The Great Northern

Following US‑2 through wide-open spaces is guaranteed to bring new meaning to the expression “getting away from it all.”


West of Farmington and just north of US-2, the town of Wilton was the longtime home of famous shoemaker G. H. Bass Company, makers of those leather “Weejuns” so loved by preppies. In 1998 the Bass Company abandoned Wilton for the lower-wage Dominican Republic, but its old mill is still standing. Next to the mill, an old boardinghouse holds the Wilton Farm and Home Museum (10 Canal St., 207/645-2091, by appointment only, donations), a fascinating museum with exhibits on G. H. Bass, its shoe-making operations, and everything from old bottles to the life of the Wilton-born “Maine Giantess,” Sylvia Hardy, an 8-foot-tall, 400-pound woman who was a star of P. T. Barnum’s famous freak shows.

Wilton is also where you’ll find a large windmill marking the Dutch Treat restaurant and ice cream stand (63 Magrath), while one of the old G. H. Bass buildings in the historic core is now home to one of inland Maine’s better restaurants: Calzolaio Pasta Company (284 Main St., 207/645-9500), which serves Maine seafood and brick-oven pizzas in its cozy dining room or on the outdoor deck.

Dutch Treat (63 Magrath Rd.)
Wilton Farm and Home Museum (10 Canal St.)
Calzolaio Pasta Company (284 Main St.)