Travelin’ Maine(rs)

A regular travel blog, written by George and Linda Smith, focused entirely on instate travel.

Huts and Trails features high adventure, comfort, and great food

City or Town: 
New Portland
Kingfield
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Linda

                Okay, I was clueless about the Maine Huts & Trails system before this adventure. When George explained to me that we would hike in, maybe in the dark, and sleep in a “hut”, I may have been a bit apprehensive. He sweetened the deal by saying that was the weekend Bob Duchesne was leading a winter bird watch. I hadn’t been birding in so long, a winter bird hike sounded awesome to me.

        Then George explained that all we needed to bring were sleeping bags, and that all the meals were prepared for the guests at the lodge. We could snowshoe in - no problem.

        As it turned out, the gorgeous snowshoe in was extremely easy, even carrying in our gear. Walking up the well groomed Service Road was only 1 mile. A more scenic trial in along Flagstaff Lake is 1.8 miles. We decided to explore more trails once we unloaded our gear.

A recreational paradise in Maine’s great North Woods

City or Town: 
Millinocket
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 Matt Polstein is the perfect example of what it takes to succeed these days in the sporting camp business. Matt has renovated most of the old cabins that were part of Twin Pine Camps, constructed new cabins and luxurious 3-bedroom houses, added a superb restaurant, and partnered with conservation groups to protect surrounding lands and with outdoor recreation groups to add experiences to the traditional pursuits of hunting and fishing.

                When we were there a few weeks ago, it was clear that the New England Outdoor Center is a major destination for snowmobilers. While Matt rents snowmobiles, many of his guests arrive with huge trailers full of them. Some bring two for each member of their party, in case one breaks down!

Taco 2’sDay Spells Fun at 3 Crow

City or Town: 
Rockland
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 George

                Given that Linda and I think dining out should be fun, we eagerly anticipated Taco 2’sDay at Rockland’s 3 Crow restaurant. And fun it was!

                Part of the fun was that our daughter Rebekah and son-in-law Patrick joined us. But the friendly staff, beautiful interior, and tasty food, made this a particularly memorable evening.

                The owners, Chef Josh Hixson and his wife Tara Barker, are front and center here. Josh cooks New Orleans-inspired food, another thing that drew our attention to this relatively new restaurant on Rockland’s Main Street. New Orleans food draws us often to our favorite Portland restaurant, Hot Suppah.

Travis Ferland is restoring the historic Rangeley Inn to greatness

City or Town: 
Rangeley
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George

                It takes a brave soul to tackle the restoration of an old historic inn, and Travis Ferland is a brave soul. He also has the credentials and work ethic to do it. Travis purchased the Rangeley Inn two years ago at a foreclosure auction and has been working tirelessly ever since to bring this landmark on Rangeley’s Main Street back to its glory years.

                So far, so good. We stayed in the renovated section of the Inn and were impressed with how Travis has retained the historic aspects while modernizing the building. The entire Inn is full of old photos, memorabilia, and furniture, as well as mounts of moose and bear. My friend Bill Pierce, executive director of the Fly Fishing Museum in Oquossic, loaned the Inn some amazing photos from the museum’s collection. The common rooms at the entrance are particularly beautiful.

Monhegan Dreamin'

City or Town: 
Monhegan
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Monhegan in the spring. Monhegan in the summer. Monhegan in the fall. We’re getting through another long winter by dreaming of the island!

George

                Our annual Mother’s Day birding adventure weekend on Monhegan was over, and on the Barstow’s ferry, the Monhegan Boat Line, taking us back to Port Clyde and the mainland on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we struck up a conversation with Michael Brassard and Jayne Marency on the upper deck.

                Turns out they’d just purchased the Island Inn, and after a great talk while we enjoyed the day and the voyage, they invited us back to the island to stay at their inn. It didn’t take long for us to say yes!

An amazing room, awesome dinner, and Maine’s best brunch

City or Town: 
Freeport
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 George

                Five minutes after we entered the Thomas Moser room at the Harraseeket Inn, I told Linda I was ready to write this column. While a Saturday night dinner and Sunday brunch were ahead, I could easily have written the entire column about our room that featured 14 stunningly beautiful pieces of furniture from Maine’s own Thomas Moser.

                And every piece was available for purchase! Of course, we would have had to sell our house to afford it all, and then where would we have put it? But it sure was nice to luxuriate in this beautiful room for a weekend.

The devil is in the details of Maine’s 2015 moose management plan

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Permits to hunt moose in Maine will be reduced this year, but not nearly as sharply as they were in 2014 when we lost about 1000 permits.

However, when you get into the details of the permit proposal from the Wildlife Division professionals at Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, you will find that the only reason the total number of permits will be reduced is a significant cut in WMD 2.

In that district, the legislature directed DIF&W in 2010 to decrease the moose population to reduce motor vehicle collisions with this beast of the woods. And Judy Camuso, DIF&W’s very capable Wildlife Division Director, told me that the population has been reduced in WMD 2, the goal has been met, and consequently the recommendation for 2015 is to reduce permits in that district by 300.

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