Category Archives: Maine lighthouses

The Legend of Boon Island, Maine Mutiny, Mystery, Cannibalism

Boon Island

Boon Island off the York, ME coast

Maine maritime history is as deep and filled with fish tales and folklore as any of the colonial states, just as sensational as Salem’s witches. Maine is home to horror story author Steven King, haunted houses on Summer Street in Kennebunk AND cannibalism!? Creepy stuff.

Boon Island may be the most fascinating and graphic of our State’s seafaring scariness because it’s not just hearsay–it’s true! Dun dun DUN! Here’s the story that continues to invite intrigue and inspired the Travel Channel to visit the remote Boon Island to film the freaky things that happened there back in 1710. Continue reading

Maine Lighthouse Boat Tours

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

Best fall foliage in Maine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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great-heron-fall-flight

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

Autumn gourd and pumpkin display in Maine

Fall in Maine

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

Red maple leaves in Maine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamers

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

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

Three Dories and a scarecrow in Kennebunkport, ME

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Haunted Places in Maine

Hay Roll CatHappy Halloween…nothing like a spooky holiday to bring to mind ghosts, goblins, spirits and hauntings. Maine is home to many legendary landmarks, inns and lighthouses – and with history comes hauntings. Often older homes have spirits, those still roaming the earth for unrequited reasons.

Some folks are freaked by ghost stories, while others are intrigued and want to know more, want to stay in spirited inns and participate in the paranormal. Others just don’t believe, to quote the Ghost Buster movie, “I ain’t scared of no ghosts.”

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

Maine’s Haunted Inns, Landmarks and Lighthouses:

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

All of them…haunted!

See the Legend of Boon Island lighthouse – a tale of creepy cannablism, if you dare. Happy Halloween from VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net

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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 Towns you Should Visit Before you Die

What’s up with the Vacationland idiom you see on Maine license plates? Maine is a place to stay and play, “the way life should be”. There’s a reason why Maine has received so much acclaim from the West Coast and internationally. Here are Maine destination you must visit in this lifetime, or before you die… your choice! Continue reading

Visiting Monhegan Island

To quote Rachel Field, “If once you have slept on an island. You’ll never quite be the same.”

monhegan-villageThat couldn’t be more true than in Maine…and Monhegan. You must visit Monhegan Island in Maine… maybe even sleep over in one of the Monhegan island inns or the Trailing Yew.

Mohegan is authentic, beautiful, rustic, the land time forgot. First stop off the ferry, pick up The Monhegan Island Association  trail map to guide you on a great walk around the island to the 1824 Monhegan Island Lighthouse, around the 17 miles of paths over rocky cliffs by cathedral pine trails, to the highest point of Black Head, which towers 160 feet above the sea with stunning views out to see and off the great granite cliffs on island.

Be warned of poison ivy onmonhegan-lighthouse Monhegan– a problem being managed by the association as they try to keep it  off the maintained pathways, but wander off the trails at your own risk and watch out for steep cliffs, and crashing waves on the oceanfront rocks that could sweep visitors out to sea with no guard rails, fences or warning signs. Monhegan is very natural and rugged.

Surprisingly Monhegan Island has cell phone reception, but monhegan-hikeyou come here to get away from technology. See the dramatic rugged cliffs of White Head and Black Head, and the shipwreck on the southern shores near Fish Beach and Swim Beach.

Bring your camera and wear sneakers or hiking shoes for the sometimes rugged rigorous hiking paths (all marked on the Monhegan trail map), nothing is paved, cars and bikes are not allowed on the passenger ferry.

monheganIn the village of Monhegan by the ferry dock you will find a general store, some art galleries, and few lobster and clam shacks. Nothing fancy. The Monhegan House, The Hitchcock House, and The Island Inn offer lodging, and there are a few cottage and house rentals.

Monhegan is easily reached by ferry, just an hour ride aboard Hardy Boats from New Harbor, or from Boothbay Harbor or Port Clyde, and a priceless trip to a simpler time as an islander. Just 10 miles offshore on this mountainous island about 70 residents exists peacefully and productively within a square mile of spectacularly scenic terrain.

monhegan-cliffsMonhegan was first settled by Native Americans for its prime fishing, which is Monhegan’s industry to this day (although lobster fishing season is closed in summertime around Monhegan) along with accommodating summer overnight guests and day visitors off the ferries and Monhegan tour boats.

Enjoy your time on Monhegan  while in Vacationland. And be sure to explore other great seacoast towns in Maine’s midcoast and Bar Harbor too!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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