Welcome our New ‎Executive Director Paula LeVasseur

We are pleased to welcome our new ‎Executive Director Paula LeVasseur! Paula has worked in the health care field for more than 25 years. She holds a Master’s in Health Administration and has worked in a variety of healthcare settings, including primary care, specialty care, long-term care, and assisted living/memory care. She is a licensed Residential Care Administrator.

Paula is a life-long resident of the Old Town-Stillwater area. She has been married for more than 30 years to Stephen M. LeVasseur. Paula and Steve have two adult sons. In her free-time she enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with her family.

Paula is very excited to be part of the Dirigo Pines community and is looking forward to getting to know everyone! Welcome Paula!

Click here to learn more about Dirigo Pines. To schedule a visit, call 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com. 


Dirigo Dish: For the Love of Food

Anyone else just want to tuck into the kitchen and cook up a storm when the weather turns cold? February is a great time to whip up some special dishes for the ones you love. Here’s one great recipe to warm you up, and below is a link to even more recipes we love from the American Heart Association. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!

Ginger-Pumpkin Bisque


4 Servings

  • 1/2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 3/4 Tbsp minced, fresh gingerroot
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or jarred minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1, (14.5-ounce) can low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2, (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup fat-free sour cream, to serve (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp chopped chives (optional)


  • In a large heavy-duty pot, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add minced onion, stirring occasionally and sauteeing until soft, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Stir in ginger, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, pepper, and salt. Stirring constantly, let spices cook for 1 minute. Stir in flour and then add vegetable broth and water, using a spatula to scrape the bottom of the pan for caramelized bits. Stir in pumpkin puree. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low so that soup is at a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in milk and remove from heat. Ladle soup into bowls, garnishing each serving with sour cream and chives, if desired. Serve.

Click here for even more of the recipes we’ve shared from the American Heart Association recently. Yum!

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

Living Options at Dirigo Pines

Did you know there are many different living options at Dirigo Pines? From purchasing a cottage to independent living to care for those with memory impairment, there is a retirement living option right for everyone.

Click here for our spectrum of senior living options to find the best fit for your lifestyle.

Independent Living Apartments – Penobscot Commons

The Inn at Dirigo Pines encompasses a true warmth and welcome and is the heart of the community. Here you will find a lovely gathering room with a large fireplace, dining venues, library, hair salon, media/game room, fitness studio, and arts and crafts studio. One monthly fee covers rent and utilities, daily dinner, weekly housekeeping, 24-hour emergency response system and scheduled transportation.

Assisted Living – Kenduskeag Commons

Assisted Living gives you freedom to enjoy life’s many pleasures unburdened from daily tasks that may have become more difficult to manage on a daily basis. Tailored to meet your individual requirements Dirigo Pines assisted living provides help with personal care and medications whenever needed. In addition, three meals are served daily. Housekeeping and laundry service are provided on a weekly basis and staff is available around the clock.

Specialized Care – Meadowbrook Commons

Residents receive therapeutic assistance with activities of daily living such as eating, ambulation, transferring, bathing, and dressing. Medications are administered and monitored under the guidance of our medical director or the resident’s preferred physician. Professional care planning is done with the resident and family to enhance health and safety. Guided social, recreational, and cultural programs are also provided.

Memory Care – The Arbor

Individual attention is provided to The Arbor residents in a beautifully warm and inviting environment. There is a high level of activity and involvement by our staff as well as volunteers and family members. Medications are administered and monitored under the guidance of our medical director or the resident’s assigned physician. Residents have access to their own garden/courtyard, sun porch, exercise programs, outings, and special events.

Click here to learn more all the options at Dirigo Pines. 

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.

We Want to Hear From You!

Thanks for reading our blog! Since we started back in 2015, we’ve had 7,165 views! Last year alone, 2,180 of you visited us for retirement tips, local events, news about Dirigo Pines and more. Now we want to hear from you. What do you want to see more of in 2018? Take our poll!

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.

Your Retirement Dream Cottage

As we start dreaming of spring and the return of warmer weather, many of us of a certain age start thinking of other new beginnings — like retirement. If you’re starting to think about making the leap, a new home and living situation might also be on the table. The cottage community at Dirigo Pines is a great way to make a smooth transition to retirement living, maintaining your independence while taking advantage of the many programs, activities and offerings of a retirement community.

Our Cottage Community offers one monthly fee which includes cable television, internet, grounds keeping, snow plowing, trash removal, building repairs, maintenance and more. You can also access an array of services and facilities in the central Inn, including a beautiful gathering room with a large fireplace, dining rooms, library, hair salon, activity rooms and more. There is even a large private dining room, which you can reserve for your own gatherings with friends and family.

Every duplex style cottage home at Dirigo Pines offers a living room, dining area, fully applianced kitchen, master bedroom with walk-in closet, guest bedroom, two baths, screened-in porch, and attached garage. Some cottages also have a den. There are many interior finish options and upgrades available. Click here to learn more about our cottage community. 

For Sale Now: Cottage at 6 Hawthorn Court

We currently have a cottage at 6 Hawthorn Court available. This cottage offers convenient one-floor living, nestled in a quiet cul-de-sac with lush perennial beds. The patio and sunroom offer peaceful views of the wooded yard, gentle breezes, and birdsong. Enjoy living surrounded by natural beauty, with all the conveniences of Dirigo Pines and the Town of Orono, just steps away.

For more information about this cottage, click here.

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!

Growing To Meet Your Needs

If you find a loved one needing more and more assistance as they age, you’re not alone. Many find they’re not quite ready for a skilled nursing facility, but they do need more help with daily activities. That’s where Specialized Care at Dirigo Pines’ Meadowbrook Commons can help. Offering a higher level of assisted living, our specialized care staff can help with bathing, dressing, getting in and out of chairs or bed, cooking dinner, doing laundry, and more. And it’s often less expensive than a skilled nursing facility and provided in a more comfortable, home-like setting.

As the need for these services continues to grow, Dirigo Pines is working to add seven efficiency apartments similar to our assisted living apartments, with a small kitchenette and separate bedroom, as well as two new studio apartments to our Meadowbrook Commons. 

Have more questions about the difference between Assisted Living and Specialized Care? Click here.

Click here to learn more about our many living options. To schedule a visit, call 866-344-3400 or email info@dirigopines.com.

Dirigo Dish: Spaghetti with Turkey Meatballs

This twist from the American Heart Association on a cold weather classic keeps it healthy and simple. Find even more heart healthy recipes at www.heart.org!


Marinara Sauce

  • 14 oz. canned, no-salt-added, or, low-sodium, sliced carrots
  • 14.4 oz. packaged, frozen pepper stir-fry (onions and peppers) (thawed)
  • 1 medium zucchini (chopped)
  • 4 clove fresh garlic (minced)
  • 52 oz. cubed, no-salt-added, or, low-sodium tomato (crushed)
  • 2 tsp. salt-free, dried Italian spice blend

Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb. extra-lean or fat-free ground turkey breast (95%-99% lean)
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 cup multigrain cereal flakes (crushed, optional)
  • 1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti


Marinara Sauce

  • In a large pot (not over any heat yet), add carrots. Use a fork or potato masher to mash. Add stir-fry vegetables, zucchini, garlic, crushed tomatoes, and spice blend.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, and reduce heat to medium-low so sauce is simmering.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs

  • In a bowl, combine turkey, pepper, cereal and parsley. Form meat mixture into golf-size meatballs to make about 20 to 25 meatballs.
  • Add meatballs into the simmering sauce, trying to get the majority of meatballs covered by sauce. Cover and cook until meatballs are cooked through, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Make spaghetti according to package directions (omitting the salt and fat). Serve with marinara and meatballs.

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!

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… 


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.


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.


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!