Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Extending the season

Some of my favorite local sights –
Eric and the ocean view from Ragged Mountain

People often ask throughout the season,
"Do you close in winter?"
Yes, the standard motel rooms are winterized until the following April BUT...
our apartment rental can be made available to winter guests on a reservation-only basis during events such as the Literary Festival, Camden Conference and the Toboggan Nationals -- please call for details.

"When do you close?"
We close when guests stop coming. The trend is usually a few days before Halloween. It's like someone trips a switch and then ZAP...gone until springtime.

Yet here we are a few days before Halloween with guests still arriving. A big thank you to all for this wonderful extension of our fall season! Maybe it's the weather (arguably) remaining warm and the leaves holding their glorious color. Maybe it's just luck. Or maybe people realize our beautiful fall season now rivals summer. See for yourself with a these images from our roving photographer e.j. simon:

gratuitous puppy snap

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

We feel pretty, oh so pretty

Check out the latest press on Midcoast Maine:
• Prettiest Harbor – Downeast Magazine
• One of New England's Best Small Towns – Boston Magazine
• One of America's prettiest towns – Forbes Traveler
"Rockport has probably the most picturesque harbor you've ever seen."
One of America's coolest small towns – Budget Travel
Bobby Flay thinks so, too, despite his loss to the Brass Compass Cafe in a lobster club THROWDOWN held this summer in Rockland Harbor.

In the words of Dan Bookman, our local chamber of commerce director, "The national media is figuring out what local residents have known for a long time; namely that we live in a beautiful, liveable, and downright cool part of the coast.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Common Ground Fair

My favorite event of the year approaches – the 33rd Common Ground Country Fair, September 25-27, presented by MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association).

miss e. (recently appointed staff photographer at the Birchwood)
captures this gorgeous fall cabbage in our garden

Read this perfect description off their website:

The Fair allows fairgoers to make connections with a rapidly expanding base of organic farms in the state of Maine. Hundreds of vendors, exhibitors and demonstrators, more than 1,000 volunteers, and tens of thousands of fairgoers will gather to: share knowledge about sustainable living; eat delicious, organic, Maine-grown food; buy and sell beautiful Maine crafts and useful agricultural products; compete in various activities; dance; sing and have a great time.

Birchwood Motel is about an hour drive away from the fairgrounds. But the lovely back country road drive alone makes it well worth the trip.

A few rooms are still available for this year. Or maybe this will be food for thought for a future trip.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Give me a slice

I'm looking for the best slice of pie in Maine. Pie-making is in my genes, so I won't throw my own hat into the ring. But where to send guests looking for the perfect pie around the midcoast is really the question.

Birchwood Motel raspberry pie
adapted from Dan Henry

Guests have mentioned Just Barb's in Stockton Springs. Thomaston Cafe rates high for me. Loyal locals claim Moody's Diner. For carry out Megunticook Market offers a fresh raspberry pie that is a close second to a recipe given to me by Dan Henry, of Ducktrap Kayak fame. Amy's pies from Fresh Off the Farm are always crowd pleasers, too.

Please send me or post your suggestions for best slice of pie.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

’Tis a gift...

Identifying with, and feeling terribly upset about, the poor souls swept to sea today at Acadia.

Just this morning there were thoughts of throwing up the "No Vacancy" shingle to observe the waves brought on by an astronomical high tide and Hurricane Bill. Later in the day, I took a moment of quiet contemplation in my beautiful garden to thank the divine for the beautiful gifts of summer and a quiet simple day for my family.

more raspberries...eric's varietal plantings pay off.
our haul starts in july and last through the first frost!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just a wanderin'

A trip up Beach Road/Rt. 173 is just about a perfect drive in almost any season. This beautiful back country road winds through historic Liberty Village. Stop for a tshirt from Liberty Graphics -- an ecologically and socially responsible business since the 1970s. I nabbed an organic cotton tshirt printed with water-based soy ink for a mere $5 from the seconds bin. Not much more will get you a first-run shirt, priced at an affordable $15. The store's charming interior is reason enough to visit. The high quality Maine-made products are reason enough to shop.

sweet liberty

Great buys can also be had across the street at Liberty Tool/Grandma's attic. Our big scores — wooden clogs, costume jewelry and an old tinted Ball jar for seaglass. Overheard on this recent visit, a tweenage boy declaring to his friend "Dude, I told you this was THE COOLEST store, Dude!"

Head out of town toward Rt. 3, bang a left, and drive on to John's Ice Cream (see previous post). Look for his flag a bit past Lake. St. George (water is COLD but its a pretty spot to sit and eat ice cream). Our fave summer flavors are anything with seasonal berries, Lemon Custard and Peach.

Drive along the opposite side of the lake to hit the Appleton Ridge. This is inland Maine at its most lovely – blueberry barrens, rolling hills, the occasional pond or lake. Drive this especially in the fall for completely spectacular views. Too bad for me the camera battery died. So much to capture on such a beautiful day. Oh well.

Since the day was hot, we walked in to a secluded local swimming hole, picking and eating blueberries along the way. Full of John's and blueberries its a wonder we could still float. Cattails, evergreens and calling birds were our only other companions. Just lovely.

wild Maine blueberries

105 towards Hope returned us home to Camden. We couldn't pass up the Hope General Store and its unbelievable selection of beer (over 100 varieties), like the locally brewed Sheepscot Ale. And just across the way you'll spot Pine Ridge Carpentry – the fellas responsible for Birchwood Motel's gorgeous new main house facade.

home sweet home – thanks, Pine Ridge Carpentry!

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Secret is Out

Pop in to Woody's Secret Cone in Rockland, Maine for intense, dense chocolate ice cream. The one catch — the popping in part. This is one tough place to spot. There's no marquee or visible sign, forget a phone or website and you may find a note with instructions posted on his door. Read and follow them. STAY THE COURSE. Woody's is off-the-grid ice cream. And it's worth it.
Belfast fans from his days at the Cranberry Tiger won't need any help. For the rest of us, here's a hint: just beyond the Brass Compass and behind Richard Indiana's "LOVE" statue you just might encounter the master —Woody — in action hand-cranking his intense chocolate and locally-inspired flavors like strawberry rhubarb and blueberry.
Ask and Woody will tell you what goes into this chocolate frozen goodness. On my trip there was talk of Ambrosia and three types of chocolates, but once the first taste of my cone hit all else was forgotten.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Making Hay

There just isn't time to post lately. Not a complaint, just a happy and grateful fact to be busy with the Birchwood's summer guests. 

last strawberries and first blueberry!

The last garden strawberries are here. Guests have enjoyed this addition to the continental breakfast we serve each morning.  And what's not to like about complimentary homegrown strawberries in a fresh fruit salad along with buttery danish; fresh-squeezed o.j.; tea and our good strong coffee from Rock City Roast (organic, fair trade and locally roasted!)? 

Not far off are blueberries and raspberries and then, finally, luscious blackberries. All the berries are grown right here in the motel gardens. This is quite a feat considering June's weather – long periods of rain and fog coupled with relentless beetle and slug attacks!

Birchwood Motel's first cherry

Maybe next year cherries will make it on the menu. Our dear little cherry tree produced two cherries this year! Also on deck for 2010 are this year's garden additions: cranberries and elderberry. A year or two beyond our apples, pears and peaches should begin to fruit. Gardening and innkeeping sure makes time fly.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Blue Skies are Gonna Clear Up...

Blue skies reign (pun intended!) over Camden once more.
The clear skies continue tonight allowing us to catch from our front porch the distance fireworks from Blue Hill, just across the bay. Not a bad show!

Come back to Maine this summer and stop in at the Birchwood Motel. Midweek discounts, excluding peak festival weeks, are as low as $75/night plus 7% tax. The best of summer awaits.

early June was so promising!

the peony didn't seem to mind all this rain

nor did the strawberries, thank goodness. red all the 
way through and as sweet as they look!

magical luna moths seem to disappear 
before we can notice their arrival

Monday, June 29, 2009

Pile it on

My dad's idea of family fun was having his kids make manure tea in the rain barrel. Whatever manure didn't make it into the barrel went into his homemade compost bin resulting in a crumbly brown goodness. Us kids found these gardening chores a form of punishment. Now, as an adult, they seem a lost art.

so good I could touch it
Photos ©2009 Tammy Maseychik  

Yes, I admit it...I finally enjoy gardening. But a small element of punishment lingers – compost! Eliot Coleman and Victory Garden books litter my home yet all sage advice falls away as my kitchen scraps mildew into a mucky anaerobic slug factory.  Clearly the composting gene skips a generation. 

Failure creates desperation. Fantasies of plastic tumbling bins creating easy quick compost float in my head and across my computer screen. Each time I look at them my resistance weakens. Composting problems forever solved with a quick click. It would be so easy – charge it to a card, wait for UPS delivery, dump in kitchen scraps and tumble away to that elusive crumbly brown goodness, right?

Wrong. First, my frugal Yankee values get in the way. (Translation: I'm a cheapskate who won't pay the $100+ corporate composting commands.) Second, there's no getting around the ironic aesthetic of a giant, expensive plastic thing in an organic, wanna-be permaculture setting. Third, no amount of tumbling makes up for lacking a good compost recipe. So what to do beyond my grumbling? 

Here's what: have Newforest Institute show me the way. Birchwood Motel hosted "Secrets of Soil", a Newforest workshop, in the motel gardens last week. Pallets were turned on sides, wired together and reinforced with rebar. Et voila! – Loverly bins that fit right into the landscape. Nothing like hands-on learning to clarify things. 

the lovely & charming Julia listens to Jenny's compost woe

Julia Yelton, co-director of Newforest and permaculture sage, showed us her compost recipe that gets things cooking: layer the bottom with twigs (my thorny spent wild roses from the burn pile) and then alternate layers of brown and green to create the hot environment natural microbes love. This will all break down to finally make me some of that elusive crumbly compost goodness from childhood.

workshop team installs permaculture potato patch in minutes!

So thank you, Newforest, for fulfilling my compost quest. Eric and I are thrilled to see the small hill of coffee grounds our sweet little motel produces daily feed the garden instead of the dump. Add to that our kitchen scraps and some layers of straw, leaves, jewel weed (also a great poison ivy remedy) or other wild medicinals, manure, some seaweed and you have the secret to our soil. 

What does any of this have to do with tourism in Maine? I'd argue that enjoying, preserving and protecting the diversity of the world starts in your own back yard. And should you need any more detail than that, then come on up to Maine and head over to the Newforest Institute!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Permaculture Principles

No-dig, weed-free gardening?!  Hmmm...Birchwood Motel has 2 cottage gardens, 5 vegetable and fruit beds, 3 raspberry hedgerows and various fruiting and flowering shrubs, hedges and trees. Sign us up for some of that!

this much I know, nitrogen-rich clover is a friend to man and bee!

The savvy are long hip to the benefits of permaculture. For the rest of us, catching up won't be so hard thanks to the NewForest Institute in Brooks. NewForest is an educational non-profit with a mission of connecting people to the land by creating mutually sustaining relationships using permaculture design principles. 

NewForest came on my radar last week when they launched PermaFeast! with a  screening of the Sepp Holzer (the granddaddy of Permaculture) film series "Farming with Nature". PermaFeast! is a six-week series of hands-on workshops demonstrating the principals of permaculture and natural farming. When they asked for host sites for the series we were happy to volunteer. 

Birchwood Motel will host the first workshop "Secrets of Soil" on Wednesday, June 24 at 4:30pm. We'll learn through hands-on practical application no dig, weed-free gardening, sheet mulching, compost building and compost tea brewing. The cost will be $20 for the workshop. If you're interested in the whole series, the cost is $100 for all six workshops. Advance registration is required; please call Newforest at 722-3625.

Here's the series schedule: 
June 24: The Secrets of Soil; July 1: Water in the Landscape Ponds, flowforms, swales, aquaculture; July 8: Stone Age Economics Wild food foraging, perennial vegetables, and native medicinals; July 15: Manna from Heaven Hand-built, wood-fired cob ovens; July 22: Feathered, Flying and Fat Friends Backyard chickens, ducks, bees and pigs; July 29: Playing on the Edge Natural playgrounds and wild spaces.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

June is busting out all over

lovely lupine

The Maine setting of the play Carousel inspired Rodgers & Hammerstein's classic song (titled above) and it remains the perfect description for these late Spring days. Afternoon provides a lovely light for viewing and strolling about the gardens here at Birchwood Motel in Camden, Maine. 

Can you smell the lilac? Guests adore the lightly scented breeze calling to them down the front porch. Please enjoy (indulge me further) a few images from the Birchwood Motel gardens:

a chorus of iris

capturing the first pristine rose bloom before 
the japanese beetles arrive to make their marks

awaiting emergence of herb seeds
herbs for peace? peace mussel? — inspired by 
my creative friend, Jen C. 

even pup takes time to smell the spring flowers
indian paint brush — a wildflower fave 

poppies! poppies will make them sleep...

thyme in bloom, happy bees, lovely stone paths
laid by innkeeper/husband/stone mason Eric!

Gardens are so lovely. Always changing, always something new to see.
Come see more at the Birchwood Motel in Camden, Maine. 
Our great low Spring rates still apply – midweek deals as low as $60/night.
Get all the latest updates by following our tweets:
Or call us at 207-236-4204. Hope to see you soon!

Locals we dig

Craftingmamalibrarian is a must-follow blog. Interesting commentary, beautiful photographs, ideas, projects and recipes – mostly involving local foods, places, shops and people. But to me the real stars of the blog are her sweet family. Follow along and you'll see. Be sure to also look at her links for more ideas and local flavor.

As usual, I'm taking her advice and entering a contest posted on one of her favorite blogs:

My plan? If I actually win, I give the goodies to Iris in hopes she crafts me something clever with part of the proceeds. Maybe a sweet quilt pillow for the lobby at the Birchwood Motel?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Paddling season begins!

Memorial Weekend sure was busy at the Birchwood Motel in Camden. Typically, things don't get rolling here until June. So a big thank you to all our guests — both the new and the loyal returns — for coming out. Mother Nature did her part, too, with some glorious weather. Great spring deals are still available. Call us at 207-236-4204. Midweek rates start as low as $60/night.

Devoted innkeeper, Jenny, snuck away for a few hours to paddle with Sean. Sean is a beloved guest, returning for his seventh annual visit to Camden, Maine and the Birchwood!

What a fella! 
Sean hauls Jenny's new boat "Sweet Pea"
to the edge of Lake Megunticook

Additional gratitude is extended to Ducktrap Kayak in Lincolnville. Dan Henry is certainly one of the most knowledgeable paddlers around and really knows his gear. Years ago, when we first arrived in Camden — and before we knew better — a bigger outfit really took advantage of our kayak ignorance. Dan not only righted that wrong for us, but his commitment to making a personal connection with his customers made me a lifelong fan. If you need to buy or rent a kayak, your first call should be Ducktrap Kayak at 207-236-8606.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Good local eats

I'm in the mood for steak, simply because its near me.
If you're in the mood, Peter Ott's is one terrific restaurant.

Warm atmosphere, yummy food, lovely waitress I could trust. Yet, maybe not at first because she suggested I try the calamari appetizer. Calamari appetizer? Sounds boring, typical.

"You should. It's really fresh." she said. And it was. Very light, crispy, in a minimal batter that showcased the extremely fresh fish. 

Entrées include salad bar. Uh oh. Salad bar. Trust issues again. But then I saw that instead of the typical iceberg disaster there were lovely mixed greens, homemade beets with a light hint of cinnamon (YUM!) and a lot of other fresh vegetable choices. All the dressings were clearly homemade. Eric chose blue cheese (decadent and excellent). My choice was parmesan peppercorn. Both were terrific.

On to dinner. Should have brought the camera because my meal was a vision. Like I said, I wanted a great steak, and the menu had several choices. Menu envy set in so I requested the chef decide for me by cooking his favorite, medium rare. My plate held a perfectly cooked sirloin with a velvety dijon sauce and caramelized onions. Eric chose the duck breast and e. also a sirloin. Everyone was more than happy.

Somehow we all fit in dessert. Some local restaurants are feeding us stuff from the food service truck. Not Peter Otts. All homemade. Blueberry pie was already sold out. Bummer. But oh my goodness, warm gingerbread cake with caramel sauce. The chocolate mousse was also delightful but we kept going back to the cake. Oh my goodness! Wait, did I already say oh my goodness? 

Please support responsibly run, local chef-owned, restaurants like Peter Otts. Our guests at the Birchwood Motel often ask for our dining recommendations and Peter Otts is now on the list.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Open Season in Camden

The Stars & Stripes fly again on Curtis Island, signaling the start of the season to all who enter Camden harbor. 

Impish but sweet E. waits for the honor of raising the flag 
©2009 D. Conover

Thursday, April 30, 2009

From Dollars to Donuts...

Why is it important to support unique local enterprise? Let just one bite into a Willow Bake Shop glazed molasses donut be your explanation.  This tender sugary (but never fakey!) goodness doesn’t start in a factory or come in unnaturally bright colors and sure isn’t served up in a company box. It also can’t be found anywhere else but right in our own sweet part of Maine. 

the aforementioned molasses

Willow Bake Shop (Rt. 1 on the Rockport/Rockland line) revived a fond memory of the home-made jelly donuts purchased out of the front parlor of a victorian home in my grandmother’s neighborhood. Even better, hand made donuts with pure ingredients aren’t just some old fogey tale of the good old days, they remain a reality for a whole new generation. But what about the generation after that?

So I thank you, Willow Bake Shop, for serving up a little faith with those tender treats. You are one of many wonderful, original, local businesses I frequent.  Here are just a few of my favorite businesses, a little closer to home:

Hugs for Shirley at French & Brawn and Mel at Fresh Off the Farm — both of you always greet my family personally. You know not just our names, but who we are. These small moments teach my daughter, and me, about the importance of a daily human connection to our community. 

Hooray for the great eats at Boynton & McKay. Phil, Susan and YanMei always seem to know just what we want for lunch, plus they too also make fantastic donuts, along with our other fave — coconut macaroons.

Three cheers for Wild Rufus for getting us out of the 80s with a much-needed expansion of our musical collection. Your musical suggestions are always spot-on. We also appreciate your tireless support (and ticket sales!) of the arts and local events. 

Kudos to The Leather Bench for quality goods and — more important — their great service. A purchase from the Leather Bench wasn’t much beyond the price at a big box store, however the quality, construction and service of my item was well beyond. Try getting that out of a mall. 

Bravo HAV ll for understanding my woe and waiving the fee when I discovered that the video my husband dutifully returned at my request was actually not the overdue movie but that night’s selection.   

Yahoo for Rockport Blueprint, Village Shop and Zoot. Not for any specific reasons. I just dig having those stores in our sweet little town. Oh, and I just like to yell Yahoo! when I can.

And how cute is the zippy new Village Soup Gazette corner? 

There are plenty of other great little places in the Camden area — at least for now. I hope to get to all of you in future posts. 

So as the pessimists fret about kids supporting big box expansion into Camden let the rest of us have a little faith in our town and in our younger generation. Talk to your middle and high schoolers about the importance of small businesses. Appeal to their common sense by reminding them of all the local businesses that gladly purchase ads and hang posters for their events. Explain that the long-term cost of their quick Big Box chemical fix is one day not being able to come home again to the unique Camden of their childhood memories. Us old fogeys need to teach our kids the old indigenous saying that they don’t inherit the world, but borrow it from our grandchildren. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Stonington is the Real Deal

This was our last Sunday to sleep in and goof off before the season starts here at the Birchwood Motel.  Sunday's sublime weather called us outdoors. After some poking around in the garden, we took a drive up the coast. Our stomaches stopped us at the Belfast Co-op. Fresh, local eats for three – with drinks and a shared dessert (any sweet by Lindsey Shortz – Let Them Eat Cake – will make you happy) – came in at $20. Yahoo!

Roxy takes to the road

After lunch we took Route One north and turned off for Deer Isle and Stonington. Now this is Maine. Simply gorgeous. 

The beautiful port of Stonington

Arriving in Stonington, we parked the car and took the pooch for a stroll. Roxy – our miniature oodley-something from the shelter – is an instant friend-maker. Sure enough, within minutes Roxy met Josie — a delightful Cairn terrier — and Josie's human companion, Sylvia. 

Charmed by the lovable Roxy, Sylvia invited the pups to romp in her yard while we enjoyed some conversation together. This warm experience with a welcoming local underscores an important aspect of life in Maine – the humanity in our daily existence. People say hello to each other on the street. And the divine view of the bay was an extra bonus. Thank you for your hospitality, Sylvia!

Divine view (A little overexposed, but you get the idea)

On our way back to the car we came across the charming Boyce's Motel. Barrett, the friendly owner, came out to greet us. He showed us a standard room and an efficiency apartment. Both looked very clean and well-appointed. If you're looking for more than a day trip, his rates seemed quite fair. 

For our guests at Birchwood Motel in Camden, Maine, Stonington is a fine trip up the coastline for a gorgeous day. And Bluehill, Brooklin, Castine and Ellsworth are all within reach.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Easy daytrip from Camden

I'm embarrassed. How have I not heard about the Maine State Museum in Augusta before? Yesterday's visit made me a fan.

What a fabulous place. Thoughtful, engaging docents know their stuff about the incredible collections housed here: archaeology, history, biology, art, industry, government. A wonderful place for all ages to enjoy. You'll leave with a better understanding why this is called "the Great State of Maine."

Paleoamerican Exhibit ©2009 David H. Lyman

If you want to make a day of it, the State House is just next door. Also consider exploring Old Fort Western, a 1754 National Historic Landmark fort, store and house that is just a few minutes away.

Next visit I'll factor in enough time for lunch, although choosing will be hard. One of my faves is Slates in Hallowell -- an arty little village along the Kennebec River that has interesting locally-owned businesses to explore. Or just a bit further on from Hallowell is the eclectic A-1 Diner in Gardiner.

And then there's the hard to pass up Morse's Sauerkraut on Route 220, just a couple miles in from Route 17. If you can make it past all the tempting European treats and into a booth, order anything with sauerkraut. (Although I can't seem to get past ordering the same thing every time -- Pastrami reuben!) Sampling the tableside crocks of pickles and contemplating the selection of mustards to accompany my lunch always makes the short wait for food fly.

If you want to know more and see more of the state, take the day to explore Augusta. This easy daytrip is less than an hour away from the Birchwood Motel in Camden. A fine plan for any type of weather.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

Skis, Motels and Ice Cream

Ok, so I lied. The ski equipment isn't to bed yet.
$25 lift pass on Maine Day could not be resisted.
So we threw the gear in the truck and zipped over to Saddleback.

Gear on the way to do battle

Spent Saturday night at a motel. Snaps for the Saddleback Motor Inn -- immaculate rooms with brand new everything, a nice staff and a wicked clean heated indoor pool and hot tub. Room rate for a family of four on a Saturday night at this brand new place minutes from the mountain was $125. Motels are the way to go. (And not just because we own the Birchwood Motel in Camden!) Staying at this motel got us a clean room at a nice price with our money supporting responsibly run local small business. What's not to like about that?

Looks better in person. Sketchy weather but decent conditions.

And what's not to like about Saddleback? Impeccably maintained trails and lodge. Friendly, knowledgeable staff. Even with a good portion of the mountain closed (due to wind and inclement weather) we were entertained. Just a great family-friendly scene. Other mountains can leave me feeling a bit abused by the costs involved. Saddleback seems more than fair. A good benchmark: lunch didn't break the bank and a bottle of water was a reasonable $1. We'll be back again and again and again.

Coming home a sure sign of spring was spotted while passing through Liberty on Route 3: John's Ice Cream is open! John's -- IMHO-- is THE BEST ice cream in Maine. When in doubt, order Chocolate Chip or Quadruple Chocolate. I'm counting the days until Strawberry Rhubarb.

A Quadruple Chocolate!

Just another great weekend in Maine.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Put Away the Snow Gear

Saturday was the last hurrah for a big source of local winter fun -- the final day of skiing at Ragged Mountain. Kids -- with packs on backs -- were the first on the lift for the 9am mountain-wide Egg Hunt. The place was loaded with eggs -- enough that the kids could take several runs and still find eggs. Who was responsible for this bounty? Reports of a white creature with fluffy tail and ears could not be verified, however an anonymous source was able to capture this image from the early morning hours:

How the Easter Bunny delivers in Maine!

Last look at Lookout for 2009 season

Incredibly, we're not quite ready to say goodbye to our winter gear. Maybe one last day at Saddleback before the tourist season begins? But then finally away will go the snowpants, helmets, boots and skis in favor of the bikes and the kayaks. We'll pull out the deck chairs, plant the begonias, rake the lawn and hang up our shingle to receive guests at the Birchwood Motel. April is just about here. We're looking forward to catching up with our regular guests and welcoming new folks who want to discover the beauty of our small town and coastal Maine. Call us about our great Spring rates: 207-236-4204.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Let the Spring Season Begin!

Just a few weeks ago, March came out like a lion

Welcome Spring Equinox. The sun shines today at the Birchwood Motel in Camden. The days are blessedly longer. Oouf!--the skunks stir. Patches of lawn begin to show through the snow. Signs of change.

Ignore the cynics labeling Equinox as just the kick off to the "fifth season" -- Mud Season. Hang a towel at the back door for muddy paws and boots and look for signs of hope. Signs like: awakening to birdsong; the pup losing her winter coat to the grooming shears; the begonia tubers planted in boxes scattered around the sunny lobby; the hollyhocks greening up our garden; getting the motel rooms ready for the season. All these things call out "Spring is coming."

Hollyhocks on the way

Roxy's new coat

Enjoying the day with a walk along Beauchamp Point

Come see for yourself. Even Camden Maine's "mud season" has its offerings. There's still spring skiing at the Snow Bowl. The 30th Annual St. George River Canoe Race next weekend should be quite a sight. Restaurants and shops are offering great deals. And so are we at the Birchwood Motel. Now is a peaceful time to explore the coast, sight see, hike, shop, dine, relax. Give us a call 207-236-4204 or send us an email birchwoodmail@roadrunner.com and we'll be happy to suggest an itinerary.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Make the Most of Maine

A well-planned Maine vacation can be a luxury for your soul without being a burden on your wallet. As owners of a cute little motel in Maine, we're often asked for advice on how to best experience Maine. Let us share with you some vital tips.

Start in the Midcoast!
Choosing Midcoast Maine as your vacation home base is an important strategy. Why? The Midcoast area alone offers enough to keep you plenty busy during your stay. Even better, most attractions and events are extremely affordable and many are free! And, if you desire a visit to Acadia National Park or the expansive beaches to the south, popular sites are easy and reasonable daytrips from Midcoast.

Economize with Longer Stays
Another consideration: spending your nights in one place will economize both time and money. Many lodging owners offer discounts for longer stays, especially midweek. Great rates on longer stays may open your budget for that favorite restaurant, a unique handcrafted souvenir, a sail on the bay, a lake or sea kayak and more. It also means having more time to relax and enjoy your trip. Changing lodging places multiple times over a trip -- pack up, drive around, search for a place, check in, haggle, unpack, get your bearings on the local scene and where to dine -- chips away at precious vacation time.

Finding the Right Lodging
How do you find a good place to stay? First please consider locally-owned lodging. Clean, comfortable, well-maintained accommodations of all levels are plentiful in Midcoast Maine. At the Birchwood Motel we're very proud of our loyal following and favorable reviews. And by supporting small local businesses like us, you help preserve our town's character and sense of place. Visitors to Camden consistently comment how they adore our small town charm, "Camden looks like an old-fashioned movie set!"

For reliable lists of area accommodations try either the Camden or the Penobscot Bay (Rockland) Chamber of Commerce. Both chambers are well-staffed with knowledgeable local folks who are happy to answer questions and provide information.

Midcoast Must Sees
Stay tuned...in the coming days and weeks we'll post our TOP FREE THINGS TO DO in the Camden area, along with our picks for great eats, best views, serene spots, favorite parks, sweet walks and challenging hikes, most beautiful gardens, etc. In the meantime, start thinking on your future visit to Camden and Midcoast Maine.

Already a fan of Camden, the Midcoast, the Birchwood Motel or all of the above? Join our discussion. We welcome your insight. Please post your positive comments, appropriate links and any suggestions that might be helpful for potential visitors to Camden.

Any time of the year, our motel -- the Birchwood -- offers unbelievable rates for the area. Spring months offer the greatest savings. (The weather may be hard to predict at that time of year, but our views and local beauty remain constant.) Midweek stays in our standard rooms offer the greatest savings. For every extra night you add, we increase our discount. Take 5% off a two night stay; 10% off a three night stay; 15% off four night stay and 20% off a 5 night stay. There are also great deals for weekly stays in our cottage and our vacation apartment rental. (Please remember this offer excludes Friday & Saturday nights and prime festival weeks).

Oops, there goes the bell. Hope to see you at the next posting or at our front desk soon!