Ladies in fringed silk dresses and jeweled headbands, gentlemen in bowties, boaters and Gatsby-white all danced and dined on the shores of the Damariscotta River to celebrate a milestone birthday. The Lincoln Home senior living community in Newcastle turned 95 on Saturday, Aug. 20.
“I love fantasy,” attendee Debra Arter said of the 1920s theme. She shopped at local thrift and vintage stores for her look and chose a dress made for dancing. “This is a beautiful night (for) dressing up with friends,” she said.
In the spirit of the evening guests took advantage of a trunk full of fans and feather boas to pose with one of three classic cars parked on the gently sloping lawn with the Damariscotta River in the background. John Harris brought friends to the party in his Model A Ford, one of 27 cars in his collection.
The Boneheads band were on hand to get guests moving. With Bob Colwell on keyboards, Scott Eliot on bass, “Dickie-Doo” Hollis on drums, and Steve Jones on guitar the foursome played what Arter called “some really rug-cutting music.”
More than six months of planning went into the elegant event. Pearls and glass beads were strewn across white tablecloths and pearl swags were draped along the tent poles.
Residents were seated at VIP tables with calla lily centerpieces provided by Midcoast Blooms. The Newcastle Publick House provided bartending services and the event was catered by the Lincoln Homes own culinary team under new culinary director Jamie Baribeau. Fresh Damariscotta River oysters were shucked to order.
“We love this place,” said guest Rosa Kerr of New Harbor who attended with husband Bill. The couple have plans to eventually move to the Lincoln Home and enjoy what Rosa Kerr described as ”a room with a view.”
According to Lincoln Home Executive Director Lorrie Winslow, the event raised at least $5,000 with approximately 75 guests in attendance. The money will go toward paying off the new roof, already installed since recent rains made it clear the need could not be put off.
Winslow said all the staff pitched in to get the event off the ground. Both Maintenance Director Mike Knof and Baribeau gave hours of personal time to prepare for the celebration according to Winslow who called Knof “a whirlwind.”
Board members including Bruce Batchelder, Karen Ladharite, Anne Poole and Dennison Briggs were on hand to help celebrate. Winslow said Lincoln Home board members volunteer numerous hours and share expertise in their fields for the benefit of the residents.
According to its history, seven area women’s clubs, with seven dollars to start, were the catalyst for the founding of the Lincoln Home. The colonial house and property on the Damariscotta River were donated to the Lincoln County Union Women’s Clubs to establish The Lincoln Home for the Aged in 1926 and the first residents were welcomed in 1927.
Now, 95 years later, the Lincoln Home continues its mission to provide “vibrant senior living.” The focus in the near term is on a handful of additional renovations, including meeting ADA requirements that have evolved since the last renovation, and adding more intentional spaces like a dedicated media room. “Just anything that can help make it feasible for residents to live more comfortably,” Winslow said.
An updated dining room is an item on the wish list, although the expansive view of the river will remain the focal point. “We’re not going to ever compete with the view,” Winslow said. “We just want to make sure the framing of that view stays timeless.”
From both the dining room and the water side apartments residents are treated to a panorama of the sparkling Damariscotta River with the town and the waterfront bustling beside it.
The setting of the Lincoln Home is one of the qualities that makes the senior community so unique. It provides residents a home that reflects the Midcoast Maine lifestyle. “That’s who we are. That’s our vibe,” Winslow said.
Winslow said the Lincoln Home will continue to integrate into the local community, supporting residents of Lincoln County “in any way possible.” That includes providing one on one support to seniors aging in place in their own homes as well as providing care for the residents who live at the Lincoln Home and at Harbor View Cottage Memory Care.
According to the Lincoln Home website, a resident financial assistance fund is in place so that residents who have exhausted their resources are able to continue to live “in this place they love and call home.”
Winslow hopes to have children back for story times and other activities soon. There are plans to welcome the community and guests to the dining room in the next couple of months “as long as COVID remains at bay.” Events and concerts will continue to be a summer feature going forward.
“It feels like we’re coming out of a long winter sleep,” Winslow said.
The final concert of this season will be the New England-based Don Campbell Band playing on the lawn September 23.