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!

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. 

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.

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: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/projects/fall_foliage/index.shtml

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:

Tour Through the Past

September is great time to explore the history of our area. The Bangor Historical Society offers a variety of walking tours this month, through nearby Mount Hope Cemetery and through an area of Bangor known at the Devil’s Half Acre. The Historical Society also offers tours through its headquarters at the Thomas A. Hill House (did we mention it’s haunted?) — Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm June through September. Hours October through May are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to 4 pm. Hours may vary due to special events, programs and activities. Private tours are also available.

Upcoming Walking Tours:

Mount Hope Cemetery

Sept. 9 at 10 am; Sept. 16 at 6 pm; Sept. 23 at 6 pm; Sept. 30 at 10 am

Learn about the famous and infamous individuals who make their final resting place in America’s second oldest garden cemetery. This tour meets at Mount Hope Cemetery on State Street. $10 for adults; $5 for children. Purchase tickets through the Historical Society’s website at bangorhistoricalsociety.org.

Want to explore Mount Hope Cemetery on your own? Click here to check out this self-guided tour providing an overview of some of the highlights. 

Devil’s Half Acre

Sept. 13 at 6 pm

Even though Maine enacted a Prohibitory Law in 1851, Bangor didn’t comply. In the area known as the “Devil’s Half Acre” saloons & brothels reigned and vice & violence thrived. Led by the city’s most notorious Madam, Fan Jones, this tour shines a light on Bangor’s wicked side and tells the tales of the people who are just as much a part of the city’s history as those who lived in the majestic homes on Broadway.Purchase tickets through the Historical Society’s website at bangorhistoricalsociety.org.

Watch for the group’s Ghostly Bangor tours coming in October and featuring tales veiled in unsolved mysteries, murder and the past residents who may still linger in the Queen City.

For more information about the Bangor Historical Society, click here.

Eat Better, Live Better

Chef Lou Stubbs and his incredible team in the Dirigo Pines 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. You can find some of your own locally sourced food at area farmers markets – and Orono has one of the best around!

The Saturday Orono Farmers’ Market opens at 8 a.m. in the Steam Plant Parking Lot at the University of Maine and remains there until the Saturday before Thanksgiving. During Homecoming weekend in mid-October, the market will move to the Asa Adams School (behind Fire Station) just for that day. From December until commencement in May, the Market will be held downtown.

From fresh seasonal fruits and veggies to organic milk, yogurt and cheese, to amazing locally sourced meat, fresh bread and bakery products, to coffee, seafood, and more, it’s a veritable smorgasbord of fresh food and local products. Remember to bring your own bags and an appetite. It’s a great place to find fresh food and meet the farmer who grew it. For more information, visit their website and Facebook pages: 

Close to Home: Portland

Maine’s largest city is just 2 hours from Dirigo Pines – and a great place for a summer road trip! From sea kayaking to brewery tours to museum visits, there’s no shortage of things to do and places to eat! Share your favorite Portland highlights below!

Here are some ideas for your next trip:

  • Take a tour of Portland breweries. Visit “y’East Bayside” and Rising Tide Brewing, or take a tasting tour of Allagash Brewing Company. Allagash’s location on Industrial Way in Portland is also home to a veritable farmers market of beer – and food trucks. And of course there’s the Old Port with Shipyard and Sweetgrass Tasting Room. Thompson’s Point and Bissell Brothers is another great stop on your beer tour.
  • Explore Casco Bay. Rent a kayak for a workout and on the water view of stunning Casco Bay, or enjoy the trip via a sail boat cruise or hop aboard the Casco Bay Ferry for a trip to the islands of Peaks, Little Diamond, Great Diamond, Long, Chebeague, and Cliff. Check out the schedule here: www.cascobaylines.com/schedules.
  • Visit Peaks Island. Once an important WW II outpost and also known as the Coney Island of Maine, Peaks Island is home to artists, retirees, commuters of all sorts and a substantial summer population. Take the ferry over and explore the island via golf cart, the preferred island transportation and enjoy some delicious food and great views.
  • Portland Museum of Art. Enjoy American, European, and contemporary art, as well as iconic works from Maine-highlighting the rich artistic tradition of the state and its artists.
  • Catch a Show at Thompson’s Point. Thompson’s Point outdoor venue is located on the southern tip of “The Point”, adjacent to the recently restored section of the Union Station platform shed that was moved to the site in the 1960’s. A beautiful piece of land on the banks of the Fore River, Thompson’s Point has a scalable capacity of 2,500 to 5,000 for concerts and festivals – and within close proximity to downtown Portland – the venue will be linked to Portland Trails for easy walking and biking access.
  • Catch a Game at Hadlock Field. The Portland Sea Dogs are the Eastern League Double A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and play their home games at Portland’s Hadlock Field.
  • Fun for Kids. Located in the Arts District of downtown Portland, the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine features a wide variety of interactive exhibits and activities for children and families!
  • Something Unusual. The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland offers up an inside look at the study of hidden or unknown animals, and the world’s only cryptozoology museum. With a wide range of exhibitions from rare, one-of-a-kind scientific, zoological specimens to popular cultural homages, there’s lots to discover! Ever seen a Yeti hair sample? Plan your visit!

It’s Festival Season!

It’s festival season in Maine! Take advantage of living in the middle of it all at Dirigo Pines in Orono, and visit these August festivals for lots of fun and Maine culture!

American Folk Festival – August 25-27 on the Bangor Waterfront

A massive 3-day music events, the American Folk Festival is a Maine tradition offering music and dance from all cultures and corners of the world. Dance to zydeco from C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, check out a Quebecois group, enjoy the blues, celtic music, jazz, reggae, and our own Pride of Maine Marching Band from the University of Maine. Insider tips: Don’t miss the Inuit Throat Singing for a unique musical experience – and make the trek down to the Dance Tent – you won’t be disappointed!

www.americanfolkfestival.com

Maine Lobster Festival – August 2-6, Rockland

Celebrating its 70th year, the Maine Lobster Festival serves up the state’s favorite crustacean (we’re talking 17,000 pounds of lobster last year!) in every way possible. Enjoy five days of feasting on the coast of Maine, the coronation of the Maine Sea Goddess, the Great International Lobster Crate Race (open to anyone brave enough to risk falling into the chilly ocean with thousands of people watching your every move), parade, arts & crafts, and more food. 

www.mainelobsterfestival.com

Machias Wild Blueberry Festival – August 18-20, Machias

Blueberries get their time to shine in August too. Celebrate the powerful little fruit in Machias as they roll out the blue carpet with food, entertainment, contests, and all things blueberry. There’s no admission charge. About 2 hours from Dirigo, the area also offers great whale-watching, lighthouses, hiking, kayaking, lobster rolls, and lots more!

www.machiasblueberry.com

Ploye Festival – August 11-13, Fort Kent

If you’re up for a bit of traveling, there’s a unique tradition in the northeast corner of America this time of the year – the making of the world’s largest ploye. And if you’re not familiar with ployes, you’re in for a special treat. The buckwheat pancake is an Acadian icon and it’s celebrated every summer in Fort Kent along side the International Muskie Derby (and if you’re not familiar with that one – it’s a real big fish!). The events include activities such as making the world’s largest ploye (12 feet in diameter last year!), live music entertainment, craft and vendor fair and more. It’s a weekend of fun for the whole family.

visitaroostook.com/event/24th-annual-ploye-festival/

Close to Home: Baxter State 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 Baxter State Park so nearby! Whether you want to take a day trip, hike to the top of Katahdin or camp out for a night or two, Baxter won’t disappoint in breathtaking views and incredible experiences.

Did you know… The Park is self-funded through an endowment left by former Maine governor Percival P. Baxter, user fees, and revenue from the Scientific Forest Management Area. Gov. Baxter left a trust of nearly 7 million dollars to ensure that Park managers would have sufficient funds to maintain the Park without ever having to compete for Maine taxpayers’ dollars from the general fund account.

Baxter was governor of Maine from 1921-1924. He enjoyed fishing and vacationing in the Maine woods throughout his childhood and his affection for the land and Maine’s wildlife were instrumental in his creation of a park for people of the State of Maine.

There are two park entrances, from the north and south. The entrance through Millinocket is about an hour and half from Dirigo Pines. Click here for driving directions. 

Here are some other fun facts about Baxter State Park and what not to miss: