Get Outside this Winter!

Retirement living means more time for activities like skiing and snowshoeing! Dirigo Pines nature trails are great to explore on snowshoes in the winter, and nearby you’ll find lots of trails perfect for a winter hike or cross-country ski outing.

The Penobscot Valley Ski Club offers a great list of nordic trails on its website (click here). PVSC grooms several trail systems that are free and open to the public. Trails around Orono include the Caribou Bog Ski Trail, trails behind the Orono schools, and University of Maine trails (click here for a UMaine trail map).

Just down the road in Bangor, try out the open trails groomed around the Bangor Municipal Golf Course, or head to Hampden’s middle school and try out the Reeds Brook trails.

Ever been snow shoeing? It’s another great and super fun way to enjoy the snow! Hirundo Wildlife Refuge in nearby Alton (about 10 minutes from Orono) offers some amazing snow shoeing opportunities, as well as the University of Maine. 

What’s your favorite winter activity? Share it below!

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.

 

 

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!

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.

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!

November Business After Hours

Join us for our November Business After Hours with host Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono! November 15 at Dirigo Pines from 5-7 p.m.

Bring a wrapped gift for a child to be entered in a special prize drawing! All gifts will be donated to Toys for Tots!

RSVP for an extra chance to win a prize, but please remember, you have to be present to win! For tickets, click here.

Business After Hours is a popular Chamber event that allows for networking between business professionals. The after-hours is held at a different Chamber member location each month, which enables the Chamber to secure visibility for a number of different members. The time-frame of 5-7 p.m. permits attendees to enjoy appetizers and drinks after work, and also enter to win fantastic raffle prizes donated by area businesses.

Click here for more information!

Holiday Shopping Spree

Ready? Set? The holidays are coming! Come enjoy a Holiday Shopping Spree event at Dirigo Pines! Join us tomorrow, Thursday, November 8 at 2 p.m. in the Kenduskeag Gathering Place in the Dirigo Pines Inn at 9 Alumni Drive in Orono.

Shop local vendors including:

  • Specialty Sweets
  • Valentine Footwear
  • Willie Wags
  • The Not So Empty Nest
  • The Yankee Chef
  • Quality Jewelers
  • Damon’s Beverage and Redemption
  • The Bangor Daily News

Mark your calendar and click here for more details!

Garden Harvest

It’s Harvest Time in Maine – and at Dirigo Pines our gardens are producing quite the haul this year! Brussels sprouts, tomatoes and cabbage – oh my!

Just behind the Dirigo Pines Inn are a series of raised beds that residents claim each spring. Stunning flowers and gorgeous fruits and veggies sprout and produce all summer long, and this time of year the harvest is plentiful.

Many days residents can find vegetables available at the Inn in exchange for a donation to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s – a favorite charity among Dirigo residents. And what veggies residents can’t use are donated to local food pantries and Habitat for Humanity to help the greater community. Happy harvesting!

Fall Foliage Tour at the Thomas Hill Standpipe

Leaf peepers take note: the Fall Foliage Tour at the Thomas Hill Standpipe is coming Wednesday, October 10 from 3-6 p.m. Access to the promenade deck is via a 100-step enclosed stairway. The historic structure is not handicap accessible.

Did you know: The tower was open to the public unattended for many years, and featured seats on the promenade deck for viewing the countryside. The Bangor Commercial reported that 3,200 tourists signed the guest book in 1935. Now the Water District offer 4 seasonal tours each year.

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

The Thomas Hill Standpipe was built in 1897 to provide water storage for fire-fighting and to help regulate pressure in downtown Bangor. It has been in continuous use since it was completed. Bangor Water assumed ownership of the standpipe in 1957 when a quasi-municipal water district (separate from the City of Bangor) was formed.

The standpipe, which holds 1,500,000 gallons of water, is a riveted wrought iron tank with a wood frame jacket located on Thomas Hill in Bangor. The metal standpipe consists of steel plates riveted one outside the other, and stands 50 feet high and 75 feet in diameter.

The wooden building that encloses it is 85 feet in diameter and 110 feet high. The 24 12”x12” main posts, which extend up past the open promenade deck, begin at the base of the structure and are 48 feet long.

Between the tank and the wooden shell is a staircase to the promenade deck and – beyond a locked door – a winding stairway leading to the roof and access to the flagpole. The promenade deck encircling the top is 12 feet wide and 280 feet in circumference.

Click here for more details: www.bangorwater.org/about-us/thomas-hill-standpipe.

The Standpipe is about a 10-minute drive from Dirigo Pines — click here for driving directions.

Foliage Tips for Autumn

Happy First Day of Autumn! Can you believe fall is here already? The leaves are starting to change, which means leaf peeping season has also arrived. At Dirigo Pines in Orono, we’re perfectly set right in the middle of Maine to take advantage of all the great foliage sights around our state. 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.

The Department of Ag also has recommendations for foliage hikes and paddles — and we can’t imagine a better way to take in all Maine has to offer! From kayaking the Androscoggin River to taking a drive to the top of Mt. Battie in Camden for fall colors and an ocean view, there are ideas for everyone. Check it out here.

Click here to for the state’s guide to foliage season: http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mfs/projects/fall_foliage/index.shtml

For more about local foliage, check out this post.

Happy Leaf Peeping! Have your own favorite spot to suggest? Share it in the comments below!