April 2018 — The great thaw has begun, the lakes are changing from a frozen state to ice out, and the first patches of green are starting to appear in the woods. It’s called April in Maine. It’s a month when foodies know that a brief window has opened and everyone has an equal chance of getting a coveted reservation at The Lost Kitchen in Freedom. April is a great month for planning an outing over the coming months, like a visit to Rockwell Kent’s house on Monhegan Island or a yearly birding trip on Deer Isle. Visitors can explore Portland on two wheels this summer or catch a classic auto “race” as it wends its way through the state. For writers, editors and bloggers looking for short-lead news, you’ll find immediate details under Happening Now. Those in search of longer lead news can scroll down to the Looking Ahead section.
Reservations at The Lost Kitchen
The Lost Kitchen, Chef Erin French’s restaurant in rural Freedom, Maine, is already the stuff of legend. Located in an old gristmill far off the beaten path, it made headlines last year when reservations opened on April 1 and more than 10,000 calls swamped the reservations line within 24 hours. French, author of “The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine,” which has been nominated for a James Beard award, has decided to handle reservations a bit differently this year. Anyone who wants to dine at The Lost Kitchen in 2018 will need to write their name and contact info on a 3x5 notecard, add a personal note on the back if they care to, and mail it to the restaurant. Cards must be postmarked between April 1 and 10, 2018, with one entry per person. The staff will begin selecting cards on April 11. If your card is selected, you can then request a specific date. As French notes, “Here at TLK we are old fashioned, we are simple, we are slow, we are Mainers. We prefer human contact over computers and pen and paper over keyboards.” Go to The Lost Kitchen for more details.
Artist Rockwell Kent’s Monhegan Island House and Studio Named to the National Trust
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named the painter Rockwell Kent’s home and studio on Monhegan Island as one of their Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios (HAHS). Kent (1882–1971) came to Monhegan in 1905 and was taken by the island’s rugged beauty. He built his modest shingled home in 1906 and the studio followed in 1910. He was a young man still in the early stages of his career, which would see him later acclaimed as a notable painter, printmaker and illustrator. The home is situated on Horn’s Hill, overlooking the island village and the harbor island, Manana. It was later occupied by his cousin, painter Alice Kent Stoddard (1883–1976), and ultimately by his friend, painter James Fitzgerald (1899–1971). Fitzgerald owned the house and studio until he died in 1971, when he gave them to his patrons, Anne and Edgar Hubert. Anne Hubert gave them to the Monhegan Museum in 2003. They are open to the public during the summer. The Historic Artists’ Homes and Studios program includes more than 30 artist sites that are open to the public around the United States, including the Winslow Homer studio at Prouts Neck, owned and managed by the Portland Museum of Art, where Homer painted during the last decades of his life. Visit the Monhegan Museum for details on visiting.
Spring Birding Festivals
The Maine coast, with its protected bays, islands and estuaries, offers a unique and incredibly beautiful environment for spring birdwatching. Maine is on the Atlantic flyway and spring offers dedicated birders the first sight of Warblers, Vireos, Orioles, Flycatchers, Canada Geese and other seasonal visitors on their way north. The Wings, Waves & Woods Festival in Deer Isle and Stonington, from May 18 to 20, is an annual gathering for dedicated birders. On the schedule are boat trips to Seal Island, with a good chance of sighting Atlantic Puffins, Razorbills, Common Murres, Black Guillemots, and Great Cormorants. From May 31 to June 3, the Acadia Birding Festival on Mount Desert Island offers speakers, bird walks and an offshore trip. For more information, check out the Maine Birding Trail website.
Around the Peninsula with Summer Feet Cycling
Portland-based Summer Feet Cycling is known not only for their Maine multi-day bike trips but also for their itineraries in Canada and Europe. But their new trip, Around the Peninsula, allows you to discover the rich history and stunning architecture of the Portland peninsula. It may only be 3.5 miles long and 3/4 miles wide, but the Portland peninsula is packed full of food, history and culture. The three-hour tour includes a ride along the Eastern Promenade bike path, to Back Cove and Portland’s Deering neighborhood, and then on to the West End and finally the Old Port. The trip runs daily from May through October at 10:30 a.m. Go to Summer Feet Cycling for more information.
The Great Race 2018
The 35th Annual Hemmings Motor News Great Race runs from Buffalo, New York, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, this year from June 23 to July 1, 2018. The good news is that this race, which features classic, antique and vintage cars, is making multiple stops in Maine this year. So there’s a chance to see venerable Chevys, Fords, Bentleys and Hudsons up close. There’s an overnight stop in Gardiner/Augusta on June 26, a lunch stop in Owl’s Head at the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum on June 27, an overnight on the waterfront in Bangor on June 27, as well, and on June 28, lunch at Seal Cove Auto Museum on Mount Desert Island and an overnight in Bar Harbor. Go to The Great Race site for more information.