Hit the Wine Trail

Picture it: A warm summer breeze drifts by as you sit on the sprawling deck of a local vineyard, overlooking acres of grapes and sipping a delicious Maine-made wine. Sound ideal? Then it’s time to hit the Maine Wine Trail! Whether you pick and choose one to visit each week this summer or go for the gold and make a vacation out of tackling the whole trail, you can’t go wrong! Check out just a few of the wineries that are close enough for a day trip from Dirigo Pines.

Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery

The owners of Barrett Hill Farm in Union started exploring blueberry wines several years ago, and since have added acres of grape vineyards over the past 13 years to now offer a huge selection of Maine grown grape wines. And check out their Summer Concert Series, featuring Michael Franti and Spearhead on July 15; The Mavericks on July 19; and Chris Isaak on August 17! Union is about an hour and a half from Dirigo Pines in Orono.

175 Barrett Hill Road, Union ∙ www.savageoakes.com

Dragonfly Farm & Winery

With a love of German Riesling Style wines, Dragonfly started a vineyard right here in Maine. Most of their white wines are hybrids of the Riesling Grape, while the reds are French hybrids. They offer seven varieties of whites, six reds and eight fruit wines; a selection that will satisfy most palates! Just over 30 minutes from Dirigo Pines.

1069 Mullen Road, Stetson ∙ www.mainewinegrower.com

Winterport Winery

Winterport Winery is located in the historic village of Winterport, not far from Orono, and offers a selection of award winning fruit wines to complement various cuisines. Sophisticated and supple, their wines both elegantly accompany formal occasions and also stand refreshingly on their own. To expand their beverage offerings to include beer, Penobscot Bay Brewery – an on-site brewing facility – was started in 2009 specializing in small batch, handcrafted brews that are fresh, flavorful and fantastic. Only a half hour from Dirigo Pines.

279 South Main St., Winterport ∙ www.winterportwinery.com

Cellardoor Winery

From cooking classes to tastings to concerts, Cellardoor Winery is a stunning winery in Lincolnville, Maine with a lot to offer. The winery offers over 20 wines, appealing to every palate. Check out their free Complimentary Pairings events online, and find tickets for events like Live at the Vines featuring Aaron Neville. Just over an hour from Dirigo Pines.

367 Youngtown Road, Lincolnville ∙ mainewine.com

Better yet, explore the entire Maine Wine Trail! Invite some friends and make a summertime event of it! Download the map and discover more here: www.mainewineryguild.com.

Living in Vacationland — Part 2: July Events

Summer in Vacationland means festivals and fairs aplenty! And they’re not just for tourists. Plan the ultimate “staycation” and check out these fun events and happenings throughout the summer and close enough to Dirigo Pines for a day trip or quick weekend getaway!

Southern Uprising Concert – July 7

Outdoor concerts are one of the best parts of summer! Check out this amazing grouping featuring Travis Tritt, The Charlie Daniels Band, Marshall Tucker Band and Outlaws! All together in Bangor at Darlings Waterfront Pavilion on July 7.

waterfrontconcerts.com

Moxie Festival – July 13-15

Since 1982, the Moxie Festival has been held on the second weekend in July in Lisbon, Maine. And just in case you’re “from away” and wondering “What exactly is Moxie?” we’ll fill you in on this Maine treasure. Moxie is a uniquely New England soft drink. Dr. Augustin Thompson of Union, Maine, first marketed Moxie as medicine in 1876 in Lowell, Massachusetts, according the Moxie Festival website, and it was guaranteed to cure multiple ills, including “loss of manhood, paralysis and softening of the brain.” To take advantage of the new and growing soft drink market, it was later put on the soft drink market in 1884 as “Beverage Moxie Nerve Food” and eventually just “Moxie.” What’s it taste like? Well, it’s root beer-adjacent but not as sweet — some love it, some say it tastes like the medicine it was originally advertised as. You’ll just have to try it for yourself at the festival!

moxiefestival.com

North Atlantic Blues Festival – July 14-15

Featuring two full days of live music, the North Atlantic Blues Festival at Rockland Harbor Park will feature Bobby Rush, Wee Willie Walker and the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, Tab Benoit and more! In addition to all day live entertainment, the festival has vendors selling a wide array of food, drinks and crafts. Overlooking the picturesque Rockland Harbor, this festival is not to be missed!

northatlanticbluesfestival.com

Bucksport Bay Festival – July 20-22

Food, crafts, a 5K run, pageant, parade, music and more! All on the on the beautiful Bucksport Waterfront. Bucksport is just a short drive (about 30 minutes) from Dirigo Pines.

bucksportbaychamber.com

Kneading Conference – July 26-27

What’s better than fresh made bread? Farmers, millers, bakers, maltsters, researchers, and grain enthusiasts from around the world gather for two days of intensive baking workshops, wood-fired oven building workshops, and discussions about grain growing and running grain businesses. Attendees choose from hands-on workshops, live demonstrations, lectures, panel discussions and more.

kneadingconference.com

Stay tuned to DiscoverDirigo.com for more Maine events and fun throughout the summer! And add your own suggestions to the comments area below!

3 Hidden Gems at Dirigo Pines

There are lots of things to look forward to when you move in at Dirigo Pines. Worry-free living with your lawn care, plowing and home maintenance all taken care of; lots of social activities to mix and mingle with residents; walking trails and exercise classes to stay healthy and fit — and so much more! But there are a few hidden gems that only Dirigo Pines residents really know about. Here are a few of the unexpected benefits of retirement living at Dirigo Pines…

The Ponds are Stocked

The natural beauty of the Dirigo Pines campus is unmatched. Nature lovers will fall in love with our walking trails — and two stocked fishing ponds! 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!

A therapy dog visits the Memory Loss Neighborhood.

Pets are Welcome

Did you know your furry friends are welcome at Dirigo Pines? Making a 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. You’ll spot friendly pups strolling along our walking paths all year long. And for those without pets but a soft spot for furry friends, we enjoy regular visits from a variety of therapy animals. Cats from the Bangor Humane Society have also been making the rounds through the Cats on Laps program. Cats (and some dogs too) up for adoption are traveling to area senior centers, offering a chance to cuddle a kitten and also help socialized the animals before they are adopted. Learn more here.

Work on Your Short Game

There are lots of ways to have fun at Dirigo, but 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 — with annual Putting Contests and more. What a fun surprise and a great way to dust off your short game!

Do Good with Dad

Dad has always looked out for everyone else — here are some fun ways to connect with Dad, support great local causes and celebrate Father’s Day this month.

Bark for Life — June 2

Do some good and have some fun with both Dad and your furry friend. The American Cancer Society’s Bark For Life event honors the caregiving qualities of canines and also creates an awareness of the importance of all caregivers in general. At nearby Hollywood Casino Raceway in Bangor, this is a great way to connect with Dad and help the American Cancer Society save lives. Click here for more details.

Trek Across Maine — June 15-17

Feeling adventurous? Travel by bike across Maine during Father’s Day weekend and support the American Lung Association. This 3-day, 180 mile cycling event starts at the mountains of Sunday River and ends at the sea in Belfast. The Trek Across Maine offers three route options with varying levels of mileage and fundraising. Whether you take the ride with Dad or in honor of Dad, it’s an amazing way to support a great cause. Learn more here.

Best of the North: Wings, Wine & Beer Fest — June 16

Supporting the local United Way AND wings, wine and beer? We’re in. Taking place on the Bangor Waterfront, this inaugural event combines the wing fest and beer festivals of the past into one amazing day of good eats and drinks, with proceeds benefiting the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) and the United Way of Eastern Maine. A sure-fire hit for dad and something you can feel good about supporting. bestofthenorthfest.com

Have more great ideas to celebrate Dad? Share them in the comments section!

Living in Vacationland — Part 1: June Events

Summer in Vacationland means festivals and fairs aplenty! And they’re not just for tourists. Plan the ultimate “staycation” and check out these fun events and happenings throughout the summer and close enough to Dirigo Pines for a day trip or quick weekend getaway!

Acadia Birding Festival — May 31-June 3

Celebrate the ecological wonders of the birds of the Gulf of Maine at the Acadia Birding Festival. Explore Mount Desert Island — just over an hour away from Dirigo Pines — and its birds through numerous events and venues. Greet warblers on early morning birding walks, visit with puffins and pelagic birds at sea, and observe Peregrine Falcons at an active breeding site in Acadia National Park.

acadiabirdingfestival.com

Maine Blues Festival — June 15-17

Enjoy the musical stylings of dozens of Maine blues artists at a variety of venues in the Naples area (about 2 hours and 20 minutes from Dirigo Pines). Want more blues? Stay tuned for the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland (about an hour and 45 minutes away) coming July 14-15.

mainebluesfestival.com

northatlanticbluesfestival.com

Melissa Etheridge at Savage Oakes Vineyard and Winery — June 16

Enjoy a beautiful summer evening of music set in a stunning vineyard with farm-to-table pub fare and a wide selection of Maine craft wine and beer. And it’s only about an hour and half away from Dirigo Pines in Union. That’s how to take advantage of living in vacationland!

savageoakes.com

Maine Whoopie Pie Festival — June 23

If you haven’t been to the Whoopie Pie Festival, you need to make it a “must” for this summer. Fun music, tons of vendors, lots of food — and whoopie pies in every flavor and form imaginable. Dark chocolate, blueberry, red velvet, oatmeal cookie, lemon, orange… nom, nom nom. And Dover-Foxcroft is less than a hour from Dirigo Pines!

mainewhoopiepiefestival.com

Stay tuned to DiscoverDirigo.com for more Maine events and fun throughout the summer!

Gardening is Good for You

Those April showers are bringing plenty of May flowers — and our gardens have started in a hurry. Gardening is an activity enjoyed by all age groups, but did you know it’s also good for you? From fighting depression to helping you eat right, here are just a few of the ways your garden helps you grow…

Fresh Produce

If you have a vegetable garden, you can grow healthy organic fruits and veggies and know exactly where they came from. Fresh produce is great for heart health and fighting obesity. And it’s better for the environment — since veggies from your background or patio don’t have to be packaged or trucked anywhere, but simply walked straight to your kitchen to enjoy!

Stress Reducer

If you’ve gardened in the past, you probably understand the sensory experience of connecting with nature, watching things grow and enjoying the literal fruits of your labor. Disconnecting from screens, digging in the earth, being outside and enjoying the sounds and sights of nature can help reduce your stress levels, improve your mental health and fight depression. Add colorful flowers with nice smelling blooms to your garden for an extra mood-booster.

Staying Active 

The bending, kneeling, digging and stretching required to garden not only burns calories, but helps keep you limber and strong. The physical activity involved in gardening help prevent heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases.

A Social Event

At Dirigo Pines, gardening is a great way to connect with 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.

Because gardening is a goal-oriented activity, you’re even more likely to stick with it than a regular exercise routine like hitting the treadmill at the gym. With the prospect of beautiful blooms and fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the summer and fall, gardening is an easy routine to stick with.

4 Fun Ways to Spend Time with Mom

Celebrate mom and the women you love this month with a fun outing. There’s lots going on all around Dirigo Pines in May — here are just a few ideas to make a new memory with mom and those you love…

Color Bangor 5K

Mom’s used to a little mess now and then — and there’s no better way to get messy than the Color Bangor 5K! You can register now for the Saturday, May 12 event! You can walk, run, jump, skip, or dance the 5K route with friends and family all while supporting the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. Click here for more info.

Cabaret

Looking for something fun and different? How about a showing of “Cabaret” at the Collins Center for the Arts at UMaine in Orono on Tuesday, May 15 at 7 p.m.? Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,” “Willkommen”and “Maybe This Time.” Please note, Cabaret is for mature audiences. Click for details.

The Spitfire Grill

Take mom to the Penobscot Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, with shows from April 26-May 13. It’s the story of a feisty parolee who follows her dreams to sleepy Gilead, Wisconsin, and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. The diner is for sale but with no offers on the table, Hannah decides to raffle it off. Whoever submits $100 and the most compelling essay will win the grill. Soon, mail is arriving by the barrel and things are definitely cookin’ at the Spitfire Grill. Get tickets at penobscottheatre.org/show/the-spitfire-grill.

Sea Dogs’ Mother’s Day 5K

Take mom on a road trip to Portland for the Portland Sea Dogs’ 18th Annual Mother’s Day 5k Road Race on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 13 from 9:15-11:15 a.m. Proceeds from the race go towards Maine breast cancer patients and research. There will also be a Kid’s Run that is free of charge. Slugger The Sea Dog and his Mom lead the way on the flat 5K course which begins in front of the Portland Expo building, travels down Congress Street, turning down Stevens Avenue, and making a right onto Brighton Avenue back down Deering Avenue into Fitzpatrick Stadium. The race culminates inside Hadlock Field in front of the third base dugout. Click for details.

Have your own great idea for Mother’s Day fun? Share it with us!

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.