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Maine’s Game of Thrones – Winter is always coming

acadia-mic-me (5)If Maine has its 16 counties from Sagadahoc to Piscataquis to Aroostook, Game of Thrones has it equally perplexing 7 kingdoms. Maine has pompous powerful Governor Le Page who speaks to his Maine Kingdom without filter from his iron throne in Augusta, not quite Kings Landing of Westeros. The North is like Maine’s Aroostook Country, then there’s the Vale and the Iron Islands – resembling Maine’s rocky coast and islands, Westerland – our lakes and mountains, The Reach, Stormlands, and Dorne – our south coast…maybe Ogunquit.

Fall2Binge watching Game of Thrones is a great Maine winter hibernation strategy. Only by viewing back to back episodes of the complex plot of murder, conquest, incest, and dragons, can you possibly understand this society while  surviving Maine’s longest least-social season. The Targaryens, Baratheons, Greyjoys, Lannisters and Stark families have drama galore to cure cabin fever.

Here’s this Maine Girl’s Summary of Game of Thrones, the “wicked” plot – Mainers say wicked among other Maine slang, vocab and vernacular:

Gotta love the Stark kids: Arya, Sansa, half brother Jon Snow – who is thankfully still alive because of Red Woman Melisandre (also love Jon Snow’s love of gingers), Bran &  Rickon Stark (RIP: Robb Stark). And there’s looney aunt Lyanna. The Stark kids, children of Caitlyn & Eddard Stark), are outdoorsy, resilient, good marksmen and hunters, and they don’t mind the cold at Winterfell, just like Maine kids. Ya know, they also aren’t phased by incest, half-brothers, crazy cousins, domestic violence, nor  shotgun weddings (knives and swords in this case) – these are staples at every Maine family wedding or reunion.

Bran Stark is crippled, but honing his warg powers in the mountains with Lyanna Stark (whom King Robert Baratheon loved but never got to marry – hence Cersei hated her King husband) Old Nan, and Roderik Cassel along with the now inarticulate Hodor, the previously amiable stable boy who later had to “hold the door”.

Boon IslandThanks to Theon Greyjoy, escaped from rebel Ramsey Bolton (who removed his manhood – ouch), Sansa Stark is back in the protection of bold blonde Lady Brienn of Tarth. And there’s Little Finger aka – Peter Baelish still twisting in the wind. Sansa learns sister Arya is alive. Arya is a warg and a warrior – literally from her first days of fighting with her needle sword – a gift from Jon Snow. Arya is on a vengeful hunt with a hit list, including massive dudes, Gregor & The Hound (RIP), Cersei and Joffrey, to name a few. Arya overcomes most anything, there’s that Maine resilience, including her blind dueling days when she was held captive by the Faceless Men in the House of Black & White which is anything but black/white with the cloudy milky fountain of eye poison & death.

Ramsey Bolton is so awful, he murdered his father then fed his new brother to the dogs. In Maine we take bad dudes like Ramsey on a one-way hunting trip in the Maine woods. Theon Greyjoy, Ramsey’s escapee, has left Sansa safely in Lady Brienn’s protection, returning home to the Iron Islands to help sister Yara become queen, versus crazy uncle Euron, replacing Balon whom he tossed off the bridge at Pyke. Such nice families….

Back in Kings Landing, now King Tommen keeps asking Queen mother Cersei, once married to King Robert Baratheon, to help him become a real Lannister, after his sisters Myrcella’s death in the hands of Dorne, Cersei’s hatchetman looms large protecting his previously imprisoned queen. Now Tommen’s wife Marjorie Tyrell is imprisoned, this is Marj’s second marriage to a Lannister, she previously wed Prince Joffrey Baratheon, grandson of Tyrwin Lannister who was poisoned to his death on their wedding day – oh happy days.

The Stark family doesn’t get along so well with the Lannister family, like most Maine families. This is an issue because Cersei Lannister is the queen; and her twin incestuous brother Jaime is a powerful knight. But the third brother, my other favorite is Tyrion Tarrgaryon Lannister, who recently freed Daenery’s dragons while hanging out with Jorah Mormont and Varys the eunuch in Dorne. Tyrion is hilarious and brutally honest about his incestuous brother & sister, he’d fit in anywhere in Maine (a small person joke). As Tyrion says, drinking and thinking is what he does best. Wonder if he’d like Maine coffee brandy? Sure he would.

Meanwhile Daenerys misses her dragons, but she’s survived much, fallen from the royal family,  she matured on another continent when brother Viserys married (ok- sold) his sister to Khal Drogo, creepy leader of a Dothraki barbarian tribe, whom she sees killed. When the women  Dothraki reluctantly accept her into the moon tent – they call her the silver haired window – can you say jealous?! Happens in Maine to pretty girls too. But Daenerys escapes thanks to Jorah ( l like him too, he needs to be loved before he turns to stone), and the Mother of Dragons emerges naked from the burning embers and wins over her people again.

Lyanna Stark we now suspect may have been captured and raped by Raegar Targaryan, Danerys’ brother,  in the Tower. Her resulting illegitimate son may be Jon Snow….not Eddard Stark. Again, not unlike Maine families. Stay tuned for more from revived bastard Jon Snow – head of the Night’s Watch, and his dedication to protecting the 7 Kingdoms from the dangers beyond the Wall (akin to Maine’s border with Canada? probs not). Snow’s friend –the pudgy, cowardly Samwell Tarly will surely pop up again with Gilly and their baby out of wedlock (yup, we got that in Maine too).

Well it’s summer in Maine now, so time to take a break from binge watching Game of Thrones and go boating …but remember GOT fans- Maine Winter IS Coming!

Heather Burke, Copyright, Photography property of VisitMaine.net, 2017

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

Copyright 2018 VisitMaine.net

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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 you 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 in Kennebunkport
Tides Inn on Goose Rocks Beach
The Shawmut Inn in Kennebunkport
Poland Spring Resort
Admiral Peary Inn in Fryeburg
1794 Watchtide by the Sea
Captain Lindsey House Inn
The 1898 Berry Manor Inn
LimeRock Inn
Fort William Henry in Colonial Pemaquid in Bristol
The East Wind Inn copy-portland-headlight.jpg
The 1804 Coach Stop Inn
The Lucerne Inn
Greenville Inn at Moosehead Lake

Happy Halloween from VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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Top Things to Do In Castine

castine-harbor-viewCastine is a delightful seaside village perched on the tip of a peninsula in Penobscot Bay, mid-coast Maine. Castine is one of the oldest and wealthiest communities in Maine, with a deep history of battles and occupations since the 1600s. From Natives to the Dutch and French Noblemen Castine who gave the town its name in1796 to The British, and now college students at Castine’s Maine Maritime Academy – Castine’s story is rich and complex.

sail-castine-harbor (2)There is so much to see and do in Castine, from the busy waterfront to the fabulous seaside cottages and hillside campus, to beaches and beautiful natural walking paths and Dyce Head Light Castine is also home to beautiful inns and BnB’s, waterfront restaurants serving fresh Maine seafood, shops and art galleries.

Top Things to do in Castine Maine

dennetts-wharf-settingGo to Dennetts Wharf for lunch or dinner – ideally sit outside on the deck. Great seafood by the sea, a picture perfect setting with a casual but fresh menu. They boast the longest Oyster Bar in Maine, and a huge beer list. Pin a dollar on the wood beam sail loft rafters. Dollars accumulated have been donated to 911, Hurricane Katrina and to a local fireman in the past to the sum of $12k at each.

castine-town2Shop Castine’s Main Street  – Four Flags, Lucky Hill, art galleries, Dolphin Books, books stores and ice cream shops.

Stroll up the hill to Battle Ave to see over 100 historic markers, monuments and bunkers, this was a stronghold against the British during the 1700 and 1800s. Pick up a historical Castine walking map for reference as you tour the sights, Federal, Italianate and Victorian homes lining the grand elm tree lined streets of Castine.

Dine at Pentagoet Inn for the best food in Castine and friendly service steps from the waterfront. Stay at this charming 1894 BnB too. Pentagoet is the French word denoting the Penboscot.

red-bell3Walk the campus of Maine Maritime Academy founded in 1941. About 1,000 students attend the maritime and oceanographic college on a beautiful seaside campus in Castine. The waterfront campus is an impressive training vessel -The State of Maine – a 500-foot naval research ship on on the dock unless it’s out for a semester at sea with student aboard. Only strategic drawback to Maine Maritime is its 87% male… #maletime academy.

dyce-lighthouse-castine (7)Visit the grassy knolls of Castine’s Fort Madison, Fort Knox and Fort George, built during the nineteenth century to protect the harbor. Only the grass bunkers remain at Fort Madison, at the entrance to the harbor – its a scenic park for a pleasant picnic now. Fort George, built by the British in 1779, has been partially restored as a state memorial, marking the last fort surrendered by the British at the end of the Revolutionary War. Fort Knox, Maine’s largest historic fort, was built in 1884 to protect from potential British naval attack along the Penobscot River. Fort Knox is one of the best-preserved historic military forts in New England, The Fort is only open to visitors seasonally, but the grounds are open year-round.

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned, not open to the public. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property.

Castine Maine Lighthouse

Dyce Head Lighthouse is privately owned. Although the light was discontinued in 1935, the original Keeper’s house, barn and oil house still remain on the property

Witherle Woods is a spectacular 185-acre preserve on the Castine peninsula, with 4.2 miles of trails for hiking, walking or even enjoying a picnic lunch at Blockhouse Point with views of Penobscot Bay and Wadsworth Cove. Wear sneakers or hiking shoes for these great but rustic trails that bring you to old battle batteries and spectacular lookouts. There are more challenging hikes on nearby Blue Hill Mountain or further north – the famous Acadia National Park.

Castine’s best beaches are Wadsworth Cove and Backshore Beach, this protected cove offers smooth pebbly sand and a gentle surf. The western exposure provides great views of Penobscot, the Camden hills and is a perfect place to watch the sunset. Pack a cooler – no services here.

kayak-penobscott-bay (4)Kayaking in Castine is ideal on the Penobscot Bay and Bagaduce River.

History buffs will love Wilson Museum run by Castine’s Historical Society loaded with ancient farming equipment. Visit the pre-revolutionary John Perkins House, blacksmith shop and The Abbott School -a restored old school house. Castine Public Library is another beautiful building.

pond-islandTravelling by boat to Castine, arrive at 3 for a slot on the Town Docks, and go out to Pond Island for a picnic by day, bring your dinghy to explore this gem of an island surrounded by beaches, a tidal pond sits in the center with views of the Camden Hills and neighboring Hog Island.

See more on Castine, and places to stay in Castine during your tour of the Maine Coast.

By Heather Burke,  – Copyright & Photo 2018 by VisitMaine.net

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Top Things to Do in Southwest Harbor


southwest-harbor-harbor8
Southwest Harbor is a beautiful yacht center and harbor – aplty named for its locale on the south west side of Mount Desert Island, between Northeast Harbor and Bass Harbor. Considered the quiet side compared to more bustling Bar Harbor, So’West is home to Maine’s best top builders – Hinckley, Ellis, Classic Boats, Wilbur, and Morris Yachts.

american-flag-big-blue-swThe harbor is beautiful with views out toward Little Cranberry Island. The “downtown” of Southwest Harbor is idyllic with just enough shops, restaurants, Beal’s Lobster Pound and nearby hikes. Southwest Harbor has several hotels and inns, Inn at Southwest, Harbour Cottage Inn, The Moorings, Kingsleigh Inn, Penury Hall, Clark Point Inn and the Claremont Hotel.

Top Things to Do in Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island
• Walk to “downtown” Southwest Harbor, 5 minutes from the waterfront, for Maine craft shops, cafes, gift shops like Moody Mermaid, and Sawyers Market – a classic Maine store on Main Street, and lcoal dining at Red Sky and Sips.
• Stroll out Clark’s Point Road to Beal’s Lobster Pier for a fresh seafood treat and to see the US Coast Guard Station.
kayakers• Canoe, Kayak or SUP around the incredibly scenic Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound.
• Have a slice of homemade pie (that sits in the window and wafts sweet smells to passersby) and ice cream at the Quiet Side Café and Ice Cream Shop in town.
• Go to the Claremont Hotel for sunset and cocktails and a great view towards Somes Sound, the North East’s only fjard (similar to a fjord) six with dramatic cliffs. A game of croquet on the beautiful seaside grass lawn is sublime.
sw-habor-me (8)• Dock your boat at Dysarts Great Bay MarineSouthwest Harbor’s full service marina with very scenic, protected docks for yachts up to 180’, a friendly staff, showers and wifi for boat guests. You’re in good company with Hinckley and Morris Yachts built right here in Southwest Harbor.
restaurant-sw-harbor3• Go to Grumpy’s for breakfast – better than it sounds, the Crab Benedict and the harbor view are awesome, the service – sorta surly.
• Browse local Acadian art galleries, Clark Point Gallery and Acadia Photo School among others to see local artists’ beautiful depictions of the sailboats, granite cliffs and rocky shores of Acadia.
• See the Butterfly Release at Charlotte Rhoades Garden and Butterfly Park every July at 191 Main Street
• Walk the 2 mile Beech Cliff Loop with views of Echo Lake and Somes Sound.

northeast-harbor-maine (7)• Visit Hinckley Boat Yard at 130 Shore Road, also boat makers – Classic Boat Shop, Ellis Boats, Wilbur Yachts and Ralph Stanley traditional lobster boats all made here in Southwest Harbor.
• Take a ferry to Islesboro on Little Cranberry Island for an island walk, and lunch or dinner at Isleford Dock restaurant – with great views back toward MDI.

merchants-row-sailing (6)See more on visiting Southwest Harbor, and Bass Harbor Lighthouse, along with nearby Northeast Harbor and Somes Sound, and our Top 10 Things to do in Acadia National Park during your visit to Maine.

By Heather Burke Copyright 2018  VisitMaine.net

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