Daves' Old Fashioned Soda Fountain and Chocolate Drop Candy Shop
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Retro 1950s Soda Fountain in Belfast, Maine
On a hot summer day in downtown Belfast, Maine – the small, midcoast, ex-seafaring and ex-industrial city near the northern tip of Penobscot Bay – to slake a thirst or satisfy a sweet tooth, I'd head to Daves' [sic] Old Fashioned Soda Fountain and Chocolate Drop Candy Shop (64 Main Street), a bit down the hill from the traffic lights at the corner of Main and High streets. Just like many American country towns, or even small country cities, with preserved and protected heritage buildings, Belfast has not been able to resist making gleeful place for era-appropriate retrospection. You know how it is: in its relatively intact 19th-century center (Federal, Greek Revival and Italianate architecture), plenty of shops and restaurants harken back to some of the community's heyday decades. And so it is with Daves', where anyone with a soft spot for the 1950s goes weak at the knees in this memorabilia-filled “authentic” soda fountain. Although I wish it had a long plate-glass window paralleling its counter (like the ones in movies through which forlorn teens peer at smiling objects of affection), the rest is as it should be: black-and-white tile floors, friendly soda jerks in paper hats, hand-mixed egg creams made with local Belfast soda served from goose-neck soda spouts, other mixings and syrups delivered from a row of shiny pump dispensers, Maine-made ice cream and chocolate, bins brimming with penny candy, and a toe-tapping soundtrack true to the time warp.
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