In case the fact has escaped you, we go to school in Lewiston, Maine. Our little town is not exactly the most hustling-bustling place there ever was. But if you know where to look, there are a plethora of activities to keep you occupied on a chilly Saturday night. If ever you feel suffocated by the Bates Bubble, find a friend with a car and head over to Nezinscot Farm for Fiberjam.

Located just up the road in Turner, Maine, you can normally find Batesies at the farmhouse store for brunch during the warmer months of the year. But, what many do not know is that every other Saturday night the farm hosts a potluck dinner and a bluegrass jam session.

For just ten bucks, you can indulge in homemade pizzas, baked beans, pulled pork, and fresh organic salad with dressing made of a secret recipe that is out of this world. Sitting at long tables, I ate with the friends with whom I came to the farm, and others who needed to fill the empty seats. Among the people I met were Forest – who is indeed a forester – and Roberta the ecologist. Over dinner, we talked about everything from present political situations and sustainable farming to the secret in that delicious salad dressing.

Sarah Sachs ’18 noted, “the atmosphere made for the perfect relaxed Saturday night. The food was amazing and the community was incredibly welcoming.”

But the fun did not end after the last bite was eaten; after dinner everyone was invited upstairs to the Fiber Studio to listen or participate in the jamming session. Chairs placed in a circle among the hand-dyed yarns provided a cozy atmosphere that could not be beat. Taking seats in the back of the circle, my friends and I took time to take in the scene before us. In the musicians’ circle there were guitars of all shapes and sizes, ukuleles, a blue fiddle, a trombone, a banjo and a homemade Bronze Age era dord.

We thought that for the rest of the evening we would be sitting around listening to all the great tunes coming out of the circle. However, we soon found out that the price of admission was more than just the ten bucks we paid at the door. Going around the circle from person to person, the leader of the session, Roberta the ecologist, called on each of the non-musicians in the crowd to throw out a song they wanted to hear. Participants could either sing their own piece, or request a song and quietly listen to the performance.

Danielle Fournier ’18 remarked “I instantly felt at home, the group tossed some lyrics at me and insisted that I join in.” A feeling of community is something we understand at Bates, and finding it outside the four streets of campus is a welcome surprise.

As one would expect, the music at a farmhouse get together is of the bluegrass variety. I will be straight with you: I am not really a bluegrass aficionado, but that did not preclude me from enjoying the songs being played. Going around in the circle, each person got his or her turn to share a song of the evening. There were performances of John Anderson’s classic “Seminole Wind,” many Woody Guthrie tunes and of course Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel.” No event of this ilk would be complete without that last one.

During the week at school, our lives are filled with class, homework, club meetings, and spending way too much time in the library. Taking the time on the weekend to decompress makes for a more productive week. As Bria Riggs ’18 states, “Nezinscot is a home away from home. A place to feel cozy, relaxed, and clear minded.” What better place is there to recharge for the week to come?

Fiberjam 2Fiberjam 2