The Winthrop Lakes region is a great place to visit in the summertime. The many lakes, ponds, and streams provide a multitude of opportunities for boating, fishing and other recreational activities. There are also shops, eateries, historic landmarks, and festivals for those who prefer to stay on shore. Like other waterfront communities, the town of Winthrop’s population doubles during the summer.

Winthrop was once home to the Winthrop Mills Company which, according to the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, was one of the top manufacturers of woolen blankets in the U.S. Many residents were employed there. The Winthrop Mills Company Historic District has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Another landmark in Winthrop listed in the National Register of Historic Places is the Ladies Delight Light which is a small lighthouse on Lake Cobbosseecontee (one of the longest lakes in Maine). The lighthouse was erected with the help of two oxen transported to the island. The story is told that only one oxen could fit on the barge that was used to transport it. As the mariners went back to retrieve the second oxen, they reportedly found the first oxen swimming back to the mainland. (It was thought to be lonely for the other oxen). The mariners finally got both oxen there and the lighthouse was constructed. It’s the only Maine lighthouse on a fresh water lake. It’s been maintained over the years by the Cobbosseecontee Yacht Club.

While some people are interested in the history found in the Winthrop Lakes area, others are more interested in the lakes, ponds, streams, and the natural beauty of the region.

Columnist George Smith reported last year that, at one time, there were 39 camps for kids and inns for tourists in the Winthrop Lakes region. Winthrop is still home to a number of camps and lodging places today.

For those visitors looking for a nostalgic place to eat, Fast Eddies Drive-In Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor (located on Route 201 in Winthrop) will revive a lot of memories. Burgers, fries, and homemade ice cream are served by a car — hop at the drive-in or inside, where the walls are filled with memorabilia from the 1950s. The restaurant is open April-October.

Every Fourth of July, the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce sponsors the Fourth of July fireworks display at Norcross Point on Maranacook Lake. That event draws several hundred into town each year.

There is also a 5K race that day, sponsored by the Friends of the Cobbossee Watershed. It’s open to all runners, joggers, and walkers. Most of the course follows the scenic eastern shore of Maranacook Lake. All proceeds are used for conservation of the Cobbossee Watershed. The registration deadline is July 3 at 12 p.m. See runsignup.com/Race/ME/Winthrop/FriendsontheFourthAnnual5K for more details.

Later in the summer, the Chamber sponsors an annual Sidewalk Art Festival each year. That will be held on Main Street in Winthrop on August 18th this year. It will run 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Chamber director Barbara Walsh said that the show is growing every year and has several new artists and high-end crafters. In the past, there have been dozens of artists and crafts-people who set up booths on the sidewalks with painting, pottery, jewelry, and photographs. Ribbons and prizes will be given for Best in Show, Best Artist and Best Crafter. Last year’s festival included live music and food from local restaurants. Registration deadline is August 1.  For more information, call 377-8020 or email [email protected].

The Bailey Library in Winthrop will offer a number of groups during the summer months including an open ukulele group, an acoustic (open music) group, a creative express writers’ group, an open cribbage club, and others. They also offer clubs for children, including a Lego club every Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. There’s a youth craft hour every Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. There will be a library camp-in on June 30th at 3 p.m. and a tie-dye party on August 8 at 2 p.m.

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