Snapshot of Belgrade
by Anthony Wilson
So, not quite what I was expecting in my first year as Belgrade's town manager. But I'm a relentlessly butter-side-up person. If I must endure a pandemic, there's no place I'd rather do that than in Belgrade, Maine. That's because of our abundance of blessings that salve the soul despite our being unable to live, play and work as we'd like.
- The landscape remains ever beautiful. After plentiful rainfall, we are surrounded at every turn by lush, verdant woods teaming with nature.
- Those same showers have replenished our lakes to healthy and enjoyable levels. They remain a refreshing constant on a warm day.
- That's right I said, "warm." It does not get hot in Maine, says the native Texan. Except for the stray muggy day, the weather is a delight perfect for hiking, boating, swimming, fishing, picnicking, deck-sitting, hammock- snoozing, and adult-beverage-sipping.
- Some 900 people voted in July's election. Hashtag Democracy! The vast majority participated safely by mailed or absentee ballot. It was a good trial run for what promises to be a rousing contest this fall.
- Books provide a great escape. Belgrade has TWO terrific book outlets. The Belgrade Public Library is open by appointment and offers handydandy curbside service. And the new Oliver & Friends Bookshop and Reading Room on Main Street sports an eclectic selection, an inviting atmosphere and a friendly proprietor.
- Like Oliver & Friends and against all odds, many of our businesses are thriving. Holly at H.J. Blake's says sales at her food cart have never been better. The breakfast cart at the Lakeside Inn is taking flight. Hello Good Pie, Sunset Grill and Christy's continue to do a brisk business. The return of Spiro & Company's delicious Greek fare is welcomed … and tasty! Day's and the Village Inn continue to offer stellar fare in a smart, safe manner. Help them all out. Shop and eat local!
- Our summer neighbors have returned. Their ebullient love for Belgrade lifts my spirits and makes me even more grateful to live year round in a place they eagerly flock to for a few months.
- Our neighbors are displaying great concern for one another by dutifully wearing masks and socially distancing in the Town Office. Ninety-eight percent of our citizens come in sporting a mask. One percent cheerfully put one on when asked. A few old soreheads are invited outside to receive their public services. As a reminder: masks are effective only if they cover chins AND noses.
- Summertime in the Belgrades is back! As a former journalist, I've read many small-town newspapers. I can't think of any that capture sense of place better than Esther's passion project. I look forward to each weekly edition.
- Even in sleepy little Belgrade, the pandemic has slowed the pace of life. That, too, is a gift. This time allows for greater reflection and for reinvestment in what matters most, including family … and home.
Anthony Wilson is Belgrade's town manager. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 495-2258.
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