Back in the Saddle

So to speak (after five days without Internet access), and with a new office assistant. First, a report on this year’s Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival. In a word: Fabulous. In more words: A nice group of talented artisans, including a few new faces (and the absence of some old ones: Here’s hoping Hawk, the furniture-maker and walking-stick carver feels better soon; he was truly missed). Also some new musicians this year, including the worth-the-price-of-admission UMM Ukelele Club–fun!

Mark Tiptree brought a new group of musician friends, and both he and Jim Gallant have new CDs that should be out soon. Watch for them. Mark’s also putting together a New Orleans Jazz Festival, with concerts in Portland, Yarmouth and Bowdoinham. He’s bringing in some big guns, so watch for it in August. I’ll post more when I get details.

We cut out early on Sunday for a marathon trip to Halifax, N.S., to pick up a puppy (actually two, one for us and another for a New Hampshire family). With torrential rains in NS and construction elsewhere, it took us 12 hours to arrive home. If you’re considering traveling across the border with a pet, you must have documentation showing that it’s up to date on shots. Other than that, it’s a breeze. Actually traveling, though, requires frequent stops.

The highlight: Dinner at Just Barb’s, in Stockton Springs. I ordered inside, and we settled with the pups at an outdoor picnic table. The waitress delivered our takeout order of fish and chips right to the table. Now, if you’ve never stopped at Just Barb’s, on Route 1, it’s worth it. The two of us didn’t finish a single order ($7.99) and that comes with free seconds. Wow. Nice fresh fish; good crispy fries. It’s a sad little building, but don’t let that deter you.

So my new assistant, Dooley, is now sleeping at my feet (and why not, he was up most of the night). His official title is Chief Paper Shredder. Look for him, along with his big bro Bernie to report on pet-friendly travel.

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