Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Shopping in Freeport and so much more!

What a nice surprise the other day to read about White Cedar Inn in the Boston Globe Travel section online!

The author of the piece said some things that are dear to my heart...there's more to do in Freeport besides the shopping! Not to say the shopping isn't a big part of it, it certainly is, but there is so much more to the town and the surrounding area than retail.

Just a couple of things that come to mind immediately are the great nature trails that are hidden away, some within feet of the commercial district! Freeport Conservation Trust has miles of trails in every corner of Freeport. On the water we have two terrific parks where you can bird watch, kayak, relax on the beach, hike, cross country ski, snowshoe and more. Check out Winslow Park and Wolfe Neck Woods. Not quite IN Freeport, but close enough, is Bradbury Mountain State Park. Climb to the top for vistas of Casco Bay.

Not really into the outdoorsy stuff? Harrington House, the local historical society building has a wealth of Freeport information, artwork and more. Speaking of artwork, check out Freeport Square for a showcase of local artists. (Yes, you can shop there, but you can also get a feeling for the area through the artistic expression of the locals.)

How about your own culinary tour? Try the 'Spirits' tour and check out Cold River Vodka's distillery, Gritty's brewery and the ale sampler at Jameson Tavern.

Back to the outdoors, we also have our own golf course! There are free tennis courts availble at the high school and a playground for kids at the elementary school.

It's a small town with a big heart. And we're glad the Boston Globe picked up on that! Read the full story here.

And if you were following the study released earlier this year on the happiest states, you'll be happy to know that Maine ranked 10th out of the 50 states + DC! We were beat out by those really warm Gulf Coast states, but there's always next year! Maine...it's the way I like my life to be!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Christmas Cookie Exchange- December Recipe of the Month

Cookie Exchanges are everywhere this year! Here are some links to some of the best cookie recipe sites around. Enjoy!

Hope you find at least ONE recipe in here to call your own this year!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy 5 Year Anniversary!

It was five years ago today that we bought White Cedar Inn.

Five years ago I didn't even know if I would ever write those words! So many guests have asked us over the years if this was a life long dream of ours, to own a B&B. The short answer to that is no. This was not something that even crossed our minds until around seven years ago when we were in transition at work. Lots of layoffs, rumors everyday about layoffs, a very uncertain climate in which to try to plan for anything in the future.

Then, six years ago, when the layoffs really did happen to us, we got serious. What were we going to do with the rest of our lives? Most of you have heard the story about how Rock wanted to own a diner (and how I am NOT Flo!) and how we proceeded from there to find a way for him to do the 'greasy spoon breakfast' thing but not in a way that involved me in a pink nylon uniform, big hair and gum snapping! Voila! B&B.

It took us close to a year to find just the right place...in town so we (and you) could walk to everything, a place that would allow both of us have employment and someplace we felt comfortable living. I've wanted to live in Maine since I was a teenager. And, as it turns out, Rock 'came home' when we moved here. He has a number of cousins who live in Maine, some in Madawaska, some in Portland and some in Brunswick. Small world!

So, on the anniversary of our fifth year here, what do we know now that we didn't then?
  • Holy cow, there's a lot of laundry involved in running a B&B!
  • No matter how quiet it looks outside, as soon as you run to the bathroom the doorbell rings.
  • As soon as you put the cookies in the oven, the doorbell rings.
  • If you've just dumped a load of dirty laundry in the entryway, the doorbell rings.
  • Cookies are an occupational hazard.
All kidding aside, we've learned a lot about ourselves (we won't kill each other when we retire, we spend quite a lot of time together now and we've survived); Rock really does make wicked good omelets (pancakes, waffles, french toast); it takes all kinds to make a world (and we've met a lot of them!) and that for us, at this point in our lives, running a B&B was the right choice.

Thanks so much for being a part of our adventure. Hope you stick around for the next five years, we'll keep the light on for you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Time and Tide at Popham Beach

Popham Beach, Maine
Last time we were at Popham Beach in the spring, we couldn't walk out to the Fox Islands because of the change in the tides and the direction of the river. What a difference a few months will make! Today we were able to get out to the islands again at low tide although it looked like it might now be difficult to get around to the beach at the western end of the parking area. (See photo above for the view from the island back to the beach.)

Popham Beach, Maine
While standing on top of the island, we noticed it looked like it was now possible to walk out to the island at the mouth of the Kennebec. But, we didn't have time to walk all the way down there to verify that. We could see a couple of people walking out that way but don't know how far they could get.

We'll save that bit of exploration up for later on in the month.

sand dollar

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Turkey Stoup- November Recipe of the Month

In spite of the name and the list of ingredients, this is really an interesting variation on stew or soup. Because the consistency really depends on what you've got in the fridge, it's not really stew or soup, it's stoup! So here goes...

You definitely need a crock pot, the rest of the list is up to you!

Friday or Saturday morning after Thanksgiving, open up the fridge and see what's in there. Turkey? Check. Gravy? Check. Cranberry sauce? Check. You get the idea. It's basically a recipe that uses up the bits and bobs leftover after everyone has had their fill of turkey and stuffing sandwiches. Did I mention stuffing? If there's any left, throw that in the crock pot as well.

Is there anything I usually leave out? Oh yes! No broccoli. No green beans. No salad. You've still got some of that green bean casserole leftover? Serves you right. Who eats that stuff anyway?

Here's a typical list of what might go into the pot on Saturday morning:

  • Turkey (cut into chunks)
  • Stuffing (yeah, like there's ever any stuffing leftover!)
  • Gravy
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Carrots
  • Mashed potatoes (with garlic!)
  • Onions (those little pearl onions are perfect)
  • Celery
  • Sweet potatoes (not if you put marshmallows in them)
Pile it all in there with the celery and carrots on the bottom and add enough chicken broth to make it stoup-y. With the stuffing and potatoes you don't need any flour or other thickeners. Heat until bubbling. Enjoy with some crusty bread.

Kids seem to really like this so get them involved. You may hear this, but continue on anyway: 'Ewww, Mother, you're not putting cranberry sauce in the stew? Oh, you ARE? Neat.' (Yes, my kids call me 'Mother' and they used to say 'neat'.)

Bon appetit!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quilting comes to Freeport- QuiltPort USA

My dreams have come true! Freeport will be the host of a brand new quilting event scheduled for April 16-18, 2010 (and hopefully in years to come!) QuiltPort USA is the brainchild of the folks at Freeport's Cotton Weeds Quilt Shop, Quiltessentials in Auburn and The Calico Basket in Windham.

Taking a look at the QuiltPort website, I saw some exciting quilters have been invited to lead classes starting bright and early Friday morning. Deb Tucker, Carol McLeod, Alice Koroski and Mary McFarland (Sat only) are your instructors for a fun 2 days of quilting, quilting and more quilting! Susan Pennoyer will be on hand for classes in hand-woven baskets.

This morning I spoke with Joanne at Cotton Weeds to get some more of the inside scoop on what to expect at QuiltPort. Events for the weekend are still in the planning stages, so stay tuned for more details on the QuiltPort website. I did hear that there will be fun handouts at the door for all attendees, so you don't want to miss that.

Take a look at the class list and sign up soon, you don't want to miss a single minute! I'm thinking about attending Deb Tucker's Trunk Show at 7 PM on Friday night.

Classes and free range sewing will take place at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is 3 short blocks from here, an easy walk. Book your room at White Cedar Inn and each member of your party will receive a fat quarter sampler, a full breakfast each morning and afternoon snacks. Room prices range from $120-$165 and many of our rooms have 2 beds, perfect for friends traveling together! Be sure to plan on arriving on Thursday so you can start Friday morning's classes at 9 AM!

Weather-permitting, we hope to have quilts hanging on the front porch for the weekend! (And if I can motivate myself this winter, maybe I'll have some of my own quilts displayed in the dining room!) Gather a group of friends to stay here and have a show and tell in the living room.

Check our quilt shop hop map on the website and plan a shopping trip while you are here!

And a couple of the quilts I made for the grandkids.
baby quilt
baby quilt

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maine's Shop, Dine and Stay Event

We're getting ready here for Maine's 'Shop, Dine and Stay' Event taking place through November and into December. As anyone who has been here knows, Freeport is all about shopping! (Even though we have hidden treasures in our shoreline and state and local parks!) Well, this coming week, the State of Maine is going to highlight the often forgotten season that happens between foliage and the first really big snowfall.

Coming to Maine in this quieter time is a joy. The weather is still warm(ish) and almost all of the great restaurants in Freeport are still open (the lobster shacks close Columbus Day Weekend, but everyone else is open year round).

We hope you'll decide to come to Maine and enjoy the quieter time. Please check our Shop, Dine and Stay package below!

Welcome to home of outlet shopping in Maine- Freeport! Take advantage of our terrific shopping, dining and overnight lodging package starting November 1, 2009 and going until December 30, 2009.

Included with your package is a 2 night stay in your choice of one of our beautiful, country-charm rooms (fireplace rooms have an additional charge), a $50 White Cedar Inn prepaid VISA card to use at any store in town, a $50 dinner gift card for your choice of restaurant in town (choose among Jameson Tavern, Siano’s Brick Oven Pizza or Azure CafĂ© Italian Sea Grille), a hearty, home-made breakfast each morning and all lodging taxes.

Also included in your package is White Cedar Inn’s ‘Wrapping Paper Party’. Do your shopping around town and return to the inn in the evening to wrap your presents with all of the fixings provided by us! Wrapping paper, tape, name tags, bows and cookies to enjoy while you wrap!

Make it a fun getaway weekend with friends or bring along your spouse and have a romantic weekend away in one of our fireplace rooms ($35/night additional charge).

Don't forget Freeport's Moonlight Shopping starts at 12:01 AM on Friday, November 27!

Book your shopping getaway now!

Mid week rate is $375, weekend rate is $435. Fireplace rooms are an additional $35/night. $50 prepaid VISA card may not be used to pay for your lodging. May not be combined with any other packages. No discounts will be taken.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Giant's Stairs, Bailey Island, Maine

Giants Stairs Baileys Island Maine
We took a little drive today out to Bailey Island to see if we could find the Giant's Stairs. Thanks to a very nice set of directions from the folks at the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, we had no trouble at all. There is a short, shore path that loops back around to Washington Ave. This is an easy, 40-45 minute drive from White Cedar Inn. (Rt 1 to Rt 24, basically 2 right turns and 30 miles and you're there!)

If you've walked on the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, this is similar in feel, except it is a smaller and more intimate setting. The houses along Ocean Ave & Washington Ave have that very coastal feel with weathered shingles abounding. You can pick up the trail head at the end of Ocean Ave or just a short way down Washington Ave (after parking at the church). I suggest walking down to the Washington Ave access point as there are trail maps there. We didn't know we could walk farther down the trail to the harbor until we got home and looked at the map I brought home for our trail book, fondly called 'Take a Hike!'

Bre came along, as she often does, so we did not attempt to scale the stairs, as we might have done had she stayed home! (To save the excitement of seeing the stairs for yourselves, we're not posting exact pictures of them, just some surrounding scenery.)

One small step...splash!

This is a very pleasant day trip as you can go all the way to Lands End on the Harpswell Islands Rd, cut across to the Harpswell Neck Rd and/or explore Cundy's Harbor all in the same day. There are beautiful photo ops all along these roads (be sure you pull off at the pull off areas and not in someone's driveway!) I would suggest bringing binoculars along as there are some interesting vistas waaay out. (There's one of those 25 cent viewing stations at Land's End!) Also, there were lots of pelagic birds bobbing around, so bring your birding guide as well.

After our walk on the Giant's Stairs/McIntosh Lot Preserve Trail, we headed to Lands End. There's a neat little gift shop at the end of the Harpswell Islands Rd (Rt 24). They had just about anything you might want and some things you never knew you needed (glass bottles flattened, but with the logos intact, that can be used for serving trays).

Lands End Maine
On our way back, we stopped at the Giant's Stairs Seafood Grille. It's a very unassuming joint but it was almost full when we arrived. In the summer there is outdoor seating as well as inside. We chose inside as it was a bit of a blustery day today. Rock had the clam roll with cole slaw and an iced tea and I had the BLT with onion rings and a chocolate milk. The service was fast & friendly and it was almost entirely locals the whole time we were there.

We pulled in here and there to take pix of different harbors, coves and bays, like this one...Mackerel Cove, where you can see the lobster boats home again at the end of the day.

Mackerel Cove, Maine
Of course, I couldn't forget a shot of the Cribstone Bridge just as you come from Orr's Island to Bailey Island. The bridge is under repair (10/09), so you get a much better view of it when you're driving by on the temporary bridge. This photo was taken from the parking lot at Cook's Lobster House. Cook's is located on a working wharf on Bailey Island (turn right onto Garrison Cove Rd just after the bridge), so a quick hop out to take the photo and back in the car was the plan. Casco Bay Cruises has a cruise out to Bailey Island during the summer.

Cribstone Bridge, Bailey's Island, Maine.
Another day we'll head down to Cundy's Harbor and see the sights there as well. Round trip to The Giant's Stairs, Land's End and Cook's Lobster House was about 60 miles. Side trips to Harpswell Neck & Cundy's Harbor would not add a lot more mileage to the day. You could plan anywhere from 2-4 hours for the whole trip, including lunch or dinner. The foliage was terrific and there was not a mosquito in sight! Lots of homes had beautiful purple asters and pink tree hydrangeas. There was something for the eye to feast on at every turn.

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

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Poetic guests

As some of you know, we keep guest books in each room for everyone to leave comments, places to go, where they had dinner and more. We still chuckle over the Wallace & Gromit fans who drew us pictures and copied out their favorite lines! And there are a few comments we're still trying to translate!

This week it's been poetry in the Winthrop Fogg Room. So, without further ado, the White Cedar Inn guest poets take center stage:

We have no reservations
Against making reservations.
You might say we're not reserved.

And though we're a little old

We're not about to fold.
You might say we're well preserved.

And though we stopped here on a whim
It really was a win.
We have really been well served.

Thanks to Daniel & Nancy!

Well, not to be outdone, our next guests left this little ditty:

For a great place where friends can meet
And enjoy a morning treat
A bed and breakfast can't be beat.
When people ask us why we grin
We'll say we stayed at White Cedar Inn!

Thanks to Bob & Carol!

Of course that sort of thing puts the pressure on the next guest (or so they may think) which leads us to the last entry:

No clever poetry from us- we'll say the poetry is in the beautiful house and kind, thoughtful hosts.

Thanks to Cathy & Ed

It really is fun reading the comments everyone leaves behind! And now, coming up on our 5th year anniversary here, it's getting time to put out new books. We do thank everyone who has left us a comment and we hope the new, blank books don't put anyone off...please do fill them up, too, with all the wonderful adventures you had and great places you saw and food you ate while on vacation in Freeport!

And the room that inspired all the poetry?

bed and breakfast wine

Friday, October 02, 2009

Spinach Quiche- October Recipe of the Month

OK, I've written it down but you'll have to try it on your own to see if you can recreate Rock's recipe for quiche! There's a lot of 'pinch of this,' 'enough of that to taste' and 'you'll know it's right when you see it.' Oy!

Spinach Quiche ala Rock

12" quiche pan, or adapt ingredients to fit whatever pan you have (See? Already it's difficult!)

10 large eggs
1/2 bag frozen spinach, thawed & water squeezed out (bag size approximately 12-16 ozs)
3 oz plain, non fat yogurt
6 ozs (give or take) shredded Mexican-style cheese blend (add more or less to taste)
salt (to taste)
pepper (to taste)
Tabasco sauce (to taste)
Half n Half (buy a pint and put the rest in your coffee)
Sargento Taco- seasoned shredded cheese

In a large bowl, mix eggs, spinach, yogurt, Mexican cheese, salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce. Now for the tricky bit...add Half n Half until the mix is the consistency of a thick soup. (This could be 4-8 oz.) Pour into lightly buttered 12" quiche pan. Sprinkle with Taco-seasoned cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until center is cooked but before sides are scorched.

If it's not exactly what you remember when you serve it up at your house, keep in mind you were on vacation, someone else was cooking and you were having a wonderful time! You can always come back and watch Rock in the kitchen!

Mini quiches: you can use the above recipe to make mini quiches. Use your favorite crust recipe or cheat, like I do, and use Pillsbury's roll out dough. With a 2" diameter drinking glass I got 18 mini crusts from one roll out dough (you do need to re-roll the dough to get that many). The recipe above will make about 72 mini quiches. Perfect for a casual get together. We served them cold.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fall foliage walks & drives in Maine

bridge by beaver pond
What a gorgeous day it was today! We decided to head out and take a look at some of the fantastic foliage in the lakes region. Bre always likes to go along on our expeditions so we used The Ultimate Guide to Dog Parks, Beaches & Trails in Maine. (Published by Downeast Dog Guides and available at www.downeastdogguides.com or, if you stay at White Cedar Inn with your dog a copy is included with the pet fee.)

Here is Bre on one of the side trails we found.

We ended up taking a 120 mile round trip to check out the Jay-Farmington Rail Trail. The Rail Trail from Jay to Farmington is approximately 14 miles long. We hit about 2-3 miles of it before turning around and heading back. (We also wanted to check out places to eat along the way!)

fall foliage walks in maineAlthough we were headed out for walking, we passed so many boat access points along the way, I would definitely recommend this route for anyone wanting to canoe or kayak. (Lake Auburn, Androscoggin Lake and Sabattus Pond looked good from the road!)

Not being a bicyclist, I am not sure this trail, at least the Jay end of it, is suitable for anything other than mountain or trail bikes. The trail bed is a combination of sand and gravel for a few miles, then the gravel is less and the sand is more. It was great for walking. (Wear sturdy shoes as there are some 'off road' trails that go off to the sides of the main trail. And the gravel can get annoying if it's constantly getting into your sandals.)

Many of the roads we took meandered alongside the Androscoggin River, which is well-known for it's scenic beauty via canoe or kayak. A good river map will point out where the dams are and where the portage points can be found.

The walk was easy and the tree canopy dense enough that I think this would be a good walk even in the summer. (bring bug spray!) Then in the winter the section we were on would be an easy x-c skiing trek (exception being the parts that cross the roads).

snake on a trail
Although we saw the usual suspects as far as flora and fauna- robins, blue jays, raptors, chickadees, ducks, a couple of snakes, a beaver dam and the beautiful maples & birches, we were told that locals have sighted moose on the trail. And why not! It's an easy hike for the moose as well. It had just rained pretty hard last night so there were no tracks at all, people or animals, when we hit the trail around noon.

We had the trail pretty much to ourselves for most of the walk. We started to see other walkers and ATV riders as we were on our way back to the car. The ATV's were very quiet, which was nice given the serenity of the walk up to that point.

After walking along the trail until it hit Rt 4, we headed back to the car and decided to stop along the way home for lunch. Eschewing the chains (as we always do), we stopped in at LaFleur's Restaurant in Jay. The service was great and Rock had the scallop basket and I had the lobster roll (remember I'm on the lookout for lobster roll everywhere).

A new twist on the lobster roll was to put it on a hamburg bun instead of a hot dog bun. Interesting! My requirements are a nicely toasted bun, whether hamburg or hotdog and this one was. A little schmear of butter and it's good to go. For me, I took the lettuce and tomato off the sandwich and made a small side salad with them. The lobster had good, big chunks in it but a little too much mayo for the way I like it. Overall, we definitely recommend LaFleur's!

A couple more shots of the trail and then directions for how we went, althought there are a number of routes to take to get you to the same places. And, you can drive all the way to Farmington and start at that end of the trail as well.

quiet autumn pond
So, how we got there: Take Rt 136 to Auburn and then Rt 4 through Turner and Livermore Falls to Jay. (Right turn onto Rt 4 in Auburn, heading North.) Once in Jay (approximately 54 miles from here), park at the back of the Jay Plaza. (Dollar Tree & Hannafords, across the street from the Jay Municipal Building...very nice people in Jay all around. Thanks for all the directions!) You'll be on a small side road on the left side of the plaza and you will see the trail head straight ahead of you.

To return home, we took Rt 133 and Rt 41 through Wayne and Winthrop, Maine and back to Rt 202 in Lewiston/Auburn. You could turn off and head toward Lisbon Falls just after Mardens on Rt 202. That will take you to Rt 125 and eventually back to Rt 136.

Another foliage walk that is close by and could be incorporated into this drive is at Bradbury Mountain, about 5 miles from here.

Don't forget about our foliage and lobster package which is available through October, Sunday-Thursday!

maple leaves

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Owl's Head Lighthouse, Transportation Museum and General Store

Last weekend we took a drive to Owl's Head. I wanted to see some of the lighthouses that were open for Maine's Open Lighthouse weekend and it's a cinch to et Rock in the car if I mention the Transportation Museum! Now that we are members, it's even better. (BTW, because we are members, we can get discounted admissions for our guests, so let us know when you book if you'd like tix.)

So, after cleaning up on Saturday morning, we hopped in the car and headed north. Owl's Head is about and hour and a half from White Cedar Inn. To get to the Transportation Museum, take Rt 1 north and turn right onto Rt 73 and follow the signs. You can head out to Marshall Point Lighthouse on this route as well. Follow the signs for the Owl's Head State Park to find the Owl's Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse has a Coast Guard family in residence!

Although the lighthouse is not open every weekend, it is open on some weekends. We noticed a sign on the Owl's Head General Store door that stated the lighthouse was open that weekend. If you are in the area for the Transportation Museum, it's not that far to drive over to see if the lighthouse is open. And if you are stopping at the General Store, Rock definitely recommends the 7 napkin burger! Recently voted by the Food Network as the best burger in Maine, you should certainly give it a try. They have an extensive menu of sandwiches and more and inside dining is available.

Fall foliage in Maine and other sure signs of autumn

Leaves are falling on the first day of autumn. Not too many, but we have had a few weeks of little rain so some of the trees (the ash, aka gutterus clogus, for example) are just letting go of their leaves. Looking out the window today, I spotted our favorite chipmunk looking back. He has the best view from the top of the bear's head. You may see him watching you while you eat breakfast!

Some trees have started changing color and the reports are that this should be a fabulous show this foliage season! The combo of the excessive rain (OK, it seems it was good for something!) and the heat at the latter part of the summer should provide a spectacularly colorful season this year.

Some of the best color can be viewed from the top of Bradbury Mountain. On a clear day you can see the ocean in the distance. It's a short drive from White Cedar Inn, about 5 miles.

Another great option for color is along the Androscoggin River. Take a boat ride from the Maine Maritime Museum. Or, opt for the mail boat from Portland. New in Freeport this year is sailing aboard the Nimbus, a wooden sloop berthed in South Freeport. Any of these options would be an excellent way to see the color from the water.

If you don't have your sea legs, there are many excellent drives along the coast and in towards the lakes region that will have you quite breathless with the show of leaves. Just driving from here to Pineland Farms is beautiful. Stop at the cafe at the farms and have a locally-grown lunch!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fudgy Brownie Cookies- September Recipe of the Month

White Cedar Inn guest favorite! These are to die for hot out of the oven!

1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 c flour
2/3 c uncooked oatmeal
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
3 oz bittersweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/3 c coconut flakes
1/3 c chopped pecans

In a large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter & baking soda. Beat in egg & vanilla. Mix in flour, oatmeal and cocoa powder. Stir in chocolate chunks, coconut flakes & pecans. Dough will be thick.

Drop by tablespoonful onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Makes 18-20 cookies.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's the little things that count

As everyone seems to be taking shorter vacations these days it can make your vacation time away seem all the more special by adding on a simple treat to your stay. If this is a birthday celebration vacation, we can have a mini birthday party waiting in your room! Cake, candle, a balloon, plates, cups & napkins for up to six will be set up for the birthday guest's arrival.

Or maybe this is an anniversary or other special romantic event? Our 'Inn-spired' romance package includes fresh flowers, sparkling cider and a box of Wilbur's chocolates.

For more ideas or to mix and match different add ons to create the perfect gift for your special someone, check our website for photos and ideas.

Halfway to Bar Harbor

No matter how far away you are coming from, Freeport, Maine is halfway to Bar Harbor. You might think it's only halfway if you're coming from around Boston, but not so! Think about it for a minute or two. You get in your car in Philly for the trip to Bar Harbor. You zip along on I 95, cruising past NYC, barely breaking a sweat in CT, stopping for lunch in MA and then crossing the Piscatqua Bridge in Kittery.

You get out for a stretch and a pee break at the tourist info center and you look at the state map. Holy moly you think to yourself, Bar Harbor looks like it's still quite a ways away. It's around 4 PM and you're now wondering if you want to drive the rest of the way tonight. Hmmm. It sure would be nice to stop somewhere, get a good night's rest and arrive in Bar Harbor fresh and ready for a noon time whale watch or a bike ride through Acadia National Park.

What to do? Stay the night in Freeport! Get in a little shopping, a little dinner, maybe some music at the LL Summer Concerts or at one of the many music venues in town.

Then, have a good night's rest at the White Cedar Inn, a terrific breakfast in the sun room and head out refreshed for the rest of the drive. When you think about it, there really is no reason to make yourself miserable driving all that distance in one day!

This little scenario works whether you started in Philly, Poughkeepsie or Albuquerque! It's a long day on the road, so break up the trip and see another side of Maine! It's not ALL about Bar Harbor after all!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Reader's Guide to Maine

Are you a book junkie? Would a search of your suitcase reveal more books than clothing? Do your traveling companions despair when they see a bookstore anywhere nearby? Then this is the map and the vacation for you! Each pin shows the location of where the book took place, where the author lived or wrote or where the book's characters lived. For some 'state-wide' books, one location was chosen at random.

To get a real sense of how place impacts a writer, take a driving tour of some of the more out of the way locations! Seeing the fog roll in on a perfectly clear day or driving through the evergreen forests at dusk brings a deeper understanding of how place is as much a character as the people are. Even sitting quietly in a crowded diner in a big town will give you insight into how a community can shape an author's words.

For a self-guided tour covering more of the state and a lot of writers, check out the map below. The pins are placed as close to the locations as was possible. Some pins are located merely in the town to protect the author's privacy. If you have a favorite author who is missing, let me know, there's always room to add more!

The original idea for the map came from a Sunday Supplement in the Portland Press Herald. Additional books and authors were my idea. See the map description for full details!

View A Book Lover's Tour of Maine in a larger map

Although this map covers a lot of area and a lot of authors, there is one guided tour that you might want to try based on the state's most prolific author's works...The Tommyknockers Tour out of Bangor covers Stephen King's books and characters, as well as the author himself.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maine Foodie Tours- Portland

Oh my! I was wondering when and if these tours were going to get going again! Maine Foodie Tours in Portland takes you on a choice of delectable culinary tours around the Old Port area. Options include a walking tour of different food purveyors in the Old Port, a dessert tour that encompasses 5 different bakers & confectioners and the yet to be arranged beer tour (coming soon!).

Tours are everyday at 10:30 AM or 1:00 PM (Culinary Walking Tour) and 1:30 PM (Just Desserts Tour). If you're game, you could do both in one day!

This is the perfect opportunity to sample the wares of the Old Port, take a guided walking tour and scope out where to eat dinner that night.

For more information and to make reservations (highly recommended!) check out the Maine Foodie Tours website.

If you are staying here at White Cedar Inn you're only a 20 minute drive to Portland. Make a day of it and take the mail boat around the Bay or drive out to the many accessible lighthouses along Portland's shoreline.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Maine Lighthouse Day!

Maine's Open Lighthouse Day is Sept 09, 2017!

West Quoddy Light
West Quoddy Light

A spectacular event in September- Maine Lighthouse Day will offer unprecedented access to many of the lighthouses that dot the Maine coast. Many of Maine's lighthouses are an easy drive and walk, some are accessible only via boat (many tour companies offer cruises to the lighthouses) and others can be seen from a variety of local beaches. An excellent selection of Maine's iconic symbol will be open for tours!

Make plans to see as many as you can for this one day: September 9, 2017!

To view the list of lighthouses, accessibility info as well as a brief history of the lighthouses, visit the Maine Office of Tourism's special lighthouse page.

An integral part of Maine's seafaring history, the lighthouse is a cultural icon pointing the way home in the worst of weather to Maine's rocky coastline. The lighthouse is a beacon in the fog for the homeward bound sailor and a welcome symbol of family and friends awaiting their return. This is a fantastic opportunity you won't want to miss to see some of the most enduring and visible Maine icons!
Doubling Point Light
Doubling Point Light

Stay with us 2 nights for this weekend Sept 8-10, 2017 and receive a 6" chocolate lighthouse and a copy of Discovering Maine's Lighthouses and Harbors. Just mention this special when you make your reservation. (Cannot be combined with other packages or specials.)

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

What's cookin'?

Here it is, almost five years that we've been innkeeping at White Cedar Inn! My how time flies. Any of you who have been coming here for all of that time (and before) know that we're always on the lookout for something we can update or make a little better for your stay.

We're also always on the lookout for new recipes for breakfast. With that in mind, Rock is undertaking a 'menu redo' which involves adding new items (omelets, for one) and taking away old items that he's just plain old tired of making.

Here's where you come in! If you have a favorite dish you've had here that you'd like to see stay on the menu, just post a comment below and tell us what it is. If you don't remember what it was called, just describe it.

And, if you have a favorite recipe you'd like us to try out, please post that as well.

I would have done a poll or survey but it's better if I give everyone a chance to write in what they like best! So, help Rock with the breakfast menu and save your favorite recipe from getting chopped!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Rebel to De Rigeur- 40 Year History of the T-Shirt

Everything you ever wanted to know about the history of the T-Shirt is happening this summer at the Freeport Historical Society. Now open on Saturdays. Stop in and see the humble beginnings of the t-shirt as it evolves from dad's undergarment to beat generation attire to anti war signpost to advertising medium. (Main Street, Freeport, Maine)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

New towels!

How do you know when you've been innkeeping for a long time? You get really excited about...NEW TOWELS!

In a blinding rain I drove to Wells today to pick up our new towels. We get them at the Cannon Outlet on Rt 1 just south of the Wells Auto Museum (same side of the road). On Tuesday I drove down to buy a few towels to 'test'. I brought them home, washed and dried them and then handed them out to the guests to do the 'touch test'. As far as I know, those 4 guests were stopping in at the outlet to buy the towels they tested!

Yesterday I called the warehouse and ordered 4 dozen of each towel size plus 2 dozen floor mats. The floor mats are 50% bamboo and they are the softest floor mat I've ever stepped on. (Yup, bought one for us, too!)

So, you know what we'll be doing for the next couple of days...washing and drying! I hope we can get everything changed out by Monday. We went with the Vista Spa model which is a large, thick, soft towel with good drying ability. Rock likes a towel that does the job it's supposed to do and looks good while doing it. (Hey, that sounds like a description of Rock himself!)

For those who are wondering what happens to all of the old towels, fear not...we take them to a homeless shelter for use either at the shelter or to give to the folks moving into their own new housing.

The driving today was miserable, I do have to say. I usually love the drive to Wells because I stop at Ogunquit Beach to go for a walk. Not today. Ugh. It was awful out there, simply driving rains on the interstate which had traffic going 40-45 MPH. So, given I missed my walk on the beach, I treated myself to a lobster roll at Day's on Rt 1 South, just across the border from Freeport in Yarmouth. Yum-o!

I think I'm going to blog about lobster roll sometime. It'll be tough doing the research, but someone has to do it!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Our tax dollars at work

About 6 weeks ago we came home to find big pink lines drawn at the end of the driveway. Hmmm. What could this mean? There were lines drawn at the top of the street as well and a large boulder that was protruding from the pavement had also been sprayed.

One day a few weeks ago, some heavy equipment showed up. The end of the driveway was ground up, the end of the road was ground up and the boulder was dug out. Paving season had begun in Maine!

Friday last week the really heavy equipment rolled in and we got new paving all down the street. Joy and rapture! You've walked out of the driveway so you know what a mess it was up top at the 'zebra crossing'. No more. It's lovely.

I'm not big on paving but this looks mahvelous dahling!

Freeport, Maine happenings

My goodness! Go away for a couple of days to see the new baby (she IS precious, BTW!) and things happen all over town!

Zales Jewelers (on the corner of Bow and Main Sts) has closed. Not sure what is going to go into that space yet.

Quite a few shops are now open in the new Village Station...Izod, LL Bean Outlet, Coach, Nike, Brooks Brothers and others are having the finishing touches put on them. Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll is set to open around July 4. The 'hole in the wall' lobster roll shop is still open right on the side of the Bike & Boat store on Main St.

Freeport Square, the art & music venue on Main St is moving up one door to the old Pet Pantry location. Where Freeport Square is now located, a new family-style Italian restaurant is going in- Siano's Pizza of Portland. Also on Main St, Amato's is opening a storefront pizza and sandwich shop right next to Mangy Moose.

The Freeport Cabaret now has outdoor seating and a new menu along with their new name: Venue. They are located on Depot St right across from the entrance to the new parking garage, which is also open. And parking is free!

The Farmers Market is open every Friday afternoon from 2-6 PM in the Town Hall parking lot. Last week I got some homemade hummus, some basil and rosemary plants for the herb garden, a terrific blueberry scone and some rosemary and olive oil soap. The veggies are really starting to come in now and you have to check out the fresh meats (lamb, goat, pork) and Gryffon spices to top it all off.

In the old Sadie Green's building a is new fine art gallery called 'Beautiful Gallery'. They just opened on Saturday so we haven't been in yet. Hoping there is a grand opening gala sometime soon!

Here at White Cedar Inn, I'm finishing up painting the porch railing and will be getting the porch deck ready for staining. Reming me to do this more frequently so it doesn't take so long next time!

The gardens are looking wonderful! Here's a shot from the dining room window.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

New arrival!

The new granddaughter made her debut this morning at 8:57 AM.

7 lbs, 9 ozs of little baby girl. She screamed her greetings into the phone. Everyone is doing well!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

A tulip grows in the mulch pile

Sometimes, you just get to 'cleaning up' a little too much and you find that you've tossed good bulbs into the mulch pile along with the leaves and weeds...

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What innkeepers do when there are no guests.

new carpet
I was thinking you might be interested to know what we do when you're not here. (Then again, maybe you think we're akin to teachers-who thinks teachers exist outside the classroom!) So, I went through some of the photos I've taken this year to show what we've done. Here, then, is a little photo album of what the innkeepers did since January...
One thing was to have the upstairs, and the stairs themselves carpeted. We did not, however do this work ourselves. If we did do such a big project ourselves, those of you who have been here this spring would have been handed some carpet tacks and a hammer and been asked to pitch in...we are sloooooooow when it comes to big stuff!

floor tileSome smaller projects that we can do ourselves and still get them done before summer are things like retiling a bathroom floor.

Before the new tile goes in, though, the old tile has to come out. Advice to beginners that they don't show you on any of those bathroom redo shows on TV- wear a full face shield when chipping up old tile.

Rock had a group of innkeepers here for a meeting thinking he needed medical attention due to all the little cuts and scrapes he had from flying tile.

new chair cushionsThen there are the even smaller indoor projects like updating old cushions on chairs and making table runners and tablecloths for the dining room.

I'm particularly happy with this project (the floral is the new cushion) because I actually finished it.

These chairs are in the living room at the games table.

entry signPretty soon, it warms up and we head outside to clean up after the winter.

We've added this new sign to make it easier to find the stairs. With all of the evergreens along the stairs (even though we took out 2 of them last year) it's still tricky figuring out where to go when you first arrive.

We did this with a stencil we ordered online. Only took 10 coats of paint and 2 tries to get this one right. (Yes, I know the lattice still needs to be painted. It's on the list!)

lawn chairsAnd because we're tired of all the gloom and doom everywhere, we've decided to 'get happy' here with some of the outdoor color schemes.To that end, we bought the red and yellow Adirondack chairs and then decided to paint the old 'motel' chairs and table in what are fondly known around here as 'orange tractor' and 'school bus' colors.

There is no way to sit in these chairs and be glum!

sidewalkThere are also a couple of serious projects we've done this week. One of those was the repair of the sidewalk outside the front door. We had some pretty heavy rains this past year which have progressively been washing out the sand underneath the sidewalk. That has lead to water pooling in places it ought not. This project should help (as it's raining today, we'll see how it works out).

Had to take this shot a couple of time as the glare off the top of Rock's head was blinding me. (Don't tell him I said that!)

The last big project we're going to get to this year is painting the front porch. So far, this is all I've gotten done. Can't paint in the rain and scraping paint in the rain is messy. I'll be back to this tomorrow or Thursday.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour through our project list! Also hope you enjoy the results when you get here.

It's really greening up out there, so make plans to come and visit.

You didn't think I was going to tell you EVERYTHING we do when you're not here, did you?


Maine Tourmaline

Maine tourmaline, the state gem, is in the news in Down East magazine. As many of you know, you can 'mine' for tourmaline at several locations. To experience mining for yourself, check out Western Maine Mineral Adventures.

If you have no desire to get dirty but still want a true Maine tourmaline gem to take home, including the knockout 'watermelon' tourmaline, be sure to stop by RD Allen Jewelers on Middle Street in Freeport where they have a fantastic collection of tourmaline in all colors.

Congratulations to Jacqueline's Tea Room!

Jacqueline's Tea Room is on the Yankee Magazine 'Best of New England' list in the May/June, 2009 issue! 'Best Proper English Tea' is the heading- page 151. The Tea Room is just up the street from us. Full tea is served Tuesday-Friday and every other weekend. 207-865-2123 for reservations (required).

The Desert of Maine is another Freeport location on the list. (Best Place to Park Your Camel)

A 'Best Bargain' is the LL Bean Walk-On Adventure. At $15, you cannot go wrong!

Friday, May 01, 2009

What's new in Freeport

A quick rundown of what's new in town, boy do things change quickly!
  • Arlberg Sports has moved out of town. That space will be taken over by the Beadin' Path, which moves out of its location, right next door.
  • Harry and David is closing.
  • Mexicali Blues is expanding and should have the new space open today (May 1).
  • Summer Shades is moving in where Sunglass Hut is now. (Sunglass Hut is moving to the new Village Station.)
  • Maine Embroidery is moving to the old Wilbur's Chocolates building. (Wilbur's moved last year to its new location a few feet south on Rt 1.)
  • Wilbur's is doing tours of the factory on May 1, 9, 23 & 30 from 11 AM - 2 PM ($3, includes samples).
  • Morrisons Chowder House is now Freeport Chowder House, same location on Mechanic Street, different owners, different recipe.
  • Cumberland Farmers Market in Freeport opens on May 22 (will go until early Oct, every Friday). 2-6 PM. See our blog post about one day at the market last year. At the Town Hall on Main Street. (Town Hall driveway and parking lot will be used, please park on West St.)
  • A new art gallery is opening on Main Street. As yet unnamed and no opening date. They'll be in the former Sadie Greens building up by us. (Sadie Green moved last year, right next door to Wicked Whoopies.)
  • The 1912 Cafe opened in LL Bean. It is run by the good folks from Buck's Naked BBQ.
  • Coach is moving to the new Village Station.
  • Cole Haan is renovating their store and will reopen in May with a second entrance right onto the Village Station.
  • All this talk about the Village Station reminds me that an actual train station is slated to be built for the arrival next year of the DownEaster, which will continue up from Portland, through Freeport and on to Brunswick.
  • A new sidewalk is going in alongside LL Bean on Justin's Way. Very nice for heading to the back parking lots and Discovery Park.
  • Bre's 11th birthday is coming up on Mothers Day. Some of you may know that she gets a Ben & Jerry's ice cream on her big day.
  • Speaking of birthdays, we're waiting for the arrival of the new granddaughter, she's expected around Mothers Day, but she'll get here when she wants to!
  • You can now follow us on Twitter or be a fan on Facebook.
Whew! More on Freeport as we get information.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Popham Beach Redux

So, a couple of years ago I wrote about Popham Beach right after we returned from our annual Christmas walk on the beach. What a difference a couple of years make! After the Patriot's Day storm in April 2008, the tides turned, literally. Erosion on the beach has made it impossible to walk out to the Fox Islands unless the tide is VERY low, and even then it is not a good idea. The chance of being stuck out there is high.

This is what the beach looks like headed in a southerly direction. To compare what it looked like a couple of years ago, check the previous blog post.

What you see above USED to be the dunes. The erosion is so bad in some spots that it is at least a 10' drop from the now-closed path to the beach. Here's an example, with Flat Stanley standing in for a measuring stick. (FS is about 1' tall.)

In spite of the erosion, it's still a great walk on the beach. It's better to plan your walk at low tide than around high tide. Along with the erosion, though, an interesting new beach area has been formed with lots of driftwood tossed up making some comfortable places to sit and just contemplate the placid, ever-changing, always the same ocean.

It's also a great opportunity to walk around to Fort Popham, along the Kennebec River. Something we're going to accomplish one of these days!

New flower beds

With the beautiful weather we've had the past few days and the chance of a good watering for the plants tomorrow, I was scurrying around today to get a new flower bed planned and somewhat executed.

Unfortunately, when Rock was pulling out the cotoneaster by the roots with a rope tied around the hitch on his car, I was inside talking on the phone and so missed a rare opportunity for interesting photos. Suffice it to say, the cotoneaster stopped the Buick in its tracks and the rope snapped. Luckily, it had pulled up somewhat by that time.

If you are ever tempted to plant this shrub, be forewarned, it digs in and hangs on and spreads all on its own. We're already finding 'mini me's' in random spots.

Also unfortunate is that Rock doesn't take a lot of photos unless I hand him the camera and say, 'Take a picture of me doing this,' (whatever 'this' might be) so there are no photos to be had of me running the cultivator this morning prepping the new bed. Also no pix of me edging the whole thing, either. You'll just have to wonder at what it must have looked like!

If you've been here before, you know this is the bed right by the entry stairs. It's been getting a bit overgrown and the cotoneaster is really good for catching leaves and random McD's wrappers that get tossed from cars, so it really needed to go.

Other diggings and plantings have been happening as well. Outside the Bowdoin's back window, I planted a small bed with a shrub whose name I do not know (help appreciated when you see it) and some hostas. We moved the red dogwood away from the house and placed it in a new bed at the end of the wall where the hostas grow. And, we moved another one of those name-not-known shrubs away from the house and put it in the new bed above. (More pix are coming when the plants are in and the mulch is down.)

Where those 2 shrubs were, I hope to get in some herbs this year. It's a great, sunny location so they should take off.

OK, one last pic- our tulips which delight me by returning every year (sometimes not where I thought they would as the moles & voles move them around).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Freeport Village Station - Update

Update (Apr, 2009): The scheduled opening date for the Freeport Village Station is May 16, 2009.

Stay up to date with what stores are coming and what events are planned by checking their website.

Joan Benoit Samuelson will be the guest of honor at the opening of the Nike Store. Stop by at noon on May 16!

Other stores planning to open on or near that date are: the newly renovated Cole Haan, Van Heusen, Oakley Vault, Calvin Klein, Sunglass Hut, LL Bean Outlet, Coach, PacSun, Izod, Linda Bean's Perfect Maine Lobster Roll and Brooks Brothers.

Really new news is that there is also going to be a 6 screen movie theater. Wow!

I'll be taking a few more pix in a couple of days so you can see the difference between these pix and what it looks like with the sidewalks in and the walls in place. It's really starting to look neat! We had the architect staying with us a few weeks ago and he's optimistic that this will really take off as a vibrant village shopping center.

Still waiting for who the new 'big' restaurant will be.

Old news-

Construction on the Freeport Village Station, the new downtown area shopping and dining center is proceeding quickly. With an opening date tentatively set for May, 2009, things are really shaping up. The parking garage on the lower level may be opening this winter!

Part of the plan, seen in the photos below is for a new restaurant on Mill Street, next to the Mallett Building (the brick building in the photos). Standing in the street to take these photos (what I won't do so you can visualize the new shopping area!) I am facing the southern end of the shopping/parking garage. Petrillos Restaurant is to the right behind the colorful insulating facade of the building.

The new shops we've heard are going in include the Van Heusen/Calvin Klein family of shops. Until contracts are signed, no other stores can be revealed...stay tuned!

We've been talking about this for a few years now, but there will also be a train coming into Freeport in the not too distant future (2010). You'll be able to hop on the train (Amtrak Downeaster) in Boston or Rockland and head straight to downtown Freeport. We hope you'll decide there's so much to see and do here that you'll stay the night (or 2) and make a little getaway for yourself!

The Freeport Village Station is just across the street from LL Bean, so still only a short walk from White Cedar Inn. Where the new train station will be located has not yet been finalized. When it is, we'll let you know.