A Serious Post: Maine Is Shutting Down (For Now)

“Welcome To Maine, Now Go Home!” was a popular playful bumper sticker in the 1980s and 90s. As someone who will always be considered “from away” despite having first moved in Maine in 1986 I get it. However, the current sentiment is actually quite dire and with good reason. As of yesterday’s Maine CDC update we have less than 80 available ICU beds for the entire state of Maine.  Non-essential businesses, save for a few exceptions, are closed. The York town manager plans to ask the police department to put signs near the Maine Turnpike exit to warn visitors the beaches and parks are closed. “We don’t need the day trippers right now,” he said, noting local residents can get out for walks in their neighborhoods. Additionally as of yesterday beaches in southern Maine are now closed and Acadia National Park is also now closed due to coronavirus. I suspect that the beaches in my town will close. Portland has a shelter-in-place in effect. 

Yet we are Vacationland with thousands of snowbirds, seasonal residents and vacationers, many of whom are coming to Maine early to “escape” coronavirus and their local shelter-in-place mandates. Our population is growing yet we don’t even have the hospital resources for the year-round residents in this pandemic. This is terrifying. I hope people will choose to do the right thing as opposed to practicing their right to go and do as they please.

Relics From NYC: Peek Into My Past!

I’ve been reorganizing my filing cabinet and had a blast looking through some of my own personal ephemera and Lenox School yearbooks. You will know some of these people, bands and shows I’ve seen. Plus, I bet you didn’t know I’m a recording artist! (Sort of…)

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Thanksgiving Dinner in a 1700s House

I just love when I find a hidden gem and that’s exactly what happened for our Thanksgiving dinner. A few weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go out to eat since it’s just the two of us this year. All of the local places serving T-Day dinner were charging between $80 – $90 per person plus tip! Spending over $200 to eat in a trendy or upscale restaurant on Thanksgiving in greater Portland is just no! (Portland was named 2018 Restaurant City of the Year by Bon Appetite.) We’re not into trendy places. We wanted something out of the way in the country that was simple, homey, historic, casual and delicious without fine dining pricing. Then I opened up google maps and did a search for places in “the country”. That’s how I found The Buxton Common, “a community gathering space for families, friends, neighbors and guests serving house smoked, rustic country fare in a revitalized 18th century home.” They were offering a Thanksgiving dinner for $32 per person! Sold!

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Behind the Scenes at Maine Wildlife Park with Curt Johnson

Wayne and I attended a Pow Wow at the Maine Wildlife Park this summer after which we spent some time exploring and looking at the animals. Unlike a zoo that operates for profit, the animals at the park cannot survive in the wild. It’s there that they are provided a safe forever home because they were injured, orphaned, or became human dependent while being raised illegally in captivity. The park is self-sustaining and owned and operated by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife within the Division of Information and Education. Each animal becomes an ambassador for its species to help educate (and charm!) the public. It has a staff of thirty and over two hundred volunteers which includes retirees, college interns and during the off-season, inmates involved in correctional trade instruction. The inmates gain experience and can give back to the community by doing necessary tasks like painting, shoveling and maintaining wood furniture.

I contacted park Superintendent Curt Johnson about the possibility of volunteering next season. Since I’m always interested in learning more about people who work with and love wildlife I asked him after he interviewed me if I could interview him for my blog. Not only did he agree to it but he also offered me a rare opportunity to visit the park and see the animals after it had closed for the season! I felt so lucky and of course I accepted his generous offer!

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A Chairlift into the Clouds, a Carousel Ride into the 19th Century & More!

What a weekend! This is a long post loaded with pics and videos. 

Early Saturday morning our first stop on the way to Sunday River for the fall foliage chairlift ride was breakfast at Shipyard Brewhaus in Newry. Wayne ordered the S.O.S. and I ordered the corned beef hash omelette which was delicious. 

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I Met The humble Farmer!

In the late 1980s I was an undergrad at the University of Maine in Orono and naively believed that because I grew up in Manhattan that I had seen and heard everything. So when I took a break from listening to my Joy Division, Agnostic Front and old school rap cassettes on my boom box in the dorm I turned on the radio–Maine Public Radio. Some farmer with a wicked heavy Maine accent had a show where he talked about Maine things with a very deadpan delivery. I wasn’t sure if he was a kook or a quirky genius. All I knew then is that his voice and program in which his commentary was interspersed with jazz was very relaxing. For me that was valuable because it has taken me many years to unwind and I’m not sure I every will completely. I also appreciated that he was the polar opposite of all I had heard growing up which made him kind of subversive.

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St. Anthony’s Franciscan Monastery is in Bloom!

It’s been a spectacular Father’s Day weekend! My father came up Friday and left early this morning. We went out to brunch at Inn By the Sea yesterday and then took him out to a steak dinner last night. We thought the first day of outside seaside services at St. Ann’s was going to get rained out but the weather pattern changed at the last hour! It was a beautiful albeit chilly service after which we went to the Franciscan monastery in Kennebunk to witness the beauty of the Rhododendrons in bloom. It was like a fairyland!

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Perkins Cove, St. Peter’s By the Sea, Walker’s Point

This morning we attended services at Saint Peter’s By the Sea in Cape Neddick now that the summer chapels are opening for the season. Next week our beloved Saint Anne’s will be opening where we’ll attend services all summer. So excited! I dream about it all winter. We stopped at Perkins Cove in Ogunquit on the way to church:

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Visit to Carlisle Academy Integrative Therapy & Sports

During coffee hour after church a few weeks ago I was speaking with Kate Chappell about her daughter, Sarah’s horse therapy farm in Lyman, Maine. Kate mentioned that one of the things the farm offers are programs for people with PTSD! I have often dreamed of one day operating a little animal therapy farm for traumatized youth so I was immediately fascinated. The offerings are extensive and include organizational/leadership development, team retreats, hippotherapy for people ages two and up with a diagnosed emotional, physical or cognitive disability and riding lessons to the general public.

Kate was so kind to arrange with Sarah (pictured above) an opportunity for me to visit the academy and share it with you here on my blog. My post is focused on the equine enrichment groups and working farmscape education tailored for at-risk youth and young adults, senior citizens, veterans and people in early recovery from addictions.

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