Connecting with Mom

Celebrating events like Mother’s Day without actually getting to hug and visit with Mom is challenging, to say the least. Here are a few ways to connect with Mom and stay safe.

Write It Down: Cards are great, but personal touches like artwork from grandchildren, photos, poems and warm wishes make getting mail all the more heartfelt.

Virtually Connect: An online visit is better than no visit — seeing a smiling face and chatting online is a great way stay connected. Add in a story time with little ones or fun online games (Good Housekeeping offers this great list) to keep the connection going.

Fun & Games: Send Mom something fun to do while staying at home. A great book (if you both read the same book, connect later for a virtual book club), puzzle, new game or cribbage board all make quarantine a little more entertaining.

Sharing is Caring: One thing families love to share is food. Connect online and cook up a special family recipe together from the safety of your own individual kitchens, or create a family cookbook to share with loved ones.

Relax: A package with bath salts, a candle, a meditation how-to book and chocolates can help make Mom’s time at home more relaxing and enjoyable.

Have your own ideas to make this a memorable Mother’s Day? Share below!

 

Get Some Fresh Air

As spring slowly makes her appearance and the temperature begins to rise, it’s time to get outside for some fresh air. Instead of being cooped up indoors, take a walk outside it’s a great way to keep your distance while also taking in everything that nature has to offer this time of year.

Nearby Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk

Just down the road from Dirigo Pines is the Bangor City Forest and Orono Bog Walk.

The Bog Walk is a 1-mile boardwalk loop that begins at the forested wetland edge in the Bangor City Forest, and after 800 feet crosses the Orono town line into the portion of the Orono Bog owned by the University of Maine. Along the way the boardwalk passes through a wide range of changing vegetation and environments on its way to the open, peat moss carpeted center of the Orono Bog.

It’s a fascinating and educational walk, allowing visitors to observe the colorful bog, its tranquil beauty and the amazing plants and animals that call the bog home. Look for pitcher plants along the Bog Walk, in bloom throughout the summer. Pitcher plants are carnivorous, luring insects into a cavity in the middle of the plant. Signs with illustrations help visitors spot interesting plant and animal life along the way. 

The Bog Walk is set to open May 1. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk.

Can’t wait? You can enjoy the Bangor City Forest any time of year. The Rolland F. Perry City Forest includes 680 acres of wildlife habitat and forest, offering more than 9 miles of trails for walking, hiking, biking, and during the winter – snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Dogs are welcome in many areas, but must be on a leash at all times, per city ordinance, on Main Road, Shannon Road, Tripp Drive, and East Trail.

The forest is accessible via Kittredge Road and Tripp Drive. The Tripp Drive entrance is just 4 minutes from Dirigo Pines. Click here for directions. 

6 Lucky Reasons to Live at Dirigo Pines

Surrounded by nature with the conveniences of Bangor and the town of Orono so close by — it’s no wonder the residents of Dirigo Pines consider themselves very lucky. Stop in and you’ll discover just how friendly and beautiful Dirigo Pines really is. It’s not just the professional services and healthcare we offer, but the little things that make it feel like Dirigo Pines might just be located at the end of a rainbow…

1. We’re Pet Friendly

Four-legged friends play a special role for many families, which is why Dirigo Pines is a pet-friendly facility. We are home to many animals at the Inn and in our cottages, offering residents the companionship, love and compassion that only a furry friend can give. For those who are not able to have a pet, we are lucky to have regular visits from a variety of therapy animals. Our therapy dogs are always greeted warmly by residents, particularly in our Memory Loss Neighborhood.

2. Our Very Own Putting Green

The weather is warming up, spring is just around the corner — that means golf season isn’t far behind. And while there are lots of ways to have fun at Dirigo, our Piney Knoll Putting Green outside the Dirigo Pines Inn might just be one of our favorites. 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 and have fun with friends.

3. UMaine Connection

Our connections and proximity to the University of Maine in Orono might make others green with envy. Maine’s flagship university is just down the road, meaning Dirigo residents have instant access to amazing shows, concerts, theatre, music, sporting events and more.

4. Strike Gold in the Fishing Ponds

Each spring we stock Dirigo’s two fishing ponds with small trout. Fishermen and women of all skill levels enjoy hooking a big ol’ fish, and for the non-anglers, our ponds are surrounded by beautiful walking trails. The trails are not to be missed in the spring — edged with stunning flowers in bloom and convenient benches to spot the occasional deer or heron.

5. Take a Hike

Speaking of trails, Dirigo offers hiking trails connecting to the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system, a 40-acre parcel situated at the west end of Main Street, 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 information about our trails! 

6. Green Thumbs

At Dirigo Pines, gardening is a great way to connect with our neighbors and find common interests. Our cottage residents have grown incredible gardens throughout the campus for all to enjoy. And Dirigo offers raised bed plots to all Inn residents in a community space that comes to life in the summer with fantastic color and fruit. It’s a fun spot for residents to gather and share their work, as well as share the delicious fruits of their labors with other residents.

Celebrate Spring with these Local Happenings

The groundhog may have been right this year — spring really does seem to be springing up early! Warmer temperatures, melting snow and peaks of green have us excited for all that springtime has to offer. Here are just a few of the fun events happening in our area — mark your calendars!

  • Eastern Maine Sportsmen’s Show: More than 100 exhibitors fill the UMaine Field House every spring to celebrate all things outdoors. This March 13-15, check out fly-tying demonstrations, meet hunting dogs, test your bow hunting skills and even paddle a kayak in the pool! Lots of fun for all ages with tons of hands-on demonstrations and things to see. Click here for details.
  • Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race: In nearby Bangor, every April we celebrate the arrival of spring by canoeing the Kenduskeag Stream in bizarre costumes — or simply watching from banks with the rest of the river vultures (even the spectators have their own special lingo at this annual spectacle on water). Six Mile Falls (click here for directions from Dirigo Pines) is a good spot to watch some wicked wipe outs, or head to the finish line in downtown Bangor. Remember to dress warm and bring snacks. This year’s race is scheduled for Saturday, April 18, starting at 9 a.m. Check out kenduskeagstreamcanoerace.com for more info.
  • Orono Bog Walk: The first stroll along the Orono Bog Walk always feels like spring is officially here to stay. Click here to stay tuned for the official opening day (typically around May 1). This incredible natural resource is just minutes from Dirigo Pines and a great place to take a springtime walk. The boardwalk is a wheelchair-friendly facility, and benches for rest and contemplation are provided at least every 200 feet. Please note that dogs are not permitted on the Bog Walk. Can’t wait? There’s Bog Walk Themed Paint & Sip coming up April 8 with half of the proceeds going to the maintenance of the Bog Walk. Click here for details.
  • National Park Week: Combine great scenery and history with great savings and visit a national park for free. Get into Acadia National Park for free on April 18, the first day of National Park Week. Take advantage and beat the crowds to Acadia, one of the nation’s most popular parks. Can’t make it this April? No problem. Everyone age 62 and over can get a lifetime pass to America’s National Park for $80; annual senior passes are just $20!

What your favorite springtime activities? Share them below!

Honoring Presidents’ Day

It’s Presidents’ Day — but how much do you know about this holiday and our first president? Here are some fun facts and trivia to help celebrate this historic day and share with friends.

  • Presidents’ Day is also called Washington’s Birthday (born on Feb. 22), but it’s intended to honor all U.S. presidents. Abraham Lincoln was also born in February (Feb. 12), so this month does seem like an appropriate time to celebrate our presidents.
  • Before Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968 to keep federal holidays on Mondays (instead of falling all over the place), Presidents’ Day was always celebrated on Washington’s birthday on Feb. 22. Now Presidents’ Day is always the third Monday of February (sometime between Feb. 15 and 21) — which means it can never line up to fall on Feb. 22 again.
  • Because George Washington was born when the Julian calendar was still being used, his original birthday was Feb. 11, 1731. When Britain and its colonies switched to the Gregorian calendar (which added Leap Years to more accurately reflect the Earth’s revolutions around the sun), people born before 1752 were told to adjust their birth dates. The Cliffs Notes version: Washington’s birthday was changed from Feb. 11, 1731 to Feb. 22, 1732.
  • One more unusual Washington fact: According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, some of his “wooden teeth” were actually made of hippopotamus ivory that was filed down to fit his mouth.

5 New Year’s Resolution Ideas — and How to Keep Them

New Year’s Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes — some are fun, like learning how to make your own pasta, while others are more serious, like getting your finances in order. The start of a fresh new year is the perfect time to make a resolution or two or three in a variety of sizes, and we’re here to help you discover the best ways to stick to them for the whole year to come. Have some great resolution ideas of your own? Add to the comments section at the bottom!

1. Exercise

It’s everyone’s favorite resolution! Regular physical activity is the best medicine to keep active and moving, improve your balance, posture, mood and bone and muscle health, and ward off heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and more. From yoga to sittercise, Dirigo Pines offers regular opportunities for residents to stretch and move. 

If walking is more to your liking, Dirigo Pines’ walking trails connect with the Orono Land Trust’s Sklar Park trail system. Stretch out your muscles with a stroll among the Pines. Click here for more about our trails.

The University of Maine is just minutes away and offers access to the school’s many sports facilities, including tennis courts, an indoor pool, cross-country skiing trails and bike paths. Dirigo residents are also eligible for a discount to UMaine’s state-of-the-art Fitness Center

2. Eat Right

Just about everyone has eating right on their list of New Year’s resolutions. At Dirigo Pines, we’re making it easy. With gourmet meals prepared daily, it’s simple to eat delicious, nutritious food every day. In addition to our regular meal schedule, our All Day Dining Program offers flexibility for those who don’t eat on a regular rotation. What time is dinner? Whenever you choose. With dining anytime, incredible menu items and multi-venue options, you can savor the day on your own schedule. Whether you are an early riser or late sleeper, our program provides the flexibility to meet your unique lifestyle. You’ll always have a seat at the table. Visit our website to learn more!

Like to cook but need some new ideas? We’ve all been there! 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! 

We share lots of great recipes from the AHA and more on this blog! Click here for a full list of Dirigo Dish recipes! 

And did you know that during the summer, residents can sow their own little plot of land to grow delicious fresh veggies? What better way to eat right – and get some exercise!

3. Meet New People

Making new friends as a child – it’s a breeze. Making new friends as an adult – it’s a little trickier. Finding people with similar interests is a great place to start – and Dirigo Pines is full of fun ways to do just that. Every day Dirigo residents can join in different activities of all kinds – from Bridge, Cribbage and Mah Jong groups to our singing Songsters, regular art classes, Bible study groups, and much more. Join the Out to Lunch Bunch for a meal and good conversation, check out a Sunday movie matinee, shop, exercise, or just join our regular Social Hour. There are lots of great ways to meet new people and build lasting friendships at Dirigo.

Check out our monthly events calendar to see what’s happening now.

4. Learn Something New 

Ready to try a new hobby or take a class? Resolve to make it happen in 2020! From Scrabble to Rummikub, there are lots of clubs and activities at Dirigo Pines to help you learn. Dirigo also hosts various classes through the Penobscot Valley Senior College, offering unique learning opportunities throughout the year – with no tests or homework and a focus on socializing and enjoyable learning. Aced it!

5. Get Regular Screenings & Doctors Visits

Taking care of yourself is perhaps the best resolution you can make. Schedule your annual wellness visits, discuss screenings and tests including eye exams, cancer checks, hearing screenings and more. Talk to your doctor about your medications and if you still need them or need to change anything. And don’t forget about immunizations and shots! It might not be the most fun resolution on your list, but it might be the most important!

Feeling Grateful – 5 Ways to Share the Love

Feeling 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 for 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?

Spooky Happenings for Halloween

Don’t be spooked – it’s Halloween time! If you have little goblins to entertain or just want to get in the spirit of things, there is plenty happening all around Dirigo Pines and greater Bangor this time of year!

Pick a Pumpkin

There are lots of farm and pumpkins patches to visit in our area. One local favorite is Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, featuring a giant corn maze with a “Blueberries for Sal” theme, pick your own apples, fresh apple cider, ice cream, hay rides, friendly goats to pet, and a 5-acre pumpkin patch.

treworgyorchards.com

Fright at the Fort, Fort Knox

Consider yourself warned – this one is no joke. The scariest haunted experience in Maine takes place through the passageways of Fort Knox in Prospect every year, and it’s recommended for older kids and adults. For a total scream-fest, check this one out.

Click here for details

Gaslight, Penobscot Theatre

Get creepy with a new show a historical theatre. A Broadway hit first produced on the West End under the title Gaslight and filmed twice as Angel Street, this classic melodrama gave rise to the popular term “gas lighting”. The tale of the Manninghams, in 19th century London appears to be the essence of Victorian tranquility. However, it is soon apparent, that things may not be as they seem. Join us as we stage this victorian melodrama in the truest sense, with no better atmosphere than the historic Bangor Opera House! Running Oct. 17- Nov. 3.

penobscottheatre.org/show/gaslight

Take the Stephen King Tour

For the full Stephen King spook-tacular experience and visits to many 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. 

Have your own fun idea or event to share? Add it below!

UMaine’s Homecoming Weekend

The University of Maine, just down the road from Dirigo Pines, is the alma mater of many Dirigo residents and the “college of our hearts always.” Whether you were once a graduate or just looking for some fun this weekend, Homecoming is the perfect time for a visit. Here are just a few of the activities happening around campus Oct. 25-27…

  • UMaine football takes on William & Mary at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 26. Tickets available online at goblackbears.com or at Alfond Stadium. Click here for details about tailgating at this event. Tailgating begins at 10 a.m. and is a great way to reconnect with alumni and have some fun before the big game!
  • Maine Marketplace: Check out Maine-made products from 150+ vendors at one of the largest craft shows in the state! Admission is only $2 (and if it’s your reunion year, receive complimentary access). The craft show starts Saturday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the New Balance Field House.
  • Welcome Home Social: Join fellow alums and representatives from across the campus for a social hour. Heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be available. Takes place Friday, Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m. at the Buchanan Alumni House. Click here for tickets.

There’s more to discover! Click here for a full list of events and activities during Homecoming Weekend 2019.

3 Ways to Celebrate Autumn

It’s always hard to say goodbye to summer, but fall foliage, cooler nights and less humidity do have their appeal. Here are 3 fun ways to celebrate autumn and enjoy all that mother nature has to give this time of year…

  1. Nature’s Bounty: From an abundance of beautiful fruit and veggies ripe and ready at nearby farmers’ markets to the farm stands and orchards full of produce and goodness, everywhere you turn there’s something delicious. Visit Orono’s amazing Farmers’ Market every Saturday in the Steam Plant Parking Lot (and at Asa Adams School after Thanksgiving). Click here for details. Or head to Treworgy Family Orchards in nearby Levant to pick apples, pumpkins, berries or test your navigational skills in the corn maze. Click here to learn more.
  2. The Colors of Fall: Be there to enjoy the show when Mother Nature puts on her colorful foliage display. The Maine Foliage Report suggests several spots for the best views in our area, including the drive to Dover-Foxcroft, taking a stroll along the Guilford Memorial River Walk, and a visit to Lowes Covered Bridge in Guilford. Check out the full report here.
  3. Spirt of the Season: Did you know our great state has both a Maine Wine Trail and a Maine Beer Trail? What better destination than a nearby vineyard or brewery while you’re out hunting foliage? Click here to learn about some of Acadia and Down East’s wineries. Or just head to nearby Bangor or Brewer’s waterfront, sit on the deck of the Sea Dog or Mason’s or any of the many nearby eateries or food trucks and enjoy a local brew and the water view.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy fall? Share in the comments below!