Category Archives: Maine food

Best fall foliage in Maine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lobster boat in Riggs Cove Maine

How to spot a Maine tourist vs a local – Vacationers in Vacationland

Mainahs, natives, love to poke fun at “folks from away” that choose to vacation in Maine – land of “lobstah in summah.” Perhaps it makes wintahs in Maine more bearable knowing soon the weathah will get bettah (see our guide to Maine accents)– but then we have to share our beautiful state with othahs from down south… south being anywhere below Kittery and the big bridge over the Piscataqua (say that three times).

Here are our 7 summer tips on how to spot a Maine tourist versus a local… like you actually needed a clue – ayuh!

  1. The outfits: Tourists typically wear flashy, not so matchy clothes – as if they packed in a rush, eager to hit the road and start their trip to Maine. bright beachy colored T-shirts with anything Maine placarded on themselves are a super sleuth clue. Socks with sandals, cruise ship sea pass lanyards around their necks, and swimsuits in town and restaurants are also notable get-noticed tourist getups.
  2. Moody BeachThe walking red – sunburns are a “shore” sign of those from away. The cooked lobster look is like nature’s tattoo of a happy summer day at the beach or our on a boat, without proper SPF precautions. Nothing like a bright red sunburn to bring back to the office on Monday to show you were at the beach… but didn’t apply sunscreen cause you thought Maine was too far north for UVA UVB rays. Rookie move – but way to rock your Maine beach day without a care in the world.
  3. Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersIn Maine restaurants, anyone wearing a white plastic bib is likely a tourist about to crush into a crustacean. Locals don’t do the goofy lobster bibs, and don’t wear anything so fancy that it’s not going to survive a dribble of butter. See our guide – how to eat a Maine lobster.
  4. Cameras and Ipad photo taking is another certain tourist telltale. Mainers use their cell phones nowadays, yes technology has arrived at the north eastern most state even if it seems off the grid. We even have Wi-Fi and the world wide web, how bout them apples…
  5. Maine Lobster ShackWaiting in line for clams, lobster rolls, or ice cream…. that’s a tourist move. Mainers wait for no one and just don’t do the queue … after all you can walk right into those same businesses in spring, winter or fall without delay. And ice cream is still refreshing on below zero days. So if you see a line, that’s a sign that it’s a popular tourist spot – Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, great food, just gonna take a bit.
  6. Camden Maine, Mt BattieThe slow driver gawker stalkers…. If you drive out to The Nubble Light in York, Route 1, or Ocean Ave past Walkers Point in Kennebunkport – home to President George H W Bush in summer – you will likely encounter erratic slow swerving (ok- bad) driving. That’s a tourist taking pics, deciding whether it’s worth pulling over or debating his destination with the family like a scene from National Lampoon Vacation. Conversely, if you see an old pickup truck going wicked slow, that’s a local with no particular place to go or no rush in doing so.
  7. One exception to tourist spotting versus locals is shopping at the Beaner or the Trading Post – here you will see an equal blend of locals and vacationers. Yes, Mainers really do shop at LL Bean (its wicked good quality – guaranteed don’t you know), Kittery Trading Post (nice huntin’ stuff), also discount Maine outlets like Mardens and Reny’s… for wicked bahgains on everything from tarps to canned tomatoes, tools to tiki torches for summah pool pahties. You should definitely stop and shop these funny affordable entertaining unexpected stores. Don’t get caught sayin’  “ I should bought it when I say it at Mahden’s.”
    Enjoy your vacation in Maine, see our favorite tour of the Maine coast, and our guide to Maine slang if you want to try and fit in with the local folks.

       

Maine Maple Sunday

Maine Maple SundayMaine may be the pine tree state, but it also has its fair share of maple trees, which is why everyone knows Maine’s Maple Syrup is the top of the line, mouthwatering sugary treat. With the advent of Spring, everyone knows maple trees are ready to be tapped for syrup. Or as us Mainers like to call it: liquid gold. Maine Maple Sunday is an annually celebrated event throughout the state and marked on every Mainer’s calender.

Maine Maple Sunday marks the 4th Sunday of March following the first day of Spring. Usually, you will find farms offering free syrup samples, treats, tours of the farm or sugar house where you’ll learn about the process of sugar-making. Many towns throughout Maine celebrate Maine Maple Sunday including Skowhegan in Kennebec Moose River Valley. The Maple Festival hosted in Skowhegan features a week-long event with talent shows, pub crawls, sap collection, concerts, and more; but most importantly: maple treats galore!

You’ll find most farms and towns celebrating the event are located largely in the Southern half of the state including Southern Maine, Mid Coast and the Western Lakes and Mountains region. Maple Sunday is a great time of year to visit Maine while the surge of summer tourists have yet to come… uncrowded and beautiful with the hint of the spring flora green.

Join us for Maine Maple Sunday–tap your own tree, or bring home some of Maine’s homemade maple syrup!

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Things to do in Portland, Maine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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Maine marijuana friendly state

lighthouse_burnt_island2Pot friendly Potland… South Portland Maine voted to be pot friendly. In the 2014 election, South Portland approved a citizen-initiated referendum declaring it legal for adults over 21 years old to possess small amounts of marijuana for private, recreational use. In 2016, Maine medicinal marijuana is legalized, but leaves the jurisdiction, distribution and ordinances to the local level. What does this mean for Maine tourism? Can you toke on your trip to Maine? Light up at Maine lighthouses? Enjoy weed on Maine’s waterfront? Stay tuned…

Marijuana possession remains illegal under keep-off-grass-fall federal law, and local police say enforcement won’t change. But Maine’s marijuana friendly initiative provides leniency in Portland for recreational pot use in private. It also serve as an intro to a future state change, and indicates Maine citizen’s appetite for a more liberal view of cannabis consumption.

Portland Maine’s 2013 marijuana referendum was the first East Coast city vote for pot use. Colorado and Washington have embraced new marijuana tolerant laws statewide, and Colorado has capitalized on cannabis tourism. 420 Tours and pot bakeries are popping up all over Colorado. In Colorado ski towns and tourist destination there are weed-cafes, hemp stores and baked-bakeries. Tourism is up in Colorado because of their weed-leniency. Colorado has brought in $34.8 million in marijuana taxes in just one year with its pot-friendly policy.

Maine Maple SundayImagine the pot possibilities in Maine, a state already high on taxes, getting more tax revenue from those getting high. Wouldn’t blueberry baked pot brownies be a hot item? How about Maine marijuana-laced maple syrup? Pot stuffed twice baked potatoes from the County?

Will Maine’s marijuana tolerance change the landscape of Vacationland? Can you get baked at Maine beaches? Can you light up at Portland Headlight? #Lol. No. Recreational Maine marijuana use needs to be done in the privacy of your resident in Portland. There are not pot friendly hotels like Maine has pet friendly hotels. Whether we will see Maine 420 tours and Maine marijuana bakeries and pot infused food products in the future remains to be seen and voted by the folks of Maine.

Allagash Brewery freezerSince the majority of voters in Portland and South Portland and Portland chose to stop punishing adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana, this sets a precedence for pot tolerance to come in other places in Maine. However Lewiston voted down their pot-friendly proposal in 2014.  Regardless, these Maine marijuana initiatives bring forth the public dialogue about the relative harms of marijuana and alcohol, booze is already regulated and taxed lucratively for the state of Maine, along with tobacco and other “sin taxes.”

Pot proponents in Maine want to bring the question of taxing and regulating marijuana to voters statewide in 2016. So put that in your hot box, I mean ballot box for 2016, the pot and presidential election. Maine, the way life should be…pot friendly?

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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The Portland Dining Scene – Fall Foodies in Maine

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

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

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

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

Allagash Brewery freezerHarvest on the Harbor takes place Oct 22-25, and the signature event is the Grand Tasting on the Harbor where guests have an opportunity to taste dishes from Maine’s best restaurants and meet the chef owners while sampling and sipping local Maine beers, wines and spirits with each chef creation. The venue is the very scenic Ocean Gateway building overlooking Portland harbor and the passing ships, ferries, even a view of Bug Light!

Another big draw is the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year Competition since every Maine chef worth his or her salt wants to prepare the best lobster dish, especially in front of their peers! Union Chef Josh Berry won Maine Chef in 2016. Nonantum Resort of Kennebunkport won Maine Chef in 2015. Chef Stephen Richards of The World is Mine Oyster in Boothbay Harbor was named Maine Lobster Chef 2014. In 2013 Chef Chris Long, line cook at Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn won last, beating out his boss, and exec chef Jon Gaboric. Chef Chris Long made a winning dish of lobster poached in butter, served with grilled maitake and oyster mushrooms and a corn-and-parsnip ragout. Kerry Altiero from Café Miranda won in 2012.

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

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

Alysia Zoidis -East End Cupcakes
Abby Freethy -Northwoods Gourmet Girl
Brandon Blethen, Robert’s Maine Grill
Brandon Hicks, Prentice Hospitality Group
Dwayne Whitelocke, Rocktide Inn & Restaurant
Chris Long, Natalie’s at The Camden Harbour Inn, 2013 winner
Chef Isaac Aldrich, Sebasco Harbor Resort
Lindsay Bradeen, The Phat Boys Café
Luke Cordes, The Porthole Restaurant & Pub
Margaret Salt Mclellan
Steve Richards, The World is Mine Oyster, 2014 winner

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

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

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