Category Archives: Maine events and festivals

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 jealous. 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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Maine’s Acadia National Park History @100


acadia-sign-scoodic-point
2016 marked the 100th birthday of Acadia National Park, and also the National Park System’s centennial.

Acadia’s official birthday is July 8, 1916 when Sieur de acadia-mic-me (5)Monts National Monument was established on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Three years later, the name changed to Lafayette National Park, and finally in 1929, Acadia National Park became the title, the first National Park in the eastern United States. Acadia is also the first park established entirely through private land donations thanks to founders George B. Dorr, landscape architect Charles W. Eliot and John D. Rockefeller.

seal1cAcadia National Park oceanviewToday, over 2.5 million people visit Acadia National Park annually. Acadia’s celebrated natural beauty reaches from Maine’s Blue Hill Bay to Somes Sound, up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain overlooking Frenchman Bay, to Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula, covering 49,000 acres of mountains, main land, islands, ocean, lakes and ponds, forests and cliffs of sparkling granite.

The idea to establish Acadia came from landscape architect Charles Eliot, his father Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard. Collaborator George B. Dorr was considered the “father of Acadia National Park,” for his land donations and his work on state and federal status with President Woodrow Wilson to create the National Park Service. It’s also great thanks to the uber wealthy John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who designed Trail Ride Parking Signthe park with 50 miles of carriage roads, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, using granite quarried from the site from 1915 -1933. To this day, the granite guard rails are known as “Rockefeller’s Teeth” and also referred to as “coping stones” as these stones help visitors cope with the steep drop offs.

southwest-harbor-view1Of Acadia’s 49,000 acres, 30,300 are on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres are on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres are on the Schoodic Peninsula. The National Park Service acquired the land on Schoodic Peninsula in 2012, this former naval base is on the mainland just north east of MDI, with stunning views looking back toward Cadillac Mountain across Frenchman Bay. The Schoodic Loop Drive is a beautiful drive, with gorgeous pink granite boulder shores for picnic’ing with incredible views out to sea.

Bi Plane Tour Acadia

The crowning glory of Acadia is Cadillac Mountain, named after the French explorer Sieur de Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, it stands over 1500’ above sea level, and it’s one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Acadia National Park is a gem, a haven for hikers and bikers, nature lovers. Its also a natural habitat for over 40 species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, porcupines, minks, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, vast birds, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons, plus the many sea mammals, fish and crustacean that inhabit the oceans, lakes and ponds.

bass-harbor-light (24)Do yourself a favor and visit Maine’s Acadia National Park to help celebrate her 100th birthday. Stay in the bustling port town of Bar Harbor or quieter Southwest Harbor or Northeast harbor, the beautiful fishing village of Bass Harbor, or the nearby towns of Trenton, and Blue Hills. See our top things to do in Acadia National Park, and where to stay in Bar Harbor to help plan your trip to Mount Desert Island.

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2021

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Top Things To Do in Boothbay

Boothbay Harbor is a classic seaside Maine town – coastal, compact, cute with a cluster of great shops, fun cafes, beautiful inns, 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, Boothbay lodging is often 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.

Our Top 10 Things to Do In Boothbay !

Walk this way in Boothbay! Boothbay is a great walking town, with a dozen cool Maine craft shops in close vicinity, mostly along the harbor waterfront. The village of Boothbay Harbor is both historic and hilly, with charming streets lined with flower boxes, Inns and Bnbs, jewelry and art stores, candy and ice cream stands.

Cross the Boothbay Footbridge that spans 1,000’ across the inner harbor, this historic wooden walkway was built in 1901 (costing $1,500!), taking you out to the 1902 Bridge House located mid wharf where you can read about its fascinating history. The view of the harbor and the many boats moored and docked from Footbridge is special. Interesting fact, Boothbay is considering a $2.8 mill bridge redesign.

Boat Boothbay! The best way to see Boothbay is by boat. If you can’t BYOB – bring your own boat, then rent a kayak or paddleboard from Maine Kayak or Tidal Transet and paddle around the bay, passing lobster boats and magnificent pleasure yachts in the harbor, around McFarland Island and out to Tumbler Island. Boothbay is considered the best kayaking in Maine, you’ll soon “sea” why!

Sail or charter from Piers 8-1 (let us know if you find Piers 5-2?). Departing daily from these docks are Balmy Days cruises, Schooners East Wind or Lazy Jack, and more, all offering harbor cruises,  daily tours and sunset excursions out to see Boothbay’s three lighthousesBurnt Island Light, Ram Island Light and the Cuckholds Light. You will also likely glimpse harbor seals, dolphin and Maine birds on your boat tour.  A trip to Monhegan Island via Ferry is an unforgettable experience, but a long day, 90 minutes cruise out to sea, and back, to this remote rustic dramatic isle, which resembles Ireland as much as Maine, enjoy the perimeter hiking and prominent 1824 Monhegan Lighthouse.

Shop BBH! Don’t miss Boothbay’s most unique Maine shops and art galleries … Enchantments is otherworldly, a magical mystical tour through levels and layers in a spirited old red barn. It’s like Halloween meets holistic healing, with wizards and witchcraft, wind chimes and crystals, dragons amidst Buddhist fountains and tarot cards. Across Boothbay House Hill Road, you’ll find Sue – a lively Maine gal selling jams, jellies and pickled yummies, with a helping of her local commentary.  Finest Kind in town is another gem- a veritable museum of fabulous retro costumey clothes and décor for sale with Brenda Lee happy to assist. Too many great BBH shops to name – Sweet Bay, Smiling Cow, Tidepools, Eventide, Dirty Bird Pottery, Coastal Maine Popcorn are a few

Drink in the Bar-muda Triangle – The place to chill with a cocktail is at the end of Wharf Street, where 3 of Boothbay’s best bars meet, and where the locals do too. Mine Oyster, Pier Pub and McSeagulls make up the social circuit. Take your pick, or pub crawl ’em all, maybe even take your picture with Bartender and former Maine Governor Paul Le Page at McSeagulls while enjoying waterfront views, fresh lobster and cool drinks, with boat passing by.

Seafood & eat it! Boothbay has lots of great dining, featuring fresh local lobster, scallops, fresh haddock, calamari, clams, oysters, shrimp – you name it! There’s often live entertainment at one of Boothbay’s lively spots. Boathouse Bistro Tapas has wonderful top deck dining. Coastal Prime across the Footbridge, at Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort, offers the freshest local seafood – artfully prepared and Prime Steak for landlubbers, served with a side of harbor views an sunsets –whether you dine in or outside – its chic but casual, breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Stay in Boothbay! The best location in town is Tugboat Inn or sister property Fisherman’s Wharf, both perfectly perched over the Harbor with their own marina – if you arrive by boat and want a  great dock slip. Not fancy, Fishermen’s and Tugboat’s location are prime and most rooms have scenic balconies with views of Boothbay’s magnificent church steeple – Our Lady Queen of Peace, and the boats filling the bustling harbor, and your steps to town for shopping, dining, cafes, and boat trips.

Wanna get away? The quietest most picturesque place to stay is Ocean Point Inn, just 7 miles from town out on Linekin Bay. This historic oceanfront resort has a commanding view out to sea, and pretty cottages and rooms offering ocean breezes and THE BEST sunsets. Go to Ocean Point at the very least for a seaview sunset dinner with delicious seafood, the lobster bisque is outstanding, so is the Chicken Atlantis and most everything on the menu. You can even arrive by boat on their docks with a quick cruise across the harbor.

Nightcap at Top Deck at the Tugboat. The best way to end an amazing Boothbay Day is with a cocktail atop the town, at Tugboat’s Top Deck. Sit in the comfy couches, hi tops or by the fire table and reflect on your Boothbay day of adventures in this super fun friendly seaside town.

Boothbay Breakfast at Blue Moon Café or the Red Cup – both popular morning spots, so popular there is often a queue out onto Commercial Street. Leave your matey in line while you poke into nearby pirate shops till your table is ready. For coffee drinks, Brisetto’s Second Cup makes amazing lattes.

Stop & smell the flowers! Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens is 250-acres of amazing flora and fauna, rock gardens, water features a sculpture gardens. These beautiful bountiful gardens are open year-round, including holiday light displays, classes and narrated walking tours. This is a great stop on your way out of Boothbay.

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

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net

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Staycation in Vacationland

These are “unprecedented” times for Maine’s tourism industry. Ayuh, you’ve heard that one, but “we’re here for you.” Heard that one too – LOL. Seriously though, Maine Innkeepers, BnB owners were forced to close for months. Now we are in-season when they typically make 80% of their business, with 98% out-of-state visitors. Enter the Governor and her executive orders making travel to Maine challenging,  with testing requirements or quarantine demands, see our Maine Covid update page. The upside is for those who come, Maine is your private playground for the summer, no cruise ships, no bus tours, and far fewer visitors!

So while the thousands of tourism businesses are in grave jeopardy, facing a frightening lack of out-of-state- visitors, you have a great opportunity to grab a lime for your Corona & staycation or to get tested and come…

Time for you to discover Vacationland! Enjoy Maine with NO CROWDS at “unprecedented” rates, and help out  Maine small biz owners! It’s a win win, they desperately need your lodging reservations right now – all they’ve gotten is cancellations lately. And YOU NEED to get out of the damn house! Winner winner lobster dinner!

How ‘bout a beach vacation with lodging directly on the beach in Kennebunk for a mere $99 a night!? And your 3rd night is just $50! The Seaside Inn is a charming 9th generation beachfront property, the oldest continually operating Inn in the US! If you haven’t even heard of it yet, it’ll be a getaway you’ll never forget! Beach walks, breakfast is included, along with free bike use. Many Kennebunk and Kennebunkport restaurants are offering outside dining and delivery/take out!

Affordable and family friendly fun in Kennebunkport, Rhumb Line Resort has Two Great Deals in One for Mainers! Stay 2-Nights Midweek for only $149, or $199 for 2-Nights weekends in June. A 5-night vacation is just $399, or $549 for an entire 7-Nights! These great rates include a FREE upgrade to one of a Poolside Rooms while they last! Enjoy free WiFi, daily Continental breakfast, and use of swimming pools indoor and out!

Kennebunkport’s Captain Collection has inn takeovers at Cpatain Fairlfied, rent out the entire bed and breakfast with your family!   Enjoy the living room, outdoor patio for distancing drinks and delish small plates! Enjoy walking the beautiful beach, strolling to Kennebunkport’s delightful Dock Square for outdoor dining, take a boat ride, rent a kayak, ride the Seashore Trolley, there’s so much to do! And it’s waiting for you – exclusive to Mainers!

Wells Beach, MaineVillage by the Sea in Wells has a Maine Resident Two Night Package for $198 in condo-style lodging, and $50 for your 3rd Night, Add $40 for a weekend stay. Or stay 7 nights for $535! Suite lodging at sweet rates near Wells Beach at a beautiful family friendly resort, yes please!

Blind Tiger Inn in Portland offers a weekly Inn exclusive, 9 bedrooms for $15,000 in June, with “contactless concierge”! This beautiful inn has a lounge, fireplaces, a billiard room that was a Speakeasy, bar and kitchen. Part of the trendy Lark Hotels portfolio – its very chic with thoughtful amenities and service.

Ever explored Boothbay Harbor? Here’s your embossed invite! Ocean Point Inn has a Maine residents deal, starting June 12 – stay oceanfront for Two Nights as low as $99 a night and your 3rd night is $49. Ocean Point is a spectacular seaside peninsula, with lighthouse views and lobster served nightly in their waterview restaurant.

You tore through TigerKing. You’ve cooked, cleaned, organized your closets. Enough! Time to leave #LockDown for some fun in the sun! You can catch up on Bob Marley’s funny #CronaWatch2020 later. Start your own reality mini-series National Lampoon’s Maine Staycation 2020!

Boothbay Harbor, MaineThese are some wicked good local lodging deals. See Maine, shop local, save money, save our economy too! You won’t be trippin’ ovah cruise shippahs eithah this summah. You can even dress like a tourist if you like?

Enjoy your vast beautiful exclusive Vacationland. Stay tuned to VisitMaine.net on the Facebook for more… Sea ya out there Mainers!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net

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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 viewYa 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-ride4Ayuh, on 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 by VisitMaine.net

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Top Romantic Things to Do in Maine in Winter

lobster-bouy-heartMaine is surprisingly romantic in winter, when #Vacationland resembles a #snowglobe and a magical #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 for Lovers, and full of fun romantic events… dine in an Igloo at Stripers- The Breakwater Inn, or your own gondola or love shack at the Boathouse Bar . All month long, beer and wine tastings, cocktail specials are offered at place like Alisson’s, and Chez Rosa

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.

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, Chez Rosa, 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 Captain Fairfield Inn’s special inn-takeover opportunity. Rent the Captain Fairfield for an entire week, with your own concierge! What’s not to “love” ?!

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, and beautiful watefront. Their lodging package includes a book of love poems, bubbly, sweets and a suite 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

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2021

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The best Southern Maine Christmas Parade

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

The Southern Maine Coast Christmas Parade is celebrating over three decades. The 35th annual Christmas Parade was Sunday December 15 at 2pm. The 2021 36th annual Christmas Parade will be December 12, 2021. The theme each year changes, past year’s parade include 2020 “Thank You” theme, Superheroes, nature, and   “A Storybook Christmas.”  The parade follows its traditional Route 1 path,  beginning at the Wells Plaza parking lot and continuing north on U.S. Route 1 to the Wells Junior High School. Floats, fire trucks, costume characters, mascots and more are feature in this fun holiday parade.

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

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

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

VisitMaine.net Copyright 2020

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Celebrate Summer Solstice on Cadillac Mountain

You don’t have to be spiritual, religious, or have any hippy dippy ideals to observe Summer Solstice. In fact, celebrating the Summer Solstice is a rather romantic notion – a celebration to welcome the summer season with your sweet heart, close friends or family. The best place to rejoice for the Summer Solstice in Maine is undoubtedly atop Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. If you’re thinking about doing something special for your partner, treating your loved on to a Summer Solstice getaway to Downeast Acadia is certainly a top romantic gesture.

Cadillac Mountain view

Ocean view from Cadillac Mountain summit

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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 Festivals!
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 Buffet 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 Lobster 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 benefiting 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

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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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 (home of former Pres. #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 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, Sue Rioux Kaleidoscopes 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, and Alisson’s, Boathouse! 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 & Town (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 talking 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!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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