Thursday, March 24, 2011

Rock rides a bicycle

Not exactly the most catchy title, is it? This is the sort of thing we get up to when it's quiet around here. Today we drove up to Owl's Head to renew our membership at the museum and to drop off some books we were donating to their library.

We wandered in to see what's new and we came across this very small exhibit of 'bicycle art' created by Cy Klausmeyer as part of the Waterfall Arts' Eco-Motion Interactive Street Sculpture program.

Here now, the interactive part:


video

More interaction with the exhibits:


video

By the way, I was reminded I have to tell you that is a fly bicycle, not a fairy bicycle. Look closely and you will see the 'eyes' on the front. Got that? Fly, not fairy. He is such a good sport.

Some other interesting exhibits:


Scripps-Booth Bi Autoco
This is a 3200 lb (yes, pound) motorcycle-car. It runs on 2 wheels like a motorcycle but it has outrigger wheels (training wheels?) for slower speeds.

rotary engineIf you go on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can go in the shop and get up close to the planes that are being worked on. In this case, just the engine. This one was completely disassembled, repaired and reassembled in 3 hours. It's interesting to get up close to the propellers as you can see the individual strips of wood laminated together. If you're lucky, no one will be around except the folks working on the planes and you can have a good natter with them!

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

Monday, March 21, 2011

The New Door, La Puerta Nueva, La Porte Nouvelle, La Porta Nuova

ready to paint
No matter how you say it, we're getting a new entry door!

Sometime during the late fall we noticed the door was no longer staying shut on it's own. Doing a little scouting we realized the door needed a lot of work and we had just about used our last resource to fix it one more time.

Voila! New door.

Right now it's waiting for paint and a slightly warmer day for installation. We'll put in a new lockset as well.

Interesting feature with this new door is a built-in shade. There's a little slider on the inside that we can adjust the shade with- open, closed, half-way. It'll help on those summer days (that seem such a long way off right now!) when the sun is baking that side of the house.

More pix on installation day!

open door frameIt starts off so easily with a simple screwdriver and a bright, sunny day.


easier with a sawzall
Then there's the realization that the nice, new, square door does not fit into the old, bent, warped door frame and a sawzall is needed. (It's always a happy day when a sawzall is needed! Ask sometime about the photo we have of Rock, the sawzall and the Thanksgiving turkey.)


door and frame pulled outOh, and did I mention the mess? Sawdust everywhere. Insulation everywhere. Bits and pieces everywhere. Still, it's a lovely, sunny day out there. You can almost see the snow melting as the day progresses. (This day went on for 8 hours! The snow melted back about 2 feet.)


new door installed
Worth the wait! It's a beautiful new door, with a new lockset and the neat blinds between the glass so we can cut down on the blazing sun in the summer. (Yes, that IS brand new snow falling outside on this, the first day of Spring!)


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

The Liver & Onions Diaries

inside the diner
Maine's Diners, Drive ins and Dives or, how we found bliss in comfort food.

In the past 6 years we have sampled many of the local diners along the Rt 1 corridor. Rock is a diner aficionado. And, his favorite food is liver and onions. Liver and onions is a basic diner food, at least around here. Because I suffered thru liver & onions as a kid (sorry, Mom, you know I hated it then and I still hate it now!) it's not something we ever have at home. Thus, the great diner eat-out experiment.

My diner food is a BLT. It's basic and it covers all of my favorite food groups- namely salt and fat. Oh, sure, there's the tomato. And the lettuce. And the bread. But, face it, it's all about the bacon. Salt & fat.

On Monday we went to the Brunswick Diner, Tuesday it was the Miss Portland Diner and Wednesday was the Miss Wiscasset Diner. We've already sampled Becky's Diner, Moody's Diner, the Ship's Chow Hall and the Maine Diner.

Here, then, is our run down of the latest diners and how they handled both liver and onions and the BLT:

(I'll start with the liver & onions because it was the hardest meal to find on the menu.) For overall looks, taste and heartiness the Brunswick Diner wins hands down. Their liver & onions serving was topped with bacon, slathered with sauted onions and filled half the plate.

The best BLT? Well, I was really partial to Becky's Diner. And then we went to the Brunswick Diner. They have nice, wide strips of bacon, cooked just right. Not too crispy, not too soggy. Good bread, too. A little too much mayo. Uh oh, then we went to the Miss Portland Diner. Great bread, bacon cooked just right and a touch of mayo.

Now I'm having to start to take notes! The Miss Wiscasset Diner was a letdown. I ordered a grilled cheese w/ bacon & tomato. Half the sandwich had no bacon. Well, what's the sense? It was grilled just right, tho. But, sorry, if half the sandwich is missing the bacon, it just doesn't cut it. No liver & onions on the menu. Maybe they have it as a special.

Overall?

Best liver & onions: the Brunswick Diner
Best BLT: a tie among the Brunswick Diner, Miss Portland Diner, Kopper Kettle and China Dine-ah
Best onion rings: the Brunswick Diner
Best sweet potato fries: Miss Portland Diner
Best looking diner: Miss Portland Diner
Best ambiance/friendliness: Ship's Chow Hall (Wiscasset)
Best looking desserts: Moody's Diner
Best value: Miss Portland (our check each day was $20 without tip, but Miss Portland included a salad and rolls with the liver & onions)
Best tater tots: Montsweag Roadhouse
Most precariously perched diner: A1 Diner in Gardiner
Diner with the best name: China Dine-ah
Best bacon: Kopper Kettle 
 
Keep reading for more travels...

On the road in 2012

Last night we went to Reunion Station in Damariscotta (just off Rt 1, on the left, headed north, so it counts!) This is a couple of converted railway cars, but it definitely fits the 'diner' category. We were probably the only non-Mainers in there. For those who think the Maine accent is gone, think again!

I didn't have the BLT and there were no liver & onions on the menu, so we just picked at random. It's good, homestyle cooking with a lot of train memorabilia all over.

If you don't want to drive that far, don't forget that the Montsweag Roadhouse is about 30 minutes north of here on Rt 1. Only place in Maine we've found tater tots on the menu!

And yet another one- Sunrise Cafe, right here in Freeport! Excellent BLT. Rock loved the meatloaf sandwich. Suggest skipping the onion rings.

liver and onionsLiver and onions at the A1 Diner in Gardiner. (Ignore the half-eaten pickle please, Rock dropped it as I snapped the pic!)

Happy Spring! Today we went to the A1 Diner in Gardiner. Rock got his usual liver & onions and I went with the BLT and onion rings. Rock thinks adding a couple of slices of bacon to the liver & onions would have made it perfect. I loved my BLT. Bacon in every bite! The onion rings were good and there was a mess of them! If you're headed toward I-95 on I-295 from here, it's worth the 10 minute detour!

A1 Diner in GardinerYes, it appears to be balanced on stilts between the building in the back and the sidewalk. Check out the 'flood yardstick' that was posted in the parking lot 'dowstairs' next to the building and you can see why!

flood marker in Gardiner
That 29', 100-year flood mark was about even with the bottom of the diner. Stilts indeed!

On the road in 2013:

We hit a truck stop in Bangor- Dysart's. Exit 180 off I 95, follow the sign, .1 miles. Great service & food. Definitely a locals' place, the waitresses knew almost everyone. Had our usual liver & onions and BLT. Good choices all around. No room for pie, but desserts were definitely going to all the tables around us. Maybe next time!
dysarts coffee mug
Dysarts Truck Stop

Not a diner but a food cart in Westbrook after getting the Christmas tree...Open until 2 AM! Burgers, fries, hot dogs and clam cakes!

don's lunch wagon westbrook
Don's Lunch Wagon in Westbrook


On the road again in 2014!

So far this year we've hit the Kopper Kettle in Topsham and the China Dine-ah in China.

Kopper Kettle has excellent bacon! Good and thick and the bread was toasted to perfection for my BLT. No liver & onions on the menu that day but Rock had a burger that was yum as well.

Then a day trip to China and Waterville. (More on that later!) Stopped at the China Dine-ah where we did have liver & onions and a BLT.

Excellent service all around, really friendly crowd and the interior was completely done in place specifically for that location. Great wide pine boards everywhere.

Very good onion rings! The BLT was yum and goes right up to the top of the list (see above). The liver & onions only needed bacon strips on top to make it perfect.

Great drive in the fall!

China Dine-ah sign
Interesting use of your standard glacial rock in the yard.

strawberry rhubarb pie at china dine-ah
Oh, did I forget to mention the pie?




White Cedar Inn Bed and Breakfast 178 Main St Freeport, Maine 04032
www.whitecedarinn.com

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Coastal Companion- A Year in the Gulf of Maine...


Small world alert here...in the mail yesterday was this great book: A Coastal Companion: A Year in the Gulf of Maine, from Cape Cod to Canada.

Well, I was puzzled at first as I hadn't ordered anything lately. (Surprise there!) Inside was a notecard with a note from the author, Catherine Schmitt, letting me know she'd found out we're cousins! She sent along the book as an intro. Wow!

If you've been keeping track, this is the second cousin I've found out lives in Maine! Seems this is the place to which my enate family migrates.

To get a copy of the book for yourself, you can go to or contact Sherman's Bookstores in Maine. They have copies at all of the stores, or they can order them for you. You can also order books online from them.

There are beautiful illustrations throughout done by Kimberleigh Martul-March and Margaret Campbell.

Catherine has also written articles that have appeared in Working Waterfront News, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors and other science-related publications.

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

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Maple Sugar Season at White Cedar Inn

Today was the day we had our maple trees tapped for the first time! Check out this little video...

video

This is Crawford Taisey who lives up the street from us. He stopped by today to tap the trees. For those of you who are au courant with tree-tapping technology, he is using the new check-valve maple tap spout developed at UVM (my alma mater).

I spent a solid half hour annoying this good-natured guy with my photographing and video-making. It was to good purpose- I learned about tapping trees, how many taps per tree is optimum (based on the tree circumference), what not to do (tap so hard the bark splits) and lots of other (tasty) tidbits.

Some time in the next few weeks, I'll head up to the sugarhouse for the sugaring off process.

So, enjoy the video. I know I'm thinking about the syrup that's coming up!

March 10- Just saw Crawford outside emptying the buckets. Looks like he got a few gallons of sap!

First day of Spring- I noticed Crawford was boiling today so I'll have to pop up there this week to get pix.

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

Thursday, March 03, 2011

You really know it's winter when...

video

...you have to get up on the roof and shovel!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Bacon-Cheddar Pinwheels- March Recipe of the Month


Falling back on February's Bacon Week, here's one of the recipes from that week:

Ingredients:

One tube of Pillsbury (or other) crescent roll dough (makes 8)
4 strips of cooked bacon, crumbled
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions (chopped finely, only use the green tops)
2 tbsps ranch dressing

  • Heat oven to 350°F.
  • Unroll dough; separate into 2 long rectangles. Press each into 12x4-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal.
  • Spread dressing over each rectangle to edges. Sprinkle each with bacon, Cheddar cheese and onions.
  • Starting with one short side, roll up each rectangle; press edge to seal. With serrated knife, cut each roll into 8 slices; place cut side down on ungreased cookie sheet. (Suggestion- put in fridge to cool as the dough is very soft and it pulls & tears.)
  • Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until edges are deep golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm. (I cooked them the night before and warmed them in the micro in the morning- 10 seconds.)
Because I didn't refrigerate the prepared pinwheels before cutting they ended up all weird shapes, not round at all! Make sure you square up the edges before putting the ingredients on top and trying to roll up the dough! (Learn from my mistakes, that's what I'm here for.)


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

Now you see it...

The 'Before'

We spent today making a couple of changes to some of the inn rooms. In one case, the Casco Bay, it was a simple change from lace curtains to light-blocking drapes. So, sleep in, no more early morning sun waking you up at 4:30 AM!

The other was a bit more dramatic...we removed the twin bed from the Lillian Room and added a cozy reading nook! After a lot of discussion, we decided that the Lillian needed to be an 'adult' getaway and not a 'kid-friendly' room. (We have 3 other kid-friendly rooms!) The new reading nook with 2 comfy chairs, a side table with lamp and an overhead reading lamp fits the bill completely!

Take a look:
The 'After'

Remember, if you used to reserve the Lillian Room for the second bed, we have the Casco Bay, the Crow's Nest and the Bowdoin with 2 beds.

This new cozy setup makes me think I'll be sneaking up there to sit and read!

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