- Publisher: Sun Media Group
- Published: May 17, 2015
The Sun Journal special sections “Summer in Maine” is a guide of things to do, events to attend, sights to see, foods to eat, and sounds to hear in Maine this summer … and more! From learning about astronomy in “Taking it to the skies this summer,” by David A. Sargent, to “Making summer in Maine fun, without breaking the bank,” by Jackie Rybeck, to “Glamping and camping: Enjoy the outdoors in comfort,” by Donna Rousseau, to “Hitting the high spots in Maine,” by Deborah Carroll, and “Summer fun in Oxford Hills,” by Sharon Bouchard, this summer in Maine is the ultimate guide for visitors and vacationers.
Making summer in Maine fun, without breaking the bank
By Jackie Rybeck
Maine has an endless selection of exciting, family-friendly activities to please both young and old alike year round.
Carolann Ouellette, director of the Maine Office of Tourism believes there is a reason they call Maine: Vacationland!
“Maine has so many wonderful assets like our state parks, the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray, great children’s museums, aquariums and historic sites,” she explained. “From learning more about our own heritage, different communities and people across the state to enjoying outdoor activities like fishing, hiking or exploring our miles of beaches, there is something to experience together as a family and make memories at the same time.”
For local fun, Thorncrag on Highland Spring Road in Lewiston is a great place to spend a day. Relive childhood memories, while making new ones for your family. Thorncrag encompasses six wildlife habitats: upland wetlands, mixed forest, restored farm meadows, vernal pools, a coniferous forest and built environments (trails, amphitheaters, fireplaces, etc.). All support large, diverse populations of wildlife, trees and plants. Walk through hiking trails and enjoy the sights and songs of over 100 birds; a great place for an old-fashioned picnic.
The Riverwalk Trail is a lovely trail that captures the beauty of the renewed Androscoggin River. The path begins behind the Hilton Garden Inn and passes Festival Plaza and continues to the old railroad trestle where it connects with Simard-Payne Memorial Park in Lewiston.
Visit Museum L-A, which is located at the Bates Mill Complex and has a fascinating collection of textile and industrial equipment, photos and other paraphernalia from one of the country’s premiere textile mills. The Bates Mill operated for decades and the city’s geographic make-up is largely a result of accommodating workers who lived nearby. Call prior to visiting since it is only open on select days and times.
Lewiston Auburn is also rich in the performing arts. The Public Theatre, Community Little Theater, and Franco Heritage Center are just a few of the places to catch a great play or special performance.
LA Arts is celebrating the return of the Summer Art Walk L/A. The artwalks take place on the last Friday night of every month through the summer. They turn downtown Lewiston into an impressive arts district. Over 20 Lisbon Street organizations and storefronts open their doors and offer visual art galleries, live performances, and special exhibits to local community members and patrons.
Poland Spring Mini Golf is designed to reflect nature as well as Poland Spring’s amazing history. Four-foot-high models replicate such buildings as the Poland Spring School House, an historic railroad depot and the Poland Water Tower. New this year is the Fenn Ice Cream Shop with Gifford’s ice cream — a perfect treat after a round of mini golf.
Do a little digging for treasure at the Maine Mineral Adventures in Woodstock. Learn about the local geology, mining history, and how to identify minerals as well as the science of mining. Screen a bucket of mine-run materials containing different gemstones and make mineral specimens from local mines. Take field trips to famous local gem mines in the area and dig on their dumps.
On the way back, through Route 26, stop in at Snow Falls for a picnic. A wonderful, relaxing area where older children can hike but parents don’t have to. There is a waterfall cascading to the gorge and a bridge across providing good vantage points.
Mackworth Island in Falmouth is a magical place. The island is home to the Fairy House Village, where fairies stay during their visit to the island. As a guest, you can admire the creativity of all the builders or use your own imagination to construct a home for more fairies, making it more magical.
The Botanical Gardens in Boothbay is comprised of 270 acres of tidal shoreland and there are thousands of flowers that bloom throughout the year. This year’s theme is Myth, Magic and Medicine of Plants. Explore the rich traditions, folklore, and mythology surrounding plants in New England’s past and present day. They offer exhibits, themed gardens, hands-on workshops and more.
Maine’s beautiful spots
Acadia National Park is full of adventures. Whether you like to hike, visit lighthouses or stroll beaches, Mount Desert Island is the perfect place to spend the day. Visit the top of Mount Cadillac for great views and don’t forget to stop at Thunder Hole and all the observation areas along the way. Bar Harbor is nearby with whale-watching tours, unique shops and lobster bakes.
Other day activities:
Take the ferry to Peaks Island and enjoy an ice cream cone and a walk on the beach. Or rent bikes and cruise around the island.
• Visit state park beaches. Popham, Reid, Crescent, even Range Pond in Poland is a relaxing way to spend the day. Have fun; build a sand castle.
• Visit the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum on Portland’s waterfront. Take a ride on the historic two-foot train. They hold special events such as “All Aboard” story time on Thursday mornings.
• Owls Head Transportation Museum is dedicated to the preservation, conservation and demonstration of pioneer-era transportation. Wings and Wheels Spectacular; Rod, Custom and Muscle Car Cruise-in; and Vintage Motorcycle week are just a few of the events planned.
• Although not actually a desert, the Desert of Maine is a tourist attraction all native Maine children must see. They’ll hardly believe their eyes when they step foot on this otherworldly landscape. Be sure to grab a picture with their two camels.
• Windjammer Days celebrate the heritage and traditions of Camden the first weekend in September. The magnificent schooners arrive on Friday, followed by talents shows from crews and fireworks. The fun continues throughout the weekend with tours of the windjammers, displays and contests; a perfect place to commemorate the end of summer.
From shopping at a general store, whale watching, and exploring our many miles of beach, there are certainly plenty of places to enjoy our short, yet wonderful summer in Maine.