Karen Ressel, clad in one of her refashioned vintage aprons, is a welcoming presence on the front porch at 15 Kennebec St. in Bar Harbor. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY KATE COUGH

The Flowered Apron offers place to sit for a spell



BAR HARBOR — Have you ever wanted to sit on the porch of a clapboard Mount Desert Island home, sip coffee and nibble a lemon bar or some other home-baked goodie? Now you can.

Pull up a chair at The Flowered Apron, tucked down a quiet side street in Bar Harbor, where Karen Ressel serves up homemade treats, from whoopie pies to rhubarb shortbread and toffee fudge brownies. Coffee, tea and lemonade are on offer in the summer; in the fall, hot apple cider and pumpkin whoopie pies warm hearts and stomachs.

“I try to follow the seasons,” says Ressel, whose recipes are adapted from friends and family. “I spend the winter testing recipes. It’s important for me to get everything just right.”

Graham cracker pie, featuring homemade crust and rich caramel filling, topped with whipped cream and crumbled Heath Bar.
THE FLOWERED APRON PHOTO

The Flowered Apron opened its doors last year, after many long months of preparation.

“I didn’t know if anybody was going to come,” says the mother of three, who worried that the street, which is largely residential homes, didn’t receive much foot traffic.

“But they came, and they came back.”

Ressel didn’t get her start in baking, although she has worked as one in the past. The Connecticut-born woman, who has a degree in horticulture from the University of Vermont, also is an accomplished seamstress and knitter.

“I’ve loved to create since I was a child,” says Ressel. “Handwork brings meaning and joy to my life. It is a constant — familiar and a comfort — wherever and whenever.”

For years, she ran a children’s knitwear line from her Bar Harbor home, traveling several times each year to New York City, where her creations were sold at stores including Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Ressel hired sewers locally and nationwide to fill the demand.

“I had women across the country knitting for me whom I’d never met,” she said.

Although she sold her knitwear business to “do the mom thing,” Ressel never stopped creating, including spending three years perfecting a design based on one of her own beloved aprons.

Visitors to the Kennebec Street shop will reap the rewards of her perfectionism. Ressel sells her aprons (along with other handcrafted and vintage items) in the family’s mudroom, which, with the help of her husband, has been converted into a snug, light-filled shop.

Ressel often creates her aprons with repurposed odds and ends from other garments and linen. Trim from her children’s outgrown sweaters and other bits and pieces give them each unique character.
ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY KATE COUGH

The aprons are often made with repurposed materials — trim from her children’s old sweaters, vintage embroidery and sheets, buttons leftover from her knitwear line — and come in three styles: butcher’s, full and waist.

“I spend a lot of time with the fabric,” she says, rubbing a belt between her thumb and forefinger.

Her thoughtfulness is evident: a playful lobster print is offset with a light seafoam green pocket trim, and a pink-patterned piece is softened by a white polka-dot neck strap.

You can find the apron-clad Ressel and her treats at 15 Kennebec St. in Bar Harbor, Fridays through Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information is available at www.thefloweredapron.com, or on Facebook and Instragram, @thefloweredapron, or by calling 610-2874.

Kate Cough

Kate Cough

Kate covers the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. She lives in Southwest Harbor and welcomes story tips and ideas. She can be reached at [email protected]