Hiking Maine | Belfast Rail Trail on the Passagassawaukeag

Fall is one of my favorite times to hike. It’s not too hot and not too cold. Goldilocks would approve. There are some other advantages too including stunning views not impaired by mosquitoes. The conditions are ideal. Unfortunately, since we’ve had a busy few months, we haven’t been hiking as much this season as we would like. So, when we recently went to Belfast for an overnight visit, our first stop was to the Belfast Rail Trail for a quick hike.

After a sad mishap where one of our iPhones went swimming in the lake, we had to make an emergency visit to the wireless store for a temporary replacement. The unplanned stop meant a delayed start to Belfast and by the time we arrived, darkness was only an hour or so away.  This meant we had to do an abridged hike since we were racing the coming darkness. Continue reading

Looking for free stuff? Here’s a list of free monthly activities to do in Maine for 2017.

Last September, my family and I did the Living Well Spending Zero challenge from Ruth Soukup. As part of the challenge, we spent minimal money for the entire month. No groceries, no entertainment, no take-out. We allowed ourselves a small amount of cash at the start of the month for minor necessities, and activities that had already been planned, but that was it. We ate through the food in our refrigerator and pantry, learned to ration our seltzer, and went to some free events like the Fork Food Lab grand opening.

Overall, we did a great job, or at least until the last day of the month when our cat came down with a UTI, and we had to do an emergency visit to the vet complete with x-rays, anesthesia, and multiple antibiotics, all of which negated most of our savings from our zero spend month. Still it was a fun, creative experiment and one we would definitely try again. More importantly, our cat, other than one minor setback, is doing great now. Continue reading

Hiking Maine | The Evergreen Cemetery Trail in Portland

December is here and if our already chilly, snow-filled days are any indication, our days of hiking without snowshoes are numbered. So, when we hit a stretch of cool but beautiful weather earlier this month, we headed to Evergreen Cemetery to explore a new trail. There are a lot of trail options in and around the cemetery. We choose to do a large loop on the outskirts of the actual cemetery.

We had just come from the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland‘s holiday event so it was fitting that ninety percent of the hikers we encountered on this trail were with their dogs. All the dogs we met were friendly, happy and focused on racing through the trail. It seemed to be the place to take your pup for some exercise. Continue reading

Hiking Maine | Looking for something to do besides shop at Clarks Pond?

Black Friday is coming. The official and frenzied kick-off to the holiday shopping season. While I enjoy shopping, sometimes you just need a break from it all. Nestled amidst the retail stores, and shopping plazas, of the Clark’s Pond area in South Portland, is the Clark’s Pond Trail. An unexpected oasis and peaceful green space where you can unwind.

Until goggling trails in the area one recent Sunday morning,  I never realized it was there even though I had been to this shopping destination many times. The start of the trail is easily accessed by parking in the back of the Home Depot lot, and walking a short distance to the well-marked trail entrance. The trail immediately immerses you in forest quickly leaving the stores behind although the steady buzz of cars never quite goes away and remains as a ready reminder that you’re still in an urban space. Continue reading

Photographic Tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland Maine

I am not a photographer but I love to pretend that I am. I compensate from my lack of skills by taking copious amounts of pictures even for the shortest of outings. With this strategy, I’m usually able to find a few pictures that don’t disappoint. It works for me although it still pains my far more skilled at photography brother that I never take my camera off automatic mode. Maybe someday.

So, when I heard that Portland Trails was hosting a Discovery Trek | Fall Foliage Photography tour through the Western Cemetery in Portland, I was quick to sign up. I’d never explored that area of Portland and the promise of tips to help improve my photography skills was added incentive. Continue reading