Linda Dexter (pronounced Linder Dextah by most Mainahs)* owns a charming gift shop named Ecopelagicon, where she also rents kayaks. The name of her store was formed from three parts: “eco, for ecology; pelagic, a word meaning living or growing at or near the surface of the ocean; and con, for conservation.”
Ecopelagicon sits slightly back from the main street in Rangeley, Maine, on the edge of Haley Pond, which flows into Rangeley Lake, but “you can’t get there from here unless you’re a fish,” says Linda.
Kayaking is a growing sport in Maine as in many other parts of the country. What’s unique, in Rangeley, is a weekly “Pie and Paddle” event started by Linda and now quite popular among some of the locals. It began on the spur of a moment one day.
On her way out to join two friends for a morning of kayaking she carefully wrapped up some leftover blueberry pie, poured coffee into a thermos and grabbed a few cups, plates, & forks. After paddling from the center of town out to Maneskootuk (pronounced man’ es scoo took) Island in Rangeley Lake, they stopped for a break and conversation. The two friends were pleasantly surprised when Linda offered them pie and coffee, and they happily accepted the treat.
One of the lady kayakers offered to bring pie the following week for their excursion. Word spread fast and since then the number of morning paddlers has grown.
Now when they reach the island they hook all the kayaks together and pass and pass an assortment of pies from kayak to kayak being careful not to feed pie to the fish. Meat pies and healthy quiche type concoctions are not allowed. Muffins, Danish, donuts or anything else will be sent back uneaten.
“We have rules about what we bring for pie…no quiche, pork pie, tofu pie or anything that is posing as a pie but is a meal. Dessert Pies Only!!!” says Linda.
Linda has been named the official Pie Warden.
If you happen to visit Rangeley, Maine be sure to stop and see Linda. She has a nice smile and a great sense of humor. If you go kayaking remember to take some pie and coffee to share with friends.
*Mainers do not pronounce the letter R when it appears at the end of a word, but when a word ends in A they’ll put one in.