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Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine 10 years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: February 19, 2013

13 things to do this winter that don’t require snow

Written by: Shannon Bryan

“It starts snowing in November and we don’t see the ground again until May.” An old roommate once described a Maine winter that way. And while it may historically be true, the winters of recent memory – and, like, right now – don’t seem keen on abiding by the six-months-of-snow-covered-ground rule. It’s been warm-ish in Maine’s southern parts. The snow we had is melting And the snowshoeing? Not great at the moment, unless you head farther west or north. So what does one do to keep occupied in Winter when the snow is being elusive? This stuff:

Climb the walls at Maine Rock Gym, Portland

Colder weather leads to cabin fever. Cabin fever makes people climb walls, and the walls in most cabins aren’t conducive to climbing. But at Maine Rock Gym, the walls want you to climb on. The gym is open daily throughout the cold months and first timers can get instruction to get them started. All levels are welcome and ladies can take advantage of the women’s climbing night on 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month.
Maine Rock Gym
127 Marginal Way, Portland | 207-780-6370 |
Introductory package for the first timer costs $28 and includes everything.

Fly through the trees at Sunday River, Newry

Tarzan did it. Now you can, too. Sunday River’s zipline tours fly you through the Maine woods as you cross back and forth over a deep ravine and stream bed on the seven lines of the course. And yes, you can belt out your best Tarzan yell. We won’t judge.
Sunday River Zip Lines
Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry | 800-543-2754 |
Winter tours Sat & Sun, Nov 24-Mar 31, $59, tours depart at 10 am & 1 pm

Swing your partner at Maine Ballroom, Portland

The waltz was once considered risque, since it was a couple’s dance rather than a group dance and the man was obliged to put his arm around the lady’s waist. Gasp! It’s lost that reputation these days, but that hasn’t prevented plenty of would-be dancers from taking up the steps. Maine Ballroom Dancing offers classes in Ballroom, Argentine tango, swing, waltz and rumba.
Maine Ballroom Dance
614 Congress St., Portland | 207-773-0002 |
Classes vary from four to six-week sessions and cost around $40 to $80. Drop-in practice also offered for $5, like the Wednesday-night Argentine Tango.
Also check out: Casco Bay Movers, Portland

Get crafty at Artascope Studios, South Portland

There’s something about the ability to say “I made that” that’s undeniably appealing. At Artascope Studios in South Portland, students can let their inner artist rule the evening while making hammered silver rings, crochet wire jewelry, fused glass pendants, image transfer art and more. Classes include instruction and all the materials. All you need to bring is imagination.
Artascope Studios
352 Cottage Road, South Portland | 207-799-5154 |
Classes range from $40 to $80

Roll with it at Happy Wheels, Portland

Roller skating rinks have been witness to heartbreak before – of the Junior High variety. Maybe you haven’t been back since Joey broke up with you during a couple’s skate. Maybe it’s time to reclaim the rolling wheels and the oblong hardwood floors. You’re an adult now, dangit. No childhood romance is going to keep you away! (But you’ll wear your rad hypercolor shirt anyway, just in case Joey is there.)
Happy Wheels
331 Warren Ave., Portland | 207-797-8207 |
Tuesdays are adults nights from 7:30 to 10 pm; admission is $6.50. All-ages skates on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Bow to no one: Archery lesson at Central Maine Archery, Auburn

Maybe you’re not looking to be the next Robin Hood. Or maybe you are. But learning the art of archery is sort a skill that always comes in handy. Plus it’s wildly entertaining to hunt balloons. Take a lesson or head over with a pal for Friendship Fridays and get two for the price of one lane and rentals.
Central Maine Archery
213 Washington St., Auburn | 207-783-3060 |

Paint and drink at Paint Nite, Portland

Paint Nite combines artistry with the good ol’ fashioned art of drinking. Everything you need to paint – paint, brushes, canvas, apron, easel, guidance – is provided. You buy the drink of your choice. You can follow the artists along step-by-step to create that night’s painting, or go rogue and paint whatever you’d like.
Paint Night
Paint it out 6 pm Sundays at Bull Feeney’s, Portland; 6:30 pm Mondays at Brian Boru, Portland; and 6 pm Thursdays at Flask Lounge, Portland | $45 |

Go on strike at Bayside Bowl, Portland

Bowling was once thought to be the sport of middle-aged men who worked factory jobs during the day and wore bathrobes around the house on weekends. But it’s proven to be a much cooler way to spend an evening than previous thought. It helps that Bayside Bowl also has a fine menu (pork cigars!) and live music most nights, not to mention the mood lighting.
Bayside Bowl
58 Alder S., Portland | 207-791-2695 |
Lanes are open 4 pm-12 am Mon-Thur, 12 pm-1 am Fri, 11 am-1 am Sat & 11 am-11 pm Sun. $25/hour per lane on Mon-Thur; $30/hour per lane on Fri & Sat. Shoe rental $3.
For more bowling alleys:

Race to the finish at Maine Indoor Karting, Scarborough

There are places where cutting people off is frowned upon – the interstate, for example, or in line at the grocery store. But at Maine Indoor Karting, your devilish get-ahead driving tactics are not only okay, they’re celebrated. There are no cops clocking your speed here, though there are awesome racing suits.
Maine Indoor Karting
23 Washington Ave., Scarborough | 207-885-0058 |
$22 for single race; memberships and discounts available

Learn to self-meditate: “Occupy your Mind” at The Heart Opening, Portland

Cold weather, icy roads and a three-month case of chapped lips can sometimes have a negative impact on your personal Zen levels. Take a meditation workshop to learn the art of meditation and help find yourself a happy place again…even if it’s 3 degrees outside.
The Heart Opening
227 Congress St., Portland | 207-228-1139 |
Workshops are $10 per class and run 7-8:30 pm Thursday.

See what’s in the cards with a Tarot Reading at Dobra Tea, Portland

The future is so uncertain. And it’s even sometimes hard to make sense of the past. But a reading with Jackie Major might help get things in order and help you see life more clearly. Got a big decision to make? Talk to Jackie. Keep dating the same lame dude? Talk to Jackie. Kinda skeptical? Talk to Jackie.
Dobra Tea
151 Middle St., Portland | 207-210-6566 |
6-9 pm Tuesdays at Dobra Tea, Portland; $15 for 10 minutes, $25 for 20 minutes, $35 for 30 minutes.
(Note: Jackie reads Tarot and provides Professional Clairvoyant readings at Arcana, 81 Market St, just around the corner from Dobra Tea.)

Film and food for thought…and also actual food at Frontier, Brunswick

Catching today’s blockbuster isn’t a bad way to spend a frigid winter afternoon. But catching an independent flick at Frontier means you’ll be entertained by the big screen AND see a hand-picked film you might not have the chance to see anywhere else. Plus, the drink and dining menu here makes regular movie theater food look like freezer-burned nonsense…because, well, it kind of is.
Frontier, Brunswick
14 Maine St. Mill 3 Fort Andross, Brunswick | 207-725-5222 |

Let your genius shine during Pub Trivia

Workweeks can be so…blah. If only there were some nighttime occupation you could participate in that would both stimulate your noggin and enable you to unashamedly support your local watering hole. Enter: pub trivia. There’s plenty of trivia night to go around:

Champions Sports Bar | 7:30 pm Thursdays
15 Thornton St., Biddeford | 207-282-7900 |
Karaoke starts right after trivia with $2 wells and $2 drafts all night

Run of the Mill | 7 pm Mondays
100 Main St., Saco | 207-571-9648 |

Jimmy the Greeks | 7 pm Mondays
215 Saco Ave., Old Orchard Beach | 207-934-7499 |

The Liberal Cup | 8 pm Tuesdays
115 Water St., Hallowell | 207-623-2739 |

Binga’s Stadium | 8 pm Tuesdays
77 Free St., Portland | 207-347-6072 |

Ri Ra | 8 pm Tuesdays
72 Commercial St., Portland | 207-761-4446 |

Brian Boru | 7 pm Wednesdays
57 Center St., Portland | 207-780-1506 |

Margarita’s (Brown Street) | 8 pm Wednesdays
11 Brown St., Portland | 207-774-9398 |

Sebago Brewing Company | 7 pm Mondays at two locations
67 Portland Rd., Kennebunk | 207-775-2337 |
211 Fore Street, Portland | 207-775-2337 |

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