Lake Living vol. 22, no. 2

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FREE summer 2019 • vol. 22, no. 2

A Passion for Play plus:

geof’s pedals the maine event you get what you give back room at nectar


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editor’s note It didn’t take long to realize there was an emergent theme to this issue. Scott and Becca worked at the same sports shop for years before launching Ski Hot. Michelle and Drew moved to Maine and opened Nectar within the year. When they’re not farming, Geof and Gina are growing their other business—Farm Pedals. According to Silas, the Kezar Falls Theater might not have been without his wife’s “awesome chili” fueling the voluteers who helped build it. And where would we all be if Pam and Justin were not as wedded to Bridgton Books as they are to each other? Given that entrepreneurship is so prevalent in Maine, it’s not surprising that so many of its small businesses are owned and run by couples. What is surprising is how successful these couples are at maintaining a balance between work, life and play within the sometimes challenging context of marriage. The four pairs Leigh Macmillen Hayes interviewed for The Maine Event are partners in every sense, who derive a rare sense of fulfillment and creativity in providing other couples a place to begin their journey together. They have realized, or are in the constantly surpising process of realizing, what author David Whyte says best in The Three Marriages: “Work is not only necessity; good work like a good marriage needs a dedication to something larger than our own detailed, everyday needs; good work asks for promises to something intuited or imagined.” Laurie LaMountain Editor & Publisher Laurie LaMountain Staff Writer Leigh Macmillen Hayes Contributing Photographers Silas Hagerty (Smooth Feather Productions) Mary Jewett, Scott Hendricks Graphic Designer Dianne Lewis Proofreader/Copy Editor Leigh Macmillen Hayes

Lake Living is published quarterly by Almanac Graphics, Inc., 625 Rocky Knoll Rd, Denmark, ME 04022 207-452-8005. www.lakelivingmaine. com e-mail: ©2019. All rights reserved. Contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent from the publisher. Annual subscriptions are available by sending check or money order for $20 to the above address.


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summer 2019 • vol. 22, no. 2

8 a passion for play

22 the back room at nectar

10 the maine event

28 you get what you give

14 geof’s farm pedals

30 summer bookshelf

by laurie lamountain

by leigh macmillen hayes by laurie lamountain

18 summer living

by leigh macmillen hayes

by laurie lamountain

by leigh macmillen hayes

reviews from bridgton books

cover photo mary jewett + polografico

The Place to Shop for the Summer Ahead!

Fabulous and fun women’s clothing and accessories—for a walk on the beach, a day at work, or a special evening out. You’ll also find tasteful housewares and decor—books, wine—and gifts for all occasions, a wedding, or that small “thank you.”


main street, bridgton • open seven days • 207.647.5436

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A Passion for Play by laurie lamountain


ecca Jewett and Scott Hendricks are one of those rare couples who both work and play together on a daily basis. In both cases, it involves paddling or skiing. Their nearly five-year-old son, Parker, has probably logged more time on the water than most eighty-year-olds. Of course, it helps to have parents who are avid paddlers and to live in an area where there’s a lake, pond or river within spitting distance. Having Maine’s oldest ski area a stone’s throw away doesn’t hurt either. His first time skiing Shawnee Peak was at eighteen-months-old. For the past twenty years, Scott worked at Sportshaus in Bridgton. Becca joined the team twelve years ago. Until recently, the couple had entertained hopes of taking the business over when the owners retired. When that didn’t happen, they launched their own outdoor sports shop. Lake Region Paddle represents the summer side of their business—with paddle board, kayak and canoe sales and rentals—and Ski Hot serves the winter population with ski equipment sales, service (including boot fitting, binding work and ski tuning) and seasonal rentals. For this, they are conveniently located at the corner of Route 302 and Mountain Road, just half a mile from Shawnee Peak Ski Area. If you’ve opened a retail and rental shop in the age of the internet, you’d better have something that can’t be found online. In Scott and Becca’s case, it’s knowledge, experience and a passion for both paddling and skiing. Scott, who has been skiing since he was eleven-months-old, comes from a family of avid skiers who know both sides of the sport. His family relocated to this area when his father, who was assistant ski school direc-


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tor at Shawnee Mountain in Pennsylvania, accepted the position of ski school director at Shawnee Peak when it purchased Pleasant Mountain in 1989. His mother worked at Sportshaus for twenty-five years. Becca’s mother worked at Shawnee Peak for a time. Becca began skiing in middle school but it wasn’t until she was properly fitted for boots that she came to love the sport. She is living proof of how important it is to get into the right boot. Enduring the pain of poorly fit boots for years has made her a much more empathetic proprietor. “The goal in most shops is to get the customer into the store and to the register as quickly as possible. That has never been our objective. This is slow cooking. This isn’t fast food,” says Scott of their service philosophy. To which Becca adds, “It’s baking your own bread. The goal is to give people the best experience possible because they’re really awesome sports. We want to bring that enjoyment to other people.” Scott is quick to point out that one of the most essential ingredients in their slow cooking approach is incredibly loyal staff, who both use the products they sell and are trained in how to service them. Demos are another ingredient. Whether it’s a paddle board, kayak or pair of skis, there’s no better way to match a customer with the right product than to have them try it. They know first hand that enjoying a sport (or not) depends on the equipment and “try before you buy” is the surest means to finding the right fit. Another great way to test drive a product is through their short-term rental program. Last summer, I rented a paddle board from them for a couple of days and was instantly

hooked. When it came to choosing one to own, Scott and Becca gave me three recommendations based on my weight, height and usage. After test driving all three, I went with a Jimmy Styks Apex. My favorite way to begin a summer day now is to take my board out on Long Pond when the whole wild world is waking up. “One of the things that’s always been important to both of us—especially with the rental side of things—is not everybody can afford to buy a kayak or paddle board and we live in this absolutely incredible area. There are just so many beautiful places to go and so people can rent a board or kayak for a couple of days,” says Becca. They also have a few canoes in their rental fleet. As Scott points out, canoes continue to be the choice for families because they can accommodate mom, dad, the kids, the dog and the cooler. Another advantage to renting is that delivery is free to over twenty lakes and ponds in the area and it eliminates the hassle of car-topping your water toys. For those who want to own their own watercraft, Lake Region Paddle carries a range of paddle boards from the lightweight Misstyk to the box-railed Hurricane performance touring board. They also carry an inflatable SUP, the Jimmy Styks Pug. When it comes to kayaks, securing the Old Town dealership was a make-it-orbreak-it deal for them—it had to be Old Town. Becca points out the attributes of their flagship kayak, The Loon, a very stable, super adjustable kayak that appeals to a wide range of paddlers. Scott is excited by the fact that it’s made in Old Town, Maine, by a company that’s been building boats there since 1898. “We want to support Maine companies. We’ll go up to the factory and talk to the guys who are building the kayaks—and our weather is the same! Just being on the same page with them is a wonderful thing. We’re not talking to somebody in California. And they do make the most durable boat on the market. It’s a lifetime boat. That was the most exciting thing for us in the kayak; getting on the Old Town side of things. The heritage is there and they’re still evolving.” At the end of the day, it’s that same Maine commitment to customer service and satisfaction that sets Lake Region Paddle and Ski Hot apart from the online experience. Scott and Becca have taken the time to cut through thousands of products that are out there and chosen the ones they feel offer the best bang for the buck and are the best fit for Maine’s unique climate. It’s all about that slow cooking. R Lake Region Paddle and Ski Hot Ski Shop are located at One Mountain Road in Bridgton. Reach them by phone at 207.803.8472 or on Facebook.

the right. Paddle up river until you reach the pond. Access: not recommended for paddle boards. Of note: beautiful views, remote, very little traffic, varied habitat: eagles, herons

Becca’s Paddles


ur area is known for its lakes and ponds and here are just a handful of ones we love to paddle. Plan in advance for how far you want (and are able) to paddle. Pay attention to the wind; what seems like a slight breeze can make paddling challenging. The paddle back is always harder. Having a dry bag is definitely recommended. Maine State Law requires anyone 10 and under to wear a life jacket and all others to have one on board. A whistle is also required by law. People who are new to paddleboarding or those going for a longer paddle should always wear a leash. If you are going to be out later in the day, a headlamp or flashlight is not only required by law, but also a good safety precaution.

highland lake bridgton

Highland Lake is an extremely accessible downtown gem. It offers a public beach and boat launch, restrooms and parking. The lake stretches approximately 4 miles. After your paddle, take a short walk through Shorey Park into downtown Bridgton.

Best time: early morning (very calm); late afternoon (beautiful sunsets) Launch: public boat launch Access/Paddler ability: easy Of note: spectacular views, can be a very long paddle

moose pond causeway west bridgton

brownfield bog brownfield

Now known as Major Gregory Sanborn Wildlife Management Area, this wetland area offers lots. To get there, turn from Rt. 160 onto Lords Hill Road. Bog Road is the dirt road almost immediately on the left. Getting into your kayak or canoe from the shore can be tricky and is not recommended for inexperienced paddlers. Be sure to bring binoculars; you will see lots of plants that are not visible from shore, as well as birds. We are always treated to a Painted Turtle sunning itself and dragonflies galore. This is not a long distance paddle, but there is much to see . Best time: early morning for birders Access: difficult (have to enter your craft from the shore); not recommended for paddle boards. Of note: this is a wetland area so there is LOTS of wildlife and plantlife. Bug juice is a must. A gravel road system through the bog provides great walking terrain.

kezar pond fryeburg

Bear Pond

bear pond waterford

Located just past the Bridgton town line, Bear Pond is a beautiful little lake tucked into the base of Bear Mountain. Look for the public boat launch and off-road parking approximately one-half mile from the intersection of Rt 35 & 37. It is Waterford’s deepest waterbody and offers a great afternoon paddle. Brave souls can even try out the rope swing just north of the launch. Best time: late afternoon Launch: public boat launch Access: not a sandy beach or super flat. Not good for the hesitant beginner. Of note: stays in the sun much longer in the day, very limited boat traffic, quiet, lots of parking along roadside, great view of Bear Mountain

Kezar Pond is a large, shallow, and weedy body of water with sparsely developed shoreline. Because it is somewhat difficult to access, it has virtually no motorized boat traffic. To get to the launch, turn from Rt. 302 onto Hemlock Bridge Road and continue three miles to the covered bridge. Parking, public launch and a great fishing spot are located just after the bridge on the left. The pond offers panoramic mountain views of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range. Best time: anytime Launch: put in and go under the bridge to

Moose Pond is one of our bigger lakes, spanning three towns and is nearly eight miles long. Moose Pond Causeway on Rt. 302 bisects the lake into two of its three sections; the bigger middle basin and smaller north end. Both parts offer amazing views of Pleasant Mountain and are easily accessed from the public boat launch or Sabatis Island. For those with ambition, hike up the Ledges Trail (located off Mountain Rd.) in the morning for an amazing view of Moose Pond, then come down for an afternoon paddle and look back at where you’ve been! Best time: early morning or late afternoon Launch: Public boat launch or Sabatis Island Access: easy Of note: pond is bisected by the road. North end: great views of Shawnee Peak, wetland area at the end of lake, islands to paddle around. Middle basin: more open water, long paddle

kezar kake lovell

Kezar Lake is the largest lake on our list. About nine miles long, it is divided into Lower Bay, Middle Bay and Upper Bay. Lower and Middle Bays are very distinctly separated by The Narrows, while Middle and Upper Bays casually merge together. Lower Bay offers a more intimate, shorter paddle, which will be more appropriate for kayakers. There is a marshy area at the southern end, with a small outlet offering a fun little sidetrip. Middle and Upper Bays are characterized by panoramic views of the White Mountains. Be sure to keep an eye out for loons; there are at least four nesting pairs. Even though it is large and has more motor boat traffic than the smaller lakes on our list, it generally feels quiet and serene. Best time: morning Launch: public launch just past the Kezar Lake Marina at The Narrows Access: easy Of note: most of Lovell does not have cell service; make sure you have your directions

or a map in hard copy.

Kezar Pond

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Maine Event W by leigh macmillen hayes

ith rustic chic weddings all the rage, the western Maine foothills provide a beautiful backdrop for simply elegant ceremonies. As you plan for your special day, check out these local venues and get inspired.

Bear Mountain Inn and The Barn

Bear Mountain Inn

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Stone Mountain Arts Center

jonathan woodbury

Old Saco Inn

Located just outside the quaint village of Waterford Flat, this 1825 inn and 1850 barn combine rustic charm with modern amenities. Hosts Julie and Brian Sullivan purchased Bear Mountain Inn in 2016 after traveling the country in an RV for fifteen months as they looked for a new business venture. The following year they completely renovated the inn and barn and added outdoor walkways and patios to create a seamless

transition between the indoor spaces and 25 acres overlooking Bear Pond. The authentic 40’ x 48’ barn seats 150 with a dance floor. Chandeliers give it a romantic ambiance. Behind the barn is the perfect getaway spot for a game of pool or a quiet respite. Outside the barn is a 70’ x 14’ patio, with an additional patio of equal size part way down the hill. Under a tent on the lower patio, 250 guests can be accommodated. A post and beam building, constructed by timber framer Andy Buck, is ideal for the bridal party. It’s often the place where the bride gets ready for the ceremony. The building houses four bedrooms and three baths, plus a gourmet kitchen. Small scale rehearsal dinners are held there, and postwedding it’s the perfect space for guests to relax and relive the day. May through November tend to be the months for most weddings at Bear Mountain Inn with air conditioning and heat accommodating seasonal changes. Since the barn isn’t insulated, smaller, more intimate weddings or elopements might be scheduled during the winter season. The Sullivans have grown their business with the help of wedding coordinator Claire Daley. Julie says, “We’ll never be a wedding

factory, never cookie-cutter. I think that’s why couples love barns. They can make it what they want and it’s not so traditional.” The bride and groom buy out the property for their event, giving them exclusive access for a private experience. “It becomes their home away from home for a week or weekend,” says Julie. The Sullivans, however, are always on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly. In fact, Julie says that by Saturday night she knows everyone by name and by the end of the weekend she and Brian feel like part of the family. For the guests, there’s plenty to do from playing lawn games to enjoying water activities or following a trail that winds through the woods. In the evening, two fire pits and a fireplace provide the setting to gather round for stories and s’mores. One of the standouts for many couples with fur-children is that the property is dog friendly. Out of respect for people with allergies, dogs are not allowed in the inn, but three of the rooms in the timber-framed building feature dog stations. So does the Sugar House, a sweet cottage with kitchenette, working fireplace and a bed facing the pond. It’s only been a few years, but the Sul-

livans are still excited about the hospitality business. Brian says, “I’ve never done anything so fulfilling. People come here to have a special experience. For us, it’s special to be part of their fun memories.” They’re equally tickled to have been chosen as the host venue for Real Maine Weddings wedding of the year. Waterford,

Hardy Farm

When George Washington was 18 years old in 1750, and Maine was part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, King George granted early colonists such as the Hardys a parcel of land. The house known as Hardy Farm was built a few miles from town and the front rooms are original. For ten generations the farmhouse remained in the Hardy family and eventually became a bed and breakfast. The current owners, Deborah and Greg Link, had received a gift certificate to stay there years ago. They later heard it was for sale and called to inquire. Six weeks later it was theirs. For ten years they ran the property as a bed and breakfast called Peace With-Inn, though they continued to live in New Jersey. Seven years ago, they decided to move to Maine to be closer to their children and

Hardy Farm

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grandchildren and considered selling the property. Instead, however, they chose to invest and renovate the house and barn and their wedding business was born. The thirteen-acre property actually includes two houses and sleeps 32. Within the farmhouse, an innkeepers apartment serves as the ideal place for the bride to prepare for her big moment. There’s a fox’s den, a cozy getaway-from-the-action room. And another, the book nook, which includes titles of the property being passed from one generation to the next for the history fans in the wedding party. There’s even a massage room. Tin ceilings and original pumpkin pine floors add to the farmhouse flavor. Typically, the bride’s side stays in the well-appointed farmhouse rooms, while the groom’s family and friends accommodate the more rustic, yet charming Little Chatham Lodge, located either a two-minute drive or ten-minute walk through the woodland pathway. The lodge includes an exercise room, deck with hot tub, fire pit, gazebo and three-season porch. The post-wedding spot is in the basement where a pool table, poker table, bar made of a live-edge slab, and fireplace await. “It appeals to people with different tastes and styles,” says Deborah. From May through October, a sailcloth tent that allows light to filter through and accommodates 150 guests, is set up on an upper terrace behind the farmhouse. Any time of the year, the whitewashed barn is available. The entire property is rented out to the wedding party for a week or weekend and the couple typically bring in their own planners. “We offer a preferred vendor list,” says Deborah, “but we let the wedding be their vision.” Deborah loves to garden and that’s apparent in the grounds that surround the farmhouse and patio. A chapel area was created out of felled trees from the property. Though there is no set pattern, she finds that most people choose to have the ceremony in the chapel area, cocktail hour on the patio or in the barn, dinner in the tent, and dancing back in the barn. A unique tradition is that each couple is given a horseshoe nailed to the barn beams. They personalize it with their names, wedding date, and anything they’d like to add. The Links promote the property as Lucky in Love, the horseshoe, of course, representing luck. For Deborah, this is a labor of love. “I have a passion for it,” she says. “I love meeting people at such a happy time in their


lives. We’ve put a lot into this property, and I love sharing it.” West Fryeburg,

Old Saco Inn

Set upon the Old Course of the Saco River off Route 5, the Old Saco Inn has constructed a post and beam barn designed and built by timber framer Andy Buck. They are reserving weddings for the fall 2019 and beyond. Prior to their move to Maine, Bruce Moffitt and Jon Hendrickson were nurses in Delaware, when they visited friends who had purchased Glenmoor by the Sea, an inn in Lincolnville, Maine. Given that they’d had opposite schedules in their professional field, they welcomed the opportunity to do something creative together and began working with a realtor. Though they never expected their venture to be in Fryeburg, when they pulled into the driveway at three in the morning after having worked all day and driven all night, the lights at the gate cast a magical spell on them. In February 2018, the couple purchased the property. And they’ve never looked back as the community has embraced their business. Bruce says, “When we serve dinners here, we’re serving our friends. It’s like hosting a dinner party.” They are no strangers to weddings, as they’ve hosted small ceremonies on the property. They liked the concept of a barn, however, for if the weather is finicky, the setting can quickly be moved indoors. The original intention was to move a barn to the sight, for as Bruce says, “We found one we loved for its patina and charm. As it turned out, it was not true post and beam and it would cost us less to build a new one.” They looked at another that had been built for dairy cattle, but the center aisle was only tractor-wide and didn’t feel like the grand aisle they envisioned to achieve a church-like feel. The new post and beam structure will naturally create that feeling, with the back wall covered in natural stone creating a rustic look with wood throughout. Rustic farm furniture and pews will heighten the ambiance. The barn will have the ability to host about 230 guests. In the balcony there will be two small rooms for the bride and her party to prepare before she walks down the grand staircase. Chandeliers hanging from either side of a cupola will highlight her sparkle. Farm tables, built by Bruce’s cousin, will serve as the bride and groom’s table. A DJ or band can choose either the staircase landing or under the mezzanine to provide

background music. There will be sitting areas around a fireplace where guests may retreat to a more intimate space. Seating will also be provided on the upper mezzanine. The handicapped accessible porch will run the length of the building and be a place to host a cocktail hour between the ceremony and dinner/dancing. Before and after, there is plenty to keep guests occupied from canoeing and kayaking to hitting golf balls at the onsite driving range. Fifty-five of the 65-acre property are wooded and five marked trails offer opportunities for walking. skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. Fryeburg,

Stone Mountain Arts Center

Fourteen years ago Carol Noonan and her husband, Jeff Flagg, embarked on a journey many know as Stone Mountain Arts Center, located off the beaten path. It all began as a vision. Jeff sought a non-traditional timber frame barn that lacked center posts so he could spread out the commercial fishing nets he built. Timber framer Andy Buck (there’s a bit of a theme here) employed an intricate design to build just the right structure. When songwriter and singer Carol stepped into the barn one day and sang to her heart’s content, she totally appreciated the acoustics. And so she somehow convinced Jeff to let her take over the barn and invite her musically-inclined friends to perform. Of course, her voice still fills the rafters frequently to the audiences’ delight. And she creates meals. And watches couples share bands. Wedding bands. About nine years ago, Hannah Babineau joined the couple as a wedding planner when Carol realized that, though her venue attracted musicians traveling between Boston and Montreal, it was also a perfect place for a wedding. “Our views may not be expansive,” says Carol, “but we have Hannah. She provides a personal experience. We become part of the couple’s wedding, more than just a venue.” The big barn, as they fondly refer to the original timber-frame structure, is the setting for most wedding ceremonies. “It’s not a church,” says Hannah, “but there is a spiritual feel to it. I think that comes from the sharing of music, the sharing of events.” The indoor venue offers an outdoor feel, with large windows behind the stage displaying seasonal changes that give it an almost altar-like appearance. A grand piano

sits to one side but the couple can be creative with their use of the space, which seats up to 175 guests. Hannah says, “Weddings are fun. We believe it shouldn’t be stressful so our goal is to make their wedding a reflection of them. They need to be true to what they want, and we’ll guide them into what makes the day go smoothly for the couple and their guests. After the wedding, we often hear, ‘We wish we could do that again.’” Though there is no lodging on site, the Green Room in the basement of the timberframed barn is a comfortable place for the couple to prepare for their grand event. With a pool table and fantastic vinyl collection, they can play a game or two while listening to some classic tunes. There is a shower and space for the bride to get dressed and have her hair done, as well as tables for a private luncheon. More recently, a smaller two-hundredyear-old barn original to the property was taken apart and rebuilt by Scott Campbell. Named Quisisana for the musical theater resort on Kezar Lake where Carol worked at one time, it’s connected to the timber-frame barn via a breezeway. The reconstructed old

A unique tradition is that each couple is given a horseshoe nailed to the barn beams. They personalize it with their names, wedding date, and anything they’d like to add. The Links promote the property as Lucky in Love, the horseshoe, of course, representing luck. barn is perfect for a pre-wedding cocktail hour or post-ceremony dessert and dancing. Stone Mountain Arts Center is available year round for weddings and Hannah admits that sometimes the winter weddings are her favorite. “We have a lot of greenery and trees with twinkling lights. The bride and groom pose with boots or snowshoes on. There’s so much you can do with a winter theme.”


In the end, couples have so many choices for a wedding venue in the lakes region. Each of these spaces has its unique flavor, but they all share the common goal of pulling out all the stops to make your day special. Stay true to yourself as you seek out the perfect location for your Maine event— surely one of these will match your spirit. R

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Geof’s Farm Pedals

by laurie lamountain


here’s a scene in the fabulous documentary It Might Get Loud in which The Edge demonstrates how he summons that trademark U2 sound from his guitar by using a foot pedal to enhance the tone. He then strums the few simple chords that he just played without the pedal. It’s like driving an Oldsmobile after you’ve just driven a Ferrari.

Foot pedals, also known as effects pedals, are electronic or digital devices that are used with electric guitars to alter the sound in various ways. Common effects include boost, overdrive, distortion, fuzz, reverb, phaser, tremolo, etc. The distinctions in each of these categories could be an article in itself, but the birth of effects and pedals is surprisingly simple.

“If you use the computer for good, it’s unbelievable what you can accomplish.” geof hancock

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The first recorded effect of fuzz was heard on Marty Robbins’ 1960 hit “Don’t Worry.” A faulty preamp in the mixing console created a fuzzy vibration that sparked a sonic revolution. This happy accident led to Glenn Snoddy replicating the sound in a little box that he presented as a prototype to Gibson, which developed it into the Maestro Fuzz-Tone FZ-1—the first commerciallyavailable fuzz pedal. Despite Gibson’s efforts to boost sales, the Fuzz-Tone performed poorly in its first five years. That changed dramatically when Keith Richards used the Maestro FZ-1 on his iconic guitar riff on the Rolling Stones’ hit single “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” in 1965. According to Richards, the riff was inserted as a placeholder for a section originally intended for horns. Due to this happy accident, the sonic revolution suddenly got much noisier and the list of effects pedals much longer. Geof Hancock, who with his family owns Hancock Family Farm and has created his own brand of guitar pedals called Farm Pedals, likens them to paints in a painter’s palette. He first got the idea for making them from Micah Blue Smaldone, a Maine musician who had built a guitar amplifier out of an old Hammond Organ tube chassis. Over the years, Geof played guitar and bought a pedal or two along the way, but it wasn’t until he and his family moved from Porter to Casco—where they finally had reliable power and internet—that he acted on the idea Smaldone had planted in his head. “I went on the internet, because as it turns out the internet is amazing, and I found a tube organ chassis, got the original schematic for it and converted it from an organ amplifier into a guitar amplifier. And I didn’t kill myself, which it turns out when you’re playing with amps, I mean, I was really careful, but there’s some serious plate voltage in there,” Geof recalls of his initiation into amplification. Once he built an amp, he figured he could build his own pedals. He did some research and found there were kits you could buy online so he purchased a few. From there, he bought a $20 soldering iron from Radio Shack in Windham and put the kits together. That was in the fall of 2015. He had just listed his first pedal on Reverb. com (think eBay for musical instruments) and was in the process of listing the second one when the first one sold. “Which may be the worst thing that ever happened because there was this very false sense of ‘Look, I can do it! This is a thing!!”

He adds a bit derisively, “Yeah, which is not a thing.” Just about everything Geof has learned about making pedals he acquired by watching YouTube. After assembling the kits, he moved on to strip board, which he describes as a blank template that you can manipulate, drop in your components and, in his words, hope for the best. In the beginning, he worked almost exclusively with cloning pedals, which are what their name implies— classic pedal circuitry that you copy. Once he got the hang of cloning with strip board and understanding the schematics, he began delving deeper on the internet. “I was reading everything I could get my hands on through the internet and trying to wrap my head around, like, how do you manipulate transistors, what do different levels of capacitance do to sound waves? Things like that. I would just try to figure this stuff out. How can you modify wave forms or manipulate voltages? Once I started cloning pedals using this blank template strip board stuff and seeing the schematics on the line, everything slowly went from twodimensional black-and-white to more and more three-dimensional and technicolor.” OK, so he’s a bit of a geek. Despite that, Geof is quick to point out that he didn’t go from making one kit to building a digital processor. His design and efficiency have evolved over time. After about a year of doing “the strip board thing,” he got in touch with a community of small board builders. Brian, from San Francisco Bay Area-based Spruce Effects, turned him on to Eagle software for electronic engineering. Through Eagle, he was able to build his own schematics (the electrical circuit blueprint including voltage inputs, knobs, switches, capacitors, transistors, diodes, chips, etc.) and convert it to a board file that can be manufactured according to his specifications and quantities. “Once you’re into the land of circuit boards, you’re cooking with gas,” says Geof. The Mountain, one of his more popular fuzz pedals, was preceded by the Evolution Fuzz, with one or two versions in between. He points out that most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two, but the nuances are not lost on musicians. To whit, a recent podcast he took part in devoted forty-five minutes to analyzing the nuances of fuzz. But it was Hammond’s Organs, a distortion pedal, that was his big breakthrough. Now in its fifteenth version, it is one of his

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A Subsoiler is a piece of farm machinery that is dragged behind a tractor to breakup subsoil compaction . . . the tines dive feet underground, ripping up any hardpan layers in the growing zones . . . it’s an apocalypse machine. first near-to-unique strip board designs. The first generation actually contained salvaged parts from an old Hammond Organ. Later generations do not, but the circuitry remains the same. He knows of a musician in Brooklyn who is amassing a multi-generational Hammond’s Organ collection. And even though he doesn’t listen to a lot of “heavyduty, doomy Rock” and is more inclined to modulation-based effects, like phasing, tremolo and delay, it turns out musicians of that genre love his stuff. Last year, his biggest seller was the Subsoiler, a very dense, heavy fuzz pedal that had the good fortune to be featured by a national outlet. He feels fortunate that he has national advocates who give Farm Pedals an advantage in a fairly saturated and somewhat mercurial market. The last couple of years have also brought growth through collaboration with pedal builders in California and Mississippi. He keeps connected

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with thousands of others who share this obsession with tone through an app on his phone. It balances out life on the farm. He can think about schematics and board design while driving a tractor through the fields in the growing season and spend the fallow months turning them into inventory. His goal for this year is 450 to 500 pedals. Given that it’s pretty much just Geof, that’s an ambitious goal for a farmer to add to his already full plate, but he points out that there’s a symbiotic relationship between the two businesses that makes it work. Farming the land is very physical outdoor work and creating schematics in the land of circuit boards is very cerebral studio work that he finds “wildly problem-solving.” When he started three years ago, he was making pedals one at a time and spray painting and hand stamping the enclosures. He still hand stamps most of the enclosures but purchases them already powder coated.

His twin daughters occasionally help with assembly and his wife Gina makes quilted, organic cotton guitar straps with vegan leather strap ends. It’s a family affair that began as justification for buying guitar gear and has grown into a business that increasingly contributes to Hancock Family Farm. He’s not entirely sure where Farm Pedals is headed, but one thing is sure—it’s no longer a hobby. And as Geof points out, unlike vegetables, the product doesn’t go bad. R Farm Pedals can be found at and at

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summer living performing arts

Arts Center at 8 Hancock Ave Located in a church beside Soldiers Memorial Library in Hiram; offers classes, concerts, art shows, presentations, meeting space, and facility rentals. FMI:, 207.625.4650 Brick Church for the Performing Arts An historic and acoustically perfect setting in Lovell; enjoy music events on Thursday evenings at 7:00pm. There will also be a children’s theatrical performance. FMI:, 207.925.1500 Celebration Barn This restored horse barn in the woods of South Paris provides an inspiring natural setting for Saturday night performances from June through October. FMI: celebrationbarn. com, 207.743.8452 Deertrees Theatre Take part in celebrating music, drama and art during the summer months at this enchanting Adirondack-style, 300-seat theater nestled in the pines of Harrison. FMI:, 207.583.6747

Denmark Arts Center

is an outlet for local talent and artistic expression located on Main Street in the hamlet of Denmark. For twenty-five years, the DAC has offered an impressive array of music, dance, art and workshops. The Italianate Victorian Style building was originally built in 1883 to serve as the Odd Fellows

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Hall—a function it fulfilled for a century. Following the death of the last member of the Lodge, the town purchased the fraternal hall and used it for town meetings until 1986. In 1991, it was decided that the Odd Fellows Hall should be sold rather than demolished. Over the next few years, Henry Banks, a local building contractor, with a small group of community members, restored the building to serve as a community arts center. This year marks the 25th anniversary of this vibrant hub of cultural activity that serves the people of Denmark and surrounding towns. Two special events are lined up for this summer:

Saturday, August 3, Jon Allan Marshall Art Opening 2-4pm. This will serve as a 25th Anniversary Celebration of the Lands of Denmark.

Saturday, September 28th 6-8pm FallFEST Fundraiser Tapas & Tastings & Auction FMI:, 207.452.2412 Dragonfly Barn Historically a dairy farm owned by the Sanborn family of Bridgton, the renovated barn provides a music and event space in The Hayloft, complete with a reconditioned 1921 Steinway grand piano. Music Series occurs year round at 7:30pm. FMI: Lakes Region Community Theatre Providing opportunities for education, participation, and appreciation in the performing arts since 1996, LRCT will present James and the Giant Peach at Lake

Region High School on August 2, 3, 9 and 10 at 7:30pm, August 4 and 11 at 2:00pm. FMI: www.lrctme. org Oxford Hills Music and Performing Arts Association Staging productions highlighting local talent since 1990, OHMPAA will present several shows at Norway Grange in June, July, and November. FMI: Schoolhouse Arts Center Appealing to audiences of all ages, a variety of shows will be performed in the revamped theater throughout the summer months at SAC in Standish. FMI:, 207.642.3743 Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival The Sebago-Long Lake Music Festival performs chamber music from various periods of time during a five-week series of world class concerts on Tuesday evenings from July to mid-August at Deertrees Theatre in Harrison. FMI: Stone Mountain Arts Center Nestled in the foothills of the White Mountains, the Stone Mountain Arts Center is a beautiful timber-frame music hall that hosts national acts. FMI:, 207.935.7292.

the outdoors

Area environmental groups, including Lakes Environmental Association, Greater Lovell Land Trust, Upper Saco Valley Land Trust, Western Foothills Land Trust, and Loon Echo Land Trust have created a collaborative effort called Trekking Through Time.

From June through October, each organization will host one walk with a historical theme.

June 26, 9:00am - noon, Milling About Stevens Brook with LEA and the Bridgton Historical Society, meet at 5 Gibbs Avenue, Bridgton

July 18, 9:30am - 12:30pm, Honoring Lovell’s Heritage with the GLLT aided by the Lovell Historical Society, meet at the Flat Hill parking lot, Heald Pond Road, Lovell August 31, 9:00am - noon, Impressions of Painters Thomas Wilmer Dewing and Maria Oakey Dewing with USVLT, Leita Monroe

Lucas Preserve, Green Hill Road, Conway, NH

easement through the Easement Exploration Series designed to connect community members September 7, 10:00am - noon, with the protected lands that Evidence and Records of Land Use surround them. FMI:, Over Two Centuries—Roberts 603.356.9683 Farm From Settlement to Present Western Foothills Land Trust Day with the WFLT, Roberts Farm The WFLT offers hikes, walks, races, Preserve, Roberts Road, Norway and paddles that explore the October 5, 10:00am - noon A Walk natural history of the Oxford Hills Region, and especially the land Back In Time, at the PeabodyFitch Farm in South Bridgton with trust’s properties and easements. FMI:, 207.739.2124 Loon Echo Land Trust and the Bridgton Historical Society, Narramissic Farm, Narramissic Road, South Bridgton

jo harmon

The public is welcome to join us for one or all of these as we learn more about the past and gain a better understanding of the present. Greater Lovell Land Trust Join the GLLT for a series of guided walks and hikes. Beavers, Predators, Sustainable Agriculture, Monarchs and North America’s Tallest Chestnut Tree are some of the themes supported by complimentary Natural History Evening Programs at Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library in Lovell. FMI:, 207.925.1056 Lakes Environmental Association Besides conducting valuable research on Maine lakes, LEA offers an extensive summer program that includes guided walks and family outings at Holt Pond, Highland Lake Reserve, the Stevens Brook Trail and Pondicherry Park. Back by popular demand this summer will be the 3rd Annual Paddle Battle fundraiser on July 6. FMI:, 207.647.8580 Loon Echo Land Trust LELT provides a variety of outdoor experiences including walks, bird migration watches, and acoustic music on Hacker’s Hill. The 2018 Norway Savings Bank Loon Echo Trek has been reformatted to feature a hike on Pleasant Mountain and The Mountain Challenge Race on Saturday, September 14. FMI:, 207.647.4352 Mahoosuc Land Trust From the Androscoggin River to mountain summits, the MLT offers plenty of guided paddles and hikes for outdoor enthusiasts. To obtain a map of access points to the Androscoggin River, contact the office. FMI:, 207.824.3806 Upper Saco Valley Land Trust Once a month USVLT hosts a themed visit to a preserve or

museums & history

Fryeburg Historical Society The grounds of the

Fryeburg Historical Society at 83 Portland Street will turn into a Civil War Encampment on August 17 and 18. The 3rd Maine Company A Volunteer Infantry Regiment will present two full days of authentic activities and protocol. Donned in period dress, soldiers and civilians will practice drills and other historical camp activities as they portray the lives of the men and women involved in the war time effort. This company is noted for educational and entertaining presentations, which the public is encouraged to attend. While you are there, also step into the Colonel Osgood Museum to view artifacts and paintings pertaining to Fryeburg, plus visit the historical society’s genealogical research center. FMI: info@, 207-2563001 Bridgton Historical Society and Narramissic Plan a visit to the BHS Museum on Gibbs Avenue, housed in the old firehouse, where town artifacts are on display. Also spend some time at Narramissic for a glimpse of New England on the eve of the Civil War. The property includes a Temperance Barn, blacksmith shop, and short hike to a quarry. FMI:, 207.647.3699 Clarence Mulford Room The Fryeburg Public Library is home to a room dedicated to Mulford’s fictional character, Hopalong Cassidy, and includes a collection of books, research notes and other memorabilia. FMI: fryeburgmaine. org/town-departments/library, 207.935.2731 Denmark Historical Society Formed in 1989, the Denmark Historical Society’s mission is to collect and preserve the history of the town and its citizens. The historical society’s archives are stored at the Denmark Public Library. Recently restored Centennial Hall on Main Street, Denmark, features a museum dedicated to the area’s agricultural and industrial past. FMI: Hazel and Owen Currier Doll Museum Located in the 1847 Fryeburg Town House at 103 Lovell Road (Route 5), and sponsored by the Fryeburg Historical Society, the museum features the Curriers’ extensive doll collection. Tours are available Wednesdays

and Thursdays from May through October, or by appointment. FMI:, Kimball-Stanford House The first floor of the main house owned by the Lovell Historical Society serves as a museum while the ell houses the Research Center. The LHS hosts a summer fair on July 21 and a house tour on August 11. FMI:, 207.925.3234 Maine Mineral & Gem Museum The Rock Garden features 22 geological specimens, including one of the largest meteorites on display in North America. The museum store is also open. FMI:, 207.824.3036 Museums of the Bethel Historical Society The Bethel Historical Society’s exhibit galleries and period rooms are displayed in both the 1813 Dr. Moses Mason House and 1821 O’Neil Robinson House. Tours and other events, including a weekly children’s program in July, called Mornings at the Museum, are offered. FMI:, 207.824.2908 Naples Causeway Classic Boat and Car Show Sponsored by the Mountainview Woodies Classics Boat Club, the 26th annual event begins with a boat parade on Long Lake on Friday, August 9, at 7:30 pm and continues with the show on Saturday, August 10, at the Naples Town Dock. FMI: Raymond-Casco Historical Museum Three buildings comprise the RCHM in Casco. The main building features many artifacts of yesteryear, while larger items are located in the restored barn and a third building houses an antique automobile collection. FMI:, 207.655.4646 Rufus Porter Museum The Rufus Porter Museum offers an opportunity to learn more about the 19th century artist, inventor and founder of Scientific American magazine. Museum and gift shop open Thursday-Saturday from June15 to October 12. FMI:, 207.647.2828 Scribners Mill Educational Tours are offered of the 19th century sawmill and homestead in Harrison on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month from Memorial Day through Labor Day, 1:00 4:00pm. FMI:, 207.583.6544

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summer living fairs & festivals

Windham SummerFest June 22, 10:00am - 10:00pm, Celebrate the beginning of summer with a parade, craft booths, food and games, a business expo, car show, entertainment and fireworks, Windham High School Complex, 406 Gray Road, Windham. FMI:, 207.892.1905 Cornish Strawberry Festival June 29, 9:00am - 3:00pm, Strawberry shortcake and fresh strawberries, vendors, live music, and a few surprises, Thompson Park, Main Street, Cornish. FMI: Bethel Art Fair July 6, 9:00am 4:00pm, 29th Annual Fair at the Bethel Town Common. Fireworks at 9:15pm. FMI:, 800.442.5826 Chickadee Quilters July 13 - 14, 10:00am - 4:00pm, Annual Quilt Show at Stevens Brook Elementary School, 14 Frances Bell Drive, Bridgton. FMI: Find us on Facebook Ossipee Valley Fair July 11 - 14, Country fair with oodles of livestock events, competitions, demonstrations, and exhibits, 291 South Hiram Road, South Hiram. FMI: Norway Music & Arts Festival July 13, 10:00am - 6:00pm, Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Main Street, Norway. FMI: Find us on Facebook Waterford World’s Fair July 19 21, Celebration of rural and historical culture includes a Day Full of Fiddling, 36 Irving Green Road, North Waterford. FMI:, 207.595.1601

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Art in the Park July 20, 9:00am - 4:00pm, Gallery 302’s Annual Celebration at Shorey Park, Main Street, Bridgton. FMI: gallery302. com, 207.647.2787 Founder’s Day and Classic Car Exhibit July 20, 9:00am - 5:00pm, Music, vendors, crafts, and car show to benefit Hamlin Memorial Library and Museum, On the Green, Paris Hill. FMI: hamlin.lib. Gray Blueberry Festival August 10, 9:30am - 3:00pm, Familyfriendly event featuring food, music, crafts, a parade, fun run and games, plus pie-eating and other challenges. 24 Main Street, Gray. FMI: Find us on Facebook

Paris Hill Music Festival

The third annual concert on August 2 and 3 will take place at the Paris Hill Country Club. Featured performers will be Matt Fournier and Hey Tonight--A Tribute to CCR and John Fogerty on Friday. On Saturday, a group of four local teen musicians called The Latch will begin the show, followed by The Don Campbell Band, and Livingston Taylor. The festival is a fun family event with local foods, games, activities and entertainment. Food venders and a full service cash bar will be available. As a non-profit organization and event, the concert benefits the Paris Hill Country Club, Friends of the Historic First Baptist Church of Paris Hill, and the Maine 4-H Foundation.

Bring chairs and blankets to enjoy some music under the stars. The show begins at 4pm on Friday and 3pm on Saturday. Paris Hill

Country Club, 455 Parish Hill Road, South Paris. FMI: Foothills Food Festival August 10, noon - 7:00pm, A local foods movement with a focus on food and a farmers’ market, speakers and workshops, beer garden, live music and entertainment, Longley Square, Norway. FMI: Find us on Facebook Dog Days of Bridgton August 10, 1:00 - 4:00pm. (rain date 8/11) Celebrating a love of dogs, this festival will feature educational talks, demonstrations by police and warden dogs, vendors, games, food . . . and dogs. On display will be plenty of shelter and rescue dogs from Harvest Hills. Bridgton Community Center, 15 Depot Street, Bridgton. FMI: Wild Light Exhibition August 10, 3:00 - 7:00pm, Showcasing new and original artwork that celebrates the lands and waters in the Greater Lovell area to benefit Hewnoaks Artist Colony and the Greater Lovell Land Trust. FMI: Lovell Arts & Artisans Fair August 17, 9:00am - 3:00pm, 44th Annual Fair at New Suncook School will benefit the Charlotte Hobbs Memorial Library, Route 5, Lovell. FMI:, 207.925.3177 Oxford County Fair September 11 -14, Traditional county fair featuring livestock, exhibits, competitions, shows, vendors, and a midway, Oxford County Fairgrounds, 67 Pottle Road, Oxford. FMI:, 207.739.2204 Bethel Harvestfest and Chowdah Cookoff September 21, 9:00am - 3:00pm, Arts, crafts, music, farmers’ market, chowder

and apple pie cookoff featured at this annual event, Town Common, Bethel. FMI:

old home days Sebago Days July 18-20.

Always held the third week of July, Sebago Days was started in 1978 to showcase and celebrate the people of the community. It’s also a time when former residents return to get reacquainted.

For months prior to Sebago Days, a committee chaired by Carl Dolloff meets to plan events. That planning paid off last year when the committee received the prestigious Spirit of America Award from the Cumberland County Commission.

This year’s special events include a cruise night with DJ, music, talent show, southern Maine tractor pull, midway, 2-mile fun run, parade, rides, games, food, vendors, and raffles. A fireworks display on Saturday night at 9:30, touted to be the best in the lakes region, rounds out the celebration. Located behind Sebago Elementary School, 283 Sebago Road, Sebago. FMI:, 207.787.3732 Lovell Old Home Days July 20, Road race, parade and vendors. FMI: Find us on Facebook Molly Ockett Day, July 20, Road race, parade, fireworks, live music, kids’ entertainment, wildlife show, food and vendors, Bethel Town Common, Bethel. FMI: Casco Days July 25 - 27, Fireworks, road race, children’s parade, Grand Parade, and midway. Casco Days Park, Route 121, Casco. FMI:

plein air music

Concerts in the Park Wednesdays June - August, 10:30am and 6:00pm, Pack a picnic, Moore Park, Route 26, South Paris. FMI: recreation-department Cornish Maine Bandstand Series Tuesdays July 2 - 30, 7:00 - 8:30pm, Concession stand, The Bandstand at the Old Cornish Fairgrounds, Rte 25, Cornish. FMI: Find us on Facebook River Rock Music Festival July 5 - 6, Two full days of rocking’ Christian music in an outdoor setting, Sunday River, 97 Summit Drive, Bethel. FMI: Saco River Jazz Ensemble July August, A community “Big Band” jazz band offers outdoor concerts at various locations including Gorham, Limerick, Buxton, Lisbon and Saco. FMI: Bridgton Community Band Wednesdays July 10 - August 14, 7:00pm, Independence Eve Concert on July 3, 7:30pm. Bridgton Gazebo, Frances Bell Drive, Bridgton. FMI:

Ossipee Valley Music Festival July 25 - 28, For four

days each summer, the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds transform into a world stage where musicians, other performers, and their fans gather to celebrate peace and community through a roots music festival.

Norway Triathlon July 13,

Genre ranges from Americana, Roots, Blues, Bluegrass, Folk, Jazz, Celtic, and more. Plus there are highly popular workshops that provide fans with the opportunity to meet their favorite performers, including Grammy and IBMA award winners, and receive instruction. The festival features a higher percentage of female-fronted bands than any other and proceeds benefit those seeking musical education scholarships. Food and campsites are available. Please note: no dogs allowed, Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds, 291 South Hiram Road, South Hiram. FMI: Loon Echo Land Trust’s Acoustic Sunset Concert August 14, 6:00pm, Vocals and guitar work by nationally renowned musician Bruce Marshall at Narramissic Homestead, this is a benefit concert for ongoing stewardship of the Peabody-Fitch Woods. FMI:, 207.647.4352

farmers’ markets

local foods and products Naples, Rt. 302 (Beside fire station) Sundays, 10:00am - 2:00pm

Waterford Flats On the Common Mondays, 2:00 - 5:00pm Casco 940 Meadow Road (Rt. 121) Casco Village Green Thursdays, 10:00am - 2:00pm Norway, Main Street Thursdays, 2:00 - 6:00pm Gray 6 Shaker Road, Behind Town Office Complex Thursdays, 2:30 - 6:00pm Harrison Route 117, Between Depot St. and Tolman Rd. Fridays, 1:00 - 5:00pm

Described as an exciting and fun sprint, the Norway Triathlon is a USAT sanctioned event. A tradition for twelve years, the race is regarded as Maine’s toughest sprint Tri.

jesse cottingham

Andover Olde Home Days August 3, Parade, antique car displays, exhibits, art and flower shows, crafts, firemen’s muster, horse show, plus plenty of food and music, FMI: Find us on Facebook Brownfield Old Home Day, August 10, Parade, kiddieland, pieeating contest, cow chip bingo, community tug-of-war, vendors, crafts, and food. FMI:

Portland Deering Oaks Park Saturdays, 7:00am - 1:00pm Windham Turning Leaf Intersection of River Road, Roosevelt Trail, and Turning Leaf Drive Saturdays, 8:30am - 12:30pm Bethel 1 Parkway Behind Norway Savings Bank Saturdays, 9:00am - 1:00pm Bridgton Depot Street Green space behind Renys Saturdays, 9:00am - 1:00pm Steep Falls 1 Main Street Village Park Gazebo Saturdays, 9:00am - 2:00pm


Run, walk, bike, paddle Summer Trails Series every Monday night, June - September, 5:00pm, Run/walk 5 or 10K loop, prizes awarded, sponsored by Mahoosuc Pathways, meet at tennis courts behind Bethel Inn Resort. FMI: mahoosucpathways. org, 207.200.8240 The Longest Day 5K June 21, 7:00pm, 5K Trail run or walk on the longest day of 2019, 1K Kids Fun Run at 7:00pm, Libby Hill Recreation Area, Libby Hill Road, Gray. FMI: Four on the Fourth July 4, Road race starts at Lower Main Street, Bridgton. FMI: fouronthefourth. com LEA Maine Lakes Open Paddle Battle July 6, Stand-up Paddle Board Race on Highland Lake to benefit Lakes Environmental Association, Tarry A While Resort, 17 Tarry A While Road, Bridgton. FMI:, 207.647.8580

Individual triathletes and team swimmers dive into Norway Lake from the Pennesseewassee Park beach and swim a .75K course before transitioning to bikes for a 20K ride to Greenwood City and back. The last leg of the event is a 5K run finishing in the park. All along the race route, encouragement is offered with cheers and cowbells.

Proceeds from the Norway Triathlon benefit the Western Foothills Land Trust, which protects 7000 acres of wild, scenic, and working lands in Oxford Hills and manages over 30 miles of recreational trails on six preserves. FMI: Race registration: Also benefiting the Western Foothills Land Trust is the monthly Nomad Trail Race Series. From May through October, adults compete in a 5-mile race on a wooded trail at Shepard’s Farm Preserve and kids enjoy a 2-mile loop. FMI:, Fun Run July 20, Toddler 50-yard dash and 2-mile family fun walk/ run, Route 11, Sebago. FMI: Molly Ockett Day Classic Road Race July 20, 5-mile run over Paradise Hill, 1-mile sprint for adults and 1-mile for kids, plus a diaper dash, Broad Street, Bethel. FMI: Tough Mountain Challenge July 27, Adventure obstacle 5K race challenges participants with alpine terrain, plus natural and man-made hurdles. Sunday River Resort, Newry. FMI: Casco Days Country Run July 27, Four-mile road race, Casco Community Center. FMI: cascodays. com The Mountain Challenge Race September 14, A 6-mile hike on Pleasant Mountain to benefit Loon Echo Land Trust, Shawnee Peak Ski Area, Mountain Road, Bridgton. FMI: loonecholandtrust. org, 207.647.4352

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The Back Room at Nectar by laurie lamountain


ince the referendum to legalize marijuana in Maine passed in 2016, you’ve probably noticed a lot of new businesses offering CBD products popping up on the landscape. Ironically, CBD, which is much easier to say than cannabidiol, is derived not from marijuana, but from hemp. Though both plants are members of the cannabis family and contain a variety of compounds called cannabinoids (the most dominant of which are CBD and more notorious THC), they have two very distinct differences. Hemp contains a concentration of 0.3% or less THC—compared to 15 to 40% in marijuana. Both cannabinoids are known to provide beneficial effects for humans, however, CBD does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC. In other words, it won’t get you high. Secondly, CBD is federally legal and when obtained from a credible source, can be safely consumed by all ages without fear of failing a drug test. When I first met with Michelle Wheeler and Drew Robbins in the spring of 2017 to talk about the business they opened in the bright yellow building on the bend of Main Hill in Bridgton, they were well ahead of

Both cannabinoids are known to provide beneficial effects for humans, however, CBD does not contain the psychoactive properties of THC. In other words, it won’t get you high.

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the curve in recognizing the potential of this under-utilized plant. It had already been a year since they launched their combination smoothie bar and retail shop called Nectar, where Michelle was incorporating hemp milks, hemp seeds and hemp proteins into her smoothie recipes and they were slowly developing their own proprietary line of CBD products for the retail shop. Two years later, Cannabased Wellness is a reality. Unlike the industrial hemp used to produce products ranging from paper, textiles, bioplastics, building materials and food, the CBD-rich hemp that Drew and Michelle are using to produce their Cannabased Wellness line yields a raw extract that is 50-70% CBD. Science is just beginning to understand the beneficial effects of CBD, but at this concentration it has proven a highly effective and 100% natural, plantbased alternative to pharmaceutical drugs in treating epilepsy, anxiety, inflammation, sleep disorders, arthritis and chronic pain. Research into how CBD derives its effectiveness has led to the discovery of a network of receptors in the human body known as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that helps regulate, among other things, sleep, digestion, motor control and immune function. It turns out, our ennodannabinoid receptors interact exclusively with receptors in cannabinoids such as CBD. This synergistic signaling between receptors is the catalyst behind the many benefits delivered by CBD. Research supports that it indirectly impacts CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout the body to produce

a variety of positive outcomes, including activation of receptors that work to control pain perception, body temperature and inflammation. It can also increase the amount of anandamide, known as the “bliss molecule,” in the body. Drew, who has devoted the last several years to learning everything he can about cannabis, explains that in addition to CBD and THC, there are over 100 chemical compounds in cannabis that are most effective when they are all present. Scientists refer to it as an “entourage effect,” in which the medicinal impact and therapeutic benefits of the whole plant are “greater than the sum of its parts.” So even though Cannabased Wellness products have 0.3% or less of THC, they are full spectrum or whole plant extracts, rather than isolates, which science has shown to be less effective therapeutically. Cannabased Wellness salves, tinctures and massage oils are produced in small batches in a private lab. All of the ingredients used in their products, including coconut oil, shea butter, castor oil, and cocoa butter, are organic. The salves are available in 300 and 600 mg. The extract used to produce them is tested at a State-certified lab that provides precise levels of CBD. In this way, Drew and Michelle are able to offer 300, 600, 900 and 1200 mg. potencies. An interesting side note on testing is that it’s required by law that all products labeled with cannabinoids have independent testing. Currently, Maine has two labs, located at the far southern end of the state in Kennebunk and in Portland.

Sensible, which is conveniently located across the street from Nectar at 82 Main Street, provides a statewide collection network employing drop boxes throughout the state. They collect samples from their boxes on a weekly basis and deliver them to the lab in Kennebunk, saving those submitting them time and travel. The lab then provides them with results for each of the samples and Sensible turns them into a report summary that clearly and accurately represents the potency of the product. They also provide product labeling that includes a QR code that links to the report summary. This system creates a huge benefit for consumers who want to know exactly what is in the products they are purchasing. Drew points out that because the “craft cannabis” industry is largely self-regulated, the quality of the end product depends on the producers. It’s something he and Michelle are passionate about, to the extent that they are forging cooperative relationships with local farmers as part of their process. By encouraging organic farmers to allocate a relatively small portion of their land to the cultivation of female hemp plants that Drew and Michelle will then buy from them to produce raw CBD extract, they are both ensuring the quality of their end product and creating opportunity for Maine family farms. A half acre will accommodate 1,000 plants that will yield about a pound of biomass per plant in one growing season. It may not sound like much, but Drew points out that it currently meets their small-batch production needs and standards. Their goal is to eventually provide other local manufacturers with raw material for their production as well, at which point they will increase their yield. For now, focus on controlling quality and cultivation, from established seedlings to extraction, ensures a full-spectrum extract that is pesticide and fungicide-free. “Knowing the farmers and where the starting material comes from is big for us. Working hand in hand with local Maine farmers, as opposed to just buying bulk CBD at a low price point from Colorado and out of state like a lot of people are doing, is pretty much what we’ve done since we started Nectar,” says Drew. Michelle adds that one of the reasons they wanted to launch their own brand, apart from being able to put it directly on their shelves, is that having seen firsthand how CBD has helped so many people, they want to be a part of the movement that is creating legitimacy for medicinal cannabis.

“It would be really unfortunate if people were to think CBD is going to help me, and they go and buy something cheap at the gas station and it doesn’t work.” Drew points out that cannabis is the most studied plant in history, but medical research and clinical studies in this country won’t advance as long as our laws don’t allow for it. The FDA has approved only one drug containing cannabis compounds: Epidiolex, which treats epilepsy. Israel, by contrast, has conducted government-backed research since the 1990s. The School of Pharmacy at Hebrew University founded the Multidisciplinary Center for Cannabinoid Research in 2017. Research there is focused on cancer, pain, immunity, metabolism, pharmaceutical chemistry and neuroscience, among other areas. Meanwhile, the stigma stemming from cannabis’s classification in the U.S. as a Schedule 1 drug, along with heroin, LSD and ecstasy, persists. “It’s inevitable that regulation is coming down the shoot. It’s got to at some point. We want to be in a position when regulation does come where we change nothing. That’s our goal. If we can do everything that we possibly can not to change a thing when regulation comes, I feel like we’ll have done a good job,” says Drew. The advantage they have in being one of Maine’s first CBD dispensaries is an extended learning curve that gives them a leading edge. Their goal is to make Cannabased Wellness products nationallyavailable through other distributors, as well

as through their retail shop and website. And while they currently offer CBD products from several local companies, they also plan to provide bulk CBD extract for other people’s products, as well as educational support to others in the industry. Mostly, they want to provide customers access to a reliable, full spectrum line of CBD wellness products. Asked who their average customer is, Drew responds, “There’s no average customer. We see everybody. It’s you, it’s me, it’s our grandmother, your father, the kids. It’s people who come in for their pets. We helped a woman with a duck who has seizures. Our pet tincture has significantly cut down on them.” R Nectar and The Back Room at Nectar are open 7 days a week at 59 Main Street and always available online at

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Photo by

Cornish, Maine

“. . . well seasoned Cornish is salted with architectural gems and peppered with antiques and crafts shops.” —Hilary Nangle Maine Travel Maven

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You Get What You Give by leigh macmillen hayes


s a young man, Silas Hagerty left Kezar Falls, Maine, to pursue collegiate degrees and work opportunities, but his ties were never severed. Professionally, he works as a freelance filmmaker, but the roots his parents had planted and the inspiration he received from a generosity-driven organization aimed at living intentionally rather than climbing the corporate ladder encouraged him to give all of his life experiences away at no cost to others in his mid twenties. And so years ago, Silas pared down his belongings to only the essential items that fit into a backpack, along with his camera, and began to seek inspiration from others, while at the same time benefiting from the kindnesses they offered in return. One of his first experiences occurred while staying with his friend Zack, who had recently become a quadriplegic. “As I filmed Zack struggling to get up with the help of his nurse for the movie ‘Back in Life,’ he was helping take care of my needs,” says Silas. “I slept on the floor of his Skidmore College dorm room and he got food for me from the college dining hall.” It was that sort of situation that became his lifestyle. Years later, as he finished work on another film called “Dakota 38” about indigenous people who retraced a 330-mile route from South Dakota to Minnesota to arrive at the hanging site of the largest mass execution in United States history, Silas realized he

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wanted to show a rough cut version in his hometown. The problem—finding a venue in Kezar Falls. His dad suggested the old movie theater. “What movie theater?” Silas recalls asking. That’s when his father told him that the former Welch’s Discount Store warehouse on Main Street had once been the Playhouse Theater. The theater closed in 1971 and since Silas was born a decade later, it was never a part of his childhood memory. Learning a bit of the building’s history caused the proverbial light bulb to shimmer brightly. “I am a filmmaker. I love theater. Is there any chance I can learn more about this place?” While visiting his parents, he called upon Phil Welch, who had operated the theater in the 1960s and ‘70s. “He told me great stories including being in the hot projectionist room upstairs and beaming a flashlight down on young lovers,” says Silas. For several hours the two men talked but when Silas finally got around to asking about the future of the building, he could tell that Phil was still too emotionally attached to it. After all, it had also served as the warehouse for the discount store he’d created and filled with items he thought the locals could afford to purchase. You see, Phil was a community-oriented man. “I’ll never sell,” Phil said as he leaned

toward Silas. “I’ll tell you what. Why don’t you wait until I die. My kids will sell it to you for a lot cheaper.” The two men grinned, shook hands, and Silas departed. A couple of years later, he learned that Phil had passed away and so after a few months he reached out to Dianne Welch Wentworth, one of the daughters. She chuckled when Silas relayed his meeting with Phil to her. “That sounds like my dad.” Silas explained his idea of trying to bring the theater back to life and showed her a few of his film productions. Dianne was generous and sold him the building at a price he could afford. He remembers her saying, “We’re honored to give you a good deal as we know it’s going to take a lot to fix it up.” As it turns out, he learned that the building had been constructed about 1884 by Dr. Edwin Chellis and was called Meionaon Hall. The floor was a roller skating rink as still evidenced by its circular pattern. The stage was added in the 1920s and events from boxing tournaments to talent shows, basketball games, and high school graduations were held there. It was also the site of Town Meeting. Many people, including community service volunteers from his alma mater, Sacopee Valley High, have helped refurbish the building bit by bit. And through it all, Phil’s presence is felt for it seems that quite often as Silas realizes he needs a particular

tool, he finds it right around the corner. “Early on,” says Silas, “people would come in and ask, ‘What are you going to do here?’ and I’d reply, ‘I don’t know. What do you think?’ The space has allowed people to dream, to be empowered.” Phil would be pleased to know that the theater has been recreated by so many local people who have donated time and monies. Silas credits his wife and her awesome chili as the driving force behind building parties. All who help are fed and it has taken many hands to put up the siding, sand the floors, and paint inside and out. Not only is the food great, but a sense of ownership and camaraderie has developed. The 185 seats were each lovingly reupholstered by Silas. Intermixed in three rows are couches. Myrtle, acquired from an estate in Massachusetts, sits in the back looking regal with gold trim. In the middle, is the velvet covered Rosy, which he found at an antique store in Rhode Island. “I fell in love with her, but didn’t buy her right away and I regretted it. Then three months later the price had dropped and I knew we were meant to have each other.” Sherman, situated in the front row, was so named because Silas found him sitting on Sherman Street in Portland. You have to arrive early for an event if you want to sit on a couch. They are the first seats to go. Perhaps Silas’ proudest feature, however, is the six-foot chandelier that hangs from the center of the theater. “It was my first baby,” he admits. “I got carried away with it.” So here’s the thing about Kezar Falls Theater. Every event is free: Popcorn.

Soft drinks. And even hugs. It all goes back to the model Silas has long embraced—if you take care of other people, they will take care of you. “It’s important that all enjoy the show and it creates such a powerful energy. People want to help in return,” says Silas. “They may throw in some money, but if they can’t, we still want them to enjoy the venue. At the last variety show, we had to turn away people.” All of this has led to two meaningful projects under the umbrella Smooth Feather Youth. The first came from Silas’ work on a film project at San Quentin Prison in California. “A lot of inmates told me about their lives,” he says. “At a certain age they were at a crossroads and they took a left turn instead of a right and ended up in jail. It inspired me to think about youth at a crossroads and how I could help them.” He’d worked with youth previously as a ski and soccer coach, but this time he decided to create something more fitting for the space—a film school. Each summer, he and six others in the film industry work in a 1-to-1 ratio with seven kids for five days. The kids are given a plot and tasked with

Each summer, he and six others in the film industry work in a 1-to-1 ratio with seven kids for five days. creating a scene using improv techniques. While some of them act, others learn handson about sound, running a camera and all the finer points of filming with the pros watching over their shoulders and teaching as they go. In about two and a half days, the kids rehearse their scenes, learn stunts, and practice filming. The same amount of time goes into editing the production. At the end of the six days, the red carpet is laid out and the kids are treated as movie stars and producers as they enter the theater for the premiere showing of their films. “One thing I love about the red carpet is that we have a receiving line. All the students welcome the community into the space. The kids also help serve popcorn and act as ushers.” In fact, says Silas, “They act as if they own the place.” After the premiere of last summer’s film, “A Chance to Stand,” Silas secretly submitted it to the Boston International Kids Film Festival. He didn’t want the kids to be disappointed if it wasn’t accepted. But, it was chosen as one of fifty films to be featured so in November he rented a big van and took them to Somerville, Massachusetts. Despite the fact that their film didn’t win, they had fun. Three days later Silas received an e-mail from the festival director. “A Chance to Stand” had won the Audience Choice Award. “A film made in a week in little old Kezar Falls,” says Silas. “The heart of the community was felt in the film and it touched the people in Boston.” continued on page 33

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Anne Griffin has written the quintessential Irish novel entitled When All Is Said. Eightyfour-year-old Maurice Hannigan is heading toward his long awaited eternal rest, but before he leaves this world, he drinks a toast to each of the five most important people in his life. His life story told through his relationships with his older brother, daughter, sister-in-law, son and wife is both powerful and touching, and will move you to tears. We see love, anger, regret and loss through his eyes. Maurice is not perfect, but his voice rings true. This novel is special. I was able to get my hands on an advance copy of The Nickel Boys by Colin Whitehead (due out July) and devoured the novel in almost one sitting. Nickel Academy is a reform school in the Jim Crow South, which Whitehead modeled after Dozier Academy, an actual school that operated for over a hundred years in Florida. As the Civil Rights movement heats up in the early 1960s, Elwood Curtis is an idealistic, young black man ready to follow Martin Luther King and take on the world. Raised by a strong-willed grandmother, he has worked hard both in school and out, and has qualified to enroll in the local black college. Unfortunately, en route to his first class, he

makes an innocent but tragic mistake and is sentenced to reformatory school. Amidst the cruelty and corruption of his new surroundings, Curtis is befriended by Turner, another inmate, who is less naïve and more street savvy than his counterpart. The sanitized version of the settlement of Jamestown from your high school history textbook fails to give an accurate depiction of what really took place. In Marooned: Jamestown, Shipwreck, and a New History of America’s Origin by historian Joseph Kelly, you get the real, unexpurgated account, and it makes for much juicier reading. In this work of non-fiction, Kelly divides the colonists into three groups, about even in number; the gentlemen, the tradesmen, and the commoners/laborers. Many of the gentlemen felt work was too far beneath them, and instead bickered among themselves or wasted valuable time and resources looking for gold. The other two groups, in signing the charter and joining the voyage, essentially ceded their lives to the company for seven years, and could be imprisoned or even executed by their gentlemen leaders without a fair trial. Morale was weak, starvation became rampant, and many deserted to live with the local indigenous tribes. It was only when John Smith took power that the colony stabilized, but this was short-lived because when the third resupply expedition replaced him, things really began to deteriorate. Kelly also includes

some interesting side stories including the shipwreck in Bermuda of one of the Third Supply fleet, and Sir Francis Drake’s impact on the New World. The Guest Book, an ambitious novel by Sarah Blake, is set over three generations of the Milton family and their island retreat in Maine. The Waspy Miltons come from banking, and there were some ethical questions about their dealings with Nazi Germany in the years leading up to the war. But for Ogden Milton, business is business, and when tragedy strikes his family, he and his wife Kitty purchase a small island off the coast of Maine in order to heal and escape the city. Family secrets, racism, love found and lost all combine to make this a summer blockbuster as lives are played out over the backdrop of the island. Finally, I have been on a mystery kick lately, and there is not enough room to write extensively about all of my favorites, so a list will have to suffice. Scrublands by Australian Chris Hammer is well done and comparable to Jane Harper’s The Dry. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides is a clever psychological thriller. Anthony Horowitz has two creative “outside the box” mysteries: The Magpie Murders and The Word is Murder. Grist Mill Road by Christopher J. Yates is a dark tale with multiple perspectives influencing the plot. The Sandman by Lars Kepler is a little grisly and Scandinavian noir in all its glory. Michael Koryta’s How It Happened is a good double murder set in Maine.


Martine Fournier Watson’s debut novel, Dream Peddler, is so beautifully written I didn’t want it to end. Robert Owens, a traveling salesman, arrives in town just as the residents are searching for the Dawsons’young son. This salesman isn’t selling wares, he’s selling dreams. Who ever heard of someone selling dreams? And is it just a coincidence he arrives when the Dawson boy has gone missing? So it isn’t surprising that the townspeople are wary of him. Despite this, some brave souls begin buying dreams from the dream peddler and for some the outcome is painful. There are those who find it’s often easier to accuse the stranger and live a lie among family and friends, than to tell the truth. Simon Sebag Montefiore has written another outstanding historical novel set in Russia: Sashenka. During the Russian revolution, Sashenka, the daughter of the wealthy Baron and Baroness Zeitlin and still

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a school girl, is arrested by the Tsar’s secret police for her revolutionary activities. After her release Sashenka remains involved with the revolutionaries and finds herself working for Lenin. By 1939, she is married to one of Stalin’s courtiers and she believes her family is safe, but then tragedy strikes. In the 1990s, a young historian is hired to research a family history and uncovers the final chapters of Sashenka’s traumatic life. On a lighter note I highly recommend Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast by Bill Richardson. This is by far one of the most humorous books I’ve ever read. It’s full of colorful, eccentric characters and amusing incidents. I want to find this B&B and stay for a lengthy vacation.


When I think that my body is entirely made up of food from this store, I feel like I’m as much a part of the store as the magazine racks or the coffee machine. — Convenience Store Woman The English-language debut novel Convenience Store Woman by award-winning Japanese author Sayaka Murata is a quirky little gem. Keiko Furukura is clearly on some sort of “spectrum” but she loves her modest, orderly life and her job at a local convenience store. That is, until enigmatic layabout Shiraha appears, throwing a spanner in the works and totally disrupting Keiko’s regimented world. This comic, yet oddly heroic, tale appeals to me, as someone who always seems to be “at odds with the world” and finds 21st century life bizarre and too often deeply disappointing. I read another Japanese bestseller, The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, at the right time — sometimes that happens. This simple story of a young man, Satoru, and his cat, Nana, driving around Japan

is, in some ways, A Dog’s Purpose for cat people (with a twist). But as Nana narrates their trips to visit people and places from Satoru’s past, stories unfold and the reason for the journey is revealed. This exploration of connection, love, loss, and reunification will definitely appeal to “anyone who has ever unashamedly loved an animal.” The Afterlife of Kenzaburo Tsuruda by Maine author Elisabeth Wilkins Lombardo was edited over a period of years by her friends after her untimely death and finally published in 2018. Mingling Japanese mythology and rituals with modern history, the recently deceased title character tries to reconcile his life and family secrets as he journeys through the afterlife seeking redemption. While haunted by ghosts wandering in the parallel world, this lyrical family saga spans World War II and the dropping of the atomic bombs, up to Emperor Hirohito’s death in 1989. Mary Lynn Bracht’s White Chrysanthemum tells the heartbreaking, difficult story of Hana, a Korean sea diver who is kidnapped and forced to become a “comfort woman” at a Japanese military brothel in Manchuria during World War II. It is gut wrenching and brutal, exposing a painful history that had been all but forgotten since the war. Like Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, it left me feeling knocked around and dizzy, as if I had been been through a boxing match. Fewer, Better Things: The Hidden Wisdom of Objects by museum curator and scholar Glenn Adamson delves into what he terms “material intelligence” and explores the meanings, implications, and importance of physical objects. He encourages studying and appreciating objects for the collective wisdom they contain, as well as simply paying attention to avoid the current “race

to the bottom” of quality, which is a threat “not to our minds . . . but to our souls.” My copy is well dog-eared and underlined and no doubt will be referenced frequently in the future. I listened to Eric Larson’s In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin and was struck by its similarities to the current U.S. political situation. Based on the letters of the unwitting American ambassador to Germany in the early 1930s, who tried desperately to warn the U.S. government about the rise of Hitler, the names of today’s politicians and their cronies could easily be substituted for the infamous historical characters and it would ring true. Sadly, his warnings fell upon deaf ears and history seems to be repeating itself. On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder is the perfect follow-up to Larson’s book and should be required reading for anyone concerned about preserving socalled “freedom” and “democracy.” But just when you think things have hit rock bottom with no way out, thank goodness for Richard Blanco. His latest collection of poems, How to Love a Country, brings his unique perspective to America’s current chaotic, divisive, and antagonistic political and social situations, offering a glimmer of hope, and even optimism. Everyone should read his work — he’s just so damn good. And if you’re looking for some impressive and inspiring memoirs, I highly recommend A Girl’s Guide to Missiles by Karen Piper; Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance; and Educated by Tara Westover. Although each well-written story is very distinct, they all involve young people overcoming steep (sometimes seemingly impossible) odds to make a success of their lives. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

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Molly Hashimoto’s Birds!: Season by Season By Zoe Burke Birth + A simple introduction to regional birds and the four seasons will be a welcome addition to a young bird watcher’s book collection. Hashimoto’s vibrant block print art allows readers to follow the arrival of each species throughout the year in this beautiful board book. The Wall in the Middle of the Book By Jon Agee Ages 2+ Little Knight is glad to be on the safe side of the wall in the middle of the book. A hungry ogre lurks on the other side waiting to eat him up. With his focus on all the scary possibilities on the other side of the wall, Little Knight is oblivious to the perilous situation developing on his “safe” side. Wish By Chris Saunders Ages 3+ If you were granted three wishes, what would you wish for? Rabbit seeks advice from his three best friends: Mouse, Fox and Bear. When Rabbit bestows his wishes on his friends, he sadly discovers there are no wishes left for himself and learns the rewards from acts of kindness. Gone Camping By Tamera Will Wisinger Ages 6+ Excitement mounts as the morning of the

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family camping trip arrives but quickly sours when Dad wakes up sick. Mom has to stay home and tend to him so Grandpa is called in to head the trip. Siblings Sam and Lucy aren’t too sure about their replacement, but can’t pass up a chance to fish, hike, make s’mores and sleep under the stars. Written in a variety of poetic forms, readers will be packing their tents and sleeping bags in anticipation of their own camping experience. Don’t skip the poetry lessons at the end of the book...even the most experienced poets may learn a thing or two. Eventown By Corey Ann Haydu Ages 10+ Twins Elodee and Naomi are excited to move to Eventown. The past years have been a struggle and they look forward to starting over. Everything in Eventown is perfect. The red roses are in constant bloom, the ice cream tastes divine, the sky is always Robin’s egg blue and the people are friendly. Residents seem content to live an “even” life, but Elodee starts asking questions nobody can answer, which makes her determined to dig deeper. Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster By Jonathan Auxier Ages 12+ Nan Sparrow’s mentor and caretaker mysteriously disappears and she is forced to work for a cruel chimney sweep in horrific conditions with little pay and food. A master at her craft, Nan has sweeping in her blood and takes pride in her work even though danger is always a sweep away. With the only person who took care of her gone, Nan discovers friendship and hope in the most unsuspecting places.

A Curse So Dark and Lovely By Brigid Kemmerer Ages 14+ Harper never let her cerebral palsy dictate her arduous life. With her father long gone, mother ill and opinionated brother making excuses for her disability, her strong will serves her well. Prince Rhen’s curse torments him as his charm and lavish gifts repeatedly fail to find true love. Harper mysteriously finds herself in Rhen’s enchanted land as their lives collide. She is frantic to return home to be with her mother in her last dying days, but soon discovers the consequences of leaving Rhen and his people. This imaginative retelling of Beauty and the Beast is both dark and magical, yet heartwarming. Heroine By Mindy McGinnis Blinding lights flash, metal crunches and glass shatters as Mickey realizes she has been projected from the driver’s seat and is lying roadside. Shock turns to reality when she assesses her situation. She is breathing but discovers her hip and inner body parts are in places they shouldn’t be. During recovery, prescribed Oxycotin pulses through her veins. Mickey’s painful rehabilitation, awkward social life, and stress from her parents’ divorce become tolerable as her new pain management takes a death grip on her life. McGinnis was inspired to write this story based on her personal experience with three Oxycotin pills prescribed to her post surgery. Age is not listed above because the opioid epidemic doesn’t discriminate between age, gender and social status. This book just might save you or someone you know. R

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Smooth Feather Youth also offers Men’s and Women’s Excursion programs, outdoor programs for middle and high school kids. Yes, you read that correctly, “Men’s and Women’s,” because Silas has learned the value of treating them like young adults and expecting a lot from them. His philosophy is that if you ask deep questions, they’ll respond with deep answers. Each five-week session begins with a weekly check-in, during which the groups talk about life and struggles and offer each other support. It’s a time to think about how one reacted to a situation and what he/she might do to make it right the next time. The kids consider options and how the other person in a given situation might feel. And then they head outdoors where they ride mountain bikes, hike, practice survival skills, canoe, etc. The session ends with a day or overnight weekend excursion. “Last year, we hosted an overnight camping trip and hike up Mount Chocorua in New Hampshire. They were sure they couldn’t make it to the top,” says Silas. But they did. As Silas and I sit in the lobby and talk, we hear quick footsteps on the sidewalk. In a minute, the door flies open and two grinning young men enter the room, Jacob and Kayne. Silas invites them to sit on the couch beside me. Jacob clasps his hands in his lap and focuses on something straight ahead. I ask him how joining the Excursions Group has helped him. He replies, “By getting outside more and doing tons of fun stuff.” Silas’ question is more direct: “Has it helped with family stuff?” Rocking back and forth a bit as he continues to stare into space, Jacob articulately responds, “Yeah, a lot. My mom had two aneurisms. One exploded at nine o’clock; the other at 9:30 as they were putting her on the stretcher. My birthday is the 23rd of February. This happened the next Monday.

She died March 2. From the moment I joined the group, it’s helped me. I don’t even think about it when I’m here.” For kids like Jacob, Excursions is a place to listen and be heard, and gain living skills that are helping him at such a fragile time. I sit in awe of his poise as he shares his story, but I’ve a strong inclination that his ability to do so is in part because of the opportunity he’s had to participate in the group since a week after his mother died this spring. Jacob’s buddy, Kayne, is equally articulate and explains to me that the two of them had gotten into a fight in the not too distant past, but that he was grateful the group had brought them together again. Kayne talks about his anger issues. “Silas helps me,” says Kayne. “I don’t get in trouble as often as I used to. When we’re here our phones are powered down. It’s fun to put it down and go do something successful.” For Jacob, the group is important because it’s helped him “get my head out of the clouds and be in the sunshine.” Kayne adds, “I’m better at controlling my anger. I try to block other people out who are starting stuff.” To sustain the groups, Silas has written grants, but he also appreciates that the townspeople have embraced the programs and events by helping to fund items such as mountain bikes and food for the excursions. Recently he launched a Patrons program. For $5/month, you receive a Smooth Feather Youth T-shirt with Patron printed on the sleeve. Silas finds that this makes people feel an integral part of the programs. All of the monies raised go directly to the film school, excursions and many events held at the theater throughout the year. In the end, the most important thing is that the theater and Smooth Feather Youth are all about love and support and structure. And especially community. Because like Phil, Silas is also community oriented. “In little old Kezar Falls.” R FMI:

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25 th

ANNIVERS ARY 50 West Main Street (Route 160) Denmark, ME 04022

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A little over two years ago, an agent for Fox Chapel Publishing contacted Great Northern Docks in Naples, Maine, about writing a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) book on dock building. The last comprehensive book on the subject, The Dock Manual by Max Burns, was published more than twenty years ago and, although most of the information was still relevant, had never been updated to include advances in technology and materials. The illustrations consisted mainly of dated line art. Sam Merriam, principal of Great Northern Docks, wasn’t crazy about the idea at first because of the time commitment involved, but after the company saw new growth in online orders of DIY dock parts nationally, he began to see the book as an opportunity to boost sales further. The publishing agent, who was impressed with an online presentation that included a portfolio of parts with helpful descriptions, professional photography and illustrations, further convinced Sam that they were the company to make this book happen. Written by Sam and illustrated by his brother, Seth Merriam, Build Your Own Dock is for anyone thinking of a dock project, whether starting from the beginning or rehabilitating an existing one. The inclusion of many tips for dock-users makes this book relevant—not just for those who want to build or repair—but for anyone who owns a dock. Dedicated to Fremont and Norma Merriam, parents and founders of Great Northern Docks, Build Your Own Dock has 256 pages of helpful text, photographs and illustrations. Find it locally at Bridgton Books or online at Amazon, Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble.


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