I got to spend a couple more days on Mount Desert Island doing research this last week, and I discovered a beautiful library in Northeast Harbor. The building is only about ten years old; it’s bright and open and airy, and since I came upon it on a blue-sky summer day, I was happy to be in a space that made me feel like I was still in touch with the outdoors. There’s a Maine room full of great volumes, many that are rare and some that are unpublished and unique to the library. Anyone who likes to incorporate a little history into their vacation will find it a great spot to linger between hikes up the mountains of Acadia and beach combing along the island coves. And speaking of those enchanting coves, here’s a shot I took at Seal Harbor just before I stopped at the library:
But I didn’t just stroll along the beach and browse the old book collection, I really did try to do some research. And the Northeast Harbor Library suited my purposes there too. They have their own archive of historical documents and artifacts, and a very helpful archivist. Here’s Hannah Stevens with the collection in the background:
Confronted with rooms full of history, it’s easy to get over-whelmed by the possibilities. My first challenge is to tease out the material that is specific to the 1920s, since my book will revolve around that decade, and then to save it, label it, and note it in ways that might prove useful later. All the reminiscences, artifacts, documents and conversations…I must admit, sometimes I wonder how I’ll ever pull them together into a book. My head starts to spin, but then I tell myself not to panic. I browse each relic that comes my way; I try to soak it in and trust that when I’m ready to write the book, the stories will emerge.
So I put my writer’s anxieties aside and enjoyed the process. And back in Bar Harbor that evening, I relaxed with blueberry ale and a fresh seafood diablo. Research trips have their perks!