Articles by Robin Clifford Wood

Conversations with Maine
Dick and Barbie Willis take in some well-needed relaxation after Dick's four days in Eastern Maine Medical Center's ICU, after a stroke on a roadless island and a LifeFlight rescue.

From airlift to flight home, Mainers support stroke victim and family

By Robin Clifford Wood on Sept. 12, 2012, at 5:50 p.m.
A couple of weeks ago, my household went into crisis management mode. While vacationing on an island off the coast of Mount Desert, my husband’s erstwhile healthy uncle was airlifted to Eastern Maine Medical Center. Uncle Dick had woken up feeling a bit “off” one morning on that roadless little …
Laura Hodos plays Patsy Cline in Penobscot Theatre Company's upcoming show, "Always... Patsy Cline."

‘Always… Patsy Cline’ a crowd-pleaser at Penobscot Theatre

By Robin Clifford Wood on Sept. 11, 2012, at 11:43 a.m.
I thought a sunny, Sunday afternoon might be stiff competition for a theater performance, but the Penobscot Theatre Company’s Sunday matinee of “Always… Patsy Cline” was packed. Word must have gotten out — the show is a hit. Even if you’re too young to remember Patsy Cline, who died in …
Swan's Island

Swan’s Island not for everyone, just right for a few

By Robin Clifford Wood on Sept. 06, 2012, at 7:26 p.m.
“Swan’s Island is not for everyone.” So opens an essay about Swan’s Island written several decades ago by Peg Bailey, a Swan’s Island real estate agent. Most Swan’s Islanders would agree that Peg’s dubious-sounding promotion remains largely true. The year-round population stands at about 332, a quirky combination of lifetime …
Stephen Hand, Andrew Holt and Dustin Ramsay, three participants of this year's Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program, relax after a swim at Grand Falls, one of the highlights of their nine-day trek through Baxter State Park in August.

Teen’s outdoor leadership bodes well for Maine’s environmental future

By Robin Clifford Wood on Aug. 23, 2012, at 2:51 p.m.
The average age of Baxter State Park users is rising, but those older folks who love the park won’t be able to take care of it forever. That is why the Maine Youth Wilderness Leadership Program hopes to attract young people who will be stewards of Maine’s outdoors into the …
Donna Wiegle of Swan's Island.

Year-round resident makes life work on Swan’s Island

By Robin Clifford Wood on Aug. 09, 2012, at 4:29 p.m.
You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who knows more about the people and places of Swan’s Island than Donna Wiegle, even though she didn’t become a year-round resident until 2002. Maybe it’s because she provides health care at the local clinic. Maybe it’s because Donna has been writer and …
Thom Hope stands in the kitchen of the home he built for himself in the 1980s. The tile set into the stone wall came from Portugal and has been dated back to the 1600s.  Thom and a friend rescued the tile from an old building in Portugal, just before it was taken down by a wrecking ball.

Curiosity key to life of artist, physician

By Robin Clifford Wood on July 26, 2012, at 1:15 p.m.
Thomas Hope is a painter who has had a gallery showing in Spain. He is a sculptor; he does carpentry, brickwork and stonework; he plays piano and guitar and composes music; and he is fluent in three languages, having lived abroad for many years. He designed several houses, including the …
Josh Gray with his deckhand, Ozzie, sit in front the boat that Gray built for his water taxi business, a branch of the Newman and Gray boat building company.

Boat builder finds his calling back home on Great Cranberry Island

By Robin Clifford Wood on July 12, 2012, at 12:25 p.m.
GREAT CRANBERRY ISLAND, Maine — Last Friday I hopped on a boat manned by Josh Gray and his deckhand, a 7-year-old lab named Ozzie. Gray is the captain of “The Cadillac,” a 26-foot water taxi with a lobster boat hull that he built three years ago at the Newman and …
Ralph Ostlund stands outside his New Sweden home with a restored 1939 truck, a gift from his son.

New Sweden 89-year-old looks back, and looks ahead

By Robin Clifford Wood on July 05, 2012, at 3:51 p.m.
When I asked around about someone interesting to interview in New Sweden, Ralph Ostlund’s name came up — retired potato farmer, avid dancer and cross-country skier, world traveler, citizen of the year, irrepressibly energetic 89-year-old. Ostlund had never heard of me when I called to ask if I could visit …
People of all ages dress in traditional Swedish clothing for the 2012 New Sweden Midsummer Festival.

A visit to New Sweden sweeps visitor up in the spirit of time and place

By Robin Clifford Wood on June 28, 2012, at 11:42 a.m.
Nearly 30 years ago when I was a teacher in New Hampshire, I met a young woman with an intriguing background. Lisa’s northern Maine hometown sounded like a place of almost mythic remoteness. The fact that she had 106 first cousins only added to the mystique. Our lives overlapped again …
Zach Robbins (from left), Brad LaBree and Emily Burnham are collaborative writers for the current production of Her Majesty's Cabaret.

Her Majesty’s Cabaret creating a new universe in downtown Bangor

By Robin Clifford Wood on June 21, 2012, at 4:53 p.m.
I knew that Her Majesty’s Cabaret would offer a glimpse into unfamiliar Maine territory when I read a comment on their Facebook page. It was written after their most recent comedy production: “I was hoping to go to Her Majesty’s Cabaret, but it was the last home roller derby bout …
Cindi and Tom Cavanaugh in their Main Street store in Bangor, Best Bib and Tucker. They have been married for nearly 45 years and in business together for almost 40.

Couple’s 40-year business retains personal touch

By Robin Clifford Wood on June 14, 2012, at 4:46 p.m.
BANGOR, Maine — Shopping for clothing with my son takes place only after much arm-twisting. He once wore a pair of sneakers until they were more duct tape than canvas. Nevertheless, during a college break he finally agreed that he should have one nice suit. That was the day we …
Actors rehearse for Penobscot Theatre Company's performance of "“I Love You, You’'re Perfect, Now Change," directed by Nathan Halvorson.

‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is a perfect marriage of music, comedy at Penobscot Theatre

By Robin Clifford Wood on June 12, 2012, at 3:52 p.m.
If opening night was any indication, Penobscot Theatre has a smash hit on their stage. I have seen most of the theater’s performances over the last 10 years and this was one of its best. The production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” was not only laugh-out-loud funny, …
Jonathan with Michael the raccoon.

Caring for a raccoon called Michael

By Robin Clifford Wood on June 07, 2012, at 4:48 p.m.
A recent poll in the Bangor Daily News indicated that a majority of readers had cared for a wild animal at some time. I felt a sense of kinship with all those readers. There is something deeply stirring about connecting with a wild creature; something profound in what they have …
The Marshall Point Lighthouse, which was featured in the 1994 Tom Hanks movie, "Forrest Gump."

Midcoast Maine minivacation

By Robin Clifford Wood on May 31, 2012, at 11:45 a.m.
My brother once said to me that he wanted to live year-round in a place where other people go for vacation. That way he gets to enjoy all the attractions both in peak season and after the crowds go home. I keep telling him he should move to Maine. Most …
Photo by Robin Clifford Wood  In the sign company's truck bay, Ande Binan displays some of his artwork for book covers, his newest artistic venture.

Signs lead artist to opportunity

By Robin Clifford Wood on May 24, 2012, at 3:54 p.m.
I was a good distance out on Outer Hammond Street when I stopped for directions. “Do you know where DaVinci Signs is?” “I think I know where that is,” a woman said. “There’s this truck just up the street,” she made sweeping gestures with her arms, “all painted all over!” …
Conversations With Maine

Hampden Academy bronze bronco mascot being created by community

By Robin Clifford Wood on May 17, 2012, at 1:51 p.m.
Some people allow obstacles to define their lives. Others mold obstacles into a shape of their own choosing. Forest Hart, wildlife observer and renowned sculptor, belongs to the second category. Beneath a quiet, humble exterior, Forest houses a fiery independence and a relentless drive to create. That drive has led …
A young man on the threshold of adulthood, watches the sun rise over the Atlantic.

‘Coming of Age’ teens spend a weekend unplugged

By Robin Clifford Wood on May 10, 2012, at 4:08 p.m.
As a rule, the only time teenagers see the sun come up is when they have triumphantly stayed awake the whole night through. My husband and I recently discovered that it is also possible, though not popular, to drag sleeping teenagers out of bed at 5 a.m. to witness the …
Tom Bickford, Director of Maine Robotics, at home with various LEGO creations.

Founder and director of Maine Robotics fills a ‘desperate need’ with LEGOs

By Robin Clifford Wood on May 03, 2012, at 3:10 p.m.
My earliest idea of a robot came from the 1960s TV show “Lost in Space,” which featured a clunky R2D2 ancestor that waved his stiff arms and cried, “Danger, Will Robinson!” Robots have come a long way since then. Until I visited Tom Bickford in his home, I had no …
Nathan Carey, 8, dressed as the Titanic's Capt. Edward John Smith, holds a Titanic 100th anniversary cake at the party he arranged to commemorate the sinking of the great ship.

8-year-old boy honors the Titanic

By Robin Clifford Wood on April 26, 2012, at 4:14 p.m.
Long before the 100-year anniversary hype grew to a frenzy, 8-year-old Nathan Carey had fully immersed himself in the story of the RMS Titanic. Among the numerous commemorations of the Titanic’s tragic end, Nathan’s Titanic remembrance house party is the one I am least likely to forget. In the late …
"The first photo here, where the paddler appears to have resigned to his fate of capsizing, is one of my all-time favorites. This was taken during the 2009 race," said Michael Alden.

‘River Vulture’ photographer ready for the Kenduskeag Stream race

By Robin Clifford Wood on April 19, 2012, at 1:04 p.m.
If you type “Kenduskeag stream canoe race” into Google, your first hits will all be related to the best race website available. and the Kenduskeag race blog both exist thanks to Alaska native Mike Alden, now a resident of Brewer, Maine. Even though Mike has never actually been in …
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