It’s peak tourist season here in Maine, with many vacationers traveling to the midcoast area. Here you’ll find charming little fishing villages, small towns with a mix of funky shops and luxurious boutiques, and of course plenty of swimming, kayaking, whale-watching and other fun in the sun. Let’s meander up the midcoast area starting with Boothbay Harbor.
Located on the Cape Newagen Peninsula, the year-round population of Boothbay Harbor is about 2500 people. At this time of year the streets are alive with the laughter and chatter of tourists, who vastly expand the population from May through mid-October. Once a fishing camp for English sailors, today Boothbay Harbor is one of Maine’s most popular tourist stops.
Among the attractions are several lighthouses, including Burnt Island Light, the Cuckolds, and Ram Island Light, all of which can be seen on one of the many boat trips offered from downtown Boothbay Harbor. You can also catch a ferry out to Monhegan Island, well worth the trip to see this magical “artists” island.” I’ll write more about Monhegan in a later post.
Fine seafood restaurants are also a draw here, but for gardeners the primary reason to visit Boothbay Harbor may be the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, the largest in New England. I’ve escorted dozens of boatloads of tourists to the gardens, many of whom were hesitant about spending time here because they’ve seen botanical gardens in other parts of the country or around the world. To a person, far from being disappointed, they are always enthralled. If you have any interest at all in gardening, you should make the gardens part of your itinerary.
Midcoast Maine awaits, and I hope you’ll find time to visit soon. We’ll be making stops at other midcoast villages, so stop back here when you can. Happy summer!
After our long, cold winters everyone in Maine looks forward to spring and the arrival of warmer weather. In a very lucky year we may get a taste of good weather in April, but for the most part the first warm days arrive in May. And with them arrive the first snowbirds–our summer visitors and residents–who tentatively return to their warm-weather homes while hoping they’ve missed the final snowstorm of the season.
Here on the island we look forward to seeing our tiny streets and miniscule village coming alive again, although life will continue to be slow until the end of June when families with school-age children are able to return. In the meantime, all over Maine, seasonal restaurants and hotels are reopening in preparation for Memorial Day, which unofficially kicks off the summer season.
In the old song, “June is Busting Out All Over,” the month of May is said to be “full of promises,” and that pretty much sums things up. We keep a close eye on the gardens, willing the tulips to open (those that have managed to escape the ravenous deer), watching daffodils unfold and waiting for the lilies-of-the-valley to perfume the air. Glorious spring days alternate with days with temperatures in the 30s and the threat of hail. It takes patience to live in this state!
May also sees families busy with weddings, graduations and vacation plans. As the weather warms up, I’ll be writing about some great places to visit in Midcoast Maine and elsewhere in the state, and now and then some escapes well beyond Maine. So do continue to drop by and consider joining those who follow me on this blog, whether for some vacation ideas or just some idle musings.
While it’s fun to visit Maine by car, locals will tell you that the best way to see the state is by water. As someone who lives on a small island with water views from every window, I have to agree. And when I’m not on the island I’m often either on our own small boat, a canoe, or lecturing on a cruise ship traveling up and down the coast. One of these coastal Maine trips might be just right for you, whether you choose one of the mega-cruise ships or a smaller, more intimate one. Both have their advantages. Large ships have something going on 24/7, while smaller ones have the advantage of being able to dock in smaller ports and exploring venues that the big ships can’t get to. Whichever you choose, a Maine coastal trip is a great way to wind up the summer or early fall season.
Midcoast Maine is especially popular right now, with ships docking at, or mooring just outside of, beautiful towns like Camden and Rockland, famous for their handsome downtowns and windjammer fleets; funky Belfast with its art galleries and unusual stores; Castine, tiny in size and huge in history; and Boothbay Harbor with its attractive stores and shops and nearby Botanical Gardens. Some cruise ships bracket these stops with visits to larger towns and cities, such as Bar Harbor and Portland, giving passengers a good overview of the Maine coast.
The weather has been especially beautiful this summer and our fall season is always lovely. Much as I enjoy looking at the water from my island home, being out on it is even better. Hope to see you along the way!
If you’ve never visited midcoast Maine during the summer months, now is the time to do it. After a late spring, the trees are fully leafed out, flowers are blooming, and the days are glorious. Plan a trip to some of the charming towns and villages here — pretty Wiscasset with its antique shops, Damariscotta, where Main Street is lined with shops in handsome vintage buildings, and if time allows, travel on to the Pemaquid Peninsula and the less-visited villages of New Harbor where you can catch the ferry to Monhegan Island, or Bristol and tiny South Bristol, a quintessential lobstering community that lies off the beaten track. Throughout this area, you’ll find lobster shacks, pocket beaches, and small restaurants that are open only during the fleeting summer season.
Now that life has settled down here after a hectic winter and spring, I’ll be trying to post more regularly about life on the small Maine island I call home,
and interesting things to see and do throughout the state. Thanks to those of you who have followed me over from my previous blog, and welcome to anyone new who stops by. Wherever you spend your summer, enjoy every moment!
To those who follow me regularly, my apologies for the long delay between posts. I spent much of the summer sailing up and down the gorgeous coast of Maine, and when I was home my house and garden demanded much of my attention. And then there were the houseguests. When you live on a Maine island, you become very popular! I love company and am always happy to see old friends, but of course company means cooking to be done, entertainment to provide, and plenty of cleanup afterward. Anyway, it was a lovely, very busy summer, and I hope yours was the same.
Over Columbus Day weekend I judged desserts at the annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest, always a fun time in midcoast Maine. If you’ve never been to it, you should put it on your calendar for the same weekend next year. The judging was fun….lots of goodies to sample, although I had a sugar buzz for several days afterward.
Fall foliage in Maine is just past its peak now. Many of the trees are still wearing their gorgeous colors of scarlet and gold, but rain the last couple of days is putting a quick end to one of the most beautiful times of the year. But, each season has its own beauty and before long the snow will be falling and bringing its own special look to the island. Of course after last winter and 110 inches of snow, we’re all hoping for a little less of the fluffy stuff.
Hope your summer was great and you are looking forward to Halloween and Thanksgiving.