Lois Stailing enjoys exploring the back roads of Maine to visit local historic sites with friends. She also likes to eat at out-of-the-way restaurants she discovers along the way.

Now she’s combined these two pastimes in a little guidebook that’s perfect for summer: “Nearaway Places: Driving to a Meal in Maine,” a self-published guidebook from Maine Authors Publishing in Thomaston. You’ve likely heard of a couple of the places Stailing writes about, but what makes this book special is that it’s not just the usual suspects. You’ll not find Portland Head Light or an old Lewiston mill here.

Lois Stailing’s book is $21.95 and can be purchased at Maine Authors Publishing, through Amazon.com, and at a few local bookstores.

Instead, Stailing, who has a degree in history from the University of Maine, introduces us to historic structures like stone cattle pounds that locked up wayward cows before they could trample a Colonial neighbor’s crops. After visiting the 1816-era cattle pound in Turner, Stailing suggests a visit to the café at Nezinscot Farm. Or visit the Constitution Tree in Phippsburg, an English linden tree that has stood in front of the local Congregational Church since it was planted in 1774, then drive down the road to Woolwich to the Taste of Maine restaurant.

“As I stood looking up at the top of the tree,” Stailing wrote about her visit to the Phippsburg site, “I thought of all the blizzards, downpours, and hurricane winds that this proud tree has withstood. Standing in the presence of something of this size and age has the effect of cutting one down to size – an experience that I think is good for the soul now and then.”

We second Stailing’s suggestion, if you’ve never been there before, to visit the St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport, a peaceful, meditative place created by Lithuanian monks in 1947, where guests can stroll along riverside walking paths, explore English-style gardens, and breathe in the fragrant air of a lawn that’s been planted in thyme. Stailing suggests enjoying a bowl of seafood chowder and a slice of pie afterward at the Maine Diner on U.S. Route 1.

We don’t often suggest self-published books to our readers – we don’t have the space, and we think most books benefit from being vetted and polished by editors and publishers. But this sweet booklet caught our eye.

Stailing’s book costs $21.95 and can be purchased at Maine Authors Publishing, through Amazon.com, and at a few local bookstores.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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