Tag Archives: Downeast

A little shoot-out trivia from the files of DownEast.com

Got this from DownEast.com and for some reason found it interesting. “What is Maine’s best-known gun battle? Answer: On October 12, 1937, federal agents killed Public Enemy No. 1 Al Brady and two cohorts on Central Street in Bangor in the bloodiest shoot-out in Maine history.”

Here’s a link from the Bangor In Focus website’s profile of the incident.

Maine’s Acadia National Park sparkles, especially in autumn

It has been years since I visited Acadia National Park on Maine’s central coast, yet the images in my mind of the place are many, crystal clear and readily retrieved.

The stark and explosive beauty of the rugged Maine coastline, the stunning grandeur of its rich forests, its dazzling colors, especially in autumn, cause Acadia National Park to be one of the most visited in the system despite being one of the smallest.

It should be high on any destination list for anyone visiting downeast.

There is plenty to do there – hiking, biking, birding, rock climbing, swimming, camping, ranger-led programs and more. It is a great place for a photographer or painter, or for a writer to find inspiration.

I found a National Geographic Magazine feature on a few of the nation’s fabulous national parks, including Acadia National Park. It includes a story, photos, map and other elements, including a list of visitor tips. Below are links to websites to get more information about helping preserve the park, park hours and fees, and a history of the National Park System and Acadia National Park.

Acadia National Park

Location: Mount Desert Island, Maine

Size: 47,000 acres

Trails: 135 miles and growing

Lakes and ponds: More than 20

Volunteers: About 3,500 perform about 40,000 hours of work each year

Named national monument: 1916, and three years later was listed as a national park, the first east of the Mississippi River.

More links

Acadia National Park: Visit this site for facts about Acadia, including current activities and trail conditions.

http://www.nps.gov/acad

Friends of Acadia: This nonprofit organization is dedicated to preserving and improving the park.

http://www.friendsofacadia.org

Bar Harbor Historical Society: Learn more about the history of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island.

http://www.barharborhistorical.org/index.html

National Park Service: This website gives a history of the park service with links to other resources.

http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/hisnps/NPSHistory/npshisto.htm

Fire of 1947: Read this park service summary of the fire that burned thousands of acres of Acadia National Park.

http://www.nps.gov/acad/burned.htm

Acadia Mountain Guides: Anyone planning to hone their rock-climbing skills should check out this website to sign up for courses or rent equipment. Instructions are available for rock climbers at all levels.

http://www.acadiamountainguides.com

Down East Nature Tours: Avid birders should look here to find out more about birding trips, photography tours, and camping excursions, which are available seven days a week all year.

http://www.mainebirding.net/downeast

 GORP.com: Plan your trip with tips from this website, which provides comprehensive national park information and recommendations. Participate in the Acadia online forum to get first-hand reviews from other visitors.

gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/us_national_park/me_acadi.htm

American Park Network: Research the history of Acadia National Park, discover things to do, and locate lodging options on this website. Be sure to click on “Just for Kids” to learn about child-friendly activities.

http://www.americanparknetwork.com/parkinfo/ac/activities/activities.html

One-room school on Maine island

At a time when school districts in California and elsewhere are increasing the number of students in classrooms and closing down schools because of low enrollment (really, that’s not an oxymoron), this Portland Press Herald story about a one-room schoolhouse on a Maine island struck me as interesting. In many ways, this is a portrait of how beautifully simple life in Maine can be.

The Cliff Island School – I believe the story said it was one of five one-room schools in Maine and one of 200 left in the nation – has a handful of students. The islanders and school district worry that the school will be forced to close once a couple students graduate to a middle school on a different island. The district might not be able to justify the cost of the school if more families with school-age students do not move to the island.  

According to the story, the cost of running the school is pretty high, but transferring the students to another school brings up certain planning and safety issues since it would mean ferry rides to the mainland and then a ferry ride to a different island for the school. That would mean ferry rides in some pretty foul weather some days.

A husband and wife make up the teaching team and it appears from the story and accompanying video that it is an idyllic educational and social situation for the children and the community. If I had children I would want them to experience something like this for at least a couple of years.

The first four or five years of my education were at the school in Portage not far from the center of town. It was a bit larger than the school in the story. There were four classrooms, although only three were used for regular classes with two grades in each classroom. The fourth classroom, as I recall, was used for special education, art classes and that sort of thing. There was a multi-use area where we had lunch and where we had recess if the weather was bad outside; it was northern Maine so the weather was pretty bad more than a couple times in a school year. As I recall to my friends who grew up in warmer climates, I walked to school in the snow up hill … both ways.

Outside there was a playground and a softball field. In the winter, plows would push back huge snow banks – at least they seemed huge to grade-schoolers – we would use for forts and playing king-of-the-mountain.

Looking back, it was a pretty good experience going to school there.

They closed down the school years and years ago and I believe the building is now the town offices.