Monthly Archives: December 2016

Things to do in Portland, Maine

You don’t find many cities like Portland, Maine. It’s truly a gem and not only a great place to live, but to visit as well. Situated on the mouth of the Casco Bay, visitors can find lodgings in Portland with ocean views, walking distance to so much, even ferry boats to explore the islands, or just indulge in city life.

There are many things to do in Portland, Maine that only include the typical city scene checking out new boutiques, concerts, bars and restaurants, but you can have outdoor experiences too.Casco Bay Ferry

You can embark on one of Casco Bay Ferries and tour the islands of Casco Bay. Some islands also have bike rentals to tour around the island or reach a nearby beach. The ferry ride itself can also be an adventure as the Casco Bay Lines often have events or sunset cruises to enjoy. Summertime, take the ferry to Peaks Island for Reggae Fest on Sundays.

You can also ride your bike or walk the Back Bay loop. Here, you can also play tennis at the nearby tennis court or pick up some snacks at the Hannaford across the street for a picnic at the park. From the walkway on the I-295 bridge section, you get a great view of the Back Bay area. Nearby Cape Elizabeth is a nice spot for picnicking or bike tours in the Fort Williams park area. Here, you can take a walk around the large park estate and visit the Portland Headlight as well. Alternatively, you could visit the park on Munjoy Hill where you have your walking area along the Eastern Promenade. Nearby, you could visit the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum which has affordable ticket rates.

In the summer,  see a Sea Dog game at Hadlock Field. Players like Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Kevin Millar have played at Hadlock Field, a Minor League team for the Boston Red Sox, so you’re likely to see some sluggers at the Sea Dogs

Walking the Old Port and Art District areas in Portland is popular. Shopping boutiques, antique shops, comic book stores, and craft shops between Commercial and Congress Street. One of the must things to do in Portland Maine is the monthly Art Walk held on the First Friday of every month.

Looking forward to some night life? Portland Maine has a thriving club scene in the Old Port along Wharf Street for those who want to dance the night away. You can also check out plays or concerts at the State Theater or Port City Music Hall.

The Maine Brew Bus tours the Portland breweries, a fun way to let someone else drive while you drink in the scene and local craft brews. See our Guide to Maine Breweries.

What sets Portland Maine apart from most cities like nearby Boston or Manchester  is that it still retains a small town atmosphere, quite walkable and friendly,  reminding you that you’re not in a place surrounded by strangers, but friends you haven’t met yet. You even feel a sense of safety walking the streets at night. Don’t be surprised if you happen upon a friendly conversation while dining out at one of Portland’s restaurants.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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The best Southern Maine Christmas Parade

prelude-horse-carriageWe all love a parade… and a Maine Christmas Parade is perhaps the most festive of all. While not quite the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the Southern Maine Christmas Parade is fun, family oriented, free and lodging in Wells Maine is a far better deal than New York City for the Macy’s Holiday Parade.

The Southern Maine Coast Christmas Parade is celebrating almost three decades. Now over 3 decades, the Christmas Parade is the 2nd Sunday in December at 2pm. The theme each year changes, past year’s parade include Superheroes, nature, and   “A Storybook Christmas.”  The parade follows its traditional Route 1 path,  beginning at the Wells Plaza parking lot and continuing north on U.S. Route 1 to the Wells Junior High School. Floats, fire trucks, costume characters, mascots and more are feature in this fun holiday parade.

Kids will love seeing Maine mascots like Oaky from Oakhurst, Slugger the Portland Sea Dog, Kenne Bear from Kennebunk Savings, Crusher the Maine Lobster from the Maine Red Claws, and Sprinkles the Cow from Sundaes at the Beach. Horse drawn sleighs, antique cars and tractors are a few of the fun additions. Like all holiday parades, there is an annual Grand Marshall, and Santa arrives at the end to the delight of kids watching on the side lines.
Kenne-bear
The parade is sponsored by Kennebunk Savings Bank, and the Wells Chamber, and floats right by Wells businesses and hotels, like Village by the Sea – which happens to be a great place to watch.

For those of you disappointed that last year’s Christmas Parade was cancelled, due to a snowstorm, this year should be great with the anticipation from a missed year. And the forecast looks clear after this week’s snowstorm – Sunday should be sunny with no snow falling.

This second weekend of December is great time to come to Maine, enjoy holiday shopping in Kittery and Freeport, Wells Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. Its also Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea and Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude – so there are lots of fun holiday events and festivities to enjoy. Suite lodging can be very affordable this time of year. If you are traveling with the family, you may want a suite or condo at Village by the Sea or Misty Harbor Resort. A  deluxe motel room can be a real deal, saving you money for dining out and shopping, for a couples or girls getaway at Ogunquit Resort Motel. See our Southern Maine lodging guide for your Christmas shopping getaway to Maine. Happy Holidays…

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Maine can be Fancy too!

There is more to Maine than camping – roughing it in the great outdoors in a remote campsite. And while we’re on the subject, let’s do away with the stereotype; most of us are not missing teeth. Maine is a large state with diverse lodging choices, rustic to luxury hotels and resorts. Browse luxury lodges in Maine, or continue reading to learn more about luxury lodges you’ll find here. Continue reading

Fresh Cut Maine Christmas Trees

lobster-trap-treeWhat could possible look and smell more beautiful than a fresh cut Maine Christmas Tree in your home for the holidays?! After all, Maine is the Pine Tree State. All over our big wooded state are Christmas tree farms and wild fields full of beautiful White or Blue Spruce, Balsam, Fraser or Douglas fir, Norfolk Pine, and many more species of evergreen trees. All of these are gorgeous and would make a great addition to your holiday decor. Driving around Maine in late November and early December, you will find fresh cut Christmas trees for sale in every town, at school yard for kids’ fundraisers, at fire departments and even at garden centers and grocery stores. These are local trees, relatively freshly cut. Many Maine trees are shipped to New York City, Florida and elsewhere given Maine’s pine tree abundance. Did you know LL Bean provides all the wreaths for Arlington National Cemetery at Christmas town…made in Maine!  Maine is a proud contributor to Wreaths Across America each holiday season.

kennebunk treeIf you want to assure you get a very fresh Maine tree that well stay healthy in your home through January, you may want to tromp through the forest and cut you own to assure its freshness. The weekend after Thanksgiving and the first Saturday of December are very popular times to get Christmas trees. You may even happen upon holidays festivals in Maine like the Lighting of the Nubble in York and Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport.

Be prepared when you go to cut your own tree down, usually you should bring your own saw, rope and strapping to tie it to your car roof securely, and gloves to handle the prickly boughs. Be sure to measure your ceiling height before you go chop down an 8 foot tree.
As a bonus, you can usually gain us some extra greens and boughs to use as swags after you have trimmed your tree to the right size. You can’t however just hack someone’s tree from their front year. You do need permission or to pay at a local cut your own tree farm.

prelude-horse-carriageSo we have compiled this list of Maine Christmas Tree Farms, all members of Maine Christmas Tree Association. Some of these Tree Farms are very festive around the holidays, like Holmes Tree Farm in Kennebunk, with horse drawn sleigh rides, serving candy canes and cocoa for the kids, and offering to wrap the tree in twine to make hauling it into your house easier for mom and dad.

Maine Christmas Tree Farms
Balsam Meadow Farm    Lincoln    207-794-2129
Balsam Ridge        Raymond    207-655-4474
Boiling Spring Tree Farm    Dayton    207-499-7919
Bond Mountain Acres    West Newfield    207-793-4658 A
Carpenter Tree Farm    Springvale    207-324-6869
Carpenter’s Tree Farm    Old Town Me    207-356-4862
Cheechako Farms    Buxton    207-929-3961
Christmas Tree Bazaar    Nobleboro    207-563-5700
Christmas Tree Ranch    Amherst    207-409-6488
Dalou Farms        St. Albans    207-938-2955
Davis Stream Tree Farm    Washington    207-845-2544
Evergreen Farms Choose And Cut    Waldoboro    207-832-5385
Fishers Christmas Tree Farm    Belfast    207-338-6098
Gooleys Christmas Tree Farm    Farmington    207-778-2368
Hanscome’s Tree Farm    North Yarmouth    207-831-2311
Heaven’s View Christmas Tree Farm    Brooks    207-548-2221
Holmes Tree Farm    Kennebunk    207-985-3778
Hummer Tree Farm    Bath    207-443-5944
Kings Mountain Christmas Trees        Orrington    207-852-6699
Mcclure’s Tree Nursery    Kingfield    207-265-4931
Merry Christmas Trees    Windham    207-318-2012
Mingo’s Evergreen Products Inc.    Calais    207-454-7411
Moose Hill Farm    Fayette    207-897-3093
Mystic Valley Farm    East Dixfield
North Parish Christmas Tree Farm    Turner    207-225-3382
Nutkin Knoll Farm    Newburgh    207-234-7268
Old Farm Christmas Place    Cape Elizabeth    207-799-0096
Oldfield Farm        Vassalboro    207-445-3023
Penobscot Evergreens    Bucksport    207-825-8729
Pinkham’s Tree Farm    Vassalboro    207-445-4827
Piper Mtn Christmas Trees    Newburgh    207-234-4300    Available
Pleasant View Tree Farm    Hodgdon    207-532-4769    Available
Rice Tree Farm        Durham    207-926-3622
Richards Christmas Tree Farm    Mapleton    207-764-6093    Available
Stadig’s Christmas Tree    Wallagrass    1-800-338-1587
Staples Christmas Trees    South Windham    207-892-7231
Trees To Please    Norridgewock    207-522-0545
Vining’s Christmas Trees    Cumberland    207-829-5723
Weir Tree Farms    Colebrook    603-237-5273

Consider making a fun weekend out of cutting your own Maine Christmas Tree. Stay in Kennebunk or Wells and enjoy the holiday decorations, before bringing your beautiful tree home. Some Maine lodging properties offer a free tree special with your night’s lodging –kennebunkport-christmas-tree  a certificate to cut your own tree at a local Christmas tree farm nearby. Remember that part of the joy is purveying the not-so-perfect pine tree then transforming into a your own personal thing of beauty with your family ornaments and traditions… just like Charlie Brown. Merry Christmas. Enjoy your Maine tree and may you and your family have a very joyful, pine-scented holiday! – VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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