Our History in a Nutshell — Part I (Really Old Stuff)
Perry’s Nut House has been referred to as a Maine institution since 1927 when I.L. Perry first opened his doors to sell pecans and other assorted nuts. Mr. Perry took advantage of a bumper crop of pecans in Georgia, bringing the taste of the South to the folks of “Downeast” Maine. He also had added some curios and museum pieces collected on his travels. This was so successful that Mr. Perry needed a larger shop to do business in, so he move Perry’s to his cigar factory on Route 1. Originally a sea captain’s home, Perry used it to store and make cigars, before turning it into the Nut House.
As Perry’s reputation grew, not only for the unusual, but quality goods as well as the tasty nuts, such notables as Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Waldo Pierce (prominent painter and friend of Ernest Hemingway,) Fay Emerson (film and television actress,) and Pierre Monteux (symphony conductor and instructor) were counted among the many customers. At the time, Perry was mentioned in the same breath as promoters Ziegfield and P.T. Barnum.
The collection of curios grew larger and more unusual. When one wandered through the expansive shop, one could gaze upon an alligator hide, trick mirrors, boxing bear cubs, and a water buffalo shot by Teddy Roosevelt…just to name a few. When Perry died in 1940, the store fell under the management of Joshua Treat III, a local man and a nineteen-year-old entrepreneur.
Mr. Treat fell in step with Perry’s lead and took great care to retain the “amazement” of the originator’s vision. When he returned home from a stint with the Navy during World War II, he brought with him a huge man-eating clam, an albatross from the South Seas, a gorilla from Africa. Many more curios were routinely added—Perry’s Nut House had become a “must see” attraction around the world. The nuts, fudge, and quality goods continued to be offered.
Our History in a Nutshell — Part II (Probably In Your Lifetime)
After many years and several owner changes, most of the curios and museum pieces were auctioned off in 1997 in a plan to develop the bay-view property into condominiums. But so many people still came looking for Perry’s (along with its unusual displays and merchandise) that the plan never came to pass and the business was restarted.
Unfortunately, ever since 1997, many people mistakenly believed that it was closed for good. SURPRISE! In 2004, new owners gave Perry’s a fresh, bright interior, and a comfortable, fun/nutty, family-friendly atmosphere with something for everyone. Not just for tourists, anymore!
Perry’s Nut House Today — New is Good
A tall street sign and expanded parking areas welcome today’s customer. Large rows of cabinets with shelled nut bins (easy to access) are a favorite in the shop. The pristine counter displays award-winning fudge—-Perry’s own fresh-made flavors & traditionals. We showcase many Maine products, including wooden toys, candles, hand-made chocolates, etc. Several family fun products have video demos. Perry’s staff will promptly offer a sample of fudge, eagerly listen to your stories from the old days at Perry’s, and make sure that your visit is fun, nutty and rewarding. The guest book of comments is filled by customers who are happy to give feedback on their fondly remembered Route 1 destination in Belfast, Maine. Delightful anecdotes surface from as far back as the late1920’s.
Old is Good — Even in 2009
Rediscover old favorites: The original mounted gorilla, alligator hide, python skin, and other mounted items returned to Perry’s in August 2009. When the news came out, hundreds of fans had to visit the store to see for themselves — many happy and excited crowds of customers! In addition to the newest (oldest?) acquisitions, the funhouse mirror still sets off giggles, the old salt in his outhouse continues to strike up a monologue when in range, the albatross awaits admiration, and full-sized original murals are back on the walls. The remembered aroma of fresh fudge and shelled nuts wafting throughout the shop dares you to try some. For those who look for and like the old gag items, we still carry them (fake dog doodoo included) and are always refilling the displays—popular fromages 5 to 95.
Taste our Perry’s Family Fixin’s
Along with this brand-new web site we are developing a Perry’s food label. Initially we will offer jams and jellies made with Maine-grown berries and fruits. Who can get enough Wicked Red Raspberry, Verry Wild Blueberry, or Summah Strawberry flavors to satisfy the sweet tooth in all of us? For the more daring foody, try our Blisterining Blueberry or Sizzlin' Strawberry with just the right amount of habanero peppers to warm your toes!
Down the road (dirt, of course) we plan to add a variety of savory Maine favorites to tickle your tastebuds. The best food you’ll find in camp cookin’ across the backwoods of Maine. Another way to take a piece of Maine home with you.
Home made with pure butter and cream—no shortcuts. Your last bite is as memorable as your first. No one leaves Perry’s without an offer of a free taste. (Are you surprised that about 99.9% of our shoppers accept one…or two…or sometimes three?) Some summer flavors include, orange cream, wild Maine blueberry cheesecake and pirate’s fudge. When the leaves start falling, and the kids are back to school, pumpkin pie and caramel apple pie fudges make their appearance, reminding us that the holidays are soon approaching. Popular Christmas flavors include divinity with walnuts, eggnog (made with real eggnog). Of course, there are the traditional flavors for the fudge purists,
such as chocolate, peanut butter, and penuche.
Top Ten Reasons to Visit Us at Perry’s Nut House
- You have something better to do?
- You need fudge. Badly.
- Too wet for tennis, too dry for water polo.
- You’ve never seen a mummy outside of Egypt.
- Your grandma is making you
- You need peanuts. Badly.
- You’ve never been to a Nut House
- You meant to to go to Belfast Ireland, and now you have nothing to do for a week and a half.
- Did we mention fudge?
- You lost your favorite “My parents went to Perry’s Nut House and all I got was this lousy t-shirt” t-shirt and you need another one.