Maine Roots

A blog about all things Maine

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Planning for Fall in Maine

I was on the verge of beginning this post with, “My favorite season in Maine is fall..” when I realized that would be a lie.  Not because summer is my favorite… or winter… but because my favorite thing about the seasons in Maine is that I can’t choose just one.  I frequently reflect on how fortunate I was to grow up in a state with four distinct seasons and numerous opportunities to enjoy each one, indoors and out.

Although it’s only mid-August and there’s still a bit of summer (and Indian summer) to savor (“bit” being the operative word), now is the time to plan for your fall getaway in Maine or add activities and events to your calendar if you live there already.  Whether you’re looking to take in the radiant colors of Maine’s fall foliage, go for a hike in the crisp fall air, or participate in the revelry of one of fall’s many fairs and festivals, the opportunities are abundant.

High on my personal list are the Cumberland County Fair (September 21st – 27th), the Fryeburg Fair (September 28th – October 5th), and general outdoor activities like hiking or biking at Baxter State Park, Acadia National Park, or any of the other scenic locations Maine has to offer.

View of Mount Katahdin in fall.

View of Mount Katahdin in fall.

A little research yielded some other interesting options for me to share with you:

International Seaplane Fly-In, Moosehead Lake, September 4th – 7th: Who wouldn’t want to visit beautiful Moosehead Lake in the early fall?  It is not only the largest lake in Maine, it’s the largest lake east of the Mississippi contained in one state.  This event consists of Float Plane Competitions, educational exhibits, and is the area’s largest craft fair.

13th Annual Fall Festival of Arts and Crafts, Smiling Hill Farm, Westbrook, September 6th: I have many, many childhood memories that involve Smiling Hill Farm – whether it was a visit to see the animals, an educational event, or enjoying their fresh milk and homemade ice cream – we visited regularly.  Attend this event (low cost – $2 per adult, children under 12 are free) and meet a number of artisans sharing their crafts.

Mt. Abram Ascent, Greenwood, ME, September 6th: This is a 5-mile run up the mountain – a part of the New England Trail Run Series – that will be followed by a celebration featuring an arts and crafts fair, mini-farmers market, and beer from Baxter Brewing Co.  I would be doing this in a heartbeat if I was in Maine!

The bottom line is – get out, get to Maine, and partake in this season of harvest and outdoor fun before the weather drives us inside to wait for spring (unless we exit the house armed with one or more of the following: shovel, snow shoes, skis, ice skates… you get the idea).

Happy Fall!

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Making Memories on Memorial Day

The upcoming Memorial Day weekend brings with it a rush of nostalgia for me – memories filled with Memorial Days spent in Maine, participating in parades or watching from the sidewalk, grilling hot dogs (the red ones, of course) and hamburgers with family, celebrating togetherness and honoring the memory of the servicemen and women who gave their lives for our country.

As we all know, summer starts slowly in Maine. Memorial Day weekend is often the real turning point to summer weather, making it a welcome milestone for Mainers. In preparation for this holiday, I’ve put together a brief listing of events around the state, as well as some opportunities to give back and support those who have served our country:

City of Portland Memorial Day Parade – May 27th at 10am, begins in Longfellow Square
(most, if not all, towns in Maine will have local Memorial Day parades – so keep a look out for news about yours.  I have fond memories of the Memorial Day parade in Gorham)

10th Annual Downeast Birding Festival (you may recall this from my post a week or so ago) – May 24th – 27th, Cobscook Bay area, Maine

Plant Sale at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens (NOW is the time to visit this lovely place) – May 25th – 26th, 9am – 4pm (members only on Saturday morning), Boothbay, Maine.  Admission is also FREE for Maine residents (with valid ID), 9am – 5pm this weekend for Maine Days.  How many more reasons do you need?

Barberry... one of my favorite shrubs!

Barberry… one of my favorite shrubs!

Guided Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Presque Isle – Saturday, May 25th, the tour begins at 10am and includes more than 30 historic sites and individuals (approximately 2 miles walking distance).

Embrace history with a tour of museums in Old York, Maine – Monday, May 27th, for just a dollar per building, from 9am – 5pm.

The Wounded Warrior Project is an excellent program committed to providing services to our returning servicemen and women. Their mission is to “foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history.”

The Maine Military & Community Network strives to raise awareness about the challenges faced by military service members and their families, help to connect them to resources and support, and help them integrate in their communities.

Happy Memorial Day (in advance) – I hope you are able to spend it enjoying the company of family and friends!

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Spring Into Action

Happy May Day!  The weather (per my local sources) is beginning to feel springlike in Maine, so what better time to get out and about and enjoy this wonderful state?  There are a number of events this weekend (May 4th and 5th) that provide an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, the indoors, good food, and tasty beverages – check them out below!

On Sunday, May 5th, Gritty’s is sponsoring the second annual “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” 5K run, which benefits Habitat for Humanity.  This is a great opportunity to do something good for yourself (exercise, ahem) and something good for others (at the after party, 50 cents from every pint sold is donated to Habitat for Humanity – Greater Portland).  The 5K is an evening run and the after party is at Gritty’s Freeport, complete with a bonfire, live music by  The Mallet Brother’s Band, and of course, a ready supply of beer.  For more information, or to register and/or fundraise for the run, click here.

As many of you know, much of my childhood was defined by enjoying the outdoors in Maine and experiencing the sporting opportunities each season had to offer.  So, naturally, I am very excited to share with you that the Bangor Daily News is holding their first Outdoors Expo this weekend at the Portland Expo.  Their article, with extensive information on the Expo, is available here, and I have to say – I was so excited reading it that I nearly purchased a plane ticket hoME.

The Welcome Home sign in the Portland Jetport - a truly "welcome" sight!

The Welcome Home sign in the Portland Jetport – a truly “welcome” sight!

The Expo hours are 10am – 6pm on Saturday, May 4th, and 10am – 4pm on Sunday, May 5th.  Tickets are $5 per person, and children under 12 get in free (and there’s plenty for a child to enjoy once they’re in).  BDN staff will be on hand to discuss any number of outdoor pursuits – whether you enjoy hiking, hunting, fishing, or paddling (or in my case, “drifting” somewhere on the open water).  Their claim is that “this won’t be like any other outdoor expo you’ve attended in Maine,” and to back it up, they’ve arranged an impressive number and selection of door prizes and activities.  Door prizes include opportunities to win an Old Town Canoe, an Old Town Kayak, a tandem skydive adventure from Skydive New England, a whitewater rafting expedition for two from Three Rivers, and a $1,000 shopping spree (gift card) from the Kittery Trading Post.  Of course, no Outdoors Expo is complete without a variety of knowledgeable vendors and exhibitors ready to discuss anything outdoors-y with you, and there will also be several speakers presenting throughout the event.  I highly recommend checking out their article for the full event listing, and get out there (if you do, please send photos and comments my way – I’d love feedback on the event!).

Nick and Ed, upta camp

Nick and Ed, upta camp

Another poorly-kept secret of mine is my love of wine.  Conveniently, this wine tasting event, held at the Browne Trading Company on Saturday, May 4th, is also in Portland – so if you plan your day effectively, you can wrap up your Outdoors Expo experience and toddle over to indulge in a glass of wine (and nurse any aches and pains you may have accumulated from things like the climbing wall at the Expo).  Located on Commercial Street in the Old Port, Browne Trading Company holds these wine tastings twice a month on the first and third Saturdays from 1pm – 5pm.

I hope this post gives you the inspiration to get out and enjoy southern Maine this weekend.  If it were me, I know I’d be finding a way to attend all three events.  And if I couldn’t, it would be because I was hosting a Kentucky Derby party… complete with big hats!


Monument Square Christmas Tree Lighting

I’ll be providing brief posts, like this one, from time-to-time about upcoming events in Maine.  Because I love the Annual Christmas Tree Lightingin Monument Square, and it’s coming up this Friday, I thought it a good first ‘event’post.

The holidays in Maine are incredible – I’d say it’s my favorite time to be there, but the truth is that every time is my favorite time.  There is something different about the holidays, though – how can a place be so cold and so warm at the same time?  That’s what I think, when I think of the holidays in Maine.  It is such a time of joy and celebration – the frigid air can’t touch it, and arguably only enhances it.  The Tree Lighting at Monument Square is one of the events that symbolizes the holiday season to me.

This year, the 55-foot blue spruce tree will be lit by a local Make-A-Wish, and the event is this Friday, November 23rd, at 5:30pm.  Best of all –  it’s free!  There will be entertainment, including music and horse and wagon rides (also free).

For more info on the event and to see HOW they get a 55-foot tree into downtown Portland, check out these links:

I only wish I could be there!