Archive for the ‘Sights’ Category

Wings, Waves, & Woods returns to Deer Isle

May 10, 2010

Birders and art fans are invited to Deer Isle for the fourth annual Wings, Waves, & Woods, May 21-23. The festival, timed to coincide with early migration, is sponsored by the Island Heritage Trust, and a brochure detailing the event can be downloaded from its website.

Bob Duchesne, founder of the Maine Birding Trail, author of Maine Birding Trail, and a Maine Audubon trip leader for more than 20 years,  is this year’s special guest.

The festival opens with a reception Friday evening at the Pearson Legacy Gallery  showcasing bird-related artwork by more than 40 artists.

On Saturday and Sunday, experts will lead walks (free, donations appreciated), guide boat trips (fee), and give presentations and demonstrations. Here’s a sampling:

Warbler Walk, Settlement Quarry Preserve

Scotts Landing Bird Walk

Birding by Kayak, kayaks provided, $60

Nesting Eagles and Their Neighbors, Causeway Beach

Introduction to Birding

Puffins & Pelagics, cruise to Seal Island with Bob Duschesne, $60

Create Birdbaths & Planters, $35

Birdhouse Building for Kids, $5 includes materials and snack

Studio Demo & Tour (with the mega-talented Missy Greene and Eric Ziner)

Birding Identification Made Easy, Bob Duschesne

Lily Pond Walk

Found Objects Sculptures, demonstration, with Peter Beerits at Nervous Nellie’s Jams & Jellies (one of my all-time favorite places)

Local Foods Chowder Supper will be available on Saturday night (seating limited; $12).

Where to stay: There are some wonderful accommodations available on Deer Isle. My favorite is the aptly named Inn on the Harbor, in Stonington. Both the Pilgrim’s Inn and The Inn at Ferry Landing are lovely B&Bs in Deer Isle. To really get in the spirit of the birding weekend, book a cabin at the oceanfront Goose Cove Resort, in Sunset, which borders the Barred Island Preserve. On a budget? Boyce’s Motel, in downtown Stonington, has clean rooms, some with kitchenettes. For dirt cheap accommodations, book a bunk at the rustic-bordering-on-primitive Deer Isle Hostel.

Tiptoe through 45,000 tulips and other blooms

May 6, 2010

This Saturday, May 8, the W. P. Stewart estate in Northeast Harbor, Maine,  opens its gorgeous grounds—with 45,000 (!) flowering spring bulbs—to the public as a fund-raiser for the Camp Beech Cliff. Daffodils, tulips, anemones, hyacinths, and rare specialty bulbs are all peaking for the 2010 Spring Bulb Tour, which takes places on  landscaped grounds edging Somes Sound. It’s not only a rare sight in Maine, but a rare opportunity to visit one of Mount Desert Island’s estates. Take Mom for a day-before-Mother’s Day treat. Admission is $15; kids younger than 12 are free with paying adult.

Maine bits and pieces: news and chatter

May 3, 2010

Here’s a quick round-up of interesting news bits that have come across my desk:

Chebeague Island Inn reopening under new ownership

A favorite destination for travelers and day-trippers since the 1880s, the inn, restored in 2003-04, will re-open May 14 under the new ownership of the Prentice family of Yarmouth, Maine. With the May re-launch, the Prentices will be adding a more stylish, up-to-date ambiance.

One notable change is the inn’s restaurant, now under the direction of Executive Chef Justin Rowe, a veteran of 555 and Fore Street. The contemporary American menu, rooted in Maine and New England, will focus on locally/regionally sourced foods and beverages.

Here’s wishing the new owners success. I’m hoping to visit soon to see what’s happening.

• Unveiling of the Calves

You’ve heard of the Running of the Bulls, well Aldemere Farm, a 136-acres saltwater farm in Rockport, offers a far gentler experience. This Saturday, May 8, is its ninth annual Calf Unveiling Day. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. , you can  tour the Farm and visit with the newly born Belted Galloway calves (nicknamed the Oreo cookie cows for their distinctive white belt). Aldermere staff and volunteers will be on site speaking with visitors and providing information about the Farm and the herd.

Several other local farms will also be on site offering information regarding the goods they produce. These include:

• Sunnyside Farm with goats

• lueberry Farm and Blue Sky Farm with alpacas

• Ells Farm and Terra Optima will be selling meat

• Savage Oakes and Coastal Mountains Land Trust will have information about their operations

• Tanglewood 4-H Camp will present about their many agricultural offerings.

Other activities include the Rusty Hinges band performing (around 11 a.m.) and the Aldermere Achievers 4-H Club working throughout the day with their animals.

• Best Chef in the Northeast

Tonight, the James Beard Foundation will name the winner of the coveted Best Chef in the Northeast award. Chef/owners Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier, of Arrows Restaurant in Ogunquit, have been nominated seven times. Here’s hoping that these perennial bridesmaids finally win; they certainly deserve it.

No. 10 Water Street opens tonight

No. 10 Water Street, the new restaurant at Brunswick’s Capt. Daniel Stone Inn, opens tonight, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. Brunswick is getting to be an increasingly interesting food town, with a nice choice of inexpensive to moderate restaurants.

• Zip-line adventure park opening in Wiscasset

Monkey C Monkey Do, a Zipline family adventure park, is under construction on Route 1 in Wiscasset.

A spring hike into Poplar Stream Falls

April 24, 2010

April’s a great month to hike in Maine: No bugs, cooler weather, raging waterfalls, and few other folks along the trail. Today we hiked into Poplar Stream Falls, a relatively easy, roughly 5 mile round trip, from the trailhead in  Carrabassett Valley.

We parked in the Maine Huts & Trails parking lot (signed off Route 27), then began on the Maine Huts trail, but opting for the side loops, first along the stream and then to the falls. Yes, the trail’s wet and muddy in places, but nothing that forced us to stop, no long stretches or deep, wide puddles.

The reward? Poplar Stream Falls, site of actually two lovely torrents, and rated a 4.5 out of 5 by Greg Parsons and Kate Watson in New England Waterfalls. South Brook fall drops 24 feet; Poplar Stream Falls plunges a far more impressive 51 feet. A fallen tree, just out of the reach of Poplar Stream Falls’ spray, provided a perfect perch for scarfing down our picnic lunch.

Maine Huts’ Poplar Stream Hut is closed for mud season, but will open again in a few weeks (check with the organization for the date), and after a few weeks of self-serve operation, it will be serving meals again, so that’s a fine alternative for lunch in season. But go now, and have the trail practically to yourselves. On a bluebird Saturday, we ran into only two other people, and both were on the Maine Huts trail, on which we closed the loop back to the parking lot.

Maine State Museum goes to the dogs

April 21, 2010

A Chinook, image courtesy of Perry Greene Kennel

Dog lovers, especially Chinook fans, take note: Rick Skoglund, owner of Waldoboro’s Perry Greene Kennels, and Jessica Mauer, of Lewiston’s Great Mountain Chinooks, will be visiting the Maine State Museum, in Augusta, with their Chinooks, on April 24, 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Museum admission is free for the day.

The program is in conjunction with the exhibit, “An American Breed in Maine,” which shows the museum’s recently-acquired Perry Greene Kennel collection.  The collection, donated by Skoglund and  his wife, Martha Kalina, documents the history and popularity of the Chinook breed in American culture.

Arthur Walden of New Hampshire began the breed as sled dogs in 1917.  By 1947, Perry Greene had acquired the breed from Walden and moved to Waldoboro, where he operated the only kennel in the world that bred and sold Chinooks. The breed is most famous for its travels with Admiral Richard Byrd on his expedition to the South Pole in the 1920s. Read the breed’s history here.

While here, don’t miss the rest of the museum. It really is one of Maine’s unsung assets.

Osprey returns to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park

April 7, 2010

Most people go to Freeport to shop, the savvy make their way to Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park, an oceanfront jewel with hiking trails and picnic area. One of the biggest natural attractions is the osprey nest on adjacent Googin’s Island, viewable from the mainland. This week, Dick, an elder male osprey, returned to his summer home and began preparing it in anticipating of his partner’s arrival from their winter place in Brazil.

The ospreys return (there’s another pair nesting in a salt marsh in the park) coincides well with the park’s upcoming Wolfe’s Neck Birding Festival, Sunday, April 25, from 7 a.m.-3 p.m. in the park.

According to park info: Osprey are one of the largest birds of prey in North America and eat fish almost exclusively. Once an endangered species because of pesticides, they are found on all continents except Antarctica. Osprey build nests on high trees and man-made structures. They mate for life, though if a mate dies, the remaining bird will find a second mate. Osprey can live 15 to 25 years.

Dick is thought to be the older male of the two Wolfe’s Neck pairs,  according to according to Park Manager and naturalist Andy Hutchinson. The bird is mated to a younger female, and the mating is thought to have occurred nine years ago, after he lost his first mate.

Photo: courtesy of Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands

Whistler has Inukshuk, Sugarloaf has…

March 2, 2010

… so what should it be called? #Sugarloaf Image ©Hilary Nangle

Nation’s last sardine cannery closing, sniffle

February 20, 2010

Beach Cliff Sardine Man, Prospect Harbor ©Hilary Nangle

In the first half of the 20th century, sardine processing was big business in Maine, with more than 400 factories along the coast, but on April 18, another chapter in Maine’s rich seafaring history closes along with the last sardine cannery in the country. The former Stinson Seafoods plant in Prospect Harbor—the one with Beach Cliff Sardine man out front—will shut down operations, after more than 100 years in biz, a victim of federally mandated reduced herring catches, according to the Bangor News. And now another 128 folks are out of work in the job-starved, but achingly gorgeous, Schoodic region of Maine.

Ronnie Peabody demonstrates a labeling machine (©Hilary Nangle)

You can still get a sense of the heritage, even if you can no longer view the gold en fish drying on racks or taste their salty goodness on the sites. Start at the Maine Coast Sardine History Museum, in Jonesport. The town now renowned for its lobstering, lobster boat races, and Tall Barney was once home to 15 canneries. FYI: Herring are known as sardines once processed and canned.

Museum director Ronnie Peabody and his wife, Mary, began collecting sardine artifacts and memorabilia in 2001, and opened this labor of love in 2008. Ronnie is a passionate guide who brings life to the photos, equipment, and even the cans displayed. You can zip through on own in about 20 minutes, but start asking Ronnie questions or ask him to guide you through, and you’ll wonder where the hour went. He brings a vanishing, make that vanished way of life alive. And if you’re lucky, five-time World Champion Sardine Packer Rita Willey might be around.

McCurdy Smokehouse, Lubec ©Hilary Nangle

Afterwards, wander up to Lubec to view Mulholland Brothers Market, once a warehouse for the shucks used to make herring boxes, and McCurdy Smokehouse, a historic site honoring the last operating herring-smoking operation in the country. Both are being preserved by Lubec Landmarks.

VOTE now, vote often for Rockland! Named a “2010 Distinctive Destination,” make it THE destination

February 3, 2010

Planning a Maine vacation? Want to have an authentic experience? Want lobster, a seaport, great museums and shops? Craving a real town, not a tourist set?

Have I got the place for you.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named Rockland, Maine, to its 2010 List of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations. Rockland was selected for its authentic preservation of a rich history and its wide range of unique attractions, including a picturesque working waterfront that packs alluring cultural heritage with prized fresh seafood and world famous festivals.

For the first time in the program’s history, the public can vote online for its fan favorite throughout February. Any legal resident of the U.S., 18 years of age or older, can vote as often as they like for their favorite city or town on this year’s list. The winner of the popular vote will be announced on March 1, 2010. You’ll have to register, but it’s well worth the effort. Voters are automatically entered to win a complimentary two night stay at any Historic Hotel of America.

So why vote for Rockland? Well, besides it being home of Pies on Parade, the Lobster Festival, fun shops, and cool museums and galleries and, well, I could go on and on, but I’ll let the National Trust get a few words in:

“With great pride in its maritime past and present, Rockland blends tradition with an innovative spirit,” said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “Visitors will discover an authentic snapshot of coastal living.”

Lobster is king in Rockland – from the harbor where visitors can watch a lobsterman dock to the world-famous Maine Lobster Festival, which occurs in August every year. Locals and visitors can shop and enjoy a bounty of local cuisines in a setting one block from the harbor on Rockland’s historic Main Street. Home to art galleries and a number of major events, the town hosts visitors with the North American Blues Festival in July, which includes two days of Grammy Award-winning music on the harbor, and the Maine Boats Homes & Harbors Show in August.

Highlights from the Trust:

Maine Lighthouse Museum educates the public on the history of American lighthouses and the role of the United States Coast Guard in maritime safety

• The historic Owl’s Head, Rockland Breakwater, and Marshall Point lighthouses still stand in the Rockland area and are open for tours.

• For 63 years the Maine Lobster Festival has celebrated Maine’s maritime tradition with over 1,000 community volunteers and 20,000 pounds of lobster

Rockland Harbor provides great opportunities for sailing and kayaking just off the coast of Maine.

The Strand Theatre offers film, live music, and stage performances and has been entertaining Rockland residents and visitors since 1923.

Farnsworth Art Museum houses a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists including the work of three generations of the Wyeth family as well as the Farnsworth Homestead and the Olson House (made famous by Andrew Wyeth’s iconic painting, Christina’s World), both listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

And they didn’t even mention the Puffin Center, the National Historic District, the easily walkable downtown, the great inns, the restaurants that are gaining national attention, and, well you know me, I could go on and on.

So, what are you waiting for? Vote now, vote often!

Camden in winter? Sure!

January 29, 2010

Read my Boston Globe story about some of the wonderful reasons to visit Camden in Winter.