Originally published in Castine Patriot, February 18, 2021
Castine takes a walk on the warm side
Par Kettis, Johanna Sweet, Pedrick Sweet, Gunilla Kettis and Arthur Layton. Johanna Sweet is president of the Castine Arts Association, the sponsor of the Valentine’s Day ‘Walk on the Warm Side.’
by Eli Forman
Castine may be a long way, both geographically and in spirit, from Lou Reed’s New York City, but that didn’t stop residents from talking a walk on their own bowdlerized version of the wild side this weekend.
Dubbed, “A Walk on the Warm Side,” the Valentine’s Day event sponsored by the Castine Arts Association brought residents out for a stroll throughout town to connect around communal fire pits placed outside participating residences between 4 and 6 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. CAA invited on-neck residents to put metal fire pits or braziers at the end of their driveways from 4 to 6 P.M. Sunday afternoon so that individuals and ‘pods’ could enjoy the lovely warmth of pleasurable human interactions along with the warmth of the fires. “I think it would be safe to say that at least 30 to 40 people joined in as host sites or as strollers,” wrote Johanna Sweet, one of the organizers, in an email to the Patriot.
Several participating residences also provided fire specific treats such as hotdogs and s’mores.
According to Sweet, the idea for the event grew out of the success of the Castine Arts Associations previous event, the Holiday Tree Trail in Witherle Woods over Christmas.
“That project fulfilled our hope that participants would enjoy getting outdoors and enjoying the preserve while creating what may now become an annual event,” wrote Sweet.
With the approach of Valentine’s Day, Sweet and fellow organizers recognized another opportunity to help renew a sense of community amidst the social dislocations of the ongoing pandemic.
“It occurred to us that maybe an outdoors winter walk with the benefit of warm fire pits along the way would help provide an alternative Valentine’s experience,” wrote Sweet.
In all respects, the event was extremely successful, and Sweet hopes it may become an annual occurrence.
“Ultimately, the biggest highlight of the event was the opportunity it provided to socially engage with one another while gathered round the warmth of a fire,” wrote Sweet.