It seems everyone has a favorite season, as people flock to their special location during their preferred time of year. Personally, I can't say which would be my preference because each is so unique and has so much to offer. My wife and I are experiencing an empty nest for the first time in many years and it has brought a new found appreciation for friends, family, and the great outdoors. In previous years, we would make our transition to the Carrabassett Valley area in September, but this year we stayed down on the coast until early November. The weather and surf have been just incredible, offering clean, sizable waves with virtually no one on the beach. We've also rediscovered the Portland area and reconnected with old friends, while enjoying the great restaurants and night life.
As good as the beach has been, we've been anticipating the transition to our home in the beautiful Western Maine Mountains. It's nice to see all our friends, catch up on all the local happenings, and of course get on my snowboard and have some fun. Even though we haven't had much snow falling from the sky, our little piece of paradise has been blanketed with man-made snow allowing top-to-bottom riding. Sugarloaf is such a unique place, like no other. I've heard it referred to as "the corner of first and first." Where even if you've never been there before you can strike up a conversation with a total stranger and soon find that not only do you have something in common, but you also have mutual friends. As you drive into Carrabassett Valley the sign says: From here on out, your life will never be the same. It certainly doesn't take long to find out how true it is, and why folks drive 5-6 hours each way, every weekend, to come to Sugarloaf.
I truly enjoy coming back to see the improvements and additions made to this special place. This year, the Maine Huts and Trails added the Stratton Brook Hut which is slated to be complete just before Christmas. I went to check it out and I was amazed at the views of Sugarloaf and the Bigelow Mountain range. Another addition to the area are mountain bike trails that now connect the Narrow Gauge Trail to the Sugarloaf Outdoor center, along with trails for beginner and intermediate riding. The hard working crews from the Carrabassett Area New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA) also made vast improvements to the existing trails on Maine Huts and Trails system, in the Bigelow Preserve and on Penobscot Nation land in the Reddington pond area. They also added a disk golf course to enhance the outdoor experience.
If you haven't been to the Western Maine Mountains lately, you will be pleasantly surprised with the new features. All the hard work done by the locals has made it easier for all to enjoy its beauty.