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August 15, 2013

Clean and Scenic Beaches in Maine

Maine’s southern coast is home to some of the world’s most picturesque beaches. Each beach is different than another. Some are soft and sandy, some are a riot of tidal pools and others are composed of smooth stones.  The water tends to be colder at the north end of the state and even a little too warm for some as you go south.  You also have your choice of visiting a wild, secluded beach or one that comes with amenities such as change rooms and snack bars.


Orchard Beach is one of the most famous beaches in the world that has a long scenic stretch of silty white sand. It boasts amusement parks, food and games. There are many well-placed parking lots and the beaches are always well guarded by a vigilant staff of well-trained life guards.


The north end of the beach is a bit quieter and is also known as Pine Point Beach.  It is surrounded by majestic towering white pines.


This beach is known for it’s warm water and soothing gentle surf. The mild character of the ocean here makes it popular with families. There are also lots of lifeguards on this site.


If you feel that you want to get away from the crowds and kids, this beach is attached to Footbridge Beach that is less populated but just as pretty. To get to it you cross a small footbridge over a tidal creek. It is easy to examine marine life when the tide is out in this area.


This is a three-mile expanse of sand at the mouth of the Kennebec River that is full of tidal pools that are perfect for exploring. However it is often a very windy beach that can boast dangerously high waves or sand in the eyes. If you like surf and boogie boarding then this would easily become a favorite beach for you.


This is one of the most beautiful pebbled beaches in the state. It is located very near Popham Beach and the town of Bristol. It is more secluded and wild in nature than neighboring bitches.


This is a smaller wilder beach located in Bar Harbor in Acadia National Park. It is notable because it is surrounded by two huge rock walls.  The water is really warm because the each has a perfect southern exposure. It also is well known for its beautiful view.


No matter what your vision of the ideal beach is you are sure to find it among the scores of resort areas that line the Maine Coast.


August 13, 2013

Six Places to Visit in Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard is an island that includes the smaller Chappaquiddick Island and it is just off the south of Cape Cod in New England.  It is just less than 90 square miles and boasts a wonderful collection of old cottages, white bluffed sandy beaches and tourist attractions.


One of the most notable points of interest in Martha’s Vineyard is a town called Vineyard (Tisbury.) The main attraction in this summer resort area is the West Chop Light House that stands on the north end of the Island.  Not far from this lighthouse is a steamboat wharf that boasts 150 years of history.  The entire town is charming and boasts quaint architectural examples of coastal cottages from the last couple of centuries.


Another big attraction for Islanders is the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs.  Built in 1876, this is one of the oldest operating carousels in the United States.  It was moved from Coney Island to Martha’s Vineyard in 1884.  Each horse has a smaller animal carved in the pupil of each eye.  As the horses go around riders can catch a brass rings and hook them on top of their horse.  As of 2010, rides are two dollars each.


Edgartown is an old whaling town that is full of examples of 18th and 19th century architecture. This is the place where Jaws was filmed. It is also home to the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, which is run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

West Tisbury is home to Lambert’s Cove which is a hilly area of the Island with picturesque features such as an old cranberry bog, the public beach known as Lambert’s Cove Beach and a spectacular forest of oak and beach trees.


Chilmark boasts one of the most popular sunset watching spots in the world.  This fishing town has the highest average property value of any city or town in Massachusetts.  This town is a swimming haven with five beaches on the ocean and one on the inner shore of Menemsha Bay.


Aquinna, formerly known as Gay Head, has a large American Indian population. The Wampanoag were whaling in the area long before English colonists settled it. However the reason to visit Aquinna is to see the brightly colored clay cliffs and the aqua colored oceans with its very high waves.  The cliffs figure very prominently in the myths and spirituality of the Wampanoag. Yet another famous feature of Gay Head is its notorious nude, each which is also known as “Jungle Beach.”


As you can see there are tons of relaxing and interesting things to do in this area of the United States that boasts some of the most interesting curious and wonderful scenic vistas in “The New World.”

August 10, 2013

Blueberry Picking in Maine

The blueberry is native to Maine and they can be found growing everywhere all over the state in fields and barrens. That is because they thrive in the state’s naturally low acid soils.


Although you can buy them commercially it is a real tradition to go picking wild blueberries. Even commercial growers don’t tend to plant them or cultivate them. They just happen to own the land on which they grow.


Blueberry picking is a tradition that started centuries ago with the Native Americans of the area. They were the first to use these tiny sharp tasting berries as food and medicine.  They weren’t actually harvested commercially until the 1840s.


Most of the blueberry bushes can be found on ‘the barrens.” These are vast rolling plains of sandy soil that were formed by the glaciers and that perfectly suit the growing of low bush blueberries.  Other plants that grow in these barrens are rhodora, tea-berry, laurel and bracken.


These blueberries are a dark velvety blue and quite tiny. Other than in a few spots in Canada they really are not found anywhere else in the world.


The best time for anyone to pick blueberries is in August.  Any frost will kill these delicate tiny berries so it is always done way before frost can set it.


There are scores of wonderful pick-your-own farms in Maine.


In Adroscoggin County try Card’s Farm or Goss Berry Farm. You can pick your own raspberry and blueberries from dusk to dawn at both places.


In Aroostook County there is Circle B Farms, which has six acres of blueberries for PYO (pick your own.)  In Aroostookt here is also McNally’s Farm, Mac’s Best Produce and Hebert Farm.

In Cumblerland County you can pick your own at Crabtree’s Blueberries and The Stewart’s Farm.


In Franklin County there is Firth’s Fruit Farm and the Peace and Plenty Farm. The Peace and Plenty Farm sells organic wild sour top Maine blueberries.


In Hancock County you can pick your own in a marshy blueberry barrens at Hog Bay Blueberries.


In Kennebec County you can pick blueberries as well as pick up a little Maple Syrup for blueberry pancakes at Wagner’s Maple Sugar House.


In Lincoln County you can get big organic wild blueberries at Crummet Mountain Farm.


In Washington County you can pick them and buy nationally known preserves at Blue Barrens Farm.


In Walso County, both Staples Homestead and Sewall’s Orchards offer blueberry picking.


York County is the home if the famous Blueberry Hill Farm that offers a staggering ten acres of blueberries!


August 7, 2013

Enjoying Traditonal New England Cuisine

New England cosine encompasses delicious dishes made in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. For the most part these places are known for their traditional recipes that incorporate such indigenous ingredients as clams, maple syrups and beans.  Just follow along the state highways and stop at the many inns and bed and breakfasts to sample the best of what this state has to offer.


However lately the food in New England has gotten even more delicious and adventurous. If you thought New England is just about the clam chowder you are wrong!


These seaside states are famous for their clam chowders and there are as many recipes for it as there are grandmas, inns and spas. The Three Stallion Inn serves up delectable Corn Tarragon Chowder. The Wachusett Village Inn serves up both Smoked Salmon Chowder and Lobster chowder sprinkled with oyster crackers.


The entire state is known for homemade breads. If you like banana bread you will love the Chocolate Zucchini bread served at the Cabernet Inn. The Oatmeal Molasses bread served at the Rabbit Hill Inn is rustic and healthy for you.


Traditional raspberry scones are served up at the Old Tavern at Grafton. For a more decadent baked good try the Strawberry White Muffins or the Triple Chocolate Muffins at the Glynn House Inn.


In New England you find Maple Syrup on everything from pancakes to squash to ice cream. You will also find it in fudge, cookies and candy. However one of the most gourmet uses for it is in the recipe for Apple Chicken served up at Wachusett Village Inn. This is a chicken breast stuffed with apple and cheese soaked in maple syrup.


Lobster is a dietary staple in New England. Buttered lobster is found everywhere in restaurants along the coast. However, these “fruits of the sea” are now found in exotic gourmet dishes such as the “Grilled Lobster Tails with Foraged Fiddle Head and Leek Risotto found at the Inn by the Sea.


New England is also known for Inns serving special cocktails AT the Trapp Family Lodge a hot red wine drink known as Gluehwine is served.

At the Sebasco Harbor Resort there is a unique cocktail served called the Sebasco Lobster Bake, which is basically a vodka-based Ceaser with Horseradish and Lobster claw meat as a garnish.

When it comes to food there is a lot to discover in New England!


August 4, 2013

The Cuisine of Monterey County

As the food from the nearby Salinas Valley is so fresh and so is the seafood, Monterey County is a food-lover’s paradise. Furthermore the county is known for it’s ethical organic growers as well as its numerous vineyards along the coastline and in the hills near Salinas along Highway 101


There are scores of very highly Zagat rated restaurants along the coast of Big Sur that offer wonderful views of the ocean along with great seafood.  These cliff-sitting restaurants offer delicious fare such as artichoke ravioli, roasted rabbit, organic rib-eye stake and creamed Diver Scallops.


Pacific Grove is also known for it’s fine cuisine and in particular, it’s wonderful seafood restaurants.  Many of the restaurants in Pacific Grove are quite tony and cater to the rich and famous in the area. Food is prepared with calories, nutrition and creativity in mind.  Organic prime steaks, fowl and lamb shanks are on this type of menu along with creatively done vegetables like asparagus fries and oyster salad.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is also a food Mecca that used to be a bohemian paradise. The food here is more European inspired and features Italian, French and Mediterrean fare alongside Mexican and Spanish influenced foods.


Spa food is very popular in Carmel Valley, which is famous for it’s very healthy, calorie-wise Cal-French cuisine. These five star spas serve up such delights as sweet corn succotash served with black truffle vinaigrette, rabbit loin with onions and apple and lamb stew with morel mushrooms and garlic.

On the cheaper side, Carmel and the surrounding area is also very famous for it’s gourmet pizza made with fresh vegetarian ingredients.  There are also many affordable oyster and wine bars in the area.


Moss Landing is one of the most famous destinations for fresh seafood in the country. It is a favorite haunt of Iron Chef star Bobby Flay.  The place is actually an old wharf that combines restaurants and seafood shops with antique shops and art studios.  This old wharf has been around since 1866.


Salinas has one of the largest Chinese populations in the country so it is not surprising that it is home to so many wonderful Chinese restaurants.  Seafood prepared in black-bean and ginger sauces and loaded with plenty of garlic are a specialty in this city.


Wine tasting is also very much where it is at in this California County and you can find wine-tasting rooms in most malls, hotels and along shopping board-walks near the sea. You can also take scenic wine tours by bus to winery after winery in the hills and valleys near Salinas.

August 1, 2013

Golfing in Moneterey County

Monterey is an aging community, but it is also a rich and health-conscious community. Therefore it is not surprising that there are so many amazing golf courses in the area.


In the city of Monterey it there is a beautiful little 18 whole course with over 5,554 yards called the Monterey Pines Golf Course. You can pay golf right by the beautiful green waters of Monterey Bay. Another Oceanside course in Monterey is the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch that has 18 holes and boasts a par of 71.

Golfing in Monterey, Pebble Beach and Big Sur can be expensive because these are very wealthy communities. If you are looking for an affordable course near Monterey then the public goes to the Del Monte Golf Course.  Aside from being cheaper it also boasts the distinction of being the oldest golf-course to be established west of the Mississippi what with being founded in 1897.


A well-known 18-hole course on Pebble Beach is the Pebble Beach Golf Links course that is built on 6.828 of rye grass.  Jack Nicklaus, Douglas Grant and Jack Neville helped design this course which first opened in 1919. It is an incredible place filled with ponds and a spectacular view of both the ocean and the mountains. It is located just of the well-known  17-Mile Drive and is a favorite haunt of many celebrities.  The course is beautifully landscaped with natural rock forms, tall grass, short grasses and lone pine trees.


In Poppy Hills, a suburb of Pebble Beach there is a ritzy little 18 whole course that has many slopes and ponds. It is also a golf-ball’s throw away from the white sands of the beach.


Caramel is home to a very famous five star-rated golf course called The Preserve Golf Club Preserve Course that has 7,076 yards and 18 holes over bent grass.

Pacific Grove also has a very beautiful 18 whole golf course called the Pacific Grove Golf Course that has a high slope rating of 118 on Kikyu grass. It was designed by H. Chandler in 1932 and is one of those vintage celebrity golf courses that the county of Monterey is so famous for.


The city of Salinas has a rare shorter golf course with only 9 holes over 3,535 yards with a par of 31. If a quick game of golf is what you want then this is the course for you.  However if you a prefer a longer game there is the Salinas Fairways  Golf Course and the Salinas Golf and Country Club Course. Both are located about twenty miles outside of the city.