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Archive for the ‘Maine retro, vintage’ Category

This just in – tomorrow June 5 begins the first in a series of silent films being shown at the historic Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit, ME. Got this information straight from their Facebook page – how handy!

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME

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The Goldenrod in York Beach Maine is on my short list of favorite vintage visits each summer. Opened in 1896, my first visit was only in the past 12 years or so, but from the moment I saw their great neon signs and stepped into the Rustic Dining room, I felt like I was part of a great local tradition that hadn’t changed much in over 100 years.

Goldenrod York Beach ME Fountain Luncheonette Neon

Each summer for a number of years before I moved away, my long time pal Jeannie and I would meet at the Goldenrod for lunch in their wooden beamed old fashioned dining room. I took the fact that they did not serve french fried as a side, but rather just chips, as a sign of their old fashioned quaintness, and, indulging in a crab salad sandwich, I felt like I was in a place that my grandmother and her “cronies” would lunch at – a tasty destination and excuse for a drive up the coast.

Neon Dining Room Soup & Sandwich

After our chatty lunch, and too full to order the ice cream sundae with that rare local delicacy penuche sauce topping, Jeannie and I would poke into the small gift shops surrounding the quaint convergence of roads known as the downtown of York Beach, Maine. Or we’d amble down to the water at the beach across from the Goldenrod and dip our toes in the ice-cube freezing water, long enough for our toes to curl up and cramp, then sit on a blanket and catch each other up on our lives. Occasionally we’d play a game of skeeball at the Fun-O-Rama.

Fun O Rama

Or toy with the idea of candlepin bowling just steps from the sand.

Candlepin Bowling
Perhaps a leisurely stroll through York Wild Animal Kingdom, where we’d laugh remembering our pre-teen visits there, where we’d all thought that the guy running the go-karts looked like Paul McCartney. All in all, plenty of fun ways to while away a summer afternoon, while also making room for that once-a-year dessert treat, before returning home.

Goldenrod York Beach ME Rustic Dining Room Neon

Because the Goldenrod is only open seasonally, Jeannie and I had not relived our “old lady lunches” in a number of years, and since I knew I HAD TO get the Goldenrod onto the Retro Roadmap for you all, I started planning our visit back in May. The weekend confirmed, I looked forward to it greatly, and not even the thought of my newly broken foot would keep me from the 7+ hour drive up there!

Our weekend visit took a turn for the incredible when I found out that we would not just be driving up for the day, but that relatives of Jeannie’s had graciously offered to let us stay at their beach house, just steps from the rocky shore, and with a wonderful vintage chaise lounge for me to rest my heavy foot on. Since my plans of traversing the town and as much of the Maine coast as I could had been thwarted by my injury, the oversized porch became a wonderful place to stay and recuperate.


(if you want this glorious view for yourself, they rent out the house – contact me for the info)

Knowing that the Goldenrod was in such easy reach made me a bit complacent, knowing it was there whenever we wanted to eat there, but it also gave me ample opportunity to photograph their beautiful neon signs, or watch the creation of their famous salt water taffy “Goldenrod Kisses” that they make right in the front window for all to see

Taffy Pulling in the window:

The Goldenrod, with it’s classic New England beach house look, white paint, red geraniums and green awnings, looked good at every time of day, but it wasn’t ’til the last day of our visit that our schedule aligned so that we could grab a bite there. (a relaxed lobster lunch the day before and unexpected dinner invitation left me without room to truly savor what I had driven 7 hours to eat, and I wasn’t about to miss that taste).

Red Geraniums and White Woodwork, My Fave

The Rustic Dining Room was abustle as soon as we walked in so we found ourselves at the marble soda fountain counter not much past 9am on a Sunday morning.

Rustic Dining Room at Breakfast

While the folks next to us ordered their oatmeal “just-so” – I knew immediately what I would order for breakfast:

Penuche Sundae and Bacon for breakfast!

Our waitress took it in stride when I ordered a “penuche sundae with coffee ice cream, whipped cream, no cherry and a side of bacon, please” while Jeannie had a cup of coffee. I’m sure there were more glances cast askew once my “breakfast” arrived, but I only had eyes for what was in front of me – a delicious combination of hot/cold/sweet/salty/creamy/crunchy. Heaven! Jeannie couldn’t resist and did have a spoonful of her own to savor, and we both left the counter contented.

Marble Counter and Candy

A quick turn ’round the gift shop and candy counter revealed another layer of old fashioned wonderfulness in some of the candy choices still carried by The Goldenrod, including chocolate covered Needhams, Boston Baked Beans, and my fave Molasses Sponge.

Old Fashioned Molasses Sponge

Feeling a bit like the grandmother I referred to earlier, I found some bright red barley sugar “lobster pops” for the Retro Roadkids, a handful of postcards from this wonderful old establishment, and hobbled out the door to my car. After a quick hug goodbye to my dear pal and a wonderful weekend, I was pleased to no end to know that the Goldenrod was still going strong, and would give that “stepped back in time” feel to everyone, for years to come.

Goldenrod Kisses Front

The Goldenrod – open seasonally
2 Railroad Avenue
York Beach, ME 03910
(207) 363-2621

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I’m posting about the Leavitt Theatre in Ogunquit ME out of chronological order, because it closes for the season soon after the summer is over and I want you all to have enough time to visit this swell seaside movie house!

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME

The Leavitt Theatre is in the town of Ogunquit Maine, which is an easy exit off of the Maine Turnpike / 95, soon after you cross over from New Hampshire. I’ve got a bit of an “in” at the Leavitt as my uncle Kevin has been a projectionist there since 1974, and is still up in the booth one night a week. (Here’s a photo of Kevin I happened to find on the Leavitt’s Facebook Page!)

kevin-hickey-leavitt-theatre-ogunquit-maine-1991“1991 photo of Kevin Hickey in the Leavitt Theatre projection booth. Kevin has been a projectionist here since 1974! He still keeps the equipment running smoothly. He completely overhauled the booth with newer projectors in 2003.”


When I let him know that I’d be in the area he was happy to bring my friend Jeannie and me on a behind the scenes tour of the theatre. Lucky us!
leavitt-theatre-front-ogunquit-me-retro-roadmap

(Kevin says they rue the day that someone planted these trees in front- they were supposed to remain tiny, but they’ve grown to obscure the front of the theatre. While the tree hugger in me says let’em be, the photographer in me says- cut’em down, they’re getting in the way of a good picture!)

In chatting with owner Peter Clayton, who has owned the theatre since 1976, he says that the theatre, built in 1923, is thought to be the oldest continually running business in the town of Ogunquit, and I’m glad to hear that it had never closed down or had to turn towards “other sorts of programming” to stay afloat. Indeed I’m also glad to learn that because the Leavitt is a seasonal theatre they are able to get first run movies and play them for a few days at a time, so vacationers staying for a week can see a number of movies during their short stay.

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME Ticket Booth

Peter’s family all have worked at the theatre in one capacity or another, from selling tickets from the booth (and needing a step stool to reach the ticket window) to selling popcorn with real melted butter atop. I myself spent a short bit of my early teen days here at the Leavitt when I was staying with family up here one summer. I remember seeing Airplane for the first time (this is dumb) and the second time (hey this is kinda funny) and the third time (OMG this movie is HYSTERICAL!) at the Leavitt.
Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME Vintage Poster 1939
In walking (or limping in my case) down the incline towards the stage Kevin points out that all of the 600 seats are original but many have been reupholstered to add more padding for the comfort of us modern folks. One of the things that I’m thrilled to see they didn’t tamper with were the wire hat racks attached below many of the seats, so gentlemen would have a place to stow his hat during the show, for the comfort of the folks back in the hat wearing days.

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME Seat with Hat Rack

The auditorium itself is not opulent, but has clean simple lines, something you’d expect to see in Maine. While the look may still be old fashioned, the sound system has been upgraded to Dolby Surround Sound, and we learned from Kevin about the Cinemascope and regular type movies, which they’re equipped to play both. I very much enjoyed the unusual vantage point looking out on Route 1 from the window of the projection booth!

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME From Projection Booth

In reading some of the articles Peter was kind enough to lend me, I was dismayed to read that they don’t seem to get a lot of locals coming to the cinema, and instead it’s mainly (MAINE-LY!) tourists and vacationers. C’mon local folks, you don’t realize how good it is to have a movie house on your main street until it’s gone! Don’t take it for granted! Everyone one and all, make sure to support this independently owned, family run, continually operating 85+ year old theatre. And if you don’t live near the Leavitt, make sure you support your closest independently owned theatre- these days we’re all on a shoestring, but the family run businesses get hit harder than the big corporate multiplexes. Wouldn’t you want to see your money go into helping the Clayton family keep this movie cinema going, and not just lining the coffers of some giant conglomerate? I don’t like to get all preachy, but you know what I mean.

OK, I’m off the soap box I promise, and on to the “hey check this out” department:

As I turned the page of a York County Coast Star article about the Leavitt from 7/8/2004 (that is not online though I was ready to link to it), I recognized a movie title even though it was a film I’ve never even seen. Does that ring a bell with any regular Retro Roadmap Readers?

Leavitt Theatre Ogunquit ME Trapped In A Submarine

In a moment of kismet, I realized that was the same film that I had seen a poster from and snapped a photo of further down the east coast in Barnegat NJ! Cool stuff, huh? Neat when stuff comes together like that!
Trapped In a Submarine

So please- if you’re on Route 95 in Maine, driving past, or staying nearby for the week- maybe you’re on a first date in Portsmouth NH and you want to do something totally wacky and memorable- get yourself over to the Leavitt Theatre on Main Street in Ogunquit and help continue the tradition of this being the oldest continually running business in town!

The Leavitt Theatre
259 Main Street / Route 1
Ogunquit, ME 03907
(207) 646-3123

Like The Leavitt Theatre on Facebook!

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Retro Roadmap correspondent Suzanne Sullivan McGillicuddy offers up this Maine shack for a retroroadmap seafood stop. Modbetty digs the crinkle cut fries and vintage viewer!

Whenever visiting friends in Portland during the warm weather months, I make every effort to take a trip out to the Lobster Shack for some fresh lobster or full-belly fried clams (mmmmmmm).

lobster-shack-welcome-cape-elizabeth-me

The official name is The Lobster Shack at Two Lights because it is in an area of Cape Elizabeth that is sandwiched between two lighthouses.  Lobster has been served in this spot since the 1920’s when it was called the Lobster Shop.  The current owners took over in 1969 and changed the name over to the Lobster Shack.

lobster-shack-tray-cape-elizabeth-me

The Lobster Shack is similar to most summery fish shack spots in that it is low key and casual.  You get in line and order then pick up your tray of tasty seafood when your number is called.

What really adds to the experience here is the atmosphere.  It is a BYOB spot with picnic tables that are on a peninsula looking over the Atlantic.  What could be better?  It’s a true New England gem.

lobster-shack-view-cape-elizabeth-me

Lobster Shack
225 Two Lights Road
Cape Elizabeth, ME
(207) 799-1677

Lobster Shack on Urbanspoon

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