Several years ago, a new acquaintance from Kansas asked me if Bangor was anywhere near Old Town.

Why yes, I replied. Quite near it, in fact … but why? Have you been to Old Town?

“No,” she said. “I’ve never even been to Maine before. But I know about their canoes.”

Those of us who grew up in these parts may be excused for not realizing the reputation that Old Town Canoe Co. enjoys in its industry.

I’d always realized that most of the canoe-paddling folks I knew relied on the company, of course.

But Kansas?

Yes. Kansas.

Around these parts, Old Town Canoes are a part of the outdoor landscape. Hike to a remote pond that fly fishermen favor and you’re likely to find more than a few Old Town canoes chained to trees.

Watch the Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race and you’ll see Old Town models in all shapes and sizes … canoes and kayaks alike.

On our lakes and ponds and rivers, we’ve come to expect the sight of Old Town boats of every color and shape imaginable.

Yes, the company has carved out quite a niche for itself over more than 100 years in business.

Most of the time, we Mainers don’t think twice about that history.

But at least once a year, it’s unwise to ignore the goings-on at the boat manufacturer up the road.

That time is now.

Starting Friday, and running through Sunday, the company will hold its annual spring sale of boats.

If you’re looking for a discounted kayak, this is your chance to scoop one up. If you need a canoe, you’d better get there quick.

Or if you’re just looking for paddles or PFDs or other accessories, this is the weekend you can’t afford to miss.

It used to be that news of the spring sale spread by word of mouth. Usually, the first word I heard came the Monday after the sale was over, when a friend told me about the great deal he just got on a slightly blemished boat.

Nowadays, the company advertises the sale more thoroughly, to prospective buyers’ benefit.

Here’s what you need to know: The sale hours are 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday.

The sale will take place at the Old Town Canoe Factory at 35 Middle Street in Old Town.

Go early. Have fun. Be prepared to find a few deals you can’t refuse.

Just be sure to take a car with roof racks or a pickup truck. Past experience indicates that you may well walk away with a new boat … or two.

Leeman book price changes

Not long ago I told you about Brewer author Bob Leeman’s new book, “Fly Fishing Maine Rivers, Brooks and Streams,” which was recently released.

Leeman checked in Monday, letting me know that sales have been brisk, and a price change is in the works.

“Just wanted to let you know, after discussions with Paul Reynolds, my editor and publisher, we have decided that due to the unexpected increased cost of mailing books, we are going to sell my book for $19.95 starting with the next print, which will be this next week,” Leeman wrote.

Leeman explained he and Reynolds are calling the $17.95 price originally listed the “introductory” cost, but said the first printing of 100 books is nearly gone.

On Monday Leeman reordered books that will be sold at the $19.95 price. They are already available at Van Raymond Outfitters in Brewer and Book Marc’s in Bangor. A Web site will be online shortly.

If you’re interested in ordering a book from Leeman himself, you can send $19.95 to Bob Leeman, 22 Alan-A-Dale Road, Brewer, ME 04412. You can also reach him via e-mail at

Wildlife park plans event

If you’re looking to get out and enjoy a Maine spring day, the Maine Wildlife Park will hold its first Saturday event of the season May 2 at the facility in Gray.

The Bridges Foundation “Walk on the Wild Side” will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and involves walking through the park for a worthy cause.

The Bridges Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides employment opportunities and fosters skill development in order to enhance self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

Participants who donate $25 or more will receive a T-shirt.

For more information, call 894-5288.


John Holyoke

John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their...