The Green Spot

greenspot.jpg “The Lakes!” The children would shout from our rented Mini-Van, as we approached Waterville, Maine for our summer vacation. The first lake symbolized that we were almost at the end of our long day of traveling from Los Angeles. Every July, my husband and I traveled with our blended family of seven children in to the deepest country of the Belgrade Lakes, Maine.  Unlike the coastal towns, the inland lakes do not attract the tourists in masses, mostly New Englanders, visiting camps that have been within their families for generations.

The town is a highway, consisting of a Wall Mart, a large Grocery store, and every fast food restaurant chain imaginable. But there is a little secret along this highway… Nestled quietly along the roadside, is a simple farm stand, that from the outside appears to be selling fruits and vegetables, but only the lucky that venture in, soon realize that they have entered an epicurean paradise!

The Green Spot is no bigger than a two car garage and anything or everything you could ever want for a romanticized Maine vacation you will find and if you don’t, either Tanya will order it, or Brenda will make it! Tanya and Brenda Anthanus are two sisters who are filled with wonderful tales and stories of their old town and it’s ancestors. They are the proprietors of this incredible oasis. They are closed during the winter months, where they travel to France and Italy, making friends, sampling and educating themselves on all the latest culinary skills that they can bring back home to Maine with them. They are two unique and incredible characters, so schooled in their field, that at first, you can’t help wondering why they are not in upstate New York, or Northern California where their level of sophistication would be honored, but as you get to know their individual characters, they are exactly where they are supposed to be. They are the “Who’s Who” of Belgrade Lakes. Their knowledge is far greater than of great food, they know about the local people, property, marriages, affairs, divorces.  And they keep secrets… Such as their phone number, which has never been listed and is only given to those who they choose!

The staple Green Spot pantry consists of delicacies such as Home made churned butter, eggs from Tanya’s chickens, cream from local cows, ice cream made from local cream and fresh local berries, pasta stuffed with home made sausages, or fresh lobster. Local grass fed beef, seafood brought in by old friends from the coast. Fresh biscotti, lovely chunky granola, still warm from the oven, French bread, brioche, croissants, blueberry, corn and raspberry muffins, home made cookies, home made jams, our favorite Brenda’s golden raspberry.

greenspot.jpgAfter Long days of waterskiing, sailing, swimming, summer reading and lounging on our little dock, we all pile in to the mini van and head out to our favorite afternoon excursion… The Green Spot.  “Brenda they’re here!” Tanya would yell back in to the tiny kitchen, as we pull up to the simple farm stand. The children rush in, first peering in to the lobster tank that is replenished with over three hundred lobsters daily, then on to the boxes of plump fresh blueberries still warm from the bushes they had just been picked and then the children would position their noses just above the pies, still steaming from Brenda’s oven. “Any ideas for supper?” I ask the sisters, as I wonder over to the crates of steamer clams that have just been brought in by a local fisherman. “How about crab cakes? Lobster risotto?” Brenda reads my mind, as she offers me old family cooking secrets and recipes passed down from generations as I greedily pile the fresh goodies on to the counter.

When the children are finished daring one another to pick up the biggest lobsters in the tank and I have selected our supper, breakfast and lunch for the next twenty-four hours, we bid our friends goodbye,  “See you tomorrow!” We all sing out as we load our delicacies in to the mini van. “We’ll be here.” Brenda and Tanya cheerfully reply and they wave goodbye as we drive back to our beautiful camp, open a delicious bottle of wine that Tanya has selected and feast at our farmhouse table on our rustic porch, overhanging the lake.

And then the sad day comes when we say, “See you next year!” and the sisters hug us warmly and say, “We’ll be here.”

At about this time, every year, the sisters call me. “It’s Brenda and Tanya from The Green Spot (as if there were any other Brenda and Tanya!) “Would you like us to ship you one of our home raised turkeys for Thanksgiving?’ and within a few days it arrives, always with Brenda’s home made cranberry sauce and a jar of golden raspberry jam. And that is why we call them “The girls at the  “G” Spot!”

The Green Spot
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Lucy Dahl grew up in England. She is a screenwriter. Her movie "Wild Child" is being released in April 2008. She is now living in Los Angeles with her husband, children, two dogs and pet potbellied pig, Francis Bacon.