Archive for the ‘Acadia Region’ Category

Bar Harbor shopping/activity update

June 5, 2010

Sorry to report that All Fired Up, that rainy day godsend for craft-minded folks and families, has closed i’s doors. Replacing it, according to Jeff Anderholm, innkeeper at the lovely Bass Cottage Inn, is Simply Natural: “a high end clothing and accessories shop featuring fine woolens, alpaca and sheepskin items.” Jeff says his wife, Teri (one of the inn’s culinary wiz’s) was impressed. Me thinks I definitely need to investigate this shop.

Newsy bits and pieces from all over Maine

June 3, 2010

TONIGHT: It’s not too late to Eat for Pete’s Sake, a Humane Society of Knox County fund raiser to benefit homeless animals . See previous posting.

FREE! Don’t you love that word? The National Park Service has waived entrance fees to Acadia National Park this weekend, June 5 and 6, as well as Aug. 14-15, Sept. 25, and Nov. 1. Saturday, June 5, is National Trails Day, so go hike one of the park’s rehabbed classics in its honor.

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION: “Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place” opens at the Portland Museum of Art on June 5 and remains on display through Sept. 6. The exhibit, in honor of the centennial of Homer’s death, showcases PMA’s collection of about 20 watercolors and oils by the noted artist. It’s the first time since 1988 that all the works will be on view in the Charles Shipman Payson building. The museum owns Homer’s Prouts Neck studio, which is undergoing restoration and expected to reopen in 2012.

HUT, TWO, THREEMaine Huts & Trails has begun construction on its third full-service, back-country hut. This one’s about two miles below Grand Falls on the Dead River, and will be accessible by foot, bike, ski/snowshoe, and self-propelled boat .  “Construction of Grand Falls Hut, more than 15 miles of new trails and a spectacular 200-foot pedestrian bridge over the Dead River completes the first phase of our vision,” Herring said.

ISLAND ESCAPE: Nebo Lodge, on North Haven Island, has undergone a renovation and expansion, which included the addition of a new bar and fireplace, new deck and courtyard, new entryway, enlarged kitchen, expansion of two guest rooms. The lodge, owned by congresswoman Chellie Pingree, is open to the public for dinner. Its teamed with Equinox Island Transport to offer roundtrip transportation on the last two Fridays in June, and every Thursday in July and August. Depart Rockland, have dinner, and return the same evening; transportation is $20 pp. 

TWEET! Aroostook State Park is hosting a Birding Festival, Saturday, June 12. Highlights include: guided hikes led by seven of Maine’s top bird; birding by boat from Echo Lake; a live-bird demonstration of raptors; bird-house building for youngsters; and a group of artisan wood carvers demonstrating nature and bird carving. According to Park Manager Scott Thompson, this year’s festival emphasizes diverse birding experiences. “We’re here for more than just fishing and hiking; there’s a whole world of nature to explore and to learn how this park relates to Maine and the park system.”

FEELING BLUE? You might want to ink the Saddleback Bluegrass Festival on your calendar for the weekend of Aug. 6-8. Featured performers on Saturday include: The Jerks of Grass; Darol Anger, Scott Law, Sharon Gilchrist and Sam Grisman; The Stowaways; The Infamous Stringdusters; Mason Strunk; The David Grisman Bluegrass Experience; and The Del McCoury Band. Additional performances over the weekend will include The Mueller Family and Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection.

White Barn Inn now managing Acadia’s Asticou

May 28, 2010

Big news for Acadia fans: US Hotels Group, owner of the haute, haute, haute White Barn Inn, in Kennebunkport, and the Windham Hill Inn, in Vermont, is now managing Northeast Harbor’s chi chi Asticou Inn. When I last spoke with White Barn Inn Executive Chef Jonathan Cartwright, he told me US Hotels was in an acquisition mode, and this management deal is testament to that. This should also help breath new life into a somewhat tired property that catered to the newly wed and nearly dead.

According to a press release, US Hotels plans to update the inn’s infrastructure and add its signature hospitality ethos and style to the Asticou while preserving the property’s classic charm.

The oceanfront inn, designed by prominent 19th-century architect Fred L. Savage, has been an area landmark since 1883, when the island became a seasonal retreat for wealthy vacationers, sailing enthusiasts, and summer residents from major urban centers.The inn overlooks well protected yacht-filled Northeast Harbor, which remains a tony summer destination (lots of Lilly Pulitzer, Docksiders, Chinos, and sherbet colors here). It is adjacent to the magnificent azalea gardens of the same name (which, by the way, are in bloom now).

Cartwright is overseeing the rejuvenation of the inn’s dining room’s menu. “Our plans include implementing an extended season for casual lunch service as well as the creation of new menus in the scenic cocktail lounge, which affords the perfect setting for enjoying harbor sunsets.”

US Hotels is a member of the Libra Group, which is privately owned by the Logothetis family and has hospitality interests in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It manages eight New England properties, of which it owns seven, divided into Signature and Elite Properties. Signature Properties represent the ‘best of breed’ across a number of service categories from an informal Italian bistro to a range of hotels, spas and banqueting facilities. Elite Properties represent exclusive hotels providing world class accommodation, cuisine, and service (think White Barn Inn and Windham Hill Inn).

“US Hotels is proud to add the Asticou Inn to our collection,” says Paul Hanley, group CEO. “As with our other New England properties, it offers guests traditional values in a historic setting and offers the same culinary excellence that has won our group numerous plaudits. We plan to wrap ourselves in the heritage of this special property. We believe the property will benefit from the rich experience of its new General Manager, Nicholas Squire, who was trained at our own White Barn Inn and other world class hotels. Furthermore the partnership with this hotel  exemplifies the type of growth one can expect from US Hotels in the coming months with expansion planned both through management arrangements, like the Asticou, as well as acquisitions.”

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.

Bar Harbor food faves opening in Portland

April 30, 2010

One of my summer pleasures is having dinner at Havana followed by a scoop or two of some outrageous flavor at Mount Desert Island Ice Cream. This summer, I won’t have to travel to Bar Harbor to do so. Both Havana and MDIC are opening outposts in Portland. According to MDIC’s Facebook page, it plans to open in May (according to Portland Food Map, it’s at 51 Exchange St.). Havana South is targeting a June opening for its Wharf Street location. Next thing you know, Acadia will opening a section of the park in the city (only kidding).

6 Maine food products finalists in NASFT awards

April 25, 2010

Products from four Maine companies were among 125 finalists (out of 1,570 entries) that have advanced to the Part 1 finals of the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade’s sofi Awards—consider these the Oscars of the specialty foods industry. Even better, two were double winners.

The finalists in Part 2, Outstanding Product Line and Outstanding New Products, will be named in early June. The overall winners will be announced June 28.

Part 1 awards were presented in 31 categories, from Outstanding Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip to Outstanding Vinegar. Here are the Maine finalists, by categories. For full results, go here.

Appetizer, Antipasto, Salsa or Dip

Sullivan Harbor Farm, Hancock Village: Omega Burst


Sweet Marguerites, Portland: 12-Piece Assorted Chocolates

Food Gift

Sweet Marguerites, Portland: 12-piece Fleur de Sel Caramels

Frozen Savory

Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co., Cundy’s Harbor: Frozen Savory, Port Clyde Mac & Cheese, and

Soup Stew Bean or Chili

Hancock Gourmet Lobster Co., Cundy’s Harbor: Linekin Bay Lobster Corn Chowder


Rogers International, Portland (importer/distributor): Cattani Balsamoso Organic White Balsamic

Goat bliss: Open Creamery Day at Painted Pepper Farm

April 23, 2010

Here’s a delicious activity for this weekend: Painted Pepper Farm, in Steuben (that’s north of the Schoodic Peninsula), is the source of what I think is to-die-for gelato (try the lemon zest topped with blueberries), made from Nigerian goat milk. Saturday  (that’s tomorrow) is Open Creamery Day, and the farm is welcoming visitors, especially families, with music, storytelling, dancing, a kids’ fun run, and face painting, along with the opportunity to visit the dairy and see the newborn goat kids.

Of course, the farm will be selling its delicious yogurts (honey ginger, mmmm), cheese, fudge, and gelato as well as its other treats. During the summer, you can also purchase the farm’s products at local farmers’ markets, as well as on site. Taste, and you’ll quickly understand why this small, family-run saltwater farm has won so many awards for its products.

Plan now to attend Maine’s spring birding festivals

April 22, 2010

Both the Down East Spring Birding Festival and the Acadia Birding Festival are open for registrations. Maine’s location on the East Coast Flyway means it’s a stopover for feathered snowbirds winging their way northward after wintering in warmer climes, so it’s a great place and time to add a few species to your life list as well as enjoy the company of other birders.

Down East Birding Festival: May 28-31, Cobscook Bay Area

The American Bird Conservancy has identified Northeast coastal Maine and the waters around Machias Seal Island as “One of the important bird areas in the U.S.,” and Washington County has won the America’s Birdiest Atlantic Coastal County title annually since 2007. The three-day festival is jampacked with activities: walks, talks, demonstrations, presentations, social events, art programs, and more. A $60 fee covers almost everything, although you still have to register for individual events. Info on lodging and other local resources is on the site.

Acadia Birding Festival: June 10-13, Mount Desert Island

Roger Tory Peterson called Mt. Desert Island the “warbler capital of the world,” and the Acadia festival provides opportunities to see and hear these songbirds as well as sight puffins and pelagic birds at sea and observe peregrin falcons at an active breeding site in Acadia National Park. The program includes lectures, walks, and adventures, all led by notable birders and others and designed to introduce participants to Downeast Maine’s many bird species, diverse habitats , and local birding experts. Keynote speaker Paul Kerlinger will address “Migratory Birds, Wind Turbines, and Communication Towers,” on Thursday evening. Most events require registration ($60/one day, $125/two days, $175/three days + individual fees for special activities), but a few are open to the public.

I’ve had the good fortune to go birding with Michael Good, depicted right, who runs this festival, and he’s a fabulous guide. He operates Down East Nature Tours, and if you can’t make it to the island for this festival, book an adventure with him when you can, even if birding sounds like the least fun activity in the world. Trust me, he makes it fun.

Free admission days announced for Nat’l Parks and lands

April 22, 2010

Every National Park, National Wildlife Refuge, and numerous areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management are offering free admission June 5-6, Aug. 14-15, Sept. 25 (Public Lands Day), and Nov. 11 (Veterans Day).  These dates are in addition to the previously announced free admission at all 392 national parks April 17-25 as part of the celebration of National Park Week. Consider planning you next visit to Acadia National Park around these fee-free days.

Learn about rescuing stranded marine animals

April 16, 2010

Here’s a cool opportunity to mingle with more than 50 scientists, marine animal specialists, managers, educators, stranding network volunteers, and others who will be sharing the latest knowledge about marine animal strandings, disease, rescue, and rehabilitation. Anyone can purchase a day pass to attend the Northeast Region Stranding Network conference, cohosted by the College of the Atlantic’s Allied Whale and the Bar Harbor Club, May 7-9.

Highlights include a talk by Steve Katona, marine biologist and former COA president, and Andrew Newbould, marine mammal advisor at the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans; a workshop on large whalenecropsies with COA 1988 alumnus Bill McLellan, now North Carolina State Stranding Coordinator; and a sea turtle disentanglement workshop.

Conference registration is $100; day passes are $50. Students from the University of New England, the University of Maine School for Marine Sciences, or College of the Atlantic can attend for free with a valid student identification card.