Bliss Thru Shopping: Bridgton or bust

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Pop quiz: It’s 95 degrees out and 100 percent humidity. What do you do?

What do you do?

Well, if you’re Shopping Siren, you drape yourself across a broken air conditioner and suck on rapidly melting ice cubes. This is not recommended. 

If you’re anyone else — say, for example, you — you head to the lake. Maybe even to Highland Lake in Bridgton. 

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Because you’re smart, and not at all wilty.

Nestled in the middle of the Lakes Region, Bridgton is a small town with a beautiful lake and big Vacationland appeal. Think swimming. Boating. Fishing. Snapping a dozen sun-kissed, water-spritzed selfies, then deleting all but one because you look more waterlogged than spritzed, then sending that one to friends with a sunglasses emoji and the caption “Cooool.” 

But, of course, you can’t just wander lakeside and plop down for eight hours. You need stuff. 

Luckily, Bridgton has a quaint downtown (Clothes! Books! Fudge!) just steps from the lake.

And, even more luckily, I took a road trip there.  

• Sun hat, Firefly Boutique, $36.99

Navy blue or black women’s wide-brim hat with 50-plus SPF. So you can be chic today without being lobster-red tomorrow. It’s a summer miracle. 

• Rayasun cover-up dresses, Firefly Boutique, $20

These women’s cover-ups come in a variety of sizes and styles, all of them colorful. Since they’re a polyester-spandex blend, they’re perfect for tossing on over a wet swimsuit lakeside. And since they’re dresses, they’re perfectly respectable to wear in public off the beach. Like going to get ice cream. Or going to get pizza. Or going to get an antacid. Absolutely any of those.  

• Kids’ swimsuits, Thrift Shop (run by the Bridgton Hospital Guild), $3

Sure, there’s something disconcerting about pre-owned swimsuits — they come perilously close to pre-owned underwear, which, just, no — but these were owned by kids. Little kids. Which means they were probably worn for all of 15 minutes before being outgrown and tossed aside. So grab one for your little one and save your extra cash for other summer necessities. Like replacing the cooler your tyke just used as an emergency outhouse.

Hey, we’ve all been there.

• “Doctor Who” novels, Bridgton Books, $3.99

Stunning news: the next Doctor will be a woman! I, for one, think this is stupendous. Others, not so much. Form your own opinion with these perfect beach reads — novelized Doctor Who adventures, each with a different Doctor. No. 11 happens to be my favorite, but you might fall in love with 4 or 10 or 12. You never forget your first.

• “Coloring Maine” by Blue Butterfield, Bridgton Books, $12.95

Ready-to-color woodblock prints of Maine landscapes by Portland artist Blue Butterfield. Enjoy Highland Lake while you color in Acadia National Park. It’s very meta. 

• Fudge, Corn Shop Trading Co., $7.50 to $14.99

The Corn Shop Trading Co. sells rustic decorations, touristy knickknacks, trinket toys and, in the middle of it all, fudge. So. Much. Fudge. Chocolate and peanut butter, sure, but also blueberry, egg nog and something dotted with chocolate rocks. Great for a lakeside nosh. According to the sign, you can get a pound for $14.99 or a pound and a half for $14.99. I think I might be missing something, but yay, an extra half pound of fudge for free! Bathing suits are made to expand anyway. 

• Folding chair with attached cooler bag, Reny’s, $39.99

Unfold, sit, grab a drink. These should be the official instructions of summer. 

Best find: Profanity natural bug spray, Reny’s, $7.99

Made in Maine using natural ingredients, like essential oils, this bug spray claims to repel mosquitoes and ticks. I believe Profanity’s tag line was something like, “Spray it, don’t say it.” Which is clever enough that I almost don’t care if it actually works. Almost.

Think twice: Robin Ruth ski hat, Reny’s, $14.99

Fleece-lined knit hat with ear flaps, pom poms and “MAINE” emblazoned across the front. Lovely hat. Very colorful. Looks warm. But it’s July! Let’s not rush things. Even if I do have to go refill the ice-cube tray.

Shout out: To the readers of the last column who wrote in to suggest a good can opener brand and shot Bag Lady a link to remote control organizers — that come in acrylic, leather and everything in between, it turns out. She sends her undying gratitude! And an opened tin of tuna, because now she can.  

Shopping Siren’s true identity is protected by a pair of stylish, sweater-wearing Doberman pinschers (who believe the flatter they are, the cooler they’ll be) and the Customer Service counter at the Sun Journal. You can reach her at shoppingsiren@sunjournal.com.

“Coloring Maine” by Blue Butterfield, at Bridgton Books for $12.95. For relaxing lakeside or just dreaming of relaxing lakeside. 
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