L.L. Bean Discovery Courses at Pineland and in Freeport FREE through June 30 [re-posting for Facebook – eds.]

Sonia Dore of Gray demonstrates how it’s done – Photo: Joanne Cole

L.L. Bean is offering introductory lessons in fly-casting, archery, and mountain biking on the Pineland campus without the usual $25 fee through June 30.  Mastercard, Bean’s partner, is picking up the tab.  Stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and clay-shooting will also be offered free at locations around Freeport.  The full slate of outdoor discovery activities can be accessed here.  Note that participants must sign up online, and some activities may have age minimums or other restrictions.    

On a recent fine day, Bean’s fly-casting course at Pineland brought out not only learners but also a fly fishing instructor-in-training, Sonia Dore of Gray.  Between effortless casts, Dore explained that it takes a year of training and practice to become an instructor.  The challenge isn’t so much mastering the skill, she said, but rather learning how to break down the technique and terminology for novices.  She’s particularly keen to introduce women to the sport.  Once hooked, they can join more than 600 fellow enthusiasts in the Maine Women Flyfishers group on Facebook, Dore said.

Fly-casting beginners aim for the tulips – photo: Joanne Cole

Meanwhile, just through the woods, Cooper Power of New Gloucester and Winn Brown of Naples were setting up to give archery lessons.  Brown lamented that recent weather had completely soaked the archery field, making for soggy retrievals if arrows were to somehow miss the targets.  As conditions dry out and summer settles in, Brown said, archery sessions at Pineland will increase.  So will the cost, though, so check out Bean’s outdoor discovery courses now.

Cooper Power of New Gloucester, left, and Winn Brown of Naples at Pineland’s archery field – photo: Joanne Cole