DEAR SUN SPOTS: The North Parish Tree Farm in Turner was closed last year when my family went to get a Christmas tree. Do you know if they’ll be open this year, and if not, where is there another good place to go where my grandchildren and I can cut down a tree? It’s a family tradition. — No name, no town

ANSWER: Yes! This outstanding Christmas tree farm will be open beginning Friday There are 8 acres of balsam fir trees and people who visit are supplied with a bow saw. Your tree is baled for easy transportation back to your home.

The farm is at 231 North Parish Road/Route 117, one mile north of Turner Center. There are also wreaths, kissing balls, garlands, centerpieces, and other décor items and gifts for sale in their shop.

Hours of operation are Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. For  information go to their website at

Readers, if you have other tree farms you would like to recommend, please write in. And for a comprehensive list of all the Choose & Cut Christmas tree farms in Maine, check out this website at Tis the season!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Can residents of Lewiston and Auburn access the Bates College Library? — No name, no town

ANSWER: The answer to that is usually yes, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, with the exception of the bookstore, the museum, and access to specific venues, Bates campus buildings are still closed to anyone not currently affiliated with the college. And for those places mentioned above, you must show a COVID-19 vaccination card or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The Visitors to Campus Website is regularly updated as restrictions ease and this is where you’ll find the most complete information:

In case you’re curious about checking out library materials, you would need to get a visitor’s card. That requires filling out a form and access is only to people with legitimate, ongoing research needs that would be best served by direct access (vs. performing an interlibrary loan request from the local public library). For more information, go here:

DEAR SUN SPOTS: In response to the question about outdoor recreation in the L-A area from Joaquin (Nov. 23 Sun Spots), the YMCA’s Outdoor Learning Education Center in Auburn offers year-round recreation opportunities for free from sunrise to sunset. The 100-acre parcel includes 2.5 miles of snowshoe and cross-country ski trails, a half-mile wheelchair accessible trail, warming huts, and campfires on Saturdays. All trails are marked. Access is from 167 Stetson Road where there is an information kiosk.

Another outdoor recreation area is Mt. Apatite Park in Auburn, which features four miles of trails for nonmotorized uses such as hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s accessible from Small Road. There is also Androscoggin Riverlands State Park on Center Bridge Road in Turner. — Mary, no town

ANSWER: Thanks for the wonderful information, Mary! That all sounds fantastic. I hope many Sun Spots readers will write in to share their favorite places. Especially with winter coming on, it’s good to know there are places where we can enjoy the great outdoors and stay active.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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