Maine BnBs, Inns and Hotels are essential too

VisitMaine.net – Maine’s Unofficial State Web Site Since 1998

Maine welcomes 37 million people a year. 2/3 of those visit between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Maine’s tourism contributes over $6 billion annually, more than 10% of our State’s entire economy. Tourism supports 110,000 jobs—that’s 1 in 6 JOBS in our state. These jobs, in turn, support thousands of other year-round businesses, from independant shops to the fishermen and farmers,  to web marketing companies like VisitMaine.net. Our small business as Maine’s #1 Hotel and Lodging Guide since 1998 does not exist without you!

Ever since Governor Mills’ dramatic closing of Maine to out of staters  during Covid, we have been hard at work …writing letters the Governor, Heather Johnson at DECD (heather.johnson@maine.gov), Editors, State and Local Legislators, Senators, and our advocates at Hospitality Maine and Maine Office of Tourism, . We’ve been shouting out to National and Local Media (with significant success) to bring attention to our concerns for the future of tourism in Maine and the struggles of your small businesses and the Maine Tourism economy.

We are working for you, tuning up our dynamic responsive Maine Lodging Guide to bring visitors to you now – virtually for the moment– and live and in person as soon as State and Local representative allow you to welcome your guests back.

We trust  Small Business Owners will do all the right things to provide a safe wonderful experience to their guests, from in and out of state. Please trust us that we are fighting for your business rights, and will continue to be vocal on behalf of the Maine Tourism industry – small hospitality businesses like yours that have been overlooked, considered “not essential.”

Like you, we want to save our precious summer commerce in Maine. Please reach out to us with questions or concerns, tag us on your social media if you’d like to share your story!

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VisitMaine.net has been here, locally, reaching globally, since 1998. We plan to be here as long as you are…. contact us with questions, concerns or to be on our popular lodging site, Email Visitmaine.net or c all us at 207-967-6446 in Kennebunkport Maine.

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Together for Maine Tourism.

Sincerely,

Heather & Greg Burke
VisitMaine.net – Maine’s Unofficial State Web Site Since 1998
marketing@VisitMaine.net

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Top Romantic Things to Do in Maine in Winter

lobster-bouy-heartMaine is surprisingly romantic in winter, when #Vacationland resembles a #snowglobe and a magical #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… dine in an Igloo at Stripers- The Breakwater Inn, or your own gondola or love shack at the Boathouse Bar . All month long, beer and wine tastings, cocktail specials are offered at place like Alisson’s, and Chez Rosa

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.

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, Chez Rosa, 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 Captain Fairfield Inn’s special inn-takeover opportunity. Rent the Captain Fairfield for an entire week, with your own concierge! What’s not to “love” ?!

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, and beautiful watefront. Their lodging package includes a book of love poems, bubbly, sweets and a suite 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

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The best Southern Maine Christmas Parade

prelude-horse-carriageWe all love a parade… and a Maine Christmas Parade is perhaps the most festive of all. While not quite the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the Southern Maine Christmas Parade is fun, family oriented, free and lodging in Wells Maine is a far better deal than New York City for the Macy’s Holiday Parade.

The Southern Maine Coast Christmas Parade is celebrating over three decades. The 35th annual Christmas Parade was Sunday December 15 at 2pm. The 2021 36th annual Christmas Parade will be December 12, 2021. The theme each year changes, past year’s parade include 2020 “Thank You” theme, Superheroes, nature, and   “A Storybook Christmas.”  The parade follows its traditional Route 1 path,  beginning at the Wells Plaza parking lot and continuing north on U.S. Route 1 to the Wells Junior High School. Floats, fire trucks, costume characters, mascots and more are feature in this fun holiday parade.

Kids will love seeing Maine mascots like Oaky from Oakhurst, Slugger the Portland Sea Dog, Kenne Bear from Kennebunk Savings, Crusher the Maine Lobster from the Maine Red Claws, and Sprinkles the Cow from Sundaes at the Beach. Horse drawn sleighs, antique cars and tractors are a few of the fun additions. Like all holiday parades, there is an annual Grand Marshall, and Santa arrives at the end to the delight of kids watching on the side lines.
Kenne-bear
The parade is sponsored by Kennebunk Savings Bank, and the Wells Chamber, and floats right by Wells businesses and hotels, like Village by the Sea – which happens to be a great place to watch.

For those of you disappointed that last year’s Christmas Parade was cancelled, due to a snowstorm, this year should be great with the anticipation from a missed year. And the forecast looks clear after this week’s snowstorm – Sunday should be sunny with no snow falling.

This second weekend of December is great time to come to Maine, enjoy holiday shopping in Kittery and Freeport, Wells Ogunquit and Kennebunkport. Its also Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea and Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude – so there are lots of fun holiday events and festivities to enjoy. Suite lodging can be very affordable this time of year. If you are traveling with the family, you may want a suite or condo at Village by the Sea or Misty Harbor Resort. A  deluxe motel room can be a real deal, saving you money for dining out and shopping, for a couples or girls getaway at Ogunquit Resort Motel. See our Southern Maine lodging guide for your Christmas shopping getaway to Maine. Happy Holidays…

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Top 10 Reasons To Fall For Maine

Fall is here, our favorite time of year in Maine – where we really earn the moniker “Vacationland”. Nowhere is it more beautiful, stunningly scenic, with perfect daytime temps and crisp cool evenings. There’s a myriad of reasons to come to Maine in fall y’all:

A Photographers Dream! A burst of brilliant colors paint the already pretty Maine landscape. The Pine Tree state is decorated with bright red maples, yellow elms, awesome orange oaks, and gorgeous gold birch leaves. On the coast, the waters provide stark contrast with a deep dark blue. In Maine’s lakes and mountains, hillsides glow with autumnal fiery colors amidst the evergreens. Brign your camera, or your smart phone and capture it all to the envy of your friends and followers.

Un-crowded Maine – this year Maine is especially wide-open and far less busy, picture no cruise ships or bus tours due to Covid. That makes your exploration of coastal towns that much more enjoyable. Hotels and inns have vacancies, and restaurants are happy to seat and serve you, inside or out. Maine was closed to visitors in the spring, as a result – its one of the safest states.

Sebago Lake in fall

Sweatah Weathah – You can’t ask for a more sublime climate than September and early October days in Maine. Day time temps are mid-70s, ideal for hiking, biking, walking. Evenings, coo crisp air invites you to don a shawl or sweater, snuggle by an outdoor firepit or indoor fireplace. It’s the best of both worlds, warm sunshine and the smell of campfire.

Maine Harvest is happening! Go pick apples in an orchard, then enjoy a hot apple cider toddy or warm dish of apple crisp! Visit a Farmers’ Market for the freshest veggies, squash, and root vegetables. Pick your own Pumpkin from a patch, ready to carve come Halloween, don’t forget to roast the seeds with sea salt and pepper!

Paddle through the Pretty! Kayak on a quiet river in Kennebunk, or a river in Bethel. Its peaceful and so scenic being on the water, watching the birds and the beautiful leaves surround you. A Maine lobster roll lunch never tasted so good after a workout on the water.

Whale Watch! Falls an ideal time to board a whale watch and head out to sea to see whales. Whales can be reliably spotted on Maine tour boats into late October, when these magnificent mammals begin to migrate south. Dress warm for your boat ride, pack a thermos of hot drinks and snacks, as it’s typically a four hour tour.

Set Sail! A schooner or sailboat charter is splendid in fall, seeing the dramatic leaves on the shore from aboard a boat powered by the wind is magical. The wind tends to pick up in fall too, so you should have a mighty nice haul, or reach (naughty terms for ye sailors).

Hike Acadia, Camden, Moosehead or the Mahoosucs. Fall offers the perfect dry cool weather for a hike. While spring is often still damp on the trailheads, fall bring beautiful arid air and well-maintained trails in Maine’s mountains. Do a small hike like Pleasant Mountain fire tower or Mt Battie, or go big in Moosehead, or Mount Desert’s plethora of Acadia National Park hiking paths, or the king of hikes … Mount Katahdin. Dress in layers, the summit is often much cooler, breezier, and you’ll want to stay for a bit as your reward for your climb!

Shop! Fall is a fantastic time to shop, when post summer sales, and pre-holiday finds abound in Kittery, Freeport- home of LL Bean, and in the quaint boutiques of Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Portland and Boothbay! Maine’s Art Galleries are especially vibrant, welcoming and loaded with unique local talent this time of year.

Taste Maine! Fall brings a bounty of Maine food to chef’s tables and top restaurants. Lobster is till plentiful on the menu, along with fresh swordfish, tuna, salmon and scallops. The autumn culinary scene is as Gorde and pumpkin displaycolorful as it is close to the source and delicious. Savory squash, crisp kale, Maine potatoes and broccoli, melons and fruits all come to ripeness and local Maine chefs create delicious dishes with these garden goodies.

So if you’ve been cooped up, its time to come visit Maine, and explore Vacationland – The Way Life Should Be! See our guide to Maine Inns, Resorts and BnBs, where to stay and play in Maine’s prettiest coastal towns, lakes and mountains.

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Celebrate Summer Solstice on Cadillac Mountain

You don’t have to be spiritual, religious, or have any hippy dippy ideals to observe Summer Solstice. In fact, celebrating the Summer Solstice is a rather romantic notion – a celebration to welcome the summer season with your sweet heart, close friends or family. The best place to rejoice for the Summer Solstice in Maine is undoubtedly atop Cadillac Mountain on Mount Desert Island. If you’re thinking about doing something special for your partner, treating your loved on to a Summer Solstice getaway to Downeast Acadia is certainly a top romantic gesture.

Cadillac Mountain view

Ocean view from Cadillac Mountain summit

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Top 10 Things to Sea and Do In Ogunquit Maine

Ogunquit Maine actually means beautiful place by the sea in Native American, Abenaki. It is truly one of the prettiest places on the Southern Maine Coast, with sandy beaches, dramatic rocky cliffs, quaint colonial architecture and gorgeous tree canopied streets. See how Ogunquit is a great place to stay, and play, explore and tour the coast, shop, wine and dine, at one the best coastal towns in Maine!

Marginal Way is a must, walk this 3-mile shorefront pedestrian walkway that connects Ogunquit village to Perkins Cove. There are promentories, picnic benches and a lighthouse along the way, more photo opps than you can count so keep the camera/phone handy.

Perkins Cove is about as cute a fishing village as you will find. Complete with a manually operated drawbridge, delightful little seaside shops, restaurants and ocean views, this a perfect place to spend the day. Ocean lovers can board a scenic boat tour from Perkins Cove too. Stroll the Marginal Way from here, then shop for locally made jewelry and crafts, before catching lunch at one of the waterfront bistros for a bowl of chowder or lobster roll.

Hit the Beach – Ogunquit has two long beautiful sand beaches including its namesake Ogunquit Beach, and Footbridge Beach. Ogunquit Beach is three miles long, with the Ogunquit River creating a peninsula, and the parking area off Beach Street as a social hub of this broad sandy beach. Footbridge Beach is a beautiful quieter stretch of sand, connected by a namesake “footbridge” or you can walk here continuing north east beyond the main part of Ogunquit Beach. Whether you like to stroll, sun bath, swim or surf, you will find your beach here.

Ogunquit Art! Ogunquit originated as a shipbuilding colony in 1641, and later flourished for its artistic community. The beautiful seaside setting inspires all mediums of art, and you can visit many studios and galleries. Ogunquit Museum of Art is small gallery with a fantastic oceanfront setting, founded in 1951, this art collection on Shore Road showcases over 3,000 paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

Soak in The Cliff House Resort – This spectacular property is worth a visit for a seaside cocktail, or a spa treatment, a splendid overnight stay of luxury – or more! Perched high on Bald Head Cliff, this incredible resort has fantastic views out to sea towards Boone Island Light and Nubble Light. The two story glass walled lounge is a lovely spot for a drink, or hit the heavenly 9,000 square foot spa for a massage and a dip in the ocean view oversized outdoor hot tub. For luxury lodging, stay at Cliff House in a chic ocean view balcony room.

Shop Ogunquit’s unique boutiques along Main Street in the historic village center. Browsing is both art and amusement in this great town full of fun shops like Sea Glass Jewelry Studio, Abacus and Whistling Oyster.

Taste Ogunquit with craft cocktails at cool bars like That Place and Beachfire! Enjoy fresh Maine seafood – lobster, oysters, clams, crab, at classic spots like Barnacle Billy’s, Lobster Shack and Bintliff’s. Ogunquit has many great restaurants, see our southern Maine dining reviews.

Take in a Play at Ogunquit Playhouses – one of the last, original authentic off Broadway summer theaters. Ogunquit’s Playhouse offers fantastic summer stock entertainment, top shelf entertainers, Broadway productions and musical theatre in a delightful 1933 barn.

Piano bar! The most happening place for nightlife in Ogunquit is The Front Porch. Go here, go upstairs and join in the live music as locals and folks from away gather around the grand piano bar for singalongs with Ogunquit’s best singers and entertainers, it’s a gay old time.

See our Ogunquit Maine lodging guide for where to stay, play and explore for your Maine vacation!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2021

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Things to do in Portland, Maine

You don’t find many cities like Portland, Maine. It’s truly a gem and not only a great place to live, but to visit as well. 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 and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2021

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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 Festivals!
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 Buffet 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 Lobster 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 benefiting 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

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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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!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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Maine Lighthouse Day

Maine’s Annual Open Lighthouse Day is Saturday, September 12, 2020 with lighthouses open for free tours. This annual Maine event, sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, allows you to see the centuries old tradition of protecting our shores and boats up close.

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Open Lighthouse Day in Maine is a US Coast Guard, Maine Tourism and American Lighthouse Foundation collaboration designed to celebrate Maine’s maritime heritage and rich history of its lighthouses and lightkeepers. Most of the listed Maine lighthouses will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for free.

Maine is known as “The Lighthouse State” with the most coastal light houses in the US. Since 1791, lighthouses have been built to help mariners navigate the dangerous waters and coastline, islands and ledges. In the 20th Century, more than 70 lighthouses guarded Maine’s seacoast, Today, 65 Maine lighthouses still stand. See our guide to Maine Lighthouses and their locations.

bass-harbor-light (24)Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Mount Desert Island, Coordinates: 44°13′ 19″ N 68°20′ 14″ W
Bass Harbor lighthouse is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation and contains a beautiful fourth order Fresnel lens. The light station’s historic buildings are cared for by the USCG.

Burnt Cove Harbor Lighthouse,  Swan’s Island, Coordinates: 44°08′ 03″ N 68°26′ 50″ W
Reached via Maine State Ferry from Bass Harbor to Swan’s Island.
Burnt Cove Light is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation.

Burnt Island Lighthouse, Boothbay Harbor, Coordinates: 43°49′ 31″ N 69°38′ 27″ W
Burnt Island is reached from Pier 8 via Balmy Days Cruises, call (207) 633-2284
Burnt Island Light is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation, managed by the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

Curtis Island Lighthouse, Camden Harbor, Coordinates: 44°12′ 06″ N 69°02′ 54″ W
Curtis Island Light can be  reached via Kayak from Camden Harbor.

Doubling Point Lighthouse, Arrowsic, Kennebec River Coordinates: 43°52′ 57″ N 69°48′ 25″ W
Doubling Point Lighthouse is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation, owned and managed by the Friends of Doubling Point Lighthouse. The light station’s historic buildings are privately owned (please respect the owners privacy).

Owls Head LighthouseDyce Head Lighthouse Castine, Coordinates: 44°22′ 57″ N 68°49′ 07″ W
Dyce Head is an active lighthouse for navigation. The light station’s historic buildings are owned and managed by the Town of Castine. The keeper’s house is a private residence (please respect the tenant’s privacy).

Fort Point Lighthouse, Stockton Springs ,Coordinates: 44°28′ 02″ N 68°48′ 42″ W
For Point lighthouse is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation with  a beautiful fourth order Fresnel lens. The light station’s historic buildings are owned by the State of Maine and managed by the Fort Point State Historic Site. The keeper’s house is the residence of the Park Ranger and his family (please respect their privacy).

Goat Island Lighthouse, Cape Porpoise, Kennebunkport Coordinates: 43°21′ 30″ N 70°25′ 30″ W
Boat tour to Goat Island LighthouseGoat Island Light is active, owned by the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, reached by kayak or boat from Cape Porpoise Pier,  a walking museum in the covered walkway between the keeper’s house and lighthouse shows old photos of lightkeepers, island life and a home video from the Worrell’s, who were keepers at Goat Island from 1968 to 1972.

Grindle Point Lighthouse, Islesboro Coordinates: 44°16′ 56″ N 68°56′ 34″ W
Reached via Maine State Ferry from Lincolnville to the island of Islesboro. see schedule and fees at: www.maine.gov/mdot/msfs/islesboro.htm or call (207) 633-2284.
Grindle Point Light is in active Coast Guard navigation, managed by the Town of Islesboro.

Kennebec River Range Front & Rear Lights in Arrowsic Coordinates: 43°53′ 00″ N 69°47′ 42″ W
Front & Rear Lights are two historic light towers (front and rear range) owned and managed by The Range Light Keepers.

Little River Lighthouse, Cutler Harbor Coordinates: 44° 39′ 03″N 67° 11′ 32″W
Reached by boat provided by the Friends of Little River Lighthouse from the Town Landing in Cutler. Little River Lighthouse is owned by the American Lighthouse Foundation

Marshall Point Lighthouse, Port Clyde Coordinates: 43°55′ 03″ N 69°15′ 41″ W
www.marshallpoint.org

Monhegan Island Lighthouse

Monhegan Island Lighthouse, Monhegan Island Coordinates: 43°45′ 54″ N 69°18′ 54″ W
Monhegan light has a light tower and keeper’s house with a museum inside, and art exhibit. Reach monhegan via boats from Port Clyde, New Harbor and Boothbay Harbor.
Monhegan Boat Line
Hardy Boat Cruises
Balmy Days Cruises

York Maine LighthouseNubble Light on Cape Neddick York Coordinates 43.1652° N 70.5911° W
The Nubble is not open for tours – it is on small island yard from shore, it is the most photographed lighthouse in Maine, built in 1874.

Owls Head Lighthouse, Owls Head Coordinates: 44°05′ 33″ N 69°02′ 39″ W
Owls Head Light is an active US Coast Guard navigational location owned by ALF, with a Fresnel lens, and a special exhibit to Author Angeli Perrow of popular children’s book “Lighthouse Dog to the Rescue”

egg-rock-lighthousePemaquid Point Lighthouse, Pemaquid Point, Bristol Coordinates: 43°50′ 12″ N 69°30′ 21″ W
Pemaquid lighthouse tower is cared for by the Friends of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

Portland Breakwater Lighthouse (also called Bug Light) in South Portland Coordinates: 43°39′ 20″ N 70°14′ 06″ W
Bug Light is a private aid to navigation and is owned by the City of South Portland.

copy-portland-headlight.jpgPortland Head Lighthouse, Cape Elizabeth Coordinates: 43°37′ 24″ N 70°12′ 30″ W
Portland Head Light is the oldest in Maine. Home to The light station’s historic buildings and museum, in Fort Williams, owned and managed by the Town of Cape Elizabeth.

Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, Rockland on the breakwater, Coordinates: 44°06′ 15″ N 69°04′ 39″ W
Rockland lighthouse is an active Coast Guard aid, the light station’s historic buildings are owned by the City of Rockland and cared for by the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

thrumbcap-lighthouse6Seguin Island Lighthouse, Off Popham Beach, Coordinates: 43°42′ 30″ N 69°45′ 30″ W
Seguin Island Light is reached by Seguin Island Ferry

Spring Point Lighthouse, South Portland at the breakwater of Southern Maine Community College,  Spring Point Coordinates: 43°39′ 07″ N 70°13′ 26″ W
Spring Point Light is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation, owned and managed by the Spring Point Ledge Light Trust.

Pemaquid Maine LighthouseWest Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec Coordinates: 44°48′ 55″ N 66°57′ 04″ W
West Quoddy Lighthouse is an active Coast Guard aid to navigation with a third order Fresnel lens. The light station’s historic buildings are owned and maintained by the Maine Department of Parks and Lands, with a museum inside the keeper’s house.

Wood Island Lighthouse, Biddeford Pool  Coordinates: 43°27′ 25″ N 70°19′ 45″ W
Wood Island lighthouse is reached by boat the “Light Runner,” operated by the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse. its an active Coast Guard aid to navigation, with light cared for by the Friends of Wood Island Lighthouse, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation.

Maine LighthouseFinally, The Maine Lighthouse Museum is in Rockland, hosting the largest collection of Fresnel lenses on display in the nation. Other exhibits pay tribute to our lighthouse history and the U.S. Coast Guard.

So plan a weekend or a week visiting Maine and Maine’s beautiful lighthouses as you tour the Maine coast.

Nubble Lighthouse LightsSee more Maine lighthouse facts, a Maine lighthouse poem, and photos of Maine lighthouses see our Maine lighthouse guide,

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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