Maine 100 USCC Snowmobile Race

We enjoyed watching today’s USCC Snowmobile Race.   The race was moved to the West Cove of Moosehead Lake because of some bare spots on the trails…but this actually made it easier for us “spectators”.  We are looking forward to this being a yearly event!

Three Racers Making it a Tight Race

The Last Lap

Crossing the Finish Line

And the winner is...

It is Maple Sugar Time in Maine!

Buckets gathering sap from a Maple Tree

In New England, maple sugaring is the first sign that spring is on its way!  Maine is one of the very few places where the sap from a maple tree can be tapped and then turned into maple syrup.  This is part of what makes Maine and Maine Maple Syrup so special.

Maple sap cannot be harvested just anywhere there are maple trees.  Certain weather conditions are necessary in order for the sap to flow properly for harvesting. The required pressure level needed to get the sap flowing is created when the tree freezes and thaws. Thus, warm days and cold nights make for optimum maple sugaring conditions.

When the pressure from a maple tree thawing reaches a certain level, sap is collected. This pressure allows the sap to flow from the small holes that are made to collect the sap.

Most of the sap is still gathered the old-fashioned way, in buckets hung from trees, and boiled down to syrup over wood fires. Many of the larger producers use labor saving modern technology. They gather the sap with plastic tubing strung all the way from the trees, gravity fed to the “sugar house”.  Once the sap flows from the tree, the sap must be processed within a few hours or it will spoil, therefore syrup makers work around the clock.

From holding tanks (which may hold as much as a thousand gallons), the freshly collected sap (usually about 3% sugar) is fed continuously into the evaporator. There it is kept constantly boiling as it becomes more concentrated. When the syrup reaches a temperature of 7 degrees above the boiling point of water, the sugar-density is perfect.  Immediately, the syrup is filtered to remove particles of “sugar sand.” These, although harmless, would make the syrup cloudy. After it is clear, the finished syrup is packed in sterilized containers and sealed, ready to be enjoyed around the world.

The syrup is sometimes dark and rich, or sometimes pale, gold and delicate.  Similar to wine, much depends on the soil composition and terrain, as well as the wind and the weather.

It takes approximately 40 years for a sugar maple tree to reach tapping size.  In a good year, one large tree may produce as much as 60 gallons of sap without suffering any injury. That may seem like quite a lot, until you realize that the sap will be reduced to only about 1½ gallons of syrup!

“Maine Maple Sunday” is held every year on the fourth Sunday in March, which is March 28th this year.

This event is when Maine maple producers open their doors to the public to demonstrate maple syrup making.  The Maine Maple Producers Association has created an interactive map of participating sugarhouses.   Enjoy this experience personally with free samples of maple syrup on ice cream, mini pancakes and muffins, maple candy, door prizes and much more at some of Maine’s best maple syrup producers.

Smell the aroma as boiling sap fills the air and is transformed into sweet Pure Maine Maple Syrup.

Contact us for participating businesses in our area

Buckets collecting the pure gold!

Maple Tree Tapped

Tonight’s Fireworks

Fireworks Over East Cove of Moosehead Lake

We just had the Snofest Fireworks on the East Cove of Moosehead Lake.  We took these pictures from our verandah…

talk about a bird’s-eye-view!

Sparkling Fireworks over Moosehead Lake

Winter Fireworks over Moosehead Lake

Fireworks over East Cove

Skiers at Big Squaw Mountain

It is good to see Big Squaw Mountain open and people skiing!

I was able to get some shots of the course set up for the team.  The course looked fast with packed snow…

hope they had some “good times“!

Big Squaw Mtn. Race Course

Big Squaw Mountain Ski Area

The views from the slopes of the mountain (which is also referred to as Big Moose Mountain) are of Moosehead Lake and surrounding mountain ranges.   They are spectacular!   Skiing on weekends is just one of the many activities that

Moosehead Lake and Greenville have to offer.

Snowmobiling is the #1 past time up here…if you don’t have a snowmobile we have businesses that specialize in renting you everything you will need…plus a guide if you want one.

A vacation in New England would not be complete without trying your hand at Ice Fishing…how many people do you know that have actually tried it?!  We have guides that will take care of all the details…even pick you up at our doorstep.

Dog-sledding is another one of those experiences that you can only do in a northern climate…it is one of the most relaxing ways to go sightseeing!

Some of our guests have gone snow-shoeing and have had a moose sighting…moose safaris are the #1 requested excursion in the spring, summer & fall.

Let us plan a Winter Wonderland for you!

“Ice Jams”

Ice jams are phenomena that usually do not occur until March.   Due to recent unseasonal heavy rains, there have been many rivers and streams that are experiencing these “ice jams” the last two days in Maine.

An ice jam can occur when the depth of the river or stream becomes shallow, impeding the flow of the ice downstream, causing the ice to pile up in that particular area.  Apparently, the ice jam can dissipate and move downstream just as quickly as it appeared.

Ice jams can damage bridges and cause quick, severe flooding in adjacent towns.

The photos below were taken today in northern Maine:

Ice Jam Kenduskeag Stream

"Ice Jam" Forming on Kenduskeag Stream

Piscataquis River with Ice Jam

Bald Eagles “Hangin’ Out” at the Ice Shack

Today we saw these two bald eagles close to an ice shack.  The one on the left is clearly a mature bald eagle and we think the one on the right is a younger one.

We have been having fun with some possible conversations between them (The one on the left is speaking):

“So…you keep a look-out, and I’ll find a way in.”

“Do ya think they got any bait in there?”

“I know that I’ve seen fish come out of there…”

"You be the look-out and I'll find a way in..."

"Do you think there's any bait in there?"

"I know I've seen fish coming out of there..."

First Snowstorm of 2010

Katahdin in Snowstorm Jan. 2, 2010

The first snowstorm of 2010…and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

I just took these pictures of the inn and the steamboat The Katahdin.  You can see the snow falling in some of them.  It is snowing so hard that you can’t see the lake or the mountain views.

When this storm is finished tomorrow, I’ll be able to take some great photos of the mountains & lake.

Snow Covered Town

Greenville Inn Snowstorm Jan. 2, 2010

Lots of Snow

Where did the mountains go?

Icicles!

Dog-sledding & Moonlight Snow Shoeing

We have partnered with a local guide to offer both dog-sledding and snow shoeing packages. With all the snow that has already fallen this year, it will be perfect for both sports!

Dog-sledding packages can be 1/2 or full day (with lunch).  The dogs are well socialized and you will be surprised how they each have their own unique personality.  We have both gone dog-sledding and we really loved it!

How about snow shoeing in the moonlight?  Our guides offer flexibility in both duration and time of day.

If you are looking for “green sports”...these definitely are!!!

Visit our site to view winter packages.  Book early for spring packages, summer packages or fall packages

Contact us and we will set it up for you!  www.GreenvilleInn.com 1-888-695-6000

Jeff & terry dog-sledding

Jeff & Terry dog-sledding

Snow Activities Abound!

With the cold temps we have been having, the lake is freezing and should be ready for ice fishing and the start of ice racing…yes, there actually is ice racing on the lake.

The ice racing takes place on Saturday afternoons and is on the West Cove of Moosehead Lake.  The cove looks like a parking lot with all the spectators parked on the ice enjoying the race.  The ice usually gets 3 feet thick, so driving trucks and cars is commonplace.

I have tried to photograph the ice races in previous years, but my simple diital camera could never catch the action.  This year, I hope to be more successful with my new Sony DSLR a380 which is capable of capturing action shots.  I am just beginning to experiment with it.  The pictures below are some of my first attempts.  Let us know what you think.

With the large amount of snow forecasted, I am hoping to also get some great snow shots…the only issue will be how to get to the road if we get as much snow as they are forecasting.  I hope it isn’t windy so the snow will just be “floating” down and I will be able to take advantage of it.

All of our guests have arrived safely and have enjoyed the sunny (although very cold) day today.  We are very happy that the wind has stopped!

We hope everyone has a very happy, healthy New Year!!

Oh, Christmas Tree

Oh, Christmas Tree!

Christmas Cheer

Christmas Cheer

Santa

Santa

nutcrackers

Some of Terry's Nutcrackers

Send a Winter Wonderland E-Card

This link will take you to Yankee Magazine, where you can send an e-card of our beautiful Winter Wonderland…yes, I took the picture myself!

It’s free and easy!  (it has to be if I can do it!!!) send an E-card

Send an e-card

Winter Wonderland View from Greenville Inn

Winter Wonderland View from Greenville Inn