Carrabassett Valley + Kingfield
December 2014 Cyndi Smith, Director of Events + Sponsorships
3:00 p.m. @ Kingfield Elementary School
We pull into Kingfield Elementary School to take a photograph of the mural on the wall by the artist Dahlov Ipcar. My children have fun pretending to be the animals in the mural.
4:00 p.m. @ downtown Kingfield
After stopping in at the shops along the historic main street, I score a Sugarloaf reggae shirt for my son on sale at the Sugarloaf Sports Outlet. We stop by the Ski Museum of Maine and take a look at the old wooden skis and other memorabilia collected there throughout the years. We pop into a cute artist co-op where we meet two of the artists who are getting ready for the Friday night art walk.
5:00p.m. @ Schoolhouse Gallery
We are met by the owners, Cynthia and John Orcutt, and shown around the spacious and beautifully designed gallery. I point out a wonderful sheep photo, and John chuckles and says that is one of the only images that taken in Maine—it was from a trip the Orcutts took to Italy.
6:00p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
We check into our hotel with enough gear for a week, and the kids immediately change into their robes for a trip to the large outdoor hot tub. We are very happy with our room, which has a loft bedroom for Chris and me, along with a full kitchen. I don’t let the kids stay in the hot tub for long because we have dinner reservations at a nearby restaurant.
7:30p.m. @ The Coplin Dinner House
Several locals have recommended this restaurant and we’re delighted to see a friendly face as soon as we sit down. Bonnie Holding, owner of Gold/Smith Gallery in Sugarloaf Village, is seated next to us and she raves about the food. We are excited to try everything and a bit anxious about ordering for a vegan, a gluten-free child, and a very picky eater. The chef and owner, Tony Rossi, is very accommodating—he even makes my son a grilled cheese. Chris, who is vegan, orders the spicy red Thai curry, and Chloe gets a cheeseburger without a bun to avoid gluten. I am happy with my beet salad, which is adorned with goat cheese and candied walnuts.
9:00p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
Back at the hotel, we tuck the kids into the Murphy bed and climb up the spiral stairs to the loft just to collapse in the comfortable Boyne bed.
8:00 a.m. @ 45 North
We get up early, and the kids and I descend five floors to the hotel restaurant, 45 North. I have eaten dinner here before, but this will be my first breakfast experience. The menu is varied and tempting. Chloe and I each select the cheddar cheese omelet. Our waitress is surprised when she returns and all the plates are completely clean!
9:30a.m. @ Outpost Adventure Center
We’re ready to get outfitted for our zip line tour. My son is afraid of heights and feeling anxious, but our instructor, Tim, puts him at ease immediately. Geared up with our full-body harnesses and helmets, we follow our guides to the two-person chairlift that will take us to the first zip line. Chloe has tried it before in Costa Rica, so she volunteers to go first. She steps off the platform and lets her hands fly out to the side and squeals with delight as she zips across to the next line. The rest of us follow soon after.
11:00a.m. @the SuperQuad
Continuing with the offerings of the Outpost Adventure Center, Chris and Chloe decide to try out the Segway Tour while Caleb and I take a spin on the SuperQuad. I watch my husband and daughter get used to the huge machines with beefy tires. They get on their way while Caleb and I enjoy the beautiful scenic chairlift ride to the top. The vistas are breathtaking and the ride down is super fun with the wind blowing through our hair.
12:30 p.m. @ Strokes Bar and Grille
Chris and Chloe tell me that the Segway tour guide recommended Strokes Bar and Grille for lunch. We head over to the Sugarloaf Golf Club. Chris and Caleb are not too hungry, so they opt to hit a few buckets of balls at the driving range while Chloe and I eat lunch. She has chili and sweet potato fries and I devour the most delicious tuna melt I have had in years.
2:00 p.m. @ Poplar Stream Falls Trail
Many folks have suggested that we tackle the Poplar Stream Falls hike with the kids—they’re sure to like the flowing waterfall at the end. The short hike starts out walking through a field that is speckled with summer wildflowers. It is so pretty we forget about the bugs that are following us. The waterfalls are truly spectacular. Chris and the kids enjoy splashing in the swimming hole while I watch and take many photos.
5:00p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
We take another quick trip to the hot tub to soothe our sore feet before getting ready for the Kingfield POPS concert.
6:00p.m. @ Rolling Fatties
We stopped by this food truck and barn on our way into town and decide to make a repeat visit. Chris is one happy dude as he feasts on a vegan burrito, complete with coconut tortilla and plenty of hot sauce. Caleb munches on the hot dog fatty, which is a hot dog rolled in homemade tortilla dough and deep fried to crispy perfection, while Chloe chooses the gluten-free chips with guac.
6:30p.m. @the Kingfield
POPS We walk to the Kennedy Farm property and see the stage in the distance. I can hear Jonathan Edwards singing one of his iconic songs, and the kids run off for kettle corn and ice cream. When Edwards finishes, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra takes over and starts their set with the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
9:00 p.m. @ the Rack
No trip to Sugarloaf is complete without a stop at the Rack, so we decide to make a quick one without the kids. The band is getting ready to play, and the sign out front is wishing Seth Wescott a happy birthday. It’s been a very full day, so we leave after one beverage, but I’m glad we came.
7:00 a.m. @ Stratton Diner
The bright sky beckons me to get out of bed early. I wake everyone up and we make a plan to hit the Stratton Diner for breakfast. The diner is filled with hikers, and on our way we see hikers with full gear on the side of the road looking for a lift. We find out that the Appalachian Trail is nearby. Our food is good and tasty, and the bottomless cup of coffee hits the spot.
10:00 a.m. on the West Mountain Falls trail
We heard about a short hike to a swimming hole near the golf course and decide to find it. The West Mountain Falls hiking trails are marked with a single sign on the side of the drive. The hike is easy and very picturesque. After a quick 20 minutes down the trail, it ends with a swimming hole along the river.
12:00 p.m. Mountainside Grocers
We pull into this store at the base of the Sugarloaf road to load up on lunch items for a picnic. Having been in the store in the winter months, we know our way around and quickly grab supplies.
12:30 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Outdoor Center
We drive into the outdoor center and see the remnants of a wedding from the night before. Folks are cleaning up the tent and we spy half-eaten wedding cake and champagne flutes, telltales of good times. We play disc golf and take in the splendid view of the mountain.
2:00 p.m. @ Ira Mountain
This one last hike on the way out of town was recommended to us by many Facebook followers. Ira Mountainis halfway between Sugarloaf and Kingfield and is completely worth the stop. We drive across the one-way bridge andwe find ourselves facing a huge rock wall that has been landscaped into the mountain. We take another turn and are stunned by a structure of rocks and stairs that begs to be explored. There are signs telling you where to clap and where the echo will be heard—it blows our minds. From the top of this trail, we take in the amazing view. I am so thankful that we were able to fully enjoy Carrabassett Valley in the summer as much as we do every winter.