George Smith's blog

Ocean restaurant in Kennebunkport’s Cape Arundel Inn is a place to celebrate!

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You’d have to be on a ship to dine any closer than this to the ocean. So of course, this restaurant in the Cape Arundel Inn is called Ocean.

While the waves roll towards us, outside the huge picture windows at Ocean, my gaze is out a side window toward the nearby home of President George H.W. and Barbara Bush. They dine here too, but didn’t the night we were there. Linda suggests they probably walk to the restaurant. I doubt it!

Actually, the drive along Ocean Avenue, from the Grand Hotel where we are ensconced for the weekend, is stunning. And so is the food, served in a relatively-small, intimate setting, a place of white linens, beautiful art, and superb service.

Spruce Budworm threatens Maine deer yards and more

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While Maine has not achieved its goals for protecting deer yards, that might not matter if and when the spruce budworm gets here. The budworm could destroy the state’s deer yards on both private and public lands.

Doug Denico, Director of the Maine Forest Service, told a gathering of forest industry people recently, “If you look at the map that was put up there about Maine, you’ll see that we’ve got budworm all over Maine – moths I mean – and it’s coming back in the same places it came back in the 1950s.”

The good news is that private landowners and state agencies are working together to address this approaching problem. The latest newsletter of the Maine Forest Products Council provides an update and interesting information on this critical issue, including a bunch of reports and research. You can read it here.

This old Maine woman is a great storyteller.

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               This is a Maine you may remember. It is surely a Maine you will want to know.

                Glenna Johnson Smith’s book, Old Maine Woman, published in 2010 by Islandport Press, features “stories from the coast to the county.” And oh, what stories!

                Growing up in the 1920s and 30s in rural Hancock County. Living on the farm and teaching school in Aroostook County after that. Reveling in her old womanhood, with wisdom and humor.

                “I like the sound of the words old woman,” she writes. “They’re strong words – earthy, honest. I’m grateful I’ve survived long enough to be able to label myself by them.”

Experts report on Lyme disease and deer ticks

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Since posting two columns about Lyme disease and deer ticks recently, I have appreciated all the information that readers have shared with me.

These two places give you a ton of historical and current information. Check them out now and keep them handy.


Big Bend National Park in Southwest Texas is spectacular!

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Big Bend National Park is relentlessly stunning, high mountain desert alongside the Rio Grande, and a paradise for all who love the outdoors.


Big Bend is one of the most spectacular sights you will ever see. We’ve visited many national parks and this has become a favorite.

Picture hilly arid land with a backdrop of long mountain chains that take your breath away. Some formations create rounded sculpture shapes, while others are more angular. Rock variations color the hillsides in shades of taupe, red, and white. This is a geologist’s dream and many travel here for that reason. I tell George that this is the polar opposite of Mount Vernon. It feels like you can see forever, and it's hard to take all this vastness in.

After our interminable winter, I am soaking in the heat here. Boy it gets hot, even in April, where the average day time temperature this week was 90. Hot, sunny, and dry, but it cools down into the fifties at night with a lovely breeze.

A dangerous life-changing voyage through the Northwest Passage

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            It seemed like a foolhardy, dangerous, ill-considered journey. Sprague Theobald risked it all, including the lives of his children, attempting to boat through the Northwest Passage.

            Lots of things went wrong on his 57-foot yacht, but the most annoying was the conflicts between Theobald, his children, and the rest of his crew. A lot of this story recounts these conflicts, sometimes in more detail than I cared to know. But in the end, the personal conflicts and crises were the story.

What I didn’t know about ticks and Lyme disease might kill you

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My attempt to alert you to the dangers of ticks and Lyme disease apparently fell far short of the mark. I am thankful to all who added information, in posts and emails. The earlier column, titled “Your best defense against Lyme disease is a plastic spoon,” certainly drew a lot of interest, with more than 31,000 readers putting me at the top of the Bangor Daily News bloggers list that week.

A couple of things happened to me personally after that column was published. First, my daughter Rebekah called to say one of our grandsons had been bitten by a tick. She contacted her pediatrician, who told her not to worry, that they don’t test ticks or treat kids until symptoms of Lyme or other diseases appear. That advice was soooo wrong!

I put Rebekah in touch with Representative Jim Dill, a University professor, legislator, and one of the state’s top experts on insects, and he arranged to have the tick shipped to a Boston lab for testing. No results yet.

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