July 2015 Newsletter

 
 

Lake George's newest loon.

Greetings from the Harraseeket Inn! At long last, warm weather has arrived and summer is in full swing.  Freeport sidewalks are crowded and sailboats share space in South Freeport's harbor with the working fleet of lobster boats. The mature loons we watch in Casco Bay all winter are now raising their young on our lakes and ponds and filling warm summer nights with their haunting calls.  Loons are an iconic bird here in Maine and are regarded like royalty when they grace our waters. They are handsome birds, living up to thirty years, and they mate for life.

one more ride
Loon chick taking nap.

Interestingly, males and females spend winters apart and reunite in spring to claim their inland nesting areas and raise their young.  Two chicks are hatched from nests built at water's edge and they spend their first two weeks riding on their parents back much of the time. It's a warm perch, they tire easily and are much safer from predators.  The bones of a loon are not hollow, like other birds. Solid bones

First meal
Loon chick being fed by parent.

enable them to dive deep below the water to hunt for their next meal.  Their weight makes it difficult for them to gain the air, requiring up to a quarter mile of "runway" to take off.  In late summer the parents can be seen chasing their chicks through the water to encourage them to fly.

Cecil Gray at work photographing the loons of George Lake

Cecil Gray has been documenting this pair of nesting loons on a lake near his home here in Maine and his photos are superb. After many weeks of patient vigil, spending hours in his kayak from a respectful distance, the loons have accepted him and now swim very close with their solo chick. We hope you enjoy his photos!

 

Employee of the Month!

Sheila and Derek Towne
Sheila with husband Derek, our head of maintenance!

Many of our employees have been with us for years, and Sheila Towne is no exception. Sheila's been a server in our Broad Arrow Tavern for over eleven years and her big smile is familiar to many of you.  In summer, she also works as a tour guide on the lobster boat "Lucky Catch" out of  Portland, which offers tourists a chance to experience "hands-on" lobstering up close and

Sheila at Freeport race
Sheila, July 4 race.

personal. During the school year she pinch hits as a substitute elementary school teacher in Freeport and volunteers as a story time reader at a local bookstore, two activities that appeal to her love of children. Sheila's always on the run, 'run' being the key word this summer.  Right now she's training for the Chicago Marathon, a fund raising marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  This fund raiser is very  close to her heart. Sheila's mother died of leukemia at the age of forty five.  In Sheila's own words:

 

Sheila's mother
Sheila's mother
"My mother was an amazing woman.  She was a nurse who would visit people in their homes.  She  was always smiling.  Everyone she met wanted to be her friend.  Was it her dark hair, big blue eyes, or her British accent?  Maybe it was her love of life and adventure! I grew up watching her run road races.  Some I even ran with her. In 1979 my mother ran the Chicago Marathon.  At the age of 45, she lost a 4 year battle with Leukemia.  In her short life she still managed to raise four children,and although I was only 14 years old when she died, I feel that my mothers values, morals, and kindness toward others was instilled in me.  I am my mother's daughter!
Sheila with mother
Sheila (9 years old) with her mother and brother in Ireland
"This year I turned 45, the same age as my Mom when she left this world.  I look at my own young children, thinking how my mother must have felt when she was forced to leave us.   I am going to run the 2015 Chicago Marathon in honor of my Mom.  I want to run in her footsteps, see what she saw, feel what she felt when she crossed the finish line."

 

Sheila ran the Anchorage, Alaska Marathon in '97 and raised over $25,000. for the Leukemia Society, but it's been sixteen years since she's run the long races.  As she prepares for the Chicago Marathon, she trains five days a week, three to five miles a day with one long run each week.  She adds one mile weekly until, as the marathon date nears, she's running twenty miles once a week.  Sheila's an amazing gal who gracefully juggles multiple roles as wife, mother of two, teacher, lobster boat crew member and tavern server and somehow still finds time to train for a grueling 21 mile marathon.  She'll be running in her mother's footsteps on October 11th. Follow Sheila's progress on her page on the Team in Training site and cheer her on!

 

Upcoming events:

LLBean Summer in the Park Check out their free concert series, Walk on Adventures, clinics and evening lectures.  There's always something fun going on at their flagship store right here in Freeport!

Freeport USA lists all the upcoming area events and special sales at the village outlets.  

Yarmouth Clam Festival July 17 through 19th.  Like clams?  Don't miss this festival! 

 

This month's trivia question: How did Sheila's mother place in the Chicago Marathon?  All correct answers win a voucher worth $5. toward food or lodging at the Harraseeket Inn.  Up to twelve vouchers may be redeemed at one time, preferably in the year they were issued.  You must answer the trivia question within seven days of the newsletter being issued (or be extremely patient with my tardy response.)  After one week of non-stop emailing I drift on to other activities which later this month will be a trip to Labrador.  No phones, no email. Good luck, have a wonderful summer and we hope to see you here at the inn soon!

Best regards,

Penny Gray

The Gray family


 

This fish was too big...
An ambitious offering for such a little chick.  Many thanks to Cecil Gray for sharing these photos!