Best of New England: Maine
Textile designer Angela Adams has won national renown for her talent in creating pieces with bold curves and glorious colors and patterns. But she says she owes all of her designs to her native Maine’s rugged coastline. Inspired by woodland moss, stones, footprints, and leaves, Adams creates patterns that pay homage to nature without mimicking it. The little store at the foot of Munjoy Hill holds popular seasonal sales that ensure her rugs and totes are familiar sights inside Mainers’ homes. // 273 Congress St., Portland, 207-774-3523, angelaadams.com.
THE HULLS COVE TOOL BARN
H. G. Skip Brack is an expert on all things hand-tool related, and before you start yawning, consider how critical these things were to the advancement of civilization. Without gizmos like jointers, planers, and saws, we’d still be hunting and foraging instead of typing and tweeting. ’Nuff said. Real fanatics should check out the on-site sculpture garden, which features works made entirely out of old tools. // 17 Breakneck Rd., Hulls Cove, 207-288-5126, jonesport-wood.com.
BIG CHICKEN BARN BOOKS AND ANTIQUES
The chickens at this barn may have flown the coop, but in their stead you’ll find 21,600 square feet of antiques, books, records, curios, and so much more. Because you can get lost pecking about the Life magazines, vintage knickknacks, and old china, plan accordingly — you’ll spend hours dreaming up new ways to feather your nest. // 1768 Bucksport Rd., Ellsworth, 207-667-7308, bigchickenbarn.com.
Bookstore : Art
The garish yellow building that houses this store certainly isn’t winning any awards for good taste. Inside, however, is one of the finest displays of art and architecture books we’ve ever seen. Room after room of current and out-of-print (and often very expensive) coffee-table tomes might put off the bargain hunter, but this is the place art-book aficionados come to plan their next masterpieces. // 164 W. Main St., Searsport, 207-548-6490, penobscotbooks.com.
Bookstore : Culinary
Books about what to eat, how to eat, and how to make it line the walls of Rabelais, the refuge of dinner dreamers everywhere. Journals like Meatpaper and Alimentum lie near old, hopelessly complicated cookery volumes that once reduced kitchen amateurs to tears. Word to the wise: Don’t come hungry. // 86 Middle St., Portland, 207-774-1044, rabelaisbooks.com.