Archive for the ‘Western Lakes & Mountains’ Category

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.

Plan now for inn-to-inn Spring Herb Tour

May 2, 2010

The Admiral Peary House, in Fryeburg, is participating in the Spring Herb Tour. (Admiral Peary House photo)

The Country Inns in the White Mountains‘ second annual Inn to Inn Spring Herb Tour is slated June 5 and 6, with 13 inns in Maine and New Hampshire participating. Each inn will focus on one herb, and tour guests can sample fare made with that herb and collect a recipe or two. The tour is split, with seven inns highlighted June 5, and the remaining six on June 6.

Lodging packages are available, with rates beginning at $99/double, for one night, $178 double, for two nights, including herb-themed breakfast and tour tickets. Some packages also include a five-course herb-themed dinner.

Tour-only tickets will be sold May 11-25 and are $20 per person.

Saturday, June 5:

Bartlett Inn in Bartlett , featuring rosemary

Inn at Ellis River in Jackson featuring oregano

Inn at Jackson in Jackson featuring tarragon

The 1785 Inn in Intervale featuring mint

Glen Oaks Inn in Intervale featuring basil

Wildflowers Inn in North Conway featuring parsley

Old Red Inn & Cottages in North Conway featuring chives

Sunday, June 6:

Admiral Peary House in Fryeburg, Maine featuring hops

Eastman Inn in North Conway featuring lavender

Darby Field Inn in Albany featuring caraway

Riverbend Inn in Chocorua featuring cumin

Inn at Crystal Lake and Pub in Eaton featuring sage

Brass Heart Inn in Chocorua featuring lemon thyme

Visions of Woodstock: Nateva Music Festival

April 29, 2010

Usually somewhat sleepy Oxford, in the foothills of Western Maine’s mountains, will awaken with a jolt, when more than 15,000 music-loving campers are expected to be entertained by more than 30 Indie/Alternative Rock, Bluegrass, Electronica, and local New England musicians at the Nateva Music & Camping Festival, July 2-4 at the Oxford Fairgrounds.

Headliners:

• July 4: Furthur, founded by the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh and Bob Weir

• July 3: The Flaming Lips

• July 2: moe
• July 1: Lotus, for special Thursday night festivities.

Other performers: The Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band, Zappa Plays Zappa, Keller Williams, Moonalice, STS9, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Umphrey’s McGee, Max Creek, John Brown’s Body, The Felice Brothers, Ryan Montbleau Band, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad,  Greensky Bluegrass, She & Him; Passion Pit; Grizzly Bear; Drive-By Truckers; Ghostland Observatory; Jackie Greene; Jakob Dylan & Three Legs; Crash Kings; Mark Karan’s Jemimah Puddleduck; Rustic Overtones; Lettuce; Gypsy Tailwind; EOTO; Big Gigantic; The Brew; The Constellations; Toubab Krewe; The Indobox; Roots of Creation; Bow Thayer & Perfect Trainwreck; Nate Wilson Group; The Alchemystics; The Kind Buds; Adam Ezra Group; The McLovins; The Heavy Pets; Nephrok! Allstars; You Can Be a Wesley; Billy Keane and the Misdemeanor Outlaws; Brenda; The Mallet Brothers; Grand Hotel; and Magic Magic.

Cost: Discounted weekend passes are on sale through Friday, May 7, and cost $219 with camping, $199 without camping. After May 7, prices increase to $249 with camping, $229 without camping. Also available are a limited number of VIP packages, including special viewing platforms, preferred parking, camping, dining, a full-service bar, and other perks, for $425.

Family friendly: A separate family camping area will be reserved in a quiet section of the property. A shaded kids’ area on the concert grounds will have arts & crafts, children’s entertainment including a magic show and bands. There also will be carnival rides. The festival is also providing a lost-child registration system. Kids younger than 10 are free with a paying adult.

Combine skiing, golfing, steel pans this weekend at the ‘loaf

April 28, 2010

Get your last runs of the season in, and combine it with a round of golf this weekend at Sugarloaf. Here’s the deal: This weekend, May 1-2, is Ski and Tee Weekend, where you can ski on the mountain and play the back nine at the Sugarloaf Golf Club all in the same day. The cost is $25 for nine holes, or just $10 for those who show a lift ticket ($35) or New England Pass valid for that day.

Even better: Stick around Sunday afternoon, when more than a dozen steel drum bands from across New England will perform in front of the Sugarloaf Inn. The 20th annual PanNE Steel Band Festival, hosted by the Western Mountain Trash Can Band, is slated Sunday, May 2, beginning at 10 a.m. It’s free.  Sounds like a perfect picnic opportunity to me.

Sugarloaf is reporting 8-10 inches on the upper mountain (less than 3 at the base), and it’s operating two lifts, the Superquad and Spillway East. Friends report that even before this storm, the skiing was mighty fine above Peavy X-Cut. BUT, here’s the fine print: You can’t ski to the base, you have to walk down once the snow runs out, and that point varies day to day. You might want to bring a backpack with hiking shoes to make the slug through them mud and whatnot a bit easier than hoofing it in ski boots.

The mountain closes for the season on Sunday, May 2. After this weekend, the golf course will close until its scheduled opening date of May 28.

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.


Tee off at Sunday River

April 19, 2010

Sunday River knows how to merge the seasons: It ends its ski season today, and plans to open its golf club on Friday. Now through May 31, Golf-and-Stay Getaways begin at $99 per person (plus 18% tax and resort fee) at the Bethel (actually Newry), Maine, resort; package includes one round of golf, cart, lodging at one of the two Grand Resort Hotels, and breakfast. The 18-hole, Robert Trent Jones-designed championship course has has been named Maine’s top course for five consecutive years by Golfweek magazine.

Hint: Remember the black fly rule—Mother’s Day to Father’s Day—and plan accordingly

Plan ahead: Maine Free Family Fishing Festival

April 16, 2010

Fishing for a good family getaway? Angling for a deal? The Maine Free Family Fishing Festival, June 5, in Bethel is just the ticket. The Upper Andro Anglers Alliance in co-operation with Trout Unlimited is hosting this free event at Angevine Park on the North Road, from 9 a.m .to 2 p.m, rain or shine. The weekend of June 5 and 6 is a free fishing weekend in Maine: Resident and Non-resident freshwater fishing licenses are waived each day

Maine Free Family Fishing Festival itinerary includes:

free casting workshops and fly-tying instruction taught by local Maine guides and members of the Mollyockett Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Instruction will include both spin casting and fly casting for older youth and parents.

free use of rods and reels, courtesy of Maine’s Hooked on Fishing-Not on Drugs Program.

• opportunity to practice newly learned casting skills in a one-acre pond, stocked with trout courtesy of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and a take home your catch.

In addition, there are a slew of kid- and family-friendly activities:

each young angler will receive a mini-tackle box complete with bobber, sinkers, and hook courtesy of the Upper Andro Anglers Alliance.

kids can learn how to tie flies with materials provided by local outfitters and fly shops. Children will be able to take home their hand-tied flies.

• families participating in the event will be eligible for door prizes from local outfitters and businesses as well as L.L. Bean and Kittery Trading Post.

And, of course, food: The Bethel Fire Dept. will host a barbecue of hotdogs and hamburgers, chips, and drinks and families are welcome to bring a pack lunch.

Need lodging: For those families wishing to stay overnight and fish or canoe the Androscoggin River on Sunday, special family packages are available for the weekend at local lodging establishments.

Note: The Family Fishing Festival is one many nationwide events that provide families with an opportunity to have fun on the water. The events are promoted by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation.

What’s happenin’ in Maine: events and deals

April 9, 2010

A few news and notes from around Maine, re: events, activities, deals, and what-not over the coming week:

Eat! Shop! at Flavors of Freeport: Opens tonight with Chefs Signature and Libations Gala ($25 at the door, Hilton Garden Inn); continues Saturday with lifestyle demonstrations, physic readings/ film, block party; and runs through Sunday with a seminar, followed by card exchange.

• Make spring turns at Saddleback: Lift tickets are $25 for this weekend; mountain slated to close on Sunday. Mountain is predicting to operate at least two lifts and opening 25-50% of its terrain, with a few top-to-bottom trails.

• Get creeped out at It’s a Bugs’ World (think hissing cockroaches): Opening at the College of the Atlantic’s Dorr Museum of Natural History, Bar Harbor, on April 15. For a real treat, don’t miss the opening reception,  5-7:30 p.m., featuring insect hors d’oeuvres (not kidding–edible insects), as well as entertainment, including screening of a classic entomological horror flick.  Exhibit runs through June 5. Museum is hands-on and a must for kids.

• Reward yourself for filling taxes at DeansSweets second-annual Free Tax Day Truffle: Dean’s, on Middle Street, in Portland, is offering one free truffle or caramel to anyone who comes in the store between now and midnight on April 15 (and yes, it’s staying open that night to reward last-minute filers).

• Plan to party at Sugarloaf’s Reggae Festival: The mountain is offering an all-inclusive package for the April 15-18 event (lodging at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, daily lift ticket, concert tickets to Inner Circle on Friday night and Kenyatta Hill on Saturday Night, plus daily breakfast, for $158 per person per night).

Tele Invasion at Saddleback Saturday

March 19, 2010

Here’s one more event for this weekend: On Saturday, March 20, Saddleback Ski Area, in Rangeley, hosts its sixth annual Telemark Invasion.

• Test new telemark skiing gear

• Free clinics for all abilities

• An up/down climb event-—be sure to bring skins, if you want to participate.

All followed by apres in the Swig’n’Smelt Geary’s and Matt & the Barnburners, and at 8 p.m., rocking with Pogey in the fireplace room.

Forecast says sunshine and spring!

Free ice cream tomorrow (really!)

March 18, 2010

Family-owned Gifford’s Ice Cream kicks off its 30th-anniversary season, tomorrow, Friday, March 19, by offering free, small ice cream cones from 6-8 p.m. at its five Maine stands: Skowhegan, Farmington, Bangor, Waterville, and Auburn.

Of course, if that’s not enough, you can splurge on other tasty treats including old-fashioned ice cream sodas, brownie-n-cream sundaes, ice cream cakes, banana splits, sundaes, parfaits, frappes and freezes. And don’t forget your dog: Gifford’s has a special dog bone sundae.

Want to know why Gifford’s tastes so great? The company makes its ice cream from fresh, pasteurized, growth-hormone-free cream and milk that comes exclusively from independent family farms in Maine and it uses premium ingredients, such as real Maine maple syrup.

Since I’m a chocoholic, I’m opting for chocolate. Gifford’s twice has been recognized as “World’s Best Chocolate” at the World Dairy Expo.  And watch for this: Late last year, Gifford’s caught the attention of producers at Food Network’s “Unwrapped,” and the local favorite will be featured in an April 2010 episode titled “21st Century Chocolate.