Don't Ski? No Worries!

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Carrabassett Valley
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 It turns out you don’t have to ski to enjoy a winter visit to Sugarloaf.



                Watching the cars full of skiers pile into the parking lots on Saturday morning, I was very happy we’d arrived at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel on Friday afternoon for a weekend of fun. Our car was parked, we’d already enjoyed a great evening at the Shipyard Brew Haus, and we had a day planned that included snowshoeing, a tour of the mountain’s shops, and relaxation in the hotel’s amazing and huge outdoor hot tub, plus dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, 45 North.


Entertaining insulting astonishing remarks received about exotic animal column

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 “You are an idiot, George,” wrote one. “You are a freaking idiot,” parodied another. “You sir are an idiot,” wrote a third.

OK, we’ve established that I am an idiot.

“Open a book, dickhole,” suggested a woman who thought I needed to be educated. “It's people like you that make this country unlivable,” continued the woman who lives in Ohio.

“This is the most ignorant article that I have ever read,” wrote another. “This guy is a total nutbag,” suggested someone else. I was also called a moron and ignorant and sickening. Comments came from all over the country and throughout Maine.

Rat Snakes, African Knife Fish, and Golden Poison Frogs will remain uncontrolled in Maine

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 Maine won’t get control anytime soon of rat snakes, bearded dragons, African knife fish, Alligator lizards, Spiny-tailed monitors, Golden poison frog, Gargoyle geckos – or lots of other exotic animals that you can currently possess without permits.

And the confusing laws and rules governing the critters you do need permits to possess won’t get any legislative attention either, nor will the agency’s high costs of administering this program. 

While management of exotic animals in Maine is shared by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, most of the job rests with DIF&W which receives no public funding for it, so sportsmen are paying all the bills. And now, they will continue to do so.

One Stanley Avenue offers an elegant step back in time

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I still remember a very special dining experience we had at One Stanley Avenue fifteen or twenty years ago. Chef and owner Dan Davis, who lives with his wife Susan upstairs at One Stanley, has poured his life into this historic building that includes his impressive collection of stained glass in the windows and walls.

                For dinner, our server Tammy seated us in "the Arch" in the first of two intimate dining rooms. Tammy owns a preschool center in Phillips so she and I had a lot to talk about. The tin ceilings in this room are very intricate. Bathed in rose pink, the rooms are romantically lit with candles on the tables and quiet music in the background. One look around and you know you are in for a special meal here.

Sticker shock as milfoil fee increase wins legislative support

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 NOTE: You can make your voice heard on this issue by answering the milfoil sticker question in my Sportsmen Say Survey question on this website. I will alert legislators to your opinion!

Sticker Shock

On Tuesday afternoon the legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee spent more than an hour questioning state officials about their work on invasive plants and fish. Much of that work is funded by a special fee added years ago to the boat registration, the so-called milfoil sticker fee.

John McPhedran of the Department of Environmental Protection, the very capable leader of that agency’s invasive plant program, and Warden Service Major Chris Currier, along with Bill Swan, Director of Licensing for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, were peppered with questions from committee members. All three did a good job of explaining their programs, revenue, and expenditures.

Brook trout plan unites legislators, bait dealers, anglers, and fisheries biologists.

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Thanks to all who completed my first Sportsmen’s Say Survey, located on this website. The survey question was:

Should Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife do more to protect native and wild brook trout, including banning the use of live fish as bait on wild brook trout waters in order to reduce the chance of an introduction of new competing fish species in those waters?

Sixty three percent of respondents answered yes while 37 percent said no. It’s not too late to answer this question, if you would like to do that. The question will remain on the website for a while.

Legislature Gets Brook Trout Briefing

The long-running contentious battle over the management of wild brook trout waters may be over. This afternoon, members of the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife were briefed on a comprehensive new policy and plan – and they loved it.

Paul Betit gets second hit with Kagnew Station

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 After recently receiving Paul Betit’s new novel, The Man in the Canal, a sequel to his first two novels, I had to double back and read novel number two, Kagnew Station. So I toted it along last weekend on our visit to Sugarloaf.

Although we were there to write travel columns, it was a very relaxing weekend. We especially enjoyed the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel’s new 40 person outside hot tub – along with wonderful meals at Shipyard, 45 North, and Coplin Dinner House.

I finished Kagnew Station on Sunday morning before we headed home, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  When you think about it, a good novel is even more relaxing than a hot tub, because you can enjoy it a lot longer.

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