Category Archives: Maine Lodgings

Best Islands in Casco Bay

“If once you’ve slept on an island…you’ll never be quite the same.” So goes the idyllic book by Rachel Field… Nowhere is that more true than on an island in Maine…in summer…

It’s magical being surrounded by water, your arrival and departure solely reliant on a boat, far removed from the traffic, hustle and bustle of mainland living… it’s surprising how life slows, how so-called “necessities” melt away and life’s real “niceties” emerge… quiet, calm, natural, just the sound and smell of the sea.

Casco Bay in Portland is dotted with beautiful islands, over 200, some more inhabited than others… like Peaks and Long Island being the most populated, and easily reached by Casco Bay Lines ferry system from Portland.

Here are three special Maine islands that come to mind, very unique from one another, well worth discovering …

Chebeague Island is a step back in time, although its Maine’s newest town – Chebeague became independent from Cumberland in 2007. This beautiful wooded island with several sand beaches is home to a hearty community of 350 islanders, year-rounders.

Chebeague – pronounced “sha-beeg”, is the largest island of the Calendar Islands… a reference to the number of islands equaling the days in the year in this region (slight hyperbole but a fun anecdote). Chebeague is actually comprised of 17 islands, the “Big” island is 3 mile long by 1 mile wide. Settlers in the 1740’s farmed and lived here, lobsters were so abundant they used them for fertilizer, not food. By the 1900’s Great Chebeague had five hotels, now there’s just one – the lovely 1880 Chebeague Island Inn atop a sweeping lawn that leads to the western shore and view of mainland, and Yankee power plant.

Spend the night at Chebeague Island Inn, you owe your soul the experience! Arrive by ferry or your own boat and be whisked up the hill in the courtesy van to this historic charming hotel. The cozy fireplace living rooms lead to a gracious veranda with sea views. Take bikes to the East Shore beach, or explore the two roads – North & South – past the Historical Society and Maritime Museum, the Slow Bell Café, the island grocery store, community center and school.

Back at Chebeague Inn, cocktails are served on the easy breezy porch, followed by the acclaimed Chef’s delicious dinner – lobster, local mussels, duck, in the classic dining room or out on the lawn – our preference. Sunsets do not dissapoint here from the west-facing hillcrest overlooking the bay. Sleeping at the Inn -with your ocean view windows open, the light white drapes fluttering in the sea breeze – is perfection.

Great Diamond Island is a gem in the heart of Casco Bay, just a mile from Portland. This historic island has remnants of 1890’s Fort McKinley – the country’s coastal defense system built to protect Portland’s Harbor. The Inn at Diamond Cove is in the beautifully renovated old brick army barracks.

Casco Bay Ferry delivers you to Diamond Island’s protected “Cocktail Cove” and you check in at Diamonds’ Edge restaurant before being carted up the hill to the Inn – golf carts and bikes are the preferred transpo around the 1.3 acres island – which is mostly private for the 100 residents and hotel guests. We  rode the elevator from the airy lobby to our modern room with a lovely balcony, note: views from the hotel are of the beautiful “parade grounds” but not the ocean from the  high forested point.

As guests of Inn at Diamond Cove, we could hop on a complimentary bike or stroll to the old artillery spots – from the Spanish American War, visit the beach or sit by the hotel pool, hot tub and Cabana bar. There’s croquet, tennis, even indoor bowling and basketball. After a day boating Casco Bay and exploring the island, our balcony was a delightful spot to rest and relax before walking down to the Cove and waterfront for a wonderful seafood dinner at Diamond’s Edge. We passed the Crown Jewel, another popular spot for diners that came by ferry or more fortunate like us spending the night. Our ideal island-hopping day concluded with a dip in the cool pool back at the Hotel, then nightcaps by the fire pit.

Eagle Island is for the explorer, truly. This dramatic island in Harpswell, eastern Casco Bay, is a Maine historic site, and former home to Admiral Robert E. Perry who ventured to the North Pole in 1909. You can tour his family’s 1904 summer home, complete with artifacts from his bold expedition, even a Polar Bear. Bring a picnic, and enjoy the ocean views from this prominent point, admission is $5-6, plus your sightseeing ferry ride to the island. Overnights on Eagle Island are not permitted, so allow yourself at least an hour to tour the island, home and museum.

If you love Casco Bay, and sleeping on islands, surrounded by the sea, continue your tour of the Maine coast onwards, down east, towards Sebasco, or picturesque Boothbay Harbor – staying out on the dramatic peninsula at Ocean Point Inn, on Southport Island at Newagen Inn or the classic summer campy-style Linekin Bay Resort.

Monhegan Inn view in MaineFor real remote island life, venture out to sea to rustic Monhegan Island and lodge at the rustic Charles House or Trailing Yew. Hiking around the impressive ocean cliffs, seeing Monhegan Lightouse, the weathered granite shores and sand beaches is exhilarating. Witnessing how the islanders live, so humble and resourceful, is a lesson in independance, minimalism, and heartiness. Visiting Monhegan, even for a day by ferry, must be on your Maine Bucket List! Better to stay the night and feel the freedom, the solitude and the sea.

Cadillac Mountain viewPenobscot Bay – midcoast Maine – is loaded with beautiful islands and the scenic sailboat loaded harbors of Camden, Rockport, Lincolnville, and Rockland.

Finally, Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor is Maine’s most magnificent island for touring, hiking, biking, boat rides to lighthouses, and seeing the sunrise first in the country atop Cadillac Mountain.

See our Guide to Touring the Coast, and Boating in Maineplan your vacation in #Vacationland… The way life should be…see our Guide to Visiting Maine!

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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. Its just the right size, but full of fun, sights and bites! 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 and some of the best restaurants in New England.

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 there’s tons of outdoor experiences too.Casco Bay Ferry

Embark on Casco Bay Ferries and tour the islands of Casco Bay. Some islands also have bike rentals – like Peaks and Long Island – 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.

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.

Visit Cape Elizabeth for picnicking in Fort Williams park. Here, you can take a walk around the large park estate and visit the Portland Headlight as well.

Go to Munjoy Hill to climb Portland Observatory, have lunch or dinner at great local cafes, then walk along the Eastern Promenade. Nearby, you could visit the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum which has affordable ticket rates.

See a Sea Dogs 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

Walk the Old Port and Art District areas in Portland to shop boutiques, antique shops, comic book stores, and craft shops between Commercial and Congress Street.

Portland’s First Friday Art Walk is a must for art lovers.

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.

Maine Brew Bus tours take you around 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

Copyright 2020 VisitMaine.net

Blog MaineGoogle PlusFacebookPinterestTwitter

Maine Wedding Locations

kennebunkport maine weddingWith a natural landscape so diverse and its distinctive seasonal attitude, Maine truly offers something for every bride and groom for picture perfect weddings. There are many reasons why Maine weddings offer an ideal location with its natural amenities, less expenses, and more season and venue options. At the end of the day, you know when you say I do in Maine, you’ve not only committed to your lifetime partner, but beautiful memories of your wedding as well. Continue reading

Top Romantic Things to Do in Maine in Winter

lobster-bouy-heartMaine is surrisingly romantic in winter, when #Vacationland resembes a #snowglobe and a vertiable #winterwonderland! Of all the pretty villages and serene settings, Kennebunkport is Maine’s most romantic town – especially in February when locals Paint the Town Red! Innkeepers and shop owners decorate with sparkling red and white lights, heart shaped everything. Kennebunkport’s best restaurants and pubs offer happy hours with craft cocktails and love potions, and red plates dining specials. Inns offer romantic lodging deals with champagne, chocolates, spa treatments, lavish breakfasts, even late check outs!

Top 10 Romantic Things To Do in Kennebunkport Maine
1. Have your picture taken by the big heart made of lobster buoys in Dock Square, then visit all the heart adorned boutiques and shop for “Red Tag” specials inside.

winter-beach-morn2. Walk the quiet beautiful beach. Watch the cool surfers riding the winter waves (brrr). Love the beach so much you don’t want to leave? Stay beachfront at The Seaside Inn, you ‘ll fall in love with their ocean view outdoor hot tub.

3.  February is for Lovers, and full of fun romantic events… The Igloo Bar Party at the Boathouse Bar and Avalanche at Old Vines Wine Bar. All month long, beer and wine tastings, cocktail classes and cooking demos take place at Alisson’s, Old Vines and Ports Of Italy!

4. Embrace the outdoors – Cross country ski or snowshoe at nearby Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm on their 7 mile of beautiful trails. Go on a skate date -ice skating on Kennebunks Waterhouse Pavilion, a free public covered ice rink in downtown Kennebunk. Date Skate is Feb 10 with a DJ on the ice, nice!

old-vines-bar-table5. Get happy at happy hours in Kennebunkport and Kennebunk and ask about “Red Plate” dining deals
and seductive cocktails specials at Alisson’s Restaurant, The Boathouse Bar, Kennebunkport Inn – Burleigh, Old Vines Wine Bar, and Striper’s Restaurant.

6. Reserve a romantic room overlooking the Kennebunk River at Breakwater Inn and Spa. Their Winter Valentine’s package includes lodging for two, Chocolates and a split of Prosecco in your room, Continental breakfast, afternoon Tea and snacks, and a romantic dinner at Striper’s Restaurant. Check out their Breakwater Spa package too.

7. Indulge in  “February is for Lovers” with Cacaptain-lord-mansion-kennebunkportptain Lord Mansion’s special mid-week package, your third night is free and you receive a split of sparkling wine, chocolate-covered popcorn and frequent visitor credits. Captain Lord Mansion lodging rates start at $199 per night including a delicious multi-course breakfast. Next door, Captain Fairfield Inn has a month full of love special!

love-kbpt-davids8. The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel has a “Love KPT” package with two-nights stay for two people with arrival goodies of wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, drinks for two at The Boathhouse Bar downstairs, and a late check-out at noon.

9. Can’t escape without the kids? Rhumb Line Resort, Kennebunkport’s affordable family resort, has the solution. Book a Romance Red Tag Package for you and your restaurant-lobster-dinnersweetheart, starting at $199, including two nights, breakfast, flowers & chocolates, and you can get an extra room for the kids for just $20. Rhumb Line Resort has an indoor pool and
hot tub, plus an outdoor hot tub, a fitness room, free WiFi and Continental breakfast, and you’re just a few miles for Dock Square and the beach.

10. If Portland and the romantic city streets of the Old Port are more your speed, check in to The Pomegranate Inn, visit Portland’s best restaurants and shops, livley bars, theatres and the watefront. Their lodging package includes a book of love poems, bubbly, sweets and a sutie room will set the stage for #Vacationland romance in February~

Be social – tag your romantic, fun or funny photos with #LoveKPT #Vacationland and share with us @VisitMaine.net Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

Snowmobile Maine

“Winter is Coming” and it is time to be planning your snowmobile trip in Maine. Snowmobiling in this great state is vast, beautiful , exciting and fun! Maine has over 13,500 miles of snowmobile trails. The further you move away from the coast, toward the Lakes and Mountains of Maine, the more you’ll see snow and sledders. At the peak of winter, you’ll see an interesting ratio of cars to snowmobiles parked at restaurants, motels, and stores – leaning in favor of sleds or as Mainers call them – snowmachines.

If you’re not from Maine, it could be news to you that many companies in the North East take their corporate retreats during the “snowmobile season”. And why not? Maine has gorgeous log camps, lakeside resorts, and motels right on the trails, overlooking the immense snow tipped mountains and frozen lakes. Plenty of resorts also offer snowmobile rentals as well as tour guides. You can also hire guide that will escort you to your cabin. 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!
|
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

Blog MaineGoogle PlusFacebookPinterestTwitter

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

Blog Maine FacebookPinterestTwitter

Copyright, photography – VisitMaine.net

Spring in Maine – ski, bike, boat, beach!

Southern Maine coastSpring in Maine means many things to many people. For some its the best part of a pretty fantastic ski season – ski resorts Sugarloaf, Sundy River, and Saddleback stay open into early May with phenomenal snow conditions.

Maine SkiingBut for others, completely tired of the snow and Maine’s long winter, spring means beach walks, biking, golf, and getting your boat ready for summer. The Maine whitewater rafting season should be epic this year too!

Carriage Road, AcadiaSpring is also a time to get outdoors and active, in the event you packed on a few pounds hibernating in January and February. As the roads are clearing, and snow banks are melting, road bikes and Maine cyclists are appearing. Trail riding and mountain biking would be premature, read: muddy,  still until the grounds thaws and dries out from the winter’s snow pack.

As tree blossoms bud, and the grass turns green, Maine becomes refreshed and beautiful. Spring is also a great time to escape to Maine and get a great deal on lodging and dining in seaside towns like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Wells Beach Maine.

Boothbay Harbor, MainePlan a spring getaway to the southern Maine Coast, Kennebunk has a wonderful Farmer’s Market every Saturday, Maine’s best waterfront restaurants are open with decks and patios – just bring a jacket. You can hit the greens at Maine’s golf courses, too – even though they may not be perfectly green yet. It’s a confusing time of year, anything goes –  bike, ski, walk the Maine beaches, or get your boat ready for Maine boating season…but be sure to Visit Maine.

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright & Photos  2020 VisitMaine.net

Blog MaineFacebookPinterestTwitter

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, 2018

Blog MaineGoogle PlusFacebookPinterestTwitter