Carrabassett Valley + Kingfield
December 2014 Sarah Prak, Graphic Designer, The Brand Company
Friday 4:30 p.m. @ Schoolhouse Gallery
True to its name, the Schoolhouse Gallery was once a one-room schoolhouse. Now it’s an art gallery and a studio for artists, photographers, designers, and architects, run by a jack-of-all trades husband and wife duo, John and Cynthia Orcutt. The current exhibit features stunning large-format nature photography of the western mountains of Maine, shot by John and Cynthia themselves. We chat a bit and get the backstory of most of the photography. We are designers ourselves, and the Orcutts invite us upstairs to tour the studio space where they spend most of their days working—that is, when they’re not photographing the Maine landscapes.
5:30 p.m. @ Stanley Avenue, Kingfield
The Orcutts point us to our next destination, Stanley Avenue, which is right down the street, over the bridge from the Schoolhouse Gallery. We take a nice slow drive to check out the elegant Victorian homes on the street. One Stanley Avenue is currently a restaurant owned by chef Dan Davis, and adjacent to the restaurant is his bed and breakfast, Three Stanley Avenue. The Victorian-style furnishing, wood floors, and pristine stained glass windows make it look like you’ve stepped back in time.
5:45 p.m. @ Tranten’s Family Shurfine
We stop at the local grocery store to pick up some cheese, crackers, and orange juice to curb our appetite.
6:00 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
At the base of the mountain lies what looks almost like an enchanted castle. This is the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel. Its shimmering Christmas trees twinkle in the distance. We lock up our snowboard gear and make our way to the entrance, where we are warmly greeted by the hotel concierge. We notice that the hotel is nicely decorated with photography from the Orcutts. We settle into our suite, which makes me feel like we are in our own secluded A-frame cabin deep inside a frosty wonderland. We relax a bit among the mountains of soft pillows and sheets.
7:00p.m. @ Hug’s Italian
Make sure to make reservations if you’re headed to Hug’s. We make the mistake of not calling in, but luckily we’re able to sit at the bar, known to locals as the Hardcore Corner. We see why the place gets fully booked, because the food is superb. I have the tri-colored cheese tortellini with pink alfredo sauce and veggies. Brandon gets the sundried tomato pesto alfredo with penne. We’re in heaven.
9:00p.m. @45 North
We peek our heads into the restaurant that sits at the fore of the hotel lobby. It looks like a great ambience for winding down. We run upstairs to change into our flannel shirts to stay cozy. We walk back down to the restaurant, where we spend the rest of the night chitchatting with other hotel guests about the annual Banked Slalom competition that will be taking place the next day.
7:30 a.m. @ D’Ellies
We wake up early and head to D’Ellies and grab a quick breakfast. This hearty food is exactly what one needs before a long day of shredding.
8:00a.m. on the SuperQuad
The early bird catches the worm. We catch the first chair lift and get first tracks of the freshly groomed snow. I thank the snow gods for bestowing the additional 18 inches of snow from the big snow storm. Conditions are perfect and I don’t know how we got so lucky. We cruise around for a bit and decide to check out the Banked Slalom event. It’s the ultimate test of speed, agility, and skill, but it’s also all about having fun. The event is only open to snowboarders; young and old compete against time down a winding course of banked turns. We can hear the yells of excitement as the competitors maneuver down the winding twists and turns.
12:30 p.m. @ The Orange Cat Cafe
We drive back towards Kingfield to try out the Orange Cat for lunch. Almost everything they serve is homemade and delicious. We step inside the former colonial home, which has been transformed into a funky coffee house. We’re surprised to be greeted by an orange cat. It runs away as we order our soups and sandwiches. We sit on the comfy leather couches while we enjoy our lunch and wonder about the mysterious orange cat.
1:00 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Sports Outlet
Down the road from the Orange Cat is the Sugarloaf Sports Outlet, which stocks previous years’ models of ski and snowboard equipment. I’m in the market for some new snowboard boots, but to my dismay we have no luck finding the right size. We browse the outlet to see if we can score any other gear—they’ve got a great selection but we leave empty-handed.
1:30 p.m. @ Downhill Supply Company
Still in search for some new snowboard boots, we check out the ski and snowboard shop right in the heart of the Village Center. Luckily, they have one pair of boots in my size. My feet love me.
1:45 p.m. on the slopes
With my new boots and happy feet, we head back up the mountain and continue to explore the terrain. From the SuperQuad lift we catch a glimpse of the Banked Slalom below and cheer on contestants. There is so much excitement and happiness surrounding this place I never want to leave. From the SuperQuad we make our way to Timberline to go to the summit. Next, we make our way over to Brackett Basin to ride some glades. We have some of the most unforgettable runs. The Loaf has become one of my favorite mountains on the East Coast.
5:00 p.m. @ the Sugarloaf hot tub
New to the mountain this season, this 30-person hot tub is located at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel. We decide to take a soak after our long day of boarding.
7:00 p.m. @ the Rack
We enjoy some après-ski beverages at the Rack, owned by local snowboard Olympic champion Seth Wescott. This seems like the place to be—it is pleasantly crowded with a friendly and fun energy from the ski mountain community.
8:30 p.m. @ Geppetto’s
We meet up with our long-time friend, Brian Randall, winner of the first annual East Coast Pond Skimming Championship at the Loaf. We catch up over a nice hearty meal and delicious Maine beers, and get the inside scoop on Sugarloaf Mountain.
11:00 p.m. @ Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel
We call it a day and snuggle into the comfortable mountain of pillows in our loft while sipping on soothing chamomile tea.
9:00 a.m. @ Java Joe’s
It is a chilly morning, the opposite of yesterday’s balmy conditions. We warm up with a hazelnut-flavored steamed milk and bagel.
9:30 a.m. on the mountain
It is cold and windy, but the snow conditions are still amazing in every other way. We head up to spectate the last day of the Banked Slalom and chitchat with a few of the riders who have been doing this competition every year since its inception. The riders say that they do the event not for competition, but for camaraderie and fun. We continue to explore the mountain, going in the terrain park, mini pipe, and glades.
2:30 p.m. @ Bob’s Clam Hut
My nose follows the scrumptious scent of fried seafood to Bob’s Clam Hut. I remember going to Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery as a kid and enjoying the fresh fried clam strips. I never imagined that I would be eating fried clam strips and lobster stew mountainside, but here we are, consuming a mountain of fried clam strips, calamari, and lobster stew. Still, the fried clam strips are the best in my book. It’s a warm, crunchy, and all- around perfect ending to our Sugarloaf trip.