Barb here. (Or rather there. I’m actually in Key West.)
My latest Maine Clambake Mystery, Iced Under, explains how my protagonist, Julia Snowden’s family made their fortune in the “frozen water” trade. I had a lot of fun researching the ice industry and I’ve written about some of my sources here, on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog.
When a Maine friend told me there was an ice house museum on the Bristol peninsula, one of my favorite places in Maine, I was all over it.
The Thompson Ice House Harvesting Museum is quite different from the industrial ice trade I describe in Iced Under. The museum is on a small pond, not a river. The ice harvested there was used locally, delivered to residents of South Bristol for their ice boxes as well as supplying a critical resource to fisherman and those involved in the transport of seafood caught locally.
One of the coolest things about the museum is that every year, they still cut ice there in the old way. The date for ice cutting this year is February 19, 2017. Everyone who comes is welcome to help with the harvest.
Here’s a video from 2012. Be sure to stay until the end when they load the ice into the ice house. There’s an even better, more informative, video you can view when you tour the museum.
For those who may not want to freeze their rears off harvesting ice in Maine in February, the museum also sponsors an ice cream social in July, this year on July 2, 2017. The ice cream is handmade, cranked with ice from the ice house.
The Thompson Ice House Harvesting Museum exists because of the generous gift of the land and buildings by the Thompson family, along with diligent fundraising and volunteering by year-round and season residents of the Bristol area. I love these kinds of back roads attractions and completely recommend a visit next time you find yourself near Pemaquid.
(All photos by Bill Carito. If you like Bill’s photos and want to see more, you can follow him on Instagram @billcarito and @bill.carito.colorphotos and friend him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bcarito.)