So, this past weekend, I went to Presque Isle to buy food and get my bike, and send away my application to a week-long aviation camp in Bangor this summer. I hadn’t been to Cafe Sorpreso in quite a while, and my step-dad was kind enough to take me.
I always marvel at it, every time I enter, how beautiful and simple it is. I talked about it in my paper quite extensively, so go find and read that if you want. It is very nice to occasionally return to a little piece of Europe here in Aroostook County. Americans today are greatly lacking in culture, and live too artificially, at least in my humble opinion. Cafe Sorpreso (roughly translated from Italian as “Cafe Surprise”, I believe, a fitting name), and similar places serve to add a little bit of excitement and enjoyment to our boring lives.
But why do we enjoy these restaurants or bars or whatever they may be? I think it is for a number of reasons, and the reasons vary from place to place. It is often these restaurants – social gathering places – that give a town or even region its character.
I remember when I was 3 or 4, we lived in Biddeford. We would often go to Portland and walk around on the waterfront, sometimes taking the ferry to Peaks Island. However, we would always stop for lunch at Bill’s Pizza next to Long Wharf (also where DiMillo’s, the old ferry-boat turned fancy-shmancy dining establishment is located). I will always remember sitting there as a little kid eating my pepperoni pizza and having a good time.
My grandparents, and now father, have always lived at Sugarloaf (in Stratton, ME, to be particular) since I was born. It’s a special place for me. I think the best way to describe it is sacred. A big part of my experiences there are the summer stop at Bonehead’s (a local fried food bar with chemical shrimp, chicken, pizza, whatever you wish) after swimming at the beach on Flagstaff lake, or a mid-winter’s night excursion to Gepetto’s at Sugarloaf through a blizzard.
It’s places like these that give a place its unique identity. To me at least, a sense of location and belonging is very important. It is always nice to know where one’s true home is, and the personal aspects that define it are what really make it home.