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.

Sitting by the dock of the bay

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Boothbay Harbor
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 George

                Sitting on the deck of our top floor room at the Tugboat Inn, enjoying the view of the harbor, and visiting with guests on the next room’s deck, who have been vacationing here from Massachusetts for two decades, it was easy to understand what keeps them coming back. What a view!

                And while Boothbay Harbor is a major tourist destination, with lots of specialty shops, it’s amazingly quiet and relaxing at the Tugboat, situated at the end of the busy downtown. All guests receive a wonderful breakfast at the Tugboat’s restaurant, located in an old Tugboat, is really good, with lots of hot and cold choices.

Layne Witherell’s career in wine has been amazing!

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You could be excused for thinking Layne Witherell drank wine from his baby bottle instead of milk. I’m pretty sure he knows more about wine than anyone in the world, and I’m absolutely sure he’s had the most interesting life in the wine business.

Layne’s new book, Wine Maniacs – Life in the Wine Biz, is phenomenal, entertaining, very informative, and something that will surely improve your selection and enjoyment of wine.

It was my good fortunate one day, wandering into the wine section at the back of Trader Joe’s in Portland, to have Layne recognize me and begin a conversation. In person he is very engaging, but what impressed me the most was one of the first things he told me, as I was reaching for a fairly expensive bottle of wine.

Predictions for grouse, woodcock, and turkey hunting

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 Grouse hunters may be frustrated this year, depending on where they hunt, but predictions for an increase in woodcock are exciting, and of course, turkey populations have exploded.

Kelsey Sullivan wrote an interesting and informative article about DIF&W’s grouse research, for the North Maine Woods magazine, and I’ll include that article at the end of this column.

I asked DIF&W’s Brad Allen for predictions for grouse hunters this fall, and here’s what Brad told me.

“My thoughts are that grouse hunting and success will be mixed or spotty this fall but at least average statewide…..here’s why….if turkey production is an indication of successful  grouse hatch we should be in great  shape….I predicted an excellent turkey hatch given the drought we experienced in May! 

Don't miss this exciting exhibit of taxidermy and guns!

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 You’ll have a hard time moving beyond the astonishing antlers of an Irish elk, an animal that has been extinct for 11,000 years. The huge antlers were found in a peat bog in Ireland and hung for 180 years in a huge old castle, even being featured in The Hobbitt. They were recently donated to the Maine State Museum by Bruce Bent.

Apparently the elk’s antlers were huge in order to impress the ladies. Well, they impressed me too!

As Drs. David and Paula Work took me through the museum’s fabulous collection of taxidermy, I was delighted to learn that some of the best items were donated by Drs. Bob Shelton and Paul Wade, old friends of mine.

Here’s a great chance to improve your wild game cooking skills

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                 Linda doesn’t let me anywhere near the kitchen to cook, unless it’s time to grill some wild game meat, so I’m looking forward to attending one of the wild game cooking workshops that Maine’s community colleges are offering in partnership with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

                And you can be sure I’ll carry with me a couple of Kate Krukowski Gooding’s wild game cookbooks, as a reference. I love reading Kate’s books, but I’ve yet to master anything but grilling, so this should be interesting!

No News Is Bad News by Maureen Milliken

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                 They thought he’d been shot by a deer hunter, and his body was butchered just like you’d cut up a deer in the woods, but that grisly discovery was only the beginning in a complex web of intrigue that will keep you reading well into the night.

                Maureen Milliken, the editor of the Morning Sentinel newspaper, has created a compelling read in her new novel, No News Is Bad News. Like her first novel, Maureen’s central character is Bernie O’Dea, the editor of a weekly newspaper. She’s surrounded by a lively cast of characters, from a wife beater to a troubled police chief. But when her newly-unemployed brother shows up, the plot gets a lot more complicated.

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