No hibernating ?this winter

Winter brings to mind short days, snuggling on the couch in front of the fire with a good book, awaiting the return of more human-friendly conditions…Think Again. Naples and the surrounding regions are not accepting the sleepy little New England town moniker this year. There is plenty to do out there, so what are you waiting for?

Go jump in the lake

Each year a very brave group of Harvest Hills supporters spend time gathering pledges from family, friends and local businesses in order to sign up to “take the plunge” at the Freezing for A Reason event, held with the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Mushers Bowl event. Join these hearty souls Saturday, Jan. 22, starting at 11 a.m., with the fun part, the jumping in, happening at 1 p.m.?If you’ve never been, this is such a fun event! Jumpers sign up to jump in the frigid waters of Highland Lake Beach in Bridgton. We have a heated changing room available courtesy of the Bridgton Fire Department. Days before the event Bridgton Public Works crew “Ice Men” cut a hole in the ice from the beach making water entry easy. Once the jumpers exit the water, they have the opportunity to jump into hot tubs to warm up! These hot tubs are available thanks to Softubs of NH, located in Conway. It’s a blast! Do you dare? If you want to join in, go to to download a pledge sheet.

Mush and more

Put the Dog Sled Races on your calendar for Saturday and Sunday Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. The races will again be held at Five Fields Farm at 320 Bridgton Road (Route 107), Bridgton. Cheer the dogs and owners as they compete both days. Watch from the starting line, the finish line or along the race route. Another fun event taking place is skijoring. Skijoring is a sport where racers on cross country skis are pulled by sled dogs. There will also be a snowshoe hike up Bald Pate Mountain (free with button) led by Loon Echo Land Trust from 10 a.m. to 12 noon (snowshoes can be provided). These events are part of the annual Mushers Bowl Winter Carnival, running from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Go to for the schedule. Warm up with food and hot drinks concessions at Five Fields Farm. Event buttons are $3 each. For more information, call The Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, 647-3472.

Naples Winter Carnival

Attending this event makes you feel like you are smack dab in the middle of our busy summer season. This event has grown in popularity. The Causeway is usually packed, prompting me to wonder how the construction will affect the event and parking. Dan Allen, event coordinator, states that while the parking is sure to be an issue, all activities and food booths are on the lake. The MDOT has assured Allen that the public dock area will be cleared out of construction materials for the event. Suggestions for parking include either the American Legion on Route 11 or the Naples Town Hall and Village Green where there will be a shuttle bus running continuously from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, historically the busiest day of the three-day event. On Friday night, a Torch Light Snowmobile Parade will depart from Black Bear Cafe?, stopping first at the Naples Ice Rink near the Legion on Route 11. There families are welcome to bring some skates and head out onto the ice. From there the parade heads to Bear Bonz BBQ and then finishes up at Bray’s with a bonfire and an opportunity to purchase refreshments. You can also join the parade by car if you don’t have a snowmobile. Saturday’s events include helicopter rides, bouncy house, food booths, poker rally, radar runs, and don’t miss the fireworks and bonfire Saturday night at 6 p.m. Throughout the day, the shuttle bus will be available to take chilly little ones over to the Town Hall for free hot chocolate and movies. Hannaford Bros. and the United Way’s Fishing Derby is also a main attraction. Also planned are an Antique Snowmobile Show, snowmobile jumps, and even a visit by Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Sundays activities run from about 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. (no shuttle on this day) with trophies handed out at 4 p.m. Contact Dan Allen for information at 318-6965.

Food and fellowship

All this activity is sure to make you hungry. Good thing the kind people of Christ Community Chapel are offering a complimentary Community Meal Saturday, Jan. 29, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Italian dishes are on the menu that night. If you’re more of an early bird, grab a hot complimentary breakfast at the Naples United Methodist Church every Wednesday from 8-10 a.m. until springtime. The breakfast will be canceled if SAD 61 does not have school. For more information, contact the church hotline at 693-6594.

Fireside chat

If you insist on keeping indoors this winter, the library is the place to be. The Naples Public Library will host a free “Fireside Chat” on Maine’s rich skiing heritage. The program will be presented by the Ski Museum of Maine on Jan. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Gathering Room of the library. The 50-minute digital slideshow is produced and presented by the Ski Museum and is titled “Down-Mountain and Cross Country: 140 Years of Skiing in Maine.” The narrator will be Scott Andrews, the museum’s curator and research director, who assembled more than 130 photos and graphic images, some more than a century old. Andrews has been a snowsports journalist for 24 years and is a writer for several magazines. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.

Construction update: Expect delays

Make sure you have some great music to listen to because if you are traveling on Route 302 over the next three or four weeks, you probably will be delayed at some point while traveling through Naples. Craig Hurd, project manager, stated that work on drainage and paving from Lake House Road (near Sandy’s Flight Deck Restaurant) and the Naples Fire Department will begin soon. One-lane traffic will be in effect from those two points, and yes, there is a chance that you can be stopped again briefly if you are heading toward Windham. There may be some days of one-lane traffic closer to the bridge while the crews install a cofferdam for the new bridge.

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