Everyone knows that coastal Maine is beautiful. The salty air, the rocky shores and the more than 3,000 islands that run along it make it one of the most photo-worthy parts of the country. But Mainers know that inland is just as beautiful, though in a different way. Take a left from the coast, and check out these things that make inland Maine the absolute best!
1. Fiddleheads are plentiful!
If you love this quintessential Maine side-dish, you'll want to head inland. You won't find nearly as many anywhere else! If you're not in the mood to pull over and pick your own, you'll find plenty of stalls offering to sell you some as you get into the upper portion of the state. Fort Kent even has their own newspaper named after the food. Check out the Fiddlehead Focus by clicking
2. The beautiful Carrabassett Valley is here.
jackheddon / Flickr
Head to Carrabassett Valley if you're looking for fun outdoors. If you have a day, spend it on the six-mile Narrow Gauge Pathway. With more time, check out Maine Huts & Trails, a non-profit organization that manages a system of four backcountry eco-lodges and more than 50 miles of trails in Western Maine. And, of course, come in the winter for some of the best skiing that Maine has to offer at Sugarloaf.
3. And, so is Mount Chase.
Named for the 2,440-foot peak nearby, the actual town has a tiny population. If you were looking for a party, 1880 would have been a good time to live in Mount Chase. The town population peaked in that year with 310 people calling it home. It's worth checking out for a visit to Lower and Upper Shin Ponds.
4. Inland land is gem-rich AND you can dig for them yourself.
Open since 2007, Western Maine Mineral Adventures has honed relationships with local mine owners which allows for special access to gem-rich areas. They stay open as long as the weather permits and as of this weekend, the gemming is on! If you're lucky, you'll unearth some tourmaline or aquamarine. Call to reserve a spot or check hours: (207) 674-3440.
5. Come inland to walk in the footsteps of Waterville's manufacturing workers on Two Cent Bridge at Head of Falls Park.
In operation for 165 years (until 2002), Waterville was the home of Hathaway Shirts, the supplier of Civil War uniforms. Owners of the mills built a bridge that allowed immigrant workers to reach the plant - which came at a charge of one penny each way.
6. You won't find Moosehead Lake near the beach.
The Moosehead Lake Region just might be one of the most beautiful in Maine. Check out Lily Bay State Park for lots of access to recreational activities on the lake. Campsites can accommodate everything from walk-in tents to 35' RVs. Many must be reserved in advance. This is a great place to enjoy swimming, hiking, ATV trails, boating and fishing.
7. You'll only find the Height of Land near Rangeley, one of inland's loveliest areas.
Take a trip on the Rangeley Scenic Byway to see the Height of Land (pictured) and you'll just be scratching the surface of all inland has to offer.
8. Henry David Thoreau loved the Maine, but I don't recall anything about the coast...
He loved The Maine Woods so much, he wrote an entire book about his time here. “The spruce and cedar on its shores, hung with gray lichens, looked at a distance like the ghosts of trees. Ducks were sailing here and there on its surface, and a solitary loon, like a more living wave, — a vital spot on the lake's surface, — laughed and frolicked, and showed its straight leg, for our amusement.” - Thoreau in his book, "Maine Woods."
9. You might find ocean on the coast, but you won't find Sebec Lake and Peaks-Kenny State Park anywhere but inland.
Located on the shores of Sebec Lake, Peaks-Kenny State Park is an undiscovered gem of Maine's park system. Campers enjoy the peaceful, family-oriented campground with only 56 sites that are tucked away in wooded areas to promote privacy.
10. The Old Canada Road Scenic Byway (Route 201) takes you through inland Maine.
Check this out if you're a history buff or if you have a love of adventure, including the desire for a quick rafting trip along the way. You'll see evidence of the 19th and 20th century lumber boom in many of the towns on this 78-mile route. In fact, most of the area is working forest and Route 201 continues to be an important trade route between Canada and the US. As you pass through these beautiful small towns, make sure to see one of the oldest, continually operating summer music theaters in the US, the Lakewood Theater in Madison.
11. We hate to state the obvious, but I've never seen a sign for Mount Katahdin with a beach view.
Located in Baxter State Park, Katahdin's name was given by the Penobscot Indians and means “The Greatest Mountain." It serves at the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, but can be hiked on it's own in about 10 hours. Be prepared for some technical areas and always climb safely!
12. Speaking of Katahdin, you might as well check out the Appalachian Trail Cafe in Millinocket while you're there.
If you can finish the Summit Sundae Challenge, you'll get to add your name to the list of champs and go home with a t-shirt, bumper sticker and the bowl! Would you take that challenge within five-miles of the beach? Visit them at: 210 Penobscot Ave, Millinocket / 207-723-6720.
13. Want to see an entire model of the solar system on the coast? You'll need to head inland.
Created by the University of Maine in Presque Isle, this model begins with the sun in Presque Isle and goes all the way to Houlton where you'll find the (now defunct as a planet) Pluto.
14. Acadian traditions mean lots of ployes!
You can get them throughout Maine, but there's just something different about eating them inland.
15. And, lastly, our potato farming heritage didn't come from the coast...
...but it did come from inland areas. Here's a photo from the October 1940 Potato Festival that took place in Aroostook County.