Stoneybay Harbor, an experiment in world building
Sparkling Lou’s Restaurant by the Sea
Of all the places to eat in Stoneybay, Sparkling Lou’s is not to be missed. No matter the cuisine you most prefer, Sparkling Lou’s has something for you. More than the food, however, the decor is stunning.
Sparkling Lou’s has been running for well over 100 years, and has been family owned and operated for the whole time. There’s a local joke that Sparkling Lou’s is older than Stoneybay — that before the town came up as a prominent stopping over point across the sea — that Sparkling Lou’s was there, waiting for a town to grow up around it.
Visitors to the area often ask about the source of the establishment’s name, as did I. It seems, however, there is no colorful local backstory to be gleaned here. The restaurant was merely started by an industrious person named Sparkling Lou and happened to be near to the ocean.
Harbor Rock Signal
This large rock is the most prominent geological feature of Stoneybay Harbor. Sitting squarely at the mouth of the bay, the multi-story high rock is believed to be the largest example of a glacial erratic every found. Atop the rock is a stout light and signal house. Boats entering the bay must pass on one or the other side of the rock, the light and signal house helps to direct boats to the appropriate side, preventing collisions.
The striking geological protrusion is even more notable in that it is composed of a rock not common to the rest of the area. It contains striking veins and striations that appear pearlescent when wet.
Locals refer to the southward side of the Harbor Rock Signal as “the cheese grater.” A name this face has earned from what it does to unfortunate ships.
Fish Shack Apothecary
This interestingly named shop carries more or less anything you’d ever need when stopping by Stoneybay Harbor; from medicines, to traveling supplies, to good cheese sandwiches. Located right off of the seaside way, the shop actually started in a boat. As business boomed the proprietors converted a nearby fishing shack to a warehouse and storefront. As the years passed, and business continued to boom it expanded to multiple fishing shacks, and is now comprised of about 10 separate, but adjacent structures. Closed Tuesdays and on fishing holidays.
One of two boardwalks in Stoneybay Harbor, the Long Boardwalk is the more traveled of the two, stretching from the inlet to the Harbor Rock Signal lookout. The majority of the community’s businesses are located off of, or very near to the Long Boardwalk. As a major thoroughfare one can always meet interesting people along the Long Boardwalk.
One of the most interesting, although not immediately noticeable, features of the Long Boardwalk is that the pylons holding it up aren’t made of wood like most boardwalks in the area. The Long Boardwalk’s pylons are evenly spaced stone pillars that protrude above the walking surface to form the uprights for the seaward-side handrails. The pylons are hewn from the same stone as the Harbor Rock Signal.
The Short Boardwalk connects the Long Boardwalk’s “business” district to the more residential area of the community.
The Short Boardwalk is much quieter than the Long one, but well trafficked. A great place to experience the humdrum local life.
On Wednesday evenings in the summer the Short Boardwalk is swept by a group of black-clad sweepers.
Meek and Powerful Gull
Also know as the “M&P Pub.” With its striking signage of a large and small gull cupped in the cradled hands of a giantess, this pub is a sight to behold. Built from the repurposed stern of a ship, the imposing structure is neigh by unmissable, painted a striking red with golden brown trim.
A large stone golem-like statue stands at the entrance. I was told this was the giantess from the sign, but I couldn’t see the resemblance.
Inside the pub is, well, a pub. When visiting, don’t miss the upper floors. The rooms used to be for rent, but are not used by local craftspeople to create and sell their wares from. Cash only.
Sometimes jokingly called the “Frog’s Leap” by locals in reference to a tragic event wherein the owner of the property was forcibly thrown from the highest point of the building by some disgruntled workmen who hadn’t been paid on time. Now an inn and tavern. The dining rooms have magnificent views of the bay and beyond to the open ocean. Predictably, very expensive.
Not actually a place, Gorgeous Pete is an important local figure. Believed to be a very large aquatic creature of some sort, Gorgeous Pete can be seen on the darkest, coldest nights of the year, swimming a foot or less under the surface of the ocean, emanating a gentle blue glow and a very low humming sound.
Many have attempted to capture Gorgeous Pete, but none have succeeded. Many shops sell small vials of sea water, scooped from directly above Gorgeous Pete. This water is said to have many healing properties.
There is also a type of pickle well known in the area called “Gorgeous Pickles.” These pickles are made in the normal way that pickles are, but are then stored in the special sea water. Often served along with a very fresh seaweed salad.
Stoneybay Harbor Academy
A now defunct school. Most of the community’s children now attend school in the next town over, about 15 minutes away. Others are homeschooled, or attend the Seaside School of Fisheries and Boatsmanship. A well respected trade-school.