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Islesboro’s Community Centers

Sara Babbidge, Executive Director of the Islesboro Community Center, gives me a tour of the Bluewater Cafe.

Keeping a year-round island community vibrant means thinking of what residents need to flourish at every age.  In my last post, I described the schools on Islesboro.  Today I will touch on some important community centers, and why they are so crucial to the town’s survival.

The Islesboro Community Center is the island’s primary gathering place. In early fall, I was given an in-depth tour under the capable wing of the center’s director, Sara Babbidge, and took in the function rooms, fitness center, kid’s club room, gym, and much more. The center houses the Bluewater Café, a great place to get breakfast or lunch, as well as an occasional pizza dinner; a seasonal farmer’s market; and the “Art of the Isle Gift Shop” where residents can sell -- and visitors can buy --  island-inspired arts and handcrafts.   The center strives to “support and nurture the sustainability of a year-round community on Islesboro by improving health and fitness programs; access to the arts; connection to wireless technology; and educational, recreational, and social interactions for residents of all ages,” and by the constant stream of residents going through the Center’s door, I would say it succeeds.

Boardman Cottage, an assisted living home for eight residents, is run by the Beacon Project, established in 2003 with a goal to make it possible for Islesboro’s  elders to remain on the island and receive the assistance they need, either at Boardman Cottage or in their own homes. I visited Boardman Cottage twice, meeting Maura Michael, the home’s Administrator, as well as several residents, and many of the staff. It’s a welcoming and bright place, caring for those who wish to be able to live out their lives in a place they love.  They were a very gracious audience as I spoke about my campaign for State Representative and even joined in on a few songs as I played my ukulele.

Another key gathering spot is the Alice L. Pendleton Library, a granite and brick building that opened in 1918.  Linda Graf is the librarian, and she showed me the children’s wing, various reading rooms, and described the programs and services the library provides. Like any writer, I have a very special place in my heart for libraries, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few other important island landmarks:  the Town Office, located at 150 Main Road, home to town government as well as a Health Center and Public Safety; the Post Office, across the street from the busy Island Market, one of the town’s two stores; and the Islesboro Transfer Station, where I spent a pleasant Sunday morning meeting residents and learning about zero sort recycling under the guidance of director Craig Olson.  The little wooden lobster that I found in their swap shop is a nice reminder of that day.

After 32 years in Camden and Rockport, I feel I have a good handle on what makes our towns tick.  It’s been a pleasure learning about Islesboro, the third community in District 94, and especially meeting the many great residents who call the island home.  Thank you to all who have made my visits so meaningful!

To see additional photos from my island visits, please go to my Facebook Page.

Paid for and authorized by Vicki Doudera.


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