August 2015 Newsletter


 
 

"Welcome to Camp!"
Greetings from the Harraseeket Inn!  Ready or not, fall is just around the corner. Have you taken your summer vacation yet?  Many of us plan our vacations all winter long.  It's our connection to warmth and sunshine when the snow lies deep, the days are short and temperatures plummet.  When summer finally arrives and brings those long, sunny days, for a brief moment or two, everything is sublime, but all too soon, August arrives and panic sets in.  Which is why I planned my trip to Labrador for the end of July, to buffer the August panic and to get the hay into the barn before departure. Packing isn't all that complicated for us northern girls; we just make sure to bring along our sense of adventure and the bug spray! Oh yes, and lots of food. Finally, that moment of long awaited departure arrived.  "Getting there" is a two day journey, crossing first the mighty St. Lawrence River
A L'Emportee Bakery, Taoussac.
and then the Saguenay, making the mandatory stop in Tadoussac at the tiny and absolutely amazing bakery " A L'Emportee" located within a stone's throw of the ferry and the Saguenay's white beluga whales.  Incidentally, if you've always wanted to kayak among the belugas, check out this short  video of kayakers and playful beluga whales in the Saguenay River. Sometimes they even push the kayaks along!  I think I might have to sign up for one of those tours next year. After stocking up at the bakery we push northward, where the sub-arctic days are long again and the clear golden sunsets last forever.  The final leg of the journey is by boat or bush plane, and the very first moments of arrival are always a flurry of checking out the camps to see if anything remains of them after the long winter and to see if the bears broke in again.  This year the cabins were in
Labrador sunrise
Labrador at dawn, July 29, 2015.
good shape. There were no signs of bear, only caribou tracks along the shore.  By any measure, it takes about three days to get into "camp mode" after arriving at camp.  "Camp mode" is that peaceful state of mind totally devoid of the distractions of smart phones, internet, TV or the constant barrage of human generated noise. Camp time is spent paddling, hiking, fishing, reading and napping.  This year I traveled without any family members.  My mother, who built the Harraseeket Inn, has Alzheimer's and my sister-in-law is fighting a serious battle with cancer, but every time I climbed into the kayak for a paddle I thought of them both, and the many hours they've spent paddling this wild shoreline.  All too soon it was time to say good-bye to the loons, the charismatic camp jays, and the
Labrador evening
Quiet evening at camp.
incredibly sociable  and tiny "least" sandpiper who kept us company every evening at the cook fire, teetering along at the water's edge, back and forth, between the waves and our feet. It was time to put the bear shutters back on the cabin windows and head south.  Best memory?  Playing the violin on the shore at dawn on the day of our departure, and having fiveFiddler on the shoreloons swim in very close to listen to "Amazing Grace".  When we finished, they gave us a stellar concert of their own.  Their "song of the wilderness" was a beautiful and poignant fare-thee-well.  I wish my mother had been there.  Her favorite hymn being saluted by her favorite birds. She would have loved it.  Many thanks to Deb Durkin of Fort Kent for accompanying me on this journey.  It isn't easy finding someone who wants to head to the sub arctic on vacation. She was  a very good sport, pitched in on all the camp chores, isn't all that afraid of bears and was cheerful in all weather. All in all, an excellent travelling companion.
 
If you haven't taken your vacation yet or you want squeeze another one in before snow flies, you don't need to travel as far as Labrador to escape the day to day grind. We're offering a very special package now through Columbus Day for those who pack their sense of adventure and love of the outdoors when they come to Maine. This package is a great deal! Come make some memories!
 
                            "Vacationland Package"
 
Pack the cooler and venture out to one of many of Maine's iconic state parks or Historic sites.
Beautiful rocky coastlines, pristine beaches, rugged mountains, old forts, sparkling lakes and more! Package includes:
 
*Two Nights Lodging
*Dinner for 2 in the Broad Arrow Tavern for one night
*Day Use Park Pass Applicable for More than 40 State Parks and Historic Sites, including nearby Wolfe's Neck Woods, Popham Beach, Bradbury Mountain and Reid State Parks (some exclusions apply)
*Boxed Twin, Jumbo Maine Lobster Roll Lunches (or box lunch of your choice)
*Buffet Breakfast each morning
*Afternoon Tea each day
*Weekday Package Rate: $540.00 + 8% Lodging Tax
*Weekend Package Rate: $600.00 + 8% Lodging Tax
Deluxe Rooms Available
Weekday Deluxe Rate:
$610.00 + 8% Lodging Tax
Weekend Deluxe Rate:
$670.00 + 8% Lodging Tax
Bring the whole family for $75 additional per person!
 
Available Now through Columbus Day!
 
Employee of the Month: Ken Collings
Ken in Tavern
Ken at work behind the line.
Ken started his working career as a shipyard welder at Electric Boat in Connecticut before going to cooking school in New Orleans. Ken's been a fixture at the Harraseeket Inn for many years, starting as a pantry worker in 1989 and working his way up to breakfast chef and his current position in the Broad Arrow Tavern as "Master of Wood Fired Grilling"!  He became interested in ice carving while attending cooking school in New Orleans and has created many wonderful ice carvings for our Sunday Brunch. Ken is also the sole proprietor of Freeport Brewing Company, which was licensed in 1999 and went on tap here at the inn in August of 2000.  According to Ken, "The first pint of Freeport Brewing Company beer sold at the Harraseeket was purchased by a lobsterman from Harpswell.  He came in, sat down at the bar and ordered one of my draft ales. I can't remember his name, but I'll never forget that incredible feeling that someone actually wanted to drink my beer."  
Ken Collings
Ken in the Broad Arrow Tavern with his brew.
Starting a small craft beer brewery has been a challenging second career.  Ken would advise anyone thinking of starting their own to avoid the pitfalls of trying to save expenses by cobbling together a setup the way he initially did. "Purchase a good quality two or three barrel brewery set up right at the start, and do it right." Ken has no days off, though he admits to taking a few hours off recently to see "Jurassic Park" at the theater.  His brew days are nine hours long, mash days are four to five hours and he juggles his Freeport Brewing Company duties with working full time here at the inn.  That's no easy feat.The "grain to glass" process takes at least two weeks per batch. He runs the brewery single handedly,  but it's work that he enjoys, and when he retires from the inn in four years, he looks forward to becoming a full time brewer.  His most popular ale up until a few weeks ago was Brown Hound Ale, on tap in our Broad  Arrow Tavern.  He just switched that tap  to an IPA that we can't keep in stock, it's so popular.  The next time you're in the tavern and you want a cold draft, give Ken's IPA a try.  It's excellent!  Ken currently has fourteen commercial accounts, and his beer can also be found locally at Royal River Natural Foods, the Tuscan Grill, Royal River Grill, and the Great Lost Bear.  Bow Street Market right here in Freeport sells growlers of Ken's hand crafted beer. Thank you, Ken, for your many years of hard work and dedication, and best of luck with Freeport Brewing Company!
 
Calendar of Events
*August 22 Paws For A Cause one mile walk and fundraiser for the Coastal Humane Society right here in Freeport at LLBean Discover Park, bring your pups and help raise money for those four legged friends who need good homes! 
 
*LLBean Summer in the Park concert series and Dog Days of August . The free concerts have been amazing this summer.  Don't miss out!
 
*17th Annual Freeport Fall Festival October 3,4 &5   Art, music and food at LLBean's Discovery Park  We'll be entering the Chowdah Challenge again!
 
*Maine Fall Fair Schedule 2015 including our favorite, the Common Ground Fair in Unity!
 
What is this called?
This month's trivia question: In the north land, where the Innu and Innuit make their home, stacks of rocks were used for communication and survival.  They were used as navigation aids, to indicate migration routes or places where fish could be found, or as memorials signifying places of spiritual power.  What are these structures called?  All correct answers will win a voucher worth $5. toward food or lodging on your next visit.  You may redeem up to twelve vouchers at one time (a $60. value), preferrably the year you won them.  One answer per household, please.   You must respond within two weeks of receiving the newsletter or take your chances at winning a voucher.  Please be patient with my replies, we sometimes get well over two hundred responses.
 
Good luck, enjoy what's left of summer, and we hope to see you soon!
Best regards,
Penny Gray
The Gray family
waiting for the "taxi" 


 
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Harraseeket Inn 162 Main Street Freeport, ME 04032