Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dead Poets Society of America

Local Freeport resident Walter Skold is on a mission. His plan is to raise awareness toward having a National Dead Poets Remembrance Day on Oct 7. (Edgar Allan Poe's birthday) Last year, he traveled over 15,000 miles and visited the graves of 150 dead American poets.

His latest trip started last week in Portland, Maine and will encompass 6000 miles with a couple who are filming his quest for a documentary. Traveling in the 'Poemobile,' Skold hopes to visit 22 different states and has enlisted the help of several states' Poets Laureate to help him find the gravesites of other dead poets.

You can follow his travels and enter his contest by visiting the Dead Poets website. Do you know of the location of some lesser known dead poets? Let Walter know!

Participate in a poetry reading at one of the cemeteries along the route. The Dead Poets tour map is here.

So far this trip, Skold has stopped by to pay respects to beat poets Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. Follow his blog if you can't make one of the readings.

National Dead Poets Remembrance Day Oct 7, 2010. How or where will you honor our dead poets?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Calico Quilters Show in Yarmouth, Maine

Last weekend along with the QuiltPortUSA show here in town, there was a quilt guild show just down the road in Yarmouth. Took these pix of some of my favs. Enjoy!

Rockport Harbor, Maine

Took a detour off Rt 1 and went through Rockport Harbor. Well, how have we missed this little gem so many times?! This is a tiny park right on the harbor with a lot of history packed into it! Check out the old limekiln right next to the boat ramp. An excellent interpretive sign explains the workings and how the trains brought the lime and granite to the kilns, dropped their load in from above and how the 'finished product' was then loaded onto ships right in the harbor, not 50' from the kilns.

Turn around from reading the sign and across the driveway is the granite statue of Andre the Seal. If you're of a certain age, you'll remember reading about Andre in story books and newspaper articles.

At the end of the parking area, behind the Harbormaster's office, is a small beach and a walking trail. Dogs are allowed but clean-up after your pet is required. Leashes would be a big help in the summer!

If you're headed north from here (or south to here) definitely make this a stop along the way. Pick up a picnic lunch along the way and enjoy watching the world go by. When the boats are all in during the summer, it's a beautiful sight. If you're keeping a checklist of lighthouses, you can see the Rockport Light from the park. (Indian Island Lighthouse)

Owls Head General Store- Good Eats!

Went for a drive with our friends Karen & Dave from Timbercliffe Cottage in Camden and stopped in to the Owls Head General Store for 'Maine's Best Hamburger' as voted by Food Network Magazine. It used to be the '7 napkin burger' but it's now know as 'The Loaded.'

Comes with chips & a pickle, seat yourself at the random tables and grab your own drink. When you're stuffed, pop over to the register to pay. That's the time to grab a whoopie pie, cupcake or cookie. And don't forget a doggie treat, also available at the register!

Being different from the crowd, I ordered the special chicken salad. It's made with honey mustard and salad dressing (which is my only gripe- I like plain mayo). Otherwise, yum-o! I get it on Borealis bread. (Stop in the store on Rt 1 in Waldoboro on your way to Owls Head.)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Osprey Nest at Taste of Maine in Woolwich, Maine

When we drove by today, there were 2 osprey either circling the nesting site or perched atop the post at the far end of the Taste of Maine restaurant parking lot in Woolwich (just across the bridge from Bath).

In the backyard the other day, I watched 3 turkey vultures taking an inordinate amount of interest in my neighbor's chimney. They were perched on the top, looking in. BAD spot for a nest!

Here are links to a couple of websites that track the nesting osprey in Woolwich. Both have the same webcam which is not live at the moment but seems to be taking still shots once/week. Maybe now that the osprey have been sighted, the camera will be back on live. Also included is a Maine birding blog and a link to the Bald Eagle Cam blog.

Woolwich Osprey Cam Blog
BioDiversity Research Institute
Birding in Maine Blog
Bald Eagle Cam Blog
Peregrine Cam

Ship's Chow Hall, Wiscasset, Maine

So, you know you've seen it on the drive thru Wiscasset on Rt 1- Ship's Chow Hall. A long, low, cedar-shaked building across the road (sorta) from Big Al's.

We have said a hundred times that we have to stop there 'someday.' Today we made an extra trip just to go there. Decided we would go out for lunch (because I don't get up for breakfast if I don't have to!) so off we went.

I will grant you it's not much to look at from the outside, but it's a whole different world inside. Very nice, neat and homey. They have booths along the 2 walls and tables down the middle. Other than us, everyone in there was local. The owner knew everyone by name, knew who coming thru the door would be sitting with whom and even called an order into the kitchen by saying, 'The Smiths will have their usual.'

Now that's the kind of place you want to go. Where, when there are 3 restaurants/take out joints lined up one after the other, the owner knows everyone coming thru the door and has a friendly hello for all of them. (Yes, by the time we left, she knew who we were, too.)

Continuing my search for the perfect BLT and onion rings, that's what I ordered. Rock, continuing his (weird) love of liver & onions, ordered that.

We have a winner! This was, by far, the best BLT I've had this year. (Runners-up were Becky's Diner, Rosie's (also in Portland) and Moody's Diner in that order.) The bread was homemade and we even got the name of the toaster they use as the bread was done just right. Crisp, green lettuce, a nice tomato and the bacon done just the way I like it.

Oh, and the liver & onions was really good, too. Behind us, a woman was telling her friend that the burger she was having was very good.

My onion rings were wonderful and so was the hot cocoa. It's tough to get hot cocoa from a packet wrong, but you'd be amazed how many places do.

What was really nice about it was there was no sense of rushing. A lot of the locals had books or the newspaper they were reading. Quite a few of them were older women dining alone. Always a good sign when you walk into a place and women are comfortable dining alone. What was REALLY nice was that a few cellphones rang and the people either took their phones outside or just turned them off altogether. Hallelujah! We didn't have to listen to someone talking on the phone all thru lunch!

This is definitely on our list of places to go when you're headed north (or south) from here to Boothbay (the Botanical Gardens, maybe?) or Bar Harbor. Stop in and enjoy a nice slice of local Maine! They are open for breakfast (all day) and lunch from 5 AM to 2 PM everyday.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

elk sculpture

What a beautiful, hot day it was on Easter this year! We took advantage of the weather (and our discounted tix) to go to Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Yes, it was a little early for the blooming flowers, but it was the perfect time to explore the gardens at leisure and be able to take note of the rock formations with mosses (below), the evergreens, the sculptures (such as the one above) and the salty tang of the Back River.


I picked up some brochures they had at the desk. One is the Geology of the Gardens (you know me, I love Rock(s)!) and the other is a guide to Native Plants that I may use this year to plan out some more gardens. Given this fantastic weather, we may have a chance to get some garden-y things done! The ginormous mulch pile has to be turned over and tilled under this year. That will make a great planting area around the nefarious bamboo that sprouted up. ('Nefarious' is not a plant name, it's just that this bamboo is highly invasive and we're confining it to one location.)

Another 'alien' that I found taking over a patch of the garden last year was a Japanese Barberry. At the Gardens, it was listed on an interpretive sign about Invasive Plants or I wouldn't have known it was an alien. Although, given how fast it grew last year, maybe I should have.

crystal globe

We followed the trails around the Great Lawn, down to the Haney Hillside Garden to the Shoreland Trail. From there, we wandered past the Fairy House Village and the Shoreland Gazebo and eventually found ourselves at the Rhododendron Gardens. We picked up the Maine Woods Trail back to Birch Allee and to the Visitor Center.

trail sign

Substantial amounts of the park are very accessible and we found only a couple of places (that were well-marked) where the trail was just a trail and not a easy pathway. Of course, you know us, we had to go there! Along these trails, it's pretty much left to nature and there are trees down across the paths, washouts and soggy going. The right footwear is the key!

If you are traveling with pets, this is not a good place to stop for a long visit. Dogs are allowed in very specified areas but they are not allowed in the majority of the Gardens. We didn't bring Bre, mostly because it was hot and we didn't think we would find a shady spot to park. So, if you have your dog and you want to go to the Gardens, it would be a good day to use doggie daycare.

OK, I won't give away all the things we saw and spoil your trip, but here's another pic from our walk in the Gardens...picture yourself here, it's a beautiful spot!

water view
There were stone benches like this everywhere on the paths. (Nothing like this on the 'backwoods' trails.) It was very relaxing to just sit and watch the water and listen to the birds.

The Gardens are 248 acres of designed and 'wild' areas. Starting out with 128 acres, it was the recipient of an additional 120 adjacent acres in 2005 making it the largest botanical gardens in New England. Open year round (except Thanksgiving & Christmas).

Check on the Things to Do page for events happening at the Gardens this year.

How to get there: From White Cedar Inn take a right on Rt 1 (in front of the house) and head north to Boothbay Harbor. Turn off Rt 1 onto Rt 27. In 9.3 miles, turn right at the statue. (We missed the turn because the green is on the left and the statue is on the right and we thought the statue would be ON the green, so use the mileage!) Make your next right onto Barters Island Rd (we missed this one, too as it came up pretty quickly). Entrance to the Gardens is about 1 mile on the left. The signage up until you get to the Garden entrance is abysmal. Tiny signs on a post with 10 other tiny signs!

If you are staying here, please ask us about discounted tickets. Tickets at the Gardens are $10/adult, we have them for $8.50.

You can pack a lunch, eat in the Kitchen Garden Cafe or head into Boothbay for lunch or dinner. There were no trash cans along the trails/paths while we were there. Pack it in, pack it out.

A new children's garden (a kindergarten?) was being built and should be done soon. (Grand Opening on July 8, 2010. Free admission all day.)