In addition to beautiful land and lovely people, Maine is home to some of the strangest attractions in New England. From deserts in the middle of nowhere to more than one larger-than-life monument, Maine will give you a dose of strange you didn’t know you needed. Once you’ve checked off the ones on this list, you can return to your regularly scheduled appreciation of our state’s coastal and inland beauty.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Battery Steele, Peaks Island
Battery Steele is a military fort located on the oceanside area of Peaks Island in Casco Bay. The 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.
2. Wild Blueberry Land, Columbia Falls
Built in 2001, this giant blueberry is actually a gift and coffee shop, as well as an outlet for the owners' homemade blueberry jams, sauces and baked good. Sounds delicious enough to warrant a stop! Their hours are mainly focused on the summer, so
check with them before stopping by.
3. Old Sow Whirlpool, Eastport Area
Tidal currents meet between Eastport and Deer Island forming the "Old Sow" whirlpool, which is one of the largest and most dangerous on the planet. The whirling power of this natural phenomenon will remind you that nature is always the one in charge.
4. The Summit Sundae at The Appalachian Trail Cafe, Millinocket
Okay, so maybe this doesn't seem like an actual "attraction," but if you're there to watch someone polish this thing off it will be. 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! Visit them at: 210 Penobscot Ave, Millinocket / 207-723-6720
5. The World Traveler Sign, Lynchville
A must-see if you love to travel! While all these places are actually just towns in Maine, a photo in front if the sign will confuse your friends and make you seem very worldly!
6. The Fairy Village, Mackworth Island
This one is great for families and kids! Nestled within the wooded area of Mackworth Island, about ten minutes from the parking lot, is a fairy village. Fairies are given access to tiny homes built by the local communities out of natural elements. Bring kids and spend an afternoon constructing a home out of leaves, sticks and rocks. A fairy will thank you. Continue the day with a walk around the island which will afford views of Falmouth, Portland, and other islands surrounding the bay.
7. Bubble Rock, Acadia National Park
Perched precipitously on the edge of South Bubble Mountain, one of the most famous rocks in all of Maine looks like it could tumble at any moment. But it's actually, ahem, a rock solid example of a glacial erratic - a boulder deposited by the powerful action of ancient glaciers.
8. The Umbrella Cover Museum, Peaks Island
Nancy Hoffman's museum began when she realized that so many umbrella covers get tossed aside, but kept for no real reason. The museum is "dedicated to the appreciation of the mundane in everyday life. It is about finding wonder and beauty in the simplest of things, and about knowing that there is always a story behind the cover." Take the ferry from Portland to Peaks Island to check this out!
9. The Downed B-52C, Elephant Mountain
On January 24, 1963, a United States Air Force Boeing B-52C Stratofortress went down over Maine while flying a training mission. Of the nine crew members, only the pilot and navigator survived. Elephant Mountain, near Moosehead Lake about six miles from Greenville, is the final resting place of its shredded fuselage. A half-mile hike will get you to the wreckage, where a stone memorial commemorates the seven fallen soldiers.
10. The Shoe Tree, Hodgdon
This is a shoe tree in the most literal sense - as in a tree strung up with hundreds of shoes. What are they doing there? Nobody knows. Look for it along US 1, about 7 miles south of where it intersects with US 2 in Houlton.
11. The Desert of Maine, Freeport
I know, I know. This guy ends up in a lot of our articles, but I don't feel bad. There are so many states that don't have an oddly placed desert that it's our duty to appreciate the one we DO have. This attractions is 40 acres of exposed glacial silt, the result of soil erosion from mismanaged farmland. Whether you think it's a tourist trap or not, it's still a fun place to know we have.
12. Piazza Rock, near Sandy River
Located along the Appalachian Trail near Rangeley, this teetering rock appears to have been placed against a tree by a very strong giant. Check it out while hiking about 4 miles, round trip on this section of the AT. While the area is demanding, the hike to and from the rock is actually pretty family friendly.
13. The Reversing Falls, Pembroke
The Reversing Falls (also called "Cobscook Falls") are formed as a result of a large rock ledge that makes it impossible for the water to move smoothly. During the incoming tide, this underwater activity creates a crazy waterfall, along with whirlpools and surprisingly high swells. But, the real phenomenon is during the outgoing tide. When the tide heads in the opposite direction, the movement of the water goes over the treacherous area in the reverse direction, creating what appears to be a waterfall that moves opposite of the current.
What’s your favorite strange attraction in the state? Share it with the group on our