London paparazzi have Kate Middleton. In LA they have Lindsay Lohan. But in Maine cameras focus on celebrity barns.
As we were driving from Somesville to Bar Harbor on Norway Drive, we passed the famous Stone Barn on Crooked Road. A red mini-van was pulled up front, and its owners, like increasingly bold pigeons in a park, got closer and closer to the barn as they snapped away until they were right outside the barn door.
Stone Barn’s 85-year-old owner Harry Owen doesn’t seem to mind, however. He’s proud of the 128-acre farm on Mount Desert Island that is now permanently protected against development. “I’ve always felt I was put on earth to protect this land,” Mr. Owen told Maine Coast Heritage Trust back in 2001 when the farm became protected by a conservation easement. The cobblestone barn, which was built in 1820, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“To honor their historical importance and raise interest in preserving these impressive structures,” the Mount Desert Island Historical Society periodically offers guided tours of historic barns in Somesville and Bar Harbor. Stone Barn, of course, is on the tour. Nearby is the Peterson Barn on Norway Drive, which has also been featured.
Here is a view of the Parker Farm just outside of Somesville village from Somes Harbor.
Create your own tour to see the barns of Mount Desert Island. Their appeal certainly extends beyond the historic. Their simple forms attract painters and photographers, who count them among the special sights to see on Mount Desert Island. For all of us, they link us to the land and remind us of values deep in our culture.
And don’t be surprised if Harry Owen looks up from his mowing to give you a wave.