Best Islands in Casco Bay

“If once you’ve slept on an island…you’ll never be quite the same.” So goes the idyllic book by Rachel Field… Nowhere is that more true than on an island in Maine…in summer…

It’s magical being surrounded by water, your arrival and departure solely reliant on a boat, far removed from the traffic, hustle and bustle of mainland living… it’s surprising how life slows, how so-called “necessities” melt away and life’s real “niceties” emerge… quiet, calm, natural, just the sound and smell of the sea.

Casco Bay in Portland is dotted with beautiful islands, over 200, some more inhabited than others… like Peaks and Long Island being the most populated, and easily reached by Casco Bay Lines ferry system from Portland.

Here are three special Maine islands that come to mind, very unique from one another, well worth discovering …

Chebeague Island is a step back in time, although its Maine’s newest town – Chebeague became independent from Cumberland in 2007. This beautiful wooded island with several sand beaches is home to a hearty community of 350 islanders, year-rounders.

Chebeague – pronounced “sha-beeg”, is the largest island of the Calendar Islands… a reference to the number of islands equaling the days in the year in this region (slight hyperbole but a fun anecdote). Chebeague is actually comprised of 17 islands, the “Big” island is 3 mile long by 1 mile wide. Settlers in the 1740’s farmed and lived here, lobsters were so abundant they used them for fertilizer, not food. By the 1900’s Great Chebeague had five hotels, now there’s just one – the lovely 1880 Chebeague Island Inn atop a sweeping lawn that leads to the western shore and view of mainland, and Yankee power plant.

Spend the night at Chebeague Island Inn, you owe your soul the experience! Arrive by ferry or your own boat and be whisked up the hill in the courtesy van to this historic charming hotel. The cozy fireplace living rooms lead to a gracious veranda with sea views. Take bikes to the East Shore beach, or explore the two roads – North & South – past the Historical Society and Maritime Museum, the Slow Bell Café, the island grocery store, community center and school.

Back at Chebeague Inn, cocktails are served on the easy breezy porch, followed by the acclaimed Chef’s delicious dinner – lobster, local mussels, duck, in the classic dining room or out on the lawn – our preference. Sunsets do not dissapoint here from the west-facing hillcrest overlooking the bay. Sleeping at the Inn -with your ocean view windows open, the light white drapes fluttering in the sea breeze – is perfection.

Great Diamond Island is a gem in the heart of Casco Bay, just a mile from Portland. This historic island has remnants of 1890’s Fort McKinley – the country’s coastal defense system built to protect Portland’s Harbor. The Inn at Diamond Cove is in the beautifully renovated old brick army barracks.

Casco Bay Ferry delivers you to Diamond Island’s protected “Cocktail Cove” and you check in at Diamonds’ Edge restaurant before being carted up the hill to the Inn – golf carts and bikes are the preferred transpo around the 1.3 acres island – which is mostly private for the 100 residents and hotel guests. We  rode the elevator from the airy lobby to our modern room with a lovely balcony, note: views from the hotel are of the beautiful “parade grounds” but not the ocean from the  high forested point.

As guests of Inn at Diamond Cove, we could hop on a complimentary bike or stroll to the old artillery spots – from the Spanish American War, visit the beach or sit by the hotel pool, hot tub and Cabana bar. There’s croquet, tennis, even indoor bowling and basketball. After a day boating Casco Bay and exploring the island, our balcony was a delightful spot to rest and relax before walking down to the Cove and waterfront for a wonderful seafood dinner at Diamond’s Edge. We passed the Crown Jewel, another popular spot for diners that came by ferry or more fortunate like us spending the night. Our ideal island-hopping day concluded with a dip in the cool pool back at the Hotel, then nightcaps by the fire pit.

Eagle Island is for the explorer, truly. This dramatic island in Harpswell, eastern Casco Bay, is a Maine historic site, and former home to Admiral Robert E. Perry who ventured to the North Pole in 1909. You can tour his family’s 1904 summer home, complete with artifacts from his bold expedition, even a Polar Bear. Bring a picnic, and enjoy the ocean views from this prominent point, admission is $5-6, plus your sightseeing ferry ride to the island. Overnights on Eagle Island are not permitted, so allow yourself at least an hour to tour the island, home and museum.

If you love Casco Bay, and sleeping on islands, surrounded by the sea, continue your tour of the Maine coast onwards, down east, towards Sebasco, or picturesque Boothbay Harbor – staying out on the dramatic peninsula at Ocean Point Inn, on Southport Island at Newagen Inn or the classic summer campy-style Linekin Bay Resort.

Monhegan Inn view in MaineFor real remote island life, venture out to sea to rustic Monhegan Island and lodge at the rustic Charles House or Trailing Yew. Hiking around the impressive ocean cliffs, seeing Monhegan Lightouse, the weathered granite shores and sand beaches is exhilarating. Witnessing how the islanders live, so humble and resourceful, is a lesson in independance, minimalism, and heartiness. Visiting Monhegan, even for a day by ferry, must be on your Maine Bucket List! Better to stay the night and feel the freedom, the solitude and the sea.

Cadillac Mountain viewPenobscot Bay – midcoast Maine – is loaded with beautiful islands and the scenic sailboat loaded harbors of Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, and Rockland.

Finally, Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is Maine’s most magnificent island for touring, hiking, biking, boat rides to lighthouses, and seeing the sunrise first in the country atop Cadillac Mountain.

See our Guide to Touring the Coast, and Boating in Maineplan your vacation in #Vacationland… The way life should be…see our Guide to Visiting Maine!

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

Stand Up for Maine Lobstermen

Maine Lobstermen Need Your Help – you can help save the Lobster Industry in Maine, where the world’s best lobster is found and harvested…and served fresh daily…

NOAA is pushing ahead with misguided regulations to protect whales. These regulations threaten the Maine Lobster Industry.

Everyone cares about the Right Whales but we need policy that is based on reliable science and data. For centuries, Maine lobstermen have been responsible stewards of marine resources. Their livelihood depends upon it. NOAA needs to work to develop scientifically-proven effective regulations that will actually reduce the risk of harm to whales while limiting the negative impact on fishermen.

There is no worse government regulation than one that both fails to produce results, saving the whales, and places severe hardships on an entire industry, lobstering! An industry by the way, that is VERY important to the Maine Hospitality Industry.

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersThank you Representatives Congressman Jared Golden, and Congresswoman Chellie PingreeU.S. Senator Susan Collins and Angus King for supporting the Maine Lobster Industry.

President Donald J. Trump, please repeal this burdensome misguided regulation and SAVE THE LOBSTER INDUSTRY.
 #StandUpForLobstermen #Maine #Trump

To learn more about how Maine Lobstermen and women fish, and the process of lobstering on a lobster boat, take a Lobster Boat tour when in Maine, like the Rugosa which departs from the docks at Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport daily in summer season!

See a few fun facts about Maine Lobster, and How to cook a Maine Lobster, and where to order fresh Maine lobster to be shipped to your home.

Visit Maine to eat lobster, see the Coast, tour the scenic seaside towns and savor vacation in #Vacationland… The way life should be…see our Guide to Visiting Maine!

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

The Legend of Boon Island, Maine Mutiny, Mystery, Cannibalism

Boon Island

Boon Island off the York, ME coast

Maine maritime history is as deep and filled with fish tales and folklore as any of the colonial states, just as sensational as Salem’s witches. Maine is home to horror story author Steven King, haunted houses on Summer Street in Kennebunk AND cannibalism!? Creepy stuff.

Boon Island may be the most fascinating and graphic of our State’s seafaring scariness because it’s not just hearsay–it’s true! Dun dun DUN! Here’s the story that continues to invite intrigue and inspired the Travel Channel to visit the remote Boon Island to film the freaky things that happened there back in 1710. Continue reading

Maine Trivia

Maine is the only state that shares its border with only one other state. Maine also borders one country – Canada

Maine is the only one-syllable state in the US.

Maine is the northeastern most state, Eastport is the most eastern city, West Quoddy Head is the most eastern point in the US – the first place to see the morning sun rise.

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersMaine lobster is 90 percent of lobster in the US, with a lobster yield annually of over 100 million pounds, Maine lobster  is a $1 billion industry generating 4,000 jobs.

Maine produces 90% of US blueberries. Broccoli and potatoes are top Maine crops too…

Maine is the top producer of US toothpicks, over 90%!

Most people think of the White Mountains as New Hampshire, but Maine is home to a portion of the 800,000 acres White Mountain National Forest – the largest alpine area east of the Rocky Mountains.

Maine Lighthouse

Portland was originally Maine’s state capital, in 1832 the capital moved to centrally located Augusta.

Maine’s 16th county – Aroostook County  is bigger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined!

Maine is bigger than the five other New England states combined at 33,215 square miles, though Maine’s population is among the lowest at 1.3 million

Cadillac Mountain viewMaine contains 542,629 acres of state and national parks.

Acadia National Park is over 100 years old, established in 1916, with mountains, beaches, the only fjord in the eastern US – Somes Sound, islands, miles of Atlantic shorelands, 125-miles of hiking paths, 50-miles of carriage roads for biking.

Maine’s state flower is actually a Pine Cone… hence the nickname Pine Tree state.

Bi Plane Tour Acadia

Maine’s official insect is the honey bee.

Maine’s highest point is Mount Katahdin at 5,268 feet above sea level. Maine’s lowest point is sea-level- that’s a joke people …

Maine’s largest lake is Moosehead at 117 square miles, 39 miles long, with 350 miles of shore.

Maine was first colonized in 1620, York was America’s first chartered city in 1641, but Maine didn’t become the 23rd  state until 1820.

L.L. Bean in Freeport Maine is open 24/7/365, a company over 100-years-old founded on the principle of guaranteed hunting and fishing attire.

Maine has 65 lighthouses. Maine has over 4,600 islands in the Atlantic and bays, lakes and ponds.

Maine food is world-famous. Bon Appetit named Portland Maine the Top Restaurant City 2018

Pemaquid Maine Lighthouse

Maine is “Vacationland” and boasts the slogan “The Way Life Should Be”

Maine should be on your Vacation Travel Bucket List…see our Guide to Visiting Maine!

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

Maine’s Top 10 Best Festivals

Maine is the Way Life Should Be, its #Vacationland – and home of the homarus – the best crustacean to eat on vacation – Maine Lobster. The best of Maine can be summed in Lighthouses, Lobsters and a Love of the great outdoors, from lakes, to beaches, mountains to rocky coastlines. So what are the best times to come explore? We suggest its best during a fest. Maine is home to some top events and festivals, when locals and visitors come out to celebrate, with fun, food, music, art and drinks!

Camden Maine Mountain View#1 Maine Boating Festivals
Maine is “sea centric” with a deep seafaring and boating history, so boat festivals are “shore” to be historical, engaging and entertaining on the waterfront. Stonington has Lobster Boat Races in July on Deer Isle, supped-up fishing boats fly around the busy harbor. Boothbay parades its tallships in the harbor during the Maine Windjammer Days in June. Camden and Rockland have their own Schooner Parade and fest mid-July. Kennebunkport has its Launch Festival – a Maritime celebration mid-June with a River Lights Boat Parade, Rock the Boat Party and Blessing of the Fleet.

#2 Best Maine food, drinks & fun fests!
The Kennebunkport Festival and Harvest on the Harbor in Portland are the best all-round festivals – capturing the new spirit of Maine – with plentiful Maine-made food, craft cocktails, beer and wine from native distilleries, brought to you by Maine’s talented locals chefs, served in a spectacular seaside setting with live Maine bands. Maine is a foodie scene now, and these culinary-infused fests bring out the best in a party-charged atmosphere.

#3 Maine Music Fests
Maine’s North Atlantic Blues Festival  in Rockland jams with live bands, blues and jazz, in July on Rockland’s waterfront – which is an up-and-coming commercial fishing village going kinda cosmopolitan. Reggaefest at Sugarloaf brings tropical island music to the mountain mid-April, complementing amazing spring corn-snow skiing at Maine’s biggest ski resort. Sunday River’s Spring Fest ski weekend celebrates spring skiing, pond skimming, and Jimmy Buffest style island music early April every season.

Gorde and pumpkin display#4 Maine Farm and Craft Fairs
The Fryeburg Fair is the granddaddy of Maine farm expos, held every fall since 1851. This huge outdoor fair brings a carnival atmosphere to a Yankee food, farm and craft fair with concerts, tractor pulls and pig scrambles. But there are countless other craft fairs like Wells Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival in September. Kennebunk, York and Ogunquit all have a Harvestfest in prime fall foliage season in October.

Owls Head Light Maine

#5 Maine Lighthouse Day in September is the best day to view Maine’s iconic head lights – for free! See our Guide to the many Maine lighthouses open for tours. Maine has over 65 lighthouse stations dotting the coastline from Kittery to Lubec, each on unique with an awesome ocean view of course. The spectacular headlights must be “scene” up close to be appreciated – bring your camera.

#6 Maine Food Fests
Maine’s food is world-famous, from its Maine lobsters, to steamed clams, to maple syrup, strawberries,  and blueberry pies. Rockland’s Lobster Festival in August is a must! Yarmouth’s Clam Fest in July is a shuckin’ good time. Big Blueberry Festivals in Rangeley, Machais and Berwick are delicious days. Maine’s Maple Sundays in March bring open houses at Maine sugar shacks with samplings. Taste of Bar Harbor in May is another delicious Maine food fest.

#7 Maine’s Most Romantic Events
Ok, so Maine isn’t pink like Bermuda or exotic like Paris or Florence, but we have sand, sun, surf and some very cozy inns, history and happy hours. A weekend in Maine can be very romantic, especially February in Kennebunkport when they “Paint the Town Red” with hearts, red lights, red tag sales and red plate special at every restaurant, plus ice bars and cocktail parties. Stay in a bed & breakfast like Captain Lord Mansion in a fireplace suite, Breakwater Inn & Spa, or at Seaside Inn directly on Kennebunk Beach with its own ocean view hot tub. Camden Winterfest is a wonderful weekend with ice-carvings, bonfires and a toboggan race – perfect outdoor fun between snuggling at a romantic Camden bnb, like Whitehall Inn, Hawthorne Inn, or Blue Harbor House.

Carriage Road, Acadia#8 Maine’s best biking events
Maine is a beautiful state to explore by bike, with some big fundraising bike tour events, like Tour De Cure and The Dempsey Challenge.  Tour De Cure is a June fund-raiser for Diabetes, from Wells Reserve Laudholm Farm, following scenic routes (25k, 50- 100) along the Southern Maine Coast. Trek Across Maine is a 180-mile cycle from Sunday River to the sea at Belfast held in June benefitting American Lung Association. Freeport’s Lobsterman Triathlon in September features fisherman biking, running and swimming Casco Bay in mid-September. The Dempsey Challenge, yes Grey’s Dr McDreamy Patrick Dempsey owns a home in Kennebunkport, is an annual Cancer fundraiser ride around Maine’s lakes and mountains, each fall.

Nubble Lighthouse Lights#9 Christmas in Maine
The holidays in Maine are magical, as seaside villages decorate with bought of holly and are very jolly. The best Christmas fest are Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude, Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea, Lighting of the Nubble Light in York, and Freeport’s Sparkle Weekend.  All of these Christmas holiday event in early December at ideal for a holiday shopping getaway.

#10 Polar Plunges New Year’s Day
A dip in the Atlantic on January 1 is a very chill way to welcome the New Year, and a shore cure for a New Year’s Eve hangover. Maine’s Polar Plunges take place on the 1st of the year at Kennebunk Beach –and Old Orchard Beach and Portland  – all of these icy dips are frozen fundraisers, dubbed “Freezin’ for a Reason” and “the Lobster Dip” benefit various Maine charities.

Enjoy Vacationland, be social – tag your Maine event photos with #VisitMaine  and share with us @VisitMaine.net

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

Portland Maine’s Best Happy Hours

Portland Maine has an amazing culinary scene, recently named a top foodie spot, and home to the best restaurants by Bon Appetit among others. But aside from sophisticated entrees and accomplished Chefs, there is also a fantastic happy hour scene in Portland. From the Old Port to the waterfront, and Portland’s best hotels, there is a lot to be happy about – especially midweek in Maine’s biggest city with drink deals and even $1.50 oysters and  free apps!

Here are some of Portland Maine’s best Happy Hours:

David’s in Monument Square has Happy Hour 3-6pm Monday-Friday $5 wines, and sangria, beers, and appetizer specials. We love David’s food and the city center setting is ideal for meeting friends.

DiMillo’s – this floating restaurant is a landmark on Portland’s waterfront, a bit touristy, but has Happy Hour with a view  Monday through Friday 4-7pm – appetizer and drinks specials. Parking is free – validated when you dine here.

Porthole – also right on the water – is casual but fun for Happy Hour deals Monday- Friday 3-6, and  Saturday –Sunday 1-4.

Old Port Sea Grill is  divey, but has daily Happy Hour 3 – 6pm with $5 Cosmos and Manhattans, $6 wines, $3 drafts, and $2.50 oysters. All day happy hour on Sunday means $5 Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Portland Lobster Company by the water has Happy Hour Monday – Thursday 4- 7pm

Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room on the waterfront has 4-6pm daily happy hour with
Oyster specials, $5 cocktails, $3  house wine, $2  beers and $5 food items like wings, nachos, Brussel sprouts and calamari.

The Corner Room has 4-6pm Happy Hour Monday-Friday with complimentary antipasto offered with drinks, $3 house  wines and prosecco, $3 draft beers.

The Grill Room has 4-6pm Happy Hour daily with draft beers, wines by the glass and bar snacks for $3.

Monhegan Island MaineLittle Tap House has Happy Hour 4-7 Monday – Friday – called Bar & Barrel – a petite appetizer paired with a local beer $5, plus $5 wines.

Bonfire Country Bar has “Bacon Happier Hour” with Free bacon, $1 tacos and whiskey, $2 beer & freis, $3 wien and burgers, 407 7 days a week!

Bull Feeney gets happy Sunday-Friday from 4-7pm with $4 draft beers and 20% off singe all malts, free snacks, plus other weekly treats.

Sur Lie has Happy Hour 4-6pm with $2 off drafts, $7 wines, and culinary $5 apps.

Northpoint has Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4-6pm with $5 Drafts, $6 Wines and a $7 Cocktail, and light bites for just $6 each! Sunday happy hour is 6-10.

C2 – Congress Square’d by the Westin, offers happy hour daily 3 – 7pm. $3 drink specials and bites.

Top of The East at the Westin has Happy Hour Sunday – Thursday 2-5pm with drinks specials, $6 wines, $4 beer, and an amazing rooftop view.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorDock Fore isn’t fancy but it gets happy every day from 3 -7pm, draft beers $2, wine are $1 off, free appetizer display.

MJ’s Wine Bar has a great outdoor patio, and Monday – Friday 4 – 6pm Happy Hour with $5 select wines and $4.50 20oz. drafts

Vignola Cinque Terre Happy Hour is just an hour, Monday to Friday 5- 6pm with $4 select wines, half-off beer, and $3.50-$9.50 appetizers.

Maine Lighthouse

Portland Hunt + Alpine Club has happy hour with select craft cocktails for $6 Monday to Friday 4 -6pm with popcorn.

Inkwell Bar and Lounge at Union, Press Hotel has “off the record “ happy hour with $5 house wine favorites, $5 well drinks, and $5 16oz local drafts Sunday- Thursday 4- 6pm.

Rosie’s has happy specials all the time – $1.50 Miller, $4 mixed well drinks, and Saturdays & Sundays $ 5Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s.

Taco Escobar offers happy hour 4-7pm Monday-Friday featuring $5 house margaritas, $3.50 select drafts, with free chips and salsa. Olé

Tomaso’s Canteen has 7 hours of happiness, 11-6 daily, with all kinds of drink and food deals from $2.50 beers to $6 wine & cocktails, plus nightly specials.

Bayside Bowl, on the Back Bay, has happy hour 4-6pm Monday-Thursday in summer on the rooftop deck, with half-price frozen cocktails, $2 Moosehead tall boy, and more.

Petite Jacqueline hosts
”apero” happy hour 5-6:30pm Monday-Friday at the bar and patio, with
$5 aperitifs, $4 draft beers, and $3 wine, plus $1.50 oysters, $5 small plates and $46 crepes. Mais oui!

El Rayo Taquiero gets happy 4-6 pm Monday-Friday with $5 house margaritas and sangria, $2 Sol Pacfico or Tecate.

Note: these happy hour offers are subject to change, this is just a compellation of current specials. If prices have changed or deals have been discounted – please let us know at sales@visitmaine.net, and please – don’t worry, be happy (every hour). See more Maine dining recommendations:

Portland’s Best Restaurants
Best Waterfront Dining
Top 10 Maine Restaurants

Lobster boat in Riggs Cove Maine

How to spot a Maine tourist vs a local – Vacationers in Vacationland

Mainahs, natives, love to poke fun at “folks from away” that choose to vacation in Maine – land of “lobstah in summah.” Perhaps it makes wintahs in Maine more bearable knowing soon the weathah will get bettah (see our guide to Maine accents)– but then we have to share our beautiful state with othahs from down south… south being anywhere below Kittery and the big bridge over the Piscataqua (say that three times).

Here are our 7 summer tips on how to spot a Maine tourist versus a local… like you actually needed a clue – ayuh!

  1. The outfits: Tourists typically wear flashy, not so matchy clothes – as if they packed in a rush, eager to hit the road and start their trip to Maine. bright beachy colored T-shirts with anything Maine placarded on themselves are a super sleuth clue. Socks with sandals, cruise ship sea pass lanyards around their necks, and swimsuits in town and restaurants are also notable get-noticed tourist getups.
  2. Moody BeachThe walking red – sunburns are a “shore” sign of those from away. The cooked lobster look is like nature’s tattoo of a happy summer day at the beach or our on a boat, without proper SPF precautions. Nothing like a bright red sunburn to bring back to the office on Monday to show you were at the beach… but didn’t apply sunscreen cause you thought Maine was too far north for UVA UVB rays. Rookie move – but way to rock your Maine beach day without a care in the world.
  3. Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersIn Maine restaurants, anyone wearing a white plastic bib is likely a tourist about to crush into a crustacean. Locals don’t do the goofy lobster bibs, and don’t wear anything so fancy that it’s not going to survive a dribble of butter. See our guide – how to eat a Maine lobster.
  4. Cameras and Ipad photo taking is another certain tourist telltale. Mainers use their cell phones nowadays, yes technology has arrived at the north eastern most state even if it seems off the grid. We even have Wi-Fi and the world wide web, how bout them apples…
  5. Maine Lobster ShackWaiting in line for clams, lobster rolls, or ice cream…. that’s a tourist move. Mainers wait for no one and just don’t do the queue … after all you can walk right into those same businesses in spring, winter or fall without delay. And ice cream is still refreshing on below zero days. So if you see a line, that’s a sign that it’s a popular tourist spot – Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, great food, just gonna take a bit.
  6. Camden Maine, Mt BattieThe slow driver gawker stalkers…. If you drive out to The Nubble Light in York, Route 1, or Ocean Ave past Walkers Point in Kennebunkport – home to President George H W Bush in summer – you will likely encounter erratic slow swerving (ok- bad) driving. That’s a tourist taking pics, deciding whether it’s worth pulling over or debating his destination with the family like a scene from National Lampoon Vacation. Conversely, if you see an old pickup truck going wicked slow, that’s a local with no particular place to go or no rush in doing so.
  7. One exception to tourist spotting versus locals is shopping at the Beaner or the Trading Post – here you will see an equal blend of locals and vacationers. Yes, Mainers really do shop at LL Bean (its wicked good quality – guaranteed don’t you know), Kittery Trading Post (nice huntin’ stuff), also discount Maine outlets like Mardens and Reny’s… for wicked bahgains on everything from tarps to canned tomatoes, tools to tiki torches for summah pool pahties. You should definitely stop and shop these funny affordable entertaining unexpected stores. Don’t get caught sayin’  “ I should bought it when I say it at Mahden’s.”
    Enjoy your vacation in Maine, see our favorite tour of the Maine coast, and our guide to Maine slang if you want to try and fit in with the local folks.
       

Maine’s Annual Restaurant Week March 1-12, 2019

Maine has become a hot foodie destination in recent years. In fact, Bon Appetit recognized Portland as a top culiary destination. Portland, Camden and Kennebunkport have attracted top chefs and top dining reviews. Maine has also become a place for food fests, like Harvest to the Harbor each fall, the Kennebunkport Festival each June, and the annual Maine Restaurant Week in March which started in 2008. Here’s your invitation to see and taste the best plates of the Pine Tree State with special multi-course price-fixed menus at Maine’s best dining spots and Maine top chefs who are passionate about creating Maine cuisine!

In additon to special prix fixe menus at particpating Maine restaurant, a few signture foodie events include an Incredible Breakfast Cook  Off in Portland – where one chef is award Champion of the Crave, and Spirit Quest – a progressive cocktail crawl with paired bites tour with a map of participating bars and dining spots in Portland. Prices for Maine Restaurant Week are typically $25, $35 and up to $45 for three courses, not including beverages, tax or gratuity. What’s fun about Restaurant Week, besides the delicious cuisine at Maine’s best restaurants, is meeting fellow foodies in your travels. You can dine out nightly and meet new people who share your passion for fine food and wine, also to try new venues like Cliff House Nubb’s and Tiller, and the usually too-pricey White Barn Inn.

Maine Restaurant Week March 1-12 features creative menus focused on Maine sourced, locally grown and farm raised food, fresh Maine lobster and seafood and artisan cheeses, and often local wine and beer pairings suggestions. Maine has lots more than just blueberries and potatoes as native food to rave about. So eat, drink and be merry during Restaurant Week in Maine at these great dining spots:

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorKennebunkport & Kennebunk Restaurants:
Stripers Waterfront at the Breakwater Inn & Spa – Kennebunkport, The Burleigh at Kennebunkport Inn, The Boathhouse Waterfront Restuarant & Bar, The White Barn Bistro at the White Barn Inn

Ogunquit and Cape Neddick Restaurants:
Nubb’s Lobster Shack & The Tiller – at the Cliff House – Cape Neddick– Ogunquit

Casco Bay FerryPortland & Cape Elizabeth Restaurants:
Back Bay Grill – Portland
Boone’s Fish & Oyster Room, and the Grill Room and Corner Room – Portland
Cumberland Club – Portland
Davids, Davids 388 and Davids Opus – Portland
El Rayo Cantina & El Rayo Taqueria Portland
Emilitsa – Portland
Eve’s at the Garden Portland
Evo Kitchen & bar – Portland
Five Fifty-Five – Portland
Gather – Yarmouth
Good Table Restaurant – Cape Elizabeth
Hartstone Inn – Camden
Hot Suppa – Portland
Hugos’ – Portland
Karafuto – Camden
Liquid Riot – Portland
Little Tap House – Portland
Local 188 – Portland
Natalie’s – Camden
North Point- Portland
Petite Jacqueline – Portland
Portland Meatball Co – Portland
Portland Pie Company – Portland
Ri Ra Irish Pub – Portland
Ribollita – Portland
Robert’s Maine Grill – Kittery
Sea Glass Restaurant – Inn by the Sea- Cape Elizabeth
Solo Italiano – Portland
Sur Lie Restaurant Portland
Timbers Steakhouse – Portland
Twenty Milk Street – Portland
Union at the Press Hotel – Portland
Vinland  – Portland
Vignola Cinque Terre – Portland
Waypoint – Portland
White Barn – Kennebunk Beach

Freeport, Falmouth & Yarmouth:
Bueno Loco -Falmouth
Gather – Yarmouth
Cuckholds LighthouseBrunswick, Lewiston & Camden Dining:
Brunswick Tavern – Brunswick
Natalies at Camden Harbour Inn – Camden
Hartstone Inn – Camden
Fish Bones American Grill – Lewiston
Lakes & Mountains:
Blaze- Bangor
Tarratine – Bangor
Timbers Bar- bangor

See our favorite happy hours in Portland,  Maine Lodging Guide for overnight hotels and Maine’s best BnB’s to stay at during your Foodies Tour of Maine

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

Top Romantic Things to Do in Maine in Winter

lobster-bouy-heartMaine is surrisingly romantic in winter, when #Vacationland resembes a #snowglobe and a vertiable #winterwonderland! Of all the pretty villages and serene settings, Kennebunkport is Maine’s most romantic town – especially in February when locals Paint the Town Red! Innkeepers and shop owners decorate with sparkling red and white lights, heart shaped everything. Kennebunkport’s best restaurants and pubs offer happy hours with craft cocktails and love potions, and red plates dining specials. Inns offer romantic lodging deals with champagne, chocolates, spa treatments, lavish breakfasts, even late check outs!

Top 10 Romantic Things To Do in Kennebunkport Maine
1. Have your picture taken by the big heart made of lobster buoys in Dock Square, then visit all the heart adorned boutiques and shop for “Red Tag” specials inside.

winter-beach-morn2. Walk the quiet beautiful beach. Watch the cool surfers riding the winter waves (brrr). Love the beach so much you don’t want to leave? Stay beachfront at The Seaside Inn, you ‘ll fall in love with their ocean view outdoor hot tub.

3.  February is full of fun romantic events… The Frozen Ice Bar Party at the Boathouse Bar and Avalanche at Old Vines Wine Bar. All month long, beer and wine tastings, cocktail classes and cooking demos take place at Alisson’s, Old Vines and Ports Of Italy!

4. Embrace the outdoors – Cross country ski or snowshoe at nearby Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm on their 7 mile of beautiful trails. Go on a skate date -ice skating on Kennebunks Waterhouse Pavilion, a free public covered ice rink in downtown Kennebunk. Date Skate is Feb 10 with a DJ on the ice, nice!

old-vines-bar-table5. Get happy at happy hours in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk and ask about “Red Plate” dining deals
and seductive cocktails specials at Alisson’s Restaurant, The Boathouse Bar, Kennebunkport Inn – Burleigh, Old Vines Wine Bar, Ports of Italy, Salt & Honey, and Striper’s Restaurant.

6. Reserve a romantic room overlooking the Kennebunk River at Breakwater Inn and Spa. Their Winter Valentine’s package includes lodging for two, Chocolates and a split of Prosecco in your room, Continental breakfast, afternoon Tea and snacks, and a romantic dinner at Striper’s Restaurant. Check out their Breakwater Spa package too.

7. Indulge in  “February is for Lovers” with Cacaptain-lord-mansion-kennebunkportptain Lord Mansion’s special mid-week package, your third night is free and you receive a split of sparkling wine, chocolate-covered popcorn and frequent visitor credits. Captain Lord Mansion lodging rates start at $199 per night including a delicious multi-course breakfast. Next door, Captain Fairfield Inn has a month full of love special!

love-kbpt-davids8. The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel has a “Love KPT” package with two-nights stay for two people with arrival goodies of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, drinks for two at The Boathhouse Bar downstairs, and a late check-out at noon.

9. Can’t escape without the kids? Rhumb Line Resort, Kennebunkport’s affordable family resort, has the solution. Book a Romance Red Tag Package for you and your restaurant-lobster-dinnersweetheart, starting at $199, including two nights, breakfast, flowers & chocolates, and you can get an extra room for the kids for just $20. Rhumb Line Resort has an indoor pool and
hot tub, plus an outdoor hot tub, a fitness room, free WiFi and Continental breakfast, and you’re just a few miles for Dock Square and the beach.

10. If Portland and the romantic city streets of the Old Port are more your speed, check in to The Pomegranate Inn, visit Portland’s best restaurants and shops, livley bars, theatres and the watefront. Their lodging package includes a book of love poems, bubbly, sweets and a sutie room will set the stage for #Vacationland romance in February~

Be social – tag your romantic, fun or funny photos with #LoveKPT #Vacationland and share with us @VisitMaine.net Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2019

Maine Polar Plunges on New Years 2019

Looking for a “cool” way to start 2019? How about a Lobster dip? Polar Plunge? Freezing for a Reason? Mainers love to start the New Year with a brisk swim in the Atlantic with other brave souls – and its all to raise funds for charitable causes. Call ’em crazy, but these icy events are big, attracting as many as 300 people to the beach in mid-winter to swim, celebrate and kick off the year with some serious cash raised.

These wild wet adventures are usually held on January 1, 2019 but stay tuned as events have been known to be postponed for super cold like in 2018

Kennebunk’s Polar Plunge 2019

Kennebunk’s 18th Annual Atlantic Plunge – Freezin’ For A Reason will actually take place on Saturday January 5, 2019, 11am Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk. This chilly Polar Plunge event is lots fo fun, well attended and a great way to give a jump start to your  New Year., See you Saturday Jan 5 at 11am in front of Seaside Inn on Kennebunk Beach. This Atlantic Plunge benefits Caring Unlimited. Register for this refreshing swim, registration fee is $25, sign up by Noon on 1/3/2019.

Lobster Dip 2019 at Old Orchard Beach

OOB Pier January 1, 2019 is the date for Old Orchard Beach’s 18th annual Lobster Dip. So mark your calendar and be at Old Orchard Beach at noon for a brisk swim in the Atlantic by the Pier. This polar plunge is not just a cold Lobster Dip – it’s a daylong event. Post Dip party at the Brunswick Inn includes free buffet, live music, cash bar and fun!  As many as 300 swimmers have turned out and jumped in past Lobster Dips, which benefits Special Olympics Maine, and in 2017 – $100,000 was raised! All Lobster Dippers must raise a minimum of $100. Those who do, and register, will receive a commemorative Lobster Dip t-shirt!

Portland 2018 Polar Dip & Dash New Year’s Eve!

Maine LighthousePortland Maine hosts its 2018 11th annual Portland Polar Dip and Dash on New Year’s Eve Day, Dec 31, 2018 at 12 PM  at East End Beach, Portland Maine. This Polar Dip benefits Natural Resources Council of Maine. The annual fund raising goal is to raise in excess of $17,500.00. All Portland Polar Dip participants who register here, and raise at least $100 will receive a highly coveted “I DID IT” event t-shirt. If’ you’re too chicken to do the plunge, you can participate in the “Chicken Dip” – where you only need to dip your toes in – after all its for fun and for fundraising!

Happy New Year Maine friends… see more Maine events, including some that aren’t quiet so chilly!

Be sure to reserve your Maine lodging during your visit to Maine with our Maine lodging guide.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter