The Best Spot For A Selfie in DownEast Maine

The Best Spot For A Selfie in DownEast Maine

 

Have you seen the giant blueberry in downeast Maine?  Giant blueberry?  Yup.

Wild Blueberry Land Gift Shop and Mini Golf is in Columbia Falls, Maine.

As you drive up Route 1 between Ellsworth and Machias, you suddenly come up a large blueberry, which is actually a bakery and gift shop for…. wait for it… all things blueberry, of course.

The first thing that will draw you into the store is the aroma wafting through the screen door.  The store sells blueberry pies and blueberry scones, always freshly baked.

Although it looks like a throwback to the tourist traps of the 1950’s, the giant fruit is much younger — built in 2001.  Besides the bakery, they also stock jams, jellies, honey, vinegar and other food items.   It’s your one-stop shopping for gifts, both food and the traditional t-shirts, magnets, coffee mugs, and other cool Maine-themed items.

The owners, “Farmer Dell and Chef Marie” Emerson, stress the difference between blueberries and WILD blueberries.  They describe wild blueberries as:

The Wild Blueberry is one of only three fruits native to North America. The other two are the cranberry and the wild grape. Wild Blueberries are grown on a two year cycle, harvesting every other year. These rare gems grow on the glacial soils that provide perfect conditions to prosper in this Northeast corridor of America.  In the fall we burn our fields to control the competition and prepare for the harvest in the following year.  This trick was taught to the settlers by the Native Americans, who held the Wild Blueberry in high esteem.  The Wild Blueberry has been proven to provide many health benefits, can be used to preserve meats and other foods, and is absolutely delicious. Maine has been blessed with this completely natural, wild, wonderful treasure.

Wild Blueberry Land is open seven days a week in summer and weekends in autumn.

Visit their website for nutritional tips like this one:

According to Talking “Superfoods” with Nutrition Expert Regan Jones “Wild Blueberries and other “superfoods” may help you lose weight, boost your mood, lower your cholesterol, and they’re real foods, not overly processed foods meant to mimic the nutrient that they’re promoting. Foods like eggs for protein, beans for fiber, sweet potato for vitamin A, salmon for omega-3s and of course, wild blueberries for antioxidants are the “superfoods” that people should be eating. Wild Blueberries are great cooked down into a sauce with a bit of water and balsamic vinegar as a topping over roasted pork.  They can also be used to make chia blueberry seed jam to spread on toast. Mix them into yogurt and granola or throw them into a smoothie. Some fruits are better if they are frozen. In the case of Wild Blueberries, since they’re picked and frozen at the peak of freshness, all the nutrients are locked in. Fresh may be picked at the right time but often loses nutrients during travel time and while sitting on store shelves. When choosing fresh, look for as local as possible.”

 

WILD BLUEBERRY LAND

1067 US HWY 1

COLUMBIA FALLS, ME 04623

(207) 483- BLUE (2583)

Farm number: (207) 483-3884

 

 

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Did a pirate bury his loot in the yard of a vacation rental in this Maine town?

Did a pirate bury his loot in the yard of a vacation rental in this Maine town?

Everyone loves a good pirate story, don’t they?  After we purchased one of our vacation rental properties – Featherbed Island House – in Machiasport, we discovered that it has a connection to the notorious pirate, Cap’t Black Sam Bellamy.

 

Although Cap’t Black Sam Bellamy had a career as a pirate captain for under two years, he is known as the wealthiest pirate in recorded history, according to Forbes Magazine.  His nickname was the “Prince of Pirates” and his crew was know as “Robin Hood’s Men”.

A lot has been said recently about Cap’t Sam down on Cape Cod.  You see, his pirate ship, the Whydah, sank off the coast of Wellfleet, MA,  when the Captain was only 28.  Rumor had it that he was going to make a stop on the Cape to visit his lover, Goody Hallett.  Tragically, the boat sank in a dangerous nor’easter in 1717.  The ship went down with 143 people on board.  A hundred and three bodies washed up on shore, none of which was identified as the captain.

Pirate Ship Maine

All was forgotten for quite some time until the wreckage of the Whydah was found off the coast of Cape Cod in 1982 and it contained considerable loot.   At the time of its sinking, the Whydah was the largest pirate prize ever captured, and the treasure in its hold amassed roughly 4.5 to 5 tons, including huge quantities of indigo, ivory, gold, and 20,000 to 30,000 pounds sterling, divided into 180 sacks of 50-pound (23 kg) each according to an account on Real Pirates.

There is currently a museum in Yarmouth, MA devoted to the pirate ship, The Whydah and her history.  Currently, they are running DNA testing on some of the contents, hoping to prove once and for all if this wreckage was, indeed, the pirate ship of Cap’t Bellamy. (It’s quite an exciting development – read more about it here).

Pirates in Maine

 

But what happened to the rest of the loot that wasn’t in the ship?  And what’s the connection with Machiasport, Maine?

According to a Seattle Times article, Cap’t Bellamy had high hopes to establish a pirate utopia in the Machiasport area of Maine.  The grassy stretch of riverbank between Renshaw Point and the Old Rim Bridge was the parcel of land where Cap’t Bellamy planned on building a “pirate retirement community”.  (Our property, Featherbed Island House, abuts Renshaw Point).

W.C. Jameson, in his book, Buried Treasures of New England: Legends of Hidden Riches, Forgotten War Loots and Lost Ship Treasures, writes about the Machiasport fort.  According to the book, around 1716, Bellemy chose a region, easily defensible, where the entire bay could be observed from its vantage point. A fort was erected — the first part of the captain’s kingdom where he could command the entire east coast.  An underground vault was dug and in it was placed considerable treasure — the location kept secret, because after it was constructed, Bellamy ordered the workers killed.  The loot is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.  Within a few weeks of Bellamy’s death, the fort was abandoned, it’s walls decomposed and today there is no trace of a fort.

So is the treasure still out there?  I’ve spoken with several of my neighbors who all said they tried and tried to discover the buried treasure as children in the neighborhood.  But no one has stumbled up on it yet.  I wonder if it could still be there, just waiting to be found?

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A compilation of the very best fishing websites in Maine

A compilation of the very best fishing websites in Maine

Maine and fish go together.  Maine has hundreds and hundreds of miles of coastline.  For trivia buffs, it has 3478 miles of salt waterfront coastline, longer than the coastline of California.  It has ocean, it has lakes and rivers.  People fish in the summer, spring and fall and ice fish in the winter.  When it comes right down to it, it’s probably the biggest pastime in Maine.

Since I’m not a fishing expert myself, when asked questions on fishing, I inevitably refer our guests to various websites so they can gather more information.  These are some of my favorite sites to refer folks to:

Freshwater Fishing.

Your first stop should be to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.  There you can browse the state’s most up to date laws and rules, fish stocking reports, rules on accessing private land, and maps.  You can also purchase your fishing license directly through the website.

Here are the current fishing license fees, but check the website for changes:

License Fee
Maine Residents Fishing (16 and older) $25.00
Combination Fishing & Hunting $43.00
Combination Fishing & Archery $43.00
1-Day Fishing* $11.00
Serviceman (Resident**) Combination Fishing & Hunting $3.00
Serviceman Dependent (Resident) Combination Fishing & Hunting $20.00
Duplicate (obtained from agent who issued original) $2.00
Superpack $201.00
Nonresidents and Aliens Nonresident Season Fishing (16 and older) $64.00
Nonresident Combination Fishing & Hunting $150.00
15-Day Fishing*** $47.00
7-Day Fishing $43.00
3-Day Fishing $23.00
1-Day Fishing $11.00
Alien Season Fishing $84.00
Alien Combination Fishing & Hunting $191.00
Duplicate (obtained from agent who issued original) $2.00
Note: Fees listed do not include the agent fee.

* 1-Day fishing license may be exchanged by a Maine resident for a season fishing or combination fishing and hunting license upon payment of the difference between that fee and the fee for the annual license, plus the agent fee.

** Maine residents permanently stationed outside the state of Maine.

*** Nonresident 15-day fishing license may be exchanged for a nonresident season fishing license upon payment of $17 plus the agent fee.

A nonresident 18 years of age or older and under 24 years of age enrolled full-time in a college in Maine, may be eligible for a resident license for fishing, hunting and trapping. This license must be obtained at the main office in Augusta.

Note: All residents and nonresidents who operate any motorized watercraft or aircraft equipped with pontoons on inland waters must display a Lake & River Protection Sticker in addition to a current boat registration sticker.

 

Saltwater Fishing

Saltwater Fishing information can be found on the website of the  Maine Department of Marine Resources.  You MAY have to register (you may be exempt if you have a freshwater license).  The terms if someone needs to register or not are confusing — but, currently it only costs $1 to register online.  There is a link on the website to register to fish saltwater.

Other good fishing resources:

Where to fish along Maine’s Coast

Do you know your catch?  Information about the different varieties of salt water fish

Ice Fishing in Washington County, Maine

The Maine Outdoorsman

Amazingfishametric.com

 

 

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Tai Chi in Machias, Maine

Tai Chi in Machias, Maine

Tai Chi for Health –

Machias Marketplace (behind Posh), Route 1 Machias –

Mondays – 4:30-5:30 pm
Enjoy the gentle movements of this ancient Chinese practice, which builds better balance and calms the mind.  Open to all, no prior experience necessary.

$5  Suggested donation, though it’s ok to come for free

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Finding Unusual Antiques in DownEast Maine

Finding Unusual Antiques in DownEast Maine

My very FAVORITE  antique store isn’t in downeast Maine at all.  It’s in Searsport, which is the mid-coast (Searsport, by the way, has several flea/antique outdoor markets during the warmer months.

Anyway.  It’s called Treasures and Trash Barn.  I actually never knew it even HAD  name until I started writing this — I always knew it as the barn with all of the sinks and beds out front across the street from the gas station.

Whatever kind of vintage part or accessory you are looking for, you’ll find it here.

Bathtubs, Sinks, old windows, ploughs, hinges, doorknobs, keys, telephones with varying degrees of rust can be found all over the property in varying degree of rust.  Try to make some time to look around because the yard and barn are filled to the rafters and you never know what treasure might be hiding behind, under or above something.

Treasures and Trash Barn is located at:

156 E. Maine Street (Rt 1)

Searsport, Maine 04974

207-548-2787 (calling before going is recommended in the off season)

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A Great Walk With A Dog in DownEast Maine

A Great Walk With A Dog in DownEast Maine

Downeast Sunrise Trail.

Access to the Downeast Sunrise Trail is just minutes away from most of our properties.  It is a multi-use corridor connecting eastern Maine and the head of the East Coast Greenway
from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida.  It is part of the ‘ice age’ trail.

That’s right.  You could feasibly take the pup for a walk down the entire eastern seaboard.

The trail has a website and facebook page where they update trail conditions — very important with winter snows and spring muds.

One of their newest features is an app where one can enhance the appreciation of the ice age.  This is what is written on the app’s website:

The Ice Age had a profound effect on the Maine landscape. This effect is very pronounced in the Down East region, where a vast sheet of glacial ice sculpted Cadillac and surrounding mountains, carved out the Sommes Sound fjord, and left spectacular sand barrens.

The Ice Age Trail is comprised of the finest and most accessible of these features. It follows the margins of the last great North American continental ice sheet and coincides with many Down East tourist attractions.

We invite you to use this interactive trail map and guide to enhance your appreciation of the Maine landscape during your next visit or to take a virtual tour. In either case, we hope the time you spend here will be both informative and enjoyable for you.

REMEMBER TO CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR PET.

 

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Three waterfront Maine cottages that you’ll want to book now for the best summer ever.

Three waterfront Maine cottages that you’ll want to book now for the best summer ever.

Yes, it still seems like summer is years away, but sometime soon, we’ll see that green of new life poking through the ground and we’ll be packing for our summer vacations.  Many people start planning their trips up to a year in advance because they know that the best places book quickly.  Here are a few properties that have a few weeks available here and there — but we recommend that you book soon before they get snapped up.  All three usually sell out completely between June and October.

 

Frisky Fish Bunkhouse Wicked Awesome Maine Vacation Rentals

The Frisky Fish Cottage and Bunkhouse

The water: Bucks Harbor in Machiasport, Maine

The cottage:  Two cottages really — an open, cathedral ceiling 2 bedroom cottage with water views from three sides and it’s companion bunkhouse — a glamping retreat.  When the original boathouse was converted to a bunkhouse, the owners envisioned it as a spot for kids, but it’s become even more popular with adults —  especially cousin, sibling or friend groups.  It’s been used as a recording studio and artist retreat.

The details:  The Frisky Fish cottage sleeps up to 4 in the main cottage which has two bedrooms and 1 1/2 baths.  Utilizing the bunkhouse, the property can sleep up to six people total.  There is no heat nor plumbing in the bunkhouse.

Cost: From  $100/night

Details Here

frisky bunkhouse Wicked Awesome Maine Vacation Rentals Welcome Home to the Frisky Fish Cottage Everything you need right here!

 

Featherbed Island House

The water:  The saltwater estuary where the Machias River greets Machias Bay.

The cottage:  The house is an eclectic mix of interior design elements — elegant, but casual.  There are several social areas in the cottage, making it perfect for couples, small groups or families.  Besides the soaring ceilinged great room, there is a music room and private television room.

The details:  Featherbed Island House is a three bedroom, 2 bath comfortably- sized home with luxury touches.  Besides the bedrooms, there are flexible sleeping arrangements with the addition of two pull-out sofas.  The house is named for the private island just off-shore.

Price:  From $150/night.

Details Here

Featherbed Island pergola

Featherbed Island House

 

 

Spruce Cottage

The water:  Wohoa Bay – a great expanse with distant views to Jonesport and Beals Island.

The cabin:  Spruce Cottage is a semi-off-the-grid glamping retreat.  There is no television.  There is no internet.  Located down a half-mile private grassy lane, it’s just you and nature.

The details:  Spruce Cottage is a roomy one bedroom, one bath cabin secluded in the forest on the edge of the sea.  There is electric baseboard heat and a kitchenette with apartment sized appliances.

The price:  From $120/night

Details Here

Maine Vacation Rental - Coastal Cottage

Spruce Cottage living room Spruce Cottage Wicked Awesome Maine

 

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A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

A Little Bit Of History in DownEast Maine

The tiny town of Machiasport is home to about 1000 residents.  I don’t think there currently are any stores in the town – that’s how small it is.  Machiasport is comprised by several villages including Starboard, Larrabee, Bucks Harbor and the actual village of Machiasport.  As you travel down Route 92 through the pine trees, you will go around the bend where the road meets the ocean and there you are… in the village.  Currently, the village is home to the Machiasport Historical Society and beautiful Liberty Hall which is being lovingly restored.

According to Wikipedia:

Liberty Hall is set on the west side of Port Road (Maine Route 92) in the dispersed village center of Machiasport. It stands on a rise, facing east toward the Machias River. It is a two-story wood frame structure, with a front-facing gable roof, clapboard siding, and a stone foundation. The roof is topped at the front by a small tower, which has an elaborately-decorated open belvidere (viewing platform) with round-arch openings and quoined corner supports, topped by a mansard roof and weathervane. The roof is a replica of the building’s original, which was at one time replaced by a shallow-pitch pyramidal roof. The main facade is symmetrical, with a center double-door entrance topped by a lintel with bracketed molding. Flanking the entrance are doubled sash windows, taller versions of which rise on the second floor. The central second floor windows have round-arch tops. Similar windows adorn the sides, all capped with stylistically similar lintels. The building corners are quoined at the first level, and pilastered at the second. The interior is arranged with a vestibule area in the front, a meeting space on the first floor, and a performance auditorium with stage on the second floor.

Construction of the hall was authorized by the town meeting in 1873, and the building was completed the following year by Andrew Gilson, a Machias contractor and politician. The hall was used not just for town meetings, but also served as a venue for community events, meetings of community organizations such as the Grange, and as a performance venue for traveling shows.[2] The town closed the building in 2000 due to structural conditions, and renovation efforts are currently underway by the Friends of Liberty Hall. The exterior has been restored (included the restoration of the tower’s original appearance), and funds are being raised to restore the interior

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SNOGA. Snow plus Yoga. Yes, it’s a thing.

SNOGA.  Snow plus Yoga.  Yes, it’s a thing.

If it has to do with snow and winter activities, you can bet that someone in Maine would have discovered it.  The newest craze is SNOGA — yoga in that fluffy white stuff we call snow.

I first heard of SNOGA through an article in the Bangor Daily News.  It was invented (I suppose) by Holly Twinning of Maine Yoga Adventures.  Yoga is done with some modifications — no poses lying down, and sometimes the use of snowshoes to help with balance. (However, the extra weight of snowshoes can also hinder balance-keeping on some poses).  I have to admit, I’ve never thought about doing a headstand with my head buried in snow, but it strangely appeals to me.

Maine Yoga Adventures is located in Orono, Maine (about a two hour drive from Machias).  Looking at their website, they offer amazing adventures, not just all over Maine, but all over the world:

Maine Huts & Trails Adventure
Ice Climb, Snowshoe & Soak Adventure
Katahdin Ascent Adventure
Winter Skidaddle Weekend Adventure
Tuscany Adventure

 

 

Maine Yoga Adventures
PO Box 502
Orono, Maine 04473
207-299-0082
maineyogaadventures@gmail.com

 

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