February 6, 2024

Aroostook County Snowmobiling

Aroostook County in Maine’s far north offers some of the best snowmobiling in the United States. There are 2,000 miles of groomed and mapped trails in an area larger than the states of Rhode Island and Connecticut combined, spanning 7,000 square miles of woods, waters, and farmland. Thanks to an average annual snowfall of 94 inches, it’s paradise for those who love to sled. Highlights include the Aroostook Valley Trail, which connects the towns of Presque Isle, Caribou, Washburn, Woodland, and New Sweden. The Border Trail goes through woods and farmland that skirts the Canadian border. The 50-mile trail known as ITS 88 follows the banks of the Aroostook River, with glimpses of Maine’s tallest mountain, Katahdin, in the distance. There are dozens of rental companies and guided services via the Maine Professional Guides Association website, and more information is available at Visit Maine.

Farnsworth Art Museum Launched Momentum

The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland has launched Momentum, a new series to promote the discovery, knowledge, and advancement of art, artists, and ideas from Maine. The series will feature an artist’s first solo museum show. Brunswick-based painter Emilie Stark-Menneg is the inaugural artist. The artist’s exhibition of new paintings will open at the Farnsworth on February 17, 2024, with an opening event on the 16th. Since its museum was founded in 1948, the Museum has launched the careers of many influential American artists with ties to Maine by mounting their first solo museum shows. They include Jamie Wyeth, whose first exhibition was presented in 1968. Each year, the Museum will provide an artist with their first solo museum exhibition, acquire artwork for the permanent collection, and publish a scholarly catalog. The Farnsworth is considered one of the finest small museums in the country, with a nationally recognized collection of works from many of America’s greatest artists. It is open year-round as the only museum dedicated solely to American and Maine-inspired art. Visit The Farnsworth Art Museum.

Unseen Hands: The Hidden Elements of Labor

The Maine Museum of Innovation, Learning, and Labor (Maine MILL) is located in Lewiston and preserves and celebrates the extraordinary stories of work and the industrial ingenuity of Central Maine. It’s known for its collection of oral histories capturing the lives and livelihoods of some 300 people who worked in the mills and factories of the Androscoggin region, along with others who have arrived more recently to contribute to the area’s rich culture and changing economy. Yet many labor-related stories of Maine people remain untold. Unseen Hands: The Hidden Elements of Labor expands the story of people working in Maine and their work—seen and unseen. The show is organized thematically, with sections focused on Black labor, child labor, union labor, unpaid labor, and women’s domestic labor, all of which have been essential to the workplace, home, and family but have often been overlooked. The museum has also worked with two artists to create interactive works. Tanja Hollander, a local artist, photographed ephemera from the museum’s collection, from the October 25, 2023, Lewiston shooting memorials, and from community members as part of her Ephemera Project. The Anxious / Hopeful work is inspired by international artist Candy Chang’s A Monument for the Anxious and Hopeful. The exhibition runs from February 7, 2024-December 31, 2024.

Maine Art Museum Trail

One of Maine’s best long weekend pursuits during midwinter is to see artistic masterworks housed at some of the best museums in the state. The Portland Museum of Art, the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Colby College Museum of Art, the Bates College Museum of Art, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, the University of Maine Museum of Art, and the Zillman Museum of Art are all part of The Maine Art Museum Trail, an association of the finest museums in the state. In summer, these six museums are joined by three more museums that open on a seasonal basis: the Abbe Museum, the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, and the Monhegan Museum of Art and History. The collections range from American artists inspired by the Maine landscape, such as Frederic Edwin Church and Fitz Henry Lane, to Winslow Homer, Edward Hopper, Marguerite Zorach, and three generations of the Wyeth family. There are holdings of Impressionists such as Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. Not to mention early American silver and furniture, folk art, and sculpture. The Maine Art Museum Trail is the gateway to 80,000 works of art, a 350-mile loop ideal for passionate art lovers. Visit The Maine Art Museum Trail.

Winter Sports at the Penobscot River Trails Center

Cross-country skiing with a view of Katahdin, the state’s highest peak, is one of the most incredible experiences for skiers in Maine. That’s what’s in store at the Penobscot River Trails Center in Grindstone. The Center offers 16 miles of cross-country trails along the East Branch of the Penobscot River, a pristine, untouched wilderness. The trail system is groomed for classic skiing, but skate skiing and backcountry skiing are permitted in designated areas. There are also 13 kilometers of snowshoe trails. Skiers and snowshoers can get ready at the visitor center with its welcome wood stove and a rental shop with both cross-country and snowshoe rentals. Two warming huts along the trail route are also equipped with wood stoves, tables and chairs, and dramatic views of Katahdin. The best news is that access to the Penobscot River Trails system is free. Visit Penobscot River Trails.

Photo Credit: Penobscot River Trails, Taylor Walker Courtest

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