Stephen King Fun for the Constant Reader

Feeling brave? This October is the perfect time to take advantage of living so close to a world famous horror author and jump into some paranormal activity. Stephen King is a graduate of the nearby University of Maine in Orono and calls Bangor (often appearing in his books under the guise of Derry) home. From haunted sewer grates to sematary tours, there’s lots of ghoulish fun to be had.

Go See IT

If those red balloons that keep popping up all over town send shivers down your spine, maybe it’s time to go see Stephen King’s IT. Check out the new film on the big screen (now showing in local theaters and the Bangor Drive-In) for the full fear factor. You could even prep ahead of time by adding the novel to required reading for your book club or planning an IT tour around Derry, I mean Bangor, to get in the mood. Visit the Paul Bunyan statue on Main Street in front of the Cross Insurance Center — the statue comes to life in the novel thanks to that clever clown Pennywise. Check out the sewer drain on the corner of Jackson and Union Street where Pennywise lured young Georgie Denbrough (just don’t stick your arm in there), then head up the hill to the Thomas Hill Standpipe that inspired the haunted water tower in the story.

Take the Full Tour

For the full Stephen King experience and visits to many other nearby spots that inspired King, check out SK Tours of Maine. Stu Tinker offers private narrated tours seven days a week all year round. The tour features about 30 stops at places King worked, lived, spots that have inspired him, and actual film locations from his movies. Check out more here. 

Rare Collection

New to downtown Bangor is Gerald Winters & Son, featuring an impressive collection of rare Stephen King books and memorabilia. Part store, part museum, you’ll find signed copies of books, T-shirts and posters, fun collectibles, and lots of rarities. An asbestos wrapped version of Firestarter, perhaps? You’ll also find some awesome first-edition works by J.R.R. Tolkien, J.D. Salinger and more.

And one last stop — drive by King’s house at 47 West Broadway in Bangor and stop for a picture in front of the famed gargoyled gate. Just keep an eye out for red balloons.

Supporting a Great Cause!

Supporting the Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Dirigo Pines is a long-time supporter of the Eastern Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s, coming Saturday, October 21. Residents host fundraisers throughout the year and donate to support this important cause – because everyone knows someone whose life has been touched by Alzheimer’s. 

You can participate or donate to Team Dirigo Pines through the link below. The 2.5 mile walk will be held on the waterfront in Bangor. 81 Teams have already signed up and raised thousands on their way to a goal of $170,000! All funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s further research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. The Alzheimer’s Association is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

For more information, click here!

Avoiding Falls this Fall

We’re all a little accident-prone now and then, but there are many ways we can reduce our risk of falling — which is particularly important as we age. Falls are the number one cause of injury for seniors. Did you know that about half of all falls requiring hospitalization take place at home? Here are some tips for reducing your risk and kicking off the autumn season standing tall. 

Simple Steps

The easiest thing to do: wear shoes and pick up clutter around your home. Socks are slippery. Give yourself extra traction with a good pair of shoes and remove any objects that might trip you up — especially at night or when the lights are dim. Keep an eye out for long cords that could trip you up and area rugs that slip and slide. Another common cause of tripping — pets. Fido doesn’t mean to get in the way, so keep an eye out for cats and dogs and tread carefully. Taking more deliberate steps and slowing down will increase your chances of avoiding a fall.

Light It Up

Between fading vision and shorter autumn days, night lights can be a real lifesaver. Line your halls — particularly paths from the bedroom to the bathroom and other well-traveled night time spots — with well-lit night lights to guide the way.

Grab Hold

Grab bars in the bathroom and along stairs and awkward steps can help keep you upright. Getting in and out of the bathtub or shower or up from the toilet can be tricky, so strategically place grab bars and handrails to help you along. The Maintenance crew at Dirigo Pines would be happy to help install these safety devices properly.

Fall Foliage Tour at the Standpipe

If Stephen King hasn’t scared you away from water towers for life, then mark your calendar for the Fall Foliage Tour at the Thomas Hill Standpipe coming Wednesday, October 11 from 3-6 p.m. 

The Bangor Water District hosts the tours and offers the following details:

The standpipe was built in 1897 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.  It is not handicap accessible; the promenade deck is reached via a 100-step enclosed staircase.

Travel on Thomas Hill Road to the standpipe will be one-way from Highland Avenue; parking is limited in the immediate area of the standpipe. 

A permanent plaque details the construction and history of the 119-year-old standpipe. The stone on which the plaque is mounted was moved from the Floods Pond watershed by District crews.

For more information, click here. 

Memory Loss Neighborhood

For loved ones struggling with dementia and memory problems, individual attention and special care is needed. At Dirigo Pines, memory care is provided in The Arbor Neighborhood, where residents will find a beautifully warm and inviting environment. There is a high level of activity and involvement by our staff as well as volunteers and family members. Medications are administered and monitored under the guidance of our medical director or the resident’s assigned physician. Residents have access to their own garden/courtyard, sun porch, exercise programs, outings, and special events.

Click here to check out our October calendar of events.

In addition, The Village Program is available through Grace Management in The Arbor neighborhood. Our approach to memory care focuses on our residents’ life experiences and on establishing strong relationships within our community. Developed specifically for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementias, The Village Program offers personalized programming intended to engage our residents in activities that reflect their preferred schedules, lifestyles and interests.

Services & Amenities

  • Individual specialized attention, working with the resident’s personal physician
  • Medication management
  • Professional care planning to enhance residents’ overall health
  • Therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living (eating, ambulation, transfer, bathing, toileting & dressing)
  • Three nutritious, delicious meals daily plus snacks
  • Linen and laundry service
  • Specially trained care associates available 24 hours a day
  • Wellness programs
  • On‐site emergency response system
  • Routine housekeeping
  • Outdoor garden courtyard
  • Medical Director oversight available
  • Social, recreational, and cultural programs
  • Utilities, including cable TV, heat, air conditioning, and electricity

To learn more, click here, or call 1-866-344-3400 or email for more information or to schedule a tour.

Dirigo Dish: Chicken with Mushroom Sauce and Sauteed Greens

As the nights get cooler, a more hearty and warm dish is just the ticket. Try this creamy and delicious chicken dish from the American Heart Association. And find even more heart healthy recipes at!


4 Servings

For the chicken with mushrooms:

  • 1 (10-ounce) container baby bella mushrooms, sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, cleaned, halved and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sliced white button musrooms (about 4 cups)
  • 4, (6-ounce) skinless, boneless whole chicken cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 teaspoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

For the sauteed greens:

  • 2 teaspoons canola oil (divided)
  • 1, (5-ounce) container baby kale
  • 2, (5-ounce) container baby spinach
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped, unsalted pecans
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar


  • Prepare all the mushrooms: wipe the baby bell mushrooms with a wet paper towel. Trim and discard the ends and thinly sliced each mushroom. Next, clean the portobello mushrooms by removing and discarding each stem. Use a spoon to scrape the black gills from the underside of each mushroom; discard gills. Slice each portobello in half and then thinly slice each half vertically. Halve any white mushroom halves that are much larger than the others.
  • Season chicken with ¼ teaspoon salt plus a dash of pepper. Add 2 teaspoons oil to a large nonstick sauté pan or a large Dutch oven. Warm over medium-high heat and add chicken cutlets. Sauté until both sides of chicken are golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and reserve.
  • Add remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the pan, continuing to cook over medium-high heat. Add all the mushroom slices, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are softened. Stir in pepper, thyme, and water. Use tongs to place chicken back into the pan. Increase heat to high; when boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium. Cook until chicken is done (cut thickest piece in the center to make sure juices run clear), about 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the sautéed greens. Add oil into a large nonstick sauté pan and warm over medium-high heat. Add all the baby kale, stirring constantly until wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat, adding spinach and garlic, stirring constantly until wilted, another 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, and pecans. Remove from heat. Drizzle vinegar over the greens and transfer to a platter.
  • When chicken is fully cooked, use tongs to transfer chicken breasts to the platter (on top of the greens). Increase the heat to high; add flour to the mushrooms, stirring constantly as the mushroom liquid thickens slightly, a few minutes. Remove from heat and stir in sour cream until dissolved. Pour mushroom sauce over chicken and 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!

Back to School Time

While school-aged children may have mixed feelings about going back to school, as adults we can finally understand the idea of learn for the fun of it. The University of Maine’s Penobscot Valley Senior College offers opportunities for learning, social interaction, and intellectual stimulation with no requirement for college degrees, tests, or grades. Affiliated with the statewide Maine Senior College Network and the UMaine Center on Aging, Penobscot Valley Senior College offers non-credit courses and other learning opportunities for area residents 50 years and over. Volunteer members plan and teach weekly two-hour sessions for six weeks each fall and spring. And membership dues and course fees are minimal.

Dirigo Pines is pleased to be a host for various classes through the Senior College, making attending even more convenient for Dirigo residents.  

Established in the fall 2002, Penobscot Valley Senior College serves the greater Bangor-Orono region. The college’s mission is to offer adults who are at least 50 years old opportunities to learn about a wide array of fascinating topics. The college’s emphasis is on enjoyable learning in a relaxed non-competitive atmosphere. Approximately 200 adults attend PVSC classes during each fall and spring term. PVSC is one of 18 senior colleges in Maine, stretching from York County to Presque Isle and Calais, linked to the Maine Senior College Network, which is located at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine.

Click here to learn more and keep an eye out for the fall schedule being announced soon.

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Retirement Community

As summer trips and vacations wind down, some of us close to retirement age start doing some real thinking about wrapping up our professional careers. The idea of being able to take a trip at a moment’s notice, without considering work schedules or who will watch the house or care for the yard, can sound very appealing. As you prepare for retirement and consider your options, here are 4 things to think about…

Starting the Process

There are lots of ways to research nowadays – the internet offers a wealth of information about retirement communities (find Dirigo Pines website at But one of the best ways to research is asking trusted friends and family for their recommendations. And when you find a community you think you’d enjoy – get the inside scoop. Take a tour, talk to residents and get their opinion on what they love and what they’d change. At Dirigo Pines, we offer tours and lunch and an opportunity to chat with residents and get your questions answered. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email for more information or to schedule a tour.

Where Do You Want to Retire?

If you have family and friends in Maine, you’ll like want to stay close to home. One of the best things about living in Orono is being centrally located and just a short drive from all points north, south, east and west. And while many Mainers thrive on the cold weather and take advantage of the snow for skiing and snowshoeing, many of Dirigo Pines residents are also snowbirds. As they head for warmer weather during the coldest part of the year, Dirigo residents can rest assured their homes are being maintained and looked after without hiring extra help.

Can We Afford It?

Does a retirement community make sense financially for you? It’s a big question. The best way to figure it out is putting pen to paper and comparing your current expenses with your expected retirement expenses. Remember to include regular expenses like electric and cable, but also keep in mind big ticket expenses like that new roof or furnace. Many home expenses, both regular and unexpected, are included for Dirigo Pines residents. Check out our interactive maps comparing costs inside and outside your home.

Does the Facility Offer the Care We Need?

Do you need special care – or will you need care in the future? The last thing you want to do in your retirement is be constantly moving as your healthcare needs change. Choosing a community like Dirigo Pines that offers a continuum of care, from independent cottages and apartments to assisted living to memory care, ensures you will have the care you need as you age. 

Ready to learn more? Come take a tour! See for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email for more information or to schedule a tour.

Close to Home: Touring Maine Foliage

The state of Maine begins offering tips for foliage seekers beginning today. Dirigo Pines is perfectly situated for residents to enjoy day trips both north and south as the leaves begin to change. According to the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s website, northern Maine is at or near peak conditions the last week of September into the first week of October. Central and western mountains of Maine are at or near peak Columbus day week/weekend. Coastal and southern Maine generally reach peak or near peak conditions mid-to-last October.

Click here to check out this handy site that can guide you through foliage season:

Another great tip from the site: When planning a fall foliage trip, allow time to leisurely leaf peep. Many of the roads you’ll travel are two lanes and wind along our countryside through quaint inland and coastal towns. Take photographs from rest stops, stroll through the great Maine woods and enjoy our beautiful fall experience.

Hover over the map for links to great fall trips and peek foliage dates:

Care-Free, Independent Living at Dirigo Pines

Looking for independent living without the responsibilities of mowing the yard, plowing in the winter, making dinner every night and weekly housekeeping chores? The Inn at Dirigo Pines offers all this and more. 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.

The Inn is the heart of social activities at Dirigo, offering a gorgeous gathering room with large stone fireplace, spacious dining rooms, cozy library, hair salon, game room, fitness studio and more. Residents can even reserve the private dining room for their own gathering with friends or family. 

One monthly fee covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

Services and Amenities

  • Social, recreational, and cultural programs
  • Daily dinner and continental breakfast, plus our Sunday Brunch
  • Wellness programs and on‐site nurse
  • Scheduled group transportation
  • LiveSAFE emergency response system
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Utilities, including cable TV, WiFi, heat, air conditioning, and electricity

Click here to compare the cost of all-inclusive living at Dirigo Pines to living at home. 

Come take a tour and see for yourself what retirement at Dirigo Pines looks like. Call 1-866-344-3400 or email for more information or to schedule a tour.