Category Archives: Boating in Maine

Where to beach, eat, shop, stay & play in Kennebunkport Maine

The perfect day in Kennebunkport Maine
what to see, do, eat, where to play and stay in Maine’s seaside heaven…

Kennebunkport Maine just may be the perfect town – its oceanfront, everyone loves to be by the sea, right?! It’s quaint and historic. It’s happening with a great social atmosphere of bars, restaurants and live music venues, plus a fun fabulous calendar of events from the Kennebunkport Festival to Christmas Prelude. It’s artistic with lots of cool galleries and studios. Kennebunkport also has beaches (check), boating (check), celebs and ex-presidents (secret service- check, check), beautiful hotels, bnbs an inns, and last but not least – cool local people. So how do you tackle all there is to see and do in KPT as a tourist, or a tourist-in-your-own-town, in a day?
Let’s play “perfect day in Kennebunkport Maine!” Ready set go….

WALK KPT
Mornings in Maine, particularly Kennebunkport, should start with a brisk walk. The best walk in Kennebunkport is Ocean Ave on the sidewalk from Dock Square out toward the sea, passing magnificent seaside St Anne’s Church, Spouting Rock then Blowing Cave to Walker’s Point where you can wave to President Bush (yes both #41 & #43 plus Gov Jeb and the rest of the Bush family clan). Walker’s Point is the Bush family compound and summer residence, not to be confused with Cape Cod where the Kennedy’s cluster.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorCOFFEE KPT
Breakfast in Kennebunkport – why not go to Paris? Lol, seriously for a delightful sidewalk café, Mornings In Paris in Lower Village at Coopers Corner roasts and brews fantastic coffee, serves yummy pastries, in a charming setting inside, or out on the patio where you can watch the town begin to stir. Dock Square Coffee is another pro choice for a cup-a-jo – take it to go to a picnic bench in Dock Square or down to the beach. All Day Breakfast on Route 9 Western Ave heading south is where locals go for a more bountiful breakfast, be prepared for a wait – this classic diner-style joint jams.

KENNEBUNK BEACHES
Fueled up for sun & fun? Go get your sand time at Kennebunkport’s best beaches, which are actually on the Kennebunk side. Gooch’s, Middle Beach and Mothers Beach are each unique and spectacular, from sand, to stones, to tidal pools. Just follow Beach Ave and you will see all three.

SHOP KPT
Browse all the great local boutiques, in Dock Square, from Day Trip Society for trendy gifts, to Compliments, Minka and Abacus for locally made jewelry, crafts and candles, to Emporium for a local Ts, to Shoot the Moon, Dock Square Clothiers, Green Tangerine, Zen, Carla’s and PJ’s  for that must have Maine sun dress or sweatah (that’s with a Mainah accent, like lobstah & chowdah) .

LAUNCH INTO LUNCH
For a cup of clam chowder or a lobster roll, we love Alisson’s in the heart of Dock Square. This the Cheers of Kpt, where the locals go and folks from away feel right at home. Great table service, or sit at the bar. You can get anything you want at Alisson’s Restaurant…as the Arlo Guthrie song goes…

BOAT
Get out on the water! The best way to see the Maine coast is from the sea! From Nonantum Resort, get on board your choice of a lobster boat, sailboat or fishing charter. The Rugsoa Lobster Boat Tour is an hour and half, on a classic red lobster boat, you’ll get a tour of the Kennebunk River, head out the Breakwater toward Walkers Point and Goat Island Lighthouse, even pull up a lobster trap. If you prefer sailing, The Pineapple Ketch offers a beautiful sail on a black hulled sailboat with dramatic red salis. Those who love to fish can be hooked up on a private charter with Captain Bruce aboard Libreti Rose!

HISTORY BUFFS BUFF UP ON YOUR HISTORY
Stroll back in time at White Columns, the 1853 Greek Revival sea captains’ home, now home to the Kennebunkport Historical Society and the First Family Museum – a tribute to President and Barbara Bush and their family time at the “summer white house” at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. Drive to the Wedding Cake House on historic Summer Street to see Sea Captains’ mansions lining the Kennebunk River banks.

GALLERY HOP
Kennebunkport is not surprisingly an artist community, with its inspirational scenery everywhere. Visit local galleries and studios to view art, photography, even jewelry and kaleidoscopes created right here, to bring a Maine memory home with you. Check out Kennebunk and Kennebunkport’s best galleries at Maine Art, Landmark, Northern Lights, True North, Rusty Fly Gallery, Chris Becker Photographer, Mast Cove Gallery and many more…

Sunset at Robinhood Marine Riggs CoveHAPPY HOUR
After a day of exploring, its time for some celebrating. Kennebunkport has so many fun bars with great happy hours, Old Vines Wine Bar is a favorite, so is The Boathouse Bar, The Burleigh, and Stripers Waterside at Breakwater Inn– all three of these have beautiful water views. Enjoy a craft cocktail, local micro-brew or a house wine and small plate tapas, and some social time to tide you over til you dine!

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersLOBSTAH FOR SUPPAH
The best places to eat in Kpt have lobster on the menu, 95 Ocean at Nonantum, Stripers at the Breakwater, Alisson’s and Mabel’s! Reserve a table, bring your appetite, and wear the bib if you love your lobster with hot drawn buttah! Save room for Maine blueberry pie.

KPORT ROCKS WITH LIVE MUSIC
Catch live music at The Burleigh at Kennebunkport Inn, Old Vines, Pilot House, Ryan’s Irish Corner House, Alisson’s, The Nonantum, or go to Vinegar Hill Music Theatre for a show. Pick up the free informative Tourist News (no stereotyping – the locals read it too) to find out who’s playing when and where, or just ask a local!

STAY IN KPT
Ready to rest your head with a whiff of fresh ocean air and the purr of lobster boats gliding by? The Nonantum Resort is a great place to stay in Kennebunkport, its waterfront, with its own marina and charter tour boats leaving daily, and the staff is the friendliest around, its like family. Nonantum’s Chef Steve is so talented, we’re taking Divers Scallops, Tuna Tacos, Lobster Risotto, at their on-site restaurants – 95 Ocean and Heckman’s Pub. Breakfast is included too when you book direct, and their pastry chef is amazing! There’s an outdoor pool overlooking The River, kayak and bikes available, nightly entertainment, and it’s a short walk to town  – to Dock Square or out to Colony Beach on Ocean Ave. Nonantum means “blessing” and you will feel blessed to have stayed at this classic 1884 resort on the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport.

Make plans to come stay and play in Kennebunkport Maine soon!

See our Maine Lodging Guide and Best Tour of the Coast for your Maine Visit!

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All Aboard! Maine Lighthouse Boat Tours

Lighthouses are an iconic symbol of Maine, part of the seafaring history and culture. Today, lighthouses are the more popular attractions for Maine visitors touring the coast. Few lighthouses in Maine are stationed with lighthouse keepers, many are now automated, but they continue to serve as beacons to guide boaters, sailors, fishermen and pleasure yachts safely back to their Maine harbors. Read on for coastal boat tours offering lighthouse sightseeing. Continue reading

Top 10 Things You Must Do In Maine

Your Vacationland Bucket List
Cuckolds Lighthouse in Maine1. Visit a Maine lighthouse. These scenic and historic beacons to sailors and sea captains are iconic and legendary. You must visit at least one, over 60 lighthouses guard the Maine coast grandly from Kittery to Kennebunkport, Portland to Bar Harbor and beyond. See our Maine lighthouse guide.

Colorful bouys in Maine2. Take a Maine selfie to make your friends at home jealy. Pick one of Maine’s many photogenic scenic settings, you know – on the beach, in front of a lighthouse, on a sailboat, with a sunset over a bay, and post it to Facebook and Instagram to make the folks at home green with envy.

3. Shop Maine – at one of the classics like LL Bean – open 24/7 and Kittery Outlet for the outdoorsy, Marden’s, Big Al’s or Reny’s for bargain lovers. You never know what you will find. See our Maine shopping suggestions.

Lobster bake dinner with steamers and corn4. Eat a Maine lobster. You decide if you want a casual lobster roll from a road side clam shack, or a baked stuffed or steamed crustacean served at a waterfront restaurant… but you must enjoy fresh lobster, the best the world over, close to the source – with butter – while in Maine. Some Maine lobster facts including how to cook & eat  a lobster!

Bucks Harbor dog ride5. Meet some Mainahs. Ayuh, a trip to Maine ain’t the same till you have had a Down East dialogue with the real deal – a local! You may have to stop at a dinah, like Becky’s or the Maine Diner, to find authentic Maine folks. See our Maine slang for guidance on typical Maine colloquialisms and catch phrases. And be prepared for humah….Mainers are pretty wicked sarcastic, specially with them tourists from away.

Schooner Mary Day, Maine6. Get on a boat. The best way to see Maine is from the sea. Whether you choose to kayak around pretty coves, sail aboard a schooner, take a narrated tour on a lobster boat, or go fishing, you will love view of the coast from aboard a boat. See our guide to Maine boat charters and tours.

Acadia Sign at Scoodic Point7. Explore a Maine State or National Park. Maine has 70,00 acres of beautiful state parks on lakes, the coast, beaches, plus 2 million acres of public land and historic sites. Baxter, Two Light, Scarborough and Popham Beach, plus Camden Hills are just a few of the stunning Maine State Parks. Cadillac Mountain viewAs for National Parks in Maine, the big daddy is Acadia National Park, celebrating 100 years old in 2016. Acadia and LL Bean are two of the most popular attractions to Maine, and interestingly they are four years apart. The Appalachian Trail is a National Trailway that ends in Maine at Mt Katahdin on Maine’s highest peak at 5,268’ in Baxter State Park, the AT stretches 2,200-miles to Maine from Georgia.

Nubble Light York, Maine8. Beach It ! We lost count of how many Maine beaches there are … The southern Maine coast has beautiful beaches in York, Ogunquit, Wells and Kennebunk, Casco Bay has lots of sandy havens like Higgins, Popham and Scarborough Beach. Sand Beach on Mount Desert Island is part of Acadia National Park – the water’s cold but the view is incredible. If waves and salt aren’t your things, then visit Maine’s vast network of lakes and rivers for fresh water beach time and boating. See our guide to Maine’s best beaches.

Restaurant in Southwest Harbor, Maine9. Have fried clams, or fresh clams and oyster on the half shell from a raw bar. Maine’s seafood is best – the lobster gets all the fame – but Maine clams, scallops, crab, and mussels are a must. And for dessert, Maine maple syrup and Maine wild blueberries are delicious and nutritious. See our favorite restaurants in Maine.

Monhegan Inn view in Maine

10. Stay at a Maine inn, a cozy B&B, or an oceanfront resort hotel. Maine hospitality is unlike any other place, that why our license says “the way life should be.” Come see why…

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Boothbay – a great Maine place to stay!

Boothbay Harbor BoatBoothbay Harbor is a great Maine town – coastal, compact, cute with a cluster of great shops, fun cafes, and a bunch of boat excursions leaving from the waterfront Piers. Boothbay Harbor is an ideal destination by car or by boat – and its a better bargain than say Kennebunkport or Bar Harbor, lodging is plentiful typically without the big price tag. The locals are friendly and the opportunities for shopping, sailing, and exploring are as abundant as lobsters in summah upta Maine.

Boothbay Harbor StoresBoothbay is a great walking town, with a dozen cool Maine craft shops in close vicinity. The village of Boothbay Harbor is both historic and hilly, with charming streets lined with jewelry and art stores, candy and ice cream stands, plus just enough good restaurants serving fresh Maine seafood – several offer views of the harbor. Interestingly Ports of Italy is most popular, twin sister restaurant to Ports of Italy in Kennebunk.

Ramshead Lighthouse in Boothbay MaineAs you are out walking, visit the Boothbay Opera House, see what’s playing, and then cross the historic wooden footbridge that spans the upper end of the harbor. Definitely walk down to the waterfront Piers 8-1 (let us know if you find Piers 5-2?) and inquire about boat excursions that cruise out of Boothbay’s pretty harbor, to see Squirrel Island, Ram Island Light and the Cuckholds Light by lobster tour boat or sailboat. You may also glimpse harbor seals and Maine birds on your boat tour.

Tugboat Restaurant in MaineFor lodging in Boothbay, The Topside on the top of the hill has been beautifully redecorated, the rooms are fresh and modern but still cozy, the Main House has a few rooms, and offers a lavish full breakfast to all guests, along with common space with a living room and fireplace for cocktails, games and socializing.

For a more traditional stay right on the waterfront amid the hubbub of Boothbay, the Tugboat Inn is old fashioned with an ideal location steps to the shops, pubs and boating excursions that leave the working harbor. Tugboat even has its own marina on property if you arrive by boat.

Lobster boat in MaineWe have stayed at Tugboat Inn both by land and by seas. Tugboat’s Marina has nice docks which include power, cable and fresh water, an easy walk to downtown Boothbay. The rooms at Tugboat for land lubbers are casual, modest but comfy – ask for a Harborview deck.  Tugboat Inn has its own restaurant where breakfast is served to guests complimentary, they also serve lunch in dinner in the actual Tugboat, now grounded, with Maine comfort food and water views from the Upper Deck dining room. The Lower Deck Lounge has entertainment many summer nights and outside seating overlooking the marina.

Boothbay Harbor ShoppingThe Bar-muda Triangle is what locals dub the drinking circuit of Boothbay’s best bars along the waterfront. Mine Oyster is a great place to start your Boothbay bar crawl, with a cocktail and oysters from the Maine raw bar, then head upstairs to the casual as it sounds McSeagulls where there is often live music and great upper floor views of the harbor town. Herringbones is another waterhole on the Pier, along with the appropriately named Pier Pub which was loaded with locals on the warm July Saturday afternoon we visited.

Boothbay Harbor view in Adirondack chairsFor a quieter place to stay near Boothbay, we recommend East Boothbay – out on a spectacular peninsula just 10 minutes from town. Here, the Ocean Point Inn is a great old resort property with cottages and waterview rooms plus a nice restaurant featuring fresh seafood and fantastic sunsets over the water that are to die for. This setting on Ocean Point Drive is one of the prettiest in Maine.

Lobster dinner in Boothbay Maine

Enjoy your stay at Boothbay and tell ‘em VisitMaine.net steered you here.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Summer Events in Maine

Though we love our splendid winter season, when the warm weather graces us, we don’t waste it. Summertime in Maine means the best annual events from lobster boat races, boat parades, fireworks, lobster feasts, top musical performances and more. Summer events in Maine are a unique experience, worth traveling for. Listed here are the most popular annual summer events in Maine. Continue reading

Maine Humah…conversations with locals

bass-harbor-maine (25)Mainers are funny people, not always funny like LOL – more like odd, peculiar, even perplexing. They aren’t typically wicked chatty, but they have their hilarious expressions, colorful colloquialisms, and their favorite topics – mostly the weathah, their lobstah boats, and their mothahs. See our Guide to Maine accents, slang and vernacular…

Boothbay Harbor viewBTW: ya mothah is usually your woman, your wife, your significant othah… not your actual mom. Mainers don’t share much, but when they do its typically laced with sarcasm – it’s wicked pissah – leaving you wondering if you got the straight scoop. It’s a mad Maine skill and treasured talent to confuse the folks from away.

Cape Porpoise Lighthouse MaineBitchin’ about the Maine weathah or their mothah is just an example of hot topics, that’s “hot” not Haut pronounced “ho” like in Isle au Haut upta Penobscot.

Mainahs are not, howevah, good at giving directions… “can’t get theya from heah” for example. We have all heard that joke. All humor is based in some reality. I have heard Mainers give directions such as, “go down the road a piece”…or “if you see Jake’s barn – you’ve gone too far and you bettah turn your cah ‘round.”

bucks-harbor-dog-ride4On a recent trip to Bucks Harbor, Bucks Hahbah… I was out for a stroll in the small (understatement) community just up the hill from the marina. I paused at the one intersection in town, no traffic light, to let the oncoming car go. He stopped, rolled own his window and asked “where you headin’?” I said “I’m just out exploring Bucks Harbor.” He said, “can I help you find something?” So I inquired, “what else is there to see here?” He replied, “well, this is pretty much it.”

bucks-jhjarobrmaine5My next local encounter was down on the waterfront. I told this Mainer my funny conversation from moments before. He said “yeah, not much happens here. Sometimes there’s a farmers market on Tuesday.” I replied that I’d seen the sign on the bulletin board at the general store in town. He replied “actually the market is every Tuesday, but I only go sometimes.” Guess that makes it a sometimes fahmahs mahket.

Enjoy your timMaine signse upta Maine. If you have to ask for directions, be ready for anything. Maine, the way life ought to be.

See our tips on Maine slang, vernacular and vocabulary, and more fun and funny facts about Maine.

For Maine lodging recommendations, see our Maine’s top hotels and Maine’s best resorts. For great places to eat in Maine, see our Top Maine restaurants page.

By Heather Burke,  – Copyright 2018 by VisitMaine.net

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How to Pack for Summer Vacation in Maine?

Ramshead Lighthouse in Boothbay MaineThere’s a reason Maine is called Vacationland… there is so much to sea and do in the northeastern most state. It’s also nicknamed “the way life should be.” So a Maine vacation is a must, and Maine’s best weather is in summer. The only remaining question is, what to pack for summer vacation in Maine? Here is our Guide to packing for a Maine vacation:

1. Pack layers. They say in Maine “if you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a minute.” Summer in Maine, temps can vary from 40’s at night to high 80’s in the day – see our weather and tides page. Sun, rain and fog can brighten and dampen your spirits, often all in one day. Especially on the Maine coast, fog banks can roll in bringing cool raw air (we call that “chowdah weatha”), but the sun can beam in making for a perfect beach day. The only question is “whether” you are prepared? Dress in layers, have a waterproof shell, and a fleece.

2. Comfy shoes are key, as you visit rugged lighthouses, walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Port in Portland, and walk beaches that range from sandy stretches like Old Orchard Beach and Ogunquit, to rocky beaches of Colony Beach in Kennebunkport and the midcoast.

3. Bring sunscreen. Just because Maine is far north, 43-degrees latitude, doesn’t mean the UV index doesn’t come after you. You don’t want to look like a cooked Maine lobster on vacation. Particular on the water, the refraction from of the sun’s rays is intense – but you might not sense it with the cool sea breeze in your face. Cover up or you could get burned to a crisp.

4. “Sweatah weathah” is a Maine expression for the cool summer evenings when the sun sets and the air cools. You’ll want to be reaching for a “sweatah”, a shall y’all, or even bettah – a fleece from the aforementioned LL Beanah. See our guide to Maine expression and slang so you can sound “local.”

5. Outfits don’t need to be matchy matchy like in The City. Maine has its own sense of style, or lack thereof. If you look to fancy, that might freak the local folks out. Prepare yourself for the Maine culture with these fun Maine facts instead.

6. Or buy a tacky t-shirt to flaunt that you “aint from around here”. A Bah Harbah t-shirt or a “Vacation like a President” Bush #41 or #43 from Kennebunkport are perfect identifiers. This way locals will know they should treat you “special.” Now you can pay extra for that lobster roll, or private fishing chartah.

7. Swimsuits… you may not have the courage to stick your toe in the Atlantic, never mind actually “swim” in the ocean – but bring a swimsuit along anyways. You may encounter a nice ocean view hot tub like the one overlooking Kennebunk Beach at the Seaside Inn, or at the Cliff House Resort and Spa in Ogunquit perched over picturesque Bald Head Cliff.

8. Shop– If you didn’t pack properly, no worries – just make a trip to the Beaner… LL Bean is open 24/7/365 and sells everything you could possibly need for hunting, fishing, boating, the beach, biking, kayaking or just looking casual and crisp in the Signature wear Maine style. LL Bean is in Freeport, a century old staple, along with other factory outlets stores. In Kittery you have the Kittery Trading Post loaded with similar outdoor wear.

Camden Harbor View9. Backpacks and duffle luggage are better than rollie suitcases. You look like a city slicker rolling in with your black carryon bag with wheels, bumping along the salty old streets of Portland or Boothbay.

10. A Camera, iphone – whatever. Take lots of Maine selfies to make your friends at home jealy. Maine has so many gorgeously scenic settings, hundreds of beaches, seventy lighthouses, over 3,000 miles of coastline, beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains. Post pictures on Facebook – feasting on Maine lobster with clams and butter, or sunset from a charter sailboat, on Instagram to make the folks at home instantly envious.

See our Maine Lodging Guide hotels for places to stay during your Summer vacation in Maine

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Copyright, photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

Spring Break in Maine

It’s spring time in Maine…. After a long snowy winter – its time to shed a few layers, put down the snow shovels and get outside. Birds are returning, and chirping… April in Maine brings May flowers, right?!

Mind you, spring time in Maine is weird – ok – we admit it. You can hike, bike, beach, boat, golf and ski ! Weird right?! Or a perfect world…

Maine SkiingSunday River and Sugarloaf are both open with amazing snow conditions and the best parties still to come. The first weekend in April is Spring Festival at Sunday River – formerly known as Parrot Head – this weekend includes a Friday night Beach Party Rave, live bands and Jimmy Buffet music all day Saturday at White Cap, a Margarita Mix Off, spring skiing and the hilarious Slip ‘n Flip event. Sunday River’s Pond A Palooza is April 8 at the River. At Sugarloaf – the king of spring for Maine skiing, the 29th annual Reggaefest is April 6-9 with spring skiing, live island music and Rastafarian mayhem Maine-style. Sunday River plans to ski free on May 1- their last day and a tradition called Ski Maynia. Sugarloaf will keep spinning till it’s a wrap…or the conditions turn to crap- lol.

Beach walkersMeanwhile spring on the southern Maine coast means beach walks, biking, golfing and launching boats for the season. Gardens come into color in beautiful coast towns of Kennebunkport and York, and Portland hosts the Maine Flower Show for inspiration to budding talent and wanna be gardeners – wink!

Bar Harbor Maine

Waterfront restaurants from Kittery to Ogunquit to Camden opening their ocean view decks from drinks and seafood with a sea view. Happy Hours are still great deals since its not yet “high season”.

April and May is a great time to plan a “spring break” in Maine – not only do you have a choice of outdoor activities, you will also find great lodging rates – since its still the ”slow season”. It’s far cheaper and easier than a spring break trip to Florida – no flights, fewer people, fresh air! Did we mention Fresh Maine Lobster – thought that might grab ya?!

You can get great package rates on lodging and dining in seaside towns like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Wells Beach Maine, even Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor. Bring a jacket and sweater – its still “sweatah weathah” as we say in Maine. See our Maine lingo so you can speak native with the Mainahs, ayuh! Pack a t-shirt and shorts too – you never know for its in store by the shore for Maine weather.  Be sure to Visit Maine.

See our Maine Lodging Guide hotels and Maine’s best BnB’s to stay at during your Spring Break in Maine

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Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

Maine House Boats for a waterfront vacation

Robinhood Cove Houseboat in MaineImagine vacationing on a house boat in Maine, your own private yacht – without the stress of boat ownership or even boating. If this sounds ideal you should rent a house boat in beautiful Robinhood Cove near Boothbay Harbor Maine. You can live aboard a custom designed Island 40′ yacht on the mid-coast Maine with no big boat responsibilities, the house boat doesn’t even have an engine – so it’s a peaceful floating oasis, secured to a mooring just a short paddle or skiff ride from the shores of Riggs Cove on Georgetown island.

Robinhood Cove in MaineYou can rent a houseboat at Derecktor Robinhood Marina for a few nights or a relaxing week’s vacation. The marina crew greets you and takes you and your luggage out to your house boat. Choose from the Tessie Ann “floating island”, built by the marina in 2010, the Charles Andrew, or the Nancy Lou which is the newest with a spacious rooftop deck. All three house boats sleep 4, with a stateroom queen bed, a galley kitchen with fridge, DVD/TV, sound system, head with shower, and a dinette that transforms into a bed for sleeping. As part of your house boat rental, you get a 15′  9.9 hp skiff to motor from the marina dock to your boat, and cruise around Riggs Cove. The dockhands orient you on the dinghy operation, and your house boat systems. Also on board your house boat are two kayaks for your enjoyment. Back at the Marina is a fully rigged Cape Dorey day sailboat for your use as well, but sailing experience is highly recommended for that endeavor.

Robinhood Maine Riggs Cove Houseboat in Maine

We loved living on our house boat in beautiful Robinhood Cove. Mornings we went kayaking up the Sasanoa River, then went to shore to check email and read the complimentary newspaper in the cozy marina library and sail loft, then took the 18’ Typhoon sailboat for a delightful sail around the bay. Afternoons we relaxed aboard our yacht, enjoyed cocktails watching the Osprey nest, and swam off our houseboat swim platform – there’s a swim ladder provided. After a hot shower aboard, yes Maine’s swimming is chilly all summer long.

Dining at Osprey restaurantTaking our dinghy to shore, we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the onsite Anchor bar & Grill at Osprey Nest – fresh seafood with a view of our boat and the seals bobbing about. Mind you, we could have bought lobsters locally and cooked them on the boat, there’s a rail-mounted propane barbecue grill and a full galley in the salon.

We loved our floating vacation, and the opportunity to kayak, sail and boat as well. Robinhood Cove is so peaceful and pristine, and sleeping aboard a yacht without the stress of actually navigating or moving the boat was magical. We recommend a Riggs Cove Rental at Derecktor Robinhood Marine for at least three nights… a week would be perfect.

Grey Haven Inn Georgetown MaineBut if bringing your luggage and coolers out to a house boat by dinghy sounds challenging to you, stay nearby at the gorgeous Grey Havens Inn on Georgetown Island. This spectacular 1904 inn perched high on a bluff overlooking Sheepscott River and the Ocean offers lovely rooms upstairs, we recommend the turret rooms or Sunrise Suite with its own private deck. Grey Haven’s living room features a grand stone fireplace, and the wrap around porch is perfect for morning coffee and evening cocktails. Dinner is served nightly at Blue – Grey Haven Inn’s chef is as exceptional as the view. Daily Continental breakfast is served here as well. The grounds are expansive, down to the waterfront. Grey Havens Inn is just two miles from Reid State Park – a must visit to see beautiful beaches, bold graniteshores and this gem of nature preserve. Five Island is another great stop a few miles away, a working fishing village with its own lobster coop where you can picnic on fresh-made lobster rolls.

Reid State ParkMaine’s mid-coast is so dramatic – stunning scenery at every turn, yet its peaceful – time moves slower here… as evidenced by the turtle crossing signs everywhere.

Enjoy your time in Vacationland. See more on Exploring the Maine coast, tips on planning a Maine vacation and our Maine regional lodging guide.

Lobster boat in Riggs Cove MaineSunset at Robinhood Marine Riggs Cove

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2016

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Boating DownEast Maine

big-blue-rick-swOur Maine boat adventure began before we left the dock – with a crash. No, not another boat…that was the sound of our friend tumbling down the ramp at low tide. I have to give her credit – she spilled not a single beer out of the overloaded cart into Portland Harbor, and she didn’t shed a single tear either.

american-flag-big-blue-swOur boating friends had a beautiful new 48’ Sabre and invited us along as crew –and locals who know the Maine waters. We knew the first order was medical attention to a quickly swelling shoulder, despite our stoic friend assuring us she was ”fine.” Two hours and xrays later, we were all on board sipping drinks, with one broken humerus in a sling, but good humor and spirits. Our wounded one whom we dubbed One Wing insisted we stay on course boating up the Maine Coast.

schooner-mary-day1After a nice dockside dinner at Dimillos, and a night’s rest in the gracious staterooms – a bit restless for One Wing, we awoke to a perfectly calm sea and sun. We set out on our 98 nautical mile journey to MDI – Mount Desert Island, and Southwest Harbor.

merchants-row-sailing (11)

It was a beautiful passage out Casco Bay by Halfway Rock, Seguin Island and Cuckolds Lighthouse, with a lunch anchorage in peaceful Merchants Harbor, south of Stonington and Deer Isle on Merchant Island.

seal1cMerchant Row is famous for its many islands, 40+, loaded with towering pines and sloping granite boulders that meet the brilliant blue sea. As we traveled further Downeast, the seals and porpoise became more plentiful, the pink and silver sparkling shores more splendid. This is true Maine, best seen by boat… ideally a brand new 48’ Maine-made Sabre yacht.

3bass-harbor-lighthouse-acadia1Passing Bass Harbor Headlight to our Port we circled past Cranberry Islands ~Big and Little, Bear Island Light, into Northeast Harbor with views up Somes Sound – North America’s only fjard (like a fjord). Our destination was Dysarts Great Harbor Marine in picturesque Southwest Harbor where we would dock for two nights.

southwest-harbor-harbor8In the fine company of Hinckleys and Morris Yachts, built right here, we enjoyed Dysarts’ peaceful but well-equipped marina. Showers, Wi-Fi, and Grumpy’s restaurant for a bountiful homemade breakfast are all in sailor’s reach. Jane and her crew at Dysarts are super helpful and friendly, suggesting walking paths, outings and places to dine.

dysarts-great-harbor-marine1Our crew poked around the shops of Southwest Harbor – favorites include Moody Mermaid and Sawyer’s Market. Strolling out the quiet island streets toward Clark’s Point where the US Coast Guard is stationed, and Beal’s Lobster Pound, was a great leg stretcher.

Cadillac Mountain viewWe did not ride the Island Explorer – the free bus system of Acadia National Park, sponsored by LL Bean, that would take us to Bar Harbor. We preferred staying on the “quieter side of MDI”. Next time we will hike Acadia Park (when no one has a broken arm). Perhaps we’ll play a civilized game of croquet too, and sip cocktails at the Claremont Hotel with a perfect vantage toward Somes Sound.

eggmogin-reach-bridge2Boating westward the next morning brought spectacular views of the Blue Hills to our North. Entering the mile-wide Eggemoggin Reach, a boaters paradise and one of the prettiest channels anywhere, we glided along the 10-mile passage by the Wooden Boat headquarters, then idyllic Center Harbor on the mainland and Deer Isle to our Port. Cruising under the huge Eggemoggin suspension Bridge that soars to 85 feet at center is impressive on any vessel.

thrumbcap-lighthouse6As we emerged from the Reach around 1854 Pumpkin Island Lighthouse off Little Deer, we cruised by Cape Rosier, a cliffy shore with magnificent homes clinging to the hillside offering the fortunate few amazing views of the Camden Hills in the distance of Penobscot Bay.

Castine Maine LighthouseOur next overnight was Castine, the pretty peninsula village where Maine Maritime Academy is based. This historic town is as charming as it has been challenged by occupations since the 1600’s – from the Natives, to the Dutch, French, and British, and now college kids, 89% male – hence the nickname Maine Male-time academy, with studies of oceanography and marine engineering.

dennetts-wharf-settingAfter docking, we lunched alfresco at Dennett’s Wharf – a wonderful waterfront gin joint in Castine. Clams, calamari, mussels and Maine seaweed salad never tasted so good – with a cold Maine microbrew and a view of the Bagaduce River. After lunch, we contributed to Dennett’s sailloft covered in dollar bills – a fun tradition that has benefited the families of 911, Hurricane Katrina and a local fireman. Dennett’s donates the haul of dollars off the ceiling (averaging $12K each time).

Castine is a gem to explore, from the ole fashioned ice cream and craft shops, to the elm tree shaded streets, battle bunkers and forts perched by the sea. Dyce Head Light is private so you can only pass by, but Witherle Woods is a wonderful 185-acre preserve of trails open to the public offering a bird’s eye view of Penobscot Bay on Lookout Loop.

castine-harbor-viewDinner in Castine at the Pentagoet Inn was extraordinary – this traditional 1894 inn serves local seafood lovingly-prepared. A gorgeous sunset on the boat concluded our perfect Castine day ~ heaven.

pond-island

Cruising the Maine coast – Pond Island

Next morning, crystal clear calm waters brought us to Pond Island – a postcard-perfect uninhabited island in the heart of Penobscot Bay – with a tidal pond centerpiece. We brought the dinghy to the beach that circles the 30-acre island – loaded with smooth skimming stones, driftwood, seashells and a few sand dollars found by One Wing in a sling – her eagle eye senses compensating.

bucks-jhjarobrmaine (6)

Bucks Harbor was our next mooring. This beautiful horseshoe cove is well protected and poetic. Brooksville and nearby Brooklin inspired the literary works of EB White, you know Charlotte’s Webb, and Robert McCloskey’s One Morning in Maine, Blueberries for Sal, and Make Way for Ducklings, to name a few.

bucks-jhjarobrmaine (4)Bucks Harbor Marine provided us a big secure mooring ball, amid the clinking of sailboat masts by the calm shores dotted with a few cottages and the 3rd oldest yacht club in Maine. Bucks Harbor facilities include a large dinghy dock, showers, WiFi, provisions and a chance to walk on terra firma.

bucks-harbor-sunset3A short walk up a steep hill and we were on a quiet street heading toward town – which consists of one general store, one church and Bucks Harbor Restaurant. Watching the sun set from the boat, after cool drinks, great music and a bountiful meal on board, was a signature end to a sublime day at sea.

cape-roisier2The next day, our destination was Stonington on the southern tip of Deer Isle for Fourth of July festivities with promise of an old home day parade, lobster bake and the crustiest crab contest (my crab curiosity was piqued), followed by fireworks. Bang, we hit something, a log perhaps, and lost one boat prop… big bummer. With twin screws we weren’t dead in the water, so we turned toward Belfast for repair. To say the adventure started and ended with a bang is bad, sad form. Boats can be repaired, bones mend, memories remain for a lifetime.

red-bell3 So Stonington remains on my Boating Bucket List – maybe the annual Lobster Boat races mid-July. So much more to explore by boat in this breathtaking part of Maine, Maine’s best harbors and marinas – Fox Island Thorofare, Pulpit Harbor and Camden, Whites Island, Winter Harbor and Tenants Harbor.

2schooner-sailing5Meanwhile, be sure to read our Maine humah blog inspired by the natives I met along the way, best things to do in Castine and Southwest Harbor’s Top 10. See Maine’s best harbors, anchorages and moorings in Kennebunkport, Camden, Robinhood Cove and Boothbay Harbor as well.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright & Photos 2018 VisitMaine.net

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