Category Archives: Fall Fun

The Portland Dining Scene – Fall Foodies in Maine

copy-copy-portland-headlight.jpgCalling all Maine foodies for the Harvest on the Harbor

Fall in Portland Maine is a great time to check out new restaurants. The crunch of crisp fall leaves under your feet on the Old Port’s cobblestone streets as you search out delicious new food offerings in Portland’s best restaurants. Portland has become quite a hub for top chefs, definitely the epicenter of the Maine cuisine scene, with Kennebunkport, Camden, Ogunquit, York and Kittery raising the bar in Maine with great dining spots.

Gorde and pumpkin displayA highlight to fall in Portland is the Harvest on the Harbor, an annual event of toasting Maine’s best culinary chefs, and flaunting the best Maine beers, wines and food.

Every year, Portland‘s Harvest on the Harbor benefits local charities, food banks and provides scholarships, so it’s an eat well, feel good deal. The mission of Harvest on the Harbor is “to promote Maine as a top culinary tourism destination to food-savvy travelers from Maine and around the world, and extend the traditional tourism season while increasing the economic impact for Maine businesses.” Sounds brilliant right, we can all raise a glass and a fork to that!

Allagash Brewery freezerHarvest on the Harbor takes place Oct 18-21, and the signature event is Market on the Harbor, the Grand Finale where guests have an opportunity to taste dishes from Maine’s best restaurants and meet the chef owners while sampling and sipping local Maine beers, wines and spirits with each chef creation. Eat, Sip and shop at Portland Yacht Services. Other fun foodie events include the Pig Roast and Bloody Mary Brunch and Maine Oyster Fest on Saturday.

The Harvest of the Harbor venue is a big top tent at Portland Yacht Services, overlooking Portland harbor and the passing ships, ferries, even a view of Bug Light!

Another big draw is the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition since every Maine chef worth his or her salt wants to prepare the best lobster dish, especially in front of their peers! 2018 Avery Richter, executive chef of The Black Tie Co. won Lobster Chef of the year with her Maine Lobster seaweed salad cone!

Previous years’ Lobster Dinner Winners:
2017 Boothbay Harbor Country Club executive sous chef Nathaniel Adam was Maine Lobster Chef of the Year for his Lobster in Foliage creation.
2016 Union Chef Josh Berry won Maine Chef – Union is in the Press Hotel in Portland.
2015 Nonantum Resort of Kennebunkport won Maine Chef .
2014 Chef Stephen Richards -The World is Mine Oyster Boothbay Harbor was top Lobster Chef.
2013 Chef Chris Long, Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn won last, beating out his boss.
2012 Kerry Altiero from Café Miranda with esteemed lobster award.

Many of the Grand Tasting and Entertainment events sell out before the festival even starts. If you don’t get ticket to Harvest on the Harbor, then go enjoy dinner out at one of Portland’s amazing restaurants.

lobsterMaine top chefs participating in the Harvest on the Harbor Top Maine Lobster Chef Competitors are:

Bite Into Maine
Congress Squared
DiMillo’s on the Water
Fisherman’s Wharf Inn
Portland Lobster Company
RiRa Portland
Seadog Brewing Company
Union Kitchen
2018 Boothbay Harbor Claw Down Winner Dana Moos

Plan you Maine foodie vacation and come to the coast to sample lobster, walk the beach and enjoy “the way life should be.”

See our Maine Lodging Guide and the Maine’s Top Restaurants

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Three Dories and a scarecrow in Kennebunkport, ME

Fall for Maine Food

Fall in Maine means beautiful foliage and harvest of this humble state’s best. Orchards are ripe with fresh apples, farm pastures are loaded with pumpkin and squash that brightly dot the fields, awaiting picking for someone’s table or jack o’lantern carving.

Fall in Maine delivers farmers markets and fairs, like the Fryeburg Fair, where farmers show off their summer’s worth of work, their pride in produce, meat and cheese. Yes Please! Read on about Maine’s best produce and prize harvests, and few recipes from from Vacationland. Fall is a wonderful time to vacation, in Vacationland, a Maine foodie tour with bonus foliage!

Maine is famed for the following food:

Apple Picking in MaineApples
Maine’s apples are best picked from late August through early October. Maine is home to 84 apples orchards farms, responsible for producing about one million bushels of apples each year on 2000 acres. Most common varieties of Maine apples grown are McIntosh, Cortland, Macoun and now Honeycrisp Two lesser-known varieties, Black Oxford and Brock.

Maine has an “apple day”. Great Maine Apple Day is a festival October 14, 2018 in Unity Maine that celebrates the apple harvest with cider making, apple pie contests, showcasing the many tasty apple varieties grown in Maine’s orchards.

Maine’s best apple recipes include Apple Crisp, Apple Pie, Apple Chutney, Apple Cider, and Apple Sauce.

Broccoli is abundant in Maine. Despite Kennebunkport’s favorite former-president’s disdain for the bright green veggie (President George H W Bush said he hates broccoli), Maine is a top producer of this cruciferous green vegetable in “The County” – with 6,500 acres in Aroostook county. Broccoli is a powerful antioxidant with numerous health benefits, a big source of vitamins K and C, folate (folic acid), also high in potassium and fiber. Besides,  its fun to  dip broccoli in ranch or cheese – and pretend their little trees and you’re the Jolly Green Giant.

Potatoes
Maine’s Aroostook county has potatoes aplenty. Maine is a top producer of spuds, not as much as Idaho, but still – over 70,000 acres of land in northern Maine is proliferated with potato farms. 25 percent of Maine’s potato production supplies the East coast, 45 percent is used for frozen French fries- like McCain, 20 percent for (my personal favorite) potato chips – Humpty Dumpty, Frito-Lays, Utz, and 10 percent go to fresh market for Maine’s best restaurants and local consumption. Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield in July is a 70+ year tradition to celebrate the spud! The Maine Potato Board, yes that’s a  thing, has pages of potato recipes from mashed to home fries to Shepard’s pie! Oh, and Cold River Vodka is made from Maine potatoes- gluten free!

Pumpkins
Gorde and pumpkin displayWith all eyes on pie and Halloween jack o’lanterns, Maine’s pumpkin patches are prolific. A fun family activity is to go to a Maine pumpkin patch and PYOP: pick your own pumpkin. Pumpkins are a fun, feel good, do good squash plant, most popular from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Traditions aside, Pumpkins have high nutritional value: high in fiber and low in calories, pumpkin packs an abundance of disease-fighting nutrients, including potassium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, and vitamins C and E. Even pumpkin seeds carry nutrition, like protein, potassium, magnesium and fiber. So pick your own Maine pumpkin, carve your trick-or-treat face, keep the inside for pie, and roast the seeds with Maine sea-salt for a powerful tasty treat.

Kennebunk River MaineMore on Maine Lobster, Maine’s wineries and Maine’s best beer & micro-breweries.

See our Maine lodging guide for where to stay, play and explore fall in Maine!

Copyright & Photos 2018 VisitMaine.net

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Best fall foliage in Maine

Maine is world famous for its fall foliage. The brilliant display of colored leaves from bright red maples to orange oaks and golden birch, is generally peak late September to mid October with Columbus Day Weekend being prime (and a holiday weekend – hint hint). But the kaleidoscope of colors starts in September and continues through the month of October. Visiting anytime in fall, you will surely fall for autumn in Maine – Vacationland!
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There are certain must see’s in Maine during fall foliage season, see our list of activities and attractions for your Maine fall trip and enjoy your autumn activities in the Pine Tree State.

1. Bring your camera, you will want to capture the colors of Maine’s foliage, for facebook and instagram posts, or for your friends back home… or to frame! fall-foliage-14-maine72.  Discover the simple pleasure of a bike ride down an old dirt road with the crisp autumn leaves crunching under your bicycle tires.

fall-colors-path33. Get out on the water, with a Maine charter boat, sail boat cruise or lobster boat tour, to see the contrast of the brilliant blue water with the autumn leaves.

fall-wells-boat4. Keep off the grass, but enjoy a nature walk, Maine is resplendent with state parks, reserve and conservation trust land that is open to the public for the perfect fall foliage walk.  Remember, take only pictures, leave only your footprints!  keep-off-grass-fall5. Enjoy the last Maine Lobster of the season…  see our favorite Maine waterfront restaurants for seafood, clams, or a fresh Maine lobster!

6. Paddle a canoe or kayak on a calm cool Maine river…

mousam-river-fall27. Shop for Maine made products and crafts at the many Maine fairs and festivals in fall

fall-foliage-14-me98. Reserve a room at a romantic bed and breakfast or waterfront inn in Maine… fall is for falling in love in Maine!  You will love the scenery and serene B&Bs in Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Camden and Boothbay Harbor for starts… Bed and Breakfast

9. Pick the perfect Maine apples, pumpkin, and mums, to bring home as a reminder of your time in Maine! Gorde and pumpkin display10. Just enjoy the subtle serene surroundings of fall in Maine, you’ll be glad you came.  great-heron-fall-flightSee our Maine lodging guide for where to stay, play and explore in Maine!

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Fall in Maine, the best festivals, foliage and fun!

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great-heron-fall-flight

What’s the most beautiful time of year in Maine? We love Fall on the southern Maine coast and in the Lakes & Mountains. You can still walk the beaches along the southern Maine Coast, kayak, bike and hike, golf, and explore. The summer beach crowds have diminished and the temperatures are ideal. Fall brings cool crisp evenings, while you still have warm sunny summer-like days. The temperatures in Maine in fall are splendid, 70-s by day and 50’s at night – perfect for sitting by a fireplace and sleeping under a down duvet at a cozy bed and breakfast.

Autumn gourd and pumpkin display in Maine

Fall in Maine

Fall in Maine brings a bounty of festival and events – and of course a harvest of delicious fresh Maine foods. Apple picking is a Maine tradition not to be missed. Farmer’s markets are abundant with squash, kale, pumpkins, and corn stalks for your Halloween decor.

Red maple leaves in Maine

Maine fairs are among the best in the world with the big daddy being The Fryeburg Fair now in its 167th year. This agricultural, carnival, farm, food, craft and music festival is early October, peak foliage. Don’t miss the hilarious Pig Scramble, Harness Racing, Tractor Pulls and and the Skillet Throw.

fall-sky-trees4Columbus Day Weekend is typically the height of fall foliage colors in Maine. Its also the Fall Festival at Sunday River, a great time to peep leaves as you ride the Chairlift. This weekend at Sunday River also marks the 19th annual Wife Carrying Championships. See couples compete, as husbands carry their wives over obstacles, under logs, through the mud, to win their wife’s weight in beer! Yup, its down and dirty and a sure road to divorce or a full fridge or Budweiser. Sunday of Columbus Weekend is Sunday River’s 5th Annual New England Corn Hole Championship and a Blue Mountain Craft Fair plus Chondola Rides.

Cadillac Mountain viewAcadia’s  Invitational Oktoberfest includes an  annual Wine tasting Festival and a Brewfest, part of a 10 day celebration in Southwest Harbor – the quiet side of Acadia National Park.

Boothbay Harbor celebrates its Fall Foliage Festival October 7-8. That same Columbus Weekend Sugarloaf hosts its Homecoming Weekend when skiers can get their season pass, see their ski buddies, buy ski gear at the CVA Used Ski Equipment Sale and compete in the Infamous Uphill Climb race, then enjoy the Maine Outdoor Film Festival.

York Maine LighthouseOctober 14 in York is Harvestfest at York Beach with games, crafts, music and prime foliage near Nubble Light.

 Ogunquitfest is October 21-22 with the funny high heel race, pumpkin decorating, craft shows, wagon rides, culinary and wine tastings, and a classic car display.

Hay Roll CatCamp Sunshine’s Maine Pumpkin Festival is October 21, a tradition that started in Maine in 2003, takes place at LL Bean in Freeport with over 10,000 jack o lanterns illuminated for this important Maine charity provides sick children and their families a respite and vacation in Maine at Point Sebago Resort.

Portland’s best food and wine fest is Harvest on the Harbor October 17-22 where Maine’s best chefs compete for the top title and Maine wineries and breweries tap their best vintages for foodies at avenue overlooking Portland Harbor.

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamers

Of course shopping in Maine’s Freeport, Portland and Kennebunkport are great fall pastimes as you prepare for the upcoming holidays. Fall brings post-summer sales to Kittery Outlets and The Boothbay Harbor boutiques. What could be better than poking around the shops then lunching on Maine clam chowder or a Lobster Roll.

So plan your fall visit to Maine, and you are sure to fall in love with Vacationland and the beautiful foliage that blesses this beautiful state each season.

Three Dories and a scarecrow in Kennebunkport, ME

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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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

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Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

Haunted Places in Maine

Hay Roll CatHappy Halloween…nothing like a spooky holiday to bring to mind ghosts, goblins, spirits and hauntings. Maine is home to many legendary landmarks, inns and lighthouses – and with history comes hauntings. Often older homes have spirits, those still roaming the earth for unrequited reasons. Some folks are freaked by ghost stories, while others are intrigued and want to know more, want to stay in spirited inns and participate in the paranormal. Others just don’t believe, to quote the Ghost Buster movie, “I ain’t scared of no ghosts.”

Nubble Lighthouse LightsFor those who love a spooky story, and want to lurk in a lighthouse that’s haunted or hope to stay in a spirited bed and breakfast in Maine, here is our list of some allegedly haunted places in Maine… pack your toothbrush, your flashlight and you big boy pants. Check in and check out the spirits as some of these Maine Inns! Boo!

Maine’s Haunted Inns, Landmarks and Lighthouses

wedding-cake-house3The Kennebunk Inn
Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport
Tides Inn on Goose Rocks Beach
The Shawmut Inn in Kennebunkport
Poland Spring Resort
Admiral Peary Inn in Fryeburg
1794 Watchtide by the Sea
Captain Lindsey House Inn
The 1898 Berry Manor Inn
LimeRock Inn
Fort William Henry in Colonial Pemaquid in Bristol
The East Wind Inn copy-portland-headlight.jpg
The 1804 Coach Stop Inn
The Lucerne Inn
Greenville Inn at Moosehead Lake

Happy Halloween from VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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Corn Maze-ing in Maine

The fall season is at its peak at Halloween. For visitors coming to Maine in autumn, here is an a-maze-ing activity, aside from leaf peeping and harvest festivals. Corn mazes! Too corny for you?

Gorde and pumpkin displayTake  your family to a corn maze in Maine. Every year, corn maze designs are different, and every farmers corn maze is unique. Most mazers can spend close to an hour navigating through the stalks! No worries though, mazes are designed in two phases for an early exit halfway. And in all honesty, if you think you’re going to freak out, then just walk straight through the stalks until you find the end. No one has ever been lost in a corn maze in Maine.

Late fall is perfect for a weekend tour of Maine with off season pricing at most Maine hotels, inns and resorts.