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 Apres Ski Parties (and you don’t even have to ski) in Kennebunkport warm things up. 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.

Portland hosts a Fire & Ice event mid February!

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 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. You can walk the calm quiet cool beach. Kennebunkport has 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 stay free, 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 and their ocean view hot tub 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 Ogunquit

Cliff House Resort has superior suites with ocean views, a gorgeous Spa, and a dramatic cliff hanger setting just a short drive to Ogunquit village.

Rockere Lodge is a cozy BnB in Ogunquit on the Marginal Way, a perfect location and charming hosts that make a delightful 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.

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Maine’s Acadia National Park History @100


acadia-sign-scoodic-point
2016 marked the 100th birthday of Acadia National Park, and also the National Park System’s centennial.

Acadia’s official birthday is July 8, 1916 when Sieur de acadia-mic-me (5)Monts National Monument was established on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Three years later, the name changed to Lafayette National Park, and finally in 1929, Acadia National Park became the title, the first National Park in the eastern United States. Acadia is also the first park established entirely through private land donations thanks to founders George B. Dorr, landscape architect Charles W. Eliot and John D. Rockefeller.

seal1cAcadia National Park oceanviewToday, over 2.5 million people visit Acadia National Park annually. Acadia’s celebrated natural beauty reaches from Maine’s Blue Hill Bay to Somes Sound, up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain overlooking Frenchman Bay, to Isle au Haut and the Schoodic Peninsula, covering 49,000 acres of mountains, main land, islands, ocean, lakes and ponds, forests and cliffs of sparkling granite.

The idea to establish Acadia came from landscape architect Charles Eliot, his father Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard. Collaborator George B. Dorr was considered the “father of Acadia National Park,” for his land donations and his work on state and federal status with President Woodrow Wilson to create the National Park Service. It’s also great thanks to the uber wealthy John D. Rockefeller, Jr. who designed Trail Ride Parking Signthe park with 50 miles of carriage roads, 17 granite bridges, and two gate lodges, using granite quarried from the site from 1915 -1933. To this day, the granite guard rails are known as “Rockefeller’s Teeth” and also referred to as “coping stones” as these stones help visitors cope with the steep drop offs.

southwest-harbor-view1Of Acadia’s 49,000 acres, 30,300 are on Mount Desert Island, 2,728 acres are on Isle au Haut and 2,366 acres are on the Schoodic Peninsula. The National Park Service acquired the land on Schoodic Peninsula in 2012, this former naval base is on the mainland just north east of MDI, with stunning views looking back toward Cadillac Mountain across Frenchman Bay. The Schoodic Loop Drive is a beautiful drive, with gorgeous pink granite boulder shores for picnic’ing with incredible views out to sea.

Bi Plane Tour Acadia

The crowning glory of Acadia is Cadillac Mountain, named after the French explorer Sieur de Cadillac, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, it stands over 1500’ above sea level, and it’s one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. Acadia National Park is a gem, a haven for hikers and bikers, nature lovers. Its also a natural habitat for over 40 species of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, moose, beavers, porcupines, minks, muskrats, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, and black bears, vast birds, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons, plus the many sea mammals, fish and crustacean that inhabit the oceans, lakes and ponds.

bass-harbor-light (24)Do yourself a favor and visit Maine’s Acadia National Park to help celebrate her 100th birthday. Stay in the bustling port town of Bar Harbor or quieter Southwest Harbor or Northeast harbor, the beautiful fishing village of Bass Harbor, or the nearby towns of Trenton, and Blue Hills. See our top things to do in Acadia National Park, and where to stay in Bar Harbor to help plan your trip to Mount Desert Island.

Copyright and Photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Haunted Places in Maine

Hay Roll CatHappy Halloween…nothing like a spooky holiday to bring to mind ghosts, goblins, spirits and hauntings. Maine is home to many legendary landmarks, inns and lighthouses – and with history comes hauntings. Often older homes have spirits, those still roaming the earth for unrequited reasons.

Some folks are freaked by ghost stories, while others are intrigued and want to know more, want to stay in spirited inns and participate in the paranormal. Others just don’t believe, to quote the Ghost Buster movie, “I ain’t scared of no ghosts.”

Nubble Lighthouse LightsFor those who love a spooky story, and want to lurk in a lighthouse that’s haunted or hope to stay in a spirited bed and breakfast in Maine, here is our list of some allegedly haunted places in Maine… pack your toothbrush, your flashlight and your big boy pants. Check in and check out the spirits as some of these Maine Inns! Boo!

Maine’s Haunted Inns, Landmarks and Lighthouses:

wedding-cake-house3The Kennebunk Inn
Captain Fairfield Inn
Captain Lord Mansion
Tides Inn on Goose Rocks Beach
The Shawmut Inn in Kennebunkport
Poland Spring Resort
Admiral Peary Inn – Fryeburg
1794 Watchtide by the Sea
Captain Lindsey House Inn
The 1898 Berry Manor Inn
Lime Rock Inn
Fort William Henry in Colonial Pemaquid – Bristol
The East Wind Inn copy-portland-headlight.jpg
The 1804 Coach Stop Inn
The Lucerne Inn
Greenville Inn -Moosehead Lake

All of them…haunted!

See the Legend of Boon Island lighthouse – a tale of creepy cannablism, if you dare. Happy Halloween from VisitMaine.net

See our Maine Lodging Guide

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Maine’s best food, for shore…

Bar Harbor Maine

You should sample Maine specialty foods like saltwater taffy, made right before your eyes at the Golden Rod in York Beach. Maine gourmets are making their own delicious artisan cheese, apple cider in season and fresh berry jams and preserves. You can tour Stonewall Kitchen in York, and learn about their award winning Maine recipes and specialty food products. There are numerous Maine breweries and wineries throughout the state and Maine beer tours and wine tastings – Maine brewers and wineries use native berries and ingredients to create unique homemade brews and wines. There is even a potato vodka made right here with Maine potatoes from Aroostook County.

lobsterObviously you must master eating a Maine lobster, best served steamed with a side of drawn butter, corn on the cob and steamed clams…even better with a cup of clam chowder as a starter. See how to eat a Maine lobster like the Mainahs do during your stay in Vacationland.

Maine loves their drinking. In fact they say Kennebunkport is a drinking village with a fishing problem. Be “shore” to enjoy a cocktail on a waterfront deck at a Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Portland or Boothbay restaurant or a gorgeous inn along the coast. See our top spots for waterfront cocktails and cuisine in Maine. Follow drinks with a perfectly prepared seafood dinner then homemade blueberry pie for desert. See our Maine restaurant guide.

In Scarborough, you can visit the world’s largest moose made entirely of chocolate (chocolate moose – get it?!). In Freeport you can dine at Linda Bean’s. she’s the granddaughter of the great Leon Leonwood Bean who started his outdoor clothing store LL Bean in 1912 here in Maine.

dennetts-wharf-settingAnd you’ll have to take home some delicious Maine treats. So save room in your car for live Maine lobster packed to go, fresh picked Maine crabmeat, some harbor candies, fresh Maine blueberries, and a quart of Maine maple syrup. Or you can just stay another day and try more of Maine’s best restaurants.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Top 10 Things You Must Do In Maine

Your Vacationland Bucket List
Cuckolds Lighthouse in Maine1. Visit a Maine lighthouse. These scenic and historic beacons to sailors and sea captains are iconic and legendary. You must visit at least one, over 60 lighthouses guard the Maine coast grandly from Kittery to Kennebunkport, Portland to Bar Harbor and beyond. See our Maine lighthouse guide.

Colorful bouys in Maine2. Take a Maine selfie to make your friends at home jealy. Pick one of Maine’s many photogenic scenic settings, you know – on the beach, in front of a lighthouse, on a sailboat, with a sunset over a bay, and post it to Facebook and Instagram to make the folks at home green with envy.

3. Shop Maine – at one of the classics like LL Bean – open 24/7 and Kittery Outlet for the outdoorsy, Marden’s, Big Al’s or Reny’s for bargain lovers. You never know what you will find. See our Maine shopping suggestions.

Lobster bake dinner with steamers and corn4. Eat a Maine lobster. You decide if you want a casual lobster roll from a road side clam shack, or a baked stuffed or steamed crustacean served at a waterfront restaurant… but you must enjoy fresh lobster, the best the world over, close to the source – with butter – while in Maine. Some Maine lobster facts including how to cook & eat  a lobster!

Bucks Harbor dog ride5. Meet some Mainahs. Ayuh, a trip to Maine ain’t the same till you have had a Down East dialogue with the real deal – a local! You may have to stop at a dinah, like Becky’s or the Maine Diner, to find authentic Maine folks. See our Maine slang for guidance on typical Maine colloquialisms and catch phrases. And be prepared for humah….Mainers are pretty wicked sarcastic, specially with them tourists from away.

Schooner Mary Day, Maine6. Get on a boat. The best way to see Maine is from the sea. Whether you choose to kayak around pretty coves, sail aboard a schooner, take a narrated tour on a lobster boat, or go fishing, you will love view of the coast from aboard a boat. See our guide to Maine boat charters and tours.

Acadia Sign at Scoodic Point7. Explore a Maine State or National Park. Maine has 70,00 acres of beautiful state parks on lakes, the coast, beaches, plus 2 million acres of public land and historic sites. Baxter, Two Light, Scarborough and Popham Beach, plus Camden Hills are just a few of the stunning Maine State Parks. Cadillac Mountain viewAs for National Parks in Maine, the big daddy is Acadia National Park, celebrating 100 years old in 2016. Acadia and LL Bean are two of the most popular attractions to Maine, and interestingly they are four years apart. The Appalachian Trail is a National Trailway that ends in Maine at Mt Katahdin on Maine’s highest peak at 5,268’ in Baxter State Park, the AT stretches 2,200-miles to Maine from Georgia.

Nubble Light York, Maine8. Beach It ! We lost count of how many Maine beaches there are … The southern Maine coast has beautiful beaches in York, Ogunquit, Wells and Kennebunk, Casco Bay has lots of sandy havens like Higgins, Popham and Scarborough Beach. Sand Beach on Mount Desert Island is part of Acadia National Park – the water’s cold but the view is incredible. If waves and salt aren’t your things, then visit Maine’s vast network of lakes and rivers for fresh water beach time and boating. See our guide to Maine’s best beaches.

Restaurant in Southwest Harbor, Maine9. Have fried clams, or fresh clams and oyster on the half shell from a raw bar. Maine’s seafood is best – the lobster gets all the fame – but Maine clams, scallops, crab, and mussels are a must. And for dessert, Maine maple syrup and Maine wild blueberries are delicious and nutritious. See our favorite restaurants in Maine.

Monhegan Inn view in Maine

10. Stay at a Maine inn, a cozy B&B, or an oceanfront resort hotel. Maine hospitality is unlike any other place, that why our license says “the way life should be.” Come see why…

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Boat tour to Goat Island Lighthouse

Maine Staycation at Cliff House Ogunquit

It felt familiar but fanciful driving through the vacation town of Ogunquit, just minutes from our home. Day one of our “staycation plan”, we packed up our car, with bikes and our bags, and in just 10 miles (less than a gallon of gas, no TSA hassles) we were tourists in a neighboring town. We passed brightly painted boutiques and cafes with a new appreciation, admiring beautiful gardens spilling onto the sidewalks along famous Shore Road on our way to The Cliff House – our desirable destination for a few nights.

The Cliff House, in Cape Neddick, is a top resort hotel in York, Maine, on the Ogunquit border. The Cliff House has undergone a complete posh renovation, now Destination Hotels, who also manage such luxe properties as Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont.

Sitting by the vanishing edge pool, which is perched on the Resort’s spectacular Bald Head Cliff, we had drink in hand, watching lobster boats ply the Atlantic below the dramatic rocky cliffs. Spa appointments had been arranged, ocean view dinner reservations were made (all part of the Spa package). This was easy, breezy. Love that The Cliff House has a separate pool on the other side of the property – also with an ocean view – for families and kids, so adults, couples, and honeymooners can enjoy their serenity sans enfant.

While downtown Ogunquit and Perkins Cove had seemed absolutely bursting with beach attired tourists, The Cliff House was removed from the crowds and quiet. After some sun and a soak in the incredibly scenic outdoor whirlpool, we returned to our spacious room in the Cliff Spa building, which offered us a sunset, and distant views of Ogunquit Beach (other rooms of the 166 total orient toward the cliffs and York).

The Cliff House’s dining options are The Tiller and Nubb’s Lobster Shack – so Maine, and certainly so scenic. Enjoy delicious Maine cuisine from a waterfront window table or the contemporary bar. The Chef’s locally inspired lobster rolls or lobster bisque are eclipsed only by the Maine raw bar, enjoy as you watch the waves crash into the cliffs, which are illuminated come nightfall.

Riding bikes from Cliff House, we took a coastal ride to Nubble Light in Cape Neddick. Shore Road is hilly and narrow in spots – warning to bikers. A bountiful buffet breakfast back at the Cliff House tasted all the better after touring the salt-aired shoreline.

The Cliff House Resort’s 70-acre grounds reveals several lodges of different vintages, the Cliff Spa being extensive with a 75-foot indoor lap pool. The resort was in The Weare family from 1872 when train service started bringing summer guests from the City. A room with 3 meals a day was $6 a week per person, and the family formula was motto was: “clean rooms, fine food, fresh air, personable hospitality, all in an incomparable scenic location atop Bald Head Cliff.” Fourth generation Kathryn Weare operated the Cliff House for decades with the same mantra before selling out in 2014, to Destination Hotels, and while the rates have multiplied (try $500+/night), and guests now drive Mercedes and Maseratis, the incredible views from every spot on the property have not changed.

The trolley will take you the 3-miles to town for shopping, or drop you at Perkin’s Cove to catch a tour boat or to walk the mile-long Marginal Way. You should also ride to Ogunquit Beach (parking is tight prime summer in this town – so the trolley or a bike makes tons of sense).

Being local, we knew low tide was the time to walk the three miles of wide, flat sandy beach all the way to famous Footbridge Beach, and back to the sand bar where the Ogunquit River flows into the sea. We wished we’d brought a boogie board or an inner tube to float along this fresh water lazy raft ride, those that did were having a blast on this balmy beach day.

Shopping Perkin’s Cove, a little boutique browsing, a walk out Marginal Way, followed by a fried clams and lobster rolls with Rum Punch at Barnacle Billy’s was perfect. There are ice cream shops and seafood take-out windows, as well as sit down restaurants – all waterfront, whatever suits your mood. We passed so many oceanfront resorts, motels and bed & breakfasts in Ogunquit that we had not noticed before. We need to staycation (or vacation in Southern Maine) more often I thought. You can splurge on lodging and dining when you don’t have to buy airfare or pay for parking.

Spa time at the Cliff House, following a refreshing dip in the dramatic oceanside pool,  we donned our fluffy robes, and waited in the serenely lit, candle scented spa reception room. Choosing a treatment from the “Wild and Free” spa menu was mind boggling, did I want a sea salt massage, an Atlantic antioxidant, or a blueberry body wrap? Greg needed to be kneaded, he decided on the deep tissue massage.

I am a reluctant spa-go’er, not entirely comfortable with poking, prodding and peeling. The Spa Director assured me the Cliff House Facial would be ideal. Right on she was – it was ideal, enjoyable and downright decadent – as the aesthetician dimmed the lights, wrapped me in warm towels and proceeded to massage my face, neck and décolleté with aromatic tangerine and blueberry creams, ending with a warm seashell massage. And my skin looked clear, and bright like a berry on the vine in July. Okay, that may be a stretch – but the spa personnel were pros, the 9,000 sq ft Cliff Spa facility and all natural Maine-inspired products are top shelf and top priority at the Cliff House.

It was a perfect Maine coast touring day (being local we know the scale from perfect to pathetic), from biking, to beaching, and being pampered. A seaside dinner with candlelight overlooking the cliffs was all we required, and sleeping to the sounds of the waves crashing against the shore.

The Fitness Room at Cliff House was our firs stop next morning, we worked out in the fitness room, which rivals a first rate cruise ship with a wall of ocean view windows and top of the line Nautilus equipment. Each treadmill has its own TV, and every work out station imaginable awaits (no lines, no waiting) in the bright spacious atrium.

A last leisurely breakfast overlooking the Atlantic  had us both wanting to stay longer. In the distance we could see Boone Island, a sunset cruise around the spooky secluded ledge would be entertaining, or a sail aboard that schooner would be dreamy. But our mini getaway was concluding. In 20 minutes we’d be home, but happy for our time hanging out at The Cliff. Nice to know that just a short drive away, and again we could find ourselves worlds away for a few days. Consider a mini-vacation to Maine!

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2017

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Boothbay – a great Maine place to stay!

Boothbay Harbor BoatBoothbay Harbor is a great Maine town – coastal, compact, cute with a cluster of great shops, fun cafes, and a bunch of boat excursions leaving from the waterfront Piers. Boothbay Harbor is an ideal destination by car or by boat – and its a better bargain than say Kennebunkport or Bar Harbor, lodging is plentiful typically without the big price tag. The locals are friendly and the opportunities for shopping, sailing, and exploring are as abundant as lobsters in summah upta Maine.

Boothbay Harbor StoresBoothbay is a great walking town, with a dozen cool Maine craft shops in close vicinity. The village of Boothbay Harbor is both historic and hilly, with charming streets lined with jewelry and art stores, candy and ice cream stands, plus just enough good restaurants serving fresh Maine seafood – several offer views of the harbor. Interestingly Ports of Italy is most popular, twin sister restaurant to Ports of Italy in Kennebunk.

Ramshead Lighthouse in Boothbay MaineAs you are out walking, visit the Boothbay Opera House, see what’s playing, and then cross the historic wooden footbridge that spans the upper end of the harbor. Definitely walk down to the waterfront Piers 8-1 (let us know if you find Piers 5-2?) and inquire about boat excursions that cruise out of Boothbay’s pretty harbor, to see Squirrel Island, Ram Island Light and the Cuckholds Light by lobster tour boat or sailboat. You may also glimpse harbor seals and Maine birds on your boat tour.

Tugboat Restaurant in MaineFor lodging in Boothbay, The Topside on the top of the hill has been beautifully redecorated, the rooms are fresh and modern but still cozy, the Main House has a few rooms, and offers a lavish full breakfast to all guests, along with common space with a living room and fireplace for cocktails, games and socializing.

For a more traditional stay right on the waterfront amid the hubbub of Boothbay, the Tugboat Inn is old fashioned with an ideal location steps to the shops, pubs and boating excursions that leave the working harbor. Tugboat even has its own marina on property if you arrive by boat.

Lobster boat in MaineWe have stayed at Tugboat Inn both by land and by seas. Tugboat’s Marina has nice docks which include power, cable and fresh water, an easy walk to downtown Boothbay. The rooms at Tugboat for land lubbers are casual, modest but comfy – ask for a Harborview deck.  Tugboat Inn has its own restaurant where breakfast is served to guests complimentary, they also serve lunch in dinner in the actual Tugboat, now grounded, with Maine comfort food and water views from the Upper Deck dining room. The Lower Deck Lounge has entertainment many summer nights and outside seating overlooking the marina.

Boothbay Harbor ShoppingThe Bar-muda Triangle is what locals dub the drinking circuit of Boothbay’s best bars along the waterfront. Mine Oyster is a great place to start your Boothbay bar crawl, with a cocktail and oysters from the Maine raw bar, then head upstairs to the casual as it sounds McSeagulls where there is often live music and great upper floor views of the harbor town. Herringbones is another waterhole on the Pier, along with the appropriately named Pier Pub which was loaded with locals on the warm July Saturday afternoon we visited.

Boothbay Harbor view in Adirondack chairsFor a quieter place to stay near Boothbay, we recommend East Boothbay – out on a spectacular peninsula just 10 minutes from town. Here, the Ocean Point Inn is a great old resort property with cottages and waterview rooms plus a nice restaurant featuring fresh seafood and fantastic sunsets over the water that are to die for. This setting on Ocean Point Drive is one of the prettiest in Maine.

Lobster dinner in Boothbay Maine

Enjoy your stay at Boothbay and tell ‘em VisitMaine.net steered you here.

Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2018

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Maine’s Game of Thrones – Winter is 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 had its pompous powerful Governor Le Page who spoke 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.

So Maine! Bran Stark is  messed-up…like so many mainers, crippled, but determined…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”. What a wacky rustic scene… very back woods.

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. Brienn is a ldy like we our Maine ladies… wow, big boned – no fuss, don’t mess with her. 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 wicked 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!

By Heather Burke, Copyright and photography – VisitMaine.net, 2020

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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, 2020

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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