Baby robins in garden
Robin's nest in rose arbor.
Happy Father's Day from the Harraseeket Inn and congratulations to all 2018 college and high school graduates, a goal achieved!  It's been a very cool spring, but temps are starting to warm up and all of Maine is abloom with wildflowers, fruiting trees and perennials, including our own gardens.  Along the coast the lupines are blooming, and our mornings are flooded with bird song.  Summer's coming, and along with it, L.L.Bean's Summer in the Park.  Lots of fun events are scheduled, along with their outstanding free concert series.  Check out the line-up and mark your calendars.  Don't forget to bring a blanket or a couple of beach chairs, and be aware that folks stake their seating claims hours before the concert begins.
Can you hear the waves and smell the salt air?

Speaking of L.L.Bean and the Great Outdoors, the Japanese (and Californians) are now practicing something called Shinrin-yoku, translated as "taking in the forest's atmosphere", or "forest bathing", in order to combat the indoor epidemic that's eroding human health.  Some insurance companies in Japan cover the cost of Shinrin-yoku programs due to their immune boosting, stress reducing and health enhancing properties. According to recent studies, the majority of Americans now spend 87% of their lives indoors and 6% in their vehicles, but here in Maine, taking a walk in the woods is easy when you're surrounded by
Have you hugged a tree today?
forests, mountains and Maine's rugged coastline. According to medical research documenting the benefits of Shinrin-yoku, doctors may one day be writing prescriptions for "a trip to Maine". So instead of heading for the gym and smelling sweaty bodies, come stay with us for a few days. Unplug, unwind, and "bathe" in the forest and seacoast atmosphere.  You'll improve your overall health. If you want to gain new outdoor skills at the same time, sign up for a few   Outdoor Discovery programs at L.L.Bean.  Or you can just take a leisurely out-of-doors daily stroll in any number of beautiful surrounds, then spend the rest of your time eating delicious locally raised and harvested foods and reading good books.

Speaking of books, the University of Maine at Fort Kent is culling thousands of books from their library and recycling the ones that aren't adopted within a week or so.  My truck has been jammed to the guppers with books that I'm ferrying to the
My house is now a "book house"
inn and stacking in the "take one, leave one" library.  Please, feel free to browse and TAKE as many as you like so more books can be saved before they're shredded. There are great novels, biographies, historical tomes, you name it. First editions over a hundred years old and so forth.  Unfortunately, it's not UMFK policy to advertise this major culling, so nobody knows about these free books and hundreds are being destroyed.  Tragic.  Adopt a book! They make great companions, and when you're done reading it, you can always gift it to someone else or sell it on Ebay if it's a collectible.  Real books are the "greenest" form of reading there is, no electricity or fancy gadgets required.

Our Broad Arrow Tavern lunch buffet was recently written up in  Yankee Magazine's "Best 5 All-You-Can-Eat Feasts in New England".     I love the photo in the article because Ken Collins is the  chef featured behind the line, and Ken's been with us for twenty seven years!  Not only is he very talented, but he owns and operates Freeport Brewing Company single handedly, and his IPA is our best selling beer on tap.  Give it a try next time you're in the tavern, you won't be disappointed.  Here's a photo of Ken from many years ago...
Ken in Tavern
Ken Collins in the tavern.

***The Conde Naste Traveler Reader's Choice   is now open for voting. Vote for your favorite places and you could win a trip to Thailand!

***With your help, we raised over $4,100. for Habitat for Humanity this year. Many thanks to all of you who participated in this special offer.  I do believe this was our best year ever.

Strawberries are ripening and rhubarb plants are in their glory, so what better time to make a strawberry rhubarb pie?  Sharon in our bakery provided this simply delicious recipe:

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
4 Cups sliced rhubarb
3 Cups sliced strawberries
2 Cups sugar
5 TBS tapioca
pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Mix all ingredients together, line pie pan with pie dough, fill, top with another sheet of pie dough.  Pinch edges together and bake for one hour at 350 until bubbly and done.  Enjoy!  For a more puckery rhubarb pie, my grandmother's recipe uses one cup of sugar and NO strawberries. That's why Sharon's our pastry chef and I'm not allowed in the bakery.

And now for this month's trivia question, which is going to take you into a certain patch of Maine meadows, woods and waters for some therapeutic "Shinrin-yoku".  Your job is to tell me where you are, and the name of the last person who lived in this special place.  This 140-acre piece of paradise is located in Freeport, just a few miles from the Harraseeket Inn, on the Harraseeket River, a saltwater estuary.  There's a gorgeous old saltbox farmhouse built in 1800, along with fields, woods, walking trails and beautiful views of the Harraseeket River.  In the farmhouse, upstairs on the plastered walls, are drawings of schooners from the war of 1812.  The property was lived in by the same family from the mid-eighteen hundreds until 1970, virtually untouched by the modern world and very much loved by the elderly resident, who was re-homed with relatives when deemed to be too old to live alone, and died in 1981 at the age of 98, very much missing her beloved farm and all the flowers, trees and animals she cared for and loved.  The Freeport Historical Society now owns and maintains the farmhouse, fields and woods and welcomes the public to walk the trails from sunrise to sunset.  The farmhouse is open at scheduled times for tours and special exhibits.  What's the name of this wonderful farm, and who was the special woman who lived here?

All correct answers win a voucher worth $5. toward food or lodging on your next visit.  Please note: these vouchers cannot be used toward special room offers like Habitat for Humanity.   You may of course use them toward your meals.  You may redeem twelve at one time, preferably in the year they were won.  One per household, please, and try to reply to the trivia within one week or take your chances on getting a voucher.  Good luck!

Special Offers and Upcoming Events:

*LL.Bean's Calendar of Events ; everything from kayaking, fly tying, bike maintenance, archery...and some great presentations from world adventurers. 

* Wolfe's Neck Farm Backyard Gardener Workshops  Learn new skills and get your gardens growing

*Visit Freeport  Sales and fun happenings in town! Everything "Freeport" in one handy website.
wolfes neck
*Wolfe's Neck Woods State Park There's always a selection of family oriented and educational outdoor events planned at the park and it's just a short drive from the inn.  Beautiful wooded walking trails along the rugged shoreline of Casco Bay. Get your Shinrin-yoku on and rejuvenate your soul!
We thank you for your patronage and hope to see you again soon!
The Gray family
Off Cape Elizabeth