Monday, June 30, 2014

Castine Coast

This weekend was one for the books. Christopher surprised me with a day trip to Castine, a town I have wanted to visit since we moved here. There are very few places where you can lounge on the beach, take a hike in a forest and explore the ruins of eighteenth-century forts. Castine has such a great variety of activities that I have decided to divide this into a three-part series. First up, the coast!

Christopher, Freckles and I decided to picnic on Wadsworth Cove. I think in this case, I will let the pictures do the talking.

We also did a little exploring throughout Castine Harbor which flows into the Penobscot Bay.

 I love the ocean with all of my heart and soul.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Bangor Band

Christopher and I are bona fide band geeks. I know how to play the piano, flute, clarinet and percussion and am learning to play the tenor sax. Christopher is an awesome trombonist and loves brass instruments. We both grew up playing in concert bands, marching bands, jazz bands and orchestra pits. To say that we love music is a bit of an understatement.

When I learned that Bangor not only boasted one of the oldest community bands in New England but put on a free summer concert series, I was all in.

The concert was short, fun and relaxed.They played a mix of serious compositions and crowd favorites such as a medley of popular jazz songs and show tunes. The concert is outdoors so if you have young children or get a little restless you can always leave without making a scene or hit up the Wild Cow Creamery stand. 

It was a fun evening and I have a feeling that we may have started a new summer tradition. For more information, check out this website.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Cascade Park

Cascade Park is less than a five minute drive from my apartment. It is easily the most popular park in the city and features a lighted fountain as well as a twenty foot waterfall.

 As usual Christopher, Freckles and I searched for the road less traveled and found a path leading to a gorgeous field behind the Darthea Dix Center.

This little slice of scenery reminded me of the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve and made me very homesick. I love the Maine landscape more than I could ever possibly express, but sometimes I miss the fields and hills of Southern California. Sometimes I miss them terribly.

Although the park was beautiful I would like to remind you that since it is by a main road and across the street from the hospital, you can often run into some rather questionable characters. As long as you stay aware however, this is a lovely place to visit.

P.S. Doesn't the Darthea Dix Center in the above picture kind of look like Xavier's School of Gifted Youngsters from X-Men? 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Bangor Beer Festival- "Tap Into Summer"

This weekend was insane. On Friday I went to go see How To Train Your Dragon Two with some friends and on Sunday we played paintball. On Saturday however we attended the Bangor Beer Festival on the Waterfront. For $25 we got a free tasting glass and the opportunity to drink up to ten brews from twenty-five brewers. These brewers included Black Bear Microbrew, Geaghan Brothers Brewing Company, Rising Tide Brewing Company, Sea Dog Brewing Company and Shipyard Brewing Company. Mo's BBQ also showed up as well as a few other food trucks. I didn't take any photos because I forgot my memory card, but we had a great time eating, drinking and being merry. For information, check out this site.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunkhaze Meadows

During the weekends we love to take Freckles to forests that are outside of Bangor and Brewer. This past weekend we decided to check out the Sunkhaze Meadows National Wildlife Refuge in Milford, Maine. Sunkhaze is one of the more than 500 wildlife refuges in the United States. For those of you reading from the Temecula/Murrieta area, it is the Maine version of the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve. Activities in the Refuge include canoeing, hiking, hunting and fishing during the warmer months and cross-country skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. For more information, definitely check out their website.

To be perfectly honest, I was not super impressed by the reserve. We decided to take the Sunkhaze Meadows Bog trail and it was definitely more than we bargained for. It was incredibly muddy- to the point where I was uncertain at some points whether I would be able to get my boots out of it. It was also infested with mosquitoes and black flies. Mosquitoes and black flies are everywhere in Maine during the summer, but this was a particularly bad spot. The view from the trail itself was not anything too special and while the overlook was pretty, I am not entirely certain whether it was worth the drive or the arduous hike.

Although I would be interested in checking out some of the other trails or participating in a few of the other activities, I think I am going to place Sunkhaze on the back-burner. There are so many other gorgeous spots to visit in Maine. At least Freckles had fun in the muck and the mud!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Spring Sunset on Pushaw Lake

Pushaw Lake is gorgeous in the autumn and winter, but it is especially beautiful in the late spring. The forest is simply enchanting and one feels like they are about to be approached by fairies or elves. We dream of one day owning a place on this lake!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary

Christopher and I had originally planned to visit Castine during my birthday weekend, however we wanted to first see how our new companion would do during a shorter car trip. I had read about the Birdsacre or the Stanwood Wildlife Sanctuary in a guidebook Christopher had given me before we moved to Maine and I was eager to check it out.

The non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving the vision of the ornithologist Cordelia Stanwood. The Sanctuary has a museum, gardens, and hiking trails. It is also home to permanently injured birds that are unable to survive in the wilderness. For more information, check-out this website.

All of us enjoyed hiking, especially Freckles! After our hike we had a light but satisfying lunch at Cleonice's and explored a little of downtown Ellsworth. We ended our trip with a treat from a lemonade stand that was raising money from a community theater.

 What did you do this weekend? P.S. Freckles was fantastic and we think this coming weekend, she will be able to handle the trip to Castine just fine. She does great in the car!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meet Freckles

I have wanted a dog ever since I moved to Maine. Both Christopher and I have grown up with a variety of animals- dogs, cats, guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, chickens, burros, horses, fish- you name it. Dogs are our favorites and we both missed the companionship and undying love that you can only really get from a pet.

The day before my birthday we visited the Bangor Humane Society. There was a gorgeous two year-old St. Bernard mix named Freckles in one of the kennels, growling at the passer-by's. Despite her growling, something told me that she was in fact a very sweet dog. I decided to sit on the ground and let her get used to my presence. I sat for about half an hour and she eventually stopped growling and approached me.

We absolutely fell in lover her while playing in the visitor room. Once she knew that she was in a safe place, she was sweet, cuddly, and eager to please. We wanted to adopt her right then and there, but knew we needed to talk about it first.

When we got home we realized it was simply not financially feasible for us to adopt her. We are getting married in October and will be doing quite a bit of traveling this summer. We decided to save up the money and return to the Humane Society in December. We were both absolutely devastated and I did a good bit of crying that night, but we felt that it was the right decision.

The next day was my birthday. My mom called me from California to wish me a happy birthday. We talked about this and that and then I mentioned how we had fallen in love with Freckles, but decided to wait. When we hung up, I had no idea what was going to happen next.

My mom and Christopher conspired to give me the best birthday present ever. They adopted Freckles while I was out and about. When I went to pick Christopher up from work, Freckles was sitting inside of his boss' car. I was completely shocked. I cried again, this time from happiness and the overwhelming sense of how much my family loves me.

Freckles is the perfect dog for our little family. She is intelligent, affectionate and incredibly lovable. She is up for anything, whether it is a hike, an ice cream field trip, or simply cuddling on the couch. I never knew it was possible to love another creature in this way so much. I am so incredibly thankful to my family and the Bangor Humane Society for giving me this wonderful companion.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Adventures in Bucksport

This past weekend was just awesome. It was filled with GNO's, the farmer's markets, yard sales, gardening and picnics. Christopher and I also snuck a day trip in the middle of such a busy weekend.

We had visited Bucksport before, but only during the winter when everything was closed. It was really neat to be able to visit it again in the spring! I will not go into too much detail here, but if you would like more information you can check out my post from last winter or this website.

The view from the Penobscot Narrows Observatory was simply gorgeous. You could see for miles.

It was great to be able to explore the Fort Knox inside and out! The fort is like an adult playground where you can examine every nook and cranny.

We ended the trip with a visit to the supposedly cursed Buck Memorial and a moment of quiet at the POW and MIA memorial.

It was a wonderful weekend and I am excited to go exploring again soon!