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Camden, Maine

February 09, 2010

Chutes and Toboggans

Toboggan 2010

Ever wonder what people do in the winter in Maine? Some people think we hibernate like bears in warm dens sleeping away day and night until spring comes back. Actually, we do get out every now and then, and we make a day of it, inviting all our friends from here and away. You may even see a wicked good crowd.

National Toboggan Championship Poster
Poster for the National Toboggan Championships

Away can be the next town over, another state or even foreign countries. Take for instance the National Toboggan Championships where teams from as far away as the Netherlands were here over the weekend to compete in the 2-person, 3-person and 4-person toboggan races. 

Toboggan Chute

It sounds official and there are rules, but anyone can enter a team and run the chute for the 9 second or better thrill of dropping from the top of the hill and racing to the finish line that empties out onto frozen Hosmer Pond. All you need is to meet the muster of the official toboggan regulations with a wooden toboggan built of slats, a pad and a curve; no fiberglass, carbon fiber or other synthetic fibers. And the competition does come with strict warnings ... "clothing may be ripped or melted" ... melted? I don't know how that happens when it is usually about 20 degrees outside, but I'll leave that to the chute masters. 

National Toboggan Costumes

About 400 teams show up the first weekend in February at the Camden Snow Bowl to compete for the fastest time down the chute and best costume. Best costume is, as or more competitive than the races. One thing you can count on is that almost every team is going to compete for the best costume award. Be on the lookout for whole teams dressed as superheros, cows, bridezillas, team mascots and ballerinas. As Forrest Gump would say, it is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

Oscar from the Royal Dutch National Toboggan Team
My friend Oscar, representing the Royal Dutch National Toboggan Team, winner of Best Costume Award

Although Camden is only a small town with a population pushing  5,000, competitors for the National Toboggan Championships come from all over the world, but mostly you see license plates from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Pennsylvania. 

My friend CC is a fan of Le Grand Crew
Delightful CC cheering on Le Grand Crew from Cellardoor

The first toboggan chute was built at the Camden Snow Bowl in 1936 and rebuilt in 1991, when the first toboggan championship was held. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the event.

If you are looking to go, watch, or even enter to compete for next year's races, check out the official rules at the Camden Snow Bowl.

April 07, 2008

Pasta, Pasta, Pasta


When my friend Sharon asked, "Do you want to go to a cooking class at the Hartstone Inn?" I said of course I do.

Chef Michael Salmon was teaching a class on pasta, pasta and more pasta. Just what we had in mind for a Sunday workout. Kneading semolina pasta dough for about 20 minutes will really build your arm muscles. Michael had an advanced plan for us, as he was prepared to make beet pasta, spinach pasta and egg pasta. We learned the techniques for rolling out the dough by hand and machine, then cut out shapes for tortellini, linguine, pappardelle, ravioli and striped bow-ties.

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December 06, 2007

Small Business of the Year

Crl_small_bus_yr_awd_by_mish_morgenLast night Megunticook Market was presented with the Small Business of the Year award by the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce. I am so excited and honored that the store received the award. It represents all the hard work of the staff but also the support and interest from our community. Being a neighborhood store is all about our neighbors, the ones who walk to the store, who ask us about new products, who tell us when they love the new things we try and when there are things that are not their favorite products. Thank you to all the customers and staff of Megunticook Market who help shape and mold the market to make it a great shopping and browsing experience each day. This award is really for all of you!

Photo courtesy of Mish Morgenstern.

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