Local musician Toby McAllister, pictured here at The Press Room in Portsmouth, would of course play at a local venue on his perfect day. Photo by Corey Fitzgerald and courtesy of Toby McAllister

The third Resurgam Music & Arts Festival will take place Sunday outside the Ocean Gateway in Portland, and the lineup includes local musician Toby McAllister & the Sierra Sounds. Known primarily as the founding member of Sparks The Rescue, McAllister toured the world before settling in Maine with his family. Now 37, he is an active singer-songwriter on the local music scene and released the album “Autumn Skies” last year. He’s on Instagram @tobymcallister.

Toby McAllister with daughter Adeline and his wife, Leslie, at a show at Aura in Portland. Photo by Cait Bourgault and courtesy of Toby McAllister

My perfect day in Maine would start by drinking coffee with my wife and daughter on the porch of our home in Poland Spring. We live on Tripp Lake and can often hear the loons calling off the water, and it always brings a sense of calm. We live in the woods down a dirt road where there is minimal traffic and can enjoy the birds singing and the breeze blowing through the trees. It’s one of my favorite places in the world, and I can’t believe I call it home.

I would stop by Poland Provisions and grab one of their amazing bagels to go, and head for the mountains. I love the hikes in Grafton Notch up in Newry, and I would hike one of my favorites, Old Speck Mountain. Being in the woods is like meditation for me and often helps bring me back to earth if I’m feeling overwhelmed by life in general. I find that I do some of my best lyric writing while I’m hiking. The rhythm of my feet climbing lends itself to my internal monologue going on autopilot. I often will stop hiking and write full verses into my phone before continuing. The fire tower at the top of this particular mountain is where you get the best view, and can be a little scary when hiking alone, but also quite rewarding. On the way home, I would stop at the roadside stand called Puzzle Mountain Bakery and bring back some delicious cookies and a pie for the family.

For lunch, me and the family would drive down to Portland to get Taco Escobarr to go (I’m a fan of the crispy chicken tacos myself) and also make a pit stop at The Cookie Jar in South Portland to get some of their red velvet donuts. Then we would eat these delicious snacks at Two Lights State Park on the ocean. I feel like we won the lottery sometimes being so close to the wilderness and the rocky ocean coastline.

To start wrapping the daylight hours, I would stop at The Independent Ice Co. and sample some of their allocated bourbon selection. I would probably have a glass of Eagle Rare or Elmer T. Lee, which are two of my current favorites. Having a small pour of bourbon on ice is one of my favorite ways to wind the day down.

Ideally, the last stop would be at any one of Portland’s rock ‘n’ roll clubs to meet up with the band and play a show. Being on stage singing songs that I wrote with my friends is one of the most rewarding and fun things I can imagine doing. I’ve been doing it my whole life and can’t picture anything else as a career path.

And of course … back home to end the night, driving down my little dirt road in the woods and listening to the loons while I walk back to my front door.

Toby McAllister, pictured on Puzzle Mountain in Oxford County, finds that hiking provides creative inspiration for song lyrics. Photo by Toby McAllister

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