Garden Fresh

Gardening is great way to get outside, keep your distance from others and get a bit of a workout — plus, fresh fruits and veggies! Did you know gardening can also help fight depression? Here are just a few of the ways your garden helps you grow…

Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Growing your own organic fruits and veggies means you know exactly where they came from. Fresh produce is great for heart health and fighting obesity. In addition to being better for the environment (veggies from your background or patio don’t have to be packaged or trucked anywhere), a garden can also help you make fewer trips to the grocery store and potentially crowded areas.

Sensory Experience

Seeing green leaves emerge from the ground, digging in the dirt, watching vegetables grow and develop — these are all ways that gardening helps you connect with nature. Disconnecting from screens, being outside and enjoying the sounds and sights of nature can help reduce your stress levels, improve your mental health and fight depression. Add colorful flowers with nice smelling blooms to your garden for an extra mood-booster.

Staying Active 

Keeping active and busy can be challenging when confined at home. The bending, kneeling, digging and stretching required to garden not only burns calories, but helps keep you limber and strong. The physical activity involved in gardening help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases.

May is the perfect time to get digging! Whether you plant a whole garden full of veggies or just a few pots of tomatoes and herbs on your patio or windowsill, gardening is a great activity to try while social distancing.

Schedule a Virtual Visit

Life may look a little different right now, but your retirement and moving plans don’t need to change. At Dirigo Pines, we are still welcoming new residents while making the health and safety of our residents and associates our top priority. We are pleased to offer personalized virtual visits and tours at this time in lieu of visiting in person. We look forward to connecting virtually with you!

To schedule a Virtual Visit, just click here.

For a sneak peek inside our facility and to see what each of our apartment floor plans look like (check out our one- and two-bedroom apartments in Penobscot Commons featured below), simply click here. You can also find independent living cottages for sale.

Penobscot Commons Floor Plan: One bedroom apartment







Penobscot Commons Floor Plan: Two bedroom apartment with Den





We look forward to connecting virtually with you until it’s safe to resume our in-person visits. With a variety of living options as well as wellness, cultural and educational programs offered daily, this is the place for you to live your best life—exactly as you want. For more information, schedule a virtual visit, call 1-866-344-3400 or email

Connecting with Mom

Celebrating events like Mother’s Day without actually getting to hug and visit with Mom is challenging, to say the least. Here are a few ways to connect with Mom and stay safe.

Write It Down: Cards are great, but personal touches like artwork from grandchildren, photos, poems and warm wishes make getting mail all the more heartfelt.

Virtually Connect: An online visit is better than no visit — seeing a smiling face and chatting online is a great way stay connected. Add in a story time with little ones or fun online games (Good Housekeeping offers this great list) to keep the connection going.

Fun & Games: Send Mom something fun to do while staying at home. A great book (if you both read the same book, connect later for a virtual book club), puzzle, new game or cribbage board all make quarantine a little more entertaining.

Sharing is Caring: One thing families love to share is food. Connect online and cook up a special family recipe together from the safety of your own individual kitchens, or create a family cookbook to share with loved ones.

Relax: A package with bath salts, a candle, a meditation how-to book and chocolates can help make Mom’s time at home more relaxing and enjoyable.

Have your own ideas to make this a memorable Mother’s Day? Share below!


Dirigo Dish: Corn Fritters

Cooking and trying new recipes is a fun way to spend some time while following the rules of social distancing. Try this fun recipe for corn fritters from the American Heart Association. For lots of healthy recipe ideas, visit!


Servings  10  Serving Size  1 fritter


    3 large ears of corn, husks and silk discarded, kernels cut off the cobs (or use 3 cups of frozen corn, thawed and drained)

    2 large eggs

    avocado (halved, pitted, coarsely mashed with a fork)

    3/4 cup all-purpose flour

    1/4 cup fat-free milk

    2 tablespoons chopped, fresh chives

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/8 teaspoon black pepper (freshly ground)

    1 1/2 teaspoons canola or corn oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons canola or corn oil, divided use

    Cooking spray


  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the corn, eggs, avocado, flour, milk, chives, baking powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil over medium-high heat, swirling to coat the bottom. Lightly spray a 1/4-cup measuring cup with cooking spray. Using the measuring cup, scoop up the avocado mixture and mound it in the skillet. Fit as many fritters as you can without overcrowding the skillet (about 5). Gently press them down using a spatula that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Cook the fritters for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Turn over the fritters. Gently press them down with the spatula. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a large plate or platter lined with paper towels.
  4. In the same skillet, still over medium-high heat, heat the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil, swirling to coat the bottom. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter. Reduce the heat if the fritters are cooking too fast and starting to burn. Serve warm.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

Get Some Fresh Air

As spring slowly makes her appearance and the temperature begins to rise, it’s time to get outside for some fresh air. Instead of being cooped up indoors, take a walk outside it’s a great way to keep your distance while also taking in everything that nature has to offer this time of year.

Nearby Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk

Just down the road from Dirigo Pines is the Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk.

The Bog Walk is a 1-mile boardwalk loop that begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest, and after 800 feet crosses the Orono town line into the portion of the Orono Bog owned by the University of Maine. Along the way the boardwalk passes through a wide range of changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the Orono Bog.

It’s a fascinating and educational walk, allowing visitors to observe the colorful bog, its tranquil beauty and the amazing plants and animals that call the bog home. Look for pitcher plants along the Bog Walk, in bloom throughout the summer. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, luring insects into a cavity in the middle of the plant. Signs with illustrations help visitors spot interesting plant and animal life along the way. 

The Bog Walk is set to open May 1. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk.

Can’t wait? You can enjoy the Bangor City Forest any time of year. The Rolland F. Perry City Forest includes 680 acres of wildlife habitat and forest, offering more than 9 miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, and during the winter – snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Dogs are welcome in many areas, but must be on a leash at all times, per city ordinance, on Main Road, Shannon Road, Tripp Drive, and East Trail.

The forest is accessible via Kittredge Road and Tripp Drive. The Tripp Drive entrance is just 4 minutes from Dirigo Pines. Click here for directions. 

It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L) Technology

Memory Care at The Arbor at Dirigo Pines offers an innovative approach for those with memory impairments, including Alzheimer’s and dementia. The challenges presented by memory loss can be difficult to navigate, but we’re here to help every step of the way. Our Village Program offers personalized programming that engages residents in activities that may reflect their former schedules, lifestyles and interests while helping them feel safe and appreciated.

One unique feature of our Memory Care program is It’s Never 2 Late (iN2L), an easy-to-use technology designed specifically for seniors to encourage resident activity without the frustration. Simple computer touch-screens help residents stay engaged and connected, with more than 4,000 programs to choose from that include cognitive and therapy activities, games, spiritual content and family interactions through Skype and sharing slideshows and photo albums.

Families can build personalized pages for their loved ones, with their favorite games, songs, TV shows, family photos, and more. Video calls with family members make staying in touch easy, regardless of where you live.

Click here to learn more about this unique technology, or call us for more information about our Memory Care neighborhood. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email for more information.

Things to Do While Social Distancing

Social distancing may be the best thing to do right now, but it can also leave you feeling a bit stir-crazy. Here are a few things you can do to curb the boredom and stay safe…

Take a Walk

Thankfully, there’s more sun shining every day and green buds are starting to appear. While spring can be a little slow to arrive in Maine, take advantage of these warmer days to get outside and get some fresh air. Take in the budding trees and occasional wildlife. Going for a walk is great way to add some movement to your day while keeping your distance from others.

Connect Online

A virtual happy hour with friends or story time with the grandkids is a great way to stay connected. There are lots of free online ways to connect, including FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger, Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts and more. These programs are simple to use and a great way to chat with friends and family while maintaining your distance.

Spring Cleaning

Tis the season for cleaning and right now it’s more important than ever. According to the CDC, practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, like tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets and sinks with household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants. Labels contain instructions for safe and effective use of the cleaning product including precautions such as wearing gloves and making sure you have good ventilation during use of the product.

Make Some Music – Or Listen Online

If you’re a musician, now’s a great time to play — or if you’ve always wanted to learn, why not now? YouTube is full of free tutorials for every instrument imaginable, and many music teachers are going online to teach. Just love listening? Dig through your record or CD collection or find your favorite musician on iTunes or Pandora, and crank up the stereo! Lots of musicians are taking their talents online with live concerts on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Click here for a list of just a few of these upcoming concerts to stream.

Craft Time

If you’ve been putting off making a quilt or learning how to knit or crochet, now is a good time to get started. Find a tutorial online or order a book or pattern online to help fill the time.


Meditation, yoga and deep breathing are all healthy ways to relieve stress and calm your body. Try this method from an online resource from Johns Hopkins Medicine: Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7 and breathe out for a count of 8. Practicing this for four breaths, four times each day or more to help relieve anxiety.

Eat Well

Eat healthy meals is important at any time. Baking and cooking can be fun ways to pass the time and try new foods and recipes. Click here for a list of our Dirigo Dishes, with lots of healthy options from the American Heart Association.

Have your own fun idea to share? Comment below!

For Your Health and Safety: A Message from Grace Management

The health and safety of our residents and associates in all of our senior living communities is our number one priority. We have implemented additional protocols and precautionary measures based upon the guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as outlined below. Our team continues to closely monitor our communities for any signs of the virus and we are providing ongoing education and resources.

Precautionary Measures and Guidelines:

  • We are following the guidelines and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as local and state health departments
  • We have partnered with Dr. Kevin W. O’Neil, MD, FACP, CMD as our Medical Advisor as an additional measure of support and guidance
  • We are reinforcing infection control processes and emergency preparedness plans already in effect
  • We have enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols related to COVID-19
  • We are eliminating all non-essential visitor access to all of our communities
  • We are ensuring our residents remain connected virtually with their loved ones
  • We are postponing or adjusting large group functions while preserving connections and engagement
  • We are modifying or adjusting dining service as appropriate
  • We are regularly monitoring the health of our residents and associates
  • We are encouraging and supporting our associates to remain home when sick
  • We are maintaining regular communication with residents, families, and associates

As Good Neighbors in our communities, we welcome the opportunity to connect with you and expound on the benefits of our senior living environment. Each of our Grace Management, Inc. communities remains committed to creating exceptional senior living experiences by bringing care and compassion to every relationship.

For additional information and the latest COVID-19 updates, we encourage you to visit the CDC Website.

Dirigo Dish: Apple Nachos

Springtime have you craving something light, crunchy and healthy? Check out this fun and simple snack from the American Heart Association. Perfect for an afternoon snack, this recipe can be adapted with any number of toppings. Find even more heart healthy recipes at!



    1/3 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries or raisins

    1/4 cup sliced almonds (unsalted)

    2 Tbsp hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds

    red or green apples, cored and thinly sliced into about 12 pieces each

    1-2 tsp lemon juice

    2 Tbsp water

    1/4 cup reduced-fat, smooth peanut butter

    1 Tbsp honey


  1. In a small bowl, combine dried cranberries/raisins, almonds, and sunflower seeds.
  2. Core each apple and thinly slice into about 12 pieces each. Layer half the apples onto a large plate or platter. If the apple slices will be sitting out for a while, sprinkle a little lemon juice over them to prevent browning.
  3. Using the microwave or a teapot, bring 2 tablespoons water to a boil. In a small bowl, combine hot water, peanut butter, and honey. Use a spoon and stir until mixture is smooth.
  4. Use the spoon to drizzle half the peanut butter mixture over the plated apple slices; sprinkle with half the cranberry mixture. Layer the remaining apples on top and repeat with remaining peanut butter and cranberry mixture. Serve.

The American Heart Association’s website is a great place for seniors and people of all ages to find delicious heart healthy recipes. Click here for more AHA recipes!

6 Lucky Reasons to Live at Dirigo Pines

Surrounded by nature with the conveniences of Bangor and the town of Orono so close by — it’s no wonder the residents of Dirigo Pines consider themselves very lucky. Stop in and you’ll discover just how friendly and beautiful Dirigo Pines really is. It’s not just the professional services and healthcare we offer, but the little things that make it feel like Dirigo Pines might just be located at the end of a rainbow…

1. We’re Pet Friendly

Four-legged friends play a special role for many families, which is why Dirigo Pines is a pet-friendly facility. We are home to many animals at the Inn and in our cottages, offering residents the companionship, love and compassion that only a furry friend can give. For those who are not able to have a pet, we are lucky to have regular visits from a variety of therapy animals. Our therapy dogs are always greeted warmly by residents, particularly in our Memory Loss Neighborhood.

2. Our Very Own Putting Green

The weather is warming up, spring is just around the corner — that means golf season isn’t far behind. And while there are lots of ways to have fun at Dirigo, our Piney Knoll Putting Green outside the Dirigo Pines Inn might just be one of our favorites. The 40×15 foot artificial turf putting green was installed in 2015, and it’s been a popular attraction ever since — and a great way to dust off your short game and have fun with friends.

3. UMaine Connection

Our connections and proximity to the University of Maine in Orono might make others green with envy. Maine’s flagship university is just down the road, meaning Dirigo residents have instant access to amazing shows, concerts, theatre, music, sporting events and more.

4. Strike Gold in the Fishing Ponds

Each spring we stock Dirigo’s two fishing ponds with small trout. Fishermen and women of all skill levels enjoy hooking a big ol’ fish, and for the non-anglers, our ponds are surrounded by beautiful walking trails. The trails are not to be missed in the spring — edged with stunning flowers in bloom and convenient benches to spot the occasional deer or heron.

5. Take a Hike

Speaking of trails, Dirigo offers hiking trails connecting to the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system, a 40-acre parcel situated at the west end of Main Street, between Route 2 and I-95. Pick up a trail brochure – developed by our residents and available at the trail entrance behind the Dirigo Pines Inn – and get walking and discovering! Click here for more information about our trails! 

6. Green Thumbs

At Dirigo Pines, gardening is a great way to connect with our neighbors and find common interests. Our cottage residents have grown incredible gardens throughout the campus for all to enjoy. And Dirigo offers raised bed plots to all Inn residents in a community space that comes to life in the summer with fantastic color and fruit. It’s a fun spot for residents to gather and share their work, as well as share the delicious fruits of their labors with other residents.