1st winter blog of 2015!

Welcome to Anne Plummer & Associates 1st winter blog of 2015! The timing for this entry I expect hits home for many locals, as it certainly is winter here in the Maine Lakes Region as January comes to a close! With upwards of 2’ – yes two feet! – of snow ending yesterday, and another 6”-12” due within the next 36 hours and supposedly more to follow next week, we are in a weather pattern that has many thinking about vacation, lakefront fun, and anything other than moving some snow around. The fact is this – and any true Mainer will tell you it is so: This too shall pass, and quickly!
The well-covered boat outside seems to be smiling at me. Maybe it, too, knows that the Red Sox pitchers and catchers report in just 22 days, and we are only 27 days away from the Red Sox baseball team’s first full workout! Spring follows quickly afterwards each year, and that is why now is the perfect time to see any of our talented and experienced staff about making your dreams come true this summer. Whether the goal is to relax on your new waterfront or water-access property, maybe you want to turn a short-sale into a worthy investment, it is time for the perfect view of the nearby mountains, or it is time for you to retire and enjoy yourself here in the lakes region, we are the right team to help you reach and exceed your goals. Right now is the best time to view and look for the ideal property for you. Call today and one of our experienced Realtors will explain why right now is the absolute best time to stake your claim to the best that the lakes region has to offer!

Coloring the Canvas

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 1.50.06 PMMarch is the month when my thoughts turn to the changes I wish to make to the outside of my home. Anxious to be outside in warmer temperatures, I begin looking more closely at my home as I turn in the driveway. Is it time for me to repaint the front door? How is the stain on the deck holding up? Where might I plant some new flowers? Will I give a vegetable garden another go of it this year?

With yet another winter storm in our forecast (oh please, let it go out to sea?), those of us happy to have seen spring mentioned on our calendars at the very least, continue trying to be patient as we look out our windows and see more white. We long to see the pale pink buds on the trees, and the green shoots of daffodils sprouting in our garden beds, but alas, the white canvas reminds us winter is not done with us yet.

However, when our souls need that splash of color, we can find it easily enough in our local hardware stores. A bright color of paint can be therapeutic when applied to a decorative piece, such as a chair or a small table, or we can be more brave and redo the walls in a bathroom or the family room. Of course, sometimes, as in the children’s story If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, making one change can lead to subsequent changes. One painted wall might beg for a new framed picture which could lead to rearranging the furniture which could lead to a decision to purchase a new ottoman and so on. But change can be good for the soul and, additionally, if you are thinking at all about putting your house on the market, the alterations we make to our homes can help its market value or at the very least, increase its attractiveness to the buyer.

If you are itching to make some changes, whether big or small, give some thought to the resources in your community that can help. The local libraries can point you to books and videos which can help you with the Do-It-Yourself projects. Local hardware stores carry impressive color pallet paint chips and supplies for when you’ve chosen your color. Your neighbor can surely give you the name of a reputable handyman, professional painter, plumber, or electrician. And soon our floral and tree and shrub nurseries will be advertising garden supplies.

It’s not too early to begin planning the work and the joy of spring here in southern Maine! As the snow begins to fall and as we reach for the fleece comforter, let’s turn our attention to the colors that rejuvenate our spirits. I promise you, they are coming!

–Written by: Anne Freeman Walker, a resident of Naples, Maine for the past 22 years.

Baby and a Backsplash

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 10.16.09 AMYears back, we moved into our home in the Lake Region area with a one week old baby! Having closed on the house in Naples just days after the arrival of our firstborn, it is safe to say that, despite our excitement to decorate, our priorities were on other matters. “Do we have enough diapers? Is she eating enough? Are we doing this right?” However, when we did find time to indulge in home decorating, we began with a few cans of paint. Transforming our space room by room took time, but was an exciting and enjoyable process. Selecting patterns for upholstery and making decisions on lighting may have taken more time than the average home-buyer, but it was fun to work at our own pace. Over the years, we’ve taken note of new trends in flooring and kitchen design while growing more confident in knowing which decorating choices fit our likes and needs. We’ve recently painted our kitchen cabinets, installed granite countertops, and tiled a backsplash. Our projects have been do-it-yourself weekend adventures but we’re also well aware that by investing time and a little money into our home, we’re adding to its equity, not to mention its aesthetic value.

Some homeowners make renovation plans for their newly purchased property before the closing date has even arrived. Lists of quick fixes to change carpeting, to switch out lighting fixtures, or to repaint a child’s room are common. Others feel the need to live and breathe inside the walls of a new home, slowly getting boxes unpacked, and developing a feeling for the space before making changes. No matter how quickly or leisurely the pace, it usually doesn’t take long after buying real estate that a desire to “make it one’s own” will kick in.

Whether its time to renovate, redecorate or invest in a new home altogether, attending local open house tours is a good way to become educated on the latest real estate trends. After deciding upon a budget, do your research. Decide upon a plan and secure recommendations from others on how to best proceed.

Our homes quickly become an expression of our personalities and lifestyles. What does your home say about you?

Love in Lake Region

Photograph by Anne Freeman Walker
Photograph by Anne Freeman Walker

Anticipating Valentine’s Day, my husband and I reminisced, reflecting on how a romantic cross-country skiing outing at Sebago Lake State Park, led us to buying real estate in Naples in 1992. “We packed a picnic lunch and skied out to a point overlooking the lake, remember?” 

After we married in 1988, Eric and I rented an apartment in our college town of Gorham, saving our money in hopes of buying a house within the next few years. By the fall of 1991 we’d begun our hunt. Both working in Gray, we searched area towns before a chance invitation to tour a model home in Naples brought us back out to the Lake Region area. We remembered our afternoon skiing at the park and fell in love with the home we toured in a friendly wooded neighborhood. My Mom and Dad returned the next day to enjoy lunch on the Naples Causeway and gave us their nod to the area which helped secure our plan to live here.

We’ve never questioned our decision to purchase real estate in Naples as it has led fun outdoor adventures over the past twenty-two years. We’ve hiked with our three children at various spots including Jockey Cap in Fryeburg, Rattlesnake Mountain in Raymond, Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton, Sabattus Mountain in Lovell, and Douglas Mountain in Sebago. We’ve gone snowshoeing, skiing, and skating at area venues each winter, and swimming or kayaking at Long Lake, Brandy Pond, Crystal Lake, and Sebago Lake each summer. The beauty of the area is breathtaking. Fireworks on the Naples Causeway and catching movies at The Magic Lantern Cinema, the Bridgton Drive-In in Bridgton, and at Smitty’s Cinema in Windham will forever be in our children’s memories also.

But don’t solely take my word that the Lake Region area offers some great date opportunities. Come enjoy cross-country skiing in the crisp air at Sebago Lake State Park or go snowshoeing at Sabattus Mountain in Lovell whose peak overlooks Pleasant Mountain, Kezar Lake, and the White Mountains. Catch a constellation snowshoe walk under a beautiful night sky in Bridgton. Dine on bruschetta at a waterfront restaurant window overlooking Brandy Pond. If you have children in tow, consider snowmobiling and ice fishing at the annual Sebago Lake Region Ice Fishing Derby or if you’re incredibly brave, lock hands with your significant other and plunge into the icy water at the Freezing for a Reason event at Highland Lake in Bridgton this Saturday, February 15th.

As for Eric and I, there will be many more dates to enjoy here. We never stop seeing a shop, restaurant, or trail to explore, however the most romantic spot I can think of to enjoy with my husband this Valentine’s Day is before a warm fire in the hearth of this house we made a home all those years ago. Love is in the air of the Lake Region area! 

–Written by: Anne Freeman Walker, a resident of Naples, Maine for the past 22 years.

Rattle Snake Mountain – Raymond (Trailhead off Route 85 Raymond)

This is an easy hike from the parking lot to the best view – about 1/2 mile. The view looks over Panther Pond and towards Raymond. The trail could be slippery in the winter as the viewing ledge has a slope to it hike or snowshoe.
This is a good hike for small children as it is easy and short and there is a good view within a 1/2 mile from the parking lot. Round trip is approximately 1.5 hours.

Pleasant Mountain Loop “Shawnee Peak”

Pleasant Mountain Loop “Shawnee Peak” – West Bridgton (Trailhead off Route 302 W. Bridgton)
Ridge hike offers excellent views to the southern Lakes Region and beyond. Pleasant Mountain is the highest peak in Southern Maine, rising dramatically over Moose Pond and the surrounding countryside to 2,006 vertical feet and stretching nearly 4.0 miles north to south (approximately 3 hours). The long, open summit affords outstanding ridge hiking and excellent views. The hike requires a moderate effort to climb the mountain.

Fall Foliage Family Hikes Southern Maine

Pleasant Mountain “Shawnee Peak” – East Fryeburg (Trailhead off Denmark Rd Fryeburg)
“Pleasant Mountain” – located in the Lakes Region of southwestern Maine, is the home of Shawnee Peak Ski Resort, which dominates the north side of the mountain and overlooks US 302 and the surrounding area. It is the highest mountain in southern Maine and a prominent landmark.
The majority of the hike lies inside Pleasant Mountain Preserve, and the Southwest Ridge Trail and summit area provide excellent views of the area’s mountains and lakes and New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
It is a family friendly hike to the summit at an elevation of 2,006 feet.

Fall Foliage Family Hikes Southern Maine

Burnt Meadow Mountain – Brownfield (Trailhead off Spring St. Brownfield)
Burnt Meadow Mountain, close to the New Hampshire border, is comprised of three similar summits. The well-marked (though somewhat overgrown) route described here scales the eastern spur of North Peak and offers beautiful views beginning just 0.15 mile from the start.
The broad, grassy summit gives kids room to play and adults room to spread out a feast with the White Mountains as a backdrop. The climb in some places is somewhat steep, count on carrying preschoolers part of the way.