Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's Happening This Weekend...

Halloween falls on a weekend this year, which makes it easy to plan and attend multiple parties. If you're looking for something to do that doesn't include trick or treating read on...

Anna Mae Mitchell & Rising Tide
October 30 & 31
Two nights of great bluegrass music, food and drinks, and a costume contest. The theme? Boograss of course! $10 adults, $8 seniors, students, and military. Free for kids 12 and under. 7:30 pm.

Forever Plaid

October 29, 30 & 31
Penobscot Theatre, Bangor
Based on the book by Stuart Ross, this musical follows four young male singers who get killed in a car accident, but are miraculously revived for a second chance at life.

UCP's Pumpkins in the Park

October 31
Bangor Civic Center
Looking for a non-spooky way to spend Halloween with your kids? Pick a pumpkin, enjoy a pumpkin pancake breakfast, and hop on a hayride. Breakfast starts at 8 am and Pumpkin picking goes from 12 to 7 pm. $5 for breakfast and $2 for pumpkin picking. Children 3 and under are free.

Seasonal Flavor: Pumpkin

By Melanie Brooks

'Tis the season of pumpkin carving. But pumpkins are much more than just jack-o-lanterns. Did you know that pumpkins are considered a fruit? They are 90% water and jam packed with beta-carotene, which has been shown to reduce cancer and heart disease. One cup of pumpkin contains 50 calories and 3 grams of fiber.

I could eat pumpkin pie morning, noon, and night if presented with the opportunity to do so. I love the stuff. But recently I've been tasting other pumpkin-flavored foods that have knocked my socks off.

Specialty Sweets on Stillwater Ave. in Bangor makes a mouth-watering pumpkin fudge. It is, by far, the most delicious fudge I have ever tasted. Not only does the consistency of the fudge melt in your mouth, it's pumpkin flavored and makes for a tasty fall treat when you have a hankering for something sweet that isn't chocolate.

I had the opportunity to try some pumpkin bisque at Pairings in Winterport on Tuesday night during a Bangor Chamber of Commerce event. A bit apprehensive at first, I tried the soup with a bit of trepidation. The worry was instantly melted away as the soup happily slid down my throat. I'm not exaggerating when I say it is the best soup I have ever tasted. It had a not-too-sweet and smoky flavor that was unlike anything I had tasted before. The chef created an apple wine reduction sauce -- using Winterport Winery's own apple wine -- and maple syurp to create the creamy bisque. I had two bowls and didn't even apologize for it. I wanted to literally swim in the stuff.

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are an easy way to use pumpkin in your baking and seem to be a distinctively New England treat. When I have made these cookies for friends in the other cities I have lived in (Boston, Baltimore, and New York City), they are always pleasantly surprised and ask me for the recipe. If you are looking to bring something to a party this fall, these cookies are sure to be a hit. Try the recipe out for yourself! I promise, you won't be disappointed.


1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
2. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.
3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wicked Funny

By Kayla Riley

On Saturday I witnessed Maine's own comedian, Bob Marley, live at the Collins Center for the Arts. I had seen his DVDs and heard a few tracks from past CDs of his, but I had never seen a live performance. I can sum up the experience in one word—hilarious. After each punchline was delivered, I barely had time to recover from gut-busting laughter before the next joke hit me. Considering Marley's fast rise to comedic stardom, I admit I am a little behind on discovering how truly funny he is.

Although his popularity is just now hitting its peak, Bob Marley has been a stand up comedian for 15 years. Born and raised in Maine, Marley graduated with a degree in community health from the University of Maine in Farmington. From there he quickly began his tour de force comedy career. He got his start at comedy nights in Portland, soon moving to Boston to widen his scope.

Since then, Marley has had his own special on Comedy Central and made the rounds to all the major late night shows, including Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, David Letterman, and Craig Ferguson. One of his most well known appearances is his more serious role in "The Boondock Saints", in which he played Detective Greenly. He can be seen in the movie "All Saint's Day" starting Friday in theaters nationwide in "All Saint's Day".

If you haven't seen Bob Marley live yet, I encourage you to do so. His live performance was even more energetic than I had expected, including jokes from his latest CD, Runamuck, along with some unexpected new material. His act was a hysterical mix of Maine-based, relationship, family, and observational humor that had me laughing until I cried.

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What's Happening This Weekend...

Rain and cloudy skies are in the forecast for this weekend, but don't let that get you down. There's plenty to keep you distracted from the gloomy weather. Read on for some rainy day ideas.

Fright at the Fort
October 23 & 24
Fort Knox, Prospect
Get a jump on spooky Halloween fun with a visit to Fort Knox. You never know what may be waiting around the corner! 5:30-9 pm. $5

Hillbilly Pirate Halloween Ball

October 24
The Grand in Ellsworth
Dance the night away in your Halloween garb to the tunes of Gandalf Murphy. 7:30 pm. Adults $20, students $12.

Bill Evans & Megan Lynch

October 23
Unity Centre for the Performing Arts
A bluegrass banjo player from California and a fiddler from Nashville team up for a foot-tapping performance. 7:30 pm. $15

Forever Plaid

Through October 25
Penobscot Theatre in Bangor
See the musical that tells the story of four young male singers who get a second chance at life. Check the Penobscot Theatre's web site for various show times. $40

Maine ranked in top 10 for energy efficiency!

Maine is among the 10 states that are doing the most to implement energy efficiency, according to the 2009 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard. This is the third edition of the state-by-state ranking by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

"The most improved states are stepping up their efforts in several ways, such as adopting new building energy codes and setting aggressive new energy savings targets," Maggie Eldridge, lead author of the report from the ACEEE, said in a press release. Last year Maine ranked 19th.

Gov. Baldacci is quoted in yesterdays press release as saying: "I am pleased that Maine is being recognized for our commitment to energy efficiency. We began by making State government a model in order to show businesses and residents that reducing energy consumption improves our way of life by reducing harmful effects on our environment and our health, while making a significant impact to our bottom line. We made this commitment in 2003 when the price of oil was $20 a barrel. Since then, we've made new investments in weatherization, encouraged alternative modes of transportation, and encouraged voluntary alternative work schedules for State employees, and we became the first state to purchase 100 percent of our electricity from zero carbon renewable resources."

The 10 states doing the most include (in order of ranking):
New York
Washington state
Rhode Island

The states with the most room for improvement include:
West Virginia
North Dakota
Washington D.C.

To learn more about what Maine is doing right regarding energy efficiency check out the October Energy edition of Bangor Metro magazine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gas Guzzles

By Melanie Brooks

Yikes! In the past week or so the price of gas has really gone up! Is this a trend? Who knows these days. How much the price of gas changes from one day to the next is an anomaly to me. But while the price of gas is difficult to follow, finding the least expensive gas station is pretty easy. All you have to do is click here and MaineGasPrices will show you the cost of gas at local stations in your area. All you have to do is put in your zip code!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mt. Hope Cemetery

By Melanie Brooks

I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous day on Saturday and head to Mt. Hope Cemetery for a couple of hours. This might sound weird but I love old cemeteries. It's interesting to read the names on the old gravestones and get a glimpse into someone's past. Some of the gravestones at Mt. Hope are so old they're weathered unreadable. Many are in various degrees of tilt.

Mt. Hope is one of the oldest garden cemeteries in the nation -- second to Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass. For a short history lesson click here.

Below is a slideshow of some of my favorite shots.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Same-Sex Marriage

By Melanie Brooks

From television and radio commercials to stories in local and national media outlets, the topic of same-sex marriage in Maine has been everywhere. In case you've been hiding out under a rock lately, here's what's going on...

On November 3rd Maine voters will get the chance to sound off on whether they support or oppose same-sex marriages. It will be the first time in any state that the voters will have the chance to repeal or uphold a same-sex marriage law passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor.

In Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, and Iowa, same-sex marriages are legal and are currently being performed. Ceremonies for same-sex marriages will begin in New Hampshire in January, 2010.

Two Maine groups have been behind the ads and public service announcements that we see and hear about daily. The Vote NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign who support same-sex marriages and Stand for Marriage Maine who oppose same-sex marriage believing that marriage should consist of one man and one woman.

With the race being too close to call, the debate rages on with both sides competing for votes. In our June/July summer guide issue our Soapbox Boys, Sean Faircloth and Scott K Fish shared their viewpoints on the topic. Click here to see what they said.

And how about you? Where do you stand on the issue? Vote anonymously below:

Yes = I support same-sex marriage.
No = I do not support same-sex marriage.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

What's Happening This Weekend...

Leaf peeping season is all but over north of Bangor so if you're looking for something else to do here are some suggestions...

Belfast Poetry Festival

October 16 & 17
In its 5th year, the festival features 14 artists, 10 visual poets, 4 performing artists, and more.

Work of the Hand Art Show
Through October 18
Over 40 artists gather at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art for this 20th annual invitational craft show. 10am to 5pm.

Radio Gang
October 17
The Grand in Ellsworth
Get ready for some homegrown bluegrass! 7:30pm. $15.

Maine Florist & Growers Association Show
October 18
Bangor Civic Center
Take a moment to smell the flowers at the Maine State Florist and Growers Show on Sunday. Maybe you'll pick up some tips on how to prepare your gardens for the winter months.

Budding photographer?

By Melanie Brooks

Did you know that Bangor Photo has a photo contest each month? Well they do! The topic for October is, believe it or not, cemeteries. Pay respects to the spookiest month of the year by heading out to a local graveyard to snap some photos. You don't have to be a professional photographer to take part -- stretch your creative muscles by trying to capture a different point of view!

Here are the rules:

One entry per person.
Photos must be 8x10 and mounted in an 11x14 mat.
No glass. No frames.

The deadline is the last day of the month and photos are voted on the first week of the following month.

Entries will be displayed in Bangor Photo for voting. Winners receive a $25 cash prize and bragging rights.

I don't go anywhere without my trusty little Canon digital camera. It's a PowerShot SD600 Digital Elph no bigger than a deck of cards. And while it's not fancy like the professional cameras we use for Bangor Metro photo shoots, it takes some pretty nice photos. Plus it's small enough for me to carry around in my purse. You never know when you're going to stumble upon something worthy of a photo.

The topic for November is paths -- so start thinking and shooting away!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All Hail Mark Ricketts

By Melanie Brooks

Have you met Earl Hornswaggle? If you are a regular reader of Bangor Metro you may have already been introduced. Earl is the oldest man in Bangor and was created for Bangor Metro by illustrator Mark Ricketts.

Each month, Earl is portrayed in the mag doing all sorts of things. In October he took us for a walk down memory lane as he revealed his secrets for staying alive so long -- he is, after all, 123 years old. In our August issue he shared some of his favorite recipes from his restaurant, Earl's Feedbag, was still open. And in our summer guide/history issue he shared a list of little known facts about Bangor that were most fascinating.

Recently (today in fact) Earl's face peered out at me from an unfamiliar location -- the postcard rack at Book Marc's in downtown Bangor! Earl and Ricketts fans alike can now send a funny postcard to those loved ones who aren't fortunate enough to live in Maine! Here are some examples of Ricketts' designs. At $1 a piece you can't go wrong:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

More buzz about Maine Ahead

Carolyn Callahan and Channel 7 news stopped by yesterday to interview Mark and Tori about Maine Ahead. It's very exciting that the local news stations have taken an interest in our new magazine -- it helps us get the word out!
Have you ever wanted to get inside the minds of some of the state's most dynamic thinkers? How about go behind the scenes at a prominent Maine company?

If you answered yes to these questions, Maine Ahead might be just what you're looking for.
Check out the entire story here!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

On the road in Hanover, NH

By Melanie Brooks

Hello from your friendly neighbor...New Hampshire! Sandy (who does our graphic designing for all of our magazines) and I are in Hanover, NH visiting with Dartmouth Printing, the 300-year-old company that prints all of our magazines.

We left Bangor at 8 am this morning. After breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts and a suspicious lunch at a dive called Chantilly's, we made it to Hanover. The foliage is in its peak here right now and it's absolutely gorgeous.

We took a tour of the printing facility this afternoon with our sales rep. Matthew. He showed us everything from their paper warehouse to their presses to their assembly to their post office. WOW! I had no idea. We brought our own proofing printer along so that the good people at Dartmouth Printing could install some new software on it for us. Luckily our kind and considerate customer service rep., Dale, unloaded it from our rented SUV -- that sucker weighs 85 pounds!

After an informative tour and a quickie nap at our hotel, Sandy and I met Matthew and Dale in town for dinner at a place called Molly's. Hanover is a quaint New England town with a darling main strip and preppy Dartmouth College students around every corner. Exhausted from our drive and anticipating a long day ahead tomorrow, in which Leslie will join us for more meetings at Dartmouth, Sandy and I have retired to our rooms for the night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Launching a new Magazine!

By Melanie Brooks

It's true! The crew behind Bangor Metro is launching a new state-wide business magazine called Maine Ahead. Tori Britton will be editor in chief for the new magazine while I move into the managing editor spot at Bangor Metro. The new title has been in the works for almost a year now and it's so exciting to see all the hard work Tori, Mark Wellman, and our sales team have been putting in finally come to fruition.

This magazine will be mailed to 14,000 of Maine's executives, managers, and government leaders. It will also be on newsstands and in waiting rooms across the state. Our goal is to create a publication that will play a role in helping to improve Maine's economic vitality and prosperity by providing a lively source of information and insight. We're sure people are going to love it!

Maine Ahead was featured on WABI TV 5 news last night. Click here to watch the clip.