October 24th, 3:36pm
Again and again, we were told we need to talk to Ralph Stanley - the man is a national treasure. Literally a National Treasure, recognized for his boat building by the National Heritage Fellowship, and honored in a White House ceremony by Hillary Clinton in 1999. We bumped into him at the Southwest Harbor Library, and he invited us over to speak to him the following day.
A bluegrass fiddler and a boatmaker, both crafts began with Ralph deciding to try making a fiddle and boat respectively, and never looking back. He shared stories of his youth, his life as a boatmaker, and his extensive lineage on the island, back to several prominent families of Mount Desert Island going back to the 1700s. Although now retired, Ralph remembers every detail of his craft. When he returned with the fiddle for this picture, he pointed to each part of the fiddle to share the origin of each piece of wood.