This questionnaire, sent out in the fall of 2017 to the village email list, asked respondants to describe their hopes, visions or fantasies of an ideal village of East Blue Hill. They were asked not to limit their thinking by questions of money or feasibility: this was meant to gather together a wish list that could then be processed into a collective vision and strategic plan for the Village Improvement Association. 29 people responded to the survey; the results are below.
What does the ideal East Blue Hill Village look and feel like?
Diverse community with shared artisan workshops that become the center for participatory activities around the arts, nature, health and wellness and culinary endeavors.
A year-round community of people of varying ages ( with lots of children) and backgrounds and occupations, where most of the houses are lighted and occupied in winter as well as summer, where properties reflect the historical vernacular architecture, with common green spaces areas scattered throughout the village, where pedestrian movement has priority over motor vehicles (which are required to move slowly and carefully), where access to the water is guaranteed for all, where there is shared responsibility for making it a fine place to live.
Thank you for putting this together. I love our village and am concerned about the speed of traffic at the turn into our residential space. I would like to see discussion about a small beautifully planted triangular elevated space to remind drivers that they have entered a " slowdown" area. This type of area was historically present at the entrance to EBH in the distant past as I understand it . This would not be a round-about but rather a reminder that the entrance is not a speedway. It would need to have ample space on each side to allow large vehicles/boats to come and go at a safe speed.
Give and Take
Beauty & Serenity
It seems pretty ideal already--1/neighbors helping neighbors and 2/plenty of opportunities to socialize and get to know one another. My biggest wish for greater EBH is a recreational lane (biking/jogging) that extends from EBH Road in Blue Hill all the way through the village and up Morgan Bay Road to Surry to enable EBH residents to be active beyond the confines of the Village. Such infrastructure would allow residents to jog/bike from Curtis Cove Rd to various places such as Main St in Blue Hill, Newbury Neck (via the Cross Rd), and even PugNuts ice cream shop in Surry!
Well-kept houses, tree-lined streets, beauty and order everywhere, a beautiful park and playground, a feeling of warmth and welcome.
Quiet, minimal housing development, undisturbed woodlands, fields and waterfront. No commerce.
The best of New England small towns. Places to play, congregate and relax. Infrastructure sufficient to allow remote work options. Sense that all belong and are welcome. Support from within the community as a whole
Welcoming, multigenerational, neighbors look out for each other, public spaces for gathering and socializing, communication of information is easily shared, there is a sense that we are all working towards a strong community (although we will inevitably disagree on the nuances of what this looks like) and are willing to set differences aside to work towards a common good. There is a sense of vibrancy and enthusiasm and energy.
I would like to see a few more attractions in the park like s slide, other climbing equipment and a soccer goal
A beautiful, well-loved and cared-for small New England village, anchored by the spire of its church. Many trees and maintained outdoor spaces, bike and walking paths. Controlled traffic (for safety) and noise (for peace). An easy, friendly atmosphere. The ideal East Blue Hill would have no neglected or derelict structures: the Grange would be repaired and restored.
We are summer people who try to keep in touch with our EBH friends throughout the year. EBH is already a kind of ideal place for us in part because we dream about being there all year long. We live an a city so our relationships in the urban environment are so different, often scattered and disconnected. In EBH we feel very connected to the place and many of you, our friends.
There are so many important connections that we long for each year as we return. Activities with small and large groups. sharing our support for each other. The Village to us is anchored but the Post Office notice board, the ever welcoming library, the fun encounters at the boat launch and the activities in Founders Hall, as well as all the opportunities to run into people at Curtis Cove or along the lanes to our houses.
A small hamlet like EBH will always have its divisions and its conflicts. An ideal village for us is one where all voices can be welcomed and heard. Respect for each other, forgiveness for past trespasses, and a unified appreciation for our differences. An ideal village is a safe welcoming place for all.
For the physical place of the village we would change almost nothing.
If there was a way to have a small store and a delicious cafe and , for us, a laundry. that would be much more convenient. Maybe in the Grange if the owners would consider renovating it. Classes are always a way to enrich the community. EBH has such a storehouse of talented and generous folks, we love being part of these activities. Not to mention all the great cooks.
And please do not remove the church steeple. We see it as we approach and love it in the landscape. A symbol of the center. A landmark of a New England townscape and lets us know we are "home", even if only in your summer days there.
More involving community actives
A welcoming and open place where we live in a close neighborhood.
I think it would be a bit more supportive and have less gossip/squabbling about little things. More community events and get-togethers could help with that. It is too small a community to have cliques, etc. I think ore youth events, etc. where the younger generation has a more active role would be good, as the leadership/decision-making is in the hands of the 50/60s group right now. I would like to see more community dances/etc., I think the talks are a good idea as well.
A place that is open and affirming of both people and their different value sets.
Ideally the village is a haven from the materialism and rush of the "outer world." The park and Richard Wands garden is tended and filled with children in the playground and villagers strolling through town. As a village, we engage in projects related to energy conservation and renewal, perhaps installing solar panels at the post office and finding some way to create a shared energy grid. We continue our bottle recycling project and come up with other green activities. But my biggest dream is that, as a village, we would take back our cove!!! Currently, the cove is eroding due to over-use and rising sea levels. The ecosystem is destroyed - no more winkles or mussels to be seen and rotting sea weed stinking up the shoreline. The remains of camp fires, including charred wood, beer cans and trash, as well as old towels and sneakers mar the beauty of the beach. In addition, of course, the water has been declared polluted several times over the past years. Trees that have come down in storms lie along the entrance to the cove and it looks as if a tornado has passed through town. As a village, we could gather to clear trash from the shore, deal with the downed trees and find some way to limit the parking and the constant stream of people who come to use this amazing resource but give nothing in return. The cove, to me, is one of the greatest assets of our community and although it does not technically come under the jurisdiction of the VIA, we could communicate with the owners and the Blue Hill Heritage Trust to turn things around so that the cove could heal and come back to life.
In the ideal EBH neighbors know and care for each other. They know they live in a special place and are responsible for each other. They remember the past and strive to make the Founders proud. The ideal EBH looks very much like it did in the past; the Founders would recognize it but appreciate the improvements.
Pretty much as it does now. It would be nice if there was less rivalry between the Library and the VIA, if people would support community efforts instead of actively undermining them. The Library and VIA have in the past always been complementary but recently the VIA has been unfairly maligned and is suffering as a result. The value of the VIA is not understood.
Energy efficient structures more important than any themed emphasis (i.e., not a Norman Rockwell, postcard appearance).
The ideal EBH feels friendly and safe haven. It has safe places to walk, run, bike, and swim. It has neighbors who look out for one another. It respects the natural beauty and quiet of the landscape and seeks to protect it.
East Blue Hill Today – How We Got Here
In 2017, the clouds were on the horizon. As climate change worsened and capitalism rattled to the limits of its growth, global and national systems began to break down-- food and agriculture, energy and transportation, and of course political and social. As we now know, what was only beginning in 2017 continued its remorseless unwinding to create the world as we know it today. How lucky we are that our community saw some of this coming and planned for a different future.
EBH has become both a refuge and a resource. A refuge for all of us who live here; a resource for other communities attempting to survive the Long Collapse. Championing localism in all aspects of life, it has become a resilient and independent community, committed to supporting all of its members. The EBH Farm Coop and local farms provide most of the food we now need, and jobs for many of us, as well. Even after the crash of the lobster industry due to the global economy and warming waters, fishing in the bay is busier than ever and serves the local peninsula markets. It creates jobs both on the water and off.
In 2021, when the cost of producing and storing solar locally dropped below the basic transportation cost of hydro and fossil-based power, we set up the community microgrid, one of the first in the state. All our power is now created, stored and traded locally. With a few exceptions, most of the houses have been re-insulated and we get through the winter with the microgrid’s power, boosted by the community windmill up Old Yacht Club Road.
Our population is growing and is younger. In the early twenties, something wonderful happened: as the national economy collapsed, our children began coming home. With the failing national economy and the growing local economy, they found jobs in farming and building and health care and in all the local services that embed them now so solidly in our community. As the demand for second homes dried up, land values became reasonable again and they have been able to buy and build homes, and families. For the first time in a hundred years most of the families here are now intergenerational. The elderly for the most part live at home, helping with the care of children and in turn being cared for by their children. The At Home program has been a big factor in allowing this to happen.
Our village infrastructure, once seemingly a burden and under-utilized, is now in full use again. Founder’s Hall has remained our large multi-purpose building, with a diversity of uses no one could imagine when the EBHVIA purchased it – community meetings, performances, interdenominational worship services, classes, shelter, weekly food and service swaps, and of course pot-luck dinners. The Grange has been restored and has become the day to day hub of our community life, with the general store downstairs, and offices upstairs. The boatyard is smaller now in terms of size, with the disappearance of the yachting business, but it is far busier than ever, servicing the fishing fleet. We are lucky to have so many on the peninsula who have the skills to build and repair these wooden boats, now that fiberglass and other petroleum-base products have become so difficult to find. And of course, the library and post office and playground remain the sentimental heart of our village.
Curtis Cove Road is quieter now, with the disappearance of cars. The village’s four driverless EVs are based at the Grange’s charging station, available to anyone who needs to make the trek to Blue Hill or Ellsworth. Our grandchildren don’t believe us now when we tell them how you could hear the bridge sing all the way up to Holbrook Hill when the trucks blew over it. Or that you had to pump petroleum into your car before it would go. But while quieter from traffic, the road is a whole lot busier, with people going and coming on foot and bike.
To what should we attribute our success, you might ask. I think it comes down to three simple things:
1. The inclusiveness that has always been a hallmark of our village,
2. The size of our village, and
3. Our determination to think locally in every important decision.
Nothing further need to be said concerning our inclusiveness.
With regard to size I would add that we evolved over hundreds of thousands of years living in small groups. It is literally our DNA. Indeed, the size of our community approximates the size of a typical tribe from that ancient evolution. This is where we belong. This is where people are designed to have lives of meaning and purpose.
And localism: when we saw the changes coming in the late teens, we, as part of the Town of Blue Hill, embraced the Transition Towns movement wholeheartedly. That gave us the necessary tools and the ability to look beyond what seemed then so permanent and unchanging. We have made the transition and are well into the process of building for our children’s children something truly permanent and unchanging.
Come visit us!
Well paved morgan Bay Road/EBH road with a bike lane/multi use lane all the way into town so that people can safely recreate. Utilities buried. Dead trees cleared so healthy trees can be healthier. Improve and expand community playground with better/more modern play equipment and improve basketball court surface and hoop. More monthly gatherings and clubs. More kid centered get togethers. Having a well stocked general store would be awesome... coffee shop! Pass ordinance so no dollar tree or chain business can come into EBH. Pass ordinance for no gravel truck traffic. Make bridge pedestrian only traffic to create a walkable downtown EBH. Encourage local business. Have an EBH farmers market, Permaculture designed community garden with perennial veggies fruit trees etc. an annual Christmas tree lighting and carriage rides. Christmas decorations contest on private residences and community volunteer decorating committee for public buildings. EBH annual polar plunge to raise money for community improvement fund. Annual triathlon/road races to raise money for VIA, Gazebos at park with bug proof screening for spring and summer picnics, outdoor wood fired pizza oven and awesome fire pit for neighbors to get to know each other Giant Pergola somewhere with wisteria growing all over it. EBH private plough service.
Ideally, living in the village would be enticing to families with children, working people, retirees, and the elderly. There would be sufficient businesses in the village to generate and attract interest, income and infrastructure. The water would be clean and free from prohibitions on collection of shellfish. There would be free, fast, wifi internet service available to all residents. Traffic on Curtis Cove Rd and Jay Carter Rd would be controlled via speed humps. Jay Carter Rd and Clayfield Rd would be paved. The bridge would be replaced with a new structure with an asphalt roadbed. The weekly farmer’s market would be a well-attended welcome addition to the area, with produce grown in the community garden between the Reuters’ house and Bayfront Lane.
It feels like a safe place where all are welcome. It looks much like it does now but perhaps with a bit of commercial that most people could walk to.
A safe place for kids. A walkable village. A place where neighbors wave to each other. Where able-bodied villagers participate in creating and maintaining the buildings and grounds.
welcoming and inclusive, multi-income
A refuge from an increasingly unfriendly world.
It looks exactly the way it looks now, except more kids. It feels welcoming, non-exclusive, supportive, and playful.
What activities and resources are available to community members in the village?
Small local shops, farmers market, seasonal restaurant/cafe. It would make it easier to meet and interact with others from the community in a more casual and happenstance way and a vehicle for a more youthful demographic to participate and hopefully stay and contribute in a meaningful way.
Water access, high speed internet, community meeting places, green spaces, sidewalks and perhaps a small store or coop
I enjoy the positive spirit of our township
Natural Open Space for Events
Equal access to all buildings and events
Opportunities to connect in differing ways throughout the year
Similar to what is already offered--movie nights, dinners, storytelling (that was wonderful!), library, a community gathering spot, playground, special events/lectures. The only suggestion I have is potentially more opportunities for those "from away" to get to know and appreciate families with more of a history in the area (including those who may not have grown up viewing EBH as an "idyllic" place necessarily).
Pot luck suppers, coffee and pastries on Saturday morning, children's programs at the library, bake sales at the PO, carolling at Christmas.
Post office, waterfront access to VIA members, library, meeting place
Post office, library and community center. Launching ramp for boats and kayaks. Open space for gathering, events, and games. Low volume traffic so is extremely walkable. Harbor for boaters with moorings and marine services. Accessibility to water at private beach. Community activities that are affordable and open to all age groups.
*Outdoor and indoor meeting spaces where people can gather effortlessly. For example, the post office/ library is a place where people naturally go to pick up mail or their books and en route becomes a gathering space for socializing. To this end, the outdoor spaces need to be shaded (too sunny can make it unwelcome to sit there for long period of time) and providing comfortable seating. Founder's Hall could be a convenient place to socialize if it offered community resources/ events where people would gather. The outdoor space by the current playground could feature an outdoor pizza oven/ amphitheatre/ bocci field / shaded seating area. Outdoor space would attract people of all ages, not just families with children. Bike trails/ hiking trails throughout the village.
*Cultural events would be held in the public spaces
I would like a community list of people who have generators and would be willing to help those who don't. More community meals both free and fund raisers. I would like to expand the number of volunteers to help with village events
Outdoor activities for all ages: play spaces and structures, convenient seating, safe hiking and biking trails, access to the water, community outdoor cooking and picnicking. A well-used community center with regular cultural, social and charitable events. Activities that are aimed at sharing and helping: swap and lending circles, book and clothing exchanges, rummage sales, etc. A user-friendly social-media-type platform for easy, unfiltered exchange of information. A good relationship between the boatyard and the village. Some small-scale retail (the Post Office after it is finally shut down by the USPS, or the Grange) and a co-working space where residents and visitors could have access to high-speed internet. A cooperative art gallery.
We, again , only being there in summer, find many activities easy to find. The fitness class by Karen, the lobster dinner when we can make it, the library schmooze, the fishing with boat owners, and certainly the lectures and presentations are so valuable to us. This years Storytelling Night was a real highlight for us as a way to hear the many wonderful stories within our community. A yoga class would be a bonus for us as well as some local sailing instruction. Just ideas.
A store/cafe, gas station, activities involving children and our elderly residents, multiple “Saturday-coffee” days, monthly community dinners (especially in the winter), Community gardens, a hot springs/sauna retreat building.
Hiking and walking paths, boating access, safe biking.
I think that more of an open community space would be a positive step. Founder's Hall has never really help like that place to me, as it isn't used except for special events. More Schmooze-type interaction would help build community, and I think that the library/founder's hall aren't ideal spaces for that. My ideal space would be a sort of coffee house where people could hang out and socialize, as well as have musical events, etc. The park could certainly be revamped as well, it used to be used as a field for sports, etc., but now it really isn't used at all.
Beach clean ups by motivated groups.
Roadside trash removal parties.
Planting and taking care of the gardens and natives that grow here.
The Founders Hall should be more used as a resource with events hosted not only by the village but by others on the peninsula. I do think that it would help to have wifi installed at the hall but that is something that is secondary to bringing more vitality to the venue.
The boat ramp is great and the only issue there is the ongoing problem of the outhauls. It would be nice not to have the dinghys blocking the way when leaving or returning to the dock.
A village church which where it’s members are thankful for God’s blessings and look to Him for help and guidance. The present library and post office continue and are taken care of with improvements as needed. A small convience store is opened which takes care of immediate needs especially for older and younger villagers. The present village improvement association listens to it’s citizens and makes responsible decisions which benefit the village.
Post Office service, some library services, boat ramp, park, Founders Hall for events, Curtis Cove beach. we could use more people stepping up to volunteer and organize more activities.
Take advantage of waterfront location by providing salt water access, space for mooring and launching boats, affordable tax bAsis, job opportunities with maritime relationship.
Love having the library and post office. It would be great to have even more recreational activities for community members of all ages (sports games, dances, concerts, creative gatherings). It would be wonderful to have some communal resources available at the launch ramp for things like rowboats, kayaks, or paddle boards. It would be difficult but surely worthwhile to have a network in place to help care for aging village members who wish to remain in their own homes-- even just a regular way to check in on people in the winter.
Everywhere safely walkable and bike friendly/kid friendly/kid safe, dog safe.
Wintertime trails for snowshoeing and skiiing, Summertime trails for hiking and birdwatching, well maintained and marked, would be welcome.
The exercise class is good. More health related classes would be great. If you could buy milk, bread, essentials that would be wonderful. A little coffee shop lunch place would be a real social plus.
Story telling. Potluck suppers. Movies. Carolling. Playground.
community spaces (Founders Hall & library), community access to the water (Curtis Cove & boat ramp)
Beyond P.O. and Library and boat ramp...we could use a town dock. Work with existing dock but 400 is too much. If we installed a community dock how much money could we raise?
Exactly what's there now with perhaps greater emphasis on use of common space.
What community values/ideals are fulfilled by the physical spaces?
A sense of place and a platform to allow those from other local communities to plug-in to EBH village. Currently I feel that the "village" experience is very parochial and limited to those in a tight geographic circle around post office and library. Kind of an exclusionary community with-in a community that can be hard to break into.
Beauty, appreciation of the natural world, recreation, community member mixing
All of our ideals are enhanced by EBHVA spaces and Founders Hall
Inclusive spaces that accommodate all
A willingness to pitch in and help when asked
A culture of trusting that everyone will join in
open, non-judgmental, social, fun, empowering, culturally enriching
Tight knit community
Ability to meet and befriend your community, ability to rent a place for activities and functions, ability to access the waterfront both physically and visually.
Ability to be in nature, with minimal human impact. Ability to sustain nourishment from clean waters, air and land.
Recreation, safety, beauty.
connection with neighbors; sharing ideas and learning from each other; celebrating life with each other; supporting and helping neighbors in need
The Founders Hall is a good start to a vibrant life and should be used more
Reverence for the past, both for those who have gone before and their stories, and for the physical treasures that remain: the landscape and the buildings. Preparedness for an uncertain future through strong community bonds and a culture of mutual help. Joyful celebration of our differences, united by our common goals. Collaboration at all levels and a striving for consensus; a sense of belonging and never of exclusion.
Caring for neighbors, tutoring/continuing education, broadening Individual talents and strengths, community happiness and prosperity.
Love of each other and the land on which we live.
EBH community values as I see them are connection to land/place, a sense of belonging, prioritization of direct human interaction, a commitment to preserving tradition/history. I feel that history/tradition is being preserved, but there needs to be a bit more of an ye toward planning for future generations and what the needs of the village will be in 50 years.
Open space for views, meditation, walking, being outside in a group together.
Community / diversity / safety / generosity and caring for our neighbors. I would like to see more of the kind of story evenings that Lizzie and Ginger organized last summer at the Founder's Hall. What I loved about this event was that it brought us all together and opened up deeper understanding and conversation between different members of the village.
I think we could also enhance the feeling of community by making certain resources communally owned. Beyond the "grill" - we could share certain kinds of tools that are not necessary for all of us to own.
A community vegetable garden ... also the x-country ski trails ... more activities in the park in summer ... and most of all, more opportunities to listen deeply to each other and learn more about building and sustaining community.
The community value of being responsible for each other, of being a good neighbor are promoted by realizing the community is small but blessed with a beautiful place to live.
The post office, library, Founders Hall and park all offer chances for people to informally and formally interact and so reinforce a sense of community. The loss of any of these would negatively impact the sense of community and sharing. The greater use of all of these will reinforce the community sense.
Economic diversity, no emphasis on background or birthplace, ...
Collaboration, sharing, optimism, sense of belonging, openness. Multifunctional spaces that encourage gathering.
Safe foot and bike traffic, getting to know neighbors, creating traditions, sustainability, valuing nature, building childhood memories, village cohesiveness and inclusivity.
I do not collect mail from the post-office, but appreciate the opportunity for the EBH mail service to continue, and hope we can always ensure that service is available. Keeping the library viable is tricky; I’m not sure how that will be accomplished. We use it as a meeting hall, but have the Founders Hall as well. the Library is a wonderful building, and a center for Coffee and Doughnuts, but even determining how print media will endure is difficult. I would welcome the removal of the EBH Grange Hall, which is an eyesore, and replacing it with a viable structure, or even an empty lot.
The places would support the idea that this is a community that knows its neighbors and cares about them.
Community spirit. Common good.
sense of community and sharing
I think more community building especially in winter. Summer feels very out of town. How do we maintain feeling through cold dark days?
The physical spaces encourage openness, and suggest reconciliation of disparate values/ideals with an all-inclusive community.