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

Spring Break in Maine

It’s spring time in Maine…. After a long snowy winter – its time to shed a few layers, put down the snow shovels and get outside. Birds are returning, and chirping… April in Maine brings May flowers, right?!

Mind you, spring time in Maine is weird – ok – we admit it. You can hike, bike, beach, boat, golf and ski ! Weird right?! Or a perfect world…

Maine SkiingSunday River and Sugarloaf are both open with amazing snow conditions and the best parties still to come. The first weekend in April is Spring Festival at Sunday River – formerly known as Parrot Head – this weekend includes a Friday night Beach Party Rave, live bands and Jimmy Buffet music all day Saturday at White Cap, a Margarita Mix Off, spring skiing and the hilarious Slip ‘n Flip event. Sunday River’s Pond A Palooza is April 8 at the River. At Sugarloaf – the king of spring for Maine skiing, the 29th annual Reggaefest is April 6-9 with spring skiing, live island music and Rastafarian mayhem Maine-style. Sunday River plans to ski free on May 1- their last day and a tradition called Ski Maynia. Sugarloaf will keep spinning till it’s a wrap…or the conditions turn to crap- lol.

Beach walkersMeanwhile spring on the southern Maine coast means beach walks, biking, golfing and launching boats for the season. Gardens come into color in beautiful coast towns of Kennebunkport and York, and Portland hosts the Maine Flower Show for inspiration to budding talent and wanna be gardeners – wink!

Bar Harbor Maine

Waterfront restaurants from Kittery to Ogunquit to Camden opening their ocean view decks from drinks and seafood with a sea view. Happy Hours are still great deals since its not yet “high season”.

April and May is a great time to plan a “spring break” in Maine – not only do you have a choice of outdoor activities, you will also find great lodging rates – since its still the ”slow season”. It’s far cheaper and easier than a spring break trip to Florida – no flights, fewer people, fresh air! Did we mention Fresh Maine Lobster – thought that might grab ya?!

You can get great package rates on lodging and dining in seaside towns like Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and Wells Beach Maine, even Boothbay Harbor and Bar Harbor. Bring a jacket and sweater – its still “sweatah weathah” as we say in Maine. See our Maine lingo so you can speak native with the Mainahs, ayuh! Pack a t-shirt and shorts too – you never know for its in store by the shore for Maine weather.  Be sure to Visit Maine.

See our Maine Lodging Guide hotels and Maine’s best BnB’s to stay at during your Spring Break in Maine

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Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

Maine Maple Sunday

Maine Maple SundayMaine may be the pine tree state, but it also has its fair share of maple trees, which is why everyone knows Maine’s Maple Syrup is the top of the line, mouthwatering sugary treat. With the advent of Spring, everyone knows maple trees are ready to be tapped for syrup. Or as us Mainers like to call it: liquid gold. Maine Maple Sunday is an annually celebrated event throughout the state and marked on every Mainer’s calender.

Maine Maple Sunday marks the 4th Sunday of March following the first day of Spring. Usually, you will find farms offering free syrup samples, treats, tours of the farm or sugar house where you’ll learn about the process of sugar-making. Many towns throughout Maine celebrate Maine Maple Sunday including Skowhegan in Kennebec Moose River Valley. The Maple Festival hosted in Skowhegan features a week-long event with talent shows, pub crawls, sap collection, concerts, and more; but most importantly: maple treats galore!

You’ll find most farms and towns celebrating the event are located largely in the Southern half of the state including Southern Maine, Mid Coast and the Western Lakes and Mountains region. Maple Sunday is a great time of year to visit Maine while the surge of summer tourists have yet to come… uncrowded and beautiful with the hint of the spring flora green.

Join us for Maine Maple Sunday–tap your own tree, or bring home some of Maine’s homemade maple syrup!

Copyright VisitMaine.net 2018

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Lobster Sexual? Maine Men as trendy setters & record breakers

COOLLOBSTERDown East Magazine has introduced the latest – the LobsterSexual – a hot Maine guy who is causing a fashion stir when not catching crustacean from Maine’s icy cold waters.  That’s right, to top of the LumberSexual in his plaid shirt and woolies, Maine lobstermen are now the fashionista according to Maine’s leading magazine, wearing PVC bib pants, rubber deck boots and wool beanie.

Well, the Maine lobster industry deserve some props, though maybe not for fashion, but for their record season. According to the Bangor News, Maine lobstermen had a record year in 2016, hauling 131 million pounds, $533 million worth of the popular crustacean.

lobsterMaine’s lobster catch has never been as high as it has been over the past five years. In the 1960s, the annual catch hovered around 20 million pounds, according to the Department of Marine Resources. It wasn’t until 1991 when the fishery cracked the 30 million-pound mark, 40 million in 1997, then 50 million in 1999. In 2002, lobstermen hauled in 63.6 million pounds,  today’s lobstermen catch is 124 million.

So I guess Maine lobstermen are hot, record breaking, on fire… trending #LobsterSexual! Have your fresh Maine lobster shipped by some hot lobsterman to your door today – the lobster – not the lobsterman…

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Maine’s a wild state, we’re not talkin’ nightlife

cape-roisier2When you think of wild states, perhaps California or Nevada come to mind before Maine…you know Vegas, Hollywood, shows, nightlife. But Maine has its own wild life, no we are not talking nightlife (except maybe Portland’s Old Port), it’s more of a nature’s wild show in the Pine Tree state. Maine has vast wilderness, one of the highest states per capita for wildlife species.

maine-moose-oobMOOSE: Maine has over 75,000 moose in the wild. Maine’s moose count is second only to Alaska. Moose are most often sighted at dawn and dusk, in the western and northern part of the state. Maine Moose safaris are a great way to “almost-guarantee” a moose sighting, since the rangers, foresters and registered Maine guides that lead moose tours know where to go, especially in the Rangeley Lakes region. Since Maine’s moose herd population is so strong, Maine issues 2,740 Maine moose hunting permits, with a 75% success rate – its not much of a hunt  but it can be a challenge hauling a 500-1000 pound moose out of the woods. Moose are the largest of the deer family, standing up to 7-feet tall at the shoulder, they can swim at 6 mph, or run up to 35… so there’s some wild Maine activity for you. More Maine moose trivia: a male moose is a bull, a female is a cow, and a baby is calf. Moose shed their antlers every year, the antlers alone can weigh up to 40 pounds.

BALD EAGLES: Eagles are on the rise in Maine, home to 75% of New England’s iconic bird population with upward of 600 pair producing 300 “fledging” each year as offspring. To spot bald eagles, look to the highest trees near the water – eagles eat fish so they stay close to their source with an “eagle- eye” view of their prey. Look for nests, eagles are habitual – sometimes residing in the same spot for years. Eagles become “bald” with a white head by about age 5 along with a white tail.

merchants-row-sailing (11)LOONS: Loon are often heard before they’re seen on Maine’s lakes given their unique cry of the loon, a yodel or laugh as some loon-lovers call it. Maine’s loon count is at over 4,000, similar to Wisconsin, but Minnesota has the highest Loon population at twice that. The common loon is prehistoric, thought to be 30 million year sold according to ornithologists. Loons can swim underwater for 4 minutes, and can fly at about 60 mph for hundreds of miles, but spend very little time on land. Loons can live up to 25 years, and many mate for life, nesting in the late spring with typically two eggs that both parents guard fiercely – recognizing that watercraft wake can drown their chicks before they hatch.  The Maine Loon Project fiercely protects this iconic  aquatic bird, hosting an annual loon count among volunteers.

Acadia National Park oceanviewPUFFIN: Maine puffin are a unique North Atlantic bird, seen in the greatest abundance on Maine’s northeast coast where there are as many as 5,000 puffin pair. Boat tours from Boothbay and Bar Harbor can take you out to sea, to see islands where puffins populate. Downeast Maine is the furthest south this cold water bird migrates. Otherwise for puffins spotting, a threatened species, its Newfoundland, Norway or Iceland.

MAINE BLACK BEAR: Black bear are the smallest among the species, and most commonly found in Maine. About the size of humans, Maine bears are 5-6 feet tall standing, but can weigh 250-600 pounds (shocking given they eat primarily berries, fruits and, nuts). Bear hibernate in Maine from late fall to spring, and eat and mate from May to August. Maine’s three-month bear hunting season is late August through November. Over 10,000 bear hunting permits are issued in Maine, with a total population estimated at over 35,000 black bears and increasing.

OH DEER: Maine’s deer population is huge, over 200,00 deer, mostly white tail deer roam the state from the south to the north.

seal1cMAINE WHALE: Whale watching in Maine requires a long boat ride, since whales are typically about 20 miles off shore from mid-April to September. In Maine you can hope to see humpbacks, pilot whales, minke and sperm whales, right whales and occasionally the largest finback whale that can be as big as your whale watch boat. Yikes.  Whale watch boat tours depart from Kennebunkport, Boothbay and Bar Harbor in the summer months. More Maine marine life in the wild, dolphin, porpoise and harbor seals are quite plentiful in Maine’s coastal waters in summertime.

So there you go, go on a wildlife tour in Maine, you can no longer say Maine isn’t wild…

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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February in Maine – festive, frozen, fun, romantic

Mainers know how to celebrate winter, and February is the high point in the season for fun, frozen festivals and romance in seaside towns like Kennebunkport and Oqunquit. See these fun February events and festivals in Maine you have to “sea” to believe.

wintercoastKennebunkport is “New England’s Most Romantic Town” in February – with month long celebrations of love – red hearts, lights and “red tag” specials at boutiques and “red plate” specials at restaurants. Kennebunkport hotels offer romance packages including chocolates, flowers, and late check outs. The whole town lights up in red as part of Paint The Town Red. Ice bars, wine tastings and Cocktail Parties in Kennebunkport warm things up, and Kennebunk celebrates Winterfest early February with ice skating and a chocolate and chili fest.

Maine skiingCamden Winterfest is first weekend in February when the midcoast town of Camden becomes a winter wonderland hosting the US National Toboggan Championships at Camden Snowbowl, Ice Sculpture Competitions, Maine’s Mardi Gras, plus skiing at Camden Snow Bowl, ice skating parties and festival decorations.

Biddeford WinterFest is mid February with a Heart Dance, Chili Fest, sledding and skating parties, plus art and comedy shows, and restaurants specials.

Freeport Maine celebrates February with a Flavors of  Freeport event with local tastings, an Ice freeport-llbeanBar, Ice Luge, firepits, plus the usual shopping at LL Bean and the Outdoor Discovery School classes on cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Point Lookout hosts a Fire & Ice event February 5 in Lincolnville Maine.

Acadia’s Winter Fest is late Feb  to early March celebrating winter on Mount Desert Island and the centennial of Acadia National Park, with a week of fun events in Bar Harbor and the Park – where you can cross-country ski and snowshoe, even snowmobile.

For Romantic Maine Lodging, see our Romantic Lodging recommendations and also check out our Lodging in Kennebunk:

prelude-horse-carriageCaptain Lord Mansion has  romantic packages in February with full breakfast, a split of sparkling wine, chocolate-covered cherries and chocolate-chip cookies, a $20 dining coupon to On The Marsh Bistro or The Village Tavern, afternoon snacks, and chocolate dessert wine each evening.

Rhumb Line Resort celebrates February with lodging, daily continental breakfast, and use of the indoor hot tub, pool, and outdoor hot tub. Kennebunkport is very romantic with their Paint the Town Red celebration including Red Tag Sales  and Red Plate Specials at Kennebunkport restaurants! Since the Rhumb Line is Kennebunkport’s affordable family resort, you can also bring the kids – they will love the indoor heated pool and free WWinter Scene Colonyi-Fi.

The Seaside Inn located directly on Kennebunk Beach has a Romance Package, 3 nights, Champagne, chocolates and flowers in your room, stuffed French Toast Breakfast for two, beach walks are included too!

Romantic Lodging in CamdenThe Blue Harbor House is two blocks from Camden harbor, but worlds away with lovely Scottish hospitality.

Nubble Lighthouse LightsRomantic Lodging in OgunquitOgunquit Resort Motel has superior suites with fireplaces and Jacuzzi spa tubs in your room, free wifi, hbo and continental breakfast.

Romantic Lodging in Maine’s Lakes RegionPoland Springs Resort near Crystal Lake which hosts a February fishing derby, near the ski slopes of Mt Abram and Sunday River.

Saddleback Mountain

See you in Maine this February for fun, festivities and a romantic getaway!  See our Maine Lodging Guide and our Maine Events Calendar for more info planning your Maine vacation.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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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. 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.

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 you can have outdoor experiences too.Casco Bay Ferry

You can embark on one of Casco Bay Ferries and tour the islands of Casco Bay. Some islands also have bike rentals 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.

You can also 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. Nearby Cape Elizabeth is a nice spot for picnicking or bike tours in the Fort Williams park area. Here, you can take a walk around the large park estate and visit the Portland Headlight as well. Alternatively, you could visit the park on Munjoy Hill where you have your walking area along the Eastern Promenade. Nearby, you could visit the Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum which has affordable ticket rates.

In the summer,  see a Sea Dog 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

Walking the Old Port and Art District areas in Portland is popular. Shopping boutiques, antique shops, comic book stores, and craft shops between Commercial and Congress Street. One of the must things to do in Portland Maine is the monthly Art Walk held on the First Friday of every month.

Looking forward to some 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.

The Maine Brew Bus tours 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 2018 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 almost three decades. Now over 3 decades, the Christmas Parade is the 2nd Sunday in December at 2pm. The theme each year changes, past year’s parade include 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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Maine can be Fancy too!

There is more to Maine than camping – roughing it in the great outdoors in a remote campsite. And while we’re on the subject, let’s do away with the stereotype; most of us are not missing teeth. Maine is a large state with diverse lodging choices, rustic to luxury hotels and resorts. Browse luxury lodges in Maine, or continue reading to learn more about luxury lodges you’ll find here. Continue reading