For more than 150 years, Maine Audubon has championed Maine's wildest inhabitants with educational, engaging programs and wildlife and wildlife habitat advocacy. Members join the statewide nonprofit’s fight to maintain the population of native plant and animal life while interacting with furred and feathered planet mates through discounted access to activities such as the Eyes on Owls program ($5 for a child; $10 for an adult). Maine Audubon visitors can explore centers and sanctuaries such as the Borestone Mountain Audubon Sanctuary and the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, whose kayak rentals ($15/hour) allow paddlers to view off-duty ice sculptures and snowmen taking summer holidays. Maine Audubon's headquarters, Gilsland Farm, also unite members with 65 acres of trails, community gardens, and discounted wildlife-friendly gifts in the nature store.
Westbrook Community Center’s activities mirror the diversity of the people they serve. Adult-enrichment classes bring together crafty and inquisitive minds, teaching participants to knit mittens, take digital photographs, or understand veteran burial benefits. Youth programs center around hands-on exploration and movement. In Rock Star Cooking for Kids, locally renowned chef Josh Gelston teaches elementary-aged pupils how to cook a meal that doesn’t involve yarn and Skittles. Yoga, belly dancing, and swimming round out a long list of sports and fitness classes that serve participants of all ages. The calendar keeps track of the seasonally changing athletic, artistic, and educational opportunities.
The kitchen crew at Sahara Mediterranean Bar & Grill shaves tender layers of their popular chicken shawarma from the spit of a traditional vertical broiler, helping them earn the title of Detroit’s Best Middle Eastern restaurant from Local 4 viewers in summer 2011. Vegetarian options range from a falafel sandwich to the smoothly textured adas lentil soup, with beans that chefs carefully crush with an announcement that none of them made their high school’s baseball team. The menu also includes house specialties such as the potato chop—seasoned beef stuffed inside a golden-brown, deep-fried potato shell.
Sips from specialty drinks and smoky hookahs add a sweeter dimension to meals as diners perch on dark hardwood seating. The furnishings contrast visually with butter-yellow walls on which murals appear to emerge from behind crumbling stone.
Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.
Portland Trails connects local residents to the great outdoors with a three-part mission. It aims to create and maintain a 50-mile network of trails, engage people in trail and land stewardship, and promote outdoor recreation and human-powered transportation. On a daily basis, the organization's staff coordinates with local governments to build trails that connect natural spaces with the existing pedestrian and bicycle network. They also hold regular educational events to teach the public about health, recreational activities, and reducing the impact of transportation on the environment. Demonstrating their commitment to this mission, the office only employs one truck, which runs exclusively on biodiesel fuels.