Feeling Festive: Nearby Holiday Events

Dirigo-Inn-Entrance-in-snow-1-2011Our area has no shortage of fun events to get you in the holiday spirit. Here are a few upcoming events in greater Bangor and beyond to get you feeling festive…


Nov. 18-Dec. 31: Gardens Aglow

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay

The gardens will transform from a summer paradise to a winter wonderland. Tens of thousands of lights will be hung, making this the biggest light display in Maine. In addition to the lighting, visitors will enjoy music, special food and beverage options and holiday shopping. 


Dec. 1-24: Oliver! 

The Penobscot Theatre, Bangor

In this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’s classic novel, orphan Oliver Twist navigates the underworld of Victorian London, searching for a loving home and falling into a gang of child pickpockets led by the conniving Fagin. With spirited, timeless songs like “As Long as He Needs Me,” “Food, Glorious Food,” and “Where is Love,” Oliver! is a musical classic. 



Dec. 2-4: Victorian Christmas

Penobscot Marine Museum, Fowler-True-Ross Sea Captain’s House & Museum Store, Searsport

The Ship Captain’s house is beautifully decorated for the holidays and filled with live music and holiday-themed readings. Check out the Museum Store for book signings, a holiday gingerbread house display and more. The Town of Searsport’s Tree Lighting And Carol Singing are on Friday night. 


Dec. 3: Festival of Lights Parade

Downtown Bangor

The Rotary Club of Bangor hosts this annual parade featuring dozens of entries all lit up for the holidays. The parade steps off at 4:30 p.m. As one might expect, Santa Claus will be the main attraction; his appearance will formally usher in the holiday season.


Dec. 17-18: Bangor Symphony Orchestra presents “The Nutcracker”

Collins Center for the Arts, Orono

A holiday tradition for all ages, the BSO’s annual production of The Nutcracker with the Robinson Ballet is beloved by audiences throughout Maine. Join us for as a magical production as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker grace the stage of the Collins Center for the Arts. 



Dirigo Dish: Slow Cooker Harvest Beef Stew

potatoes-888585_1920Sweater weather means it’s time to dish up some stew in the kitchen. This slow cooker recipe from the American Heart Association is easy and delish. Toss all your ingredients in during the morning and let the slow cooker do the rest! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


  • 1 lb. bottom round beef roast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 large Russet potato, cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 medium sweet potato, cut into ½-inch dice (about 2 cups)
  • 2 cups peeled, thinly sliced carrots
  • 10 oz. packaged, frozen pearl onions
  • 14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. canned, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. packaged, frozen peas
  • 2 Tbsp. dried parsley


  1. Cut the bottom round beef roast into 1-inch cubes and add into a 4-to 6-quart slow-cooker bowl. Chop the potato into ½-inch dice, adding to the beef cubes, along with the flour. Use a spoon to stir mixture together.
  2. Cut the sweet potato into a ½-inch dice and thinly slice carrots. Add the sweet potato and carrots into the slow cooker bowl over the meat. Top with the pearl onions, diced tomatoes, beef broth, water, thyme, salt, and pepper.
  3. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook until beef is tender, about 10 to 12 hours on low heat or 5 to 6 hours on high heat. Right before serving, stir in the frozen peas and dried parsley. Cover and let peas cook, about 5 to 10 minutes. 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!

All Day Dining

food-1648767_1920Not a morning person? Or maybe you get up at the crack of dawn. We all run on different schedules, which is why Dirigo Pines recently introduced the All Day Dining Program. When’s dinner? It’s whenever our residents choose. 

The All Day Dining Program is a unique concept designed to provide our residents the freedom of choice with options like breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 p.m. rather than noon. Whether you’re an early riser or late sleeper, All Day Dining offers the flexibility to choose what works best for you.

All Day Dining offers an alternate menu of choices that may include the main entrée of the day, breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc.

Visit our website to learn more!

Working Off the Turkey

20160615_163347Or maybe we should call this working off that third helping of pie? Whatever your Thanksgiving Achilles heel may be, we have some ideas to combat the tryptophan blues this holiday. 

Turkey Trot: Nearby Brewer High School is hosting its 35th annual Turkey Trot. This 3 mile road race and one mile kids fun run is set for the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 20. Get some friends together and form a team! Click here to learn more.

Take a Walk: Dirigo Pines walking trails connect with the with the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system. Stretch out your eating muscles before or after the big meal with a stroll along the Pines. Click here for more about our trails.

Enjoy Nature: Another great walking area nearby is the Orono Bog Boardwalk. Volunteers have been hard at work all summer and fall replacing old sections of the boardwalk. Never been? It’s an amazing 4,200 foot long boardwalk, with seven interpretive stations plus an orientation kiosk to educate visitors about the various habitats and wildlife present, as well as the geologic history of the Orono Bog. Benches every 200 feet provide visitors rest areas and are placed at wheelchair turnaround sections. The perfect place to get some fresh air and digest all that turkey! Click to learn more.

Putt it Off: Dirigo Pines’ Piney Knoll Putting Green just outside the Dirigo Pines Inn offers 40×15 feet of artificial turf to brush up on your short game and get a little exercise after all those mashed potatoes. Click here to learn more about the Piney Knoll Putting Green.

The Real Cost of Remodeling

florida-home-1689859_1920Retirement planning often brings up the question of renovation vs. relocation. Here’s a look at the national average cost of popular renovations.

Click on the interactive graphic to see the real cost of remodeling…

Did you know the monthly maintenance fee at Dirigo Pines includes all maintenance inside and outside of the cottage, including:

  • All lawn and garden upkeep
  • Snow removal
  • Internet
  • Cable television
  • General maintenance, even washing the windows inside and out twice a year

All cottages have two bedrooms, two baths, living room/dining room, porch, and one-car garage. All appliances are furnished. Many options are available, including a second garage, basement, loft, flooring upgrades, cathedral ceiling, and window box seats. Many custom design options are available as well.

Ready to learn more? Call 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

Independent Living at Dirigo

Back-Patio-View-6-2012Starting your search for the perfect place to retire? There’s lots to consider – from price to convenience to available medical services to how good the food will be (let’s be honest, it’s important), you likely have a long list of wants and needs. Worry-free living is what most retirees look forward to and why they choose a retirement community like Dirigo Pines. 

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 Inn at Dirigo Pines encompasses a true warmth and welcome and is the heart of the community. Here you will find a lovely gathering room with a large fireplace, dining venues, 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. During the holiday season, 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.

Click here 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.

5 Ways to Show Your Thanks

cake-791137_1920Feeling thankful? Turn November into a month of gratitude and encourage your friends and family to join you. Here are 5 ways to show your thanks and love this holiday season:

  1. Say It (or Write It) Out Loud: Create a gratitude tree or area to collectively share what you and loved ones are thankful for this year. Many of us do this at the Thanksgiving table, but sitting down and putting pen to paper and displaying your appreciation publicly is another great way to get the word out. Write down your thanks on a card and hang it like an ornament on a branch or other space – it’s the perfect Thanksgiving decor!
  2. Share Something! Sharing is caring – and one great thing to share during the holidays is a favorite recipe. Whether you bake up a batch of cookies or muffins to say thank you to a friend, or share your sought-after secret recipe for pumpkin pie with family this holiday, food is the way to everyone’s heart. Creating a homemade cookbook of family recipes is a great idea for Thanksgiving or the upcoming holiday season!
  3. Send a Note: Thank you letters are another great way to show someone just how much you appreciate them. Feeling grateful to a neighbor or friend? Write it down! This is the perfect time of year to make a pledge to write a thank you note every day for a week, a month, or maybe the whole year – and brighten someone’s day with your words of thanks.
  4. Host a Meal: Tis the season for lavish gatherings and meals – take advantage and invite your nearest and dearest (and those you’ve been meaning to show your appreciate to) for a holiday feast. A meal made with love is the perfect way to say thanks.
  5. Give it Away: Whether it’s your time, talents or money, giving back to the community is another great way to celebrate Thanksgiving. Consider volunteering in a local soup kitchen, donating food to a homeless shelter or food pantry, or making a donation to a worthwhile charity. Giving back will warm everyone’s heart this holiday. Click here for a list of Maine food pantries.

How do you like to give thanks during the holidays?

3 Unexpected Things You’ll Discover on Dirigo’s Walking Trails

20160615_163318Before the snow flies, take advantage of a crisp autumn afternoon with a walk along the trails at Dirigo Pines. Our trail system connects in with the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system, a 40-acre parcel situated at the west end of Main St., between Route 2 and I-95. Among the falling leaves and occasional wildlife, you’ll find some interesting features, outlined in our trail brochures which were developed by our residents and are available at the trail entrance behind the Dirigo Pines Inn. 

In addition to a variety of plant life, fungi, and trees of all kinds, there are a few unexpected things to spot on our trails. Play your own game of “I Spy” and see if you can spot these natural features:

  • Glacial Boulders: Part of the till deposited by the last glacier about 16,000 years ago, these boulders are made up of granite, gneiss, silt stone and quartzite from as far away as the St. Lawrence River.
  • Woodpecker Holes: As trees die and insects invade, woodpeckers excavate cavities in search of food. The round holes are made by downy and hairy woodpeckers, while the larger oval cavities are made by pileated woodpeckers. Wood peckers use the cavities for nesting, as do a variety of secondary nesters like wood ducks, raccoons, squirrels and chickadees. As winter approaches, as many as 25 to 30 chickadees, kinglets and nuthatches will huddle in a tree cavity overnight for warmth.
  • Wire & Rock Walls: Along a short side trail, you’ll find strands of wire imbedded in a hemlock tree suggesting the area that is now Dirigo Pines Cottage Community was once farmed or grazed prior to being developed. Many large trees were left untouched along the property lines. Up behind the water tower, there are very large oaks, pines and hemlocks straddling old rock walls.

For more about our trails, click here. Tell us what you discover on our trails!

Riding in Style

dsc02015 dsc02016Getting a new vehicle is always exciting – particularly when it’s got special features like our new wheelchair accessible van! We’re pleased to have this new ride available to Dirigo Pines residents. 

The new van is especially helpful for our Assisted Living residents with mobility limitations. Did you know our Assisted Living services including transportation to medical appointments, grocery store, bank, post office, and other outings just for fun? And now residents are riding in style!

For more about Assisted Living at Dirigo Pines, click here. Assisted Living offers residents freedom to enjoy life’s many pleasures unburdened from daily tasks that may have become difficult. Tailored to meet individual requirements, the Assisted Living Program at Dirigo Pines provides help with personal care and medications whenever needed. In addition, three meals are served daily. Housekeeping and laundry service are provided on a bi-weekly basis. Nursing staff is available around the clock with Medical Director oversight, and we can even accommodate couples in the Deluxe and Regency sized Assisted Living apartments.

Contact Ann or Susan for a tour of Dirigo Pines by calling 1-866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

Dirigo Dish: Tomato and Roasted Red Bell Pepper Soup

paprika-1300353_1920Harvest time is here. Chilly weather, falling leaves – and soup! Try this simple, low calorie and flavorful soup from the American Heart Association. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


  • 14.5 oz. canned, no-salt-added, diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 3/4 cups fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped, roasted red bell peppers, drained if bottled
  • 1 Tbsp. dried basil, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
  • 2 tsp. olive oil, extra virgin preferred
  • 1/4 tsp. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped, fresh parsley


  1. In a medium saucepan, stir together the tomatoes with liquid, broth, roasted peppers, basil, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the oil, sugar, and salt. Serve sprinkled with the parsley.

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!