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a day in the life


Saturday, June 1, 2019 • Bangor Daily News • Special Advertising Section




dventure seekers, rejoice: while there are many places in Piscataquis County to lay back and relax, there are just as many to test your mettle and get dirty for a day or three. Check out our top picks for adventure in Piscataquis County, and start packin’: after all, winter’s just a few months away.

Two hikers emerge from the clouds as they hike across Knife Edge of Katahdin to Baxter Peak. AISLINN SARNACKI | BDN

The Katahdin cruises on Moosehead Lake with Mount Kineo in the background. LINDA COAN O'KRESIK | BDN


A spine of weathered granite rising 5,267 feet over Baxter State Park, Katahdin is Maine’s tallest mountain and probably on more bucket lists than any other in-state adventure. Native American tribes believed Katahdin was the home of Pamola, the storm god. When Henry David Thoreau climbed the mountain in the 1840s, an adventure he chronicled in “The Maine Woods,” he found a place wild almost beyond imagining: “Nature was here something savage and awful, though beautiful. I looked with awe at the ground I trod on, to see what the Powers had made there….This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night.” Today, hikers will find a much more congenial adventure, but one still quite strenuous and potentially dangerous. There are several trails of varying levels of difficulty up the mountain. All are well marked but will require hikers to scramble over boulders for lengthy stretches before rewarding them with one of the most exhilarating views in the state. Even the most direct route will take at least eight hours, so an early start and good weather are prerequisites. The most dangerous section is the Knife Edge, a narrow trail only a few feet wide in spots, that connects Pamola Peak and Baxter Peak. In the past 70 or so years, more than 20 people have died traversing the Knife Edge, most often in adverse weather conditions. In places, the drop is hundreds of feet almost straight down. Planning and research are a must before any attempt. Make sure you leave time to get up and down in daylight hours and know your route. Bring plenty of food and water, flashlights, and a means to communicate in case of emergency, although the use of cell phones on the mountain is discouraged (and unreliable). A reservation is required, and since local knowledge about the state of trails can make or break any trip, it is never a bad idea to call ahead a few days before your trip to check on conditions. The Baxter State Park website is a wealth of information:


Arguably more arduous than climbing Katahdin is Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness, which runs from Monson, at its southern end, to Abol Bridge, just south of Baxter State Park. By far the most isolated section of the Appalachian Trail (AT), the 100-Mile Wilderness includes some of the most beautiful stretches of the entire trail, crossing over mountains, passing by peaceful ponds and lakes and over streams, rivers, and gorges. Because it is so isolated, there are few opportunities to resupply and hikers should make sure they are carrying enough food to get through the entire hike. Also, a GPS tracker and cell phone are advised because many people do bail out. Although the trail is maintained by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, it more than possible to get lost and people have died while hiking the trail, either after getting lost or from medical emergencies. If you are considering hiking this section of trail, make sure you are in good hiking shape first and do your research. A good place to start is on the official website of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy: But while the AT website is a good place to start, you really can’t do too much research on this one, so don’t stop there. Read plenty of first-person accounts from hikers who ran into trouble—not to scare yourself, but to better understand the trail’s many challenges.

Canoeists work their way around Chase Rapids on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. PHOTO COURTESY OF STEVE DAY | SJVT/FHF


Moosehead lake is Maine’s biggest lake and its most storied as well. Evidence of human habitation in the area goes back thousands of years years to the Red Paint people, known for their characteristic gravesites (they buried their dead with lots of red ocher). In the 19th century, trains, which then stretched all the way from Boston to Bangor, took thousands of “Rusticators” from Boston to Greenville, on the southern tip of Moosehead, to spend the summer hunting and fishing in and around the lake. Approximately 40 miles long and 10 miles wide at its widest point, Moosehead has an area of about 118 square miles and over 400 miles of shoreline, much of it undeveloped. With so much to explore, this is very much a choose-your-adventure destination. Moose outnumber people by roughly three-to-one here, so rent a canoe or an outboard boat and cruise along the shoreline to spot the huge animals feeding at the water’s edge in the early morning. Moosehead has also been a fishing destination for 150 years, featuring landlocked salmon and trout of several varieties, so bring your rod and reel while exploring. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the area. Mount Kineo State Park offers miles of trails around a massive outcrop of rock that rises about 750 feet above the lake. Kineo is located on a 1,150-acre peninsula connected to the eastern shore of the lake by a thin causeway. Native American tribes came here from hundreds of miles away to mine Kineo’s rhyolite, a volcanic rock that has many of the same properties as flint and was used to make arrowheads and other tools.


Within a reasonable drive from Greenville is one of the natural wonders of Maine, Gulf Hagas. Sometimes called the “Grand Canyon of Maine,” Gulf Hagas is a gorge that is much smaller than its western counterpart but infinitely easier to explore. A bit less than four miles long, Gulf Hagas is the result of the west branch of the Pleasant River wearing its way through a slate rock formation for thousands of years. At points the vertical slate walls drop over 100 feet down to the river. The river loses about 370 feet in elevation here, causing dramatic waterfalls, swimming holes, and several sections of rapids along the length of the gorge. Because parts of the trail can be treacherous and the falls steep, the Maine Warden Service has had to mount many rescues in this area so caution is advised. All those waterfalls and rapids make for excellent Class 5 whitewater for expert kayakers, but because of the wide range in conditions, this gorge is best suited to experienced kayakers. Flows are heaviest in the spring, but the fall foliage adds to the scenic beauty. The Gulf Hagas Rim Trail is about eight miles long and converges with the Appalachian Trail. Hikers should be prepared for an early start and should plan for eight hours for the entire hike, although it can certainly be done in less time. There is a fee for accessing the trail. Leave time to enjoy a section of old growth White Pines known as the Hermitage, which is on a section of trail leading to the gorge.


The Allagash River Waterway is one of the preeminent canoe trips in the United States. Flowing north from Telos Lake 98 miles to the Town of Allagash in Aroostook County, the waterway has been endorsed by everyone from Henry David Thoreau to the National Geographic Society, which named it one of America’s best adventures in a 2010 article. Considered one of the last wilderness—or at least, near-wilderness—canoe trips east of the Mississippi, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway has been described as a trip back in time, an opportunity to enjoy the natural world in the way our ancestors did, bar the occasional railroad bridge or rumble of a distant logging truck. Paddlers will drift past woods filled with wildlife and over fish-filled rivers. There are miles and miles of serene beauty and the daily promise of eagles and moose sightings. The entire trip includes paddles across a series of placid lakes, several sections of challenging white water, and more than a few portages, but it is not necessary to do the entire waterway at one go. If you are seriously considering a trip down the waterway, keep in mind that as in any wilderness expedition, preparation is vital, and for all but the most proficient paddlers, hiring an experienced guide is an excellent idea. Waterflows, either too high or too low can be an issue and should be monitored before going, and there are also many rules on camping and the use of boats designed to maintain the wilderness character of the waterway. A good place to start your research if you are considering a trip to the Allagash is the Maine Bureau of Parks and lands which offers an excellent brochure on the waterway, available in pdf format at

D2 Saturday, June 1, 2019, Bangor Daily News


Ghosts of the



in Piscataquis County





ount Desert Island may have staked claim to being the playground of the rich and famous in the late 1800s through the early 1900s, but there was another popular vacation getaway at that time in the Pine Tree State: Moosehead Lake. Each summer, well-todo folks up and down the eastern seaboard would make their way to the great northern Maine woods and vacation on the shores of Moosehead, the state’s largest lake. The Mount Kineo House was one of the grandest resorts in America. The third iteration of the grand hotel opened in 1884 and was renovated in 1912. It featured a dining hall that could accommodate 400 guests. But back then, before the invention and mass production of the automobile, getting around Moosehead Lake’s 40-mile length and 12-mile width depended on boats—specifically, steamboats. The first steamboats appeared on the lake in the mid-1830s. They were rather rudimentary crafts, some nothing more than

barges used to transport goods and tow logs to the beginning of the Kennebec River to be floated to the mills in Winslow, Madison, and Skowhegan. But as the region became more popular with wealthy vacationers, the number of boats increased to ferry passengers to the Mount Kineo House and to various camps along the lake. “You have to remember that during the 1800s and well into the 1900s, there were no roads around Moosehead Lake,” said Liz McKeil, the executive director of the Moosehead Marine Museum. “The only way to travel would be by boat. These steamboats were used as a primary means of transportation for people, for goods, for the U.S. mail, and any other number of items that would have to go back and forth on the lake.” The Coburn Steamboat Co. operated five boats on the lake at one time and had a contract from the state of Maine to deliver mail. Its grandest vessel was the Governor Coburn, a doubledecker built in 1869 that ferried passengers for 25 years, according to the Moosehead Historical Society.

“As a business maneuver, that was a pretty good move because it ensured them that they were going to have these routes up and down the lake, and the revenue from carrying the mail, and they also carried cargo and people,” McKeil said. In the early 1900s, there were as many as 50 steamboats plying the waters of Moosehead. The earliest ones burned wood and then coal for fuel and had wooden hulls. As a result, operating a steamboat was a rather perilous endeavor: the boats often caught fire and burned. One such casualty was the Katahdin. Ryan Robbins [no relation to the author of this article—Ed.], a Maine native who grew up on the shores of Moosehead, has been researching the history and fates of the vessels from that almost forgotten era. He is directing a documentary that will look at the history of the iconic vessels. The Katahdin’s captain ran the ship aground after it caught fire, Robbins says. “The sad part about it is there’s nothing left. There may be a boiler grate or something.” Robbins had heard of

the steamboats’ heyday while growing up on the lake. After obtaining his SCUBA certification, he took his first dive in Moosehead in 2014 at Shipyard Point to visit the remains of the Kineo. Since then, he has formed an informal diving club that has been exploring the lake’s depths for what’s left of the vessels and filming what he and others have found for the documentary. Word is slowly spreading about the potential secrets of Moosehead’s bygone era and Robbins has guided divers from outside of Maine. “They’re pretty impressed with what’s there. It’s an amazing place underwater. Never in my wildest imagination did I think it would be as interesting as it is.” Sadly, Robbins and other locals have found the remains of only eight steamboats. Only three of those have been positively identified. That’s because the early steamboats were made entirely of wood. All of the known wrecks are of vessels scuttled. “When a boat would reach the end of its useful life, they would often burn it

to the water line and then sink the rest of the hull, and that’s what got us started on this documentary feature,” says McKeil, who is the executive producer of the project. “If they were not burned to the water line, then they might be pulled up on shore and scuttled. They would just walk away.” As automobiles became more affordable and ubiquitous in the second-quarter century of the 1900s, people no longer needed to depend on the fleet of steamboats to get around Moosehead. The rise of the automobile meant the construction of roads around the large lake. And that meant the demand for the steamboats waned. It also meant that people had more options for traveling, resulting in the demise of the Kineo House, Robbins believes. The resort was demolished in 1938. Only one boat remains—the second Katahdin. Built in 1914, the second Katahdin’s iron hull is the oldest hull from Bath Iron Works in service. The hull was transported in three sections via rail to Greenville Junction, where they were assem-

bled and the rest of the vessel was built. The second Katahdin went on to tow logs for the river drives down the Kennebec, first for Hollingsworth & Whitney, a pulp and paper company based in Winslow that eventually became a division of Scott Paper Co. “The very last log drive in the United States of America happened on Moosehead Lake, and the Katahdin was the boat that towed the logs,” McKeil says. That was in 1976. Today, the Katahdin does cruises along the lake, accommodating up to 225 passengers at a time. This year’s cruise season will run from June 21 to Oct. 5. “The timeline of the steamboat history of the lake is really interesting,” Robbins said. “It’s interesting to see the evolution of the first steamboat to the last and what other historical things were taking place in the country at the time that had an impact on what was going on with the steamboats on Moosehead.” The 60- to 90-minute documentary is set for an Aug. 24 premiere at the Greenville Consolidated School.



ne thing’s for sure: Piscataquis County knows how to grow ‘em right. People, that is—take a gander at this sampling of “local folks done good.” You might even spot a familiar face (or two).

COREY BEAULIEU Corey Beaulieu is currently the lead guitarist for the acclaimed heavy metal band Trivium. Beaulieu was born in Dover-Foxcroft in 1983 and attended Foxcroft Academy during his teenage years where he played ice hockey. He started playing guitar at 14, taking lessons from Bill Pierce at Mark’s Music in Brewer, Maine. Beaulieu was asked to join Trivium after trying out for the band following the release of their debut record in 2003. He has remained in the band ever since and has released a total of seven albums with the band.

ROB DERHAK Rob Derhak is the bassist for the nationally-touring jam-band favorite, moe. Derhak was born in DoverFoxcroft in 1968. While attending State University of New York at Buffalo in 1990, he established the progressive rock/jam oriented band moe. with his bandmates. Derhak has played with the band consistently since their inception, releasing a total of 12 studio albums and numerous live recordings. The band took a brief hiatus in July of 2017 when Derhak was diagnosed with cancer. Through treatment, he was able to return to the stage in February of 2018, less than a year later. Derhak currently resides in Falmouth, cancer-free, when he’s not on tour.



Mary Mitchell Birchall was the first woman from New England to earn her bachelor’s degree. Birchall was born in Dover (later Dover-Foxcroft) in 1840. In 1869, while working at a textile mill after turning down a scholarship, she graduated from Bates College with her bachelor’s degree. Upon graduating, she went on to teach school in Worcester, Massachusetts; Miss Anna Brackett’s School in New York; and in Laconia, New Hampshire. She would go on to become a professor at Vassar College in 1876. Birchall’s career continued to expand in 1891 when she established an all girls’ school in West Chester Park, Boston, Massachusetts. She ran this school until 1897 before passing away in 1898 in Dover.

Marie Louise Graffam was born in 1871 in Monson. After a religious experience in her teens, Graffam began to take a larger role in the church and eventually began studying to become a foreign missionary. Graffam was sent to Sivas in the Ottoman Empire in 1901 to head female education in a mission post. Graffam was in Sivas when the Armenian Genocide began. She would go on to be considered an important witness in the event. Graffam was among those deported during the genocide in 1915 with 2,000 Armenians. While there, she was asked to help with Armenian orphans and needed to hide financial records, as well as Armenian girls, for safety. Graffam documented her account of everything she witnessed in 1919. Unfortunately, Graffam would never make it home as she passed away in 1921 in Sivas of heart failure.

DAVE SCHWEP Dave Schwep is a cinematographer, director, and producer who was born in Dover-Foxcroft in 1977. While Schwep was born in Maine, he was raised in Oregon. He began his career as a photographer when he was 19, capturing images in Big Sky Montana. After a stint in South Beach, Miami, as a photographer, Schwep made his way to Hollywood in 1999 to pursue his career in photography. While in Hollywood, Schwep crafted his own style by using still photos to create a video. Schwep stepped into the role of cinematographer and film producer when he created his first short, “Bordeaux,” in 2008 staring Zachary Quinto. Since then he has been credited on several documentaries as well as on popular television shows such as House, Modern Family, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

CLARENCE BLETHEN Clarence Blethen was a baseball player who played for the Boston Red Sox and the Brooklyn Robins. Blethen was born in Dover-Foxcroft in 1893 and attended the University of Maine where he played college baseball for the Black Bears. He went on to spend 18 years playing professional baseball in both major and minor leagues. He played briefly for the Boston Red Sox in 1923 and then the Brooklyn Robins in 1929. He is remembered today partly for a bizarre injury: in a 1923 game with the Red Sox, Blethen’s false teeth—which were in his back pocket—bit a chunk from his posterior as he slid into base, removing him from the game. He passed away in 1973.

n 1919, Lloyd Cartwright launched the Minto Toothpick & Specialty Company in Saginaw, Michigan, and soon thereafter brought it to Guilford, Maine, in the heart of the woods of Piscataquis County. In those early days, we manufactured a single product: mint-flavored toothpicks. Guilford was chosen because of its proximity to vast stands of northern white birch, the material we still mill on-site today. Over the years, we became Hardwood Products, LP, the parent company of Hardwood Products Company, LLC, and Puritan Medical Products, LLC. We’ve evolved into a manufacturer that produces a wide range of single-use products for customers worldwide. These include the food, medical, automotive, veterinary, commercial agriculture, forensics, genetics, and diagnostics industries. Collectively, Hardwood/Puritan is the largest employer in Piscataquis County, with more than 550 full-time workers who make and ship our products across the country and around the globe. This year is an exciting one for us as we celebrate our 100th anniversary. While a lot has changed over the past century, our core values have stayed the same. We are still family owned and today third- and fourth-generation members of the founding family work alongside their Guilford area neighbors— some whose families have answered the whistle of this old mill for generations.

What We Do

We are two affiliated organizations under one senior management team. Hardwood Products Company, LLC, produces wood products from regionallyharvested white birch. Hardwood Products bear the Trophy and Gold Bond trademarks, and manufactures high-quality, single-use items for ice cream novelties, candy apples, corn dogs, cuticle sticks, and other applications that require finely-controlled wood components. Puritan Medical Products Company, LLC, manufactures many Puritanbrand products. These range from basic and familiar items like tongue depressors and tipped applicators to others

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Hardwood Products Company in Guilford AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE COUNTY’S HISTORY AND FUTURE COURTESY HARDWOOD PRODUCTS COMPANY, LP that are very complex and specifically designed for more demanding applications (some of them patented) for the continually-evolving fields of diagnostics, forensics, and research. Our customers include your family doctor, your public health lab, and your local police department. Puritan also manufactures millions of swabs for customers that develop and market rapid tests for flu and other illnesses. Puritan’s PurSwab brand of single-use items are used in controlled environments, such as automotive, aerospace, and electronics manufacturing, where products with low lint, chemical resistance, or anti-static properties are needed. So now you know: through small products, we achieve great things! We manufacture more than 1,200 unique items, many of them swabs and specimen-collection devices. In fact, we manufacture 65 different types of swabs producing over 12 million each day. That means we produce over five billion swabs each year! And our volume is still growing.

The Secret to Our Success

People are the driving force behind our ability to maintain a thriving organization for more than a century. We have a diverse workforce of local, hardworking individuals on our team. We have a shared dedication to quality and unwavering commitment to do what it takes to meet the needs of our customers. Our state-of-the-art machine shop fabricates the machinery needed to manufacture our products. The research and development team improves existing systems and designs new products to meet the needs of evolving technologies. If you need a product that is in the design stage, our engineers will 3D print a prototype to help you fine-tune your idea before moving to production. If packaging is critical to your product’s success, our packaging engineers will design your package and our shop will fabricate it. And if you need industry-compliant barcoding attached to your product, no worries: our print room will design and deliver the packaging materials—including multi-color branding and 2D bar coding— and get it right.

Our employees make all of this possible, and we recognize and appreciate each one’s contribution. This year especially, as we celebrate our 100th year, we gratefully recognize the efforts of our valued employees. It is this rich group of team members and our mutual investment in innovation that moves the company forward and allows us to make our mark with the many customers we serve. Whether the client is a maker of frozen treats, a spacecraft assembler, or a developer of diagnostic test kits, our products will continue to evolve with our customers’ needs as we move into our next 100 years. We are proud to be part of this community. Hardwood Pro-ducts and Puritan have been loyal citizens of Piscataquis County for 100 years. We are deeply invested in the community and participate in many initiatives that support local people, such as: • Offering scholarships for employees and their children • Sponsoring many local events, like the River Festival and Southern Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce events • Maintaining municipal features, such as the River Walk, the ball field, tennis courts, and the church bell • Supporting civic programs and nonprofit events, such as the Community Fitness Center, 5K Partners for Peace, YMCA, blood drives, and the Volunteer Fire Department. We were deeply honored to be part of this community and look forward to the next century. As the company enters its second century, it is poised for continued growth. Hardwood/Puritan now make more than

Lloyd Cartwright, founder of Hardwood Products. 1,200 products and its sales have grown more than tenfold over the past 50 years. Virginia Templet, marketing manager, says, “Our family is committed to preserving our reputation of providing high quality products so that our employees are assured of a workplace they can be proud of, and a job that provides both satisfaction and a good living.”

D4 Saturday, June 1, 2019, Bangor Daily News

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Lakeshore House offers



Above, clockwise from top left: • Hikers on summit of Borestone Mountain. • Monument Square, Dover-Foxcroft, in 1950. • Indian Store in downtown Greenville, circa 1955. • Lake Hebron Hotel in Monson in 1910 • The 500-room Kineo House on Moosehead Lake, circa 1906. IMAGES COURTESY OF RICHARD SHAW, (HEBRON) COURTESY OF MONSON HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Above: Abbott Village Store and Church on Route 15 in 1925. IMAGE COURTESY OF RICHARD SHAW

Below: Monson’s dirt Main Street in 1925. IMAGE COURTESY OF MONSON HISTORICAL SOCIETY


eople tell me they say “Let’s go to Rebekah’s” or “The Monson Pub” when they are actually referring to the Lakeshore House. I find that sweet! When we bought the business in December of 2005, the name “Lakeshore House” remained for purposes of familiarity. At that time, the downtown waterfront lodging house consisted of eight rooms, a slightly tired public laundromat, and a quasi-commercial kitchen. Three of those rooms were converted into what is now the pub in 2006 with the doors opening that June. This left five lodging rooms on the second floor which fill to capacity during peak Appalachian Trail hiking and snowmobile seasons. Out went the laundromat in 2013 and in came a lovely dining space on the heels of a full kitchen remodel in 2012. Fast forward to 2019, and we can physically expand no further. Therefore, as we humbly and gratefully grow in popularity each year, we have to ask our customers to continue enjoying a very special way of dining. Slowly. Patiently. Sometimes painfully slow. Our food is all cooked to order. Nothing is sitting in a steam tray waiting to hit your plate. Our eclectic and diverse menu requires attention to detail and love. This all happens in a rather tiny kitchen in comparison to the number of tables we have. Most of our patrons understand and appreciate how a nice meal unfolds here. You see, the Lakeshore House is a very unique place in Piscataquis County. I didn’t decide this, however; our customers have. Upon arrival you will be greeted enthusiastically, even if you arrive five minutes before the kitchen closes. We really don’t care! If we are super busy when you get here,

we will do our best to make you feel at home. You may find yourself experiencing what it’s like to be in the living room of close friends. The views of the lake at both the inside and outside tables are spectacular! The décor is a funky yard-sale style, boasting themes of the woods, pictures of our patrons and events, and an underlying notion that nothing should (nor need to) match. Your children love it here, and we are grateful that you took them to “that place with all the cool toys” all these years. Cell phone reception is sketchy at best, but this only adds to the fellowship available to and loved by all. Let’s cover some more basic information: open mic night happens on Thursdays year-round from 6–9 pm, hosted by the wonderful musicians that make up Half Way Home. Get here early if you want a seat at one of the six tables in the pub where they play. From Memorial Day through the end of September, we have live local music outside from 3–6 pm. There is nothing better than a meal, an adult beverage or two, live music, sunshine, and the ever-present bug-halting breeze most Sundays here in the summer. Rain? No problem; we move the entire operation inside and get cozy! We greatly appreciate the suggested donation of $5 per adult. Many people enjoy a swim off our dock or a spin in one of our kayaks available for use by donation. Donations always go to local charities. For the second year, we have leased the large adjacent lot (also lakefront) from the Libra Foundation who kindly puts up a 20’x40’ tent for our special concert events. This summer, Chris Roth and The North will play for Monson’s Summer Festival on July 20, Motor

Booty Affair returns on August 17 for a night of disco dancing under the stars, and we welcome the jazz band Tuba Skinny all the way from New Orleans on August 23. These concerts start at 8 pm with entry beginning at 7:30. Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite or on our Facebook page. The three remaining hostel-esque lodging rooms are available for rent year-round. It’s $35 per person to stay in one of these “clean, uncomplicated, and authentic” spaces. The bathrooms and the common area are shared— you can make even more new friends! July through November are our busiest months for lodging. The Hilton we are not. If you’ve never been here, but are intrigued by this article, you may be wondering when the best time of day is to come? We are open for lunch and dinner and lunch is by far the quieter time. We love the mayhem that can be the dinner hour, but if you want a more benign “newbie” (as we call it) experience then either lunch time, 3-5 pm or after 8 pm in the summer will be more your style. Waiting for a table at our little oasis is less than painful so come for the crazy, grab a drink, and go sit by the lake on our beautiful new floating dock until we’re ready for you. We do offer take out, but during busy times we reserve the right to suspend it. Want some sashimigrade sushi or a lobster dinner for 20? Call Rebekah at 207-997-7069. We don’t offer call-ahead seating, but we can take a reservation here and there. We look forward to meeting you for the first time or hugging you for the umpteenth. May God bless you all!

Above: Left to right, Rebekah Anderson with her children Bella Santagata, Max Santagata, Marissa Boynton.

D6 Saturday, June 1, 2019, Bangor Daily News

Art center aims to



nyone passing through Monson in the past few years has noticed significant changes to the downtown. Maine’s Libra Foundation began purchasing and renovating commercial and residential buildings in 2016 with the goal of spurring economic growth and revitalization. Central to the foundation’s vision was creating initiatives in the arts. This resulted in the creation of Monson Arts, which began its programming in the summer of 2018. “Our goal is to provide time and space for creative work,” says Stuart Kestenbaum, artistic director of Monson Arts, “with programs that bring artists and writers to Monson and also with programs that are being designed for residents of the region.”

never thought I’d make these kinds of connections with fellow artists (and local residents) in a one-month period. Wherever I go next, a piece of Monson will always go with me.” Monson Arts residencies have already attracted significant national attention in the arts world—over 600 people have applied and word is spreading fast. “Our residents are so enthusiastic about their experiences in Monson,” says Dan Bouthot, the program manager. “They love the small town atmosphere and meeting people from the community.” Also contributing to their enthusiasm is the food. “Our residents eat lunch and dinner at the Quarry Restaurant,” says Bouthot, “and have gourmet meals prepared by chef Marilou

to offer programs in the visual arts and writing. Approximately 40 students will come to Monson twice a month for intensive daylong workshops in the visual arts and writing, which will culminate in an exhibition and anthology of student work. These workshops will be led by Sangerville artist (and Monson native) Alan Bray and poet Dawn Potter, who lived for many years in Harmony. According to Kestenbaum, “We want kids from the area to be able to have the same kind of experience that our resident artists have—time and space for creative exploration—and to work side-by-side with their peers and professionals.” Monson Arts offers exhibitions that honor the traditions

“Our goal is to provide time and space for creative work with programs that bring artists and writers to Monson and with programs ... for residents of the region.” Programs began last summer with month-long residencies for 10 artists and writers. Each is provided with housing, food, studio space, and a stipend to offset travel and material costs. Approximately 80 residents have come to Monson from Maine and 15 other states as well as Argentina, England, Indonesia, and Iran. In addition to an open selection process, Monson Arts has also partnered with leading arts programs such as the Rhode Island School of Design, California College of the Arts, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago to nominate graduates to be residents. Having extended time and space can have a significant impact on an artist’s work. Poet Willy Doehring, a resident in August 2018, wrote “It was my first experience with a residency program and it set a very high bar. I had never been to Monson before this experience, I had never tried a lot of the food, never challenged myself as an artist and poet in the way I did here,

Ranta. It’s a level of service that goes beyond what I’ve seen offered at most residency programs.” In addition to residencies, Monson Arts also offers intensive workshops in the arts and writing. This summer there will be eight one-week workshops for adults of all levels in painting, printmaking, sculpture, textiles, carving, audio, and writing. Room and board is also provided. In addition to receiving expert instruction, students will be able to focus on their work with studios open day and night. Evening talks by the workshop instructors will be free and open to the public. Monson Arts is also partnering with the Appalachian Mountain Club to offer two weekend workshops in painting and book arts at AMC’s Medawisla Lodge. “While one focus of programming is to bring people into the community,” says Kestenbaum, “equally important is for us to develop programs that are for the community.” Beginning next fall, Monson Arts will be working with area high schools

and arts of the area. The region has long inspired artists, from photographer Berenice Abbott and painter Carl Sprinchorn to contemporary artists such as potter Jemma Gascoine and photographer Todd Watts. The area also inspired Henry David Thoreau, who visited when he wrote “The Maine Woods.” This summer and fall there are two exhibitions: “Artists of the Forest,” showing May 15–August 11 which features traditional craft work by makers from central and northern Maine; and “Tracing Thoreau’s Trail: East Cove to Katahdin” on display August 15–October 20, organized by the Dexter Historical Society and featuring large-format black-and-white photographs by Bert Lincoln Call accompanied by the writings of Henry David Thoreau. The gallery is open from Thursday through Sunday from 10–4. For more information about Monson Arts, visit, email, or call.

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Day in the Life - Piscataquis  

Day in the Life - Piscataquis