Thirteen years ago I started visiting North Haven. Crabtree Point and a beautiful young gardener who worked and lived on that end of the island were my only interests at that time. Therefore I have no real memory of the old Waterman Store which sat on the corner of Main Street and the ferry parking lot. Barely one year later stories about Waterman’s past and future would become the hot topic around town. These stories sparked curiosity within me and the dark-haired gardener from Crabtree Point, whom held the majority of my curiosity, filled me in.

Waterman’s Store was no longer a store, but was instead turning into a community building where kids, parents, artists, musicians and all the like could gather. The days of groceries, penny candy, colorful characters and an infamous commode that spilled directly into the drink were behind the citizens of North Haven and what lay ahead was not always embraced by all. The idea of a newly rebuilt Waterman’s Community Center was a contentious issue and one, quite Franklin (my one Waterman’s pun), that I’m thankful to have not been a part of. Since the coffee shop debates, bumper stickers, what seemed like endless construction (resulting in even less room in the ferry lot), and fundraising, Waterman’s was rebuilt and open to the public in 2003.

Since opening, Waterman’s has helped maintain a Head Start program, supplied untold amounts of coffee to travelers to and from North Haven, held benefit suppers, concerts, open mic nights, art shows, flower shows and so much more. Waterman’s Community Center in conjunction with North Haven Arts and Enrichment have also put on a large number of plays that many within the community have taken part in through directing, writing, acting, set and costume design and supporting through admission.

Waterman’s and North Haven Arts & Enrichment’s devotion to the arts through play productions have brought out the best in our community and 2013 is no exception. As of this writing, Courtney Naliboff, North Haven Community School’s drama teacher, is into her eighth year directing plays for the school in cooperation with NHA&E. Courtney has directed in the order of 20-plus shows on the Waterman stage. Last summer Courtney and a slew of dedicated people age 7 to 83, along with the Cinder Conk Orchestra, put on “Fiddler on the Roof." Now armed with another group of dedicated people Courtney is directing five short plays, out of a group of seven, for this year’s annual playwriting festival. The seven original plays written, directed and acted in by North Haven’s own year round and summer residents is slated to take place on May 17-19.

While Courtney and her fellow thespians are busy preparing for opening night, Waterman’s is staying busy with many other events and contests to lead us into summer. Every Monday night is craft night, and Thursday, April 25 is open mic night. Waterman’s is also currently holding two contests. The first is to design a poster for the upcoming annual flower show this summer and the second is a playwriting contest. The playwriting contest offers a first place prize of $5,000. Did I get your attention? A prize that big has to be worth checking out and all of the details can be found at: watermans.org. Once you have read the contest rules and guidelines and need a little inspiration may I suggest a visit to Waterman’s followed by a burger and fries across the street at Cooper’s Landing?

On Friday, April 26 Michelle Campbell will raise the umbrellas, open the order windows and put out the sun tea for the season opening of Cooper’s Landing. Cooper’s Landing, also known around town as Mickey C’s or The Landing, will be open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from the 26th until Memorial Day weekend. The Landing offers a wide variety of food; everything from burgers to salads, grab and go lunches (for people rushing to the boat), lobster to vegan cookies and, of course, ice cream. You can follow Cooper’s Landing on Facebook and stay up to date on their post Memorial Day schedule, specials and events. One up and coming event is trivia night on the deck of the Landing on Friday, May 3.

Trivia night is an event put on by Cooper’s Landing in conjunction with Waterman’s and will offer fun, food, a cash prize as well as a mental challenge. As with trivia night last year Waterman’s programs director, Bill Trevaskis, will present the questions to what will surely be a packed deck.

As the programs, plays, concerts, contests and more roll on we can all be thankful that the debate over whether or not we should save Waterman’s is over. Waterman’s has been embraced by the majority of North Havener’s, including myself. While I can be found on May 3 supporting Waterman’s and Mickey at trivia night, the thing I look forward to most is the quick wit of a dark-haired gardener who will without a doubt be heard by all of her fellow trivia opponents.