May 31 – June 13, 2019Vol. 21, No. 1

Two Books: A Hiker's Guide and 50 Places to Visit in Maine

Cover of 50 Things to Do in Maine Before You Die

by Martha F. Barkley

I have followed for years The Bangor Daily News reporter Aislinn Sarnacki, especially her write-up several summers ago about the Wells Trail named to honor Rachel Carson. We found the short hike along the coast and enjoyed the marsh views and birding, one of Rachel's hobbies. The writer took her little toddler niece on this short hike, so all ages would enjoy that path. Wheelchair accessible, too.

Family Friendly Hikes in Maine contains a variety of choices collected over several years for hiker and non-hiker alike, places near Belgrade and places afar. She often has her dog or sometimes her husband, along with other family members, accompany her as she takes lovely color photos. Maps clearly show what your adventure will be like.

50 Things to Do in Maine Before You Die by Nancy Griffin will interest anyone, even the not so curious. The 50 chapter titles pretty much tell all, but chapter 13 caught my eye, "Learn About the Good Life." There it was, photos of Forest Farm in Harborside, Maine, developed by the famed Helen and Scott Nearing. I first learned about their "back to the earth movement" at a Belgrade book discussion one summer. (Wish I were here all winter for the monthly book groups.)

Now it is a living museum for visitors and overnight guests who understand what their maintenance tasks will be. Kind of like youth hostels in Europe.

The "Hop on a Bike" chapter interested me because our son is a cyclist and runs a Menlo Park, CA business. Acadia crushed rock carriage roads are recommended, but Baxter State Park sounds more appealing for mountain bikers. Many crowd cycle events occur around the state to raise funds and are safer on busy roads. Cyclists are protected in larger groups with escort. Tasting bitter Moxie, freshly picked warm blueberries and Aroostook potatoes, in Humpty Dumpty potato chips made in Portland, are three chapters.

Visiting the Shaker Museum in Sabbathday Day Lake is a must visit for me each summer. I worship with Brother Arnold and Sister June, the last living Shakers, at Shaker Meeting on Sunday at 10 a.m. All are welcome. Guests may even visit after worship and enjoy coffee and donuts downstairs in the kitchen/dining building. My friend in Rome, Maine, encouraged me to go out to the Shaker barn and see the sheep. They were huge.

Usually around 30 friends of the Shakers are there at Sunday meeting in the summer when I attend. A cappella singing with them is wonderful: "'Tis a gift to be simple, 'Tis a gift to be free…" Clapping and motions occasionally for certain hymns. Shaking and dancing stopped years ago because too many tourists were peering through the windows during worship. Shakers and guests are welcome to stand and speak between each hymn.

Loons and whoopie pies are common knowledge in our Belgrade area. So are the yummy bean hole suppers and their warm tender taste offered everywhere at fire halls.

Find some new Maine adventures in Stand in the Clouds, the Penobscot Narrows Observatory, and other chapters. Always something new to explore or taste around the corner in Maine. You CAN get there from here! The Maine grand canyon and desert…I highly recommend the desert just off the green trees growing lushly along lovely Interstate 295. Yes, it is 40 acres of sand dunes. You gotta' see it to believe it.

From whitewater rafting on the rivers to viewing whales from an ocean schooner, all here in Maine.

Go to find puffins on the coast, watch ice harvesting inland or view the Milky Way at 3 a.m.

Both books are available at our favorite Belgrade Public Library. Go visit and I bet you will check out more than just two favorite finds. Brian, Jerod and director Janet Patterson helped me find these two fun books full of local adventures.