Category Archives: Maine Lobster

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 18-21, and the signature event is Market on the Harbor, the Grand Finale 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. Eat, Sip and shop at Portland Yacht Services. Other fun foodie events include the Pig Roast and Bloody Mary Brunch and Maine Oyster Fest on Saturday.

The Harvest of the Harbor venue is a big top tent at Portland Yacht Services, 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! 2018 Avery Richter, executive chef of The Black Tie Co. won Lobster Chef of the year with her Maine Lobster seaweed salad cone!

Previous years’ Lobster Dinner Winners:
2017 Boothbay Harbor Country Club executive sous chef Nathaniel Adam was Maine Lobster Chef of the Year for his Lobster in Foliage creation.
2016 Union Chef Josh Berry won Maine Chef – Union is in the Press Hotel in Portland.
2015 Nonantum Resort of Kennebunkport won Maine Chef .
2014 Chef Stephen Richards -The World is Mine Oyster Boothbay Harbor was top Lobster Chef.
2013 Chef Chris Long, Natalie’s at the Camden Harbour Inn won last, beating out his boss.
2012 Kerry Altiero from Café Miranda with esteemed lobster award.

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:

Bite Into Maine
Congress Squared
DiMillo’s on the Water
Fisherman’s Wharf Inn
Portland Lobster Company
RiRa Portland
Seadog Brewing Company
Union Kitchen
2018 Boothbay Harbor Claw Down Winner Dana Moos

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

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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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!

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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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’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

Maine’s 10th Restaurant Week March 1-12, 2018

Maine has become a hot foodie destination in recent years. Portland, Camden and Kennebunkport have attracted top chefs and top dining reviews. Maine has also become a place for food fests, like Harvest to the Harbor each fall, the Kennebunkport Festival each spring, and Maine Restaurant Week in March – now in Year 10. Here’s your invitation to see and taste the best plates of the Pine Tree State with special multi-course price-fixed menus at Maine’s best dining spots. This fun food fest is sponsored by our friends at Maine mag, they also put on the Kennebunkport Festival June 5-10, 2018 – these artistic & editorial folks are passionate about promoting Maine cuisine!

Prices for Maine Restaurant Week are typically $25, $35 and up to $45 for three courses, not including beverages, tax or gratuity. What’s fun about Restaurant Week, besides the delicious cuisine at Maine’s best restaurants, is meeting fellow foodies in your travels. You can dine out nightly and meet new people who share your passion for fine food and wine, also to try new venues like Cliff House Nubb’s and Tiller, and the usually too-pricey White Barn Inn.

Maine Restaurant Week is March 1-12, 2018 with creative menus focused on Maine sourced, locally grown and farm raised food, fresh Maine lobster and seafood and artisan cheeses, and often local wine and beer pairings suggestions. Maine has lots more than just blueberries and potatoes as native food to rave about. So eat, drink and be merry during Restaurant Week in Maine at these great dining spots:

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorKennebunkport & Kennebunk Restaurants:
Stripers Waterfront at the Breakwater Inn & Spa – Kennebunkport
The White Barn Bistro at the White Barn Inn

Ogunquit and Cape Neddick Restaurants:
Nubb’s Lobster Shack & The Tiller – at the Cliff House – Cape Neddick– Ogunquit

Casco Bay FerryPortland & Cape Elizabeth Restaurants:
Back Bay Grill – Portland
Boone’s Fish & Oyster Room, and the Grill Room and Corner Room – Portland
Bonobo Pizza – Portland
Cumberland Club – Portland
Davids Davids 388 and Davids Opus – Portland
DiMillos On the Water – Portland
El Rayo Cantina & El Rayo Taqueria Portland
Eve’s at the Garden Portland
Evo Kitchen & bar – Portland
Five Fifty-Five – Portland
Good Table Restaurant – Cape Elizabeth
Hot Suppa – Portland
Liquid Riot – Portland
Little Tap House – Portland
Local 188 – Portland
Petite Jacqueline – Portland
Portland Meatball Co – Portland
Portland Pie Company – Portland
Ri Ra Irish Pub – Portland
Ribollita – Portland
Sea Glass Restaurant – Inn by the Sea- Cape Elizabeth
Solo Italiano – Portland
Sonnys – PortlandSur Lie Restaurant Portland
Twenty Milk Street Portland
Union at the Press Hotel – Portland
Vignola Cinque Terre – Portland
Walters – Portland
Zapoteca Restaurante Y Tequileria – Portland

Freeport, Falmouth & Yarmouth:
1912 Café – Freeport Bueno Loco -Falmouth
Gather – Yarmouth
Royal River Grillhouse – Yarmouth
Tuscan Brick Oven Bistro Freeport

Cuckholds LighthouseBrunswick, Lewiston & Camden Dining:
Brunswick Tavern – Brunswick
Natalies at Camden Harbour Inn – Camden
Francine Bistro – Camden
Hartstone Inn – Camden
DaVincis Eatery – Lewiston
Fish Bones American Grill – Lewiston
Fuel Restaurant – Lewiston

Lakes & Mountains:
Forks in the Air Mountain Bistro – Rangeley
El El Frijoles- Sargentville

See our Maine Lodging Guide for overnight hotels and Maine’s best BnB’s to stay at during your Foodies Tour of Maine

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Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

Maine Polar Plunges on New Years 2018

Looking for a “cool” way to start 2018? How about a Lobster dip? Polar Plunge? Freezing for a Reason? Mainers love to start the New Year with a brisk swim in the Atlantic with other brave souls – and its all to raise funds for charitable causes. Call ’em crazy, but these icy events are big, attracting as many as 300 people to the beach in mid-winter to swim, celebrate and kick off the year with some serious cash raised.

These wild wet adventures are usually held on January 1, but 2018 is starting of well below zero so event coordinators have chosen to postpone to a bit less cold. As Follows:

Kennebunk’s Polar Plunge 2018

Kennebunk’s 17th Annual Atlantic Plunge – Freezin’ For A Reason will actually take place on Saturday January 6, 2018, 11am Gooch’s Beach in Kennebunk. This chilly Polar Plunge event is typically held New Year’s Day, Jan 1, but due to an astronomical high tide predicted for New Year’s Day 2018, never mind the crazy cold temps, the event has been move to the following weekend. See you Saturday Jan 6 at 11am in front of Seaside Inn on Kennebunk Beach. This Atlantic Plunge benefits Caring Unlimited. Storm Date is Saturday, January 13. Register for this refreshing swim, registration fee is $25, sign up by Noon on 1/4/2018.

Lobster Dip 2018 at Old Orchard Beach

OOB Pier January 13, 2018 is the date for Old Orchard Beach’s annual Lobster Dip, postponed for the first time in its 30 years, due to the cold. So mark your calendar and be at Old Orchard Beach at noon for a brisk swim in the Atlantic by the Pier. This polar plunge is not just a cold Lobster Dip – it’s a daylong event. Post Dip party at the Brunswick Inn includes free buffet, live music, cash bar and fun!  As many as 300 swimmers have turned out and jumped in past Lobster Dips, which benefits Special Olympics Maine, and in 2017 – $100,000 was raised! All Lobster Dippers must raise a minimum of $100. Those who do, and register, will receive a commemorative Lobster Dip t-shirt!  Sat. Feb 3rd, 2018

Portland 2018 Polar Dip

Maine LighthousePortland Maine hosts its 2018 Portland Polar Dip Plunge at 1:00 PM of Saturdays Feb 3, at East End Beach, Portland Maine. This Polar Dip benefits Camp Sunshine at Point Sebago Resort on Sebago Lake. The annual fund raising goal is to raise in excess of $17,500.00, enough to send over 7 families to Camp Sunshine – a retreat for families of children with life-threatening illnesses. All Portland Polar Dip participants who register here, and raise at least $100 will receive a highly coveted “I DID IT” event t-shirt. If’ you’re too chicken to do the plunge, you can participate in the “Chicken Dip” – where you only need to dip your toes in – after all its for fun and for fundraising!

Happy 2018 Maine friends… see more Maine events, including some that aren’t quiet so chilly!

Be sure to reserve your Maine lodging during your visit to Maine with our Maine lodging guide.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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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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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