Growing Fun with Grandkids

April vacation is coming up April 16-20 for most local students — and if you’ve got grandchildren coming to visit during that time, here’s a great way to keep little hands busy and get your garden started! Our Dirigo Pines residents have created some amazing gardens, and everyone at the Inn has the opportunity each spring to claim a raised bed of their own. Planting seeds, watching them grow and harvesting yummy fruits and vegetables is a great hobby for all ages. Here are a few tips for gardening with kids…

  • Plant the seed. Let kids choose their own seeds to grow. Sure, they might pick some strange vegetables to try, but why not give it a shot? And throw in a few old stand-bys — tomatoes, zucchinis and cucumbers all appreciate an inside start — or try radishes if kids are eager to see the seeds start quickly.
  • Watch the process. Starting seeds from the very beginning is a fascinating thing to watch. Try sprouting a few seeds in a wet paper towel or cotton ball so kids can watch what happens. Simple spread the seeds out evenly on a damp paper towel, then sandwich with another moist towel and tuck them inside a plastic baggie and set in a warm, sunny window. You can even transfer them to soil after they sprout.
  • Plan your garden. Many Dirigo residents in our cottage community enjoy large flower and vegetable gardens in their yards, but even with limited space, you can enjoy gardening. Lots of vegetables, from tomatoes to cucumbers to beans, come in varieties perfect for small spaces and container gardens. Have children map out the garden on paper with colored pencils or crayons to decide where things will get planted. A gardening journal is another fun way to track your progress.
  • Plant in pots or raised beds. Pots and raised beds not only help keep weeds to a minimum, they also help bring the garden a little closer to you to reduce the bending and kneeling related to gardening directing in the ground. Raised beds can be built tall enough to eliminate any bending at all – saving your back! Pots can be placed on patios and porches and even on rollers, so those with limited mobility can keep their thumbs green.
  • Crafty decor. While you’re waiting for things to sprout, make a project out of garden markers. Painted rocks or sticks make great garden row markers. Wind chimes from recycled materials and simple stepping stones are great garden additions as well.
  • Go big! Consider some fun giants like sunflowers and pumpkins for your garden, and let a zucchini or two just keep growing. Kids will love watching them get bigger and bigger each day.
  • Reap the rewards. Gardening is a great way to get kids eating healthy. Be sure to involve them in the harvest!
  • Bring it in. Bring the outside in for those who can’t make the trip to the yard or have limited outdoor gardening space. Create a garden in indoor pots or create a low-maintenance terrarium.

Events to Celebrate Spring

Does it feel like we had to wait extra long for spring to finally spring up this year? I blame Dirigo Dug for making us hopeful for an early spring. (Watch his prediction here. I just don’t know about that guy sometimes.) But springtime in Maine is nothing if unpredictable — then again, it’s always worth the wait. Check out these harbingers of warmer weather and plan to get outside!

  • 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 21. Check out kenduskeagstreamcanoerace.com for more info.
  • Orono Bog Walk: Set to open May 1, this incredible natural resource is just minutes from Dirigo Pines and a great place to take a springtime walk. Learn more about the Bog Walk here. 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.
  • Sea Dogs Opening Day: Opening day at Hadlock Field is set for April 13, versus the Rumble Ponies. Hadlock is home to the Portland Sea Dogs — Maine’s minor league baseball team that’s affiliated with the Boston Red Sox. Fun fact: 13 of 25 former Sea Dogs are slated for the Red Sox opening day roster. The Sea Dogs season consists of 140 games (70 home and 70 away) against 11 opponents. Sea Dogs tickets are reasonably priced and the city of Portland makes a fun day or weekend trip from Dirigo Pines! You might even meet Slugger the Sea Dog if you’re lucky! Click here for more: www.seadogs.com.
  • 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 21, 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!

Take in a Show

Our area has become a hotspot of major shows and concerts — and now’s the time to stock up on your tickets! From nationally touring shows at the new Cross Insurance Center in Bangor and the recently revitalized Collins Center in Orono to the Waterfront Concert series that brings major acts to Portland and Bangor, there’s no shortage of things to do around here!

Get your tickets soon for these upcoming events:

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder

April 4 at 7 p.m. — Collins Center for the Arts, Orono

Getting away with murder can be so much fun… and there’s no better proof than the hilarious hit show that won the 2014 Tony Award® for Best Musical. It’s the uproarious story of Monty Navarro, an heir to a family fortune who sets out to jump the line of succession by eliminating the eight pesky relatives who stand in his way… and be done in time for tea.

Click here for more information.

Masterworks V: Mozart & Beethoven

April 8 at 3 p.m. — Collins Center for the Arts, Orono

The BSO under Maestro Lucas Richman continues its multi-year Beethoven cycle with the composer’s First Symphony, followed by Mozart’s glorious Mass in C Minor, a beloved work that will feature the University of Maine Singers and Oratorio Society in our annual collaboration.

Click here for more information. 

The Wizard of Oz

April 10 at 7:30 p.m. — Cross Insurance Center, Bangor

This production is a spectacular celebration of the classic 1939 film. It’s a new, refreshed and lavish rendition of the beloved classic. Audiences young and old, seeing it for the first time or the fifth, will be dazzled by the brightly colored sets, charmed by its timeless score and enthralled with its breathtaking special effects. Whether it creates new memories or conjures them up from the past, everyone deserves to experience or relive the wonderful, whimsical and enduring story.

Click here for more information. 

Comedian Jim Gaffigan

May 6 at 7 p.m. — Cross Insurance Center, Bangor

The Fixer Upper Tour is the new show from Jim Gaffigan, a Grammy-nominated comedian, actor, New York Times best-selling author, top touring performer, and multi-platinum-selling father of five. Gaffigan is known around the world for his unique brand of humor which largely revolves around fatherhood and his observations on life and food. Last December, Gaffigan became one of only ten comics in history to sell out Madison Square Garden and few months prior, Gaffigan had the honor of performing for Pope Francis and over 1 million festival attendees at the Festival of Families in Philadelphia.

Click here for more information. 

Jason Aldean

May 27 at 7:30 p.m. — Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, Bangor

Waterfront Concerts presents the return of two-time and reigning ACM “Entertainer of the Year” country music’s Jason Aldean on his High Noon Neon Tour with special guests Luke Combs and Lauren Alaina live at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion.

Click here for more information. 

Why Spring is the Best at Dirigo!

Happy First Day of Spring! While it might mean some mud and unsettled weather, springtime also ushers in some of the best parts about living at Dirigo Pines. Blossoming flowers, walking paths free of snow, sunshine and longer days to enjoy our great state.

Spring showers bring May flowers

More sunshine and warmer weather means things start to bloom all over Dirigo Pines. We’re pleased to have so many residents help in the spring planting around our campus, from the Inn to the cottages. The touches of bright color in our beautiful garden beds make everyone’s day. Along our walking paths, azaleas, beach roses, day lilies and more begin adding touches of color and life each spring.

Time to start the veggie garden

Our Inn residents have some really green thumbs — each spring everyone has the chance to claim a bit of soil in the raised beds outside the Inn and plant some seeds. From gorgeous flowers to towering tomatoes, we’ve had some bumper crops! And the best part — they’re more than willing to share the bounty with others! 

Go for a drive

With less risk of snow storms and nor’easters, it means it’s safe to start planning day trips and drives around the state. Dirigo Pines in Orono is perfectly situated to make a day trip to Aroostook County, the famed Maine coast, the mountains of western Maine, or the shopping and beaches of southern Maine all within easy reach. Click here for a few ideas for Maine day trips.

Dining al fresco

Let’s take this outside — to the stunning patio off the Dirigo Pines Inn. The first meal outside is the official harbinger of the warm weather to come. And Dirigo Pines is renowned for its fine dining. Using locally sourced produce and seafood ensures high quality, fresh and delicious meals — perfect for taking outside as the weather grows more mild. Not much of scheduled diner? That’s okay — Dirigo offers 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. Click here to learn more. 

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

6 Lucky (and Fun!) Reasons to Live at Dirigo

There are countless reasons Dirigo Pines residents consider themselves lucky to live at such a beautiful retirement community. Surrounded by nature, the stunning facility and cottages speak for themselves. A stop inside and you’ll be greeted by friendly staff and residents, and have we mentioned the food? Amazing. The Inn provides independent and assisted living opportunities, as well as memory care and specialized care for those in need. Primary and specialized care practitioners provide on-site geriatric care, podiatry, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy services. It’s beautiful, friendly, offers the care you need as you age — but did you we’re pet friendly and we have a putting green? Here’s a look at few of the lesser known (and really fun) reasons it’s lucky to be at Dirigo Pines:

We’re Pet Friendly

Making the move to a new home is stressful enough without having to displace your beloved pets. At Dirigo Pines, we’re pet friendly and 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. Learn more about the important role of pets by clicking here.

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.

Nearby University of Maine

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. All independent residents of the Dirigo Inn receive a Pines Pass, which allows for special discounts at UMaine and $125 applied to the card annually. All other Dirigo residents can apply for the Pines Pass and receive the discounts as well. Activities and services include tickets to the Maine Center for the Arts, UMaine athletic events, library card, parking pass, Fitness Center discount, purchases in the UMaine bookstore, and meals at the Marketplace Cafe. Click here for more information about the Pines Pass.

Gone Fishin’

Each spring we stock Dirigo’s two fishing ponds with small trout, just in time for our annual Fishing Derby. 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.

Take a Hike

Speaking of trails, Dirigo offers hiking trails connecting in with 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! 

Dirigo Dug

We like to have fun — from concerts to lunch outings to movies and more, Dirigo Pines residents stay active and busy with a full activities schedule. We look forward to crazy annual events like a visit on Groundhog Day from Dirigo Dug. Check out the video here. With fulfilling programs and activities every day, it’s easy to stay active and make new friends.

 

 

6 Reasons to Fall in Love with Retirement at Dirigo Pines

We’re counting the ways we love Dirigo Pines this month. From fun activities to delicious food and amazing residents and staff, there are so many things to love about living at Dirigo Pines. Here are just a few…

  1. Delicious Dining: From an incredible Sunday brunch to scrumptious dinners to our All Day Dining Program, there’s always something cooking at Dirigo Pines. Chef Lew Stubbs and the talented team in the kitchen leave residents and visitors raving about the meals at Dirigo. Using locally sourced produce and seafood is important to the team, and ensures high quality, fresh and delicious meals. And our new All Day Dining Program gives residents the freedom of choice with options like breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 p.m. rather than noon.
  2. Gone Fishin’: There are lots of unique things that set Dirigo apart. Nature lovers will fall in love with our beautiful campus, complete with walking trails and two stocked fishing ponds inviting residents to cast a line. The ponds are stocked with small trout each spring, just before we celebrate our annual Fishing Derby for anglers of all skill levels. Residents have been known to hook a monster or two and throw them right on the grill! The ponds are one of the many ways to enjoy nature at Dirigo. They’re surrounded by trails and benches, and it’s not uncommon to spot a deer, Canada geese or a heron enjoying the natural beauty.
  3. Take a Hike: The trails at Dirigo connect in with 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! 
  4. The People That You’ll Meet: From the moment you walk into the central Inn, there’s no doubt that the residents and staff of Dirigo Pines are some of the friendly people you’ll ever meet. There’s always someone to greet you with a warm smile or offer a helping hand. Our nursing staff is available around the clock and our maintenance crew is always ready to help. Dirigo is home to people from all over the world and all kinds of backgrounds, including artists, musicians, college professors, outdoor enthusiasts, and world travelers. 
  5. Getting To Know You: Getting to know all the wonderful people at Dirigo is easy thanks to dozens of activities and programs for all kinds of interests. Love to go out to eat? Join the Out to Lunch Bunch. Want to play a game of cribbage? Attend a concert? See a play? Get hooked on Downton Abbey? The Dirigo Pines activity staff plans regular exercise programs, guest speakers, musical entertainment, outings to local shows and attractions, movies and more. With fulfilling programs and activities every day, it’s easy to meet new people and make new friends.
  6. Healthcare Services When You Need Them: Working with area hospitals, Dirigo Pines offers a depth of medical expertise to all residents. The Inn provides independent and assisted living opportunities, as well as memory care and specialized care. Primary and specialized care practitioners provide on-site geriatric care, podiatry, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy services.

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

February Fun and Events

Sure, it’s cold out, but that’s no reason to hibernate. There’s lots to do all over our area this month — that’s just one of the reasons to love living at Dirigo Pines. Check out these fun activities, and add your own suggestions to the comments!

All Month Long: High School Basketball Tournaments at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor

It’s tourney time! High school basketball culminates with a massive month-long tournament, and Bangor is host to Classes B North, C, North, and D North at Cross Insurance Center. This exciting championship is not to be missed. Visit mpa.cc for a full schedule.

Feb. 1: Cinderella at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor

It’s the Tony Award®- winning Broadway musical that’s delighting audiences with its contemporary take on the classic tale. This lush production features an incredible orchestra, jaw-dropping transformations and all the moments you love— the pumpkin, the glass slipper, the masked ball and more—plus some surprising new twists!

Feb. 1-18: Escanaba in da Moonlight at the Penobscot Theatre in Bangor

Check out the Maine premiere of this play by Jeff Daniels. When the Soady clan gathers at the family’s camp for the opening day of deer season, 35-year-old Reuben bears the dubious distinction of being the oldest Soady in the history of the Soadys never to have bagged a buck. In a hunting story to beat all hunting stories, Reuben goes to extraordinary lengths to remove himself from the family record book. 

Feb. 25: Masterworks IV: Winter Dreams at the Collins Center in Orono

Acclaimed pianist Orli Shaham joins the BSO for Bartok’s thrilling Piano Concerto No. 3 and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 1, “Winter Dreams”, paints the perfect picture for Maine in February. Smetana’s sparkling Overture to The Bartered Bride opens the program.

What you looking forward to this month? Share your event below!

Cold Weather Fun

Baby it’s cold outside! When the thermometer drops, there are still plenty of fun outdoor activities to do at Dirigo Pines or within a short drive. Here are a few ideas to warm up to the idea of cold weather… 

Skiing

Living in Maine means access to world-class skiing. From big mountains like Sugarloaf and Sunday River, to nearby smaller hills like Hermon Mountaindownhill fans have endless opportunities. Maybe cross-country is more your style? Harris Farm XC Center in Dayton, Maine Huts and Trails in Carrabassett Valley are great choices, or check out the Penobscot Valley Ski Club for a list of nordic trails on its website. PVSC grooms several trail systems that are free and open to the public. And did you know that all PVSC grooming and trail maintenance is done by volunteers! Trails right here in Orono include the Caribou Bog Ski Trail, trails behind the Orono schools, and University of Maine trails.

Check out skimaine.com for more.

Snowmobiling

Maybe fast machines are more your speed. 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.

Snowshoeing

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. Or blaze your own trail along Dirigo’s many walking paths. Click here for a list of top snow shoeing spots from the Bangor Daily News’ Outdoors reporter Aislinn Sarnacki.

Ice Fishing

When the lakes freeze over, it doesn’t mean fishing comes to an end. Ice shacks are popping up all over and Mainers are getting out their augers and lines to find the best spots for cold weather fishing. Never been? A Maine guide can help you figure out the basics or check out one of the many ice fishing derbies coming up this season. Click here for more.

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

4 Ways to Get Healthy in the New Year

From eating better to getting more exercise, making healthier choices is on almost everyone’s New Year’s resolution list. Here are 4 ways you can work on being healthier in the new year…

1. Eat Better. Who doesn’t have healthy eating on their list of New Year’s resolutions? At Dirigo Pines, we make 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 new All Day Dining Program offer flexibility for those who don’t eat on a regular rotation. Residents have the freedom of choice with options like breakfast for dinner or lunch at 2 p.m. rather than noon. Whether you’re an early riser or late sleeper, All Day Dining offers the flexibility to choose what works best for you. All Day Dining offers an alternate menu of choices that may include the main entrée of the day, breakfast items, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc. Visit our website to learn more!

Fresh out of new recipe ideas? We share lots of great recipes from the American Heart Association and more on this blog! Click here for a full list of Dirigo Dish recipes! 

2. 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!

3. Exercise. Get moving! Regular activity is the best way to keep healthy 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 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 also just a few 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.

4. Make New Friends. Did you know socialization is important to your health? Socializing is key in maintaining a healthy physical and emotional balance. But it can be tricky to make new friends as an adult. 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 or get hooked on Downton Abbey, 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.

Visit dirigopines.com and click the Event button at the bottom of the page for a current calendar of activities!

Get Moving at Dirigo Pines

Pondering New Year’s Resolutions? If they include getting more exercise, you’re not alone – and Dirigo Pines is the place to be! Regardless of your activity level, there’s option for you to get moving and grooving just in time for 2018.

Gentle Yoga

Can you feel your muscles relaxing and stretching already? Residents can ease into an exercise routine by trying gentle yoga every Thursday morning. Stretch and breathe through simple low-impact yoga poses. Did you know gentle yoga can help reduce swelling in your joints, increase mobility and even improve your balance. Definitely worth a try!

Exercise Classes

Dirigo residents can also join in exercise classes offered three times a week. Improve your strength and burn some calories while working out with friends. Exercise is a great way to improve flexibility, build muscle and bone strength, improve your mood, maintain your weight and improve your overall health. Work up a sweat and have some fun!

Sittercise

Not up for a vigorous workout? Sit and get fit with a sittercise class! Residents gather three times a week for this fun and social class with stretching, kicking, passing and lots of laughs for seniors of all activity levels, including those with limited mobility. 

Head Outside 

Before the weather turns too chilly, take your routine outside. Dirigo’s walking 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 exercising!