South Shore Breaker
Quarter century of ‘bold maritime images’
The two amiable artists who own and operate the popular and explosively colourful Maritime Painted Saltbox art gallery in Petite Riviere will soon celebrate their 25th anniversary in business.
Septuagenarians Peter Blais and Tom Alway are exceptional artists who both enjoyed rewarding and celebrated careers in show business, including acting, set decoration, stage management, theatre design and writing.
Visit www.paintedsalbox. com to learn more about the two partners’ remarkable artistic journey.
Blais and Alway’s preferred art medium is acrylic paint on canvas, although they recently branched out to create reproduction art on metal, which can be displayed both indoors and outdoors.
Blais describes his and Alway’s paintings as “bold maritime images.” He told me “it’s all about the colour, colour, colour.”
In addition to paintings, the gallery, which also houses a studio, offers unique folk art, brightly painted furniture pieces and greeting cards — all created by Blais and Alway.
Blais said fishermen often visit the gallery to admire and purchase the paintings. He said one long-time fisherman told him, “I never thought I would see my life displayed on the walls of an art gallery.”
Here’s what I’m thinking: High praise, indeed.
Last year, when most retailers
were struggling with COVID restrictions, Blais and Alway bucked the trend and posted their best year ever for revenue. With relaxed restrictions this year, they have surpassed last year’s record-setting pace, and there are still two months left on the calendar.
The Maritime Painted Saltbox will be part of the multivenue Christmas in Petite, to be held Nov. 19 and 20. More on this community event will be published in the South Shore Breaker next month.
Google Blockhouse and the first thing you’ll find is a large photo of historic Lunenburg Harbour, then a variety of attractions and businesses in adjacent Mahone Bay.
However, the close-knit Blockhouse community appears to be shedding its Gateway-to-mahone-bay-andlunenburg label. Cool retail businesses there are either expanding or launching.
First it was the Boulangerie La Vendeene French Bakery, then Brindle Boston Antiques and Giftware arrived, then Chicory Blue General Store and Lantzalot Game Store launched soon afterwards.
Brindle Boston owner Ruth Hiltz told me during a recent conversation that her popular operation is expanding beyond the small antiques and collectibles barn and the outdoor Four Points Vintage Market she started three years ago.
The vintage market is popular with vendors and collectors. To date, eight outdoor markets have been held. The one-day markets typically have 50-60 vendors, while the two-day markets, held at multiple venues, feature up to 120 vendors.
Hiltz and her handyman husband have started construction on a permanent 3,000 sq. ft. antique mall on the Brindle
Boston property. Scheduled to be completed next spring, the mall is expected to accommodate up to 40 independent antiques and collectibles vendors.
Hiltz told me she will offer long-term rental opportunities on an assortment of booths, showcases and shelving units. Vendors will drop off their price-tagged goods, set up their displays, then she will staff the facility, handle sales and ensure the stock is well presented.
All the vendors have to do is return to the mall every couple weeks or so to refresh their booths and stock.
The mall will include 52 ft. of century-old countertops and a double-decker, extra-wide National Cash Register till. Hiltz has vintage tills in her Brindle Boston shop and Cormorant’s Eye vintage shop in Lunenburg.
“You can’t operate a shop without a good till,” she said.
Hiltz is encouraged by the renewed interest in Blockhouse, not only retail, but residential as well.
“We are noticing more brightly coloured houses in Blockhouse — purple, yellow, orange. It’s nice to see that vibrancy coming up into Blockhouse from neighbouring Mahone Bay,” she said.
Sometimes real estate agents include in their listing descriptions items that are meaningless to prospective buyers. I guess they need to fill space when they run out of legitimate features to include.
For example, here’s a selection of descriptions that captured my attention recently.
“Ice cream takeout down the road.” Tempting during hot summers; not so much the rest of the year.
“House comes with a small shed.” That’s a hard pass if one of the primary attributes is a small shed.
“With an above-ground pool, you’ll be the envy of the neighbours.” Beware of towel snappers.
“This un-haunted home is ready to be loved for the right buyer.” Peek under the beds before buying.
“Kitchen is suitable for the buyer who doesn’t like to cook.” This home is perfect for my lovely wife.
Then there are the agents, bless their hearts, who are truthful to a fault, such as the person who penned this property description, revealing serious stability issues and perilous landscaping flaws.
“The home’s stone foundation has caved in on one side, and the path to the ocean has filled in with fallen trees and debris.”
Finally, there’s this nevertell-a-fib agent who re-defined the meaning of an open-concept home.
“Inside of home is open to the outside because several windows are broken.”