When Don and Peg Newberg of Harpswell finally ventured out late Tuesday morning, it was to drive less than a mile down the road to the Ship 2 Shore general store for gas and coffee.

Power had been out for them since late Sunday night. Trees and power lines were still down all around them. They expected to be in the dark for at least another day or two.

Still, they weren’t all that concerned.

“We have wood stoves to keep warm and a propane stove to cook with, so I think we’re going to be OK,” Peg Newberg said outside the store, which had been operating on a generator since 5 a.m. “The worst thing that might happen is we lose a freezer full of food. And if we really need help, we have neighbors that have offered to help.”

The Newbergs and their we’ll-get-through-this attitude were emblematic of the way many Mainers appeared to handle the storm that left almost 500,000 households without power.

For families whose children had another unexpected day off from school, the biggest struggle was keeping kids occupied without screens.

“We spent the morning cleaning the house,” said Kate Egan of Brunswick, who took a break with her daughter, Maddie Wayne, 15, and son Nate Wayne, 11, to have lunch at Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe.

Katherin Adams, left, and Kelly Fredericks pass hanging power lines along Ledgewood Lane in Cape Elizabeth on Tuesday. The town’s schools were closed for the second straight day, along with the community pool and fitness center. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

Egan said her house lost power early Monday. They don’t have a generator, but she said they could handle a couple more days without electricity if needed. Asked whether they were bored yet, her children said “No,” although they were curious whether school would be canceled again the next day.

Dozens of other people also crowded into Wild Oats, including many from nearby Bowdoin College in Brunswick, to vie for the handful of power outlets where they could charge phones or laptops.

Although hundreds of thousands are still in the dark, many people said things could have been worse, noting the mild temperatures and the lack of snow or ice.

Gabrielle Gosselin of Six River Farm in Bowdoinham was among a handful of vendors at the Tuesday morning farmers market in downtown Brunswick. Her farm had lost power, but it has generators and a diesel-powered trailer that could hold much of the harvested produce.

But business was slow at the market. Although there were a lot of people out and about, few were buying perishable items because most didn’t have power for their refrigerators.

Gosselin, however, was grateful that she had any customers.

In more outlying, rural areas, businesses stayed closed.

Gail Johnson, who manages the Ship 2 Shore store, said she’s used to being the only place open when the power goes out. Places like Harpswell, a narrow peninsula that juts into the ocean, are often among the last to see the utility crews that restore power.

Her store couldn’t run everything off the generator. The pizza stove was off and the coolers were not working. She warned anyone who bought milk to drink it fast.

But she had plenty of coffee and gas – although she did put up a sign asking people to limit themselves to 20 gallons.

“We didn’t want to run out and have people go without,” she said.

John Slawin works around his 200-year-old farmhouse in Freeport on Tuesday. It was the second day that Slavin was without power and he said he thinks the damage from this storm is worse than the ice storm of 1998, when he was without power for 10 days. Slavin said his area of Freeport frequently loses power. “It’s romantic and nice for a couple of days but then it gets tedious,” he said. He has candles and battery-operated lanterns and cooks his meals on his woodstove. Staff photo by Gregory Rec

In Cape Elizabeth, kids played in neighborhoods throughout town, where schools were closed again Tuesday, along with the community pool and fitness center. Most homes and businesses still had no electricity and major roads were blocked by downed trees and power lines. The library finally got power and opened in midafternoon.

In the Broad Cove neighborhood, Simon and Amy Hodshon carved pumpkins in their sunny driveway with their three children, Charlie and Raylan, both 3, and Ellis, 1. Without a generator, they’re using a camp stove to make meals, and cooked dinner on a backyard grill Monday evening.

“So far it’s been no hardship. Maybe after a few days, it will be,” Simon Hodshon said. “We went to bed early last night, but that’s kind of usual for us after we put the kids to bed. We’ve got some food in the freezer we’re planning to eat tonight if we still don’t have electricity.”

School was canceled in Scarborough, although the middle school and library were open to residents looking to warm up or charge cellphones and other devices.

While many South Portland residents remained without power, the city’s schools were able to hold classes. At the South Portland Community Center, which was open to residents who needed electricity or wifi access, three electric car-charging stations were busy.

Ian Engelman of Portland was charging his Nissan Leaf. He usually charges at his orthopedic brace production company in Scarborough, but it had no power. So he temporarily moved its offices to a space in South Portland that had electricity, hoping to keep the business operating until power is restored.

“I’ve got two days without production so far,” Engelman said. “It’s a lot of lost money. I can’t answer phones. It’s issues with customers or employees that I can’t address. It’s leads I can’t follow up on.”

Ian Meng of South Portland was charging his Chevy Volt hybrid. He usually charges at the University of New England in Biddeford, where he is a professor of neuroscience, but classes were canceled Tuesday.

Meng said generators are keeping the university’s labs operating, but staff members had to scramble Monday to find extension cords so they could connect all cell incubators and freezers containing biological materials. Meng said the storm provided some important lessons, including the need to develop emergency power plans if more people start driving electric cars.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: PPHEricRussell

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

[email protected]

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