Maine November 16, 2017
11 Not-So-Hidden Hidden Gems You’ll Find Only In Maine
Maine is one of the best places in the country for outdoor activities, food, museums, and even some more off-the-wall type things (have you seen
this wacky Blueberry store?!) that will have you scratching your head. While it can be daunting to come up with the best list of what to see, don’t forget that many of Maine’s best attractions are actually not so hidden. Whether in a popular part of the state or even clearly located at the side of the road, here are some of the best things to do and see in Maine that you may have simply overlooked!
1. The (Claimed) World’s Largest Paul Bunyan Statue, Bangor
If you have a serious interest in larger-than-life statues, you'll want to head up to Bangor to gawk at that of Paul Bunyan. Minnesota might lay the best claim to him, but Maine's lumber history means we deserve a piece of him looking over us as well. The statue is located in a park across from the Civic Center and stands tall at about 31 feet high.
2. Monica's Chocolates, Lubec
This place made the list because A) It's incredible and B) It's actually not hidden at all. For those in Lubec, Monica's is an institution. While those who live further afield might not know it's worth the trip. So, here we are telling you: It's worth the trip! Visit them at 100 County Road, Lubec / (207) 733-4500.
3. The Bar Island Trail, Bar Harbor
This trail is only accessible for about 3 hours when the tide is low. The easy walk connects Bar Harbor with Bar Island and makes for a fun and relaxing way to spend the day. But, time yourself properly or you might end up stuck for a few hours until the tide goes out again!
4. Vaughan Woods, Hallowell
Vaughan Woods in Hallowell is also known as "Hobbit Land." It was likely created based on how much the Woods’ look like the "Shire," where J.R.R. Tolkien’s imaginary "Hobbits" live. In actuality, Vaughan Woods is a lovely nature preserve with a fun system of historic trails for walking and hiking.
5. Battery Steele, Peaks Island
This Fort was built in 1942 as part of efforts to support World War II. The military site is a mix of two worlds. From the outside, the area appears to be completely left to nature. Overgrown trees and branches crowd what appears to be a crumbling facade. However, the real magic of Battery Steele lies underground. The bulk of the fort is made up of an underground area. These tunnels have been overtaken by artists and the mark of local Maine residents and friends covers the walls.
6. The Reversing Falls, Pembroke
It's magic! Well, actually, it's just science. Maine has one of the most dramatic tidal changes in the country, and Pembroke Falls State Park might be the best place to see this in action. Rising an average of 20 feet every 6.5 hours, the tide here sends water rushing in and out of Dennys Bay and Whiting Bay. This rush of water travels through the narrow area between Mahar Point and Falls Island to create what appears to be a waterfall that runs opposite the current.
7. Kenneth E. Stoddard Shell Museum, Boothbay
This museum is dedicated entirely to shells. It's the brainchild of Kenneth E. Stoddard, who traveled through the South Pacific and found himself building his collection little by little. The museum is now run by his son, who promised his father he'd care for it after he'd passed away. Visit it at 510 Wiscasset Road, Boothbay / 207-633-4828.
8. 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.
9. Wiggly Bridge, York
Located in York, The Wiggly Bridge is a lovely hidden way to explore the area. The bridge connects York Harbor to the wonderful Steedman Woods. As suspension bridges go, the wooden portion spans a teensy 75 feet and when you walk, the entire thing bounces and — you guessed it — wiggles!
10. Fawcett's Antique Toy and Art Museum, Waldoboro
Bet you've never been here! This museum gets rave reviews, not only for the many vintage comic books, animation cells, and dolls from early Disney movies but also for the owner himself. John Fawcett has poured his heart and soul into amassing a collection of this magnitude and his expertise about each piece is remarkable. Don't miss this if you love anything vintage or anything toy-related! Visit it at 3506 Route One (Atlantic Highway), Waldoboro / 207-832-7398.
11. Solar System Model, Aroostook Count
Head north to the county for the scaled model of our solar system. 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. Check out
to learn more about it.
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