An Evening Out in New Haven

This weekend, I had the opportunity to do something unusual for me, something I haven’t done in a long time – go into the city for the theater. My mother-in-law had gotten tickets for Christmas for us to see Dirty Dancing at the Shubert Theatre, so we made our way on Saturday out to New Haven, with some family, to see the play.

I have to say, going in, I didn’t really know what to expect, I mean, it’s Dirty Dancing, where they’re supposed to be at this beautiful resort, with great views and many outdoor scenes, but they pulled it off, and they pulled it off well, all with the help of a little technology. The background on the stage was a big screen that placed you at the gorgeous, scenic resort, which I think was even more beautiful than the movie. It was really spectacular at some points how they could make you feel like you were right there in the scene with them, running in the rain, learning to balance on the fallen log, or learning to the jump in the water with Baby and Johnny.

The acting was very good. Baby, to me, is a very dramatic person, and the actress played her well. Johnny didn’t look like Johnny, but boy did he sound like him! They also had two amazing singers that I could just listen to all day. One of the cast members reminded me of Cheryl Barnes who sang Easy to Be Hard in the movie Hair. She had a beautiful, powerful voice and sang with such emotion, you could feel what she was feeling. Side Note – If you haven’t heard Cheryl Barnes’s version of Easy to Be Hard, it’s worth looking up.

I really got into the play and the time seemed to fly by, which is a good thing, until the end, when you don’t want it to end! All-in-all, it was a great performance, and I would highly suggest seeing it if it comes around again.

 

For dinner, we decided to go to Barcelona Wine Bar at the recommendation of my husband’s cousins, but they didn’t open until 5, so we stopped by Olives and Oil for a glass of wine. We sat at the bar and their bartenders were really friendly and helpful, especially to this girl, who had to be difficult and want a sweet red wine. After tying two red wines, I finally settled with the second, which was perfect, and went down smooth.

After we finished our wine, we saw that Barcelona’s doors had opened, so we walked across the street for some tapas. I had never had tapas before, so it was a new experience for me. One thing to note, if you are looking for Barcelona, there is no sign. It’s really hard to even tell there’s a restuarnt there if you come in from the main door side, so I thought I’d let you know that the entrance is right across the street from Olives and Oil.

We arrived and told them we had six people in our party and they asked us if we had a reservation, which we did not. They told us they would give us a table, but we had to be out by 6:15pm because the table was reserved. I was a little put off by this, because frankly, there was nobody there, they had just opened, and it was a weekend. I couldn’t imagine how they weren’t able to accommodate six people without a reservation; it was a little odd to me. In the end, we ended up being there until after 6:15pm, and they never said anything to us, which I appreciated.

Our server Joe was really great! We ordered a good amount of tapas for six people, a nice variety for each of our tastes. Joe thought we may have ordered a little too much, but they were all so good that we ended up finishing them. The menu is hard to decifer if you haven’t been there before, so if it intimidates you, I suggest talking to your server and asking them what they would recommend. Luckily, I was with somebody who knew the menu well, so here’s what we ordered: Potato Tortilla, Crispy Calamari, Spiced Chicken Empanadas, Jamon & Chicken Croquetas, Manchego, Chorizo, San Simon, Grilled Hanger, Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Broccolini, Chorizo & Figs, Patatas Bravas, Spicy Eggplant Caponata, and for dessert we got Sugar Cookies, Crepes, and something with Hazelnut and Chocolate that was delicious. My favorites were definitely the Calamari, Empanadas, Croquetas, Grilled Hanger, and the Crepes. We also got warm bread and olive oil for dipping with our meal, which really hit the spot. I’m Italian, so give me bread and olive oil and I’m happier than a clam!

We also ordered pitchers of white and red sangria, but I definitely preferred the white, which was made with pineapple juice, rum, brandy, orange liqueur, citrus and grapefruit and apple. It was amazing to say the least. I drank a lot of it! It really knocked me out of my boots – it was a strong drink, which is sometimes hard to come by these days. I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed with anything that I had Saturday night, and if you’re in the area, you should most definitely stop by for a visit.

I really had a great night, and I hope you enjoy the photos of all my delicious food. I wish I had better photos to share, but I honestly just had my iPhone with me – no sense in lugging around a big camera with you when you can’t use it in the theatre!

 






Vacation in Greenville, ME

If roughing it up the Golden Road to the North Maine woods isn’t really your thing, but you still want to enjoy the beauty of Moosehead Lake OR you do want to live off the grid for a week, my suggestion to you would be to visit Greenville. There are many places you can stay in and around Greenville that will feed your desire to vacation in the woods!

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The view over the hill coming into Greenville

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AMC Maine Wilderness Lodges:  Stay at the Little Lyford Lodge & Cabins for an off the grid experience. No cell phones and internet here! Just enjoy some fresh air in the Maine woods, log cabin style.

Rockwood Maine is just north of Greenville and is home to the Tomhegan Wilderness Camps, that have four-season cabins and a lodge right on Moosehead Lake. Their cabins have a kitchen with a stove, fridge, and a full bath. Both the cabins and lodge have views of Moosehead Lake. Boats, canoes, kayaks, and ice shacks are available for rent, and if hunting, fishing, or nature walking is more your thing, there are guides available to bring you on your journey through the woods. Want to ice fish? The season runs January 1st through March 31st and Moosehead is a prime spot for fishing! I should know, my lunch this week has been my fresh salmon I caught at the lake 🙂 If you go on Tomhegan’s Facebook page you can see the wildlife that fills their camp. I just love seeing their photos in my news feed.

The Blair Hill Inn
The Blair Hill Inn

If you want to visit a location with picturesque views, but desire more of a luxurious stay and some pampering, then a stay at the Blair Hill Inn might be the place for you!  This elegant bed and breakfast sits atop a hill overlooking the many islands of Moosehead Lake. It is an absolutely stunning view that is a must see! Their guest rooms are to die for. The Inn also offers fine dining and a day spa, which is in a restored barn (pretty neat in my book) and uses all natural products, many of which are house-made.

One of the views in front of the Blair Hill Inn
One of the views in front of the Blair Hill Inn – taken from the road at a not-so-ideal speed!

Would you like to rent a cabin? Former NASCAR driver and announcer, Ricky Craven has his available for rent here.

Want a few more options? Check out The Lodge at Moosehead Lake and/or The Greenville Inn.

*Just for the record, I have never stayed at any of these locations because my family has a cabin.  These are just some I’m familiar with from visiting Greenville so often, but they all have excellent reviews online!

Here are some photos from Greenville.  I love stopping into town before we head up to the camp.

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The Farmer’s Market in Greenville

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Greenville Junction

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Kelly’s Landing in Greenville Junction

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A Long Weekend on Moosehead Lake

It seems like each time I travel up to Moosehead Lake in Maine, I encounter something new – a flower that wasn’t in the same spot the previous year, a new berry I had never picked, strange weather, and reptiles and/or animals I had never seen before.

My two and a half day trip in July was a great example of this. I picked mini wild strawberries near a bog, was surrounded by crazy wind and waves with barrels so big you could surf, caught a frog, watched a snake slither in front of my foot, and had the chance to see and hear a grouse drumming.

Did I mention I saw five moose in two and half days? I finally got to see a bull (male) moose with beautiful felt on his antlers, but unfortunately, he was too deep in the trees and was scared off by us. The cows (female moose), on the other hand, are a whole nother story – they will sit there and let you get close to them, and even talk to them, and they won’t budge. I saw a calf (baby moose) on my way out of the woods, but it was running down a dirt road, and we were going too fast for me to grab a pic.

Here’s a pictorial of my trip to Moosehead Lake. Enjoy!

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Kokadjo, Maine

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I love the mountain views on the way into the camp and on the lake.

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This is the road we had to take to get water from a spring. It doesn’t look too bad, but it was a BUMPY ride down!

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Wild mini strawberries. They were delicious!

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This fly had red eyes. It was really creepy!
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I love this view – you can see Moosehead coming down from the mountain

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When you hit a road block in the middle of the woods! There was a bridge here, but it’s gone!

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Book Review: Killing Maine by Mike Bond

My gosh, when did my life get so busy? I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I have a lot of catching up to do! But, I want to start that catching up by sharing with you a book I was reading while on my trip to Kennebunkport in May.

When I was introduced to Killing Maine by Mike Bond, I was really excited to read the book because it dealt with a subject that is pretty important to those living in a region that is near and dear to my heart; the Moosehead Lake Region of Maine.

As you drive through Greenville, you will spot signs that say Save Moosehead, Say No To Wind. They’ve been resisting the wind industry, which is what Mike Bond’s book is about, and although it is fiction, Mike’s knowledge of the subject is very apparent when you read the book, so although it’s fictional, it’s also educational at the same time. The book is pretty political, and I don’t really want to get into the politics (https://mikebondbooks.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/testimony-to-stop-wind-industry-destruction-of-maine/) of it all on my blog, but I will say, I highly recommend the book for those of you who are like me and love Maine. I’ve read many articles on the issues surrounding Moosehead Lake and the wind industry, and I can’t imagine the beautiful scenery (http://www.pressherald.com/2015/11/08/for-many-in-moosehead-lake-region-wind-is-a-four-letter-word/) I love being taken over by massive turbines, so I will say, that is the main reason I read this book.

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Although this book is the second in a series, you don’t need to read the first, Saving Paradise, to enjoy this book. Killing Maine hooks you in the first chapter where you read about the main character, Pono, getting shot at on a snowy night in the woods of Maine. I’ve never read a book that hooks you in so quickly. Pono has traveled from Hawaii to Maine to help a buddy who’s landed himself in jail for a murder that is connected to political corruption and the wind industry aka the Wind Mafia.

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I wish I had more time to read the book because I probably would have finished it in less than a week. It continually kept me wanting to read more and more, and I love how it incorporated Moosehead Lake, Mt. Kineo, wind industry education, war stories, and history into the story.

Reading Killing Maine by Mike Bond

What I love about reading is the ability to step away from the real world and engage yourself in a scene from a book that you can creatively conjure up in your mind, and for me, that was one of the parts of this book that I loved. I was right there with Pono throughout this thriller, envisioning parts of Maine that I’ve visited or imaging what the scenes looked like in those I hadn’t visited from mountains, to snow, to shotguns, snowmobiles, streets, dogs, footprints, houses, cars/trucks, and more. He even takes us on a journey back to Hawaii to visit his father. In the back of my mind, I knew the storyline stemmed from actual events occurring now, so it was hard for me to read the book as fiction, but some of the story is just a little too far fetched for it to be reality. In the end, it really is just fiction; a very educational and real fiction.

If you’re interested in reading Killing Maine by Mike Bond, you can purchase the book here on Amazon.

 

The Nonantum Resort | A Weekend Stay

This past weekend, I had the great pleasure of staying at The Nonantum Resort on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport, Maine. It had been a long time since I visited Kennebunkport, and I was eagerly awaiting this trip as the months went by.

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My husband and I pulled up to the Nonantum Resort, and we couldn’t wait to see our room and explore the gorgeous waterfront property. As we walked into our room, we were immediately captivated by the beauty of it. I felt like I was walking into a design featured in Coastal Living Magazine. It was picture perfect, which of course, was great for me! As soon as we arrived in our room, we received a call from the front desk; they were checking to make sure everything was ok with the room, and they let us know they were available if we needed anything.

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Our room, Room 354 in the Portside Lodge, was a corner room looking out over the Kennebunk River on one side and the docks and Nonantum lighthouse on the other. The room was so cozy that I didn’t want to leave to go get dinner. I could have stayed there all night just enjoying the cross breeze, cuddled up, reading a good book on the soft, comfy, duvet covered bed, filled with so many pillows – a dream for me because I love pillows! The room’s nautical décor was simple, but perfect. There was artwork by local artist, W. Webster Good, displayed in both the room and the bathroom. An adorable gas wood burning stove sat in the “reading nook” area, and the room also had a Keurig coffee maker, mini fridge, desk, two chairs, Maine magazines, and a flat screen TV. I loved the touch of having the Maine magazines – Down East Magazine, Maine Magazine, and Maine Home + Design Magazine – as an avid reader, I was flipping through them when we got back from dinner that night. The bathroom was also beautifully designed with that coastal feel. I loved the jacuzzi tub, with the dispensers hung up on the wall for soap, shampoo, and conditioner; and the small octagon window above it.

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The Nonantum is a green resort, participating in Clean the World, they have been named a Gold GreenLeader by TripAdvisor, and are also certified as an Environmental Leader by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. All around the property, you will find garbage bins, separated for recycling. They also use 100% organic plants on their grounds, prepare local foods, compost, and much more! There is also a focus on local businesses – their gift shop is filled with local items from Maine and New England, including books, jewelry, home decor, clothing, and other charming items.

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The Nonantum offers dining on-site at the Carriage House Inn where 95 Ocean and Heckman’s Pub are located. 95 Ocean hosts live music most summer nights, and a wonderful breakfast buffet is served in the morning in the ballroom. You also have the option of ordering food for your room. I highly recommend their cheese and fruit tray – there was a sweet cheese on it that was simply delicious.

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Outside, you will find beautifully landscaped grounds, a fairy garden by the entrance to the Carriage House Inn, a pool with Latitudes Bar & Grill poolside, shuffleboard, a gazebo, a lighthouse, and of course, spectacular water views of the Kennebunk River. There is also ample parking on a side lot and a lot across the street from the main entrance. The resort was fully booked and had a wedding that day, and we were still able to get a parking spot, which is great. They also offer a shuttle service to downtown, but downtown is close enough that you can walk there if you wanted to. There are also many family and kids activities at the resort starting in June. They offer kayak and bicycle rentals, sailing tours, fishing charters, lobster boat tours, and a host of other activities.

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All in all, I would highly recommend this unique resort if you are heading to Kennebunkport. The resort is absolutely beautiful and the staff was amazing, friendly, and really go above and beyond to make your stay nothing short of amazing.

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Have you ever stayed at the Nonantum Resort?  Share what you love about it in the comments below!
Stay tuned… more from my trip to Kennebunkport is coming soon!