Looking for a new experience in Maine? Here are six, ranging from world-class art to world-inspired music, new visitor centers to new sporting events.
Colby College Museum of Art expanding to house world-class donation
With the mid-July opening of the 26,000-square-foot Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion, the Colby College Museum of Art will put Waterville on the map as a destination for art lovers. The expansion makes the museum Maine's largest in terms of gallery space.
The new $15 million glass pavilion was designed specifically to showcase the Lunder Collection, one of the most important holdings of American art assembled by private collectors. The recent gift to the college from Peter H. and Paula Crane Lunder comprises more than 600 significant pieces and is valued at more than $100 million. Nearly 500 works, dating from 1796, are by American masters, including John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, George Inness, William Merritt Chase, Winslow Homer, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Alex Katz, Louise Nevelson, Romare Bearden, Donald Judd, John Chamberlain, George Rickey, and Jenny Holzer. A wall drawing by Sol LeWitt commands a three-story, glass-enclosed stairwell.
Also in the collection is a concentration of works by James McNeill Whistler, including nearly two dozen paintings, watercolors and pastels; 201 etchings and lithographs; and 150 books, journals, photographs, and archival materials. Of note, too, are 40 exceptional examples of Chinese ritual and mortuary ceramics dating from the prehistoric period to the Jin Dynasty (1126-1234), which complement the museum's existing holdings in Chinese ceramics.
5600 Mayflower Hill Drive, Waterville, 207-859-5600, www.colby.edu/academics_cs/museum, reopening to the public July 14
New welcome center to serve Acadia National Park's Schoo dic section
This summer visitors to the mainland section of Acadia National Park tipping the Schoodic peninsula will be able to get information, view exhibits, and sign up for programs at an official welcome center. "This is the first time that there will be a visitors center on Schoodic," says Mike Soukup, president and CEO of the Schoodic Education and Research Institute.
SERC, a nonprofit partner of the park that supports The Schoodic Education and Research Center, is located on the campus of the former US Navy base within the park. The welcome center is slated to open July 3 in Rockefeller Hall, a National Historic Register-listed building designed by Grosvenor Atterbury and built by the National Park Service in the early 1930s. Exhibits will highlight Schoodic's environment, ecology, history, and current research programs. Another will focus on the top-secret radio and cryptologic operations conducted here by the Navy during the Cold War.
Volunteers, rangers, SERC employees, and resident scientists will staff the center. They'll also have information on SERC's bird ecology lab, located in a renovated 1931 ranger cabin at the base of Schoodic Head. "It doesn't have a lot of capacity, but will be open for tours and occasionally for access to banding operations," Soukup says. SERC, 207-288-1310,
New marathon bridges Maine and Canada
Runners in the inaugural Bay of Fundy International Marathon on June 23 will race from West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in South Lubec, across the F.D.R. Memorial Bridge to Campobello Island, New Brunswick, past the Roosevelt cottage, and out to Head Harbor Lighthouse before finishing in downtown Lubec.
"We've had long, long discussions with border agents on both sides. They're all prepared, but it took a lot of strategizing to figure out how to make this work," says race cofounder Katherine Cassidy. "Marathoners have to go to Canada the day prior to get their race number and show their passports." A companion 10K is entirely in Maine, for which no passport is required.
The event has a decidedly Maine accent with awards crafted by local artists and lobster as an option for the prerace dinner. Lubec's Lost Fisherman's Memorial Association is the official race charity, and more than 60 racers have pledged to raise about $1,000 each.
As of early April, 370 registrants represented 33 states, five provinces, and Uruguay. Marathon registration continues through June 7, with entry fees topping at $100. Registration for the 10K continues through June 22 and tops out at $30. Registration includes prerace pasta dinner, finisher's medal, postrace hydration, food, and street party, goodie bag, and T-shirt.
Crossroads International Celtic Festival debuts in western Maine
Celtic musicians from Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Quebec, Scotland, Ireland, and the United States will be performing in the inaugural Crossroads International Celtic Festival, Sept. 11-15. The festival, modeled on the Celtic Colours Festival in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, will feature 18 live performances in small towns in western Maine's Franklin and Oxford counties, as well as companion events such as community suppers, after-hours programs, and art walks.
Concert venues include a hike-in hut on the Maine Huts & Trails system, the Oxford County Fair, Oxford High School, Kingfield's Stanley Museum, Rumford's Town Hall, Norland's Living History Museum's Washburn Meeting House, Sunday River resort, and other theaters and halls, intimate and grand, from Eustis to Fryeburg, and Lovell to Farmington. A highlight will be after-hours clubs, in which musicians meet to share ideas and jam in a supportive, creative environment. Among the musicians committed are Buddy MacDonald, David Munnelly and Mick Conneely, Long Time Courting, Sprag Session, Boréal Tordeau, Don Roy Band, Frank Farrell, Gawler Family Band, and others. Ticket sales and information will be available online July 1. 207-562-4445, www.crossroadscelticfestival.com
In May, the Keeper's House at Owls Head Light will become the new home of the American Lighthouse Foundation. "We've had the tower open for the last five years, and the question visitors always asked was if they could get inside the house. This past fall the Coast Guard asked if we'd be interested in the house," says Bob Trapani Jr., executive director. "It's a great place to tie in our mission at a light station."
The first floor will be open to the public as an educational interpretive center. Visitors will be able to learn not only about the history of Owls Head, but also the history of lighthouses in general and Maine lighthouses as well. "We hope to foster more appreciation and awareness for the human side of the legacy that kept these lights burning for two centuries in Maine," Trapani says. The opening day has yet to be set, but Trapani says definitely by Memorial Day weekend, and perhaps earlier. The Keeper's House will be open Wed-Fri noon-4, and Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-4. The lighthouse tower is open Wed 1-4 and Sat-Sun 10-4. No admission is charged, but donations are welcome.
Bike Maine launches one-week supported ride
Join 350 cyclists on a 400-mile, fully supported ride from Sept. 7-14. The moderately difficult course loops from Orono, through Dover-Foxcroft, Belfast, Castine, Bar Harbor, Ellsworth, and back, covering 57-72 miles daily. The rolling terrain is best suited for fit, experienced riders. The $875 fee includes all but three meals, a lobster bake, beverages and snacks during the ride, transport for one bag, support vans, and campsites with showers, restrooms, entertainment, food vendors, and mechanics. Extra options include tent and porter service ($400) including set-up and take-down.
Hilary Nangle can be reached at hilarynangle.com.