Here are the two things I knew about Orono before my sister-in-law and her family moved there: it is home to the University of Maine, the state’s largest higher-education institution (and only research university), and it’s the birthplace of Pat’s Pizza, a chain that has become as synonymous with Maine cuisine as the Italian sandwich. Among the things I did not realize — and was delighted to discover on a visit last weekend — is how many glorious old houses there are here. Elegantly detailed, 19th century Colonial, Cape, Greek Revival, and Victorian residences rise up on either side of Main Street as you head north into town.
I love all of these, but I am positively swooning over the 1840 Greek Revival-style Gov. Israel Washburn House, seen in the opening photo and at top right. Built by a Civil War-era Maine governor and passionate anti-slavery advocate, the home is resplendent with towering, wavy-glass windows, handsome balustrades, Doric pilasters and columns, and decorated friezes. Don’t you just want to sit with a glass of lemonade on that gorgeous front porch?
What are your favorite Maine streets/towns for ogling old houses? I am making a list of places to visit!