Seal Cove Auto Museum patrons at the Rusticator Picnic this weekend will have a chance to ride in a vintage Crane automobile. PHOTO COURTESY OF SEAL COVE AUTO MUSEUM

Old-fashioned fun is aim at car museum



Old cars and an old tradition combine Sunday as the Seal Cove Auto Museum hosts a Rusticator Picnic from 3-6 p.m. on the museum grounds.

This is the second year of the fundraising event, which, along with catered picnic fare, is to feature rides in antique cars, live music and a fashion show of Victorian-era wedding attire.

The theme of the picnic harkens back to the early seasonal visitors to Mount Desert Island. These so-called “rusticators” left the cities to spend the summer in the cooler and more tranquil setting found on the island. They embraced an outdoor lifestyle, and picnicking on the shore or atop a mountain was a popular pastime.

The Rusticator Picnic aims to recreate these gatherings, and the museum grounds overlooking Western Mountain and Seal Cove Pond is a fitting setting for the event, said Raney Bench, executive director of the museum. As with last year’s picnic, attendees are encouraged to dress in period costumes, Bench said. However, that is not a requirement. Prizes will be awarded for the best male and female costumes.

The inaugural picnic last year was a success, one that elicited many favorable comments from attendees, Bench said.

“People loved it,” she said. “It was unique and different.”

Country Fare is catering the event. The picnic-inspired menu includes smoked salmon, spiral ham and a large selection of hors d’oeuvres. Non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages will be available and include the Rusticator Rum Punch served at last year’s picnic.

Also on hand will be an authentic ice cream truck. The Darling’s Ice Cream for a Cause truck will be offering ice cream bars. All donations benefit the museum, Bench said.

Throughout the afternoon, rides are available in two antique cars, a 1912 Crane and a 1908 Hupmobile. The gypsy jazz quartet Mes Amis, featuring local reed player Shane Ellis, also is to perform.

The fashion show is to begin sometime around 4:30 p.m., Bench said. Models will be wearing authentic Victorian-era wedding attire from the collection of Norma Spurling. Along with bridal gowns, the show includes a sampling of clothes the bride would wear during the days preceding the wedding and the honeymoon that followed, Bench said. The models will be escorted by museum board member Tommy Alley dressed in period clothes.

“I think that will be fun,” Bench said.

As part of the fundraising effort, the museum is raffling four prizes they are calling “experiences.” These are a tour and picnic in Acadia National Park in the museum’s 1912 Crane, a tour of the Blue Hill peninsula in a Type 37 Bugatti grand prix car, a chauffer-driven ride in a 1958 Bentley to dinner at Fiddler’s Green in Southwest Harbor and a flight for two aboard a 1933 WACO biplane at the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum.

Raffle tickets at $50 each can be purchased by calling the museum or at the picnic. The winning tickets will be drawn during the picnic.

Tickets for the Rusticator Picnic are $75 each. Each picnicker will receive a handmade Micmac basket and two wine glasses with a Rusticator Picnic logo. For tickets, call the museum at 244-9242 or contact Hope Rowan at [email protected]

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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