Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Penobscot Narrows Observatory & Fort Knox Historic Site

Took a roadtrip today to see the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, located at the top of one of the towers of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The observatory bridge is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere and of the four in existence in the world, this one is the tallest.

The observatory is 42 stories (447 feet) tall and is reached by an elevator. (Interesting that the elevator goes up almost 450' but only has buttons for 2 floors!) Admission to the observatory includes admission to Fort Knox, State Historic Site.

We had terrific blue skies and 'hundred mile views' from the observatory deck. Fair warning, when the elevator doors open at the top, you are about 3' from the glass wall looking straight out to the ocean. It is amazing! On exiting the elevator, you walk around to the side and up a short flight of stairs to the first deck. Then up a second flight to the main observatory deck. (There is a second, smaller 'elevator' for wheelchair accessibility.)

Once on the main deck, there is a compass rose in the floor to help orient N, S, E, W. Also, there are panels facing each direction which show what you are looking at. A definite help if you've never been to the area before.

We used them to identify this view through the window: the town of Prospect. At the edges of the photo, you can see the frames for the windows. In the left foreground of the photo is Fort Knox, the original Fort Knox, by the way, even though both forts were named for the same person, Major General Henry Knox. (If you are heading north on Rt 1 from Freeport, you pass his home, 'Montpelier,' in Thomaston. There is a museum there to visit.)

This is a view on the roof of the fort. Behind me are where the cannons were located. Below were the officers' quarters, men's quarters, powder magazine, etc. Below the parade grounds were cisterns and food storage. (Even today, at 80 degrees on the parade grounds, the lower storage areas were cool.)

The fort was built from granite quarried 5 miles away at Mt Waldo. It is the first and largest granite fort in Maine. If you've traveled the East Coast looking at forts, you'll notice the resemblance here to Fort Pulaski in GA and Fort Popham (near Popham Beach) as well as many others.

As you can see, dogs are allowed on the grounds of the fort, leashes required. No dogs are allowed in the observatory (service animals are allowed).

If your travels are taking you from White Cedar Inn to 'points northeast' don't just drive across the bridge! This is a definite 'must stop' on your journey!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Spa, Knit & Spin: Freeport, Maine

Spa , Knit, and Spin 2020-

Stay tuned for #Spa2020 dates!

We have lots of room and attractive prices for this weekend. Book early for the best selection! Breakfast is included.

Join your friends at the demos and vendor booths all day and then retreat to the quiet of White Cedar Inn for the evening.

Enjoy our historic inn with full breakfast in the morning. We are walking distance (100 yds) to the Harraseeket Inn and 3 blocks to the Hilton Garden Inn, where the majority of events will be taking place.

Check out the vendor booths, massage stations, alpaca farm open houses and much more! Gather a group of friends and make it a getaway weekend.

Our guests enjoy afternoon treats each day at White Cedar Inn. Tea, coffee and hot cocoa available 24 hours.

All room rates are on our website. Additional guests in room $25 each, up to room maximum. We are the perfect venue if you love the hubbub by day but would rather have a quiet evening. Bring along the husband, he'll appreciate having some 'space' away from all the whoop-de-doo!

Friday night merchant mall from 5 PM to 8 PM (Hilton Garden Inn), Saturday from 9 AM to 4 PM (HGI) and Sunday from 9 AM to 11 AM (HGI). Spa services on Saturday. There is a fee for the spa services and you must sign up to get a slot.

There is usually a fashion show on Saturday night and an 'ugly sweater' contest. Location & time TBD.

Send your husband to an LL Bean Walk-On Adventure for the day! He can x-c ski, snowshoe, learn orienteering and more. Or, send him on our Tool Time Tour. He'll have a great time and you get to shop without him saying, 'Don't you already have one of those?' Then, you'll both have tons to talk about over dinner!

You heard all the great stories about the last Spa, Knit & Spin. Make sure you plan ahead for this one! Don't miss a single minute of the adventure next year.

White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032

Maine Staycation- what's this?

You may have heard the latest buzz by now...'Staycations'. Other than being one in a long line of portmanteau words, what is it exactly?

A staycation is a vacation taken close to home. You know, you just have to go somewhere but you either can't or don't want to go too far. In some cases, you just need to be close to home for a variety of reasons but you'd like a change of scenery.

Maybe this is the year you've decided that you just want to be a tourist in your own state. Say you live in Bethel and you've never been to the coast. Or, for some like myself, you live along the coast but you've never ventured inland. Then a staycation is for you. Find out what the other side of the state is all about!

Obviously, we've got the ocean over here. But there's more than water to the coastal regions. We have great dining, museums, hiking, fishing, biking and, yeah, all the 'water' stuff like lighthouses and sea kayaking to name but two.

So, fellow Mainer, if this is your year to see how the other half lives, we're offering you a deal when you stay at White Cedar Inn. As a resident, you get $15 off your room from June through October, 2008. The only fine print is you must be a legal resident of Maine and this offer cannot be used with any other promotions or packages.

By summer's end, $15 may only be buying you 3 gallons of gas, so you probably should stay 2 nights so you have saved enough money on your lodging to pay for the gas to get here and back home again! If you're on a motorcycle, we have paved, lighted parking and you could make it all the way here from Fort Kent!

MacMillan's Bowdoin bound for Arctic!

For those who know that Donald MacMillan attended school in Freeport and grew up in the house that became White Cedar Inn, here's big news...his schooner, the Bowdoin, is setting sail for the Arctic.

The Bowdoin, named for MacMillan's alma mater Bowdoin College, is heading out for the first time since 1994 to the frigid Arctic waters. The 16 person crew consists of seasoned sailors, new graduates and students at the Maine Maritime Academy. For all it will be the trip of a lifetime.

These links will take you to the following sites:

Follow along with blogs from the Bowdoin.
Read the Captain's log.
Track the course of the Bowdoin.
The Bowdoin's homepage.

Freeport in Down East magazine in May and July!

If you got the 'Where to eat now' issue, you know that the Mediterranean Grill made the 'Runner Up' list as an eatery 'worthy of note'. The Mediterranean Grill is on School Street. They have a great deck and the bar area has huge sliding glass doors that open up onto the deck in the summer. You can't miss it...look for the tiki torches!

We really like the donar kebabs and the Turkish coffee. The appetizers are a meal in themselves. Be sure to put the Mediterranean on your list for dining this year!

One of the top 50 was the Thai Garden, an often overlooked restaurant just south on Rt 1 (in the same strip as Cuddledown). Perfect for take-out, it's about 2.5 miles from White Cedar Inn.

Also mentioned, but not a restaurant, were martinis made with Cold River vodka, just south of the Thai Garden about 2 miles. Stop in for a tour. Who knew potatoes were this good?

In 'Maine's Hidden Beaches' Down East lets on what the locals already know...Freeport has a beach. It's a small beach, certainly not Ogunquit or Wellsian in stature, but our own little beach just the same.

If you're looking for a spot to take your Thai spring rolls, Winslow Park is about 3 miles from Rt 1. From the Thai Garden, either head south to the Big Indian and turn left or head north and turn right on Pine St. Turn at Staples Point Road and go to the end.

It's a great spot to walk along the trails and look for osprey. There is a small play area for children. No dogs on the beach between April 1 and October 31. Dogs must be leashed on the trails.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wicked Whoopies comes to Freeport!

Out for my walk today and decided to take a chance and duck into the newest store on Main St, Wicked Whoopies. Uh oh, this is going to be one tough store to just walk past on my walks! Amy, the owner and chief whoopie pie baker was on hand to show us around and explain the makings of a whoopie pie.

These are just decadent little (or big, there was one there that looked about 12" across!) pies with 2 cake shells with a fluffy cream filling in between.

I got the original flavor which is chocolate cake with the white cream filling. (There is also a peanut butter cream filling!) If chocolate cake with cream filling is not enough chocolate for you, this one also comes dipped in chocolate! Tried the banana one as well. The banana version tastes just like banana bread.

Amy also has coffee and drinks as well as a large selection of Wicked Whoopies in 7 different flavors.

You've got to stop by when you're in town. The shop is located just across the street from Reebok and around the corner from The Body Shop (down that little set of stairs) where the RD Allen tourmaline jewelry shop used to be. (RD Allen has moved to Middle Street, across from Rite Aid.)

In case you've never seen a whoopie pie (WHERE have you been???) here's a pic I got from the Wicked Whoopies Website. If you realize when you get home that you just have to have more Wicked Whoopies, you can order them online!

If Wicked Whoopies sounds familiar it's probably because you've seen them on Oprah, Good Morning America or Unwrapped. If you haven't seen them there you can watch the film clips on the website.

With Wicked Whoopies, Wilbur's Chocolates and Simply Divine Brownies, Freeport will be the chocolate capital of Maine pretty soon.