Art nights at Valerie Wallace Fine Arts in Orono, Maine

Low-Octane Winter Fun

Fierce winters and rugged landscapes are some of the hallmarks of Maine’s cultural identity, which is all well and good if you’re the skiing or ice-climbing type. But what about those who prefer to raise their heart rate with a gripping novel or a round of sudden-death trivia? Explore creative and competitive outlets for indoor fun across the state this winter.

Discover a packed winter schedule of trivia nights. Photo courtesy Androscoggin Trivia Co.

Discover a packed winter schedule of trivia nights. Photo courtesy Androscoggin Trivia Co.

Craft Nights

In the depths of winter, Fiber & Vine on Main Street in Norway casts a warm glow that summons a creative crowd. The store offers a combination of fiber arts supplies and carefully curated wines — each selection filling an opposing wall of shelves in the store’s attractive open-plan interior. But there’s more to do than just fill your cart with yarn and bottles. Fiber & Vine hosts a calendar of events throughout the winter, a mix of recurring favorites that includes a weekly knitting circle; Make & Mend nights; and “Sip and Stitch-alongs” that combine crafts and community, and perhaps a cabernet or two. The lineup includes one-off classes in fiber arts or niche crafts, such as nesting bowl-making or festive felting. Each class and event caters to different skill levels and students are provided with crafting materials. Let the wine and creativity flow!

Photo courtesy Valerie Wallace.


Sharpen your pencil and your wit: Maine’s trivia nights reach new heights during the winter months. It’s time to assemble your team of general knowledge heroes and flex your skills with the Androscoggin Trivia Co. based in Lewiston. The quiz collective hosts brain-teasing trivia nights throughout the week at taprooms across Maine, ranging from traditional to themed trivia nights that cover everything from Stephen King to U.S. History to Seinfeld. So even if you paid more attention to sitcoms than schoolwork, you’ll still have your time to shine. The competitive portion of the night runs from 6 to 8 p.m., leaving time to sample Maine’s best brews before, after, and even between trivia rounds. This winter, you’ll find the Androscoggin Trivia Co. in residence at Burano’s in Hallowell on Mondays; Sea Dog in Topsham, Mast Landing in Freeport, and Side By Each every Wednesday; and The Pub at Baxter Brewing in Lewiston and Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick every Thursday.

Photo courtesy Valerie Wallace.

Book Clubs

Reading may seem like a solitary sport, but it doesn’t have to be. In Portland, a wealth of book clubs offer the opportunity to share titles and hot-takes with fellow readers, no matter your preferred genre — from horror to non-fiction. The local favorite is Print: A Bookstore, which hosts no fewer than four book clubs, including two generalist groups that meet at local breweries on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the month. Special-interest groups include Horror at Hardshore, which convenes on the second Sunday of each month at the atmospheric Hardshore Distilling taproom to discuss spine-tingling stories for those who favor Halloween over any other holiday, as well as Reading the Rainbow, a queer-focused community book club that meets at Urban Farm Fermentory every second Tuesday.

That’s not all. Introverted readers can still build a community, thanks to the recently launched Maine chapters of the Silent Book Club found in Biddeford, Thomaston, and Portland. The Portland chapter is hosted at the Blind Tiger Guest House, where bookworms can enjoy plush surroundings and snacks. Biddeford chapter members meet at Elements, a favorite local bookstore that also operates as a cafe and bar. In the Midcoast, readers flock to Thomaston Public Library each month to soak up the comfort of quiet company and the rustle of turning pages.

Photo courtesy Valerie Wallace.

Paint ‘n Sips

No matter your skill level, Valerie Wallace welcomes you to work up an appetite at the canvas during the monthly Paint, Sip & Eat, hosted at the Governor’s Restaurant in Old Town. “I started this monthly event in the fall of 2016, and it’s been ongoing since then, aside from a pandemic pause,” said Wallace. Classes cost $35 per session and are limited to 20-25 guests. “This includes everything you need to paint along at beginner level with step-by-step instructions. There are lots of tips for experienced people as well!” she said. Each event features a new image for interpretation. And no matter how successful your artistic expression, you can still enjoy drinks and a delicious dinner to round out your evening.

Further south, the Portland chapter of Muse Paint Bar bills itself as the state’s “premier paint and sip,” offering daily classes for public and private events, running from happy hour gatherings to “Paint Your Pet” nights and Taylor Swift-themed nights, where guests can convene with drink and paintbrush in hand.

Forget the ski pass and skip the frostbite, there are plenty of ways to occupy creative minds and build community across Maine this winter. The shift in seasons is the perfect time to pick up a new pursuit—or rediscover a long-forgotten creative passion—alongside like-minded individuals.

— Story by Saisie Moore. Saisie is freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Maine.

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