Though we love our splendid winter season, when the warm weather graces us, we don’t waste it. Summertime in Maine means the best annual events from lobster boat races, boat parades, fireworks, lobster feasts, top musical performances and more. Summer events in Maine are a unique experience, worth traveling for. Listed here are the most popular annual summer events in Maine. Continue reading
Mainers are funny people, not always funny like LOL – more like odd, peculiar, even perplexing. They aren’t typically wicked chatty, but they have their hilarious expressions, colorful colloquialisms, and their favorite topics – mostly the weathah, their lobstah boats, and their mothahs. See our Guide to Maine accents, slang and vernacular…
BTW: ya mothah is usually your woman, your wife, your significant othah… not your actual mom. Mainers don’t share much, but when they do its typically laced with sarcasm – it’s wicked pissah – leaving you wondering if you got the straight scoop. It’s a mad Maine skill and treasured talent to confuse the folks from away.
Bitchin’ about the Maine weathah or their mothah is just an example of hot topics, that’s “hot” not Haut pronounced “ho” like in Isle au Haut upta Penobscot.
Mainahs are not, howevah, good at giving directions… “can’t get theya from heah” for example. We have all heard that joke. All humor is based in some reality. I have heard Mainers give directions such as, “go down the road a piece”…or “if you see Jake’s barn – you’ve gone too far and you bettah turn your cah ‘round.”
On a recent trip to Bucks Harbor, Bucks Hahbah… I was out for a stroll in the small (understatement) community just up the hill from the marina. I paused at the one intersection in town, no traffic light, to let the oncoming car go. He stopped, rolled own his window and asked “where you headin’?” I said “I’m just out exploring Bucks Harbor.” He said, “can I help you find something?” So I inquired, “what else is there to see here?” He replied, “well, this is pretty much it.”
My next local encounter was down on the waterfront. I told this Mainer my funny conversation from moments before. He said “yeah, not much happens here. Sometimes there’s a farmers market on Tuesday.” I replied that I’d seen the sign on the bulletin board at the general store in town. He replied “actually the market is every Tuesday, but I only go sometimes.” Guess that makes it a sometimes fahmahs mahket.
Enjoy your time upta Maine. If you have to ask for directions, be ready for anything. Maine, the way life ought to be.
By Heather Burke, – Copyright 2018 by VisitMaine.net
There’s a reason Maine is called Vacationland… there is so much to sea and do in the northeastern most state. It’s also nicknamed “the way life should be.” So a Maine vacation is a must, and Maine’s best weather is in summer. The only remaining question is, what to pack for summer vacation in Maine? Here is our Guide to packing for a Maine vacation:
1. Pack layers. They say in Maine “if you don’t like the weather in Maine, wait a minute.” Summer in Maine, temps can vary from 40’s at night to high 80’s in the day – see our weather and tides page. Sun, rain and fog can brighten and dampen your spirits, often all in one day. Especially on the Maine coast, fog banks can roll in bringing cool raw air (we call that “chowdah weatha”), but the sun can beam in making for a perfect beach day. The only question is “whether” you are prepared? Dress in layers, have a waterproof shell, and a fleece.
2. Comfy shoes are key, as you visit rugged lighthouses, walk the cobblestone streets of the Old Port in Portland, and walk beaches that range from sandy stretches like Old Orchard Beach and Ogunquit, to rocky beaches of Colony Beach in Kennebunkport and the midcoast.
3. Bring sunscreen. Just because Maine is far north, 43-degrees latitude, doesn’t mean the UV index doesn’t come after you. You don’t want to look like a cooked Maine lobster on vacation. Particular on the water, the refraction from of the sun’s rays is intense – but you might not sense it with the cool sea breeze in your face. Cover up or you could get burned to a crisp.
4. “Sweatah weathah” is a Maine expression for the cool summer evenings when the sun sets and the air cools. You’ll want to be reaching for a “sweatah”, a shall y’all, or even bettah – a fleece from the aforementioned LL Beanah. See our guide to Maine expression and slang so you can sound “local.”
5. Outfits don’t need to be matchy matchy like in The City. Maine has its own sense of style, or lack thereof. If you look to fancy, that might freak the local folks out. Prepare yourself for the Maine culture with these fun Maine facts instead.
6. Or buy a tacky t-shirt to flaunt that you “aint from around here”. A Bah Harbah t-shirt or a “Vacation like a President” Bush #41 or #43 from Kennebunkport are perfect identifiers. This way locals will know they should treat you “special.” Now you can pay extra for that lobster roll, or private fishing chartah.
7. Swimsuits… you may not have the courage to stick your toe in the Atlantic, never mind actually “swim” in the ocean – but bring a swimsuit along anyways. You may encounter a nice ocean view hot tub like the one overlooking Kennebunk Beach at the Seaside Inn, or at the Cliff House Resort and Spa in Ogunquit perched over picturesque Bald Head Cliff.
8. Shop– If you didn’t pack properly, no worries – just make a trip to the Beaner… LL Bean is open 24/7/365 and sells everything you could possibly need for hunting, fishing, boating, the beach, biking, kayaking or just looking casual and crisp in the Signature wear Maine style. LL Bean is in Freeport, a century old staple, along with other factory outlets stores. In Kittery you have the Kittery Trading Post loaded with similar outdoor wear.
9. Backpacks and duffle luggage are better than rollie suitcases. You look like a city slicker rolling in with your black carryon bag with wheels, bumping along the salty old streets of Portland or Boothbay.
10. A Camera, iphone – whatever. Take lots of Maine selfies to make your friends at home jealy. Maine has so many gorgeously scenic settings, hundreds of beaches, seventy lighthouses, over 3,000 miles of coastline, beautiful lakes, rivers and mountains. Post pictures on Facebook – feasting on Maine lobster with clams and butter, or sunset from a charter sailboat, on Instagram to make the folks at home instantly envious.
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.
Binge 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”.
Thanks 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
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…
Sunday 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.
Meanwhile 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!
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.
Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017
Maine 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
Down 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.
Maine’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…
Copyright VisitMaine.net 2018
When 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.
MOOSE: 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.
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.
PUFFIN: 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.
MAINE 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
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.
Kennebunkport 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.
Camden 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 Bar, 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.
Captain 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 Wi-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!
Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018
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.
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.
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