Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year Hawaii!

Received your card! Thanks for the update on the family! Glad you enjoy reading the blog as this is the only way I can communicate...we've lost your email address.

You know, Brooklyn is not all that far from Maine...5 hours, maybe. Hope we see you soon...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

New Year's Eve in Freeport, Maine

December 31, 2012-

New Year's Eve in Freeport-

OK, you've waited this long, don't wait another moment! NOW is the time to be sure you have your room booked for your New Year's Eve celebration in Freeport!

Here's what's happening (the short list). Freeport is a great location for ringing in the New Year- walk to all the venues, restaurants and shows!

  • KidNight at LL Bean- Hot cocoa, fireworks and entertainment, 11 AM - 6 PM Discovery Park. Free
  • Don't forget you can chill out with a great dinner at one of the terrific restaurants here in town. Dress up or dress down, there's the perfect location for the way you want to celebrate.
  • Maybe you just want to toast the New Year with the love of your life in front of your own fireplace here at White Cedar Inn. Come for New Year's Eve and start your New Year off in style.

However you want to celebrate New Year's Eve, Freeport offers a variety for couples, singles and families alike. Bring along your Christmas gift cards and go shopping. Or, do what we do on New Year's Day and head to the beach. Nothing like starting off the New Year by enjoying the great outdoors at the beach. (Really. Popham Beach is usually packed when we get there!) Hope to see you here!

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

Merry Christmas from LL Bean!

We had a really nice surprise while shopping at LL Bean yesterday...on exiting the store we were greeted by an LL employee who presented each of us with a live Christmas wreath! It was interesting to watch other recipients who walked away each holding their wreath with a big smile on their faces. It's not the sort of thing that happens everyday.

Thanks LL Bean! That was a really nice present to give out to the shoppers.

BTW, even tho the lines were long, they moved quickly and everyone seemed to be in a festive mood. The very stressed employees in the shoe department were happy and helpful and again, the folks at LL showed why it is a pleasure to shop there, no matter the season.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fabulous Fruit Cobbler Recipe of the Month-December

Fabulous Fruit Crisp

7 tbsps COLD butter
1/2 c flour
1 c oatmeal, uncooked
1 c firmly packed brown sugar, light or dark
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 c fruit, peeled, pitted & chopped into bite size pieces (mix and match the fruit!) Good choices: apples, pears, nectarines, plums, peaches
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c blueberries or blackberries
whipped cream

You can make this the night before and cook in the morning.

Butter a 9x13 baking dish. Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix 4 cups of fruit with 1/2 c sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, let stand.

In separate bowl, mix flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon. Cut butter into small chunks and quickly cut into flour mixture. Should be crumbly.

Pour fruit mixture into greased baking dish, top with blueberries or blackberries, spread out evenly in dish. Top with flour mixture, spread out evenly over fruit.

Bake for 45 minutes, until bubbly. You can cover with tin foil for the first 30 minutes to retain moisture, then uncover for last 15 minutes.

If you use a smaller baking dish, put a cookie sheet under the dish so it doesn't bubble over onto the oven.

Scoop out with a big spoon into a dessert bowl and put whipped cream on top for a special treat.

Makes 8-10 small servings.

Printable recipe page.

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

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

iPhone locates White Cedar Inn!

A pretty neat new service available for iPhone users is a search feature for locating B&B's while you're traveling. The service, called InnTouch, lists B&B's found on the ILoveInns online directory. The screenshot here gives you an idea of what the service looks like. It includes features such as a search by location, using your present GPS coordinates and a one-click call button so you can just call us by clicking the big, green CALL button! You can also go to our website, send us an email or get a map, all with the click of a button on your phone!

No time for emailing or viewing the whole website? Then just scroll thru a description of the inn as well as view pictures of the rooms right from the details page on your phone.

A big thanks to Chris at ILoveInns for the work behind this application and for sending me the screenshot to post here!

If you would like to download this app for free onto your iPhone, just click on 'InnTouch'.

Friday, October 03, 2008

French Toast Recipe of the Month- October

This is an oldie but a goodie...Strawberry-stuffed French Toast. Although the photo is of the strawberry version, almost any fruit works, even oranges (that's a 'Creamsicle' if you remember those from when you were a kid).

It really works best with 'berry' fruits like strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, etc.

Ingredients (for each serving, double, triple, etc as needed):

2 slices of bread (Pepperidge Farms cinnamon swirl is a good choice, but any thick white bread will work, too)
1 tbsp cream cheese (more or less)
4 tbsps strawberry jam (or the flavor you like)
2 lg strawberries, slice one into pieces, fan slice the other for garnish
1 lg egg
2 tbsps milk, cream or half & half (your choice)
sprinkle of cinnamon (if you use plain bread)
splash of vanilla (if you use plain bread)
dash of sugar (if you use plain bread)
butter for cooking
powdered sugar for garnish

For the 'sandwich':

Spread cream cheese and 1 tbsp of jam on one slice of bread. Place slices of strawberry on top of cream cheese & jam. Place second slice of bread on top.

For the batter:

Mix egg & milk together in a small casserole dish (big enough to fit the sandwich into). If you are using plain bread, add the cinnamon, vanilla & sugar to the egg mix. Stir.

To cook:

Heat fry pan or griddle. Melt 1 tbsp of butter. Put sandwich in egg batter, turn to coat both sides & edges. Place sandwich on hot griddle or pan, cook until golden brown on one side, then flip sandwich and cook other side as well. Use a lower heat or turn to keep from burning. Object is to heat the filling as well as brown the outside.

Heat remaining 3 tbsps of jam until just warm. Plate sandwich, pour jam over the top, sprinkle with powdered sugar and add fanned strawberry for garnish.

Ghost Walks in Freeport, Maine

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night! It's Halloween in Freeport! Join a lantern-carrying specter and spirit medium Eddita on a haunted walk through Freeport's streets during the 'Ghosts of Freeport's Past'.

The walks are scheduled on Friday and Saturday, October 21 & 22, 28 & 29 as well as Thursday, October 27, 2011. Walks depart at 6 PM and 7:15 PM from the Freeport Historical Society in the Harrington House on Main Street. $10. No pets, please.

Harrington House is an easy (and not scary) walk from White Cedar Inn. For parents coming into town for Bowdoin Parents' Weekend, the walk is an interesting and fun option for time together with your student!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Freeport Farmers Market Opens!

Today was the grand opening of the new Freeport Farmers Market at the corner of West and Main Streets. The property is owned by Thomas Moser and has been under renovation since last year when the old Button Store was dismantled and moved off site. A second building was torn down.

The property now has a granite sculpture at the corner and beautifully crafted stone walls all around. The grass must have had its first mowing this morning, everything was perfect!

I, for one, am glad that the FEDC (Freeport Economic Development) worked to get a farmers market in town. It shows that Freeport is also focusing on the locals and not just tourists. Not to say tourists won't stop by to see what is on offer, but a farmers market always connotes a vibrant local community.

I stopped by today to see for myself what was to be had. Even though we get our week's veggies and flowers at Laughing Stock Farm it's good to check and see what other farmers are offering. I couldn't pass up fresh blueberries and corn from Jillsons Farm in Sabattus. Those blueberries were calling my name. They DID make it home, but didn't last an hour once they got there. I even sprinkled them on my salad! It doesn't even matter that they're good for me, they just tasted wonderful! I also got 6 ears of corn that will be getting cooked up for my lunch over the next couple of days.

They tried to convince me to buy more because corn chowder would be a great breakfast item, but I just couldn't see that! Those scallions in the photo are ginormous!

One of our guests put me on to the next vendor I stopped to speak with...Casco Bay Soaps. Wow! Did it ever smell good at this booth! Shannon has so many different varieties of handmade, vegetable oil soaps that you could create a different mood every morning for weeks. Just a few of these fragrances are enough to make you want to move to Maine just to be near the nature they evoke: Wild Sea Rose, Sea Shore Scrub, Blueberry Cream, Maine Pine, Lavender and others. If you love her soaps but didn't buy enough at the market, she will also ship to you!

There were also several alpaca farms represented today. Have you ever touched the alpaca fibers? There is nothing like them for sheer luxury in an affordable price point. This is a perfect spot for knitters to stop by to see what they have for the coming winter scarf, sweater and mitten brigade!

Had to sample the olive oils and balsamic vinegars on display as well. Kalamata olives were available by the pound and half pound. Because I arrived on the late side of the market hours (around 4:45), some vendors had packed up just as I arrived so I didn't get to sample everything. Note to self...don't be late next week!

I'll leave you with one last photo and the admonition to NOT miss this farmers market every Friday afternoon from 1-5 PM at the corner of West St and Main St (at the traffic light by the firehouse).

THIS little piggie went to the market...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Two Nation Vacation

It's not just a witty rhyme, it's a lot of fun! The '2 nations' in the title are Canada and the US. There are several ways to get to Canada from have 2 opportunities to take the CAT ferry- from either Portland or Bar Harbor or, you can drive.

We did this about 12 years ago. We had just sold our old house and were feeling a bit footloose and fancy-free. We couldn't move into our new house for several months and we just weren't looking forward to moving into the 'interim housing' we had arranged so off we went.

We called ahead to schedule a berth on the old Scotia Prince and packed a suitcase and headed for Maine (we were living in Vermont at the time). After the 12 hour trip (it's a LOT faster on the CAT), we arrived in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. With bagpipers playing, we disembarked and headed straight for the tourist info centre. We had NO idea what there was to see or do!

Inside, we found great help and decided we would follow the 'Lighthouse Trail' (we really like having a theme on vacation). With tour book in hand, we set off. We stayed at B&B's in several towns along the way, including Shelburne and Lunenburg.

Nova Scotia is obviously easy to get to via the CAT, but if you are driving, you can head to New Brunswick or Quebec City or Montreal.

Freeport is a great 'halfway' point if you are taking the CAT from Bar Harbor or are driving to NB, Montreal or Quebec City. If you are taking the CAT from Portland, White Cedar Inn is a great spot to stay the night before you board. Do a little shopping in Freeport and then head for Portland the next day! Stay here a few days after your return from Canada, too!

PS- Be sure to have ID for the border!

French Toast Faces

We have a book here called 'Play with Your Food'. It's a neat book that shows a variety of foods in novel ways. We haven't seen anyone playing with their food here in the dining room until a week or so ago. We got this pic in an email from a guest who was not only having fun on vacation, she was having fun with her food! Thanks Fannie, we love this photo!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Road Trip to the Montsweag Roadhouse

We feel like truants! On Monday we went out for lunch without the phone! Had a little downtime with some friends who we met up with at the Montsweag Roadhouse.

Now I have driven past this place for years and never stopped in. Hate to say it but I could never tell from the outside what might be on the inside. What a waste! All those years I missed out on the great menu, the fun ambience and friendly people.

The menu is long and eclectic. It was a tough choice but I finally picked the Strawberry Salad with Fried Goat Cheese and Sugared Almonds. I added salmon to the top. Yum-o! Rock had the Roadhouse Burger with sweet potato fries. Our friends had the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich and the Montsweag Steak Sandwich with, hold onto your hats, tater tots! Yes, one of the sides at the Roadhouse is tater tots. C'mon you remember tater tots, don't you?!

Next time I'm getting the fried calamari. I am making it one of my life's goals to try fried calamari wherever it is served. I'm looking for the perfect recipe!

So, if you are on Route 1 headed north from us, or on Route 1 headed south toward us, be sure to stop in and give this roadhouse a try!

Open year round, serving lunch & dinner, with music Friday & Saturday nights.
942 US Rt 1, Woolwich, Maine.

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.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Freeport Cabaret Opens! Nightlife Comes to Freeport

This weekend was the grand opening of the Freeport Cabaret on Depot St. Finally, nightlife comes to Freeport! I had the opportunity to speak with the owners, Gar and Betsy, as well as the 'host with the most,' Mike.

Gar has some terrific ideas for the space. Just looking at the calendar for the rest of May, I see open mic nights, jazz nights and a lot of local talent. We spoke about dance classes so everyone can get out there and shimmy, comedy nights and the great combo of local and 'imported' acts that Gar wants to bring in. It sounds great to me!

The menu is short and sweet (no pun intended) and includes light appetizers like the yummy fruit and cheese round we had at our table and a dessert list that last night included an Oreo cheesecake, strawberry rhubarb pie and blueberry pie. The menu is posted online, so be sure to check out the great food, 'Lobster Martini' anyone? [A quick update here, the menu has now expanded to include dinner from 6-8 PM, cocktails from 5 PM on. Happy Hour at 5 PM, perfect spot to unwind while waiting for the better half to be done shopping!]

There is a full bar as well as a decent wine & beer list.

It's an easy walk there and back from White Cedar Inn and, as there is limited parking, it's a good idea to leave the car here when you're a guest and stroll through town. We are really happy to see this upscale, fun venue in town. We danced, we laughed and we met new friends. All in all, a great evening. Pick up a coupon here for a discount on your dinner and cover charge for the shows.

There's a lot more on tap and the summer schedule is looking good! The Cabaret opens at 5 PM and the shows start at 8. Phone: 207-865-1780 for more info. 5 Depot St, Freeport, Maine.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Freeport, Maine Area Restaurants

This is just a quick link to the White Cedar Inn's web page with a list of local restaurants. We have made it our goal to try each of these this year. Of course, we've made a good dent in the list already. Bon Appetit!

As always, if you have a favorite place to eat, let me know and I'll add it to the list!

Friday, April 04, 2008

10 Things to See and Do on Route 1

OK, here it is, the long-awaited '10 Things to Do on Route 1'. Two weeks ago we drove from Freeport to Camden and these are some things we stopped to do along the way. Some are just fun places I thought you'd like to visit and others are places we always like to go. Read away! It's a 2 hour drive from here to Camden, give or take, depending on traffic. Sometimes we can make it in an hour and a half. The mileages I listed are from the front door of our place, White Cedar Inn. (Click the bold names for links to their websites.)

  1. Frost Gully Gallery (Freeport)- An eclectic mix of artists. Gallery open 12-5, weekdays. Just 1 mile from here.
  2. Shelter Institute (Woolwich)- Learn how to build your own timberframe house at one of their classes, buy the tools you need or just revel in the joy of the home building craft at its finest. 23 miles from here.
  3. Montsweag Flea Market (Woolwich)- Mostly outdoors, some tables under cover. Seasonal, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun 6:30 AM (yes, AM!) to 3 PM. 23 miles from here, just past the Shelter Inst, on left.
  4. Avalon Antiques Market(Wiscasset)- 3 floors of everything you could imagine. I went back yesterday to buy a pair of 'Feathered Bird' pictures that Rock really liked that we had seen on the trip to Camden. They are simply a painted backdrop on which are added 'birds' made with real feathers. Why he likes these 'works of art' is anyone guess, but he does! My friend, Shellie, (see Claiborne House blog) said they were generally made in the Philippines and were a common wedding gift from 1920-1940. Oh joy, there must be millions of them out there. 25 miles from here.
  5. Red's Eats - famous for years, this really is worth the stop for one of the best lobster rolls we've ever had. Seasonal. 37 miles from here. 
  6. Fawcett's Toy Museum (Waldoboro)- We haven't stopped in here, yet, but are planning to do so before summer. It just sounds too interesting to miss! Seasonal. 49 miles from here.
  7. Lie-Nielsen Toolworks (Warren)- I have heard grown men wax lyrical about this 'tool shop'. It's a toy box for the serious wood crafter. 8:30 AM- 5 PM, M-F, Saturday hours in July & August only. 50 miles from here.
  8. Maine State Prison Store (Thomaston)- There are some truly unique items in this store. Even if you aren't planning on buying anything, you should at least stop by to see the 'Biker & Mermaid' carving in the window. Open daily 9-5, with holiday and snow day exceptions. 57 miles from here.
  9. Maine Lighthouse Museum (Rockland)- For the lighthouse lover! Check hours before stopping in.
  10. Down East Magazine (Rockport)- You've read the magazine for years, now's the time to stop in and look over all those books you keep meaning to order!
And that's it...10 things to do between here and Camden. Of course, that is a really, really short list!

Happy travels!

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

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Flavors of Freeport Festival

The Fourth Annual Flavors of Freeport Festival will be focused on all the 'Flavors of Freeport'! The festival will take place in various locations around Freeport on March 25-27, 2011.

The flavors will include:
  • Wine, beer and vodka tastings;
  • The fabulously successful 'Chef's Signature Series' that showcases the local Freeport talent, combined with the above-mentioned libations;
  • The Third Annual Freeport B&B Dessert Challenge where all Freeport B&B's are invited to bring their best dessert recipe to the table;
  • A 10x10 Art Show and sale on Friday night at the Chef's Signature Series;
  • The First Annual Celebrity Waiter Lunch on Saturday.
  • Other events based on participation.
This year's Chefs' Signature Series on Friday night (from 6-9 PM) will include wine, beer and vodka pairings with each presentation. (Be sure to check out the Historic Freeport B&B dessert table with dessert wines!) Tickets are $25/person (same as last year).

Saturday at lunchtime, enjoy the inaugural Celebrity Waiter Lunch with local celebrities doing their best to entertain and amuse you during a 3-course lunch. Tipping your celebrity waiter will benefit 2 local charities- Freeport Community Services and Habitat for Humanity. The more tips, the bigger the donation! And, the server who collects the most tips will win the soon-to-be-coveted Celebrity Waiter Award. Tickets are $38/person which includes your 3 course lunch, soft drinks, coffee and tax.

There's something for everyone at the Flavors of Freeport. Book early for the best room selection!

To purchase tickets to the events, please go to the Flavors of Freeport website. Advance ticket purchases are advised. Tickets are also available at the door. Seating for the Celebrity Waiter Lunch is limited.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Marshall Point Lighthouse

Marshall Point Light
Part of our trip to Camden this week was a side trip to Marshall Point Lighthouse in Port Clyde. You can either turn off Rt 1 onto Rt 131 at Montpelier (General Henry Knox Museum), or turn off Rt 1 and take Rt 73 past the Owl's Head Transportation Museum. Head out toward Port Clyde and follow the 'lighthouse' signs.

It was a clear, brisk day when we were there. But, I do love the smell of the salt air! The skies were brillaint blue, the kind that we get here in spring and early summer. We met up with a couple of teachers who were on vacation from Ohio. (We also saw them again the next day in Camden...small world here in the winter!)

If you are headed up or down Rt 1 between Freeport and Camden, the turnoff for Rt 131 is 58 miles from here. Out to Marshall Point from Rt 1 was another 12 miles. If you hit Port Clyde during lunch there are a couple of somewhat seasonal restaurants right in town. You can also catch the Monhegan Ferry at the dock.
Keeper's House
I'm working on a list of things to do on Rt 1 between Freeport and Camden, stay tuned! I'll include directions and hopefully some great photo op locations, such as this lighthouse keeper's cottage.

Traveling as we do in the quiet season, allows for picture taking that doesn't involve lots of cropping to remove random people!

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

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tommy Hilfiger opens in Freeport, Maine

The new Tommy Hilfiger store is now open on the corner of Main St and Bow St where Dansk/Lenox used to be.

Wow! They really did some nice renovation work on that space. New wood floors are just a start. The windows are showcasing their summer line-up with lots of sporty stripes in rich colors.

More news around Freeport...a new Jazz Club will be opening around May 1 on Depot St. No other details at this time, but more news as we hear it. In addition to the new club, there will also be a larger music venue when Buck's Naked BBQ opens in its new space near the corner of Desert Rd & Rt 1. Along with LL Bean's Summer Concert Series, the joint will be jumpin' this summer!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Six Stops on Rt 26 in Western Maine

As are six totally different things to do along Route 26, starting in Gray and ending in Paris. Click on the bold names below to go to their websites.

  1. Maine Wildlife Park: open seasonally April to November, give or take. The park operates as a rehabilitation center for injured or abandoned wildlife. From Freeport, take Rt 1 south to Rt 115 in Yarmouth, follow signs to Gray, ME, turn right on Rt 26 and then follow signs to the Wildlife Park, about 30 minutes. $4-$6 admission. Special $50 photographer's pass allows access to behind the scenes areas for the purpose of photographing wildlife.

  2. The Barn on 26 Antiques: 3 1/2 miles north of the village center in Gray. Call for winter hours. Follow directions above from Freeport, about 30 minutes.

  3. Shaker Village at Sabbathday Lake, New Gloucester: The only active Shaker Community in existance. Call for visiting hours and classes. Follow directions from Freeport, continue on past Maine Wildlife Park, about 35-30 minutes from Freeport.

  4. Oxford Plains Speedway, Oxford: opens in April. Getcher motor running...stock car racing is on tap all summer long! Approx 1 hour from Freeport.

  5. Oxford County Fair, Oxford: September 7-13, 2008 OK, not quite on Rt 26, but close enough! Everything you expect from a county fair and then some! Approx 1 hour from Freeport.

  6. Western Maine Mineral Adventures, Paris: Educational tours, digs and keep what you find adventures! Learn about Maine gemstones such as tourmaline and beryl. Call for hours and to book tours. About 1 1/2 hours from Freeport.

So, there you have it...six completely different family or couples' adventures along Rt 26 from Gray to Paris, Maine. And that is just a start! Stop in each town along the way and sample the local cuisine and hidden treasures. Let us know what you find!

One side trip to take along the way...Once you hit Norway, Maine, hang a left on Rt 118 and head toward Lynchville (14 miles according to the sign). There, at the intersection of Rts 5 and 35, you can take a photo that shows what an international bon vivant you are! And you don't even need a passort to show all your friends just how far you went on your summer vacation.

Bon voyage!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

"Olympia Snow" world's tallest snowwoman, Bethel, Maine

Fondly named 'Olympia Snow' after our senator Olympia Snowe, the world's tallest snowwoman was dedicated at a ceremony on Friday, February 29, 2008. The impressive snowwoman was built with the efforts of the townspeople of Bethel, Maine.

Schoolchildren painted the 8' long 'carrot' nose and helped put together the hat and scarf that adorn Olympia. Her arms are decorated, 27' tall (long at this point) evergreens. Those gorgeous red lips are painted tractor tires. Her stunning black eyes are also tractor tires. Ditto the au courant 'buttons' on her de monde 'dress'.

Towering over the surrounding buildings, Olympia is stunningly decked out with expressive eyelashes made from skis and a charming 6' snowflake pendant. Olympia was predated by 'Angus, King of the Mountain' in 1999. Angus topped out at 112' tall, 10 feet shorter than Olympia.

The folks of Bethel hope the folks of Guinness will open up a category for 'World's Tallest Snowwoman'. In 1999, Angus, King of the Mountain was named 'World's Tallest Snowman'. That record still stands today! With the debut of Olympia, Bethel may lay claim to the tallest family of snowpeople in the world!

It was a great drive out there today, beautiful blue skies and bearable temps around 25. If you haven't been to Maine to ski this year, come soon! There's at least an extra 3' more of snow in Bethel than there is here in Freeport, and we are nowhere near losing our snow cover anytime soon!

There is no fee to stop by and see Olympia (how could they charge, you can see her clear across town!) and the Chamber has a small souvenir stand set up on site. There they have t-shirts, sweatshirts, tote bags and postcards.

From here it was a drive of about 1 hour and 45 minutes. There are plenty of shops and restaurants in Bethel, so come and make a day of it! We took Rt 26 and there are lots of things to do along the way. More on that on another day.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

6 tips to reduce your carbon emissions before your vacation

After receiving the Environmental Leadership Certificate last November, we've been on the lookout for ways to save electricity, fuel oil and water but didn't spend a whole lot of time thinking of ways to save on gas. Because the grocery store here is less than 2 miles away, it isn't a big deal for us to stop on the way home from a doctor's appointment or other 'day out' and pick up what we need.

Heck, my friend Jacqueline (of Jacqueline's Tea Room fame) and I walk to the grocery store almost every afternoon. So, I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about driving.

Tonight I got to thinking of ways to save on carbon emissions in preparation for vacation travel this year. Lots of people, ourselves included, haven't bought into the whole carbon offsets idea where you buy your way out of actually DOING anything to offset your actual carbon emissions.

So, on our website I have a page showing what we've done in the past year to earn the Environmental Leadership Certificate and I added a section on how to 'offset' vacation travel.

I hope you'll take a look and try at least one of the options. Personally, I only drive about once/week. If I can't walk to wherever it is I want to go, I seriously consider if I really need to go there. I just realized I've had my car for 5 years this summer and it has 30,000 miles on it. Total.

Obviously, not everyone lives in the situation I do where I can walk to work (10 feet) and to shopping (a couple of hundred feet) and to the post office, church, library and pretty much anything else I want. But there are ways we can all get healthier, lose weight, feel better and save a little corner of the planet at the same time. Hope you'll read the webpage and we'll get to talk about it when we see you this year!

If you're in the area at the end of March and into April, we hope you'll take the opportunity to tour a LEED certified house in Freeport. Tours will be held Wednesday- Sunday and different speakers will be on hand during the week to explain how the house was constructed and other aspects of LEED certification.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Retiring to Maine

OK, I'll admit it, I thought about retiring to Maine before I moved here. Figured buying a business here would get me 4 hours closer to the beach (from Vermont, where we lived) and that much closer to the place I've wanted to live since 1973.

I came here on a vacation in the summer of 1973 to the 50th anniversary party of the grandparents of the guy I was dating. We spent one day at Popham Beach and was sure this was where I wanted to live. And this was back in the days before the Clean Water Act, when the Androscoggin River was world famous for catching fire from the chemicals being dumped into it.

Still...the ocean was where I wanted to live and because I can't stand the humidity, I will happily live on the coast up north.

Which brings me to retiring in Maine. I hope this is where I'll retire, although there are grumblings from the better half that Charleston (SC) is the ONLY place to live. Obviously, the Clean Water Act did its job. The Androscoggin (and all Maine rivers) are no longer national scandals. The air is clean, the water is much cleaner and work continues to make it more so.

Maine leads in many areas of being ecologically aware and friendly. (And we're keeping up our end of the bargain at the Inn, getting the Environmental Leadership Certificate in Hospitality last November.) Projects are under way across the state to harness the energy of the tides to create electricity, to use solar and wind power electricity generation and many other 'green' energy solutions are in the works. Retiring in Maine does not mean retiring from thinking and doing, it means being a part of the ever-changing political, economic and social scene of this country.

If you've had the dream to retire in Maine, I hope you'll check the retirement page I've created with a list of retirement options in Maine. Most of the retirement communities I listed are active, vibrant social settings. If you think of retirement community as an 'old folks' home' you could probably get a better perspective by reading some of the websites I list. But, if you're adamant that you want a multi-generational community, I've also listed a realtor's name on the page. Jim is a friend of ours and, if i can talk the other half into staying here Maine, Jim will be our go-to guy when we start looking for our next home. (In case you're wondering...that won't be for another 7 years at least!)