Belfast–Maine not Ireland

IMG_1540Belfast is a little gem of a town.  It is about a thirty-minute drive along the coast from Camden.  But, where Camden is a serene, elegant dowager, Belfast is a quirky old uncle with strange tattoos.  It is a visual smorgasbord of angles, colors, and textures.  And its nineteenth century builders and designers paid meticulous attention to the smallest details, making the ordinary something special.

Belfast bank

Belfast bank

Rooftops from harbor

Rooftops from harbor

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The streets are populated by a mish mash of tourists, native Mainers, aging hippie-types, youngish hipster-types, and a few individuals with all of their belongings in shopping carts–the first homeless I’ve seen along this stretch of the coast.

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The downtown winds up a hill from the harbor, which was buzzing with activity.

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The boatyard was busy, plein air painters were scattered at strategic intervals around the harbor, and boats of all shapes and sizes were coming and going.

Boatyard

Boatyard

This woman was stationed over the painter's shoulder for a very long time

This woman was stationed over the painter’s shoulder for a very long time.

IMG_1537Belfast likes its colors.

I love a red tugboat.  These were almost blinding.

Brilliant, immaculate red tugs.  

Front yards that made me  stop in appreciation.

Front yards that made me stop in appreciation.

Lots of old-style painted ads on building fronts and sides

Lots of old-style painted ads on building fronts and sides

Boat repair

Even a boat repair lot was striking for its colors

And then there was the theater

And then there was the theater

There are some lovely old buildings sadly falling past the point of no repair.

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The civil war memorial was striking in its brevity.  I have been reading a biography of E.B. White, who lived one peninsula over.  His mantra for writers was to omit needless words.  No wonder he loved Maine—no need of his reminder here.

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When you travel, some towns just strike a chord with you.  For me, Belfast is one of those towns.