Black Friday Lit Up, Naturally

With a mantra of “Shop Locally,” I did just that on this Black Friday 2018. Thankfully the time to take advantage of the doorbuster sales wasn’t limited and so it was okay that I didn’t pull into the Flat Hill parking lot until 1pm. 

Turns out, as in any shop today, the aisles were a bit crowded with customers searching for items on clearance and other great deals. 

I paused for a bit in aisle one, where I contemplated the Made-in-Maine artwork and thought about those on my Christmas list. Perhaps a water scene for Marita  because she likes the gurgling sound of a brook. 

For Pam K., I decided on an ice sculpture to add to her winter home. 

And for Pam M., I was sure that an abstract piece would be just right–especially as it echoed the mountain range and transformed into a bird, only sorta/kinda M.C. Escher in style. 

There were others on the list to consider and the decisions became more difficult as the selection increased in aisle two. Mouse, vole, squirrel both red and gray, deer and coyote tracks all were on display and the sign indicated I could buy one and get one free. But which one to buy? And for whom? 

And then just like that, it became clear–the coyote track for Simon because he’d caught on quickly to the squirrel patterns and appreciated that the predator was hungry. 

For every one set of tracks, there were fifty others, especially those of the mice and squirrels. But I chose the porcupine trough as my “get one free” when I saw it on the climb up the hill. 

The trough with its pigeon-toed prints and sashaying tail would be perfect for Bob.

Of course, I could have mixed and matched the prints, but thought it best to keep them separate. 

Continuing the dash for more must-have gifts, I spied a mossy maple polypore on a lower shelf and thought immediately of my guy. He doesn’t like to consume mushrooms, but there’s something about the mossy maple that draws his attention. 

And then on an end cap I saw the kissing beech/maple out of the corner of my eye and turned to read the sign: Limited in Quantity. On impulse I purchased it. Maybe I’ll stick it on my guy’s bureau and he can wrap it up for me. I’ve done that before 😉

There were a few free surprises. Not all freebies are created equal, but I really liked the bronze ornament that would be a nice addition on our Christmas tree. 

At last it was time for a little break at the Flat Hill Cafe. Today, the view offered more bang for my buck as Mount Washington glistened white behind the other mountains. 

Also enjoying the view and the oxymoron of the name Flat Hill were fellow shoppers Bob, Pam K., Marita, Simon and Pam M. I made sure they didn’t see what was in my pack and visa versa. I do so hope they are as excited as I am about the gifts I purchased for them.

When the cafe got crowded, we decided to walk back down the main aisle together toward the check out. And then a few of us remembered we had coupons for the seasonal section. But . . . alas, we were too late. It was the only part of the store that was closed because everything had sold out. The stepping stones were  covered with water and ice to keep us from venturing any farther. We turned around, only a bit disappointed that our shopping adventure was about to come to an end, but understood that being a three-season section we had taken our chances by arriving so late in the day. 

No matter. The view from Perky’s Path thrilled us. All afternoon, we enjoyed the lighting, and especially the sun as it lowered–making this Black Friday light up, naturally. 

I highly encourage you to visit; the doors are open all hours and it’s a great place to shop in style. 

Today’s Black Friday Lit Up, Naturally experience was brought to you by the Greater Lovell Land Trust’s Flat Hill, Heald Pond Road, Lovell. 

Black Friday My Way

Shopping on Black Friday is the perfect tonic following a Thanksgiving feast. And so I was excited that my friend, J.M., agreed to join me for the venture–and even happier that she offered to drive.

Our destination–the MDT store in Fryeburg. Everything we needed under one sky roof.

The first department we visited was decked out in shades of red.

red oak bark

The rusty inner bark of this Northern Red Oak practically jumped out at us. How could we resist such temptation? Add it to the cart.

pitch pine bark

Sometimes the display made us stop and wonder.

pitch pine and needles

We hunted about to make sure our identification was correct before we settled on Pitch Pine rather than Red Pine. Both share similar bark, but the former has three long needles, while the latter sports two. The correct coupon in hand, we continued on our way.

Red-belted Polypore

Red-belted Polypores pulled us from the main aisle to admire their construction. Talk about an exclusive offer–woohoo!


And we couldn’t resist the raspberry red pyramid of the Staghorn Sumac. A taste of Sumac Lemonade danced in our heads while we continued shopping.

oak salmon 2

About a year ago, I’d told J.M. about a salmony hue in the winterscape. As we came upon this item, she understood what I meant about the color. And I was thrilled to discover that they had plenty in stock–I had no idea that White Oak grows in Fryeburg. I’m slowly adding towns to my list–where it grows and where it doesn’t grow.

oak leaves 2

The free-form structure spoke of a dance performance. And then we realized that we were in a wind tunnel. Even though it wasn’t windy at the moment, the marcescent leaves have retained their fluid shape.

bush clover 1

We also found variations of red in Bush-Clover, which is a typical species of this place, though we didn’t realize that at the time.

bush clover 2

From the Bush-Clover, it was an easy transition into the texture department where more bargains awaited.

staghorn sumac stalk

The velvety feel of the Staghorn Sumac warranted a caress. Having grown up with Poison Sumac, it always strikes me as odd to be so enamored with a member of this family. But I am.

cattail 3cat tail 1Cattail 5

We stepped into the next aisle and found these corn-dogs on a stick. Cattails get their common name from their end-of-season fluffy spikes or tails. Need insulation or mattress stuffing? Check out aisle 6. From food to shaving cream to antifreeze, this is a bargain you don’t want to dismiss.

cattail 2

There’s even a two-for-one sale.

locusts thorns and pods

In contrast, though graceful in appearance when leafed out, the formidable thorns of a locust tree seem to serve as a warning sign–hands off the seed pods. Not exactly what I’d call a sweet deal.

Evening primrose 2

Impulse items drew our attention as well–those things we didn’t need but couldn’t resist. The spiraling of the Evening Primrose seed heads and


the curling leaves of the Sweet-Fern’s leaves begged to be noticed.

The light was starting to wan as we made our final purchases before heading home.

MTD tracks and trail

Our shopping trip along the Mountain Division Trail, a 4-mile long section of the rail trail in Fryeburg, had come to an end. But we were guaranteed free shipping for those purchases we couldn’t cart home.

J.M. and I bagged some exclusive specials as we hand picked the near endless stream of deals and discounts on this Black Friday. We knew we’d come to the right place . . . to practice our shopping expertise.