Buried Treasures

This summer has been perfect for outdoor projects, with its long stretches of hot and sunny days. I decided to tackle a long overdue landscaping job in the backyard this week, and found my ongoing restoration of the house on Bennett Street taking an interesting turn.

Faithful readers have followed my adventures of renovating the 100-year-old house that I bought for $19,000 in 2009, some of which involve strange things I’ve found in and around the house. First was the old stone gargoyle hidden behind a plaster and lathe wall in the kitchen, then a creepy antique scythe buried in the back yard. The mysterious excavations continued this week when I started clearing a slope of raspberry brambles and bittersweet to make a rock garden, and found a 12-foot-long chain and a rusty old lock with ornate scrollwork on it buried next to a scattering of bullets. I joked that at least I haven’t found a body yet, but I’ll keep you posted!

Singers and Stewards

One of my favorite summer pastimes is a sunset stroll through the gardens behind the Magic Lantern to the beautiful Bob Dunning Bridge entrance of Pondicherry Park. Last Monday I heard an ethereal song coming from under the bridge, and saw a family gathered below, singing hymns. The men and boys were dressed in somber suits and the women wore bonnets and full-length pastel dresses, and it looked like a scene out of time. It was so surprising and beautiful; I just stood there in silence listening to their voices and thinking about how lucky I was to be there right then and how special the park is.

This week the Lakes Environmental Association is celebrating the transfer of Pondicherry Park to the town of Bridgton by establishing the Pondicherry Park Stewardship Fund. Contributions will be used to support existing funding with park maintenance, bridge maintenance, park enhancements, trail marking and maps.

As a special thanks to those donating to the fund, everyone who contributes will receive a one-year gift membership to LEA. LEA initiated Pondicherry Park six years ago, but is better known for lake protection programs such as water quality testing and milfoil prevention.

LEA’s two watershed educators use Pondicherry Park and LEA’s Holt Pond Preserve as outdoor classrooms for hundreds of area students.

Donations to the Pondicherry Park Stewardship Fund will show support for all the work LEA does while helping the Town’s lovely new park. To contribute, send a check (payable to LEA Pondicherry Fund) to LEA at 230 Main Street, Bridgton 04009.

Grab Bags of

Glad Rags

If you are looking for a thrifty way to stock up on back-to-school gear while helping a local nonprofit, head downtown this weekend. The Bridgton Hospital Guild Thrift Shop, conveniently located next to Reny’s on Main Street in Bridgton, ends their popular “End of Summer” half-price sale this Saturday, Aug. 11, followed by their “Fill-A-Bag for a $2” sale starting Monday, Aug. 13, through Saturday, Aug. 18.

The Bridgton Hospital Guild Thrift Shop is a fundraising project that donates all profits to buying equipment and supplies for Bridgton Hospital, and hosts community outreach programs. For full details about the Bridgton Hospital Guild including how to become a member go to www.bridgtonhospital.org/gateway-guild.html. The shop is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Kids Katering

The Bridgton Community Center continues their popular Summer Lunch Program through Friday, Aug. 24. “Kids Katering” provides a free lunch to anyone under 18 Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m. at both the BCC on Depot Street and at the Highland Lake Beach. There is no pre-registration necessary, just show up for food and fun.

Volunteers are always welcome, too; please call Director Carmen Lone at 647-3116 for more information.

Pickin’ and Grinnin’

Grab your family and your fiddle and head to the Bridgton Historical Society’s second annual Bluegrass Festival this Saturday, Aug. 12. The hills of Narramissic Farm will be ringing with the sounds of the Cedar Mountain Boys, Medicine Root and Kip Hemingway, as well as an open Bluegrass Jam for everyone.

The fun starts at 2 p.m. and goes until 8, with food and drink available for purchase. Tickets are $12 for adults, $3 for kids under 10. There will also be a kite-flying festival before the show, also in the Narramissic fields. For more info call the Historical Society at 647-3699.

Beach Blitz

The beach at Highland Lake will be the site of an awesome fundraiser for the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter on Friday, Aug. 24, and it is being organized and hosted entirely by teens.

The Lake Region Interact Club from the middle school conceived of the fundraiser as their way to do community service and help out the nonprofit shelter. With sponsor Mody Botras they were able to petition the town to issue a rare special-event permit to use the beach, and got local businesses to sponsor the contest. Any performer under 18 is invited to bring their talent to the beach and vie for $175 in cash prizes. It starts at 4 p.m. and costs $5 to enter, so if you win that’s not a bad return. All proceeds go to Harvest Hills, and Botras says “the kids came up with the idea to involve the community in their fundraising efforts, and they have done 100 percent of the organizing work themselves.”

Birthing Babies

Just like Butterfly McQueen, I “don’t know nothin’ bout” it, but the women at the Birth House sure do. They have facilitated dozens of successful home births, and also help run the educational side of things at Birth Wise. They are hosting a class on “Postpartum Wellness” on Tuesdays, Aug. 14 and 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. The program focuses on maintaining wellness for mother and baby during the six-week postpartum period, and pregnant woman are encouraged to attend. The cost is $25 per family, and all partners and children are also welcome.

Then, later this month, they have a free Movie Night screening of the film “Home Delivery.” On Thursday, Aug. 23, from 6 to 8 p.m. everyone is invited to watch the movie about three expectant mothers in New York City who decide to take their births into their own homes. To register for the Wellness Class and for more information on other upcoming programs call the Birth House at 647-5968.

Lowell Carr, Wells Carr and Annie O’Connor, grandchildren of Lakes Environmental Association executive director Peter Lowell, amble across the Bob Dunning Bridge into Pondicherry Park. (Courtesy photo)

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