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! 

Out and About: Follow the Maine Art Museum Trail

With a stunning coastline, colorful seasons, rolling fields and a rich history, it’s no wonder our state inspires so many artists — including many creative folks right here at Dirigo Pines. Interested in diving into local art and Maine culture? The Maine Art Museum Trail is great place to start. The trail is a collection of eight museums from Bangor to Ogunquit  featuring more than 73,000 works of art, including the talents of famed artists like Andrew Wyeth, Jamie Wyeth, Winslow Homer, and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Pick and choose museums for great day trips, or follow the loop to complete the Maine Art Museum Trail!

University of Maine Museum of Art

40 Harlow St., Bangor

Make downtown Bangor (just a short drive from Dirigo Pines) the first stop on your trip. UMaine’s museum focuses on  “diverse contemporary exhibitions, with a permanent collection focusing on works of art since 1945, and educational programming.” Their permanent collection includes over 3,800 works of art from names like Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, Alex Katz, and Andrew Wyeth.

Farnsworth Art Museum

16 Museum St., Rockland

Head east next and enjoy the beautiful and inspiring Maine coastline along Route 1. Stop in Rockland at the Farnsworth Art Museum for all things Wyeth — three generations of Wyeths, from Andrew to N.C. to Jamie. “Andrew Wyeth at 100” is currently on display through the end of the month. The museum boasts over 15,000 works of art, including Louise Nevelson’s sculptures.

Rockland’s new addition to the arts community is also worth a stop — the Center for Maine Contemporary Art’s new museum at 21 Winter St. just recently opened and features works from the latest generation of artists.

Monhegan Museum of Art & History

1 Lighthouse Hill, Monhegan

A little off the beaten path (or art trail as it were), the Mohegan Museum of Art is home to works from island artists and those inspired by the island. Discover art from Andrew Wyeth, Alice Stoddard, George Bellows, Rockwell Kent and more. The museum is house in the historic Monhegan Light Station, with pieces spanning two centuries worth of artists.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art

9400 College Station, Brunswick

Recently renovated, Bowdoin’s museum is one of the oldest collegiate art collections in the nation, founded in 1811. Open to the public at no charge, it’s worth a stop to check out some of the 20,000 works in the museum’s collection.

Portland Museum of Art

7 Congress Square, Portland

Even the building (in the heart of the city) housing the Portland Museum of Art is a work of art — designed by IM Pei, who also designed the Louvre Pyramids in Paris. Collection highlights include works from Winslow Homer, Dahlov Ipcar, Renoir, Degas, Alex Katz, Edward Hopper, Monet, Robert Indiana, and more.

Ogunquit Museum of American Art

543 Shore Road, Ogunquit

You’ll have to mark this museum for a summer visit — it’s currently closed for the winter with plans to open for the season May 1, 2018. But it’s worth a special visit with an impressive collection of works by Peggy Bacon, Jack Levine, Rockwell Kent, Will Barnet, Walt Kuhn, Marsden Hartley, Charles Woodbury, and more on display. Not to mention it’s stunning location along Maine’s coast and it’s garden displays.

Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston

75 Russell St., Lewiston

Turn the car back northbound on your tour and head toward Lewiston. Bates College is currently displaying an exhibit from sculptor Rona Pondick and painter Robert Feintuch through March 2018. In addition to its temporary exhibits, the museum includes a permanent collection of 5,000 art works of regional, national, or international connection to Maine.

Colby Museum of Art

5600 Mayflower Hill, Waterville

Just a hour from Dirigo Pines, the museum at Colby College in Waterville is housed in a three-story glass pavilion opened in 2013 and one of the largest art museums in Maine. Collections include works from John Marin, and American art from the early 18th century to today.

Want to learn more about the Maine Art Museum Trail? Click here! Happy trails!

 

Holiday Festivals and Festivities 

Get in a festive mood with these upcoming events and activities close to Dirigo Pines! Share your favorite holiday festivities in the comments below!

Nov. 17-Dec. 31: Gardens Aglow

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay

Over 500,000 LED lights will decorate the gardens this winter, making this the biggest light display in Maine. Get your tickets early! In addition to the lighting, visitors will enjoy music, special food and beverage options and holiday shopping. Be sure to check out other activities in the Boothbay area, including a visit from Santa, sales, and the Festival of Lights.

www.mainegardens.org 

boothbaylights.com

Dec. 2: Festival of Lights Parade

Downtown Bangor

The Rotary Club of Bangor hosts this annual parade featuring dozens of entries all lit up for the holidays. The parade steps off at 4:30 p.m. As one might expect, Santa Claus will be the main attraction; his appearance will formally usher in the holiday season. Watch for other activities earlier in the day, including winter art making from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maine Museum of Art at 40 Harlow St.; Santa and cookie decorating from 1-4 p.m. at Bagel Central; and the Bangor Symphony Youth Orchestra Music-A-Thon from 2-4:30 p.m. at the Bangor Arts Exchange at 193 Exchange St. 

www.visitbangormaine.com

Dec. 2-3: Victorian Christmas

Penobscot Marine Museum, Fowler-True-Ross Sea Captain’s House & Museum Store, Searsport

The Ship Captain’s house is beautifully decorated for the holidays and filled with live music and holiday-themed readings. The Town of Searsport’s Tree Lighting And Carol Singing are on Friday night. 

www.penobscotmarinemuseum.org

Dec. 7-30: Beauty and the Beast 

The Penobscot Theatre, Bangor

It’s a tale as old as time — and sure to be a holiday hit for all ages! Enjoy Disney’s musical rendition of Beauty and the Beast, live on stage in downtown Bangor. Make a day of it and check out great local shopping and dining downtown while you’re at it!

www.penobscottheatre.org

Dec. 16-17: Bangor Symphony Orchestra presents “The Nutcracker”

Collins Center for the Arts, Orono

A holiday tradition for all ages, the BSO’s annual production of The Nutcracker with the Robinson Ballet is beloved by audiences throughout Maine. Join us for as a magical production as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker grace the stage of the Collins Center for the Arts. 

www.bangorsymphony.org

Dec. 19: The Oak Ridge Boys – Christmas Celebration Tour

Collins Center for the Arts, Orono

With a mix of traditional and contemporary songs, this Grammy-award winning quartet is bringing its Christmas show, complete with trees, falling snow and a visit from Santa, to the Collins Center, just down the road from Dirigo Pines. 

collinscenterforthearts.com 

5 Reasons to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is a great time to count your blessings and be thankful for all the good things in your life. Family, friends, and a beautiful home at Dirigo Pines.

Here are 5 reasons to be thankful to live at Dirigo:

  1. Fine Dining: 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. From grilled salmon to monte cristos to lobster ravioli, the dining at Dirigo can’t be beat. And don’t miss Sunday brunch – it’s an amazing spread you’ll be thinking about all week! Dirigo recently introduced 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. 
  2. Location, Location, Location. If you’re traveling to see friends and family this holiday season or they’re coming to see you, Dirigo Pines location can’t be beat. Centrally located in Maine, it’s a convenient gathering spot for relatives who may be spread throughout the state and easy to find right off Interstate 95, Exit 191. Traveling out of state? No problem — the nearby Bangor International Airport can get you where you need to go.
  3. The People: Dirigo Pines is home to artists, musicians, college professors, outdoor enthusiasts, world travelers – you never know who you might meet while walking the halls or trails, attending an event or enjoying dinner. Dirigo Pines also boasts the friendliest and most professional staff around. There’s always someone to greet you with a warm smile at Dirigo or offer a helping hand. Our nursing staff is available around the clock, our maintenance crew is always ready to help, and our kitchen staff is top notch. 
  4. Resources You Need. Dirigo Pines’ various levels of care ensure you and your loved ones will have the care you need as you age. From independent cottages and apartments to assisted living to memory care, Dirigo offers the care you need as your healthcare needs change over time.
  5. Beautiful Facility: We know you’ll be impressed the moment you step foot on Dirigo Pines’ campus. From our beautifully maintained grounds, stunning Inn, stone fireplaces, and cozy library, it’s clear that attention to detail is important here. There’s something for every season – from spring fishing in the stocked ponds, to summer meals on the stone patio, to walking the nature trails to enjoy the fall foliage or winter’s wonderland.

Around Town: Craft Fair Season

On the search for fun and unique gifts to give this holiday? You’re in luck — it’s craft fair time and Dirigo Pines is surrounded by fairs with something for everyone. Here are few to mark on the calendar — and we welcome you to leave your favorite craft fair suggestions below!

Nov. 4-5: The 29th annual Bangor Arts & Crafts Show is coming to the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Nov. 4 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Nov. 5 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets are $3 at the door.

Enjoy all the wonderful handcrafted items that United Maine Craftsmen members have to offer! There will also be free gift giveaways! United Maine Craftsmen is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1969 to promote Maine artists by providing opportunities for marketing, education and collaboration.

For more info, click here or email unitedmainecraftsmen@gmail.com.

Nov. 11-12: Stop by the Maine Harvest Festival’s 7th annual event at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

This amazing, local event invites those in the Greater Bangor Area and the great state of Maine to come celebrate farm fresh. The Maine Harvest Festival brings together farmers, food processors, brewers, fiber artisans, chefs, presenters and more to one area where they can showcase, sell, demonstrate and campaign as well as sample, purchase, learn and enjoy all the wonderful things the Maine Harvest Festival has to offer! 

Learn more information, visit MaineHarvestFestival.com

Nov. 18: Looking for something a little different? Craftastic is an alternative craft fair celebrating talented, independent creators from Maine and New England. It’s happening at the Union Street Brick Church in Bangor from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Visit craftasticmaine.com for more information.

Nov 24-26: Give a Maine-made gift this holiday. United Maine Craftsmen artisans present their 43rd annual Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show, selling their locally made products at the Brewer Auditorium on Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit unitedmainecraftsmen.com.

Also keep an eye out this month for: The Zonta Club of Bangor’s annual Marketplace, Antique and Craft Fair at Brewer Auditorium. Always a fun day, with tons of vendors for your Christmas shopping. Stop at the Zonta Cafe for a delicious lunch of homemade chowder and other treats. And don’t miss the Silent Auction and Food to Go where you can get sweets and lots of take home meals.

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.