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Maine

Maine

Great Destination:

5

Value for Money:

4

Total Stars:

9.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Popular with all groups: Venturer types like bike treks, mountain climbing, etc., Authentic types enjoy coastal towns and fall colors

Did You Know…?

  • Forests cover nearly 90% of Maine; the state has 5,000-plus rivers and streams.
  • Maine was part of Massachusetts until 1820.
  • Maine has North America’s largest fleet of windjammers (12).
  • English colonists arrived in Maine and Virginia in 1607, but left Maine in 1608.
  • Nearly 90% of all American lobsters are trapped in Maine.

Where lobster is king

Like any popular destination, Maine makes its mark because there are so many things to do plus much natural beauty to savor.  Visitors can be as active as they wish, in the mountains, on the rivers or on the Atlantic coastline — or they can take the mellower approach, going for arts and heritage, award-winning restaurants and shopping.

Lodging styles range from gorgeous luxury coastal resorts to quaint B&Bs or campgrounds. And, wherever visitors wander, they can have lobster for dinner every night!

When the state’s fans rave about beauty, they mean Maine’s rugged, rocky coastline, but they also like the laid-back ambience and the great food. The people they meet are friendly, but uncrowded areas are singled out for mention.

Maine also has popular attractions that don’t fit with those generalizations. Shoppers head for Freeport, site of one of the largest outlet malls in the country, and the L.L. Bean store. In communities like Kennebunkport or Bar Harbor, celebrity hunters might catch a glimpse of a former president or a wealthy captain of industry.

However, most visitors characterize Maine as a haven of spectacular forest and mountain scenery, fresh air, small New England towns and friendly people whose hospitality seems relaxed.

The busier travelers delight at their choices, which include viewing historic sites, museums and galleries, hiking, fishing, swimming and boating. Mellower types talk about shopping for antiques and gifts in quaint, picturesque towns, the wide range of good accommodations and the natural, unspoiled beauty of Maine’s rocky shoreline.

Active travelers love the forests that grow right down to the rocky shoreline, the “natural, unspoiled” mountains and the abundant wildlife. And they love the isolation from large numbers of humans. These visitors are busy in their way, too. They follow bike and hiking trails, they sail, they camp, they play golf and they watch whales.

Finally, for all Maine’s tourists, there is nothing like lobster pulled straight from Maine waters and onto the dinner plate.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Spend a weekend as a live-in at the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore. You will become a member of a 19th century farm family living in the historic Washburn family home and taking on your share of farm chores, cooking and cleaning, as well as playing period games and attending school.
  • Overnight at the Keeper’s House Inn, a functioning lighthouse station on the remote Isle Au Haut, atop rugged cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Or, consider a week at the Keeper’s House on the cliffs of Pernaquid Point.
  • See something of Maine by snowmobile. The state boasts 12,000 miles of snowmobile trails maintained by more than 280 snowmobile clubs.
  • On Columbus Day weekend, enter the annual North American Wife Carrying Championship held at the Sunday River ski resort and golf club.
  • Travel with the freight from Port Clyde aboard a boat operated by Monhegan-Thomaston Boat Line in the waters of Muscongus Bay to Monhegan Island. Look for porpoises, seals and small whales — and watch lobstermen busy at their work.
  • Kayak on Penobscot Bay, and look for bald eagles, loons, ospreys and harbor seals.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Most coastal communities have lobster boats that will take you out on the water, teach what you want to know about lobsters and how to catch them.
  • Go whale watching. With Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company in Bar Harbor, you can take a combined puffin and whale watching excursion which also offers the prospect of spotting dolphins, eagles and porpoises.
  • Lighthouses, predictably, line a rugged coast. Visit the Portland Head Light and its museum at Cape Elizabeth; it is adjacent to the 90-acre Fort Williams Park with its fort and recreation areas.
  • Plan a fall foliage tour.
  • Visit America’s only surviving Shaker community in Sabbathday Lake. Six of the 18 existing Shaker structures are open to the public, and their 27 exhibit rooms comprise the community’s museum. Sunday services are open to the public.
  • Attend the Maine Canoe Symposium at Winona Camps in Bridgton, a weekend event in June. Learn about North American canoeing and develop some skills of your own in workshops and during hands-on training.

Things to do for Authentics

  • In Portland, see the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, boyhood home of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and the Portland Museum of Art, displaying artists associated with the state, like Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth.  Also, see the Nathaniel Hawthorne boyhood home in Casco.
  • Have a lobster dinner. Have several. Or, carrying this theme further, attend Rockland’s lobster festival in August, and shop for jewelry, artwork, clothing and other items featuring the lobster.
  • Visit the Boothbay Railway Village in Boothbay. This nonprofit organization operates a narrow-gauge coal-fired steam train in a historic village created by assembling a number of locally significant historic structures. Don’t overlook the museum and its collection of antique vehicles.
  • Learn something else about the Maine story at the Maine Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley.
  • Shop at L.L. Bean in Rockport.
  • Participate in Maine Maple Sunday, the fourth Sunday in March. Each year maple producers open the doors of their sugarhouses and members of the public can watch them make maple syrup. Some sugarhouses offer a variety of treats and activities, including syrup on pancakes or ice cream, sugarbush tours, sleigh or wagon rides.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Maine Office of Tourism at www.visitmaine.com