Loran Smith: UGA Old Home Week in Maine

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Loran Smith: UGA Old Home Week in Maine

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

KENNEBUNK, Maine – It could have been something of a University of Georgia “Old Home Week” in Maine much of the last fortnight as every stop on an excursion from Boston throughout the Pine Tree state, there were constant connections to the “G” wherever my itinerary took me.

On a flight from Atlanta to Boston, several Bulldog aficionados wore red and Black.  At the Marriott Long Wharf, a couple dressed in Georgia tee shirts boarded a train on the MTA, which was headed to Fenway Park.





Dave O’Brien, the popular Red Sox TV play-by-play voice, inquired about the status of Georgia football for the fall.  He has a vested interest in UGA because his daughter Sammy is a UGA journalism graduate, and his son Michael has a Georgia law degree.

That was just the beginning.  Things really heated up in Kennebunk, Maine, when Harold Brewer, a former resident of Athens, took a couple of anxious travelers on an alacritous sojourn via the turnpike and interstate to the “top” of the state to Ft. Kent at the Canadian border.  This is where U. S. Highway 1 begins and ends 2,466 miles south in Key West, Florida—unless you choose to drive “up” to Ft. Kent, making Key West your embarkation point.

I have driven several portions of U. S. 1 over the years and may someday tackle the rest of this federal highway.  Walking the Appalachian Trail has passed me by, but if the cost of gas allows, then I may complete the U. S. 1 journey, which has already brought about an introduction to some very interesting personalities, venues, and landscapes.





U. S. 1 mostly follows a coastal route, especially in Maine, which had us stopping for a lobster roll one day at Helen’s Restaurant in Machias, where Briahna Reece spotted a “G” on a windbreaker and ushered us to her table.  She has relatives in Georgia and follows the “Dawgs.”   

This seaside restaurant is famous in distant places, even outside Maine’s borders, for its blueberry pie which is a blessed creation of proprietor Julie Barker.  The New York Times gives Helen’s blueberry pie the highest regard.  A sign on the counter asked this tempting question: “Did you say exercise or extra pie?”  Like countless others, I happily succumbed to the latter.

Settling in at the Blue Hill Inn in the town of Blue Hill caused us to appreciate a nexus with the new owners of the charming B&B, where bountiful hospitality and a conspicuous breakfast made our day.  Waiting our table one morning was Victoria Speth, who moved about gingerly, owing to a broken back which resulted from a car accident.  An enterprising college student, she nonetheless honored the work ethic though physically compromised.  

Clair and Kim Maxwell, recently retired in Marietta, the seat of Cobb County, were moved to settle in this picturesque Maine community and become proprietors of an establishment that days back to 1830.  Their daughter, Bailey, was just graduated from Georgia.

Blue Hill is where Buddy and Lucy Allen of Athens have had a home for years.  After renting, they found their permanent garden spot in 2013.   Buddy, whose late father, Heyward, founded Heyward Allen Motor Co. after he captained Georgia’s first bowl team, became a sailing aficionado years ago, which attracted him to this area.

A serious fly fisherman, he and his wife, Lucy, his high school sweetheart, enjoy, in addition to sailing, Maine’s Indian summers, bridge, occasional golf at the Blue Hill Country Club, a Donald Ross design which means he grew up on one Ross design and will someday retire at another—1,263 miles apart.

The Allen’s are cooking aficionados, creative and expert.  And practiced.  Should they invite you for a meal, you give it the priority you would an invitation for tea at Buckingham Palace.  For lunch one day, while hosting a local blueberry scion, they served lobster salad with their special touch.  I didn’t ask but would not be surprised if Buddy caught the lobster himself.

Further on down the coast, Harold Brewer and his wife Mona, our genial hosts, wanted to stop in on their long-time friends, Tom and Sally Savage, who live at Searsport.   Like many natives and transplants—along with those of the fine feathered kingdom—they all head south for the winter.  For unparalleled Maine’s greatness, its winters leave one cold, if you know what I mean.

“I know about Athens,” Tom allowed at the outset of our conversation.  Our next-door neighbor is from Elberton, Georgia.”  Soon his wife, Sally, had fetched Joyce Ray, which led to a roll call of mutual friends and acquaintances.   “Peggy Heard (Galis) of Athens was in my high school graduating class,” Joyce said as the conversation picked up momentum.

At Bath, a city where shipbuilding remains a staple of the economy Ann Parker, another native Athenian, has happily settled down in the quaintness of an Old Word community after living in California for years.  “I love it here,” she says.  “I’m never bothered by the cold—just put on more clothes in winter.”

Every day for over a thousand miles traveling U. S. 1, somebody made our day, and we were overwhelmed that there always seemed to be a Georgia connection to make our journey along a federal highway as pleasant as the weather.  





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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.