Tag Archives: Downeast

‘Olive Kitteridge’ By Elizabeth Strout — Magical Enough To Win A ‘Pulitzer’.

by Anura Guruge

It is not a novel. Essentially thirteen short-stories with ‘Olive Kitteridge‘ playing some role, major in some, fleeting in others, in each story. Beautifully crafted. The story and characters engage you. Draw you in. You want to know what happens to them.

All the stories are set in a fictional coast town in Downeast Maine. My wife of 16-years is from coastal Maine (albeit slightly further North). Over the last year six years I have been spending a fair amount of time in Maine — mainly in Acadia. So, the landscape and the nuances of the characters were familiar.

I found it interesting and absorbing — though typically I am not a huge fan of short-stories. The portrayal of the Mainers amused I. An overriding theme is their lecherousness and promiscuity — irrespective of age. Hmmm. I won’t comment on that.

Yes, as with the ‘Secret Lives of Bees‘ this book is hugely well known and has a huge following. I am, as ever, late to the party.

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by Anura Guruge

Hiking ‘Schoodic Mountain’ (Maine) In ‘Donnell Pond Public Reserve’ North Of Acadia National Park.

by Anura Guruge

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Attribution WILL be enforced.

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Click to ENLARGE. GPS track from my Garmin Fenix 5.

Click to ENLARGE. The lay of the land from Google Maps.

Click to ENLARGE and read this snippet here. The DIRECTIONS I used to get there. They worked. Use link below to get her full, original post.

Click here for the original.

‘Schoodic Mountain’ from which the eponymous peninsula gets its name is NOT on the peninsula per se and definitely not within the bounds of Acadia National Park. The 1,060′ mountain is about 7 miles north of the peninsula and maybe 12 miles from the Schoodic part of the Park.

Do NOT get it confused with the 440′ ‘Schoodic Head‘ which is indeed within the park. The mountain is close to 2.5 times higher.

I happened to see it in a map of Downeast Maine while we were in Acadia. The State-owned “Donnell Pond Public Reserve” is HUGE. That is what caught my eye. So, I wanted to check it out. We were going to Schoodic anyway and this was but a minor detour. Glad we went (on Friday, June 29, 2018, the 5th (and last) day of our latest Acadia vacation).

The hike to the top was not difficult though it was a relatively warm and humid day. Took me 39 minutes to get to the top and a few minutes less to get down. But the bald peak is extensive and you can walk around it for hours.

Very rewarding hike with a very high ROI. Definitely recommend it.

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by Anura Guruge

“York’s Wild Kingdom”, Maine — Largest Zoo Hereabouts — August 2015.

.Anura Guruge December 2014 thumbnail

by Anura Guruge

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There was about 3 or 4 years in a row, starting c. 2007, when we used to go to “York’s Wild Kingdom” on an annual basis, usually on my birthday and at least once treating a bunch of local kids from Alton (NH) to a day at the zoo. Then other things like Whale Watches and Acadia entered the picture. Though she has been multiple times, and we have iconic pictures to prove it, Teischan couldn’t remember ever going to “York Zoo”. When Devanee is at Camp Teischan gets to go on two trips of her choosing to compensate. I rattled off a list of possibilities and one she picked was the zoo in Maine. So on Monday, August 17, 2015 we left early and got there sharp at 10 am just as they opened the gates.

It was a hot day and we knew that in advance. We were, however, surprised that it wasn’t packed. It was moderately busy but you could tell that it wasn’t crowded. That was good. Other than the ferris wheel with its cumbersome loading routine there was hardly any lines for anything. It was good in that respect. The heat, and I think it got up to 90°F at some point, also meant that the ‘Duck Pond’ — with its famous paddle boats — had a pungent “eau de duck poop” smell, but that was to be expected.

Exactly 3 months earlier I had taken Teischan to the Philadelphia Zoo. York’s Wild Kingdom is NOT Philadelphia Zoo.

The York Zoo is quaint and cute with its petting deer and the amusement park, but it is also old, dated and in someways very infuriating. Yes, it is very Maine and Downeast. None of the food places take credit cards. That is crazy. It has to be to avoid taxes! Places that don’t take credit cards when they should drive me nuts.

As a zoo it is a funny ol’ mixture. It has lions and two tigers and a fair smattering of other animals. The old elephant that used to be there a few years ago is gone. The enclosures are from the 1950s. Definitely not a modern zoo. That bothers me. BUT IT IS GOOD FOR KIDS. They love the petting zoo parts — goats, deer, sheep …

The rides are old and limited. The Ferris Wheel is an antique and they have to balance the weight of the riders which can be quite amusing in Maine. Teischan and I got called up ahead because they needed some ‘non-heavy’ riders. Funny.

It was OK. The heat didn’t help. But Teischan had fun. I tried the baseball batting cage — a first for me. It was interesting. I connected about 50% of the time. Took a load of pictures. I will try and share as we go along.