With his two faces, the Roman god of change and beginnings, Janus, looked back to the past and forward toward the future. We become Janus-like on New Year’s Eve, reliving the happiest moments of the year about to end and speculating on what the new year will bring: plans we have for ourselves on a personal health level, work projects, vacations, etc.
COVID-19 is sure to be a big part of the looking back on a year that ushered in a pandemic that changed everything from work and finances to travel, not just vacations, but trips to see family out of state. It was a year that had us sheltering in place in early spring; suddenly we found ourselves wearing masks whenever we were outside our homes, particularly in stores. Due to the pandemic, annual events were canceled; some attractions never opened.
As we look to the beginning of the new year, 2021, the first year of a new decade, and the end of 2020, one of the worst, if not the worst most of us have ever lived through, there is still much to celebrate. Certainly putting 2020 behind us is a good start!
Celebrating New Year’s Eve will not be the same – no large parties at restaurants and clubs, in fact, with the exception of getting take out (supporting our local restaurants to the end), home is pretty much where we all will be. For some of us, however, there’s nothing new about that!
Local restaurants can remain open only until 9 p.m. Food is always a big part of New Year’s Eve, so here’s the list (call or visit them on Facebook or the website for details): Boat House Bistro, on the By-Way in Boothbay Harbor (633-0400) is accepting reservations and opens at 11:30 a.m. for dining in and curbside pickup; Pier 1 Pizza & Pub - dine in or take out (15 Wharf St./633-5586); China-By-the-Sea (96 Townsend Ave. /633-4449) and Ports Pizzeria (29 Union St. /633-1113) offer inside dining and take out. Over Edgecomb way, Water’s Edge Restaurant and Bar at Sheepscot Harbour Village Resort (579-1800) is also accepting reservations for dinner with champagne and music by Chris Gagne. And in Wiscasset, Sarah's Cafe (45 Water St./882-7504) and Twin Schooner Pub will be open for inside dining and take out until 8 p.m. Check out the Boothbay Register/Wiscasset Newspaper A&E section for ads.
And in the "take out only" til 5 p.m. category are Hometown Convenience (107 Eastern Ave./350-4106), T&D Variety (601 Wiscasset Road/633-2500) and Eventide (5 Boothbay House Hill/ 350-4244) curbside only. Ordering from the Trevett Country Store (381 Barters Island Road/633-1140) should be done before 7:30 p.m. That's when the kitchen closes, but the store will be open until 8.
Now that the food is set, check out this virtual entertainment for the final night of 2020:
The Strand Theater in Rockland has many options including streamed performances by the Metropolitan Opera. On Dec. 31 it’s Verdi’s “Ernani” featuring Leona Mitchell, Luciano Pavarotti, Sherrill Milnes and Ruggero Raimondi. This production from Dec. 17, 1983 is conducted by James Levine. The Strand is also running the film “Jingle Bell Rocks” among other films – all day. Check out all the offerings at www.rocklandstrand.com
In the mood for theater with a holiday bent? Heartwood’s “Winter Letter,” a free online event, celebrates the arts, winter and the Christmas season, with 30 performers. No tickets, no fees, no registration. Just go to www.heartwoodtheater.org and click on “A Heartwood Christmas Letter.” Full cast list and playbill available on the website.
Another theater option: Blue Hill’s New Year’s Eve Celebration of Last Night , from 8 to 9 p.m. will take place as a virtual radio broadcast with the New Surrey Theater actors who will guide listeners from venue to venue to hear poetry, stories, music and theater brought to you by local performers!
Following the theater offering, WERU is holding a Dance the Year Away! Radio Dance Party 9 p.m.-midnight, featuring several WERU DJs, programming a great mix of dance music, from sock hop oldies to reggae rhythms, and a whole lot in between. https://weru.org
Dick Clark’s Rockin Eve will be held – some traditions do continue – and the ball will drop! Watch the entire evening’s events free on the web or your phone from 6 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. at TimesSquareBall.net, and Livestream.com/2020. In addition, it will be live-streamed on Facebook (at facebook.com/TimesSquareNYC) and twitter.com/TimesSquareNYC)
Now, if you prefer to make your own fun with a few bottles of champagne or whatever adult beverage strikes your fancy, how about going through those albums you almost never listen to and spin a few on the turntable? Sure, you could just get the tunes off your phone, laptop, tablet – whatever – but it’s all part of the looking back part of the night and sometimes that takes us way back! For instance, how long has it been since you dusted off the LP jacket of J. Geils’ “Full House?” Now there’s a great album to crank up and dance to in your living room! Same goes for the Allman Brothers’ “Live From the Fillmore East,” just grab a fave album or two and rock the night away!
Once you’ve rocked til you dropped, there are always movies! Streamed off Netflix or another of its ilk or something from your own collection, maybe even a series … the “Scream” films are good fun or better still, “The Tudors” …. got to love that Jonathan Rhys Meyers! “Harry Potter” flicks are great for the whole family; or how about a few Bacall and Bogart films – like “The Big Sleep” and “Casablanca?”
And remember, you can always Skype or Facetime friends and family for the night or just part of it. Whatever you do this New Year’s Eve, celebrate with hope, faith, passion and love. As my maternal grandmother used to say, “Better days are coming, kiddo.”