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Maine State Park Pass

Here is a reminder to our patrons that the Gardiner Public Library will once again be providing a Maine State Park pass for you to use free by checking it out with your Gardiner library card.  The pass goes out for three days on a first come/first served basis and allows a vehicle and all its occupants’ free access to a State Park in Maine.


Enjoy the warm weather now that it has arrived!


Monhegan, Maine

As I mentioned last month, one of my favorite daytrips for a beautiful summer day in Maine is to take one of the many ferries out to an island off the coast.  This blog will talk about a day trip to the island of Monhegan.

Monhegan has long been a destination for artists.  There is something different and magical about the quality of light on the island. There have been wonderful paintings done by Edward Hopper, Jamie Wyeth, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent among many, many others.


You can access the island via ferry from Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor, or Port Clyde for about $36 round trip.  Do be sure to bring a sweater or sweatshirt for the ferry trip.  Even on the hottest day in August, crossing the open water can be a very chilling experience. Do not plan on bringing your vehicle.  Monhegan is a walker’s island and cars are not allowed on the ferries.
After the relaxing ferry ride, you have a choice of at least three ways to spend your time on the island.  You could take a leisurely walk about the area near that dock that includes a few businesses, Bed and Breakfasts, eateries, and homes. Another choice would be to take the leisurely tour of Cathedral Woods Trail which is to the left of the dock area.  A more active way to spend your time on the island, rewarded by spectacular views, is to turn right down the road after the dock and walk the perimeter of the island. 
There are several places to have lunch; most are of the take-out variety and feature wonderful seafood dishes that you can enjoy at a picnic bench.  I usually opt to have a sit down lunch at The Island Inn before I wander through town investigating the shops before boarding the ferry to head to the mainland.
Again, don’t forget your camera!
Some web sites to check out are:

Vinalhaven, Maine

One of my favorite daytrips for a beautiful summer day in Maine is to take one of the many ferries out to an island off the coast.  This blog will talk about a day trip to the island of Vinalhaven.


I take the ferry out of Rockland.  It leaves about every 105 minutes and the schedule can be found at  There is no need to bring your car for a day trip.  Vinalhaven is very walkable for that time span.  The fee for walk-on passengers is $17.50 for a round trip ticket.  The ferry trip itself takes about 75 minutes.
The Chamber of Commerce site, , says, “Vinalhaven Island lies twelve miles off the coast of Maine, and is the state’s largest off-shore community.  It is known for its striking natural beauty and for being home to one of the world’s largest lobster fishing fleets.  We have a year-round population of about 1200 people, and welcome many more from around the world in the summer months.  The village of Vinalhaven is located on Carver’s Harbor on the southern end of the island, a short walk from the Maine State Ferry Service terminal.”


When I first arrive on the island, I head for lunch at either Greet’s Eats (a takeout stand on the right as you head into town) for a wonderfully fresh lobster roll called one of the best in the state by DownEast magazine or to the Harbor Gawker which is one of the few restaurants downtown.  To work off the hearty lunch, I continue down Main Street and then bear right onto Atlantic Avenue towards Lane’ Island preserve.  This is a wonderful public space with open fields, picnic benches, and assorted hiking trails – all with wonderful views of the water.


On the way back to the ferry – and the mainland – stop for an ice cream at a wonderful ice cream/candy store on your right as you head to the ferry.
A great brochure that shows the island and its many trails and parks can be found at 
And don’t forget your camera!
Scott Handville, Assistant Library Director
Photos courtesy of Google Pictures

Summer Destinations in Maine

 In honor of the beginning of summer, I am featuring several destinations featured in the book, Off the Beaten Path:  Maine, a guide to unique places.  If the places piqué your interest, you can find more by checking the book out of the library.  I’ve also included web sites for the destinations featured in this blog.

1.        “L.C. Bates Museum is situated on the campus of the Hinckley School just off Route 201 south of the intersection with Route 23.  The museum was founded by L.C. Bates, a successful entrepreneur from West Paris, Maine, who financed the conversion of the industrial arts building to a museum in 1924.  Thanks to benign neglect, the museum was preserved in a wonderfully archaic state.  The place boasts a copious collection of minerals, baskets by the Penobscot Indians, cases featuring stuffed bear, caribou, and the peculiar calico deer  (among other items).  On the school grounds near the museum are several walking trails, which pass quite a few handsome stone edifices and memorials.  The trails are open to the public during museum hours; ask for a trail brochure at the front desk.”
2.        “Worth visiting when you’re on campus is the Colby College Museum of Art.  The museum, housed in an open, modern wing appended to a more traditional brink structure, contains works by such Maine luminaries as Winslow Homer, John Marin, and Andrew Wyeth.  The museum is particularly known for its collection of paintings by contemporary artist Alex Katz.”
3.        “Learn more about the expedition at the Arnold Historical Society Museum, downstream from Gardiner on the river’s east bank in Pittston.  This fine historical home dates to 1765 and is furnished with period antiques.  The Colburn family lived in the house for nearly 200 years.  Visitors get a quick education in the history of decorative arts and architecture in seeing how the house evolved over the years.  The guide will also tell you about Major Reuben Colburn, the original resident, who hosted General Arnold and Aaron Burr for two nights while the final arrangement for the expedition were ironed out.”
4.       “Another intriguing historic setting may be found in southern Oxford County, not far from Route 25.  Paris Hill is notable both for its assortment of handsome Federal-style homes and as the birthplace of Hannibal Hamlin, a Maine political icon and vice president under Abraham Lincoln during this first term.  This ridgetop setting with view toward the White Mountains serves as a fine back drop for an uncommonly well-preserved village of 19th century houses. “

“The Hamlin Memorial Library in Paris Hill is located adjacent to Hannibal Hamlin’s grand estate on the village green and is the only building open to the public.  This stout granite building served as a local jail between 1822 and 1896.  In 1901, it was purchased by one of Hamlin’s descendants and converted into a library and museum, which it remains to this day.”

5.        “In nearby South Paris is the McLaughlin Garden and Horticultural Center, a popular stop for anyone interested in landscaping and plants.  The gardens were started in 1936 by Bernard McLaughlin, an amateur gardener who worked in a local grocery store.  After his death, the home and gardens were acquired by a nonprofit foundation, which now maintains the grounds and is trying to restore them to their former grandeur.”

 Scott Handville, Assistant Library Directot

Off on a trip . . .

When I set off on a vacation, particularly to a place I have never been to before, I enjoy borrowing travel books so I can have the lay of the land and major “hot spots” already in my mind.  The library has many volumes of travel books such as Fodor’s, Frommer’s, and Idiot’s Guides to help you plan and think about your trip way before you actually arrive and begin to make those decisions on the spur of the moment.

I was saved during my first trip to Disney World by these guides.  Without them I would have had no idea where to begin – from which hotel to stay at to which restaurant I might enjoy trying to which theme ride should be tops on my list.  I think I would have literally been wandering around for hours without a real goal just trying to make a decision.
If a trip is in your future – whether it be a cruise, a business trip, a trip to Gettysburg or to Disney World – stop by and borrow a travel guide.  It will make your trip so much easier.
BTW, my top picks for theme rides at Disney are Soarin’, any of the 3D movies, World Showcase Pavilions, Tower of Terror , and Expedition Everest.
Scott Handville, Assistant Director