George Smith's blog

Annabella's is a gathering place in Richmond

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                Family defines and inspires Annabella’s Bakery and Café in “downtown” Richmond. Barbara and her daughter Stacy are the owners, assisted by Barbara’s two sisters and cousin, and sometimes even her grandsons. And her husband is known to poke around in the place too.

                Lots of people in the Richmond area encouraged us to visit Annabella’s, and we are grateful to them for that advice. This a truly wonderful place, a place where you might go for breakfast and still be there for lunch! It’s a gathering place for the community, for sure. It’s also a place that serves creative and tasty food.

Oh, the hunting mistakes I’ve made!

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 When I started to build a list of all the mistakes I’ve made while hunting, well, it turns out I made a lot more mistakes than I remembered! I guess that’s the trail we take to become successful hunters. For me, the trail was long and sometimes frustrating.

I started off on the wrong foot, when, at the age of 9, I snuck up to a robin, perched on a tree in our front yard, and shot it with my BB gun. Dad explained, quickly, how wrong that was! Seems appropriate that today I am an avid birder! With binoculars, not a shotgun!

About a half century later, I was hunting woodcock with my friend Jimmy Robbins in Searsmont, when we moved into a grow-over apple orchard. Jimmy told me to stand near an old apple tree on a knoll, while he took the dog and hunted down through the thick brush off to our right. He pointed to the far end of that piece and said to watch that spot, because that’s where the woodcock would fly out.

Awesome mounted fish – and fishing stories – at Rangeley B&B

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                 I first met Rob Welch at the annual meeting of the Maine Woods Consortium, a group that works to improve the rural Maine economy. We hit it off immediately, because Rob is an avid angler in one of my favorite regions, Rangeley, where I’ve spent a lot of time fishing over the years.

                So Linda and I scheduled a travel column visit to the Pleasant Street Inn B&B owned by Rob and his wife Jan. The 5 room B&B is wonderful, as is the hospitality. Rob’s a retired school principal and Jan teaches fourth grade math at the Rangeley school.

What can we expect from the next legislature?

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Thanks to all who told us they enjoyed the lively discussion about the last legislative session’s accomplishments and disappointments, featured in last episode of our TV talk show with two outstanding state legislators: Senator Tom Saviello and Representative Bob Duchesne.

And I’ve got great news for you. Tom and Bob are featured in the new edition of Wildlife, airing for the first time tonight.

On this show, we focused on major outdoor and environmental issues in the 2017 legislative session. From solar and wind power to mining, hatcheries to stream and brook spawning habitat protection, exotic animals to problems in the Maine Warden Service, we covered a lot of ground in this half hour.

Friendly and welcoming define the Pleasant Street Inn Bed & Breakfast

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                The super friendly and welcoming Rob and Jan Welch define their Pleasant Street Inn Bed & Breakfast on a quiet street within walking distance of downtown Rangeley. As we arrived, I thought the large and beautiful inn must be an historic building, but later learned that when they purchased this place in 1977, it was a tiny old house served by a 3-holer outhouse.

                They restored the barn and moved it away from the house, then fixed up the old house, later adding on to provide space for Rob’s grandfather. Today, that addition offers 5 gorgeous bedrooms for their guests. Rob and Jan still live in the house and enjoy spending time with their guests, as we did. The morning gathering for Rob’s delicious breakfast was especially fun.

Among the Shadows by Bruce Robert Coffin

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Bruce Robert Coffin’s novel, Among the Shadows, is the only thing that went right on our recent flights to Italy. I’d dipped into the book the night before we left, to make sure it was worthy of carrying all the way to Italy and back. And it was.

So I started reading it on the bus trip from Portland to Boston, read a bit more at Logan and on the plane to Rome, and finished the book during a 7 hour layover in Rome. We’d left Boston late, missed our connection in Rome to Pisa, waited 7 hours for another flight to Pisa, and arrived too late to get to our destination that night. And oh yea, our luggage didn’t arrive in Pisa with us.

A great visit to the Black Point Inn

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                It feels like there aren't too many areas of Maine that we haven't explored, but this week's column took us to a new location neither of us had ever visited: Prouts Neck in Scarboro, to the Black Point Inn.

                The huge and historic building is surrounded by private homes and looks like an elegant Maine cottage with a cupola and lovely arched windows along the first floor. Todd, a bellman, greeted us and the friendly front desk staff checked us in with a genuine welcome. They told us the Inn’s rooms have a cottage feel, and indeed the sea colors of our room matched that description.

                The furnishings included an antique desk and dresser, a king size bed with a supremely comfortable mattress and exquisite linens. Our windows looked out to the ocean.

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