Spring is trying to arrive . . .

It was such a gorgeous day today – 50 degrees – sun streaming through my office window – bright blue sky –

Not thinking, I headed out on a walk without the snowshoes. About twenty steps later, I found myself knee deep in snow. Mumbling to myself, I reluctantly went back for snowshoes. Crunch, crunch, crunch, was the sound I made as I wound my way down the main street, through the playing field and out onto the trail along the edge of the lake. I wasn’t surprised to see a lot more open water today:

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But I was surprised to find some tiny hints of spring! Like this patch of bare ground . . .

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And evidence of beavers hard at work . . .

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Homes being built:

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And teeny, tiny buds on the trees . . .

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In fact, I was so busy looking for spring, that I forgot to watch where I was going and before I knew it, I was knee deep in water. Whoo! And was it co-old! The hiking trail floods every spring in this ooooooone spot that winds oh-so-close to the edge of the lake.  But I didn’t see it was flooded because the trail was covered with three feet of snow!

After that, I sounded like this as I walked: Crunch, slosh, crunch, slosh, crunch, slosh.

Before heading home to take off my sopping wet boots, I checked on the eagles. As I came up to my viewing spot, I saw the nesting eagle up and moving around. She was probably poking at the nest a bit, or changing positions, because she sat back down before I could even focus on her. But with the blue sky behind her, you can easily see the top of her head –

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Think spring everybody!

A special note to Sam W: sorry buddy, but there’s still a lot of snow on your site. I’ll keep you posted though.

The Eagles are Nesting!

Cookie and I took a walk to the point today. Poor thing, she’s been cooped up for a little over two weeks, what with Ben and I both so sick for so long. When I used the word “walk”, I swear she jumped and wiggled in mid-air!

I’m sorry to report, only the TOPS of the picnic tables can be seen as I walk through the campground. There’s still three to four feet of snow in most places, although I did see some bare ground too. I wore my snowshoes to make the trip easier.

When Cookie and I reached the lake’s edge, I was so glad I remembered the camera! Here’s proof, our eagles are nesting;

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What do you mean, you don’t see anything? Right in the middle . . . there . . . don’t you see a white bump? That’s the top of her head. Hmmmm – how about this image?

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The second eagle had flown in to feed the first. I’m not sure which is which, female or male. I’ve read that incubation duties are shared, but the female primarily does this job. So, it’s probably her on the nest.

I stayed to watch them for a bit. Getting a few more shots like this

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before I heard splashing water. Heart in my throat, I scanned the ice. Sure enough, Cookie had fallen into a 3 foot wide hole, about 5 feet off shore. She was in over her head and although her front paws were on the ice, she couldn’t get her back legs up and out.

I ran around the point, trying to find something, anything, to lay across the ice and get to her. The docks were all too heavy or frozen to the ground. For twenty minutes I coaxed, demanded, pleaded, and begged. But it wasn’t until I tearfully called to her, “Cookie! I have to go home. I have to get David! I’ll be back!”

At the word “home” she started to cry and whine. She scrambled and dug at the ice until finally, she broke free! I fell to my knees and hugged her sopping wet neck.

She looked at me, like, “What? What’d I do?”

I now smell like wet dog. And wet dog has never smelled so good.

Maxwell Posts for Tami

Tami and Ben have been sick with the flu for a week. So, I trudged through the snow to check in on them.

“Maxwell,” Tami said between coughs, “I need you to do me a favor.”

“Sure! Anything!” I put my hand . . . um, hoof . . . over my heart. “Your wish is my command. Clean the bathrooms? Answer the phones? Play with Ben? Take Cookie for a walk?”

“I need you to blog for me. There’s been no new posts since the 11th. My customers will think I’ve given up on it already.”

“Blog? Me?” I paced back and forth in front of her, scratching my antlers. “But, but, Tami . . . what’ll I say? What’ll I do? Who’s gonna want to read a moose post?”

“Your fans would, sweetie.” Tami patted my head and kissed my nose right before she sneezed, once, twice, three times. Flopping back on the couch and covering up with a blanket, she mumbled, “Write about what you do best, Maxwell. Fun and games.”

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Yeah! I can do that!

Recreation is one of the best things about Poland Spring Campground! It’s why I hang around. Every day in July and August is loaded with awesome things to do. There’s arts and crafts at least once a day where you make stuff like catapults, boats, candles, princess hats or super cool glitter glasses

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We play volleyball, basketball, bocci, horseshoes, relay races, water balloon slingshot, penny hunts, ping pong and pool tournaments for teens, bingo, flag football. We have ice cream making once a week. Pool games. Hayrides! Bingo! Jewelry making! Bubble play! Trash Bag Theater! Story time with moose feed!

You can see a sample of our recreation schedule here, on our website.

Every Monday night we have candy bar bingo. Tuesday has free pony rides

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Thursday night brings popcorn over the campfire with scary stories told by the kids.

We theme every weekend too!

Pirate Weekend was new last year and an instant hit!

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Here’s a scene from a skit Alexz wrote called Who Wants to Be A Pirate. Bryant and JMoney showed all the pirate campers how it’s done and then swore them in by reciting the pirate code.

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Medieval weekend is always a lot of fun too! Jousting with noodles, Viking ship races, and a porridge eating contest are just a few of the awesome things you’ll find on our schedule that weekend.

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Let’s not forget Christmas in July

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Halloween in August

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or Fiesta Weekend with a big South of the Border Party, donkey rides on Ricco Suave, pinatas and the bouncy house

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But you know what I can’t wait for this year? Our brand new theme –

Super Hero Tryouts Weekend!

Who are you going to be? I think I’m going to dress up as . . . da-da-DAH . . .

Super Moose!

Shhhhh! Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve been practicing my jumping and running so I can try out at the silly Olympic events. Tami says there’s gonna be a toilet paper tie up contest and water balloon target practice too! There’s so many cool weekends, I can never choose just one favorite. But I think Super Hero Weekend is going to be top of my list.

What’s your favorite weekend?

Monhegan Island

In July and August, my family and I try to arrange one day a week to play outside the campground. It’s become a tradition we call Family Day, and has been a fabulous way to connect with our kids as well as recharge.

It also allows us to experience/experiment with day trips, seeing which ones our kids like vs. what we adults like. Then we pass on the information to you, our campers.

Last year our favorite trip was Monhegan Island. It had everything! Hiking, wildlife watching, quaint stores, views galore!

We chose to ride the Hardy Boat Cruises Monhegan Ferry out of New Harbor, a pretty little coastal town. It took approximately 1 hour to drive there from the campground. Parking was $2 for the day. The boat ride was $30 per adult and $18 for children under 12, and well worth it. This was not our boat, but we rode one similar
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We sat on the top deck and enjoyed the view. The captain kept us entertained with historical information about the harbor and the coastline. Pretty soon, he slowed down to show us a basking shark. A little while later we saw puffins!

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Once on Monhegan, you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time. There were very few vehicles. Dirt roads wound past quaint shops and homes.

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We were there for the hiking though, and we set off to find it. We were not disappointed with the views:

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There are short, fairly easy hiking trails and then there are the longer and more difficult ones. We chose the longer trails that wound along the islands shoreline. Ben, who had just turned 10, had no problem. He totally enjoyed the opportunity to climb to his hearts content. We packed a picnic lunch to eat on the trail, but there were plenty of places to sit and eat on Monhegan itself. A tip: if you plan to hike, bring a plenty of water with you or buy it on the island before you set out. We saw too many families who hadn’t taken any water at all, and were tired and thirsty halfway through their hike. We ended up sharing some of our water with an older couple.

Toward the end of the trail we discovered a huge display of fairy houses! Visitors to the island are encouraged to build them. There had to be at least fifty

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Back in town, we found some ice cream (we always manage to find ice cream!) and wandered the streets to find photo opportunities like these:

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I had more fun taking pictures of gardens, homes, signs, views, piles of lobster traps, the lighthouse . .. Monhegan is a photographer’s dream.

Before we set out on this trip, one of my friends said, “You can’t walk two feet without finding an artist”. She wasn’t kidding! Painters are everywhere on Monhegan. Even on the trails.

As we sat on the top deck of the Ferry heading home, I thought for sure my day was complete. But then we saw this guy

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A seal! We actually saw five or six more before our trip was done.

Back in New Harbor, we watched some lobstermen unload their boats. Then we had a fabulous seafood dinner right on the pier at Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf.

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A look toward warmer weather . . .

Another question I get asked a lot by potential campers:

How’s the fishin’?

I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves, most were taken within the last 3 years

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If those aren’t enough to convince you to book a campsite with us, how about this:

brown trout have been released off our point for the last three years!

The truck backs up

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Opens the tanks one by one

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And lets them go!

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Yep. The fishin’s good.

If you don’t believe me . . .

ask the eagle family.

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More snow?

Okay, it’s official. I’ve had enough of this

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The above photo was taken from my front porch. So just in case any of you out there are saying,

“Hey, that doesn’t look too bad -“,

THIS is what I see from ground level:

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And this from my front window:

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The white stuff isn’t done falling yet, either. They’re predicting 10 – 14 more inches here, and we’ve gotten maybe eight of them so far today.

For those of you who like to count down the weeks . . . and you know who you are . . . we have eight and a half.

EIGHT AND A HALF!

And boy, oh, boy, I can’t wait to see this from my front window . . .

Think Spring everybody!

A great day for eagle watching!

Here are some pics I took today from the trees on the point

They were here a long time, just the two of them, surveying their kingdom.

It appears the eagles aren’t sitting on eggs yet, because they both left the nest a little while later when an ice fisherman drilled a hole about 150 to 200 feet from the island.

I believe they’re only sprucing up their nest at this point. Once or twice, one of the pair tried to come back with a stick, as you’ll see here, but she never landed. I think she was leery of that fisherman, even though he was sitting quietly.

It was so much fun to see them so active. Once the eggs are laid, I’ll be lucky to snap a picture of the top of her head. She sits so low in that nest, you wouldn’t know she was there.

Maine State Museum

At least twice a day I receive a phone call asking, “If I camp at Poland Spring Campground for a week, what’s there to do in the area?”

My answer?

Plenty!!!

Included in our check-in packet is a list of places to go and things to do, complete with directions. Most of them have been “tested out” on my own kids during our Monday outings. There’s hiking, ocean watches, shopping, beaches and museums. Over the next couple of months, I’ll occasionally talk about a few of them, giving you pictures whenever I can. In the meantime, feel free to visit our website under area/links for those that are closest to home.

Today, Ben insisted Dave and I take him to the Maine State Museum in Augusta. He’d just been with his classroom two weeks ago, yet he haaaaaad to go back and see his favorite displays again. I’ve sent plenty of campers during our eighteen years of running the campground, but had never been myself.

I really have no idea what took me so long!

It took a little less than an hour to get there, and was an easy drive up Route 202 (although you can also get there by the Turnpike). We spent approximately two and a half hours exploring three floors of exhibits like these:

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Maine patents and inventions. Did you know earmuff were invented by Maine resident, Chester Greenwood?

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a lawn sprinkler from the late 1800’s if I’m remembering correctly

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A typical early 1900’s kitchen display in the Made in Maine exhibit

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an approximately 100 year old loom

Of course, my photos don’t do it justice. You really have to visit yourself!

I think my favorite was the Back to Nature Exhibit, with the wildlife display. I was amazed at the size of the fisher! And the beaver! We saw an eagle up close, moose, skunk, various birds, deer, owls and much more.

Afterward, we walked over to the Maine State House to get a peek of the inside. There are also several monuments nearby, such as the Firefighters Memorial, Police Officers Memorial, Samantha Smith Statue and the Vietnam Veterans Memorials.

Whoa!

So, I’m talking on the campground phone, taking a reservation for July, when all of a sudden I hear my son yell,

“What? Whoa! MOOOOOOOOM!”

I hurry my call (sorry!) and rush to the living room. Ben points to the maple tree on our front lawn and I see this

How cool is that?

Valentine Ice Storm

We were without power for over 12 hours!

This is certainly NOT camping weather . . .
I haven’t trudged down to the lake yet, but I did walk around the upper level of the campground, in amongst the campsites, to capture these pics