P1020349Main Street in Vinalhaven, Maine, is the center of town and the hub for all activity. It’s also known as Down Street.  It is 3 blocks long separated by alleys and water. There is a post office where everyone meets, one supermarket where everyone shops, and a few very creative merchants that are now my friends.

Many people on the island wear Alison Thibault’s hand made jewelry from her Five Elements Gallery and studio,  necklaces, bracelets, and earrings. Each piece of jewelry is created by cutting and layering different colors and a types of glass, kiln fired, as the layers become fused together in varied colors.  The inspiration for her work is drawn from the the island, from her mother, and people that love her jewelry.  Colors have names; water, dragonfly, morning due, frost, sea lavender, salmon, just to name a few. She prefers index cards to keep track of what her customers buy so she has information at her fingertips.  She has taken on the crazy business of distributing the New York Times and Boston Globe on the island. Men now come into her store…good for biz…and good for her mission of connecting people with an art form. She loves people, loves to chat, and meet everyone new to the island. On Sundays she shares a favorite poem with the Times. Her latest…Kindness, and   This Much I Do Remember  for you poetry lovers.

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New Era Gallery owned by artist Elaine Crossman represents creative artists of the area and supports them events, lectures and workshops.  We have learned so much from Elaine about the talented artists on Vinalhaven, and their craft, and have a few as treasures. We make a point to stop in often to continue our friendship. Windy Barn is behind the gallery for special exhibits as an extension of her gallery.  I love the garden sculptures too.

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Elaine preparing for a new exhibit changing her gallery- merchandising at its finest.

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Rachel Noyes owns her store, Go Fish and creates many of her own designs and cards. Her T shirt designs have become a familiar island logo. It is a store for kids and adults including old fashioned penny candy.

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Restaurants are few, but those that are on Main St  are creative and successful.  The Haven Restaurant is a key standby and  new to the area is Salt.

The Gawker is a must for delicious chowder and traditional fried fare. Many restaurants and stores are closed from Jan until May…so you can imagine it is a long winter!

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I love Island Spirits.  It is a specialty food store of gourmet foods, cheeses and wines and organic produce from local farms.  Fiore Olive Oil from Rockland has 6 fustis of their best selling oils and vinegars.  This is perfect for the summer folks that like something special to cook.  I go there every day.  They have wine tastings too.

There are others, but those are my favorites.

An event not to be missed is the Barn Supper at Turner Farm  in North Haven, an adjacent island.

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Turner Farm is a partner business with  Nebo Lodge and Restaurant.  Nebo Restaurant has been written up countless times.  The Barn Supper is on Thursday nights in the summer for 60 people.  We had ribs from their pigs, vegetables from their gardens, cheese from their goats, and flowers on the tables in country style. The best was the service, which is fantastic.  Wonderful staff that cannot do enough for you.

Why am I sharing all of this?  Entrepreneurs who are making it happen with their ideas, creativity,  sense of community and passion for what they do. Many do not have a website.  Success is their commitment to make it happen every day, to do more for their customers than expected, and to be there with their business when the customers are there 7 days a week.  No one is complaining!