Friday, September 5, 2008

Rediscovering Kittery Foreside

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist

Kittery Foreside, the historic downtown, is being “rediscovered” according to Town Manager Jonathan Carter. In light of new businesses opening in the Foreside, the Weekly Sentinel interviewed locals associated with the area’s ongoing development.
“There was a Foreside Development Committee headed by the late Ray Smith in the late 90s and early 2000s – who decided to bring the Foreside back to life,” explained Carter. “They put in wider sidewalks, decorative lights, wooden signage, and promoted the area, and I think the new businesses (Doo Hair Salon & Tulsi Indian Restaurant) can be attributed to that group.”
Lory Pratt, owner of the stationary store Papers, Ink!, which is located in the Foreside, has also seen slow but steady growth during her time there. “It all started with the cafĂ© in 2003 (Chef’s Cove Cafe). I was the only retail store down here, then (Restaurant & Bistro) Anneke Jans came and people really started coming. It brought a lot of attention to the area.” Pratt moved from Portsmouth, NH to Kittery in 1983.
According to Anneke Jans Restaurant Manager Anthony Aiken, “business is very good, very healthy, we’re growing and this summer was very good. I think this area will continue to grow. I think there will be more interesting shops and more reasons to come here.”
Town Manager Carter continued, “I think the Foreside’s a unique area. In the warm weather it’s fun to see people walking from Portsmouth to Kittery, and Kittery to Portsmouth. The area is growing and getting better known. And it’s tying in with the small specialty markets on Rt. 1, and John Paul Jones Park down by Warren’s Lobster House.”
Pratt of Papers, Ink! described the recent “Foreside Stroll,” a successful event designed to give Foreside businesses more exposure. “It was an evening when all the shops had open houses with local artists and musicians too. It was a great turnout in June, a nice evening for people to find us.” Future Foreside Strolls are in the works.
Local Foreside business owners have also recently collaborated on creating a map for pedestrian shoppers. “With Enoteca Italiana Grocery and Loco Coco’s Tacos, there is now sort of a walking loop (connecting the Foreside and Rt. 1 businesses),” Pratt said explaining the project. Considering the future of the Foreside, Pratt mused, “I think a lot of people say that Kittery now is what Portsmouth used to be like. We’re just excited about the new restaurants, and about Christine’s too (women’s clothing store).”
Caption: New businesses and restaurants are setting up shop in Kittery’s historic downtown and business owners have collaborated on a map to draw in pedestrian shoppers. (Weekly Sentinel photo)

Celebrating Sarah Orne Jewett

On Sunday, September 7 join Historic New England in a celebration of Sarah Orne Jewett’s birthday at the Sarah Orne Jewett House in downtown South Berwick.
The afternoon will begin with a walking tour of downtown South Berwick. Imagine what life was like during Sarah’s lifetime by visiting the places Jewett family members knew and frequented. View historic photographs and compare life in downtown South Berwick then and now. The walking tour begins at 1pm in the back yard of the Sarah Orne Jewett house. Walking tour admission is $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Pre-registration is strongly suggested.
Continue the celebration by joining Jewett enthusiasts and community members for an enjoyable afternoon listening to readings of selected works by Jewett that relate to people and scenes of South Berwick. The readings will be followed by tours of the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Refreshments and birthday cake will be served. Celebrating Sarah Orne Jewett takes place from 3-5pm at the Sarah Orne Jewett House. Admission: $5 for members, $10 for non-members. Combine the Sarah Orne Jewett Walking Tour with the Celebrating Sarah Orne Jewett program and save $2 off admission. Pre-registration strongly suggested.
The Jewett House shop will be open during the day’s events, offering a selection of books by and about Jewett plus titles on local history and architecture. For more information about both programs and to pre-register, please call the Historic New England office in South Berwick at 207-384-2454.
Caption: The elegant entrance hall of the Sarah Orne Jewett House in downtown South Berwick. (Courtesy photo)

Wildlife Center Hosts Open House

The public is invited to get a rare, close up view of wild birds, mammals and reptiles at The Center for Wildlife’s annual Open House on Sunday, September 7, from 11:00am to 3:00pm.
The Center for Wildlife (CFW) is northern New England’s largest wildlife rehabilitation facility, treating over 1,500 sick, injured and orphaned wild animals each year. Visitors at the Open House will meet some of the current “residents” of the Center, such as a great horned owl, barred owls, saw-whet owls, eastern screech owl, peregrine falcon, red-tailed and broad-winged hawks, and a wide variety of songbirds, small mammals and turtles.
There will also be engaging activities for all ages, including live releases of rehabilitated birds, animal demonstrations, storytelling with Shawn Middleton, children’s games, nature awareness activities, a raffle and silent auction, food and more.
“People who come to the Open House are thrilled to have the chance to see animals up close that they will probably never get to see in the wild,” says Center for Wildlife Executive Director Karen McElmurry. “It also enables us to inform more people about the unique services the Center offers, as well as raise awareness about how people can live in ways that benefit the wildlife that lives here.”
For the second year in a row, the CFW is teaming up with York County Community Action Corporation to offer free trolley rides to the Open House. “We started offering the trolley ride last year to reduce gas useage, tailpipe emissions and traffic on Mountain Road,” says Steven Corrigan, Chair of the CFW. “But we also found that it provides a fun and relaxing travel experience that kids and families really enjoy.”
Corrigan explained that the trolley reflects the Center’s commitment to using green practices whenever possible. “This year the dinnerware at our food tent will be made of corn-based plastic. We are also planning to install solar collectors in the main building and will have a solar power demonstration at the Open House.”
The event will also feature environmental exhibits provided by Great Works Regional Land Trust, the York Land Trust, Mt. Agamenticus Conservation Program, and White Pine Programs.
Visitors may drive to the Center or take the free trolley shuttle that will leave from the York District Court House, at 11 Chases Pond Road in York. The trolley will leave from the Court House every half hour from 10:45am – 2:15pm, and the last trolley will return from the Center at 3:15. The Center For Wildlife is located at 385 Mountain Road in Cape Neddick, near the entrance to Mt. Agamenticus. For more information, visit or call the Center at 361-1400.
Caption: Barred Owls and many other species of birds, mammals and reptiles will be on view at the Center for Wildlife’s Open House on Sunday, September 7, from 11-3. (Courtesy photo)