5 Facts About Martin Luther King Jr.

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his courageous civil rights work. In honor of this American hero, we’re sharing a few interesting facts you may not know about him:

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. was named was Michael at birth. 
    He was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.
  2. King got his doctorate from Boston University.
    King skipped both 9th and 12th grade because he was such a gifted student (his mother was a school teacher who taught him to read before he even entered school), and King entered Morehouse College at age 15. He was ordained before graduating with a degree in sociology. After earning a divinity degree from Pennsylvania’s Crozer Theological Seminary, King attended graduate school at Boston University, where he received his Ph.D. degree in theology in 1955. And it was while he attended school in Boston that King met his future wife, Coretta Scott, who was attending the New England Conservatory of Music nearby.
  3. He went to jail 29 times.
    King was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.
  4. King was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.
    In 1964 at the age of 35, Martin Luther King Jr. was the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent work in the civil rights movement. After his death, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. From his early studies at school, he was influenced by the peaceful teachings of Henry David Thoreau and Mahatma Gandhi.
  5. George Washington is the only other American to have had his birthday observed as a national holiday.
    In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr.. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.

Field Trip: Emera Astronomy Center Outing

One of the best parts of living at Dirigo Pines is our proximity to the University of Maine and all their great shows and offerings. Have you checked out the Emera Astronomy Center yet? Our residents recently took a trip to experience “Expedition Reef.” This full-dome planetarium show provides an up-close look at a part of our planet many people have never experienced, exploring the secrets of the “rainforests of the sea” and embarking on an oceanic safari to the world’s most vibrant and endangered marine ecosystems – coral reefs.

The Emera Astronomy Center is open to the public and very affordable. Tickets for planetarium programs are $6 for adults, $5 for UMaine students, veterans and seniors, and $4 for children under 12. Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 207.581.1341, or at the ticket box office prior to the show. The Expedition Reef show is going on through Jan. 25.

Learn more at astro.umaine.edu/publicevents.



Join Us for Some Fun Upcoming Events!

There’s never a shortage of things to do at Dirigo Pines. If your New Year’s resolutions include getting out more, socializing, and learning, here are 4 great ways to do just that! Check out these interesting upcoming speakers and events at Dirigo Pines:

Nathaniel Child Coast to Coast: A photographic journey across North America, exploring some of the continent’s most amazing natural events. Tuesday, January 15 at 7:15 p.m. in the Penobscot Media Room.

Dr. Mary Freeman: African Americans and Antislavery Politics in Maine. Thursday, January 17 at 7:15 p.m. in the Penobscot Media Room.

Paint & Sip with Valerie Wallace: Join Valerie for a fun painting class. Wine and cheese will be served. Thursday, January 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the Kenduskeag Gathering Place.

Professor Doug Allen: He will discuss his new book “Gandhi after 9/11: Creative Nonviolence and Sustainability.” Thursday, January 31 at 7:15 p.m. in the Penobscot Media Room.

5 Ways to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s resolution making time! If you’re resolving to be more active and social (what a great resolution!), Dirigo Pines makes it easy to keep your resolutions with tons of activities, wellness groups, fitness classes and more. Check it out:

  1. Move and groove. No matter what your activity level, there’s a class for you at Dirigo Pines. From yoga to sittercise, Dirigo Pines offers regular opportunities for residents to stretch and move. 
  2. Get social. Making new friends and staying social is an important part of aging. At Dirigo Pines, there’s no shortage of things going on and ways to meet new people – from movie nights and matinees on the big screen in the Kenduskeag Gathering Place to non-stop musical entertainment, books clubs, guest speakers, crafting, paint and sips, games of pool in the billiards room and more.  
  3. Get outside. Dirigo’s trails connect 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. 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 about our trails.
  4. Off campus fun. Dirigo Pines has a strong tie to the University of Maine, whose campus is just minutes away. In addition to its excellent library and museums, residents enjoy access to the school’s many sports facilities, including tennis courts, an indoor pool, cross-country skiing trails and bike paths. Seminars and lectures are regularly presented on campus, and academic courses offer endless ways to fulfill lifelong desires for learning.

Click here to check out other upcoming activities!

Happy Winter!

Happy First Day of Winter! Make a resolution to get to know Maine better! Dirigo Pines is situated right in the heart of Maine, conveniently distanced from southern, northern, western and coastal attractions.

Winter in Maine brings its own flurry of fun with plenty of local skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, skating and more. The Maine Ski Association offers a long list of mountains for alpine skiers for all levels as well as Nordic ski areas at skimaine.com. The nearby University of Maine offers cross-county ski trails as well – click here for more information.

Did you know Maine offers 3,500 miles of groomed interconnected trails for snowmobilers? Millinocket’s New England Outdoor Center offers rentals for newbies to try out the popular Maine winter pastime. Check out the Maine Snowmobile Association’s website for trail conditions, maps, and much more.

What’s your favorite Maine winter activity? Share it in the comments below!

Dirigo Dish: Brisket with Cranberries

Make this tasty holiday dish the day before and be ready for guests! Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 2-pound beef brisket, all visible fat discarded
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano (crumbled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (coarsely ground preferred)
  • 1/2 cup fat-free, low-sodium beef broth
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (lowest sodium available)
  • 1 cup whole cranberries
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar


  1. Heat the oil in the pressure cooker on sauté. Cook the brisket on both sides, or until browned. Turn off the pressure cooker. In a small bowl, stir together the oregano, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture over the beef. Pour the broth around the beef. Pour the barbecue sauce over the beef. Secure the lid. Cook on high pressure for 55 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure.
  2. Transfer the beef to a glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate. Pour the accumulated juices into a glass bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Just before serving time, preheat the oven to 300°F. Remove the beef from the refrigerator. Very thinly slice the beef across the grain. Put it in the baking dish. Skim off the fat from the refrigerated juices. Pour 1 cup of the juices over the beef. Bake, tightly covered, for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, cook 1 cup of the juices over medium-high heat. Add the cranberries and brown sugar. Cook until the cranberries pop and are soft, stirring occasionally. Drizzle the sauce over the beef.
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!

The Care You Need

One of the best parts of retiring to Dirigo Pines is having a variety of care options available, all in one place. Getting older often means we need a helping hand with certain activities, like getting up from a chair or out of bed, cooking dinner, or doing laundry. For those needing additional help, Meadowbrook Commons at Dirigo Pines offers Specialized Care.

People often ask us the difference between our Assisted Living and Specialized Care settings. Our routine Service Plan meetings help to determine when more assistance can make for a more enjoyable lifestyle. The number of activities with which a resident needs assistance, as well as the amount of time required for those activities, determines whether the resident can benefit from either Assisted Living or Specialized Care.

What Specialized Care Can Offer

Our specialized care neighborhood provides a higher level of personal care for those who need more assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, getting in and out of chairs or bed, walking, and eating.

We provide assistance around the clock, and medical care is close at hand. Eastern Maine Medical Center and St. Joseph Hospital, each just 15 minutes away, provide state‐of‐the‐art specialty services for our residents needing advanced care.

Services & Amenities

  • Therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living (eating, ambulation, transfer, bathing, dressing and toileting)
  • Scheduled transportation to medical appointments with attendant
  • Medication administration and monitoring
  • Professional care planning to enhance residents’ health
  • Three nutritious and delicious meals daily
  • Linen and laundry service
  • 24‐hour on‐site care associates
  • Wellness programs
  • On‐site emergency response system
  • Routine housekeeping
  • Social, recreational, and cultural programs
  • Utilities, including cable TV, heat, air conditioning, and electricity
  • Medical Director oversight available

Meadowbrook Commons even offers residents special activities every day – check out our monthly Calendar of Events to learn more. 

Click here to learn more about our Specialized Care and other living options. To schedule a visit, call 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

The Gift of Experience

Tired of trinkets? Not sure what to give this holiday season? How about the gift of experience? Dirigo Pines is conveniently close to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor offering nationally touring shows, as well as the recently revitalized Collins Center in Orono, and the newly updated Penobscot Theatre in downtown Bangor. There are shows and entertainment aplenty – tickets can make a great holiday gift. Here are few upcoming shows:

  • Elf the Musical: Take the grandkids to see this silly and beloved holiday-movie-turned-musical on the stage at Penobscot Theatre in Bangor. Give tickets as an early gift and get everyone in the mood for holiday fun. Throughout December. Learn more here.
  • Cirque Dreams Holidaze: Watch this festive take on the holidays with amazing acts and costumes, coming December 13 to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Click here to learn more and find tickets.
  • The Nutcracker: What’s more Christmas than watching Clara and company on stage at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono? Take the family and arrive early to pick up your own nutcracker at the gift shop. Holiday shopping done. Coming December 15 and 16 – click here for details and tickets.
  • Honky Tonk Laundry: Starting January 31 through the end of February at the Penobscot Theatre, watch two country angels turn a humble laundromat into a boot-scootin’ honky-tonk in a new musical featuring hits made famous by Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, The Dixie Chicks, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn and more. Click here for details and tickets.

Dirigo Dish: Avocado Pesto Dip

Keep visitors happy and snacking with this tasty dip perfect for crunchy bread, pita chips or veggies, from the American Heart Association. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


  • 2 medium ripe avocados (peeled, pitted, cut into pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  1. In a food processor or blender, process all the ingredients for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy and creamy. 
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!

7 Reasons We’re Thankful to Live at Dirigo Pines

Dirigo Pines’ residents are more than willing to share about why they feel thankful to live here. From the beautiful grounds to the healthcare services you need and the friendliest staff around, here are just a few of the reasons to give thanks for living at Dirigo Pines…

  1. The People: Meeting new people is part of the joy of living in a retirement community like Dirigo Pines. Our residents are from all over the world with incredibly colorful stories to share. Artists, musicians, college professors, outdoor enthusists, world travelers – you never know who you might meet.
  2. Pet Friendly: Some of our residents are a little furrier than others. Did you know Dirigo Pines is pet friendly? Dirigo is home to many animals at the Inn and in our cottages. And for those without pets but a soft spot for furry friends, we enjoy regular visits from a variety of therapy animals.
  3. Delicious Dining: One of the best places to meet a new friend is at dinner — and that’s where Dirigo really excels. Chef Lew Stubbs and his incredible team in the kitchen make mouth-watering meals that leave residents (and visitors) raving. Using locally sourced produce and seafood is important to the team, and ensures high quality, fresh and delicious meals. And for extra convenience, we offer an All Day Dining Program, a unique concept designed to provide residents freedom of choice with options like breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 p.m. rather than noon. 
  4. Our Campus: From a network of trails to stocked fishing ponds to stunning gardens and plenty of space and raised beds to claim as your own, our campus is a truly beautiful place. Residents often spot deer, birds, and even the occasional moose take a tour. Enjoy a walk on our beautiful nature trails or grab a bench down by one of the stocked fishing ponds and watch the wonder of nature in every season.
  5. Practice Your Short Game: One particularly unique feature of our campus is our very own Piney Knoll Putting Green outside the Dirigo Pines Inn. 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, have some fun and meet new friends.
  6. Fun, Fun, Fun. Dirigo Pines’ residents know how to have a good time. From concerts and play productions put on by the staff and residents, to fun traditions like watching Dirigo Dug come out of his tent each Groundhog Day to predict the beginning of spring, there’s no shortage of entertainment at Dirigo Pines. The Dirigo Pines activity staff plans regular exercise programs, guest speakers, groups for all interests, musical entertainment, outings to local shows and attractions (like those at nearby UMaine’s Collins Center), movies and more.

What are you thankful for this season? Share it in the comments below!