Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Beach Plum Farm of Ogunquit, a nature preserve....

You're just beyond the dune
A glint in the Ocean's glimmer
In the cry of seagulls
Veiled from the eye, sensed by the soul.
                                                                      -on a bench at Beach Plum Farm
Less than a mile from Ogunquit village centre is a 22 acre reserve that hosts community gardens, walking trails, and is also a public park with a mini museum. The park is managed by the Great Works Regional Land Trust and is called Beach Plumb Farm.

The reserve has sweeping ocean views, and is the last remaining salt water farm in Ogunquit. It is also the only place where you can see the dunes and estuaries from US Route One.

 Beach Plum Farm was once the farm of Roby Littlefield. Littlefield farmed the land and sold vegetables since the 1920's. Roby Littlefield established a tradition of community garden plots, which  still exist today. The Great Works Regional Land Trust hosts more than 50 community garden plots that people use.

The museum located at Barn #3. This building holds memorabilia and artifacts from Roby Littlefield. Books, tools, photographs are on display. Mr Littlefield served in World War I, and the Maine Senate. Littlefield also spearheaded the preservation of Ogunquit beach for public use. Much of the southern Maine coast was developed, but not Ogunquit beach.
There are walking trails which circles the gardens and loops around the property. The habitat is home to birds, ducks and a variety of Maine wildlife. The conservation area is dotted with benches, perfect for relaxing and admiring the abundant nature preserve.
The Details:
Beach Plumb Farm/Great Works Regional Land Trust
610 Main Street
Ogunquit, ME 03907
Open from 7am to Dusk
Admission is free
Drive 9/10 of a mile from Ogunquit village centre, on your right going north, before Distant Sands B&B

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mount Agamenticus, Spring Time!

Vantage Point: a position or place that allows one a wide or favourable overall view of a scene or situation. 
World English Dictionary

I'm on Ogunquit beach at least once a day. I enjoy running, and wandering along the wide open sand stretches. However, sometimes I do like to see the world from a different vantage point. So today I went up to Mount Agamenticus.
Mt Agamenticus is located in the nearby town of York. It's an easy 10 minute drive, or a great bicycle trip from the B&B. This "mountain" is small compared to other Mountains, but is a jewel on the southern Maine coast. The former Ski lodge is now an enviornmental reserve with over 10,000 acres of land which is one of the largest undeveloped coastal forests in New England.

There are over 40 miles of trails for hiking, mt biking, bird watching,  and exploring. The views are amazing. Today was clear and we could see the New Hampshire's White mountains, Boon Island Lighthouse, and other mountains in the distance.
The mount is know for its shallow bedrock, and steep drops on the north side. 
Unique rock formations are abundant throughout the area. A perfect place to relax!

The Details:
Mountain Road
York, ME
From Ogunquit Beach Inn, go south on Route One for for 3.4 miles Take a right on to Mountain Road and proceed for 4 miles. The entrance is on your right. Access road is paved and weaves up the mountain.
Admission is free. Open from sunrise to dusk. Use at your own risk. Great place to picnic and hike. There is an old ski lodge which is now an educational center. Great views from the deck of the lodge.
Helpful Tips:
Carry in/carry out. Where good footwear, rocks are slippery and there is a lot of moss. Mt A is a great place for bird watching, and many hawkes are seen at the summit. There are viewing stations, and picnic tables at the summit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Ephemera in the Digital Age

Ephemera:  items designed to be useful or important for only a short time, especially pamphlets, notices etc

In this digital age, it seems that photos, news and information are spread rapidly with the help of digital cameras, and the Internet. So many things can be found online: books, music, museum collections etc. However, not everything is digitized.....

My neighbor, Tobias, of the Sweet Pea Cottage, found an old copy of the "Ogunquit Village Directory" from 1960. This pocket sized directory listed everyone's house address, phone number ( if they had a phone). Not only addresses in Ogunquit; winter addresses were also included (Palm Beach, NYC and Montreal were quite common ). Listings of businesses, small advertisements, helpful hints, and other other useful information are found in this handy guide.  The pamphlet also featured a useful map. Ironically, the map is still accurate. In over 50 years, most of the roads and many houses are still standing. However, street numbers have changed due to Enhanced 911 in the 1990's.

Many of the phone numbers are still accurate too. Family homes, some businesses still have the same telephone number after 50 years. In 1960 Ogunquit switched to the prefix of MI6 (646) for the first three digits to dial. People outside of town had to dial the 7 numbers. Those in-town could dial the last five. In 1960 Maine had one area code. As of today, Maine still has one area code: 207.
 The back cover of the guide features a schedule for the Ogunquit Playhouse. West Side Story played in July and Bette Davis starred in The World of Carl Sandburg in September.

In 1960, the "See and Do"section listed things like, "Cool rides in the Pines" and  "Movies Theatres-Latest Pictures" as some of the midcentury pasttimes.  Remember in 1960, there was virtually no airconditioning in Ogunquit Maine, so a cool ride in the pines was a nice way to cool off.

The guide listed places for free parking. One place was behinds "Firemen's Hall" on School street. However free parking behind Firemen's Hall is no longer available.
Ogunquit Beach Inn  at 67 School Street, phone (207) MI6-1112

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Laudholm 5km off Road Race, & EcoDay at Wells Reserve

Be Active, Be Fit, Go Green....

It's patriots day weekend in Maine. Patriots' Day commemorates the first battles of the Revolutionary War, and the famous "Midnight Ride" of Paul Revere. It's also Marathon weekend in Boston.  However, there was another race on this long holiday weekend:  Laudholm 5km off Road Race at the Wells National Estuarine Reserve.
The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is a National Estuarine Research Reserve listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The sprawling 2250 acres (9.1 km2) of protected land, estuaries, beaches, trails and fields. The Wells Reserve is open to the public and also conducts research with NOAA.

Today was a bit chilly for mid-April, but overall a great day for a nice off road race. We started with Yoga Stretches from Yoga guru Kristina Hupp of Sacred Movement Yoga. The race was officiated by Ogunquit Selectman and elite Runner, Bobby Winn.
The course is off road, through fields, wooded trails, crumbling country roads and small hilly areas at the Wells Reserve.
My pace was 6.49 minutes for the first mile-not bad for trail running. I came in 6th overall with a time of 21.50 minutes, and placed 2nd in my age category, and 5th in the men's division. The weather was a bit blustery, with a northeast head wind. Cool enough that I had to wear gloves.
Crossing the finish line!
EcoDay also featured a Green Expo, volleyball tourney, natures walks, yoga demonstrations, kite flying and other nature/green events. It wasn't the Boston Marathon, but, I am quite happy with this little trail race. Funds raised help preserve the National Estuarine.

The 5km race was only $18 to pre-register, and  that included yet another T-shirt to my collection, a live band, good food, entertainment and  free admission to the National Estuarine. Overall pretty good schwag for 18 bucks!
The Details:
Wells National Estuarine at Laudholm Farm
342 Laudholm Farm Road
Wells, ME 04090
Telephone: 207.646.1555
Admission is free, but donations are graciously accepted.
There is over 2200 acres of trails, woods, vernal pools, forest, estuaries, and beaches. There is a beach and parking is available. Membership is $25, which includes beach parking. This is truly a nature preserve, and a gem on the southern Maine coast, just a couple of miles north of Ogunquit village.

Directions: From Ogunquit Beach Inn drive north on US Route One 7 miles (11.5 kilometers) to Laudholm Farm Road. Take a right and follow signs.

Tony relaxes after a good finish. Post race food:  bagels from Dunkin Donuts, fruit and other snacks!
After the finish line......

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

T-shirts on vacation....

 Every song, every T-shirt, is absolutely a pure expression of what we want to do. And it connects
                                                                        -Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

Its an American phenomenon: to buy a T-shirt while you are on vacation. It's utilitarian, it's a souvenir, it's a statement. Some people buy postcards, I buy a t-shirt. Ever since I was a child, my parents would  purchase a souvenir shirt while we were on vacation.
A young Gregory displays his "Smithsonian Astronaut USA" T-shirt, sometime in the mid 1960's.

I have countless T-shirts. Shirts from high school, college, and vacations from over a dozen countries. T-shirts from races, concerts, and causes cram my closets.

 Some people make statements with tattoos. They say its a road map of their life. To me, T-shirts are a way to express myself and its also a timeline of my life: a visit to the Smithsonian in Washington DC; the Matisse exhibit at MOMA in 93; Spring Weekend at college in 1982; a high school shirt from 1978; and an 8 kilometer race in Buenos Aires in 2009. Destinations, events and good times!
All of these "events" have harvested me a hefty pile of T-shirts. Most I wear. Some I  discard, and yet some I can not part with.  This creates a challenge. What do you do with old T-shirts?  Some shirts are like old friends:  comfortable, casual and familiar.
While running in the race circuits, I noticed that many runners made quilts out of there old race day T-shirts. This was an "aha moment" for me. What a solution! Something useful, and yet a way to display the collections of t-shirts collected over a lifetime! I  had a local friend make the quilt. He took many of my T-shirts, and pieced them together with backing. The quilt is a timeline, road map, and holds a lot of sentimental value.

Needless to say, there are plenty of places in Ogunquit to buy a T-shirt. One favorite place is Spoiled Rotten. This gift boutique, located on Beach Street in Ogunquit, carries fine gifts and their famous Spoil Me Ogunquit T-shirts. Many guests collect them year after year. Well worth the visit and visit on line!

1992 Hollywood Blvd, and yet another T-shirt.......

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bread & Roses Bakery opens for the season

As we come marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill-lofts gray
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing, "Bread and Roses, Bread and Roses."
                                                                                   -James Oppenheim

It's a sure sign of spring when locals and visitors march over to Bread & Roses Bakery  for their morning fix of coffee and pastry. Newly renovated and expanded, Bread & Roses opened for their 23rd season today. Mary Breen and company were busy all winter expanding, renovating and remodelling this busy bakery/cafe.
The kitchen has a new layout....

The mouthwatering desserts, pastries and cakes are legendary! Artisan breads, cheesecake cupcakes and Maine whoopie pies where quite popular this morning.  Other than incredible desserts, Bread & Roses Bakery is also known for Carpe Diem Coffee.  This locally roasted coffee satisfies caffeine needs of hundreds of locals and visitors daily! Carpe Diem is locally owned, and operates in southern Maine.

Every small town has a good bakery, but how many small towns have a GREAT bakery? What makes Bread & Roses great? For one thing, the customers come from all over. Many people plan their visits to Ogunquit to coincide with the season opening of Bread & Roses. Mary Breen and staff are passionate about baking and their passion shows in their quality.
Bread & Roses is also passionate about the enviornment too. Mary and staff commute to work on bicycles. Bread & Roses also makes deliveries via bike. Its quite common in the summer time to see festive green Bread & Roses bike making deliveries. Delicous food, great coffee, giving back the community, and a keen awareness for the enviornment are the things that make this an Ogunquit Mainstay for 23 years!

The Details:
Bread and Roses Bakery
246 Main Street
Ogunquit, ME
Telephone 207.646.4227
Open daily at 7am
If you want a taste of Ogunquit, mail order is NOW available

Interesting sidenote:
Whoopie pies are a classic New England treat made with devils food cake and a sweet creamy filling made with marshmallow Fluff. Bread & Roses' whoopie pies are so popular they sell out every day!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Quahogs on the shore...

Nor'easter storm stirs ocean floor
as quahogs land and
seagulls feast and explore

It's funny how one day can make a difference! Yesterdays April fools storm is long gone, but some remnants remain. The nor'easter stirred the ocean floor and delivered  fresh bounty of large quahogs on Ogunquit beach. The 2011 winter also stirred the ever changing parabolic barrier dunes.

The barrier island that is Ogunquit beach is unique to Maine. Maine has 3500 miles of coastline, and only a handful of pristine sandy white beaches like Ogunquit. The winter storms have caused erosion to these fragile dunes.
The iconic dune landbridge empties to a dramitically lower beach. The 2011 winter stoms sliced the fragile dunes....
Yesterday's wild ocean stirred the quahogs and exposed them during today's afternoon low tide.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools??

Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.
- Victor Hugo

Mother Nature; she can be one mean mother. It's no joke, and it did snow, with several inches accumulating. The April Fool's nor'easter went through the gulf of Maine today and dumped a mix of slushy/heavy spring snow. Its quite a difference from last years weather in early April. While snow in April is not common, it is possible....We are scheduled to open up Ogunquit Beach Inn, this month for our 15th season.  

Perkins Cove draw bridge, a bit less travelled...

No jumping off of the bridge on this wintery like day....

Daunting waves belt the Marginal Way, yet there is quiet beauty in Mother Nature's spring surprise! Maine it's always an adventure! I think I will relax and enjoy the novelty of snow in April!