MTC Mid-Winter Classic 2021

2021 Mid-Winter Classic: Race Information

It’s no secret. The MWC is one of our favorite races. 10 miles on a cold Sunday morning brings out some hearty runners, volunteers, sponsors, and organizers. Over the past 38 years, this race has only been cancelled twice due to weather. But, here we are. Facing a second wave. We must protect the schools, we must help protect our fellow runners, Mainers, and communities. It is impossible to get together on Superbowl Sunday at Cape Elizabeth High School this coming February. But (we say again!) That won’t stop us!

For years, we’ve used the phrase #MWCinTheWild and this year, we’re making it true!

How will 2021 #MWCinTheWild happen? With you joining hundreds of people and committing to run 10 miles outside sometime between February 1-13 and submitting your time!

Click here to register.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to register?
Yes. For insurance purposes, and time keeping, making it official, and helping keep one of our favorite non-profit organizations alive, we are asking for a small registration fee of $5 for MTC members, and $10 for non-MTC members. Click here to register.

When is registration open?
Starting now, and ending at would have been race time, Sunday, February 7, at 9:45 a.m.

When do I have to run the #MWCinTheWild in order for it to count?
Your run should be between the 6 days before and 6 days after what would have been race day, so between February 1st and February 13th. You must also report your run during that period of time (so if you wait until the last second on the last day, then make sure you report your run before midnight!)

Will the #MWCinTheWild be part of the 2021 Maine Track Club Grand Prix?
Potentially, yes. The race committee is currently discussing what the Grand Prix is going to look like with potential virtual and in-person races throughout 2021. More details will be forthcoming before race day.

Should I take ridiculous pictures of myself running 10 miles wearing an old MWC shirt and share them on social media?
YES PLEASE! You can share on the MWC Facebook page, tag the MaineTrackClub Instagram, email pics to info@midwinterclassic10miler.com or do all of them. We will also have an opportunity to upload photos along with your results.

Will I get into the race?
Yes! Unlike other years, we do not have a race cap for the #MWCinTheWild

Can I run these 10 miles inside? or 1 mile a day for 10 days?
NO! The 10 miles must be run as one run, outside.

I’m also planning to run the MTC Longfellow Frostbite 2.5K on Sunday, February 14.
The MTC Longfellow Frostbite 2.5k is the day after you must have completed your #MWCinTheWild run. You have almost 2 weeks to complete your run and can plan accordingly if you require more recovery time. You can also run your virtual Longfellow in advance as long as you remember to report your results on the 14th.

Can I run on the course on Superbowl Sunday during race time?
Please, do not do this. There will be no course support, road closures, additional snow management, permits. We do not have permission to be on the high school property. Please consider avoiding the course this year, and if you must run please stay off of the school property.

Can I run the 10 miles with Friends?
That is up to you, but we recommend only running with people you are already normally exposed to (such as members of your household) and to at least maintain social distancing and a mask. We are holding a virtual race this year so that you can stay safe and stay healthy.

Will there be awards?
Other than bragging rights, there will not be any awards this year.

Why would I choose to pay up to $10 to run 10 miles in February?
The Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic is a tradition in Southern Maine, and while it isn’t safe for us to hold the race this year we want to make it possible for people to motivate themselves to continue training and to celebrate running. Paying $10 (or better yet, being a Maine Track Club member and paying $5) helps us keep the Maine Track Club able to continue to support the sport of running in Maine so that after this pandemic we can continue to put on races and other events. If you aren’t a member, there’s an option to sign up when you register. Click here to register for the race.

What will happen for the 2022 Race?
As this point in time, we plan on holding the race in person again in 2022. We will not make any final decisions until late in 2021 based on the progress of the pandemic throughout the country and in Maine. For the latest information, visit


Snowshoeing, particularly when it’s accompanied by mindfulness and meditation, can be one of the most restorative forms of winter recreation we have readily available in Maine. 

Finding Winter Wellness with Mindful Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing can enhance cardiovascular health, strengthen leg muscles, burn calories (420-1000 per hour, depending on pace and conditions) and provide a low-impact fitness activity that’s safer for the joints.For the many Mainers who’ve spent months in a state of ongoing change and uncertainty, the pandemic might be starting to take its toll. As winter slowly progresses, you’re probably searching for new ways to safely spend time outside the home.

Luckily, there’s one activity that covers a whole lot of ground. Snowshoeing, particularly when it’s accompanied by mindfulness and meditation, can be one of the most restorative forms of winter recreation we have readily available in Maine. 

WHY MINDFULNESS MATTERS

Mindfulness is a therapeutic technique that involves focusing one’s awareness on the present moment by acknowledging the sights, sounds, sensations and thoughts as they arise in real time. It can help you achieve a state of focus that brings mental clarity and physical ease. 

According to the American Psychological Association, practicing mindfulness can reduce stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms, boost memory and focus, decrease emotional reactivity, provide greater cognitive flexibility and even enhance interpersonal relationships. 

HOW TO PRACTICE MINDFULNESS WHILE SNOWSHOEING

From the Nordic Heritage Center in Presque Isle to Harris Farm in Dayton, (and everywhere in between) there are no shortage of scenic snowshoe trails to choose from in Maine. Once you’ve taken your pick, (or maybe you have your very own secret trail) strap on your favorite pair of snowshoes and set off on an adventure. Here are a few steps that can help you get into a state of mindful awareness: 

Take in Scenery with Your Senses

Start by simply taking it all in. Feel the crispness of the air on your face. Hear the sounds of nature around you—the falling snow, the rustling leaves and branches, the wildlife rummaging around. Observe the light shining on each individual object.  Smell the trees and freshly fallen snow. 

One of the best ways to practice mindfulness while showshoeing is by syncing up with your breath. Focus on Your Breath

One of the best ways to practice mindfulness is by syncing up with your breath. Inhale with a long, deep breath, hold for a pause, and slowly exhale.  You can even repeat: “I breathe in. I breathe out,” to anchor your mind to the process and help you stay out of your thoughts. 

Find Rhythm With Your Movement

With snowshoeing comes the ease of repetition and a state of rhythmic bliss. This, in and of itself, is a form of mindfulness. Move at your own steady cadence and strive to time each step with your breathing techniques, perhaps still repeating “I breathe in. I breathe out.” 

Stop For a Mindful Snack 

Mindful eating is a great way to tap into the sense of taste and truly enjoy a snowshoeing time-out. Stop for a few minutes to savor your trail snack, taking the time to chew each bite and be fully aware of its texture and taste in your mouth. Eating becomes an intentional act and a way to practice mindfulness on the snowshoe trail. 

Why Guided Meditations are Great For Snowshoeing 

Another way to engage in mindfulness while you snowshoe is by practicing a guided meditation. If focusing on your surroundings is still distracting you, which is normal, grab a pair of earphones and listen to a guided meditation. Apps such as Headspace www.headspace.com, Calm www.calm.com or even YouTube offer a wide variety of guided meditations that vary in length and cover your unique meditation goals.

Other Snowshoeing Benefits 

In addition to the numerous benefits that come from practicing awareness, mindful snowshoeing also imparts many physical benefits. It can enhance cardiovascular health, strengthen the muscles of the legs, burn calories (420-1000 calories per hour, depending on pace and snow conditions) and provide a low-impact fitness activity that’s safer for the joints.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR WINTER WELLNESS

As we head into this particular season, it might feel like too many things are still unknown.  Know that you have more control than you realize! Simply by grabbing some warm gear, a pair of snowshoes and employing a mindful mindset, you can experience one of the most enjoyable Maine winters yet. 

— By LeeMarie Kennedy, Copywriter and Content Marketing Creator in Boston, MA. When she’s not meticulously wordsmithing, she can be found teaching and coaching as a RYT-500 yoga instructor and wellness specialist, walking in nature, traveling the world, laughing, drinking coffee or eating something delicious.


Stratton Brook Hut Trail

3 Winter Hikes in Western Maine for Every Skill Level

In the heart of Sugarloaf country, these winter hikes will get you out into snow-covered forests and fields with views of white-washed peaks, crystal waters and even a frozen waterfall.

Hiking doesn’t have to come to a halt when snow hits the ground. Although winter hiking comes with its challenges and some extra gear, this season, with a little preparation, can be one of the most magical times to hit the trail. 

While snowshoes aren’t necessary on these groomed trails, you’ll want to wear sturdy winter boots with good treads, and may want to carry hiking poles and cleats in case of ice. Dress in layers, and have an extra dry layer in your pack. Always be sure to check weather and trail conditions. When the sun goes down, temperatures can drop quickly, so make a plan to be off-trail before dusk. 

1. Family Friendly:
Narrow Gauge Pathway

Carrabassett River, Narrow Gauge Pathway

Carrabassett River, Narrow Gauge Pathway

The Narrow Gauge Pathway is a nearly flat trail that meanders along the valley floor with the picturesque Carrabassett River. Built on an old narrow gauge railroad, the wide gravel path makes for easy walking, with plenty of opportunities for breaks to throw stones in the river and enjoy a picnic on benches along the way. 

There are a few well-marked entry points along Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley, all affording a similar experience, with quick access to the trail and river where hikers can make an out-and-back walk of any length on the six-mile trail. The Airport Trailhead, behind the Sugarbowl bowling alley, is the southern-most access point. With a very slight incline on the way up, this means the same slight downhill on the return. After passing through a large field, the trail soon hits the river and travels beside its scenic tree-lined shore most of the way.

2. Intermediate:
Poplar Stream Falls

Poplar Stream Falls is a 51-foot waterfall at the confluence of South Brook and Poplar Stream that looks different in every season. Catching it in the height of winter means much of the waterfall is frozen as if suspended in time.

To access the trailhead, park at the Carrabassett Valley town office parking lot, the first left off Carriage Road, since there is no parking at the trailhead. Then walk up Carriage Road and take your first right, going over a small bridge to the trailhead. 

Surrounded by the quiet of the snow-covered forest, the pleasant gurgles of Poplar Stream may be all you hear for most of the walk, as the trail climbs gradually uphill with a few minor steep portions, until the rush of water gets louder. You’ll turn the bend and see the falls straight ahead, about two miles in.

Poplar Stream Falls can also be accessed by Maine Huts and Trails Poplar Hut Trail, which is also intermediate.

Stratton Brook Hut. Photo courtesy of John Orcutt.

3. Challenge:
Stratton Brook Hut via Newton’s Revenge

Part of the 50-mile Maine Huts and Trails network, this trail begins at the Stratton Brook Hut Trailhead off Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. After the trailhead kiosk, a short connector trail crosses a bridge and joins a small portion of the Narrow Gauge Pathway, which soon meets up on the left with Newton’s Revenge. Don’t let its flat start fool you— soon after a gentle climb, the trail lives up to its name for the final mile. If the climb doesn’t get your heart pumping, then the slope-side views of Sugarloaf Mountain will. At the top, the trail connects to the Stratton Brook Hut service road, which leads you to the hut and 360-views of both Sugarloaf and the Bigelow Range. 

This trail is typically groomed, but check the Maine Huts and Trails website for current conditions and watch out for skiers. It’s about three miles from trailhead to hut, which during normal times offers lodging and meals, but is currently closed due to the COVID-19 virus.

If there is no snow or only a light dusting, take Oak Knoll Trail for a more challenging and slightly longer (almost four miles) ascent. As its name suggests, a path of rust brown oak leaves mingle with charming stepping stones to guide your way up its many switchbacks. This trail isn’t groomed and best to avoid in deep snow. 

— Story & Photos: Catie Joyce-Bulay. Catie is a Winslow-based freelance writer who recently moved back to her home state. Find her writing on travel, beer and people pursuing their passion at catiejoycebulay.com or Twitter @catiejoycebulay.


WInter in Machias, Maine

Winter Arrives Way Down East

Skiff and lobster buoys-Mikchael Leonard Photography

Photo by Michael Leonard

When November’s freezing nights arrive in the Machias region, folks crank up their woodstoves, and the smell of burning seasoned wood wafts along with the fragrance of freshly-tipped balsam branches. Seasonal work is a major economic factor in Washington County, and the crafting of hundreds of thousands of beautiful Christmas wreaths and holiday decorations for shipment across America, provides job opportunities for many people. 

Wreath making can be found across all of Down East in the Machias area, which is home to several of the major players, Whitney Wreaths in Machias, Machias Bay Wreath in Machiasport, and Gay’s Wreaths in neighboring Marshfield. In addition to these companies, there are a host of small, independent providers of beautiful and fragrant wreaths.

Skating in Machias. Photo by Carol Savage Photography

Photo by Carol Savage

By mid-December Mother Nature has usually graced the area with a blanket of snow, which launches a variety of fun winter activities on the Down East Sunrise Trail. This 96-mile multi-use trail is dedicated to snowmobiling, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and hiking after the trail is snow covered. The trail traverses some of Maine’s most pristine landscapes of blueberry barrens, forests and breathtaking coastal scenes. There are access points along the entire trail. In Machias one can get on the trail just before the causeway/dike.

Great accommodations and dining opportunities make Machias a perfect winter destination. The Bluebird Ranch Family Restaurant, Helen’s Restaurant, and Pat’s Pizza are several of Down East’s excellent dining institutions.

Superior amenities for your winter get away will be found at both The Bluebird Motel and the Machias River Inn.

After a prolonged absence due to insurance difficulties, the town of Machias and the  Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce returned public ice skating fun to the South Side Ball Field last winter, to provide folks with another great way to enjoy winter fun. For more information [and updates relative to the pandemic] contact the Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce – (207) 255-4402.

Jim Harnedy

Jim Harnedy (1932-2020)

— Text: Jim Harnedy. In his third professional career, Jim was the author of a number of books and magazine articles, as well as being an editor and co-publisher of several Maine magazines. Jim passed away last spring, and it is with great fondness that we celebrate his frequent contributions to the Activities Guide of Maine.

 

 

 

 

 

 


How UMF and Mainely Outdoors program keeps the community thriving outdoors

We told you about Avery, our new intern who is an outdoor enthusiast and student at University of Maine at Farmington. Here’s a little bit about Avery. And here’s a cool video he shot highlighting his school’s outdoor rec program Mainely Outdoors.

Check out his article below as we continue through October to #keepourspiritsupmaine!

How UMF and Mainely Outdoors program keeps the community thriving outdoors

By Avery Boucher, intern for Activities Guide of Maine

Amidst the global pandemic, the University of Maine school system has welcomed students back onto campus this fall. Face coverings, social distancing, and randomized testing are all required if students want to be present on campus. As the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) students filled the dorms and resumed in-person classes, many students sought creative ways to engage in social activities safely. One campus- driven organization in particular stepped up to the plate; Mainely Outdoors, or better known by most on campus as MO.

MO, best described by the Program Director Andrew Willihan, is an “outdoor recreation-based program that supports getting UMaine Farmington community members outdoors. From introductory instruction to seasoned enthusiasts.” The introduction of Covid-19 has resulted in a surge of outdoor recreation that has developed since March of 2020. MO was geared up and ready to provide for the UMF community. Within the second week of the fall semester, MO was renting gear and leading local trips such as mountain biking at Titcomb Mountain and night hiking at Prescot Field. Both weekly trips have had turnouts in the double digits.

Though MO was cleared by UMF facilities for operations this semester, its operations came with guidelines: thorough sanitization of all equipment, participation in social distancing, and the requirements of face coverings when within 12 feet of one another in an outdoor setting. By conforming to these guidelines, MO has been able to provide the students with outdoor recreation at a time when it has become most needed.

“Our most valuable asset is our location,” said Willihan. “We are in the heart of the western mountains and waterways of Maine. Our next biggest asset is our student staff. The passion, inclusiveness, and work ethic drives the program to be a constant within the community and an outlet for many.”

MO and the UMF campus tend to draw many that are already well versed in the outdoors, although one of the primary goals of MO is to get people who have never engaged in outdoor recreation before. The Farmington campus is immersed in a great geographic location for Mainers and students from other states to earn an education while also partaking in recreation of all sorts.

Due to Covid-19, Mainely Outdoors’ rental equipment and excursions are only available to students and faculty of the UMF. In a normal year, MO would have provided excursions to all UMaine students, faculty, and community members; however, MO hopes to return to regular operations in the near future.

 


Geary Brewing Co. keeps a strong and vibrant course through an uncertain fall

Industry Snapshot with Robin Lapoint President & Co-Owner

Even Geary Brewing Co., New England’s first craft brewery a pioneer in its fieldhad to adjust to the whiplash changes of a pandemic, but to date, co-owner and president Robin Lapoint is proud to say the brewery remains fully employed and everyone has stayed well and healthy. 

Back in the spring, they had to make the difficult decision to close the tasting room to limit health risks and focus on the well being of their brew team and operations staff.  Both their brand and contract brewing remain strong and they are grateful to have the expertise and capacity to support their business operations as well as other brewers.

For the fall, Geary’s continues to offer curbside pick ups (call 207-730-0979) and delivery by CarHop. They have used this time to work on packaging and branding, and invest in and install capital equipment to increase quality, efficiency, and capacity. Their emphasis is on making sound business decisions and planning for variables heading into the winter and 2021.

Thirty years strong, Geary Brewing is positioned to weather the Covid pandemic and future challenges. To keep active and seize the opportunity to enjoy the great Maine outdoors, co-owners Robin and her husband, Alan, have spent their free time boating on Sebago, golfing with their children, and hiking through Acadia National Park.

Check out more of our Industry Snapshots on the craft brew, distilling and Maine outdoor industries as we #keepourspiritsupmaine


Meet our new intern Avery Boucher!

We at the Activities Guide of Maine are excited to welcome Avery Boucher as our Fall/Winter Outdoor Media Content internship student from the University of Maine Farmington. In partnership with Mainely Outdoors, Avery will get to utilize his passion for outdoor recreation to create digital content that introduces and inspires our audience to experience new Maine adventures.

Mainely Outdoors is an outdoor recreation-based program that supports getting UMaine Farmington community members outdoors, from introductory instruction to seasoned enthusiasts.

Growing up in Burlington, Vermont, Avery was immersed in many outdoor recreational activities including fishing, mountain biking, skiing, and trail running. Avery is pursuing a degree in Environmental Policy and Planning and a Minor in Legal Studies. He is following a career path that involves his passion for the outdoors and environmental awareness. We are very happy to have him here as we grow together and to help him along his journey!

Avery will work on producing video content and we will be assisting him in creating blog posts about local adventures that will be shared across Activity Maine’s media channels. Our goal is to help develops his communication and digital media skills over the next several months.

Stay tuned as we post some of Avery’s blogs and videos this week as we #keepourspiritsupmaine

 

 

 


Behind The Page: Meet staff freelance photographer, Mike Leonard

As part of our campaign, #keepourspiritsupmaine we’re turning the interview process inside out and asking our freelance staff of Maine Brew & Bev Guide and Activities Guide of Maine what keeps them upbeat and resilient during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 –and what they’re doing to stay happy, connected, and forward-thinking this fall.

Q: What is your freelance specialty and what do you do for Activities Guide / Maine Brew & Bev Guide?

My specialty across all of the publications is photo editing and stock photography.  I “fix” and improve the photos that are published to make them more eye-appealing and relevant to the subject. 

Q: What is your favorite local Maine craft beverage?

One of my favorite beverages is Dragon Fly Wine & Distillery’s Blueberry Bliss wine – it is a sweet wine that is made here in Maine.  It is called a dessert wine and is best when served chilled.

Q: Personally, has COVID-19 experience changed your freelance work, and if so, in what way?

Much of my scheduled summer and fall photography activities were canceled due to COVID-19.  I was on tap to have a record year of 26 photo cruises scheduled along the Maine coast and all but one got canceled.  I began getting projects that would normally be done off season. With a lot of people stuck at home, they began going through their old 35MM slides and finding videotapes that they had not seen in years and it was the best time to get them converted to a digital form to be able to view and share more easily. 

Q: What do you do to keep your spirits up and stay resilient?

My passion for photography significantly helped me to keep my spirits up.  While places and events were closed down I knew that Nature was still “open” so I embraced it. In the spring, I forced myself to get outdoors and do more bird watching and made photos of some of the most beautiful migratory birds.

I was also able to capture some weather phenomenon – namely thunder and lightning storms that are always a favorite of mine to shoot.   

With the clearer summer nights I was able to do some nighttime photography in early and mid-summer and I love seeing those colors of fall foliage.

Photography has always been a passion of mine and although Covid squelched many of the planned activities I was fortunately still able to personally remain active making pictures of the beautiful surroundings for which we are so fortunate to have all around us in Maine.

Mike Leonard has been involved with photography for more than 35 years and is now engaged in photo tourism offering photography services and programs to businesses and the public. Mike’s work can be seen on television, in books, websites and of course in magazines.


How Sebago Brewing Co. continues to crest the wave

Industry Snapshot

Maine’s breweries got the one-two-punch like all small businesses affected by COVID-19, particularly after Maine’s state mandate prevented bars and tasting rooms from opening until this past July. As we head into November, Maine will have entered Stage 4 of the Plan To Restart Maine’s Economy. Stage 4 anticipates a reopening date for indoor service for bars and tasting rooms of Monday, November 2, 2020. Some breweries are prepared to stay open even though the possibility for losses over the winter months still poses a real threat.

How Sebago handled the COVID setbacks

Sebago took a slow, patient approach to opening, keeping everyone on staff covered by their insurance, so that the employees didn’t have to pay it back. They took their time to look for best practices, and waited to see what other businesses were doing. They didn’t want to open unprepared or have customers come in and not like what they experienced or feel uncomfortable and back away. First, they trained staff how to do things differently in the COVID era, and even did some role-playing to get operations down before opening. For their efforts, they received tons of positive feedback from customers on how spacious and safe their pubs were.

Second, they focused on the well-being on their staff: they scheduled the right amount of managers and staff to handle visitor traffic and also allowed special time off so staff could regroup.

Third, they made a major menu option reduction, as, like most restaurants, they couldn’t carry inventory pre-COVID. To accomplish this, they had to close for almost four months and redesign the menu, which kept the classic menu items, but had to eliminate all discounts and happy hour and half-price apps because of thin margins in order to maximize revenue with limited open times. 

How they continue to look forward

Having high-quality beers and food and providing a safe and inviting atmosphere has been a successful plan.

But, making sure all best practices were in order to make their customers and staff feel safe and have an enjoyable experience is just as high as a priority these days.

Even though Sebago’s revenue is down about 50 percent, so far for 2020, they continue to work with their strengths, and cut out the drag, such as modifying how many days and hours they are open (eliminating Sunday and Monday)  and continue to maintain a streamlined level of revenue. 

Going forward into the fall/winter of 2020,  Kai Adams, VP and co-founder of Sebago urges quality control for Maine brewers. “It’s important to watch for factors that affect flavor quality, because poor quality beers can hurt a brewery who is struggling during this, and also affect Maine’s reputation of high standards of great craft beer.”

Adams also notes that “Packaging will be king this winter and every effort should be made to get that part right.” Sebago Brewing Co. has added a new 12-pack packaging line and labeler to now package short-run beers and he is excited that they continue to innovate to make a lot of fun and exciting beers.

Check out more of our Industry Snapshots on the craft brew, distilling and Maine outdoor industries as we #keepourspiritsupmaine


Behind The Page: Meet staff freelance writer, Dave Patterson

As part of our campaign, #keepourspiritsupmaine we’re turning the interview process inside out and asking our freelance staff of Maine Brew & Bev Guide and Activities Guide of Maine what keeps them upbeat and resilient during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 –and what they’re doing to stay happy, connected, and forward-thinking this fall.

Q: What is your freelance specialty and what do you do for Activities Guide / Maine Brew & Bev Guide?

Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to write a number of articles on Maine breweries and beers, as well as pieces on homebrewing. I’ve interviewed dozens of innovative Maine brewers who work tirelessly to push this industry forward and make this state a premier destination for craft beer. And I’ve drunk a lot (a lot!) of delicious beer along the way.

I’ve also written about Maine’s ski and fishing industries for Activity Maine. As we all know, perhaps only Maine’s natural landscape can rival the beer industry. This magazine has given me the opportunity to make hard turns on Maine ski mountains and search for trout in storied rivers to bring the experiences to life for readers.

Q: What is your favorite local Maine Craft Beverage?  

This is an evil question! But if it must be answered, I’m obsessed with Bunker Brewing’s Machine Czech Pilz. It’s a perfect homage to the Bohemian Pilsner.

Q: Personally, has COVID-19 experience changed your freelance work, and if so, in what way?

Like most freelance writers, work has dried up almost entirely for all the publications I write for. It has forced me to pivot away from freelance writing, which has been heartbreaking. While I can work on other writing and creative projects to keep my sanity, the freelance opportunities are scant in this current landscape.

Q: What do you do to keep your spirits up and stay resilient?

I’m a writer. So even when the work isn’t there for freelance beer or outdoor writing, I continue to write. As a novelist, I always have some story problem to dive into. And I’m obsessed with the craft of writing, so I keep my head down–I write. But I do pine for the days when I can get out into the Maine landscape and drink an inspiring ale or cast for pristine fish only to tell readers about it in our cherished magazines. 

Dave Patterson is a novelist, beer enthusiast, and lover of all things Maine. His debut novel, Soon the Light Will be Perfect, was released in 2019. 


Behind The Page: Meet staff freelance art director, Larissa Davis

As part of our campaign, #keepourspiritsupmaine we’re turning the interview process inside out and asking our freelance staff of Maine Brew & Bev Guide and Activities Guide of Maine what keeps them upbeat and resilient during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 –and what they’re doing to stay happy, connected, and forward-thinking this fall.

Q: What is your freelance specialty and what do you do for Activities Guide / Maine Brew & Bev Guide? 

I am an artist focusing on painting, poetry, song, and movement. I receive great support and inspiration from nature, especially immersing myself in bodies of moving water and climbing cliffs. I assist Stan and the amazing team at Maine Brew & Bev Guide & Activities Guide as an art director.

Q: What is your favorite local Maine craft beverage? 

My favorite beverage is kombucha for the amazing health benefits!

Q: Personally, has COVID-19 experience changed your freelance work, and if so, in what way? 

This experience has definitely changed my life. The biggest change has been toward more and more understanding that I have got to do what my heart calls me to do. There is less and less ability for me to do things that I do not enjoy and feel inspired by. Sometimes, this means I have to stop doing graphic design work for a time. I feel that, ironically, as our freedoms are being restricted externally that within myself I am being freed from many of the beliefs and ideas that kept me doing things that did not bring me joy! It has also given me a deeper love for nature and a passion to protect it.

Q: What do you do to keep your spirits up and stay resilient? 

I paint, sing, walk in the wilds, dive in the waters, explore with friends and family, and consciously choose a path of happiness.

Experience Soul Path Art: Larissa Davis offers classes and coaching for creativity, insight, passion, transformation, growth, and a life lived with purpose.


Industry Snapshot with Sean Sullivan, Executive Director, Maine Brewers’ Guild

Sean Sullivan is one of the most knowledgable people in Maine’s craft beer industry. He’s the Executive Director of Maine Brewers’ Guild, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and protecting the craft beer industry in Maine. Their mission is to keep Maine in the forefront of the craft beer revolution by offering high quality and creative diversity for the customer.

It doesn’t even need to be said that Maine’s economy has gone through a lot in 2020 and the collective hope is that things will eventually get better as we are more informed and better equipped, particularly if there is a resurgence in COVID-19 cases heading into the winter.

The good news is that Governor Mills announced that starting October 13 Maine has now entered Stage 4 of the Plan To Restart Maine’s Economy. Stage 4 increases limits on indoor seating to 50 percent capacity of permitted occupancy, or 100 people – whichever is fewer. Stage 4 also anticipates a reopening date for indoor service for bars and tasting rooms of Monday, November 2, 2020. To reopen for indoor service, these establishments must abide by the newly-posted COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for seated food and drink service, which is an update to the restaurant checklist. This now eases a few of the challenges that some breweries were having of not being able to visit indoor tasting rooms the next several months ahead.

“Maine brewers and beer fans have really helped us achieve our goal of making our state a world-class destination for craft beer, and that has positioned us well to weather the downturn,” said Sullivan. “At the same time, brewers have had to rethink how they get their beer to market and have had to shutter so many of the welcoming spaces that bring our community together and serve as the core of most Maine breweries businesses. As we look ahead, we’re focusing on maintaining that collaborative spirit that has attracted so many to our industry and preparing to safely welcome back customers to tasting rooms.”

Asked what keeps his spirits up during these times, he said, “Going for a run with a podcast that has nothing to do with current events.”

Check out more of our Industry Snapshots on the craft brew, distilling and Maine outdoor industries as we #keepourspiritsupmaine


Behind The Page: Meet staff freelance writer, Matthew Brown

As part of our campaign, #keepourspiritsupmaine we’re turning the interview process inside out and asking our freelance staff of Maine Brew & Bev Guide and Activities Guide of Maine what keeps them upbeat and resilient during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 –and what they’re doing to stay happy, connected, and forward-thinking this fall.

Q: What is your freelance specialty and what do you do for Activities Guide / Maine Brew & Bev Guide?
A: I’m a contributing beer writer. I like to focus on not only who is making delicious beer, but also the history and stories behind our favorite styles.

Q: What is your favorite local Maine craft beverage?
A: Allagash’s River Trip. Every day, all day, and twice on Sundays. That beer is transcendent.

Q: Personally, has COVID-19 experience changed your freelance work, and if so, in what way?
A: My favorite part of my work is meeting with the people, brewers, the locations, and the faces behind our great fermentations statewide. Being stuck at home or simply unable to see these people eye-to-eye is not only challenging, it saddens me. Nothing makes me more joyous in my work than shaking a hand, a clap on the back, and hearty laughter over a libation. I miss the interactions and ability to exercise my extrovert nature.

Q: What do you do to keep your spirits up and stay resilient?
A: I homebrew – a lot. I research styles and read about craft. I try to absorb all I can about the art of brewing. And, while socially distanced, I like to talk to our venerated members of the beer community for their input and thoughts on where craft is and our responses to it. Although my social sphere has withdrawn considerably, I am nonetheless still reaching out to our community to stay connected and to support them. Maine breweries are an essential part of the ecosystem for the state on so many levels. I’m honored to wave their banners far and wide.

Matthew Brown is a Portland resident, a Certified Cicerone(SM), an avid homebrewer and a financial planner.


Industry Snapshot with Lone Pine Brewing Co.

A chat with co-owner John Paul

Many breweries around the state and country have had to restructure staffing due to the pandemic affecting their normal operations. Lone Pine’s adjustments were to repurpose the roles of the tasting room staff and make calculated adjustments to their draft quantities. For tasting room service, they went to single-serve for customers and did not pour flights of beers to decrease sharing and increase safety.

At this point in 2020, Lone Pine has hired more people on staff this year as a whole. Among the new hires are a Director of Finance and HR. in April 2020, their tasting room deliveries were up 12% over 2019 due to the delivery business. However, sales volume dropped by 70%, but the average sale was up by 27% because people were buying more when going out to stock up on cans. On a whole, the business is up approximately 15% this year in gross sales.

For fall preparation at the Anderson Street location in Portland, they have expanded their outdoor section and deck space and added tower heaters to keep customers warm outside while socially distanced as well.

As for their winter outlook, they are hoping the best and embracing for the worst. In their six-month worst-case scenario outlook, they would go back to curbside pick up and delivery and adjust draft production accordingly.

As for other plans, Paul said, “We will keep innovating and putting out new beer varieties to accommodate a market that is driven by consumer willingness to explore new beers. While we’re a core-centric business, we want to give consumers something to look forward to as much as possible in these trying times.”

Check out more of our Industry Snapshots on the craft brew, distilling, and Maine outdoor industries as we #keepourspiritsupmaine


The Saco River begins in Crawford Notch, NH, as Saco Lake, descending out of the White Mts, traversing through 24 towns, carving its way through south western Maine all the way to the Atlantic between the towns of Biddeford and Saco.

Quiet Paddling in Western Maine

Find serenity and wildlife, paddling on the Saco River

My all-time favorite mode of transportation is the canoe. This ancient way of travel leaves me feeling peaceful and present in no time as I leave the work-a-day details behind with a few short paddle strokes. Experiencing the floating support, being suspended on water, another body, holding me up and carrying me along is powerful and healing. The sound of the wooden paddle slicing through the water’s surface, plunging down quietly, propelling me along the slow passing scenery, the perspective gained from being on top of the water, a place no one has walked or driven before—is simply magical.

Abenaki Indians, “The People of the Dawn,” relied a great deal on waterways of this area for easy and swift transport. Maine has seven major rivers that tribes used as super highways to explore, gather resources, trade and enjoy the bounty provided by Maine’s epic natural resources. The rivers served as trade routes and also helped the Abenaki to make seasonal migrations from south to north to help ensure greater success with hunting and gathering. Many tribes spent their summers on the coast taking in the ocean’s bounty. By early fall, they would paddle and pole back upstream to their winter home, rich with game, shelter and resources.

I get to live near the serpentine shores of the Saco River, one of these seven gems. The Saco River begins in Crawford Notch, NH, as Saco Lake, descending out of the White Mountains, traversing through 24 towns, carving its way through south western Maine all the way to the Atlantic between the towns of Biddeford and Saco.

The Saco River has been a hot bed for conservation drawing in the Nature Conservancy and the Saco River Corridor Commission to protect is shores and waters.

Our cities and towns used to turn their backs to the rivers, using them as receptacles for industrial waste, including paper, tanning and textiles. Thankfully, waterfronts are now being cleaned up, honored and featured as the beautiful resources that they are.

The Saco River has been a hot bed for conservation, drawing in the Nature Conservancy and the Saco River Corridor Commission to protect is shores and waters. Because of its seasonal flooding and intense water level fluctuations after sudden storms, it is home to rare plants and animals that sustain and thrive in these varying conditions. The receding glacier left the river with a thick sandy bed that acts as a water filtration system, providing some of the cleanest water on the planet. Over 250,000 people and multiple bulk water extraction corporations tap into the aquifer surrounding the Saco’s sandy surroundings.

The quiet paddler has an opportunity to drift into some amazing wildlife along the Saco and its connecting streams, bogs, ponds and lakes. I have been directly escorted by river otter, swacked into attention by beaver as they slap their tails adamantly, letting me know whose ‘turf’ I’m on. I have paused to watch dozens of painted turtles sunbathe on a river-worn log. Around bend and curve, I have followed the flight and distinct song of the King Fisher. Being mesmerized by the stillness and majesty of the Great Blue Heron, Bald Eagle and Osprey is humbling and inspiring.

Magic happens when one just shows up and joins the circle of what is already going on, tuning into the natural rhythm and natural world. Canoeing provides a life-long opportunity to access the wilderness we still get to experience and witness. Paddling totally shifts my mental state. There is still deep quiet in western Maine, off the hubbub of major highways, out of town just enough to smell the trees, see the sky and hear the birdsong strong.

— Text & Photos: Jen Deraspe. Jen is the founder of Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center, Maine’s first Green-Certified lodging retreat. She lives off the grid on the slopes of Pleasant Mountain in Denmark, Maine. Her passion is leading earth-friendly retreats and holistic life coaching.


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