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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Where to beach, eat, shop, stay & play in Kennebunkport Maine

The perfect day in Kennebunkport Maine
what to see, do, eat, where to play and stay in Maine’s seaside heaven…

Kennebunkport Maine just may be the perfect town – its oceanfront, everyone loves to be by the sea, right?! It’s quaint and historic. It’s happening with a great social atmosphere of bars, restaurants and live music venues, plus a fun fabulous calendar of events from the Kennebunkport Festival to Christmas Prelude. It’s artistic with lots of cool galleries and studios. Kennebunkport also has beaches (check), boating (check), celebs and ex-presidents (secret service- check, check), beautiful hotels, bnbs an inns, and last but not least – cool local people. So how do you tackle all there is to see and do in KPT as a tourist, or a tourist-in-your-own-town, in a day?
Let’s play “perfect day in Kennebunkport Maine!” Ready set go….

WALK KPT
Mornings in Maine, particularly Kennebunkport, should start with a brisk walk. The best walk in Kennebunkport is Ocean Ave on the sidewalk from Dock Square out toward the sea, passing magnificent seaside St Anne’s Church, Spouting Rock then Blowing Cave to Walker’s Point where you can wave to President Bush (home of former Pres. #41 & #43 plus Gov Jeb and the rest of the Bush family clan). Walker’s Point is the Bush family compound and summer residence, not to be confused with Cape Cod where the Kennedy’s cluster.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorCOFFEE KPT
Breakfast in Kennebunkport – why not go to Paris? Lol, seriously for a delightful sidewalk café, Mornings In Paris in Lower Village at Coopers Corner roasts and brews fantastic coffee, serves yummy pastries, in a charming setting inside, or out on the patio where you can watch the town begin to stir. Dock Square Coffee is another pro choice for a cup-a-jo – take it to go to a picnic bench in Dock Square or down to the beach. All Day Breakfast on Route 9 Western Ave heading south is where locals go for a more bountiful breakfast, be prepared for a wait – this classic diner-style joint jams.

KENNEBUNK BEACHES
Fueled up for sun & fun? Go get your sand time at Kennebunkport’s best beaches, which are actually on the Kennebunk side. Gooch’s, Middle Beach and Mothers Beach are each unique and spectacular, from sand, to stones, to tidal pools. Just follow Beach Ave and you will see all three.

SHOP KPT
Browse all the great local boutiques, in Dock Square, from Day Trip Society for trendy gifts, to Compliments, Minka and Abacus for locally made jewelry, crafts and candles, to Emporium for a local Ts, to Shoot the Moon, Dock Square Clothiers, Green Tangerine, Zen, Carla’s and PJ’s  for that must have Maine sweatah (that’s with a Mainah accent, like lobstah & chowdah) .

LAUNCH INTO LUNCH
For a cup of clam chowder or a lobster roll, we love Alisson’s in the heart of Dock Square. This the Cheers of Kpt, where the locals go and folks from away feel right at home. Great table service, or sit at the bar. You can get anything you want at Alisson’s Restaurant…as the Arlo Guthrie song goes…

BOAT
Get out on the water! The best way to see the Maine coast is from the sea! From Nonantum Resort, get on board your choice of a lobster boat, sailboat or fishing charter. The Rugsoa Lobster Boat Tour is an hour and half, on a classic red lobster boat, you’ll get a tour of the Kennebunk River, head out the Breakwater toward Walkers Point and Goat Island Lighthouse, even pull up a lobster trap. If you prefer sailing, The Pineapple Ketch offers a beautiful sail on a black hulled sailboat with dramatic red salis. Those who love to fish can be hooked up on a private charter with Captain Bruce aboard Libreti Rose!

HISTORY BUFFS BUFF UP ON YOUR HISTORY
Stroll back in time at White Columns, the 1853 Greek Revival sea captains’ home, now home to the Kennebunkport Historical Society and the First Family Museum – a tribute to President and Barbara Bush and their family time at the “summer white house” at Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport. Drive to the Wedding Cake House on historic Summer Street to see Sea Captains’ mansions lining the Kennebunk River banks.

GALLERY HOP
Kennebunkport is not surprisingly an artist community, with its inspirational scenery everywhere. Visit local galleries and studios to view art, photography, even jewelry and kaleidoscopes created right here, to bring a Maine memory home with you. Check out Kennebunk and Kennebunkport’s best galleries at Maine Art, Landmark, Northern Lights, True North, Rusty Fly Gallery, Chris Becker Photographer, Sue Rioux Kaleidoscopes and many more…

Sunset at Robinhood Marine Riggs CoveHAPPY HOUR
After a day of exploring, its time for some celebrating. Kennebunkport has so many fun bars with great happy hours, Old Vines Wine Bar is a favorite, so is The Boathouse Bar, The Burleigh, and Stripers Waterside at Breakwater Inn– all three of these have beautiful water views. Enjoy a craft cocktail, local micro-brew or a house wine and small plate tapas, and some social time to tide you over til you dine!

Fresh lobster dinner served with steamersLOBSTAH FOR SUPPAH
The best places to eat in Kpt have lobster on the menu, 95 Ocean at Nonantum, Stripers at the Breakwater, and Alisson’s, Boathouse! Reserve a table, bring your appetite, and wear the bib if you love your lobster with hot drawn buttah! Save room for Maine blueberry pie.

KPORT ROCKS WITH LIVE MUSIC
Catch live music at The Burleigh at Kennebunkport Inn, Old Vines, Pilot House, Ryan’s Irish Corner House, Alisson’s, The Nonantum, or go to Vinegar Hill Music Theatre for a show. Pick up the free informative Tourist & Town (no stereotyping – the locals read it too) to find out who’s playing when and where, or just ask a local!

STAY IN KPT
Ready to rest your head with a whiff of fresh ocean air and the purr of lobster boats gliding by? The Nonantum Resort is a great place to stay in Kennebunkport, its waterfront, with its own marina and charter tour boats leaving daily, and the staff is the friendliest around, its like family. Nonantum’s Chef Steve is so talented, we’re talking Divers Scallops, Tuna Tacos, Lobster Risotto, at their on-site restaurants – 95 Ocean and Heckman’s Pub. Breakfast is included too when you book direct, and their pastry chef is amazing! There’s an outdoor pool overlooking The River, kayak and bikes available, nightly entertainment, and it’s a short walk to town  – to Dock Square or out to Colony Beach on Ocean Ave. Nonantum means “blessing” and you will feel blessed to have stayed at this classic 1884 resort on the Kennebunk River in Kennebunkport.

Make plans to come stay and play in Kennebunkport Maine soon!

See our Maine Lodging Guide and Best Tour of the Coast for your Maine Visit!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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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, 2020

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Maine marijuana friendly state

lighthouse_burnt_island2In 2019, Maine finally adopted the 2016 voters’ initiative to legalize marijuana, to include recreational use, home cultivation, retail sale and taxation of marijuana, however interpretation is up to each local municipality pursuant to the Marijuana Legalization Act.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Maine since 1999. Residents who have lived in Maine for 4+ years  can apply for a license until June 2021, when the state will begin to allow outside applications.

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?

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 for recreational pot use in private. It also serve as an intro to a future state sales, dispensaries, and products, and indicates Maine’s appetite for a more liberal allowance of cannabis consumption.

Maine marijuana recreational allowance includes:
-Adults 21+ can possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis at a time. Penalties for possessing over 2.5 ounces to 8 ounces can result in up to $1,000 in fines and six months of incarceration. possession of up to and over 20 pounds gets 10 years, $20,000 in fines.
-Adults in Maine may cultivate up to 3 flowering marijuana plants, 12 immature plants, and unlimited seedlings.

Portland was the 1st East Coast city vote for pot use in 2013. Colorado and Washington have embraced marijuana tolerant laws statewide. Colorado has truly capitalized on cannabis tourism , 420 shops and pot bakeries have popped up all over. Colorado ski towns and tourist destinations offer mj dispensaries, hemp stores and baked-bakeries. Tourism is up in Colorado because of their weed-leniency. Colorado brought in $34.8 million in marijuana taxes in year one of its pot-friendly policy.To the North Canada is also cannabis friendly, though its heavily texted and packaged in very small doses.

Maine Maple SundayImagine the pot possibilities in Maine? Our state is already high on taxes, big pot taxation would bring more tax revenue from those getting high. Wouldn’t blueberry baked pot brownies be a hit? How about Maine marijuana-laced maple syrup? Pot stuffed twice baked Maine potatoes from the County?

Will Vacationland change with Maine’s marijuana tolerance? 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 residence. There are not pot friendly hotels like Maine has pet friendly hotels. Whether we see Maine 420 tours, Maine marijuana bakeries and pot infused food products in the future remains to be seen and voted by the folks of Maine.

Allagash Brewery freezerRegardless, Maine marijuana initiatives have brought forth the public dialogue of health and healing benefits of THC and CBD, and about the relative harms of marijuana versus alcohol. Booze is already regulated and taxed lucratively for the state of Maine, along with tobacco and other “sin taxes.”

Maine, the way life should be…pot friendly?

See our Maine Lodging Guide

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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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, 2020

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Portland Maine’s Best Happy Hours

Portland Maine has an amazing culinary scene, recently named a top foodie spot, and home to the best restaurants by Bon Appetit among others. But aside from sophisticated entrees and accomplished Chefs, there is also a fantastic happy hour scene in Portland. From the Old Port to the waterfront, and Portland’s best hotels, there is a lot to be happy about – especially midweek in Maine’s biggest city with drink deals and even $1.50 oysters and  free apps! Be sure to call ahead or check these restaurants’ websites & Facebook pages – as deals and happy hour specials change…

A few of Portland Maine’s best Happy Hours:

David’s in Monument Square has Happy Hour 3-6pm Monday-Friday $5 wines, and sangria, beers, and appetizer specials. We love David’s food and the city center setting is ideal for meeting friends.

DiMillo’s – this floating restaurant is a landmark on Portland’s waterfront, a bit touristy, but has Happy Hour with a view  Monday through Friday 4-7pm – appetizer and drinks specials. Parking is free – validated when you dine here.

Porthole – also right on the water – is casual but fun for Happy Hour deals Monday- Friday 3-6, and  Saturday –Sunday 1-4.

Old Port Sea Grill is  divey, but has daily Happy Hour 3 – 6pm with $5 Cosmos and Manhattans, $6 wines, $3 drafts, and $2.50 oysters. All day happy hour on Sunday means $5 Mimosas and Bloody Marys.

Portland Lobster Company by the water has Happy Hour Monday – Thursday 4- 7pm

Boone’s Fish House & Oyster Room on the waterfront has 4-6pm daily happy hour with
Oyster specials, $5 cocktails, $3  house wine, $2  beers and $5 food items like wings, nachos, Brussel sprouts and calamari.

The Corner Room has 4-6pm Happy Hour Monday-Friday with complimentary antipasto offered with drinks, $3 house  wines and prosecco, $3 draft beers.

The Grill Room has 4-6pm Happy Hour daily with draft beers, wines by the glass and bar snacks for $3.

Monhegan Island MaineLittle Tap House has Happy Hour 4-7 Monday – Friday – called Bar & Barrel – a petite appetizer paired with a local beer $5, plus $5 wines.

Bonfire Country Bar has “Bacon Happier Hour” with Free bacon, $1 tacos and whiskey, $2 beer & freis, $3 wien and burgers, 407 7 days a week!

Bull Feeney gets happy Sunday-Friday from 4-7pm with $4 draft beers and 20% off singe all malts, free snacks, plus other weekly treats.

Sur Lie has Happy Hour 4-6pm with $2 off drafts, $7 wines, and culinary $5 apps.

Northpoint has Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4-6pm with $5 Drafts, $6 Wines and a $7 Cocktail, and light bites for just $6 each! Sunday happy hour is 6-10.

C2 – Congress Square’d by the Westin, offers happy hour daily 3 – 7pm. $3 drink specials and bites.

Top of The East at the Westin has Happy Hour Sunday – Thursday 2-5pm with drinks specials, $6 wines, $4 beer, and an amazing rooftop view.

Cape Porpoise bouys used for nautical decorDock Fore isn’t fancy but it gets happy every day from 3 -7pm, draft beers $2, wine are $1 off, free appetizer display.

MJ’s Wine Bar has a great outdoor patio, and Monday – Friday 4 – 6pm Happy Hour with $5 select wines and $4.50 20oz. drafts

Vignola Cinque Terre Happy Hour is just an hour, Monday to Friday 5- 6pm with $4 select wines, half-off beer, and $3.50-$9.50 appetizers.

Maine Lighthouse

Portland Hunt + Alpine Club has happy hour with select craft cocktails for $6 Monday to Friday 4 -6pm with popcorn.

Inkwell Bar and Lounge at Union, Press Hotel has “off the record “ happy hour with $5 house wine favorites, $5 well drinks, and $5 16oz local drafts Sunday- Thursday 4- 6pm.

Rosie’s has happy specials all the time – $1.50 Miller, $4 mixed well drinks, and Saturdays & Sundays $ 5Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s.

Taco Escobar offers happy hour 4-7pm Monday-Friday featuring $5 house margaritas, $3.50 select drafts, with free chips and salsa. Olé

Tomaso’s Canteen has 7 hours of happiness, 11-6 daily, with all kinds of drink and food deals from $2.50 beers to $6 wine & cocktails, plus nightly specials.

Bayside Bowl, on the Back Bay, has happy hour 4-6pm Monday-Thursday in summer on the rooftop deck, with half-price frozen cocktails, $2 Moosehead tall boy, and more.

Petite Jacqueline hosts
”apero” happy hour 5-6:30pm Monday-Friday at the bar and patio, with
$5 aperitifs, $4 draft beers, and $3 wine, plus $1.50 oysters, $5 small plates and $46 crepes. Mais oui!

El Rayo Taquiero gets happy 4-6 pm Monday-Friday with $5 house margaritas and sangria, $2 Sol Pacfico or Tecate.

Note: these happy hour offers are subject to change, this is just a compilation of current specials. If prices have changed or deals have been discounted – please let us know at sales@visitmaine.net, and please – don’t worry, be happy (every hour). See more Maine dining recommendations:

Portland’s Best Restaurants
Best Waterfront Dining
Top 10 Maine Restaurants

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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

New Year’s in Maine – Clam Drops, Lobster Dips and Fireworks

Maine knows how to ring in the New Year with Champagne, lobster, even Clam Drops. and fireworks followed by Polar Plunge and Lobster Dips,  Here are some Top New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day Events in Maine.

fireworks_300In Kennebunkport, New Years is a party. Rock The Boat at the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel has a big New Year’s Eve Bash with snacks and raw bar, drink tix, DJ music and dancing for $100 per person. This event is a often sell-out so don’t hesitate. You can find lodging in Kennebunkport Maine at the Waterfront Boathouse, The Breakwater Inn & Spa, Captain Lord Mansion, and Seaside Inn on Kennebunk Beach.

Donwtown Kennebunk has a family-friendly Blueberry drop at 9pm on New Year’s Eve, its fun, funny and perfect for families well before midnight.

Winter Scene ColonyMisty Harbor Resort in Wells has a great stay and party package, with suite lodging, transportation and dinner at Jonathan’s in Ogunquit with live entertainment and champagne toast, plus the indoor pool at Misty stays open till 11pm for your own party pool fun.

prelude-horse-carriageMaine Street Ogunquit is a gay old time for New Year’s with 4 bars, 2 dance floors DJ AGA and DJ Ken. The party is $10 for advanced ticket purchase, or $15 at the door, and includes champagne toast at midnight, pizza and party favors. The MC for the Maine Street party is Nick Grey from Hot 104.7. Lodging is available nearby at Ogunquit Resort Motel, Misty Harbor Resort and Village by the Sea in Wells.

In Yarmouth, catch the Clam Drop on New Year’s Eve at 7 pm at the First Universalist Church, 97 Main Street. Yes, they actually drop a clam, his name is Steamer, the Yarmouth Clam Festival mascot, as he’s lowered from the church belfry (his lively smile never wavers, despite his precarious position). Music, hot cocoa and cookies are part of this silly but festive Maine tradition.

Nubble Lighthouse LightsIn York, The York Harbor Inn has an all-inclusive New Year’s Eve Gala Celebration Package with Two Nights Lodging, Cookies and Cocoa Reception, a Special Welcome Gift, Continental Breakfast daily, an Innkeepers Cocktail reception, Live Music and a Gourmet Five Course Dinner plus, Dancing, Party Favors and a Midnight Champagne Toast, and New Year’s Day Buffet Brunch. Many rooms have water views. This is fun Maine New Year’s getaway with most everything included.

Maine SkiingMaine ski resorts Sunday River and Sugarloaf  celebrate New Year’s with fireworks. If you have never seen ski resort fireworks, you must. The shiny sparkly burst of light reflect on the white snow and light up the ski trails in a magnificent way.

New Year’s Day in Maine you can ski – lifts open bright and early! Or you can wake yourself up with a brisk swim in the Atlantic – a Polar Plunge to start the New Year. Kennebunk Beach, Old Orchard Beach and Portland Maine all host a polar plunge to kick of the New Year.

Kennebunk Beach’s Polar Plunge is at Gooch’s Beach at 11am the first Satruday of the New Year, register in advance for $25 and your donation goes to Caring Unlimited. This fun fundraiser is called “Freezin for a Reason” and celebrated 20 years in 2020.

OOB PierOld Orchard Beach Lobster Dip is now in year 35. The Annual Lobster Dip at Old Orchard Beach is Maine’s original and largest ocean dip. As many as 300 participants dip into the chilly waters at noon on New Year’s Day, January 1, for fun and as a fundraiser to benefit Special Olympics Maine. Registration starts at 9:00am on the beach in front of the Brunswick Hotel. Sponsored by the Portland Rugby Club.

Maine Lighthouse

Portland Maine has too many New years Eve parties to list, be sure you get lodging in town for a fun safe First Night in Portland.  Portland’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash on New Year’s Eve is a Dash – 5k at 11am, and a Dip  at Noon. The Natural Resources Council of Maine’s Polar Bear Dip and Dash hosts the 5K around Back Cove followed by a sprint into the icy water at East End Beach. A $35 entry fee includes your run entry and your chilly dip, but you can also do just one or the other. Proceeds benefit NRCM.

Happy Holidays!  Make the best of your New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Maine!