July 8, 2024

Maine Has Two New James Beard Award Winners

Two Portland bakers were recipients of the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards at the organization’s annual awards ceremony on Monday, June 10, in Chicago. Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto was awarded Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker. A veteran of Portland restaurants Fore Street, Standard Baking Co., and Miyake, her first business was Ten Ten Pié. She describes her bakery as “European baking, Japanese sensibility, Maine ingredients.” Barak Olins of Zu Bakery won for Outstanding Bakery. Since 2000, he has used Maine-grown grains milled in-house to create fresh loaves of bread and pastries. The annual James Beard Foundation Awards are part of the nonprofit James Beard Foundation that recognizes the country’s best restaurants, bars, bakeries, chefs, and operators.

Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark

frances-perkins-homesteadOne of Maine’s hidden gems is the Frances Perkins Homestead National Historic Landmark, nestled on 57 acres of land along the picturesque Damariscotta River. This was the ancestral home and sanctuary of Frances Perkins (1880-1965), a trailblazing figure in American history. She was the first woman to hold a U.S. Cabinet position and the driving force behind the New Deal, which created many of the benefits and safeguards Americans rely on today. Perkins was one of only four people who served at the top echelon of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration for all 12 years of his presidency, entrusted by the President to create legislation and guide it through congressional approval. Visitors can explore a free, self-guided exhibit on the life of Frances Perkins in the Homestead’s historic 1837 barn through August 30, 2024, and enjoy full access to the trails on the property. Please note that the interior of the Brick House will not be open to visitors this season due to ongoing restoration projects.

Photo Credit: Frances Perkins Center

Acadia by Carriage Offers Wheelchair Access

Friends of Acadia, a leading conservation organization in Maine, has made it possible for Acadia by Carriage to provide horse-drawn carriage rides at no cost to visitors who use wheelchairs in Acadia National Park.  A wheelchair-accessible carriage is available by reservation, with a ramp on the back accessible to many types of wheelchairs. Designed for Acadia’s historic carriage roads, the carriage is large enough to accommodate several additional passengers on the carriage’s bench seats. The program has been made possible by a generous donation from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation. Those hoping to reserve a tour must contact Acadia by Carriage well in advance.

The 100th Anniversary of the Portland Symphony Orchestra

portland-symphony-orchestraA fantastic roster of music, dance, and celebratory community events is planned for The Portland Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO’s) 100th anniversary season from September 2024 to June 2025. The 100th season honors the orchestra’s past, present, and future, and PSO has dubbed the season’s theme: “Celebrate, Grow, Engage.” There will be performances showcasing new works from diverse artists and PSO “Discovery Concerts” that welcome young children who wish to get closer to the stage. Look for a sing-along of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, festive holiday performances featuring Cirque performers, and a special screening of “Star Wars: A New Hope,” with a live performance of the popular musical scores composed by John Williams. Go to PSO for details about the 100th anniversary year.

Waterfront Concerts in Bangor

A hallmark of the summer and fall season in Maine is the Waterfront Concerts in Bangor, held at the Maine Savings Amphitheater. Look for Jason Mraz on July 7, Joe Bonamassa on July 19, Hozier on July 24, Foreigner with Styx and Jone Waite on August 3, The Smashing Pumpkins on August 4, Kenny Chesney on August 15, Pitbull on September 14 and Post Malone on September 16, among many other artists. For information and tickets, go to Waterfront Concerts.

Whitewater Rafting in Maine

whitewater-rafting-maineMaine has some of the most challenging whitewater in the East, and the rafting season is now in high season. The fantastic wild waters of the Penobscot, Kennebec, and Dead rivers are the prime rivers for enjoying the sport, a time for thrill-seekers to spend a day outdoors in some of the most pristine wilderness in America. The easiest way to go rafting is to plan a trip with one of the state’s leading outfitters, including Northern Outdoors, Northeast Whitewater, North Country Rivers, and Penobscot Adventures, for the perfect river trip. Go to Visit Maine for more info.

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