ELLSWORTH, Maine — Spring was in the air all day Saturday, even if it didn’t officially arrive until early afternoon. It cascaded over golf courses and muddy walking, hiking and biking trails. It visited sun-splashed neighborhood parks and playgrounds.
By Sunday, the sun was mostly gone and rain was forecast for the early part of the week, but record temperatures throughout eastern Maine the day before brought the masses outside to enjoy the last official hours of a relatively mild winter.
For the third consecutive day, Bangor set a record high, as Saturday topped out at 68 degrees, according to Rich Norton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Caribou. Highs also were recorded in Caribou, Millinocket, Houlton and several other areas this week.
“I’d say snowmobilers probably aren’t happy, but just about everyone else is,” he said.
Bangor Municipal Golf Course opened Friday, about two weeks ahead of schedule, according to head pro Brian Enman, joining a handful of other area courses getting an early start.
As of late afternoon Saturday, Enman said, the course was nearing 200 rounds — well above average for a weekend day in March or April.
“Once you first open up, I think people are a little anxious to play,” he said.
The Bangor golf course was more brown than green in many spots but golfers said that was hardly a deterrent.
“I don’t care what shape the course is in, really. I’m just glad to be out,” Bud Preston said late Saturday morning while waiting for his turn to tee off.
In Fairmount Park, just down the road from the golf course, Jill Stevenson watched her two young daughters on the playground, running from one obstacle to the next.
“They love it,” Stevenson said. “I’m sure they will sleep good tonight.”
Norton said the mild weather of the last couple of weeks was caused by what he called a “high-pressure blocking system,” which has kept the weather patterns consistent — and consistently pleasant.
In Ellsworth early Saturday afternoon, the place to be was Jordan’s Snack Bar. Bob Trask and his wife, Nancy, had been riding their 1986 Harley-Davidson most of the morning along Route 1 from Washington County and decided to stop for lunch.
He had a double bacon cheeseburger and a chocolate shake. She had fried Maine shrimp and fresh-squeezed lemonade
“This is when you remember why you love Maine,” Nancy Trask said between bites.
Cooler weather eased back into the region Sunday, with rain expected to fall through Wednesday. Central and northern areas could see the rain mix with sleet or snow.
Norton said if the current weather pattern continues, as he expects it to, mild weather would emerge again soon.