Seasonal Escapes January 2005

The ice is nice
Many Mainers love to go skating in the wintertime. Fortunately, western Maine offers many opportunities – indoors or out – for this favorite sport.

Listen for the scratch of skates on ice. Feel the wind in your hair, the cold on your cheeks, the muscles in your legs. Push, glide, spin. Frosty breath lingers in the air as you zip around and around. Ice flies when you abruptly stop. Then, take off in another direction.

Ice-skating. My girls have felt like Olympians when imitating various skaters’ styles, from the classic elegance of Nancy Kerrigan to the running step of the skating clown Scott Hamilton.

Finding a place to skate may be as easy as clearing the pond next door or taking your skates to the village green, since many towns flood their common or another field.

In this area, there are a number of places to skate outdoors or indoors.

Outdoor skating has the advantage of a romantic atmosphere, with soft snow mounds and shadows of trees edging the ice. In addition, outdoor skating is usually free or less expensive, and often closer to home. Indoor skating has the advantage of being available no matter the weather, the ice is consistently smooth, and the temperature may be a little warmer.

If you’re watching your kids, be sure to bring along enough cold-weather gear to stay warm. At outdoor rinks you may have your car or a warming hut available, at indoor rinks you may need to bundle in blankets. Either way, bring plenty of hot chocolate, or hot tea or coffee, to keep warm while watching and also to help warm up your skaters when they take a break. Many locations may have refreshments available nearby.

Safety concerns: If you plan to skate outdoors, be aware that conditions at many locations can change quickly. Always call to check in the area to see if skating is safe if you have any doubts. Do not skate if you see open water. For all skaters, both indoor and outdoor, and especially for beginners, you may want to get some safety gear such as pads and helmets to prevent injury. You may also want to pack along a little first-aid kit for the inevitable scrapes on hands when the kids get warm skating and take off their gloves …

Edith Churchill is a freelance writer living in Auburn who frequently takes day trips with her family.

I love watching skaters glide over the ice. Along with enjoying the skating yourself and/or cheering on your children or grandchildren, be sure to take part in some of the wonderful activities to enjoy this winter.

Area winter festivals

Here are a few you may like to try:

The fifth annual Maine WinterFest will be held in Falmouth and Freeport from Jan. 14 through 18. This year’s theme is “Winter in Jester’s Court.” We thoroughly enjoyed seeing the enormous snow sculptures in Falmouth in a prior season. The area is fenced-in, making a close area to contain and reflect back all that cold; you can really feel the temperature change! Visitors were taking lots of photographs. Freeport features smaller ice sculptures along the shopping district. Ice-skating is also listed as a festival activity. For more information and for the schedule, call (207) 772-2811 or check

The Oxford Hills Snowfest will be held at Lake Pennesseewassee, or Norway Lake, Jan. 29 and 30. Activities will include a radar run, drag racing, an antique snowmobile show and a chowder fest. All proceeds go to the maintenance of the Norway snowmobile trail system. The Snowfest is sponsored by the Norway Trackers Snowmobile Club. For more information, call 743-6483, 527-2175 or 527-2230, all in area code 207.

Auburn’s Winter Festival 2005 will be Feb. 4 through 6. Enjoy all sorts of wintertime activities: cross-country and alpine skiing, ice-skating, snowshoeing, snowboarding, sleigh rides and bonfires. For more information about this fourth annual festival, contact Auburn Parks and Recreation at (207) 784-0191.

I have compiled a list of places to get you started skating; I know that my family is now excited to try out some new spots. There are so many that I am sure that I have left off a few you love and for that, I apologize. But there are many available in our area, so do go out and enjoy the winter.

Edith Churchill is a freelance writer living in Auburn who frequently takes day trips with her family.
Lots of skating choices outdoors

What a wealth of wonderful venues to skate we have in Maine! Whether you are lucky enough to have your own little pond, can clear off the pond next door or enjoy the frozen field on your town green, grab your skates and head outdoors. Here is a list of places to go ice-skating outdoors.


Chestnut Street Park has a field that is flooded for ice-skating, weather permitting. Note the area did not have ice as of this writing, so call the Auburn Parks and Recreation Department for updates at (207) 784-0191.

Walton Elementary School on Seventh Street has a field that had just been cleared of snow for icing as of this writing. Parking is available on the roadside or in the school parking lot when school isn’t in session. Call Auburn Parks and Recreation for information on this field also, (207) 784-0191.


Dummer Street Pond is in the north end of Bath at the corner of Beacon and Dummer streets. It’s lighted until 9 p.m. daily. When closed due to weather conditions, the city of Bath posts signs. For information, call the Bath Recreation Department, (207) 443-8360.

Goddard’s Pond, which has more than two acres of ice, is in the south end of Bath at the corner of Marshall and High streets. There is a warming hut and refreshment stand. Open Monday through Friday from 3 to 9 p.m.; and on weekends, holidays and school vacations from noon to 9 p.m. For information, call the Bath Recreation Department, (207) 443-8360.


Bethel Recreation Department ice rink is located on the Common in the downtown historic area. Skates are available for rental from the cross-country ski center at the Bethel Inn. For more information, contact the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, (207) 824-2282.

Sunday River White Cap Fun Center offers lighted, outdoor ice-skating. Rentals are available. For information, contact (800) 543-2754 or

The Telemark Inn has a private pond offering skating by day and by luminaria light at night. Skate rentals are available by the day and the half-day, with advance reservation, (207) 836-2703.


The Mall on Maine Street in downtown Brunswick is flooded annually to become an outdoor ice skating rink. The rink is monitored by department staff trained in Red Cross standard first aid and CPR during these hours: Monday through Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the hours the rink is monitored, ice hockey is not allowed. There is lighting in the surrounding trees and on the gazebo. Hot refreshments are available within walking distance.

Lishness Hockey Rink is on Pine Tree Road. It’s open to the public for ice hockey from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily except when in use by the Mid Coast Youth Hockey Association. Weather permitting. For more information, call (207) 725-6656.

Carrabassett Valley:

Carrabassett Valley Ski Touring Center is on Route 27. Skating is available through March 1 on the pond beside the cross-country ski area.

Sugarloaf has ice-skating at the outdoor center, an Olympic-sized outdoor rink that is open daily. Music and lights. Large lodge. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday and Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., (207) 237-6830, (800) 527-9879, Skates available for rent.


Recreation fields are flooded for ice-skating. Call the Dixfield Parks and Recreation Department for more information, (207) 562-8151.


The Family Ice Center is at 20 Hat Trick Drive. There is a large, lighted outdoor rink, in addition to the indoor facility. The Pond House offers a spot to sit and warm up, get a hot drink and a snack, while enjoying the fireplace. Skate rentals are available. For more information, call (207) 781-4200.


Hippach Field has an ice-skating rink open for day and night skating. A warming house is available with a wood stove. For more information, call (207) 778-3464.


Freeport Middle School field is on Kendall Lane. Weather permitting. For more information, call (207) 865-6171.


Fryeburg Recreation Department ice rink is on Bradley Street. Ice-skating through mid-March.


The only city-owned outdoor rink is behind Memorial Armory at 65 Central Ave. Claudette Jordan, administrative assistant for the Lewiston Recreation and Parks, said ice making began before Christmas, but then subsequent warm weather made it necessary to start again.

Bates College offers “the puddle” or Lake Andrews to the community for ice-skating. Take College Street north past Schaeffer Theatre, turn right into the campus when the street lanterns end. You will pass Page Hall on the left, the lake is just beyond and parking is available in the lot. For more information, call (207) 786-6255.

Holy Family outdoor rink is made available by the Holy Family Booster Club. This had not been flooded as of this writing. The rink is off Sabattus Street, behind the Maine Family Credit Union; turn right after Grants’ Bakery.

Pine Haven Winter Park has a small pond that is available for skating when the weather permits. There is a small fee. For information, call (207) 783-4103.

Webster Street has a small pond that offers skating, weather permitting. The pond is located on the left, just before the Alfred A. Plourde Parkway. There is limited roadside parking.

Locke Mills:

Mount Abram Family Resort is on Howe Hill Road off Route 26. Outdoor ice-skating is available. For more information, call (207) 875-5000.


Sunday River Resort offers outdoor ice-skating. For more information, call (800) 543-2754.


Norway has a public skating arena. For more information, call (207) 743-6651.


Johnson Pond is on the Colby College campus. Ice-skating and pond hockey are available. Call to check on pond conditions at the Colby College Department of Athletics, (207) 872-3769 or (207) 872-3364.


Mount Blue State Park has ice-skating on Lake Webb. Call to check on the ice’s safety, (207) 585-2347.


Kineowatha Park offers ice-skating and a warming hut. For more information, call (207) 645-4825.


Yarmouth Community Services Park, a lighted pond, is off Main Street and open weather permitting. Hockey is available on the back section. (207) 846-2406.

– Edith Churchill

Arenas provide indoor ice-skating

Within easy driving distance of this area are some wonderful indoor skating opportunities. Some locations offer skate rentals, while others do not; if this is a concern for you, I’ve listed the information when available. Hours vary in many locations due to other uses of the facilities, do call ahead to be sure the site is open to the public. Happy skating!


Ingersoll Arena is in Pettengill Park. Public skating is on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons from noon to 2 p.m. through March 20. There is a fee of $3 for adults and $2 for students and seniors. Children age 4 and under are free. Upcoming special events include the Auburn Winter Festival in early February and a choreographed skating exhibition in March. For information, contact Auburn Parks and Recreation, (207) 782-0191. Bring skates since no rentals are available. The concession stand is open on Sundays. Dress warm, this rink is cold.


Bridgton Ice Arena is off Route 37 at Bridgton Academy. Open to the public for skating, but hours vary. For more information, call (207) 647-8786.


Bowdoin College Dayton Arena is open to the public for skating on Sunday afternoons. Admission is charged. Call (207) 725-3322 for more information.

Falmouth: The Family Ice Center has an indoor ice-skating facility. Skate rentals are available. For more information, call (207) 781-4200.


Hebron Academy Robinson Arena has public skating on Sundays throughout the winter from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. The cost is $2 for adults and $1 for children age 12 and under. No skate rentals, but sharpening is available for a small fee. The skating runs through the first weekend in March. For more information, call (207) 966-5222.


Kennebec Ice Arena is on Whitten Road. For more information, call (207) 622-6354.

Kents Hill:

Alfond Athletic Center is off Route 17. Call (207) 685-3878.


The Colisee offers public skating on Sundays when the Maineiacs do not have a home game. The ice is available from 3 to 5 p.m. The January family skating dates are: Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30. Skate rentals are available for a fee of $4. For a complete schedule, check or call (207) 783-2009.

Bates College Underhill Arena is at 145 Russell St. No skate rentals. For more information, call 786-6255.


Alfond Arena is located at Colby College. Parking is available behind the athletic center. For more information, call the Colby College Department of Athletics, (207) 872-3769 or (207) 872-3364.


Sukee Arena and Events Center is at 1270 Verti Drive. For more information, call (207) 872-5994.


Yarmouth Travis Roy Ice Arena is at North Yarmouth Academy off Route 1. For more information, call (207) 846-2384.

– Edith Churchill

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