Category Archives: Beaches

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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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

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 MaineGoogle PlusFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

Beach walkers

Maine Beaches

Planning a vacation near the Maine beaches, but don’t know where to start? A Google search on Maine beaches can populate an overwhelming amount of information. Enter: our Visit Maine lodging directory. We provide a guide to visitors all over Maine to plan their vacation.

Maine’s coast is abounding with long stretches of beautiful beaches, to rugged OOB Piercoastline, and marinas and transient moorings if you are coming to Maine by boat. Maine has so many beautiful beaches, it would be hard to see all of them in one trip. Whether you prefer sunbathing on a beach recliner, surfing or stand up paddleboard, crashing through the waves on horseback, or walking along the beach in search of shells and beach glass, Maine beaches have something for everyone.

Palace Playland view from OOB PierAmong the more popular beach attractions in Maine is Old Orchard Beach. What separates Old Orchard Beach from the rest of Maine’s beaches is not just the 7 mile stretch of sandy beach, but the pairing of The Pier that jetties out of Old Orchard Beaches resort town center and the seaside amusement park beseeching the youngsters.

For a more calm quiet beach setting, simply head to the northern stretch at Scarborough Beach or further south to Saco and Ferry Beach.

Wells Beach, MainePopham Beach State Park is located at the mouth of the Kennebec River in Maine’s Mid-Coast region. During low tides, kids can splash and play in tidal pools or take a walk on the sandbars. The grounds have picnic areas with grills. For those looking for hiking opportunities and wildlife watching, Popham is an ideal location. Truly, Popham Beach is one of Maine’s most elegant and unspoiled beaches.

Bi Plane Tour AcadiaAcadia National Park is Maine’s most visited attraction and here on Mt Desert Island you will find the bustling seaside village of Bar Harbor, and Sand Beach – one of the clearest coolest swimming spots along Maine’s long coastline.

Enjoy our beach directory to find lodging near your Maine beach vacation spot. We’ll direct you to a cozy bed and breakfast, an oceanfront hotel, cottages that are pet friendly, or campsites the kids will enjoy.

Be sure to stay tuned to our blogs to get more ideas on which Maine beach is the right match for your vacation in Maine. Our lodging guide will provide the rest.

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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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Boat tour to Goat Island Lighthouse

Maine Staycation at Cliff House Ogunquit

It felt familiar but fanciful driving through the vacation town of Ogunquit, just minutes from our home. Day one of our “staycation plan”, we packed up our car, with bikes and our bags, and in just 10 miles (less than a gallon of gas, no TSA hassles) we were tourists in a neighboring town. We passed brightly painted boutiques and cafes with a new appreciation, admiring beautiful gardens spilling onto the sidewalks along famous Shore Road on our way to The Cliff House – our desirable destination for a few nights.

The Cliff House, in Cape Neddick, is a top resort hotel in York, Maine, on the Ogunquit border. The Cliff House has undergone a complete posh renovation, now Destination Hotels, who also manage such luxe properties as Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont.

Sitting by the vanishing edge pool, which is perched on the Resort’s spectacular Bald Head Cliff, we had drink in hand, watching lobster boats ply the Atlantic below the dramatic rocky cliffs. Spa appointments had been arranged, ocean view dinner reservations were made (all part of the Spa package). This was easy, breezy. Love that The Cliff House has a separate pool on the other side of the property – also with an ocean view – for families and kids, so adults, couples, and honeymooners can enjoy their serenity sans enfant.

While downtown Ogunquit and Perkins Cove had seemed absolutely bursting with beach attired tourists, The Cliff House was removed from the crowds and quiet. After some sun and a soak in the incredibly scenic outdoor whirlpool, we returned to our spacious room in the Cliff Spa building, which offered us a sunset, and distant views of Ogunquit Beach (other rooms of the 166 total orient toward the cliffs and York).

The Cliff House’s dining options are The Tiller and Nubb’s Lobster Shack – so Maine, and certainly so scenic. Enjoy delicious Maine cuisine from a waterfront window table or the contemporary bar. The Chef’s locally inspired lobster rolls or lobster bisque are eclipsed only by the Maine raw bar, enjoy as you watch the waves crash into the cliffs, which are illuminated come nightfall.

Riding bikes from Cliff House, we took a coastal ride to Nubble Light in Cape Neddick. Shore Road is hilly and narrow in spots – warning to bikers. A bountiful buffet breakfast back at the Cliff House tasted all the better after touring the salt-aired shoreline.

The Cliff House Resort’s 70-acre grounds reveals several lodges of different vintages, the Cliff Spa being extensive with a 75-foot indoor lap pool. The resort was in The Weare family from 1872 when train service started bringing summer guests from the City. A room with 3 meals a day was $6 a week per person, and the family formula was motto was: “clean rooms, fine food, fresh air, personable hospitality, all in an incomparable scenic location atop Bald Head Cliff.” Fourth generation Kathryn Weare operated the Cliff House for decades with the same mantra before selling out in 2014, to Destination Hotels, and while the rates have multiplied (try $500+/night), and guests now drive Mercedes and Maseratis, the incredible views from every spot on the property have not changed.

The trolley will take you the 3-miles to town for shopping, or drop you at Perkin’s Cove to catch a tour boat or to walk the mile-long Marginal Way. You should also ride to Ogunquit Beach (parking is tight prime summer in this town – so the trolley or a bike makes tons of sense).

Being local, we knew low tide was the time to walk the three miles of wide, flat sandy beach all the way to famous Footbridge Beach, and back to the sand bar where the Ogunquit River flows into the sea. We wished we’d brought a boogie board or an inner tube to float along this fresh water lazy raft ride, those that did were having a blast on this balmy beach day.

Shopping Perkin’s Cove, a little boutique browsing, a walk out Marginal Way, followed by a fried clams and lobster rolls with Rum Punch at Barnacle Billy’s was perfect. There are ice cream shops and seafood take-out windows, as well as sit down restaurants – all waterfront, whatever suits your mood. We passed so many oceanfront resorts, motels and bed & breakfasts in Ogunquit that we had not noticed before. We need to staycation (or vacation in Southern Maine) more often I thought. You can splurge on lodging and dining when you don’t have to buy airfare or pay for parking.

Spa time at the Cliff House, following a refreshing dip in the dramatic oceanside pool,  we donned our fluffy robes, and waited in the serenely lit, candle scented spa reception room. Choosing a treatment from the “Wild and Free” spa menu was mind boggling, did I want a sea salt massage, an Atlantic antioxidant, or a blueberry body wrap? Greg needed to be kneaded, he decided on the deep tissue massage.

I am a reluctant spa-go’er, not entirely comfortable with poking, prodding and peeling. The Spa Director assured me the Cliff House Facial would be ideal. Right on she was – it was ideal, enjoyable and downright decadent – as the aesthetician dimmed the lights, wrapped me in warm towels and proceeded to massage my face, neck and décolleté with aromatic tangerine and blueberry creams, ending with a warm seashell massage. And my skin looked clear, and bright like a berry on the vine in July. Okay, that may be a stretch – but the spa personnel were pros, the 9,000 sq ft Cliff Spa facility and all natural Maine-inspired products are top shelf and top priority at the Cliff House.

It was a perfect Maine coast touring day (being local we know the scale from perfect to pathetic), from biking, to beaching, and being pampered. A seaside dinner with candlelight overlooking the cliffs was all we required, and sleeping to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore.

The Fitness Room at Cliff House was our firs stop next morning, we worked out in the fitness room, which rivals a first rate cruise ship with a wall of ocean view windows and top of the line Nautilus equipment. Each treadmill has its own TV, and every work out station imaginable awaits (no lines, no waiting) in the bright spacious atrium.

A last leisurely breakfast overlooking the Atlantic  had us both wanting to stay longer. In the distance we could see Boone Island, a sunset cruise around the spooky secluded ledge would be entertaining, or a sail aboard that schooner would be dreamy. But our mini getaway was concluding. In 20 minutes we’d be home, but happy for our time hanging out at The Cliff. Nice to know that just a short drive away, and again we could find ourselves worlds away for a few days. Consider a mini-vacation to Maine!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

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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

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 in mid October around Columbus Day Weekend, but the kaleidoscope of colors starts in September and continues through the month of October. There are certain musts 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 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 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… 

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!  Bed and Breakfast

9. Pick the perfect Maine 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!

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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