Garden Fresh

Gardening is great way to get outside, keep your distance from others and get a bit of a workout — plus, fresh fruits and veggies! Did you know gardening can also help fight depression? Here are just a few of the ways your garden helps you grow…

Fresh Fruits and Veggies

Growing your own organic fruits and veggies means you know exactly where they came from. Fresh produce is great for heart health and fighting obesity. In addition to being better for the environment (veggies from your background or patio don’t have to be packaged or trucked anywhere), a garden can also help you make fewer trips to the grocery store and potentially crowded areas.

Sensory Experience

Seeing green leaves emerge from the ground, digging in the dirt, watching vegetables grow and develop — these are all ways that gardening helps you connect with nature. Disconnecting from screens, 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 

Keeping active and busy can be challenging when confined at home. 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.

May is the perfect time to get digging! Whether you plant a whole garden full of veggies or just a few pots of tomatoes and herbs on your patio or windowsill, gardening is a great activity to try while social distancing.

5 Things to Love About Dirigo Pines

There’s so much to love about Dirigo Pines — and this Valentine’s Day, we’re counting the ways! Whether you’re a nature lover or looking for a gourmet meal, you’ll fall head over heels for Dirigo Pines. What do you love about Dirigo? Share it in the comments below!

  1. Getting Social: Making new friends and spending time with others is not only fun, it’s good for you! 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. Love to go out to eat? Join the Out to Lunch Bunch. Want to 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.
  2. Delectable 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 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.
  3. Cast a Line: 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. We’re surrounded by trails and benches, and it’s not uncommon to spot a deer, Canada geese or a heron enjoying the natural beauty.
  4. Take a Stroll: What’s more romantic than a walk in the woods with someone you love? 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! 
  5. Practice Your Short Game: It’s a clever date idea: invite someone special to putt around Dirigo’s Piney Knoll Putting Green. Just outside the Dirigo Pines Inn you can find the 40×15 foot artificial turf putting green. It 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 some fun with friends.

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

Join Us in the Fight to End Alzheimer’s

One of our very favorite causes around Dirigo Pines is the Eastern Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s. The Walk is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. All year long we raise money through various events and fundraising to support Team Dirigo and this important organization. Dirigo Pines is one of the top 5 fundraisers this year, with over $3,000 raised! Want to support our team and the cause? Click here!

You can also join more than 400 participants on Saturday, Oct. 19. Check-in time is 8 a.m., the ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. and the Walk begins at 10 a.m. at the Bangor Waterfront. You do need to register ahead of time, so click here to sign up now. Every registered participant will receive a T-shirt after achieving the fundraising minimum of $100. On Walk day, you will also receive a wristband, and each registered walker with a wristband will receive a flower to add to the Promise Garden. It’s a great way to remember a loved one, support a family member or just support the general cause.

We’ll see you there!

Test Your Knowledge: Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day! We love being surrounded by nature at Dirigo Pines and doing our part to take care of the Earth. One recent project is offering reusable containers for meals ordered from the kitchen for Inn residents. How are you going green? Quiz yourself or quiz your friends and test your Earth Day knowledge…

  1. Dirigo Pines residents are all about being good stewards of the Earth and following the 3 Rs, which stand for: 
    1. Reuse, Reformat, Recycle
    2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
    3. Recycle, Recognize, Return
  2. Earth Day was first celebrated in what year?
    1. 1970
    2. 1980
    3. 1990
  3. The “father” of Earth Day, Senator Gaylord Nelson, was disturbed that an issue as important as our environment was not addressed in politics or by the media, so he created the first Earth Day, on April 22, 1970. Which state was Sen. Nelson from?
    1. Maine
    2. Wisconsin
    3. Vermont
  4. Silent Spring is an environmental science book by Rachel Carson, documenting the adverse effects caused by the use of pesticides. The Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge is located in which Maine town?
    1. Presque Isle
    2. Ellsworth
    3. Wells
  5. Maine has how many State Parks and Historic Sites to explore?
    1. 8
    2. 28
    3. 48
  6. The Lorax is a popular children’s book about the environment, first published in 1971. Who wrote it?
    1. Dr. Seuss
    2. Roald Dahl
    3. Judy Bloom

And a 5 Point Bonus Question: What are the 5 main types of clean renewable energy sources?


  1. B. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  2. A. Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970.
  3. B. Sen. Nelson was from Wisconsin. Earth Day was started as an environmental teach-in first held on April 22, 1970.
  4. C. “Silent Spring” was published on September 27, 1962.
  5. C. According to, there 48 State Parks and Historic Sites.
  6. A. The Lorax “speaks for the trees.”

Bonus: Wind Power, Solar Power, Biomass (the term for using plants and organic matter for fuel), Geothermal, and Hydroelectric.

A History of Memorial Day 

Memorial Day has a special meaning for each of us. Remembering those we’ve lost and those who died while serving in the country’s armed forces is what this holiday is all about. Here are a few things you might not have known about this special day and how it came to be:

  • Also known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the U.S. observed every year on the last Monday of May. But did you know the holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970?
  • Some believe that the annual cemetery decoration practice began before the American Civil War. Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are still held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South.
  • On June 3, 1861, Warrenton, Virginia was the location of the first Civil War soldier’s grave ever to be decorated, according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper article in 1906. However, Boalsburg, Pennsylvania promotes itself as the birthplace of Memorial Day, after ladies decorated soldiers’ graves on July 4, 1864.
  • In April 1865, following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination and after more than 600,000 soldiers of both sides died in the Civil War, memorialization took on new significance. Under the leadership of women during the war, an increasingly formal practice of decorating graves took shape. In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead.
  • In 1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans founded in Decatur, Illinois, established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the Union war dead with flowers.
  • In 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, a physician with the Canadian Expeditionary Force, wrote the poem, “In Flanders Fields.” Its opening lines refer to the fields of poppies that grew among the soldiers’ graves in Flanders. In 1918, inspired by the poem, YWCA worker Moina Michael attended a YWCA Overseas War Secretaries’ conference wearing a silk poppy pinned to her coat and distributed over two dozen more to others present. In 1920, the National American Legion adopted it as their official symbol of remembrance.
  • On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson designated an “official” birthplace of the holiday by signing the presidential proclamation naming Waterloo, New York, as the holder of the title. This action followed House Concurrent Resolution 587, in which the 89th Congress had officially recognized that the patriotic tradition of observing Memorial Day had begun one hundred years prior in Waterloo, New York. The village credits druggist Henry C. Welles and county clerk John B. Murray as the founders of the holiday.

The Best Fit For You

Debating between independent or assisted living? Not sure what is the best fit for you or a loved one? Our Senior Living Spectrum guide can help. Click here to view. 

Find the level of care you need and discover which senior living option is best suited for you. One of the many benefits of living at Dirigo Pines is the availability of a variety of levels of care. As our residents needs and independence levels change over time, Dirigo Pines can continue to offer the right level of care. For more information about our various communities, click here. 

Living Independently at Dirigo Pines

Retirement living means something different to everyone – some want to relax, some plan to head out on a new adventure, and most of fall somewhere in between. But what we all agree on is that a worry-free, low-maintenance lifestyle sounds just about right. 

The Inn at Dirigo Pines offers independent living apartments, complete with moving assistance and one monthly fee that covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

The apartments form a welcoming community within the Inn, which is the heart of social activities at Dirigo Pines. Here you will find a lovely gathering room with a large fireplace, the dining rooms, library, hair salon, media/game room, fitness studio, and arts and crafts studio. There is even a private dining room, which you are welcome to reserve for your own gatherings. With summer visitors, it’s the perfect place to gather with friends and family.

Choose from five different apartment styles designed with comfort and convenience in mind. Maximize your lifestyle and pursue your personal interests with a variety of wellness, cultural, and educational programs offered daily. Join a book club or cribbage game, catch a movie or concert, or attend senior college. Perfect your stroke on the putting green, walk the nature trails or go fishing at the trout ponds. You will also receive your own Pines Pass, with an annual allowance for purchases at The University of Maine. Use it to pay for tickets at the Collins Center for the Arts, University of Maine athletic events, classes at the New Balance Recreation Center, and more.

Dirigo Pines can meet a variety of living arrangements without moving out of the Dirigo Inn with independent living, assisted living, memory loss, and specialized care all available to residents. When you compare the apartments, the service, the price, and the amenities, we think that you’ll want to make Dirigo Pines your home.

Visit to learn more about our Independent Living Apartments and other living options. To schedule a visit, call 866-344-3400 or email

Healthy Eating Tips

salmon-518032_1920Who doesn’t have eat healthier on their list of New Year’s Resolutions? A healthy diet is one of best ways to take good care of yourself and benefit your heart this February! Keep that old food pyramid in mind as you’re shopping, and focus on adding a wider variety of fruits and veggies and whole grains into your daily menu. We love sharing heart healthy recipes – click here for a list of Dirigo Dish recipes! 

Here are a few other healthy eating tips:

  • Get friendly with fish and work salmon, trout, herring and other fish containing omega-3 fatty acids into you diet at least twice per week
  • Choose low-fat (1%) or fat-free dairy and milk products
  • Need to lower your cholesterol? Try reducing your saturated fat to no more than 5 to 6 percent of your total calories. So if you’re eating 2,000 calories per day, that’s about 13 grams of saturated fat.
  • Lose the soda and foods with added sugar
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. That’s no more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men.

Want more great tips and healthy recipes? The American Heart Association website is full of tips and healthy recipes. Click here!

Bake Sale to Benefit Alzheimer’s Association

12916130_1031078026930055_2480372115232475573_oDon’t miss our 4th annual Bake Sale to benefit Team Dirigo’s fundraising total for the Eastern Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s. Join us Thursday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. Dirigo Pines residents and staff are baking up a storm of goodies to tempt every sweet tooth! We’ll see you there! For more information, visit our Facebook Event page by clicking here. And stay tuned for more information coming soon about other ways you can support Team Dirigo in the Eastern Maine Walk to End Alzheimer’s!

Did you know Dirigo Pines hosts an Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group every month? Join Judy Tredwell and Tracy on Wednesday, April 13 at 4 p.m. in the Dirigo Pines Conference Room. Click here to learn more.