Working Out Stress in the Great Outdoors

Paddle into Light

Get out and get active in summer.

Summer is here. Get out and get active. School is out and the last six months have been straight out. Whew! Time for some “me time” in summertime and to relieve stress in the body by getting it going and moving with the sensual rhythms of nature. A human-powered activity that gets you outside and physically active can be a way to wellness and is often a peak experience, when you are enlivened and happy in the flow of doing a loved creative thing in nature. With the body in motion, the calming arousal of sensory awareness in a natural environment balances mind and spirit. Physical activity increases oxygen in blood, boosts the immune system, stimulates brain function, improves mood and self-esteem, builds strength and agility, and reduces stress and moves it out of the body. Hiking, cycling, walking, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming or bird watching are healing opportunities that relax the mind, recharge the body, and refresh the spirit.

Maine is known as “Vacationland”. We are fortunate to have many scenic mountain, woodland, river, lake, and coastal habitats for recreation and experiencing the great outdoors. Enjoying the splendid spoils of summer in Maine is “the way life should be”, which is the message on a familiar sign that greets travelers on I-95 as they enter the state. From our southernmost sandy shores to the wilds of the northern woods, fresh air adventures are abundant and accessible at local and state parks, reserved lands, public beaches and watersheds, and historic sites. Getting out and getting physical in nature is a healthful way to spend a staycation or a vacation week at camp, and don’t forget to stay well-hydrated and bring the bug repellent.

When summer is hot and hazy there is always a great swimming hole nearby to cool you down in Maine, so wherever go, pack a bathing suit. The oceans are a crisp 60 degrees by mid-summer and the lakes have warmed into the mid-70’s. For me, I love open water swimming in the salty seawater of Ogunquit Beach and the pristine freshwater lakes of the Mid-coast region. Paddle boarding is another way to experience the water that requires core strength and balance, and it is a great mode for touring a body of water while getting your body moving. There are wonderful options for the outdoor adventurer, and if you don’t have the equipment for sporting there are ways to rent that paddle board or kayak, or take a guided nature tour, and in Maine there is always LL Bean to help outfit the fun – 24/7. Consider hanging a “gone fishing” sign at your busy office or home and leave your stresses behind. Take a summer break to recreate and re-create yourself in the great outdoors.

Art HOPE offers fresh air summer adventures that will get your body and creativity moving. Check out our Creative Wellness Walks at the Reserve at Laudholm and the Sea Water Studio on Ogunquit Beach, and other free programs on

At the Gallery, in the Garden, by the Sea

Art HOPE Gallery & Garden Studio at the OMAA

Art HOPE Gallery & Garden Studio at the Ogunquit Museum of American Art

The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is a jewel on the rocky coast of Maine just down wind from Perkins Cove. With Atlantic waves splashing on the horizon, the OMAA houses a permanent collection of American paintings, sculpture, drawings, prints and photographs from the late 1800s to the present, and its iconic white building is surrounded by beautifully cultivated sculpture gardens. It opened in 1953, founded by Henry Strater, a handsome and adventurous artist who was a central figure in Ogunquit’s famous early 20th century art colony where he studied at the art schools of Charles Woodbury and Hamilton Easter Field. The peaceful seaside spot overlooking Narrow Cove was purchased by Strater from the Woodbury family, and was the famed location where the artist and teacher Charles Woodbury had hosted generations of plein air artists who painted the stunning views. Many Ogunquit artists works are in the Museum’s collection including Woodbury, Field, Robert Laurent, Bernard Karfiol, and contemporary works by Edward Betts, Beverly Hallam, and Norman West. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is the only museum in Maine devoted exclusively to the exhibition, preservation and interpretation of American art, and it has a wide diversity of artists with works by George Bellows, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, Walt Kuhn, Davlov Ipcar, Gaston Lachaise, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Childe Hassam, Edward Hopper, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and others. Continue Reading →

Libraries Transform Minds and Communities: Celebrating National Library Week


Libraries are important community institutions.

April is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries and library workers. Local libraries are important community institutions, and like local bookstores, they are the hub of language culture and a place where creative minds can physically explore books and learning. From free access to books and online education to business resources that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. Children’s story hour, visiting authors, lecture series, art exhibitions, historical programs, innovative learning projects, senior activities, and diverse community groups – libraries connect people locally to each other and globally to the universe of published literature and information. April 10 to 16 is National Library Week, an observance sponsored by the American Library Association and all types of libraries including school, public, academic, and archival across the country will participate in this year’s theme, ”Libraries Transform”. Continue Reading →