National Photo Month – Let’s Share!

Did you know May is National Photo Month? As spring blooms and the grass greens, there are plenty of photo-worthy subjects all around! Dirigo Pines is the perfect spot to snap a beautiful photo – from the abundant wildlife to the picturesque grounds, there’s no shortage of ideas for photographers! Whether you’re a pro or just like to snap a pic with your phone – share your favorite shots from all around Dirigo Pines on our Facebook page! We’ll even share them in a future blog post for all to see! 

Here are a few of our favorite shots from around Dirigo just to get you started:

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May is Bringing Flowers (and More)

At any age, gardening is a great way to get outdoors and stay active. Our residents are real testaments to that! Connecting with nature, stimulating your senses, watching plants blossom and grow – it’s a restorative and stress-reducing process, with the added benefits of getting a good workout and fresh veggies to boot! According to the National Gardening Association, three-quarters of households age 55 and older participate in some form of lawn or garden activity. 

While fun and relaxing, it can also be taxing on your joints, knees and back. Here are a few ways to make gardening a little less painful so you can continue planting for years to come:

  • Plant in pots or raised beds. Pots and raised beds not only help keep weeds to a minimum, they also help bring the garden a little closer to you to reduce the bending and kneeling related to gardening directing in the ground. Raised beds can be built tall enough to eliminate any bending at all – saving your back! Pots can be placed on patios and porches and even on rollers, so those with limited mobility can keep their thumbs green.
  • Work early. Start your weeding and pruning earlier in the morning, when it’s cooler and less humid. Good shoes, a broad-rimmed hat and gloves are all good ideas.
  • Enlist help. Let your children and grandchildren help with the heavy lifting and digging, or hire someone to give you a hand. 
  • Bring it in. Bring the outside in for those who can’t make the trip to the yard or have limited outdoor gardening space. Create a garden in indoor pots or create a low-maintenance terrarium. 

Our Dirigo Pines cottage residents have created some amazing gardens, and everyone at Inn has the opportunity each spring to claim a raised bed of their own. Last summer our residents’ green thumbs yielded gorgeous flowers, towering tomatoes, and all the salad fixings you could possibly ask for. We can’t wait to see what sprouts up this year!

Mother’s Day Planning

Whether you’re at a lose for what to do for the special women in your life this Mother’s Day or just looking for something different to do with the ladies – there’s no shortage of Mother’s Day fun in the Dirigo Pines area. Here are a few ideas we recommend:

  • Mother’s Day Beer Brewing: For the mom who has everything and enjoys a good brew, Central Street Farmhouse in Bangor is offering a Mother’s Day Beer Brewing course (for moms and non-moms alike!). Get a lesson in beer brewing, samples, snacks and your own six-pack of homebrew for $50. Scheduled for May 13 at 1 p.m. Find more details at centralstreetfarmhouse.com.
  • Enjoy a Show: “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti,” the story of Giulia, who shares stories of good food and bad boyfriends, is being performed at the Penobscot Theatre Company in downtown Bangor through May 14. Visit penobscottheatre.org for details and tickets.
  • Pasta for Beginners: Speaking of spaghetti, The Mill Inn + Cafe in nearby Dover-Foxcroft is offering a Mother’s Day workshop on making homemade rustic pasta on May 14 at 3 p.m. Use simple tools, learn about different flours, and wrap it up with a tasting of fresh pasta. Find more at dfmill.com.
  • Color Bangor 5K: Get Mom moving by joining the walkers and runners participating in the American Folk Festival’s 2017 Color Bangor 5K. A fun and colorful event, with multiple stations where volunteers cover participants in colored corn-starch powder. Visit americanfolkfestival.com to register.
  • Celtic Music: Enjoy dinner and a pint at Geaghan’s Restaurant & Pub in Bangor on May 14 and listen to local musicians playing celtic music from 5-7 p.m. Visit geaghans.com for more info.

Have your own great idea for Mother’s Day fun? Share it with us!

Close to Home: Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows

Warmer weather is slowly coming to Vacationland! That means it’s time to plan some day trips! One of the best parts of living at Dirigo Pines is the location – we’re centrally located, meaning Maine’s amazing attractions are within a short drive. People travel far and wide to get to Maine – so take advantage of having places like Fort Knox and the Penobscot Narrows Observatory so close by!

Fort Knox is located in Prospect, which is just 40 minutes from Dirigo Pines. Click here for driving directions. 

Located on the west bank of the Penobscot River in Prospect, Maine, in an area known as the Penobscot Narrows, Fort Knox is one of the best preserved fortifications on the New England seacoast. Fort Knox is open May 1 to Oct. 31, from 9 a.m. to sunset. The grounds are open year round. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge boasts an observation tower, rising 420 feet above sea level, which may only be accessed through the Fort. 

Friends of Fort Knox created a “Drone’s eye view” of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory – click here to check it out.

Seniors can tour the fort at no charge and enjoy the observation tower for just $2.50. The fee for adults (ages 12 to 64) is $6 for the combination pass. Kids ages 5-11 are only $4.

Here are some other fun facts about Fort Knox and what not to miss:

  • The observation tower of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge that opened to the public in May 2007.
  • A one minute ride on the fastest elevator in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont will take you to the top of the tallest public bridge-observatory in the world.
  • Maine was repeatedly involved in northeast border disputes with British Canada. The area between Castine and the rich lumber city of Bangor was invaded and occupied by the British during the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Fort Knox was established in 1844 to protect the Penobscot River valley against a possible future British naval incursion.
  • There are picnic facilities on the Fort grounds, including BBQ grills, picnic tables and a covered pavilion. Guests with wheelchairs will find the Fort’s Gift Shop, Visitor’s Center, Picnic Area and Restrooms accessible, and you can access the inner fort (parade ground) with a wheelchair. The original granite steps and stairways in other parts of the Fort (a National Historic Site) will limit the access of anyone who is mobility impaired.
  • The Penobscot River is the largest river in Maine and the second largest in New England (after the Connecticut River). Its name is believed to be derived from the Native American word penobskeag, meaning “rocky place,” or “river of rocks.
  • In searching for a “historical” design for the bridge, the Maine DOT decided on modeling the main support towers of the new bridge after the obelisk shape of the Washington Monument, and like the Washington Monument, include a visitor’s observatory at the top. The choice of modeling the new towers after the Washington Monument was relevant for a number of reasons, including that some of the granite used in the construction of the Washington Monument came from nearby Mount Waldo – which also where the granite for Fort Knox’s construction came from.
  • The construction of Fort Knox began in 1844 and continued (with numerous work stoppages due to funding problems) until 1869. Funding from Congress was intermittent, and the fort’s design was never fully completed despite an expenditure of $1,000,000.
  • The only times there were soldiers in any number residing at the fort were during the periods of the Civil War and Spanish-American War. Troops were sent to Fort Knox in 1863 to help protect the area from Confederate raiders who were terrorizing the Maine coast. During that year these raiders had burned or captured 20 vessels including the Tacony, which was seized near Mount Desert Island.
  • Fort Knox was named after Henry Knox, George Washington’s Secretary of War. General Knox was also the Commander of Artillery during the American Revolutionary War, and at the end of his life lived not far away in Thomaston. America’s other Fort Knox, which is located in Kentucky, was also named after him.
  • The Fort is reportedly haunted. Ghost Hunters TV program and many others have researched the paranormal activity in and around Fort Knox. The Friends of Fort Knox website offers a whole page of “haunted news” about reported ghosts and strange happenings – click here to check it out.

Memory Loss Neighborhood

A therapy dog visits the Memory Loss Neighborhood.

Anyone who has ever had a loved one be diagnosed with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s can tell you just how overwhelming and difficult it is to know what to do next or where to turn for help. Finding care you trust is likely at the top of your list. We want many things from a care facility: individualized medical attention, opportunities for your loved one to continue doing the things they enjoy, delicious and healthy food, assistance with daily activities and more. And most importantly, you need to trust the facility and staff.

The staff of the Dirigo Pines Memory Loss Neighborhood understands the challenges that families face and is here to help. With individualized attention for residents, you can be sure your loved one is receiving professional care designed to enhance their health, safety and wellness.

Here’s a quick look at what our Memory Loss Neighborhood offers:

  • Individual specialized attention
  • Secure outdoor garden park
  • Medication administration
  • Professional care planning to enhance residents’ health and safety
  • Specially trained 24-hour staff
  • Personal care
  • Therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living
  • Three meals daily
  • Linen and laundry service
  • Wellness programs
  • Medical Director oversight
  • On-site emergency response system
  • Scheduled group transportation
  • Housekeeping
  • Guided social, recreational, and cultural programs

For more information, visit dirigopines.com, call toll-free: 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

The Orono Bog Walk

The best way to enjoy springtime in Maine is to get outside! Just down the road from Dirigo Pines is the Orono Bog Walk, 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. Signs with illustrations help visitors spot interesting plant and animal life along the way. 

Check out a map here: http://umaine.edu/oronobogwalk/files/2013/03/Board10003rev.gif

The Bog Walk is set to open May 1. Hours through Labor Day are 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 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.

Nature walks are scheduled throughout the summer, guided by experts in their respective fields that provide insights into the ecology and natural history of the flora and fauna found along the boardwalk. Learn more and find a calendar by clicking here.

Dirigo’s Green Thumbs

A quick tour around Dirigo Pines and you’ll quickly see just how much we like to play in the dirt. Our cottage residents grow beautiful gardens that add real curb appeal, and our folks at the Inn are always more than willing to add some color and life to the garden beds come spring. 

Did you know our Inn residents also have the opportunity to claim a raised bed just outside the breakfast room? That means those in our apartments can still have a chance to grow beautiful flowers and tasty veggies and play in the dirt all spring and summer. 

The benefits of gardening are many – from stress relief to exercise to adding all those delicious fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. And when the veggies start growing at Dirigo there’s usually more than enough to go around – many days residents can find vegetables available at the front desk in exchange for a donation to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – a favorite charity among Dirigo residents.

Dirigo Dish: Apple and Walnut Chicken Salad

Feel light and springy with this tasty springtime salad from the American Heart Association! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

Ingredients

For the Chicken Salad:

  • 1/4 cup fat-free, plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
  • 1/4 tsp salt-free, dried Italian spice blend or dried thyme, dried basil or both combined
  • 2 cups skinless, shredded chicken breast of a rotisserie-cooked chicken
  • 3 Tbsp chopped, unsalted, uncoiled walnuts (or whatever nuts are on sale)
  • 1/2 cup halved, seedless grapes OR sugar-free, dried fruit like prunes or cranberries
  • 1 red (sweeter) or green (more tart) apple, finely chopped

For the Green Salad:

  • 1 head lettuce (green leaf, red leaf or romaine), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 chopped cucumber (chopped, peeled if desired)
  • 1 large tomato (chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp red vinegar, white vinegar, or lemon juice

Directions

Chicken Salad

  • Combine yogurt, mayonnaise, and spice blend in a large bowl with a fork.
  • Add chicken, nuts, grapes, and chopped apple. Stir to combine.

Green Salad

  • In a bowl, combine chopped lettuce, cucumber, and tomato.
  • Add oil and vinegar, stirring to combine with salad.
  • Serve salad greens with chicken salad on top.

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!

Close to Home: Acadia National Park

One of the best parts of living at Dirigo Pines is the location – we’re centrally located in Vacationland, meaning amazing day trips aplenty. People travel far and wide to get to Maine – so take advantage of having places like Acadia National Park so close by! Acadia is located on Mount Desert Island, which is just over an hour from Dirigo Pines. Click here for driving directions.

Did you know April 15-16 and April 22-23 are the National Park Week Weekends – which means FREE entrance! Can’t make it this month? No problem. Everyone age 62 and over can get a lifetime pass to Acadia for just $10!

Here are some other fun facts about Acadia and what not to miss:

Living Independently at Dirigo Pines

Retirement living means something different to everyone – some want to relax, some plan to head out on a new adventure, and most of fall somewhere in between. But what we all agree on is that a worry-free, low-maintenance lifestyle sounds just about right. 

The Inn at Dirigo Pines offers independent living apartments, complete with moving assistance and one monthly fee that covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

The apartments form a welcoming community within the Inn, which is the heart of social activities at Dirigo Pines. Here you will find a lovely gathering room with a large fireplace, the dining rooms, library, hair salon, media/game room, fitness studio, and arts and crafts studio. There is even a private dining room, which you are welcome to reserve for your own gatherings. With summer visitors, it’s the perfect place to gather with friends and family.

Choose from five different apartment styles designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Maximize your lifestyle and pursue your personal interests with a variety of wellness, cultural, and educational programs offered daily. Join a book club or cribbage game, catch a movie or concert, or attend senior college. Perfect your stroke on the putting green, walk the nature trails or go fishing at the trout ponds. You will also receive your own Pines Pass, with an annual allowance for purchases at The University of Maine. Use it to pay for tickets at the Collins Center for the Arts, University of Maine athletic events, classes at the New Balance Recreation Center, and more.

Dirigo Pines can meet a variety of living arrangements without moving out of the Dirigo Inn with independent living, assisted living, memory loss, and specialized care all available to residents. When you compare the apartments, the service, the price, and the amenities, we think that you’ll want to make Dirigo Pines your home.

Visit www.dirigopines.com/independent-living to learn more about our Independent Living Apartments and other living options. To schedule a visit, call 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.