Main Street Bath is hosting a cool event on Monday, especially if you just moved here.

“Welcome to Bath Night” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. at Maine Maritime Museum’s Long Reach Hall. That’s at 243 Washington St., in the south end, for those of you who’d like to go. Look for the masts of the Wyoming along the river.

It’s the good idea of Interim Director Mari Eosco. But it’s not a new idea.

Main Street held welcome nights back in the early 2000s, when Mari was one of the organization’s first directors. She’s still connected to some of the people she met back then, so she thought it would be good to bring it back.

“It’s really geared towards people who have moved to the Bath area recently. I’ll leave it up to people to decide what ‘recently’ means,” Mari said.

“Recently” doesn’t mean me. I grew up here, and I probably know just about everything there is to know about Bath.
(Except where Spring Street is. There’s a Charles Street, too, but don’t ask me how to get there. Yes, of course, in the event of a fire or other newsworthy calamity, you can bet I’d find it.)

I have often felt embarrassed that I live in my hometown. I didn’t set out to be here for most of ever. And I won’t go into all the reasons that led me to my present Ward 4 home, which I adore.
But I want to make it clear that my mild chagrin isn’t Bath’s fault. It’s as fine a place as any to be from, and better than many in Maine.

You can still make a life in Bath. Its streets are lined with bright open businesses. So what if they close before I leave work? They’re open during my lunch break.

We have two grocery stores – one for the weekly big shop, and the other for quick stops. It’s good to have options and really, it all depends on how many kids are in the car and whether you need beer. With much appreciation for Shaw’s, I must point out that Brackett’s has the better brew case, especially if you like craft beer.

Plus, you’ll find Leilani’s bakery items there, too. She lives in Woolwich and delivers on Thursdays. I like the mile-high English muffins. And the cookies. All of them.

Bath may not be the company town it once was, or the industry machine that involved just about all its citizens in shipbuilding. But Bath Iron Works is still launching Navy ships in the Kennebec, sending them around the Doubling Point elbow and out to sea.

How many other mill towns can say that of their chief product, nearly two decades into this new technological century?

If you listen, you will hear the shift change whistle. Don’t try to get anywhere fast at about 3:30 in Bath, particularly if you are on High Street or under the viaduct. That’s 4 o’clock traffic time.

It doesn’t matter that BIW’s first shift has ended at 3:30 for probably 20 years, it will always be 4 o’clock traffic in my mind. My mother and I had to beat it across the old Carleton Bridge, or else be stuck for who-knows-how-long.

Speaking of the viaduct, good luck.

MaineDOT replaced it less than a year ago, and unless you get off Route 1 instead of traveling over town, you might not notice much of a difference.

And really, it’s no different if you do get off. Don’t be fooled by the landscaping. Or the updated traffic lights – am I the only one who forgets to stop when turning right onto Washington from Vine? Because that’s new.

Underneath the viaduct is still the same crazy 8, this-way-that-way, one-way-which-way series of potential poor choices that it’s always been.

I can’t give you any advice. You’ll go the wrong way a couple times. You’ll go the LONG way a few more. And then one day, like anything you’ve learned the hard way, it will just click. Suddenly, you’ll be on the other side of the bridge in less than 20 minutes.

Before this magic moment, I urge you not to have too much to drink at the Riverside Sports Pub, inconveniently (for drinking purposes) located in the BIW parking lot on the side of the viaduct you don’t want to be with three pints in you and no clue.

Once you can find your way around the City of Ships, know that the following are not just our landmarks, but our treasures, our most Bath of all Bath things.

The William Zorach Spirit of the Sea sculpture in City Park. That’s right. The land surrounding Patten Free Library is not Library Park, even though everyone calls it that.

If you say City Park, no one will know what you’re talking about. They’ll think you’re some know-it-all (except for Spring and Charles streets) editor, who insists on calling things what they are.

Spirit of the Sea is so special it even has its own Friends of the Zorach Sculpture group that helped restore not only her splendid bronze naked form, but also the surrounding pond where she bathes.

There are no friends of it yet, but Hallet’s Clock at the corner of Centre and Front streets is another Bath icon. But should the face of that old clockwork sentry need a lift, a group would rally to its cause as if it were a neighbor with a broken hip.

Same with the candy-striped BIW crane. While certainly the property of the shipyard, if anything caused that tall bird to disappear from our skyline, prayers (and petitions) would be offered for its swift return.

We love our roundabout on State Road (why didn’t we do it sooner); Five Corners (only in Bath) by the store forever known as Puffin no matter what the sign says; Granny’s Tickler on Whiskeag Road by the old King house – or was it a king’s house; the bridge over the railroad tracks in Oak Grove Cemetery; the sweep of the Hyde School lawn even before they took down the iron fence; our “brick project” houses and our “white project” houses and every single one of our old captains’ houses.

Frosty’s Donuts – Bath had them … OK, likely second. But only to Brunswick in 1965. I could have sworn Frosty’s started in Bath …

If you want pizza, go to the Cabin. And because I like a certain specialty Shipbuilder pie, if the Cabin is busy, go to Midcoast Pizza & More. But don’t drink too much. It’s on THAT side of the viaduct.

Bath. It’s not just a place to live. I can honestly say, after all these many mostly unintentional years, it’s a place you can love.


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