Maine is a wonderland and this is the year to explore it! From the more obvious outdoor endeavors to the off-the-beaten-path spots that you have to spend some time finding, Vacationland will never leave you bored. While you could spend a lifetime finding all the fun things to do, we’ve put together a short list of some things to tackle in 2017.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
This Low Tide Trail
In Maine, we’re surrounded by hiking options. In the mountains, around the lakes, through for forests – just about everywhere, you’ll find unexpected trails and the opportunity for exploration. You have to get off the beaten path for many of them, but we recently came across one that is actually completely hidden for part of the day. The Bar Island Trail in Acadia is only accessible during low tide. If you can time your visit right, it’s one of the most lovely in the area and it will give you a certain sense of pride to have done something nature hides successfully.
Baxter State Park
Jack Heddon / Flickr
The fantastic world of Lord of the Rings, created by J.R.R. Tolkien, is one of pure fantasy. But there’s something strangely familiar about the book’s vividly described landscapes. From the beautiful verdant meadows of The Shire to the unforgiving granite landscape of Mordor, we feel as if we’re reading about Baxter State Park – Maine’s very own living, breathing version of “Middle Earth.” And it’s just as enchanting as it sounds.
The Oldest Inn in Maine
The Seaside Inn Innkeepers, Trish and Ken Mason, are the only 9th Generation Innkeepers in America! While the Seaside Inn is suspected to have been in existence for slightly longer, the first record of it occupying the land it currently sits on is 1660. This is when local ferrymen were asked to live on the oceanfront peninsula at the mouth of the Kennebunk River to ferry travelers across. The Kennebunk mainstay is one of the most loved properties in the area. The Inn is located at 80 Beach Avenue in Kennebunk Beach. You can reach them by calling them on 207-967-4461 / 1-800-967-4461.
Lane's Island Preserve, Vinalhaven
Vinalhaven itself is a bit off the beaten path, but the wonderful preserve area is even more out in the middle of nowhere. It's no wonder that one of Maine's most beautiful coastal walks is often deserted. Head out of the main area of town and walk along the winding trail that leads along the rocky shore.
The Most Beautiful Chapel in Maine
Vesper Hill Children's Chapel is an outdoor chapel featuring a beautiful formal garden. Within the garden are wonderful annuals and perennials, herbs, and trees. The chapel is located between Rockport and the beautiful Aldermere Farms. This non-denominational outdoor chapel seats about 50 people and has played host to weddings, baptisms and memorials. If you’re looking for some peace and quiet, a walk through the gardens provides a place to think, relax and meditate. If you'd like to explore the area, you're more than welcome. If you're coming from Rockport, take Russell Avenue out of town and make a right on Calderwood Lane. You'll pass Megunticook Golf Course before seeing a driveway on your right. Here you'll see a boulder with the world “Vesper Hill” inscribed on it. You've arrived!
Visit them at: 30 Chapel Road, Rockport / 207-236-6139
With technology and connectedness, it’s hard to truly feel like you’re in a place that’s slow-paced. Even small towns that promise a “laid-back” vibe come with Main Streets, attractions and taxis looking to shuttle tourists from one museum to the next. But, Monhegan Island is different. The tiny island is about ten miles from the mainland and can only be traveled to by boat. One of its most defining characteristics is the lack of cars and paved roads.
Katahdin Woods and Waters, near Bangor!
Katahdin Woods and Water is managed by the National Park Service and exists to preserve the East Branch of the Penobscot River, as well as a hearty portion of the Maine Woods. Upon announcing the new park, the White House provide the following statement: “In addition to protecting spectacular geology, significant biodiversity, and recreational opportunities, the new monument will help support climate resiliency in the region. The protected area—together with the neighboring Baxter State Park to the west—will ensure that this large landscape remains intact, bolstering the forest’s resilience against the impacts of climate change.”
Quoddy Head State Park
Quoddy Head State Park is located on the tip of the USA’s easternmost peninsula. The 541-acre park includes a historic lighthouse, picnic area and 5 miles of wonderful hiking trails. Its most distinctive feature, West Quoddy Head Light, is Maine’s easternmost lighthouse. It looks out over Quoddy Channel, a body of water that separates the USA and Canada. It also offers views of the stunning red cliffs of Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick.
Maine Forest Yurts
And, when it comes to great glamping spots to try, the eco-friendly yurts at Maine Forest Yurts in Durham are some of the best. They were created by Bob Crowley, the 17th (and oldest!) winner of the reality show, “Survivor" and they sit in the remote Maine woods on some of the 100 acres that Rob and his wife acquired over the course of the last 30 years. Visit them at: 430 Auburn Pownal Road in West Durham, Maine. You can call them directly at: 207-400-5956
The Oldest Town in Maine!
Kittery was settled in 1623 by the British and in 1647 was finally incorporated.
While some will argue that other towns are older, Kittery is the oldest incorporated town in Maine. The quaint town is known as the "Gateway to Maine," as it sits directly across the New Hampshire border. Many visitors head straight to Kittery Point, which is located directly on the ocean. This area of Kittery is home to Fort McClary State Historic Site. No matter what it is you love, Kittery (including all the great places we've mentioned here) is worth the stop. The next time you're headed home and heading north, perhaps add some time to stop in. Or, make it a road trip and spend some real time here. Either way, it's a wonderful slice of Maine history.