 1901 Queen Anne, and it would be a Bauhaus design compared to some of these places. 

Here's a big old rambler that every realtor and media person would call a "Victorian," because its a Colonial Revival and they don't know a turnip from a truffle: 

I didn't notice any riots over austerity measures outside the Acropolis here, but maybe I was there too early. Union people do tend to sleep in a lot: 

Nothing duller than an Adam Colonial. It's as dull and useful as every other thing in this country that was worth a fart in a windstorm that we've thrown away with both hands and then clubbed with an oar:

Here's the other side of Agamemnon's joint. It's got the highfalutin' version of Maine's signature rambling house layout: Little house, big house, back house, barn.

There's some exuberance in the color schemes, thank the savior. I'm afraid to go to the bathroom in a New England downtown because I'm afraid they'll paint my pecker white and hang green shutters on either side of it. Victorians were exuberant people and painted things exuberantly, too. And while you're looking at surly stick-figures with bolt-ons in the Victoria's Secret catalog and building Lego Deathstars even though you're forty and childless, those stuck-up Victorians were having fourteen kids on the weekdays, and chasing the maids around the back house while the missus was on the fainting couch with the  footman on Saturdays. 

Mount Vernon is done like this next Italianate job. The wood is carved to look like stone blocks. The corners are clad in what are called "quoins" if you know what you're talking about, and "coins" if you're a realtor that only watches TV and doesn't read much. 

I think I wanna buy the next shack. It's for sale, too; rather cheaply if you ask me, for $1.35 mil. Some escapee from a home has installed a pool behind it, but you could overlook their mental problems and ice skate on it after Labor Day or something. The blue shack you just looked at is for sale, too, but they want $1.75 mil for it, and their swimming pool is full of frogs and weeds. Farg that noise. I want the Munsters house, and I'll use the 400 grand I save to buy a french maid costume for my wife to wear when she dusts.

I'm a little short of funds just now, and the owners signaled a kind of coolness toward my scheme of making them a straight swap for my $24,000 palace in Rumford by furtively looking over their shoulder as I passed by and fleeing indoors. So you folks are going to have to buy another copy of my book and hang it on a nail in the outhouse like the first copy if I'm going to be in by Christmas, because it's straight cash homey in Kennebunk, I guess.  


julie said...

This is what I like about you, Sipp - educational and entertaining.

Also, at $400,000 that's got to be some French Maid outfit. Does it come complete with a maid?

vanderleun said...

Namin' all the house styles without breakin' a sweat.

Show off.

John Lien said...

A lot of homes in these parts have fancy names too, like Clayton and Fleetwood and they have something those don't, wheels! Pretty neat, huh?

Leslie said...

Sure looks different than the Southwest. Almost a different country. Beautiful.

South of 5 and 20 said...

Here in the Finger Lakes, which were not settled until after the Revolution, realtors refer to any house with a peaked roof as a "colonial."

Thud said...

Everything pictured looked familiar yet slightly odd as if every detail had been twisted slightly...damned clever yankees. I need another lifetime to learn about this stuff.

Brettonpoint said...

Hey Sip, where are the three deckers? Everyone in New England at some point in time lived in or had relatives who lived in three deckers! Come on show those the three deckers in Portland, Boston, Lowell, Millinocket! Craftsmen bulit those too!

NavyOne said...

Wow, amazing. . .

SippicanCottage said...

Ahem- No one from The Dot ever calls them anything but triple-deckers.

Brettonpoint said...

Hmmmmm, In Codman Sq( Moultrie ST )we called them three deckers, but perhaps you were thinking of "Triple O's Dining and Disco Emporium on Boston St? Course we both know Triple O's was Whiteys hangout so mums the word.

H. Gillham said...


No ranch houses?

Exactly, where are you?


"The corners are clad in what are called "quoins" if you know what you're talking about, and "coins" if you're a realtor that only watches TV and doesn't read much."

You always make me laugh.

BTW: I skipped the Hungarian hairy guy swimming video....

Dave said...

I recently stayed at The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel in Kennebunkport and had an amazing experience. Here's their website: