If Walls Could Talk


Maine, America – Day Three was one of surprises. I guess there are some things one can’t anticipate and I certainly didn’t envision the hurdles and triumphs of yesterday. For starters, I went down to the basement yesterday morning to get a bottle of water for the General. In case anyone is interested, it wasn’t because the General asked. I thought of it on my own. Write it down, I can be thoughtful and kind.


As I turned the corner from the staircase landing in the basement after coming down from the first floor of the the home, I could see water standing on the floor in the adjacent room. So what was the source of the water? I made a quick assessment of the situation and could not ascertain the source of the problem, but I knew it had to represent trouble. Trust me, water on a floor that should be dry isn’t a good omen.


Maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of “Love it or List it”, but I can’t think of a scenario where the presence of water on a basement floor was ever an easy fix or an inexpensive repair. Always the couple owning the home wound up having to take something off their “want list” in order to cover the cost of the unexpected expense.


After fetching a bottle of cold water from the refrigerator for the General, I went back upstairs to deliver the water and subsequently notify the owner of the home regarding the water. As it turned out, his assessment skills were similar to mine. He, too, couldn’t discover the source of the water.


Almost like clockwork, he immediately telephoned the contractor who has done an inordinate amount of work on renovating and updating their home. The contractor came immediately! Actually when I saw him, I asked if his name was linked to “911” or “Dial-a-prayer”. He looked at me like I was a little strange and replied: “I’ve never heard of: “Dial a Prayer.”


An hour later, the prognosis had the potential to be bad news. Is it possible that some heavy equipment working several yards away from the house had actually crushed the line connecting the home to the city drainage/sewer system?   Only additional testing could determine the actual source of the problem, but suspicion was strong that this wasn’t going to be an easy, inexpensive or quick fix.


While I was concerned about what the immediate plan of action looked like for our friends, I knew that it was complicated by the fact that they had two guests in their home. I had a strong feeling that the General and I needed to immediately make other arrangements by coming up with a “Plan B” for us. We needed to eliminate a level of stress for our hosts by securing alternate housing for ourselves.


Did I mention I’m a creature of habit? I immediately turned to Priceline to look at “Express Deals” in Bath, Maine. Disturbingly, there weren’t any. Okay, so where did I see a hotel near downtown yesterday? If I could remember the name, I would check for availability and rates.


I eventually remembered the name of the hotel that I had seen, but it wasn’t listed on Priceline. In the process of that discovery, I also remembered meeting two people the evening before at the piano concert we attended. They had just opened the Middle Street Inn, a bed-and-breakfast located in the adjacent block of Middle Street from where our friends lived. Perhaps they had a room?


I figured my chances were better to walk down the street and ask in person rather than call. Isn’t it always easier to respond with a “No” when you’re talking to someone over the phone rather than looking another directly in the eye?


As it turned out, there was room availability and I was extended the courtesy of touring the newly remodeled home serving as a four bedroom B&B that most recently belonged to an Admiral in the U.S. Navy. The home was originally built in 1843 by John Bosworth Swanton, a descendent of William Stanton, who is credited with building Bath’s first year-round shipyard in 1760.


Let me say up front that the Middle Street Inn is exceptional. The home is impeccable, spacious, beautifully furnished and strategically laid-out to provide privacy to guests staying in the home.


It is furnished and arranged to provide a sense of “home” to folks in my generation as well as the millennial generation of young people who don’t want to be smothered by exposing themselves to anything that could have been in their grandparent’s home.


Each of the four guest bedrooms in Middle Street Inn is uniquely designed and furnished with their own en-suite. In addition, the owners have added a fact sheet of history associated to each of the bedrooms. It is an interesting read. One of the bedrooms located in the home includes the presence of several horizontal slates nailed in a ladder like fashion near the corner of one wall. At the top of the ladder is a very small hatch door leading to the attic. The attic contains a similar hatch door leading from the roof of the home to the outside. It is thought that the ladder could possible link the home to the “underground railroad” that served as a network of people who hid fugitives from slavery in their homes during the day and moved them during the night to free states, Canada or England. If walls could talk, what incredible stories could the stately old home hold?


Indeed it is a home with history. Yet today it has all the updates and comforts associated with a newly constructed home including climate-controlled air conditioning and heating for each room. Factor in the spacious living area, dining room, outdoor patio space and updated kitchen and the Middle Street Inn.


I breathed a sigh of relief when I checked into the B&B. As it turned out, before day’s end yesterday, things proved to a lot better than feared for our friends. At any rate, I guess you could say we are now neighbors. We are down the street in the next block with a full agenda for the day.


There is so much to tell. Tomorrow I will highlight last night’s wonderful experience of eating Maine lobster in the wonderful home of one of the most gracious people in Maine.


All My Best!