Monday, November 30, 2009

It's here: Maine Ahead

After a year of hard work and perseverance, we have finally launched Maine Ahead. Pfew! Not to brag or anything -- but we think it looks damn fine!

What will you find inside the pages of our very first magazine? Besides dazzling photos and quick-witted cartoons you can read about the following:

  • An in-depth Q & A with five former Maine governors.
  • A private tour of Shipyard Brewery.
  • A rare interview with Hannaford CEO Ron Hodge.
  • Inside a Maine dream home.
  • Crab cakes with Portland chef Alan Cook.
  • A look back in time to Maine's sardine workers.
  • And more....

    In fact, we're so psyched about our first issue that we put it up on our website,, for you to look at! Click here to be taken to the digital flipbook to feast your eyes on the first issue.
  • Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    What's Happening This Weekend...

    Turkey Day is upon us and if shopping at the mall on Black Friday isn't your thing, here is a list of other stuff to do with your days off...

    The Nutcracker
    November 21 & 29
    University of Maine, Machias and the Caribou Performing Arts Center
    The Robinson Ballet once again brings dreamland on the road. Nov. 21 in Machias at 3 and 7 pm and Nov. 29 in Caribou at 2 pm.

    Festival of Lights
    November 27-29
    Celebrate the spirit of giving with this holiday festival. Santa arrives by Coast Guard boat, the historic inns hold holiday open houses, and the Christmas tree is made out of lobster traps. It doesn't get more Maine than this, folks.

    Thanksgiving Arts & Crafts Show
    November 29-29
    Find Christmas gifts at this United Maine Craftsmen's event. There's a gift give-a-way every hour!

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    History Section: Part Two

    You didn't know we were going to publish a second history issue did you?! Well, to be honest, we didn't either. But we got such rave reviews on our June/July issue that we figured we'd finish the tale -- from Bangor's Great Fire of 1911 to today. And with the help of Dick Shaw, it turned out to be as gorgeous as the first one.

    If you haven't picked up your December issue of Bangor Metro yet, we've provided a little preview below of some of the great images you'll see when you do. It's definitely a collectors issue and we hope you like it as much as you did our summer guide.

    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    What's Happening This Weekend...

    If you're feeling a little overwhelmed by the bustling holiday season, never fear. There are plenty of fun events happening in our area this weekend to help you get some shopping done, relax to the sounds of folk music or enjoy a classic holiday tradition.

    Early Bird Sale & Bed Races
    November 21
    Bar Harbor
    There's no need to attend the craziness of Black Friday if you go to this event. Enjoy early morning sales in Bar Harbor with extra discounts if you're still in your pajamas. Feel free to shop around but don't miss the bed races! Sale starts at 6 am, bed races at 10 am.

    Aztec Two Step

    November 21
    Caribou Performing Arts Center
    Listen to Rex Fowler and Neal Shulman, two of acoustic music's stars as they perform Simon & Garfunkel songs as well as their own originals. 7 pm. $14 adults, $8 students/seniors, and $5 for children 12 and under.

    Arlo Guthrie and Family
    November 21
    Collins Center for the Arts, Orono
    Arlo Guthrie performed at Woodstock in 1969, and he hasn't lost any of his luster. With simply a few guitars, his voice and a harmonica, he delivers an unforgettable folk music performance. 8 pm.

    The Nutcracker
    November 21
    University of Maine, Machias
    Relive the classic tale of The Nutcracker as performed by The Robinson Ballet. 3 pm and 7 pm. $15 adults, $12 students/seniors, and $5 children 12 and under.

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Pecha Kucha at the Camden Opera House

    By Annaliese Jakimides
    Photos by Leslie Bowman

    Friday night, about 400—including at least a couple of people, Leslie and I, from as far away as Bangor—gathered at the Camden Opera House for Pecha Kucha Night in Midcoast Maine. Simultaneously, Pecha Kuchas (meaning “chit chat” in Japanese, we were told) were happening in Pittsburgh, Bali, and Belgrade, although no one was sure which one (Maine or Serbia).

    Eight artists from the Midcoast showcased their work. Formula for these gatherings all over the world: The artist (loose definition allowed for an importer of wines) stands in front of the audience, while 20 slides of their work (for the wine guy, that meant Italian hillsides, and stunning, gnarled, old vines) flash on the screen. Well, not exactly flash. Each image lingers for 20 seconds, a long time if not accompanied by chatter, which some artists did and others did not. Let me tell you, some of the work was stunning, and some of the monologues entertaining, and at least one of the presenters left us with a compelling need to question ourselves about many things. It was a blast. Actually, it was a controlled blast.

    Afterwards, Camden was hopping. Since neither Leslie nor I have any experience with Camden’s weekend nightlife, it’s hard to judge whether this was because of the two-day Juice Conference about the creative economy, but—no matter—conversation was flowing, and so was the wine.

    Presenters were Scott Minzy, book artist and printmaker; Autumn Cipala, ceramic artist; Bill Laurita, owner of Swans Island Blankets; Mary Barnes, unconventional dry and wet drawings; Paul Chartrand, importer of organic wines; Antonia Small, photographer and writer; Anastasia Fischer, interaction designer; and Sam Cady, shaped canvas painter.

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    L.L. Bean does the holidays

    By Melanie Brooks

    It's the middle of November and I am done all of my Christmas shopping. No, I'm not kidding! It's done! I start my Christmas shopping in the summer so that 1. I don't have to shell out money for gifts all in one month and 2. I can actually enjoy the holidays. If you happen to be a normal individual who doesn't do their Christmas or Hannukah or Festivus shopping all year long you might be thinking a trip to the outlets in Freeport is a good idea to find something for everyone on your list. I would agree with you. But before you hop on the interstate, take a moment and find out what sorts of fun things L.L. Bean and the town of Freeport are doing for the season.

    I'm a big fan of Bean's Summer Concert Series. Little did I know that they hold events during the holiday season, too. Below is a list of events throughout the rest of November and December to help you plan your shopping excursion. Have fun!

    November 20
    Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
    See one of the largest holiday trees in the state, and the only one alight with thousands of multi-colored energy efficient LED lights, hand strung by local artist and designer Pandora LaCasse.7 pm.

    November 21 to December 27
    Old-Fashioned Carriage Rides
    What is more fun than snuggling under a blanket during a carriage ride? Not much.
    Rides run on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 7 pm.

    November 27
    Freeport's Moonlight Madness
    Enjoy midnight shopping around Freeport. There will be refreshments, activities, and special discounts all over town! 12 am.

    November 28

    Meet Author and Filmmaker Ken Burns
    If you haven't seen his newest project, The National Parks, you're missing out on something amazing. Burns will be at the flagship store for a booksigning. 11 am to 1 pm.

    December 4 to 24

    Free Gift Wrapping Weekends
    Enjoy this free service and support local non-profit organizations.

    December 4 to 6

    Freeport's Annual Sparkle Weekend
    Bring your family and enjoy the annual parade, a talking Christmas tree, carolers, cocoa, and of course, a visit with Santa.

    For a more detailed list of events visit and L.L. Bean's Calendar of Events.

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    What's Happening This Weekend...

    With a chill in the air and election day behind us, the holidays are just around the corner. Cross some gifts off your list by visiting a craft show or catch a movie this weekend.

    The Gifted Hand

    November 13 & 14
    Holiday Inn Convention Center, Ellsworth
    This craft show can't be missed. It features over 50 locally and nationally recognized artisans, along with a cafĂ© staffed by Cleonice and Table bistros. There will even be a door prize drawing. Fri. 10 am–5 pm; Sat. 9 am–4 pm. Admission is $2 with all proceeds going to benefit Birds Acre.

    Bridal Show
    November 15
    Morgan Hill Event Center, Bangor
    Are you or someone you know planning a trip down the aisle anytime soon? If so, you may want to check out this bridal show including a variety of catering, flowers, dresses, DJs and everything a bride could need. The event will be catered by Jolain's Gourmet and door prizes are available. 1–5 pm.

    Valentino—The Last Emperor

    November 15
    Strand Theatre, Rockland
    Take a contemporary look into the fashion world with this documentary following the life of designer Valentino Garavani. 3 pm.

    Holiday Gift Drive

    Check out our poster -- click on it to make it BIGGER! Print one out and put it up in your office for others to see. Your help is greatly appreciated.

    Tuesday, November 10, 2009

    Entrepreneurship Award!

    We work day in and day out to shed positive light on all the people and places in our region who are doing amazing things. But every once in a while it feels good to toot our own horn and we have cause to celebrate here at Bangor Metro world headquarters!

    It has just been announced that Mark Wellman and Tori Britton of Webster Atlantic Corporation (the umbrella under which Bangor Metro, Real Maine Weddings, and the forthcoming Maine Ahead magazines fall) have been selected to receive the Entrepreneurship Award from the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce. Toot toot!

    Here is what the write-up says in the November 2009 edition of Chamber News:
    [This award] recognizes an individual or business whose innovation and creativity have succeeded in opening new economic opportunities for our region. Mark Wellman and Tori Britton operate the Webster Atlantic Corporation which publishes Bangor Metro, Real Maine Weddings, and Maine Ahead. All of these publications serve to increase the region's visibility.
    We are all honored and humbled by this recognition...especially considering the company we're keeping! Other award winners are...

    Danny and Carla Lafayette:
    The Norbert X. Dowd Award, the BRCC's most prestigious honor.

    Bangor Savings Bank: Business of the Year

    Olympia Snowe: Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service

    Hilda Hutchins McCollum:
    Community Service Award

    Eastern Maine Medical Center: Non-Profit of the Year

    John Simpson:
    Arthur A. Comstock Professional Service Award

    Thursday, November 5, 2009

    Help spread some cheer to needy foster kids this season

    The holiday season is a time when we are reminded to thankful for all that we have—health, family, friends, a roof over our head, and food on our table. But there are many Mainers who struggle for the very things many of us take for granted. There are currently about 300 children in Penobscot and Piscataquis counties who are living in foster care.

    The Office of Child and Family Services in our area is asking the public to help ensure that these kids, who are often the product of child abuse and neglect, have something under the tree this Christmas. They need donations for their holiday gift drive for children who range in age from infancy to their early 20s. Appropriate gifts include clothing, especially winter outerwear, age-appropriate toys (but not stuffed animals), art supplies, non-violent video games, sports equipment, and gift cards for area stores and restaurants.

    It’s not easy being a foster child. Many children won’t have the opportunity to spend the holidays with their birth family and many foster parents struggle to provide basic necessities.

    Bangor Metro and Epic Sports have teamed up see that these kids have a positive holiday season. Here’s how you can make a difference: drop off an unwrapped gift at either Bangor Metro or Epic Sports by December 13th and sign up to win a stocking stuffed with $100 worth of goodies from local merchants. It’s a win-win situation! Not only will you be boosting your own karma you’ll be helping a needy child and a generous foster family have a happy holiday season.

    For more information on the gift drive contact Melanie Brooks at 941-1300 or For information on foster parenting click here.

    Drop off locations:

    Bangor Metro

    One Cumberland Place, suite 316

    Epic Sports
    6 Central Street
    Downtown Bangor

    What's Happening This Weekend...

    'Tis the season for holiday craft fairs. Get a head start on your Christmas or Hanukkah shopping this weekend and help support some local nonprofits.

    Designing Women Fine Arts Show
    November 7
    Husson University, Bangor
    Stop by Husson University and pick up some holiday goodies for friends and family. Items for sale include handmade bags, baskets, and jewelry. Leave a donation at the door for some good karma -- the money benefits nonprofit organizations that support women and their families. 9 am to 4 pm.

    Las Vegas Night
    November 7
    Bar Harbor
    This annual event helps support local YMCA scholarships and programs. There will be games, appetizers, cash bar, raffles, and prizes. Dress up for the best Vegas costume contest or come as you are. 6:30 pm to 10 pm.

    United Maine Craftsmen Arts & Crafts Show
    November 7 & 8
    Bangor Civic Center
    Check out what these craftsmen have concocted at this 21st annual show. Runs Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm. $1.50 at the door.

    Wednesday, November 4, 2009

    Getting into the holiday spirit

    By Melanie Brooks

    I don't know what it is but this year I'm more excited about the holidays than I usually am. Maybe it's because I'm celebrating in my own house this year for the first time. Maybe it's because I'm on a diet and lusting after holiday goodies. Maybe it's because I'm actually done my Christmas shopping and I'm looking forward to giving my friends and family their gifts. Whatever it is, I'm cheerful.

    To satiate my hunger for all things holiday I have decided to take a couple of fun classes to get my creative juices flowing. I signed up for a Gingerbread House making class with Carmen Montes (from Montes International Gourmet Cafe) at Pairings in Winterport. I absolutely love getting lunch at Montes and if her baking and decorating skills are anything like her delicious lunch menu I know I'm in for a treat. The two classes fall on November 10th and 17th (with some spillover into the Mondays before if there are too many students) and each class costs $15.00. Click here to register.

    I also just heard about floral arrangement classes at Chapel Hill Floral. They have four different holiday projects for you to try throughout November and December. Classes run between $20 and $25 depending on the project. I've always wanted to try my hand at floral arrangements and it looks like this is my chance. Click here to learn more.

    What's Cooking...

    By Melanie Brooks

    In today's economy it's beneficial to be able to wear more than one hat -- meaning it's better to be good at many things instead of one specific skill. Luckily I have many different interests that all sort of fall under the same umbrella of "media".

    For example, I not only love to write and edit, I also enjoy taking photographs, using Photoshop, and shooting and editing video. Back in the days of yore I was a television/film production major at Towson University.

    Last Friday Mark Janicki (chef extraordinaire and culinary professor at Eastern Maine Community College) and I headed to the Portland Regency Hotel to meet head chef Alan Cook and learn all about his recipe for crab cakes for our first issue of Maine Ahead magazine.

    Mark Wellman met us down there and we set up two HD cameras on tripods to capture different angles throughout the demonstration. I was given a small hand-held digital video recorder to use for close-ups of both Janicki and Cook as well as the food. I had forgotten how much I love the production process.

    It was fast and Wellman and I had to scramble. But I think we got what we needed. The best part of the whole thing? Being able to try the food. I really love crab cakes and these were yummy.

    The article by Janicki will appear in the pages of Maine Ahead and our video will be showcased on the Maine Ahead website. I'm looking forward to seeing how it all turns out -- and for next months' assignment.

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    A Pressing Matter

    By Kayla Riley

    One of my favorite fall treats is apple cider, and it doesn't get much better than consuming cider made in Maine. On Sunday I made the hour-long drive from Orono to Blue Hill to visit Beth and Bridge DeLong for their annual cider pressing party.

    They have held the event at their home for about five years, but this was my first time attending. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise. The sun was shining but there was a definite November chill in the air.

    I had never seen a cider press up close and personal before. Their cider press is a true antique, complete with metal gears and an old wooden crank handle. It all looked complicated, but it turns out that the cider pressing process is fairly simple.

    After rinsing the apples, you dump them into the top receptacle of the cider press. Then as someone starts cranking the handle, you feed the apples through until they have all been squished adequately into a bucket that waits below. The juice from the apples is then strained through a piece of cheesecloth and poured into a bowl at the end of the press, which is covered with a strainer and paper towel to grab any stray seeds or apple pieces.

    To my surprise, once the cider had gathered in the bowl it was ready to drink! Living in Maine my whole life I thought I knew the meaning of fresh cider, but I was mistaken. The cider you can find in your local supermarket or farmer's stand simply can't compare to freshly pressed cider.

    Until next year, I'm savoring every last drop of fresh cider. If you get a chance to attend a cider pressing party, don't turn it down. It's one of the best ways to celebrate the turning of the seasons—and use up all of those fallen apples.