The end of an era in Northeast Harbor

Each time I have been to Mt. Desert Island I have enjoyed having a fossick in Wikhegan Old Books in Northeast Harbor. But I usually don’t buy anything because the books are a little too rare/fine for my tastes. I like a good reading copy of something I plan on reading. So, I go in, enjoy looking around and walk out empty handed. But now, after having been there since 1976, the store is closing so its owners can retire. And everything is 50% off through the end of the season (which is mid-October), except for the stuff in the glass cases which is 30% off.

This time I did not leave empty handed. Well, that’s not true, we did leave empty handed but that was because we had our book haul shipped. John got some lovely old gardening books, I got books on books, books on England, a little two-volume Mrs Oliphant novel…

And after that we went down the street and had the best Whoopie Pies in Maine. The best Whoopie Pies in Maine used to be found at the Novelty attached to the Monhegan House on Monhegan Island. But that was back when Sue was baking them. What makes a good Whoopie Pie? Fluffy, not dry chocolate cake and, more importantly, fluffy white filling. Many places get this way wrong by using buttercream or even worse, cream cheese frosting. But that is gross and wrong. The cake and the filling were both perfect at Colonel’s Bakery in Northeast Harbor. My only regret is we only got four of them.


10 thoughts on “The end of an era in Northeast Harbor

  1. Ron Elliott September 24, 2018 / 1:28 am

    Of the two – the Whoopie Pie or the discounted old books, I’m not sure which you would have preferred most. Looks like fun!


  2. Jeane September 24, 2018 / 7:25 am

    What a shame a lovely old bookstore is closing, but how nice you were finally able to buy some! I usually don’t buy antique or collectors-item books for the same reasons- but I do love looking at them.


    • Thomas September 26, 2018 / 11:04 pm

      The owners have been doing it since 1976 and are very excited to retire, but all I could think is how sad it was that it won’t be there anymore.


  3. Liz Dexter September 24, 2018 / 12:40 pm

    I don’t buy collectors’ editions for the same reason – only my Iris Murdoch first editions and that’s it (not the American firsts, not all the paperbacks that ever came out no no no).

    And THAT’s a whoopie pie. Thank you. What’s the white bit made of, though?


    • Thomas September 26, 2018 / 11:04 pm

      The white bit, when done right as this was, is a mix of marshmallow fluff, shortening and sugar. It’s closer to the inside of a Twinkie than to frosting.


  4. Simon T September 25, 2018 / 9:36 am

    You can’t say “books on books” and tell me no more… which ones?!

    And I have never seen a Whoopie Pie before, so am grateful for the illustration. One more part of Sweet Valley High that I now understand.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thomas September 26, 2018 / 11:05 pm

      I will do a post on my haul in the near future. One of them was on the librarians desk at the SFPL rare book room this past weekend. It wasn’t rare, but it was an ABC of book parts. More on that later.


  5. Sarah Faragher September 25, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Loved their shop, sad to see them close! I often wonder what the future of bookshops will be in Maine (and elsewhere) – I tend to have high hopes, but…


    • Thomas September 26, 2018 / 11:06 pm

      I just posted today about Blue Hill Books which is an amazing store, particularly for its location.


  6. thepagecountalsorises September 26, 2018 / 5:02 pm

    That is a shame that they’re closing down. It looks like you could find some real gems. Like Sarah said, I have high hopes for bookshops, but not the big players. They seem too big to really provide a good experience. It seems like Indies have the right climate to provide what readers are looking for. I love to walk into a bookshop that feels unique, that is run by people who love what they’re doing and work hard to curate a certain kind of feel and collection of books. The big stores don’t really curate anything but best sellers and non-book merchandise. I can rarely find anything that I want to read at a place like that.


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