Once upon a time, front desk clerks knew how to treat their guests. Just up the road from the sandy, white beaches of Ogunquit, stood a wheel of cheese-shaped building with a big, grey mouse sitting on top. It was easy to spot from a distance, and not so easy to find parking for, since it was so crowded with tourists and locals alike.
If you worked at one of the many resort hotels and needed a wine and cheese plate for that special guest, The Wine & Cheese Ltd. was the place to order it.
Once inside the wheel of cheese, you were greeted with a dazzling array of wines and specialty cheeses- so many that asking for help was a must. In the back of the building was another large room called “The Cave.” As a front desk clerk who was entirely out of her element, I only knew to pick up our hotel’s order. There was a lot to take in, and most of it not found anywhere else in the area at that time.
For my birthday one year, my dad brought me in to pick out fancy cheeses and fruit to eat on the beach after dark, when all the tourists headed to other forms of entertainment. I have nothing but special memories of the business.
When I went back for a visit, I was saddened to see that the cheese building didn’t look quite as bright, and the mouse didn’t appear to be quite as spiffy. Inside, there certainly was plenty of wine to choose from. That didn’t change. But time was unkind to this formerly busy shop that was once so important to the resort business.
I was sad to see the large piece of roast beef sitting exposed on the deli counter, the juices puddling around the meat and dripping down the side of the cabinets. It startled me to be honest. I suppose it could have just been that kind of off day, but I couldn’t help but feel sad about all the memories of what a specialty stop it once was.
I had brought my kids with me to show them my favorite places where I lived for so many years during my youth. After the visit, we were all quiet on the way back to my dad’s place.
Time marches on for all of us; even a building shaped like a wheel of cheese.