Maineâ€™s Kennebec Valley
Make Plans TO GO YOUR OWN WAY Celebrate 200 Years with the SKOWHEGAN STATE FAIR Redefine the GREAT OUTDOORS Get to Know OUR TOWNS
Maineâ€™s Kennebec Valley From its birthplace at Moosehead Lake down to the capital at Augusta, the Kennebec River ties this region together. Home to Maine's prime paddling and rafting locales, event-filled villages and lively riverside towns each offer a chance to uncover the unexpected. This guide shares a great many things about the Kennebec Valley, but we hope that it provides you with the inspiration to make plans to go your own way.
Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
CONTENTS On the Water
Get Out and Get Moving
200 Years at the Skowhegan State Fair
2018 Signature Events
Board of Directors
The Lakeside Life
Kristina Cannon Main Street Skowhegan
Dining: Foodie Adventures
Katie L. Doherty Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
Jason Gayne Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce
Art and Culture
Where to Stay
Maple Syrup: Tree-to-Table
Farmers Markets: Fill Your Basket
Letâ€™s Go Camping
Wide Open Spaces
The Moose River Valley
Plan Your Trip
Kennebec Valley Tourism Council Members
Map of the Kennebec Valley
Kennebec Valley Tourism Council PO Box 5242, Augusta, ME 04332 (207) 623-4883 | email@example.com Tanya Bentley, Executive Director
Pam Christopher Forks Area Chamber of Commerce Tim Curtis Town of Madison
Kim Lindlof Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce Denise Murchison Silverton Sporting Ranch Annie Nielsen Jackman Chamber of Commerce Nathan Towne Waterville Creates! Rosie Vanadestine KVCOG
The paper for this project was provided by Sappi Fine Paper NA, sappi.com.
This publication was paid for in part by grants from the Maine Office of Tourism, Kennebec County Commissioners, and Somerset County Commissioners, and by the support of local businesses in the Kennebec Valley Tourism Council and their efforts through membership dues and advertising. ÂŠ2018 Kennebec Valley Tourism Council Publication design and content by: Thalo Blue | ThaloBlue.com
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At a Glance A quick look around Maine's Kennebec Valley.
JACKMAN – Attean Overlook – Snowmobiling
– Mount Kineo – Moosehead Lake
THE FORKS – White water Rafting – Moxie Falls
BINGHAM – Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway
SOLON – South Solon Meeting House
MADISON – Robbins Hill Scenic Area – Lakewood Theater
SKOWHEGAN – Skowhegan State Fair – Somerset Grist Mill – Langlais Art Trail
BELGRADE LAKES – Paddling – Fishing
WATERVILLE – Waterville Opera House – Colby Museum of Art – Common Street Arts
– Ladies Delight Light
AUGUSTA – Maine State House – Old Fort Western – Maine State Museum
MONMOUTH – Cumston Hall – Theater at Monmouth
HALLOWELL GARDINER – Center for Maine Craft – Johnson Hall – Kennebec River Rail Trail
– Vaughan Woods & Historic Homestead – Gaslight Theater – Antique Stores
On the Water A million ways to get soaked this summer. Bring your canoes, kayaks, or even your pontoon boat. Get ready for the plunge of a lifetime. Millions of gallons of fresh, clean, watery fun pour from every corner of the Kennebec Valley ready made for you to enjoy.
Boating Multiple ramps along the Kennebec River and lakes in every direction are the reason you’ll spot sport, fishing, and pontoon boats here. The water calls boaters back for more fun all summer long. All you need to do is open a map and find any spot with a boat launch, then head out. No boat? No problem! Use your wits and the web to find a guide or a nearby rental. Take an early evening cruise on the Kennebec River around Augusta— and enjoy a chance glimpse of one of the massive sturgeon found in the river.
simply grab a tube a float along with a group of friends. More than simply dipping the paddle, time spent on the water also offers ways to do what you love; Go birding in the Belgrades, spot moose on Big Moose Pond, troll for salmon in Seboomook, or paddle to Webber Pond for bass fishing perfection. Endless ideas are bound only by your imagination and a good (waterproof) map.
White water With two wicked-good rafting rivers converging at The Forks in the northern Kennebec Valley, we are the undisputed King of Maine White Water. Experienced rafters can take a pounding on the Dead River during one of the special water releases (offering Class IV rapids), getting soaked through each drop or thrilling eddy along the way. Want to build confidence on white water? Then take a run at the Kennebec River. Paddling the Kennebec River Gorge is a beauty of a ride and a ton of fun for riders of every skill level. Get ready, because there are hundreds of trips available May through October, so find a company that fits your group size and needs. The special releases (schedule at right) are for “supersized”
rides. Plan the second half of your day with a visit to Moxie Falls or relive your adventure over a couple of local brews.
Fishing Rest assured that there is no bad time to go fishing in the Kennebec Valley. Hardwater fishing offers a chill kind of thrill in the wintertime, with huge catches being pulled through holes in the ice. But it’s the fly anglers of spring and fall and the bass fishermen of summer that really get the most out of time spent on the water here. The fly anglers love the northern Kennebec River for its springtime hatches and the chance to read the whirls and eddies. And when warmer days arrive, the ponds and lakes up and down the river offer one of the finest bass fisheries in the country.
Grab a paddle Do you envision a day spent gliding across a pristine lake? Looking at scenic landscapes or gone fishing? Maybe you are geared up for a multi-day adventure (we suggest the Bow Trip). Like boaters, paddlers come here for so many reasons. What’s yours? Perhaps a morning stretch or yoga atop a Stand Up Paddleboard followed by an enjoyable trek across the lake. Or 4 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
Dead River Release Dates
Scheduled water release days on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers offer rafters some of the best white water on the East Coast.
– Saturday, May 12, 7000 cfs
Kennebec River Release Dates
– Saturday, June 9, 5000 cfs
– Saturday, June 16, 8000 CFS – Monday, July 9, 8000 CFS – Saturday, Sept 8, 8000 CFS
– Saturday, May 19, 7000 cfs – Sunday, May 27, 5500 cfs – Saturday, June 2, 5000 cfs – Sunday, Sept 2, 5500 cfs – Saturday, Sept 15, 3500 cfs – Saturday, Oct 6, up to 6000 cfs
– Saturday, Sept 22, 8000 CFS
VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Man vs Bass Trail – MVBMaineTrail.com Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife –Maine.gov/ifw Mid-Maine Bass Fishing – MidMaineBass.com Registered Maine Guides – MaineGuides.org The Forks Chamber of Commerce – ForksArea.com
For more about on the water activities visit KennebecValley.org Kennebec River ©Heliconia/Maine Woods Discovery
ON THE WATER
Get Out and Get Moving Follow a trail through the woods.
TOP TRAILS Kennebec River Rail Trail Augusta-Gardiner | 6.5 Miles | Easy Rotary Centennial Trail Benton/Winslow | 1 Mile | Easy Vaughanâ€™s Woods Trail (Hobbit Land) Hallowell | 1.7 Miles | Moderate Sally Mountain Trail Jackman | 6.8 Miles | Moderate Moxie Falls Moxie Gore | 1 Mile | Easy Messalonskee Stream Trails Oakland | 2.6 Miles | Moderate French Mountain Trail Rome | 0.8 Miles | Easy Robbins Hillâ€“Wes Baker Trails, Solon | 1.4 Miles | ADA Accessible Tower and Blueberry Trail Winthrop | 2.5 Miles | Easy
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But we know that finding the best spot to ride is harder than it seems. Thankfully, resources online like those at MaineTrailFinder.com will point you in the right direction. Those planning on biking in the region also need to pedal over to CeMeNEMBA for great places to ride and for lists of guided ride events coming up.
Out in the snow
Time spent outside can take you off the beaten path, make for an afternoon well spent with family and friends, and allow you to see a place in a whole new way. Whether you’re into hiking, biking, snowshoeing, or cross-country skiing, the Kennebec Valley offers hundreds, perhaps thousands of miles of trails to be enjoyed in any season.
Snowshoeing is more than just great cardio, it’s a chance to see the beautiful and often busier-than-we-imagined world of birds and animals during the cold winter months. Most trails that are hiked in the summer can be used in the winter for snowshoeing. Another way to enjoy the winter on foot is to find a full-moon snowshoe excursion with a warm cup of cocoa waiting at the end. For the more robust, jumping on a pair of cross-country skis and taking to the trails—also called Nordic skiing—is like snowshoeing in that it offers great
exercise and is a great way to see the pristine winter world captured under a brilliant white blanket of snow.
Shared-use trails Most trails are open to all kinds of non-motorized use. However, another class of trails under development is multi-use or shared-use trails, which are available for activities ranging from walking, horseback riding, and Nordic skiing all the way to ATV riding and snowmobiling in the winter. If you plan to use these trails, please abide by the posted signage.
Motorized use trails For those looking to rev up their vacation time, there is a vast and well-mapped network of trails for motorized use only. ATV and snowmobile clubs throughout the region have great local maps and resources that can often be found online or in stores near the places you wish to ride if you want to go it alone.
Hiking How can you not love hiking? Think of it. Aside from a pair of sturdy shoes —and maybe some bug spray—no special gear is required. It’s a sport that you can enjoy in almost any season. And it takes you into nature and away from the crush of everyday life. Go for a hike and embrace the sense of adventure that comes with discovering a new place from the outside in. We promise you’ll return a changed person. In fact, one of the world’s most famous (and life-changing) hikes, the Appalachian Trail, crosses through the Kennebec Valley.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Central Maine New England Mountain Bike Association – CeMeNEMBA.org
Lake George Regional Park – LakeGeorgePark.org
Our terrain in the Kennebec Valley runs from flat to full-on vertical and everything in-between. Which makes it a great place to hit the trails on a bike.
Maine Trail Finder – MaineTrailFinder.com | Messalonskee Kennebec Trails– KMTrails.com Quarry Road Trails – QuarryRoad.org | Registered Maine Guides – MaineGuides.org
For more about outdoor adventure visit KennebecValley.org
line our downtowns. Delight in what makes each town different from the others you visit. You’ll find that these towns are a near-perfect counterpoint to the wilder, wooded side of the region and the river that carves through it.
Our Towns Take the time to get to know the region’s cities and towns. In the cities and towns of the Kennebec Valley, visitors will find restaurants that satisfy. Shops to pick up the needs of everyday life. Theaters to entertain, galleries to muse, bakeries to savor. You may come to town to enjoy the festivity of seasonal events of all kinds and the attractions and museums that share the stories of our history. Traveling from Gardiner to Augusta along the Kennebec River Rail Trail you'll find places to pause and simply enjoy the day. Further up Route 201, Skowhegan gives you an up-close-andpersonal chance to really experience the difference between being in town and the great forested places that lie just a bit further to the north. Small towns and large, they all bustle with the comings and goings of everyday life. Overflowing with the energy of their people. Hallowell welcomes
visitors all year long. Buzzing with activity, this historic riverside city invites you to roam up and down Water Street, pausing when you feel compelled to take pictures of the beautifully restored architecture, a street performer, or even other visitors.
People-watching as an art form Watching as a group of hipsters pass you by. A couple enjoying the art on display in a gallery window. Cars slowing to a stop, allowing a family to safely cross. These little snapshots of life, whether in Waterville or Winthrop, will paint a picture of what our towns and cities really look like.
A taste of in-town Grab a smoothie or a slice of pizza. Make time to enjoy a beer and think about the day. Window-shop along the streets and enter the stores that
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More than names on a map. To visitors, the cities and towns that make up the Kennebec Valley (or any new place for that matter) begin simply as names on a map. But each town here openly offers the visitor a glimpse of its personality in the architecture and the stores that line its streets. When you visit, take time to get to know the town by making small talk with its people. You will be rewarded with a chance to get to know the place. And you’ll pick up on the differences quickly. Some thrive on energy found in public art or music. In others, there's the pulse of education, or commerce and government. We hope you enjoy the time you spend in the cities and towns throughout Maine’s Kennebec Valley. Each of them makes up the bright, light-filled punctuation that breaks up the long flowing sentence created by the storied Kennebec River.
Waterville City Hall
Hallowell Holiday Stroll ÂŠDan Marquis
Scenic Drives Which way should we go? Let the road tell you.
Route 201, Moscow
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As you drive through Maine’s Kennebec Valley, slow down, and stop when it feels right, to enjoy the grand views and stunning scenery you’ll find here. And for you, passengers, don’t miss out! Put down your phones. You might just spot a red-tailed hawk hovering in flight or a rafter of wild turkeys in a field. A Maine moose could even be hiding between the trees curiously looking back. Each season offers a marvel. Late spring into summer brings the bright, fresh greens of new ferns at the roadside and trees dressed in new leaf. Summer fills the sky with blue. Puffs of white float over the deep green canopy. Autumn’s gold and russet hues can leave you breathless. Wintery whites of new-fallen snow and brilliant rays of sunlight through bare trees are a stark reminder that there is vast beauty in every season. Try some of our favorite scenic drive ideas, but be sure to fill the tank and grab some snacks first. Explore the side roads. Turn off the GPS. Find
and use a gazetteer. Play a game called “turn left.” Get lost, on purpose, along a country road. Jump off the Turnpike a little early in Sabattus and follow 126 through Monmouth, the Tacoma Lakes and along Cobbesseecontee Stream to Gardiner. Or leave 95 altogether in West Gardiner and take Rt. 201 north through Hallowell, Augusta, Waterville, Fairfield, and Skowhegan, following the Kennebec the whole way. Or simply wend your way along the roads around the lakes of Monmouth and the Belgrades, absorbing the smalltown charm of places like Readfield, Fayette, Mount Vernon, and Vienna. With preparation, it’s easy to make your own way through our 5,000 square miles and 70 communities of the Kennebec Valley. Each is connected by a road and, while not all of them offer an Attean View or the flow of the Kennebec River just west of Skowhegan, they all will take you somewhere you’ve never been before.
CLASSIC DRIVES Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway Length: 78 Miles, Travel Time: 3 Hours Maine’s historical and cultural past travels along Route 201, weaving its story through the area’s many downhome cities, towns, and villages from Skowhegan to the international border with Canada (passport required). Scenic Lower Somerset Length: 60 Miles, Travel Time: 1.25 Hours Travel north from Skowhegan to Mayfield Corner back west to Bingham, then travel south on Route 201 all the way back to Skowhegan. It Takes Moxie Length: 144 Miles, Travel Time: 3.5 Hours Take Route 201 to The Forks and turn right onto Lake Moxie Road. Stop for a visit to Moxie Falls, then get back on Route 201, and head north to Jackman and Rockwood.
New Portland Wire Bridge
Robbins Hill, Madison ©Dan Marquis
VISITOR RESOURCES: Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway – OldCanadaRoad.org
For more about scenic drives visit KennebecValley.org
Voyage International Length: 245 Miles, Travel Time: 5.5 Hours Follow Route 201 north to the international border with Canada (passport required). Once in Canada, take Routes 173, 269, 204, and 161 to Woburn, cross into the U.S. to Coburn Gore, follow Route 27 back south.
200 Years at the Skowhegan State Fair August 10-19, 2018
In 2018 the Skowhegan State Fair celebrates 200 consecutive years in operation, making it by most accounts the nation’s longest-running.
What are your favorite memories? Beautifully groomed livestock and brightly colored ribbons? The Midway with all the games and attractions? Musical groups? Or is it the harness racing? Maybe the bright lights and gravity-twisting thrills of the rides take you back in time? Whatever it is, this year will be bigger and better than ever. When you get to the fair make a little time to ride on the carousel and grab for that brass ring. But don’t forget that the region is home to several other longstanding fairs, too.
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We kick off our fair season in early June with the 17th Annual Fiber Frolic. A month later, the Central Maine Egg Festival in Pittsfield. Take a break from the summer heat at "Maine's Friendliest Fair" in Pittston or the four days of the delightful Monmouth Fair. Then comes the 200th celebration of the Skowhegan State Fair. A few days later, the Great Windsor Fair has its run. September includes the Harmony Free Fair and the Clinton Lions Fair. And, while not technically in Maine’s Kennebec Valley, the Common Ground Fair, put on by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, in Unity is wicked easy to get to from Waterville.
AGRICULTURAL FAIRS Pittston Fair 7/20–23 Monmouth Fair 8/4–7 200th Skowhegan State Fair 8/10–19 Maine Open Farm Days 8/23–24, Region-wide The Great Windsor Fair 8/26–9/3 Harmony Free Fair 9/1–4 Litchfield Fair 9/7–9 Common Ground Fair 9/21–23, Unity Clinton Lions Fair 9/7–10 New Portland Lion's Fair 9/15–17
2018 Signature Events JANUARY Snowmobile Reciprocal Weekend 1/26-27, Region-wide
FEBRUARY Box Sled Derby and Winter Carnival 2/3, Lake George Regional Park, Canaan Maine Pond Hockey Classic 2/9–11, Snow Pond, Sidney Great Maine Outdoor Week 2/9–19, Region-wide
Kennebec River Day 6/30, Augusta
SEPTEMBER Skowhegan Craft Brew Fest 9/1, Skowhegan
Atlantic Music Festival 7/1–29, Waterville
Maine Outdoor Film Festival 9/3, The Forks
Annual Fourth of July Festivities 7/4, Clinton Fairgrounds
Great Maine Outdoor Week 9/21–30, Region-wide
Antique Boat Parade 7/4, Belgrade Lakes 4th of July Family Fun Day 7/4, Jackman Central Maine Egg Festival 7/9–14, Pittsfield Maine International Film Festival 7/13–22, Waterville Old Hallowell Day 7/21, Hallowell The Kneading Conference 7/26–27, Skowhegan Maine Artisan Bread Fair 7/28, Skowhegan
MARCH Annual Maple Festival 3/23–25, Skowhegan Maine Maple Sunday 3/25, Region-wide
JUNE Maine Fiber Frolic 6/2–3, Windsor
Oakfest 7/27–29, Oakland
AUGUST Skowhegan River Fest 8/1–5, Skowhegan China Community Days 8/3–5, China Loon Calling Contest 8/4, Belgrade Lakes
Skowhegan Moose Festival 6/8–10, Skowhegan Fairgrounds
2018 Hemmings Motor News Great Race 6/26, Gardiner
Harvest Festival 10/6–8, Belgrade Lakes Maine Craft Weekend 10/13–14, Region-wide
NOVEMBER Waterville Parade of Lights 11/23, Waterville Kringleville 11/23–12/23, Waterville
DECEMBER Gardiner Parade of Lights December 1, Gardiner
Whatever Family Festival 6/13–7/4, Augusta
Cheese, Brews, & Bread 6/24, Skowhegan
Swine & Stein Oktoberfest 10/6, Gardiner
Holiday Stroll 11/30–12/1, Skowhegan
Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival 6/13–17, Litchfield
Greater Gardiner River Festival 6/23, Gardiner
Belgrade Holiday Stroll December 1, Belgrade Taste of Waterville 8/8, Waterville Anson-Madison Days 8/22–24, Madison Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival 8/22–26, Litchfield
Christmas in Old Hallowell Hallowell For more about events in the region visit KennebecValley.org
Dates accurate at time of publication.
The Lakeside Life If only everyday life could be this easy. Loons call to each other as the waning hours of the day cast an indescribable aura across the water. A vacation spent near the water in the dozens of lakeside communities across Maine’s Kennebec Valley may be the way to make life more bearable.
Time well spent: fishing, paddling, swimming Maybe it’s the laid-back vibe here that just melts the tension. That “whatever” sort of attitude that makes you want to grab your fishing pole and head out to an old favorite fishing hole. It doesn’t really matter if you catch anything. But the fact is, you probably will. Over in Winthrop, Lake Cobbosseecontee is a mecca for anglers, with plenty of Maine’s largest bass lingering just beneath its surface. Long and Great Pond are filled with trout and bass too. It must be something about the water.
Further south in Litchfield are the Tacoma Lakes. Fayette has Echo Lake, where trout will just about jump in the boat if you whisper the right words. Long and skinny, Messalonskee has Belgrade at one end and Oakland at the other. Finally, along the west side of Minnehonk Lake in Mount Vernon you might find the perfect lakeside-living activity. Atop a high bank next to the road, a rope hangs off a branch, that if handled right, gives the rider what feels like an eternity in the air before hitting that cold snowmelt-fed lake. Splash.
Getting into the swing of things It’s not just about the water though. Many find that easy lifestyle transfers perfectly to the golf course as well,
which makes good sense since Golf Digest continues to place the Belgrade Lakes Golf Course atop the list of Maine’s best public courses: The view from the top is spectacular. For you golfers, here’s a short list of courses around the lakes of the southern Kennebec Valley: Belgrade Lakes Golf Club, Augusta Country Club, Natanis in Vassalboro, and The Meadows in Litchfield. Whether it be catching fish, taking a swim, playing a round of golf, or grabbing a cone of strawberry ice cream at the store after a long hot day, these lakes and the towns that call them home are more than just a place to play. The ease of summer living, perfected.
But it’s not just this lake or that lake, it’s all of them: Androscoggin, Maranacook, and Annabessacook. Each one is a gorgeous stretch of clean, clear, wonderful water that reflects the light of dawn and the glow of sunset with perfection. Each a haven for boating, water skiing, paddling, fishing, and that perennial favorite with the kids, swimming.
The list of lakes goes on and on. China Lake to the east of Augusta is a fishing and boaters paradise sitting on the Bassmaster list for top bass fishing. Webber Pond near Vassalboro and Belgrade’s Great Pond are on the list, as was Cobbosseecontee a couple years back. 14 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
Bear Spring Camps ©Tom McPherson
Cumston Hall, Monmouth
Ladies Delight Light ©Dan Marquis
This town could not be more ideally located for an easy getaway from the world. Surround yourself with blue skies and crystal-clear water.
This part of the region is filled with towns offering the lake life, so if you don’t find what you are looking for at first, keep looking in Winthrop, Litchfield, Wayne, Vienna, Readfield, Fayette, or even Mt. Vernon.
Combine the beauty of Great Pond and the breathtaking sunsets over Long Pond with a longstanding tradition of “summering in Maine.” Add in the familiar thwack of a screen door and the bubbly sounds of laughter filtering up from the shore, and you have a complete picture of the Belgrade Lakes. Add in unexpected but delightful events, spectacular autumn-hued views from the Mt. Phillip Trail, and a full-moon midnight snowshoe hike onto the ice. It’s a year-round destination that feels perfectly untouched.
Set on a small rocky shoal at the north end of the narrow and rocky Lake Cobbosseecontee is the only active inland light, flashing every night of the year. The lighthouse was commissioned by the local yacht club, then designed and built by the Boston firm of Frank Morse. Located in the lake’s North Bay, the lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Having undergone multiple restorations, the light is now the Crown Jewel of the Cobbossee. Tours of the lake including the light can be arranged at the lake’s marina.
Pack your fishing gear and head to the lake—there’s excellent fishing on the three lakes within a mile of town, so bring the boat, too.
F I S H I N G • SWI M M I N G
TE N N I S • SAN D B E AC H
American plan lakefront cottages on the shore of Great Pond in the heart of the Belgrade Lakes region. Open May to October. www.BearSpringCamps.com • 207.397.2341 • 60 Jamaica Point Rd. Rome, ME 04963
Belgrade Lakes Marine & Storage, Inc. Winter Storage for Summer Vehicles Secure newer storage facilities accommodate boats on trailers, autos, and the largest RVs in 3 buildings totaling over 21,000 sq. ft. Electrical charging outlets are available. Reasonable rates for real protection from extreme winter storms and sun damage.
207-495-2378 • WWW.BelgradeLakesMarine.com 366 Augusta Road, Route 27, Belgrade, ME
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Wildlife Watching Mostly moose, but there are so many other critters to spot. On the lookout for wildlife? While we make no promises, there are more chances to spot what you are looking for if you are well prepared. For some, it is as simple as grabbing a pair of binoculars and heading out to the woods on foot or atop an ATV. Another way to go would be to find an organized wildlife safari where the organizer can take you and your group to a known â€œhangout.â€? Finally, for the die-hard spotter, connect with a Registered Maine Guide with tracking skills who knows the terrain, the habitat, and the habits of the critters you desire to spot.
A spot of advice on spotting a moose Here in the Kennebec Valley, animal advice is mostly offered to those looking to track down and spot one
of our majestic Maine moose. Based on what we have seen and heard over the years, we can give you great advice on the whereabouts of the massive animals. When to: The best times to spot moose are at dawn and dusk from mid-May through July, after the snowy winter has passed, when they come down from higher elevations to feed on tender shoots. Moose are browsers rather than grazers. They obtain most of their food from aquatic and marsh plants such as horsetails and pond weed. Moose also eat grass, lichen, plants growing on the forest floor, peeled-off bark, and leaves from willow and poplar trees. There is nothing quite like spotting a male (bull) with a fully formed rack. Because their racks have grown in, the prime time to spot a set is in the
autumn is during the fall rut (breeding season). Seeing a moose at that time is a real treat because, not much later in the season, they will shed their antlers. Hikers lucky enough to find deer, or even better, moose antlers (called sheds) should consider this a rare find. Where to: Because of their massive size, moose find it easier to move about in open areasâ€”making it fairly easy to spot one, if you are fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. They can often be seen licking up salts along logging roads, diving for dinner in wet boggy areas, hanging out in gravel pits, and clip-clopping down hiking or snowmobile trails. Those looking for moose will have better luck in the more rural parts of the region. As a rule of thumb, the further north you go, the better. The area around Jackman is prime moose spotting country, including anywhere along Route 201 from The Forks to the Canadian Border and on Route 15.
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WILDLIFE WATCHING: Bring Your Camera
Be Prepared: It goes without saying that you should have your camera ready. If you are in your car, stay in the car. Give them all the room they need. If you have never seen one of these large members of the deer family up close, you cannot imagine how big an animal it is. Mature bulls can weigh over 1,000 pounds and are about 7 feet tall at the shoulders. So if you see that flashing moose sign on the highway, stay alert! And remember, a moose is a wild animal that deserves our respect.
Take a moose safari. To improve your chances of spotting the elusive moose, contact an outfitter that specializes in moose-watching tours, also known as moose safaris. You’ll have the opportunity to safely and comfortably view these magnificent creatures, and the other wildlife that might be encountered along the way, as you learn about moose habits and habitat. Alternatively,
you can contact a Maine Registered Guide who specializes in moose hunting to serve as a guide for your own private adventure.
Spotting other animals With hundreds of thousands of acres of forested land, the Kennebec Valley is home to dozens of species of mammals ranging from white-tailed deer to several of those seen less often, including Black Bear, Canada Lynx, Moose, Bobcat, Fox, and most if not all of the smaller fur-bearers. While disputed, it’s been said there have even been sightings of cougar.
Birding in the Kennebec Valley The Kennebec Valley is a haven for birds and for birders as well. With 275 identified species populating many locations here, our waterways, bogs, farmland, and forested mountains make for excellent birding. Augusta’s Viles Arboretum is a treasure, with 165 documented species. Other
popular in-town locations up and down the river include the waterfront in Gardiner, the Kennebec River Rail Trail, and the Hallowell waterfront. Around Waterville, check out Fort Halifax Park in Winslow and the campus of Colby College. Just north of Fairfield, the Shawmut Dam is a birding hot spot, as is the entire area of Belgrade, from the hills in the north to the bog and stream at Messalonskee Lake’s southern end. Further north, be sure to visit the Appalachian Trail’s intersection with the south end of Flagstaff Lake.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Birding Trail – MaineBirdingTrail.com Maine Audubon – MaineAudubon.org Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife –Maine.gov/ifw Registered Maine Guides – MaineGuides.org
For more about wildlife watching visit KennebecValley.org
Foodie Adventures From the Main Streets to the backroads, taste abounds here.
America travels on its stomach and we’ve got miles and miles of roads in Kennebec Valley. Leave room for the plethora of goodies served up here, set your GPS and loosen your belt for these distinctive Maine bites.
Diners. Something for everyone Belly up to the counter, grab a coffee and dig into eggs-any-way, corned beef hash, hashed browns, and then some. These are what diners are supposed to be. Augusta House of Pancakes, Rebecca’s Place, and Downtown Diner sling classic diner fare. So does Farmingdale’s Hi-Hat. Try Bee’s Snack Bar in Winslow, Holly & Doug’s in Norridgewock, and Purple Cow House of Pancakes in Fairfield. Erik’s in Waterville offers a bloody Mary with your omelet, and you can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant in Skowhegan. For brunch there’s Oakland’s Riverside Farm Market, which serves a crab Benedict to die for or Silver Street Tavern in Waterville Frosty’s is Gardiner’s donut destination. Augusta has Doc Hollandaise, with over 30 varieties of crazy-flavored donut concoctions. Dip into Hillman’s in Fairfield as well. For a more fancy breed of pastry head to The Bankery in Skowhegan.
Favorite lunchtime stops
VISITOR RESOURCES: Get Real, Get Maine – GetRealMaine.com Maine Beer Trail – MaineBrewersGuild.org Maine Wine Trail – MaineWineryGuild.com
For more about food and drinks visit KennebecValley.org Liberal Cup ©Tom McPherson
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Road warriors don’t skimp on lunch. Go big with plate-sized sandwiches at Big G’s in Winslow, enjoy Jersey-style bagels at Augusta’s Bagel Mainea, or try the Red Barn for the best fried seafood around. Damon’s in Augusta and Day’s Store in Belgrade serve up a famous “Italian” sandwich. In Skowhegan, Kel-Mat Cafe has salads and Old Mill Pub sports a view to go with its local brews and pub fare. In Gardiner? Stop into Lisa’s Legit Burritos or the Food Co-op, as both do lunch well. Juiced in Hallowell offers healthful eating. @kennebecexplorer
Try Thompson’s in Bingham. You can easily blow by this place, unless it’s meal time when the street is all parked up. Central Maine Meats in Gardiner is the place to pick up some of top chops and bacon to take home. Then take a ride up to Maine Maple Products in Madison. Jorgenson’s and Selah Tea in Waterville have great coffee, tea, and treats while Main Street neighbor Itali-ah Market and Restaurant serves wood-fired pizza, gelato and bellisimo espresso.
Treat yourself Want an iconic whoopie pie? Grab a dozen at Wicked Whoopies in Gardiner or Al’s Pizza in Skowhegan. Waterville’s Holy Cannoli offers up baked treats like nobody’s business, and Gifford’s Ice Cream stands in both Skowhegan or Waterville cannot be beat. Want a frappe? Try Winthrop’s Fast Eddies (Wednesday is cruise night).
It’s time for dinner Gardiner’s tidy little downtown offers up a few of our favorite dinner spots, including Pastaz, Depot Sports Pub, and A-1 Diner—a classically-styled joint that has turned “diner” into “dinner.” With downtown Augusta on the rise, we want to tip our cap in the direction of Downtown Diner, and Riverfront Barbecue. Sweet Chili at the Augusta Airport surprises for a tasty Thai dinner. Finally, Cloud 9 at the Senator Inn & Spa is a retreat from everyday dining. Hit Waterville’s jackpot. From the Last Unicorn to 18 Below’s raw bar, there is no going wrong. Amici’s Cucina for Italian, Proper Pig is a carnivore’s dream, and Itali-ah’s pizza and fresh pasta astound. Skowhegan’s mainstays: Ken’s Family Restaurant and Heritage House have pleased palates for years. M-Thai is always packed. In Belgrade, the
Village Inn’s duck is famous and Sunset Grill is favored for casual dining. In The Forks try The Boatman’s Bar and Grill, or Riverside Pub. Stop by the Hawk’s Nest for pub grub overlooking the Dead River.
Quench that thirst Downtown Augusta is booming with Cushnoc Brewing Company. Nearby, is Two Gramps Brewing in Gardiner. Oak Pond Brewing and Bigelow Brewing hold the fort in Skowhegan, both making tasty ales. Sit down for a pint at the Old Mill Pub in town. September brings with it the Skowhegan Craft Brew Fest, where you can sample dozens of Maine-made beers. Hallowell’s The Liberal Cup offers an ever-rotating menu of English-style, house-made beers, as well as The Quarry Tap
Room, “Maine’s deepest watering hole.” The Maine House is a craft cocktail bar using Maine-made spirits and eight taps for local beers. Kennebec River Pub & Brewery, at Northern Outdoors Adventure Resort in The Forks, make great seasonal brews. Waterville Brewing Company and Mainely Brews anchor opposites ends of downtown Waterville with local beers on offer. Stop in and stock up at Fairfield’s Meridians, selling craft beers, wines and food to go with them. Tree Spirits makes wines and absinthe in Oakland. Gardiner’s Sebago Lakes Distillery is making fine rum. A little further afield in Unity, stop by the tasting room at Younity Winery, in season.
Old Fort Western
OLD FORT WESTERN
In 1754 a blockhouse was erected to provide for the regional protection of the then wilderness area that would become known as Augusta. It still stands today at Old Fort Western, on the eastern bank at Cushnoc. It also served as the mustering point for Arnold’s failed march on Quebec in 1775. Through many evolutions, the “fort” has been re-purposed several times during its life, including a civilian store, a private residence, and a rooming house. Today it welcomes visitors to the capital region, offering living history exhibits and reenactments.
Just a stone's throw from the lazy flow of the Kennebec River is one of the tiniest but most lively cities you could imagine. In just a few blocks along Water Street is a tasty mix of stores, restaurants, bars, brewpubs, and antique shops made to delight and satisfy any and all cravings; there’s even a candy shop. Perfect for walking and windowshopping, especially for great river views along the Kennebec Rail Trail, Hallowell is a living museum with well-preserved historic buildings that evoke its place as Maine’s Antique Riverport.
Visitors will first notice that Gardiner is well-kept with a welcoming historic downtown filled with restaurants and shops. The scene in Gardiner is made all the more complete with its brick sidewalks, architectural restorations, and manicured parks filled with sculptures. Enjoy yourself at Johnson Hall for rousing live performances. Gardiner also uses the magnificent waterfront park for the town’s wildly popular family-friendly outdoor summer concert series. Come to shop, dine, or even for a complete night out with entertainment.
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Augusta The Capital City is a must on your next visit. In addition to being Maine’s capital, Augusta is one of the more lovely and under-explored cities in Maine. Spend time at the capital complex, visit the Maine State Museum, cross over the Kennebec for an afternoon of living history at Old Fort Western, maybe shop the day away at the Marketplace at Augusta. Grab a meal or do some window shopping on Water Street.
Downtown on Water Street The beating heart of Maine’s capital city, set along a historic stretch of Water Street just a short walk from the capital and across the bridge from Old Fort Western, Downtown Augusta seems to have hit its stride offering visitors places to eat and drink, like Circa 1885 and Otto’s, as well as the exciting Cushnoc Brewing Company. Come for city events or the weekly Farmer’s Market in Mill Park at the end of Water Street, one of the best around.
attractions. Inside you will spot the Lion, one of the nation’s oldest steam engines. Explore 12,000 years of Maine’s history, or tour the museum’s prize exhibit—a spectacular three-story water-powered woodworking mill that was taken apart and re-assembled inside the museum.
The Arboretum Crossing the Kennebec takes you to the Viles Arboretum, a vibrant showcase offering a refreshing selection of walking trails on 225 acres. The arboretum is home to a well-curated American Chestnut collection and the renowned hosta garden. Look up the regularly scheduled artist programs, like the annual Sculpture Symposium. The location is also one of Maine’s top in-town birding locales, with more than 39 documented species.
Active in Augusta The entire Kennebec Valley is crisscrossed with trails, but Augusta is lucky enough to be home to some of the best maintained, and easily accessible trails around. One of these, Bond Brook Park, is Augusta’s must-visit spot. Amazingly, many area residents are unaware that this park exists. But Bond Brook has a growing reputation and the potential to become a world-class trail-sports venue that supports Nordic skiing, mountainbiking, trail-running, and hiking. With its deep connection to American history, a happening downtown, one of the state’s finest museums, and a growing reputation as a foodie destination, no visit to the Kennebec Valley could be complete without spending time in the capital area.
The Capitol Complex There is no getting around in Augusta without spotting the recently replaced copper dome of the state Capitol. Spend a little time getting the grand tour, or skip it and simply relax and enjoy downtime in Augusta’s Capitol Park, the public garden directly across the street from the Capitol complex. The broad, grassy park is also home to the Maine Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
Maine State Museum The Maine State Museum is another of the city’s delightful and surprising
The Blaine House, Capitol Complex, Augusta
© Angi©Marie Photography Angi Marie Photography
© James Rodden Photography
© James Rodden Photography
© Angi Marie Photography
© James Rodden Photography
Downtown Music Walk hosted by Niche, Inc. – April 21 Gardiner Artwalks – May 4, August 3, December 7 Classic Car Cruise-In Thursdays, May-September Free Waterfront Summer Concert Series by Johnson Hall Kickoff event June 22, June–August Greater Gardiner River Festival and the Annual Arts & Craft Fair – June 23 The Great Race – June 26 Swine & Stein Oktoberfest – October 6
For more info: 207-582-3100
Work that still feels like vacation Overlooking the Kennebec River, work like a local in the heart of the community. Take a break at the Gardiner Waterfront Park, walk to lunch, and finish the day off with a locally brewed beer. Conveniently located near I-95 in historic downtown Gardiner. 149 Water Street, Gardiner – 207-582-3100 GardinerMainStreet.org 24 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org KennebecValleyExplorer
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Get a taste of events
Waterville A city with some of everything. The Waterville of today is a diverse hub of activity for year-round visitors: education, the arts, outdoor recreation, and a downtown humming with dining and nightlife. Add in the city’s proximity to other recreational standouts like The Forks for white water rafting and the Capital Area for other cultural offerings, and there is little more needed to make Waterville an ideal destination city.
A cultural extravaganza As home to Colby and Thomas Colleges, Waterville gets a big boost in attracting a plug-and-play audience for many of its cultural events and offerings. The Waterville Opera House welcomes dozens of national and traveling musical, dance, and theatrical acts all year long. During the summer the Maine International Film Festival takes over Castonguay Square, the Opera House, and other venues. Art, sculpture, and
murals adorn the open spaces, making the city a feast for the eyes as well. Here, art overflows from sidewalks and walls, filling galleries with avantgarde showings, while on the campus of Colby College, Maine’s largest gallery and one of the nation’s most expansive collections of American art continues to amaze at no cost to visitors.
Food and drink par excellence This vibrant city also does a great job at keeping your belly full and your thirst quenched. Dozens of excellent restaurants offer the region’s best tables. Perfected classics—like Italian, Mexican, steaks, and chops—line up next to trendy cuisine to delight. Brewpubs, bars, coffee shops, and teahouses round out the picture, offering something for us all at the
With a full calendar of community events, there are a few standouts, to be sure. With such a robust food scene, the winner in this category goes to “The Taste.” Each August, the city sets the table for greatness with the region’s only dining-focused festival, and this isn’t fair food, it’s great food. Street cuisine served up with style. From iconic Maine lobster rolls to classic New England entrées and hip comfort food, The Taste alone is worth the trip. During the holidays the city is transformed into Kringleville where to the delight of families from all over Santa Clause holds court for nearly the entire holiday season listening to the wishes of children young and old.
Step outside Not to be outdone by in-town doings, there is more than enough to keep you busy if you have a yen for the outdoors. In summer, hike trails at Quarry Road or the Kennebec Messalonskee Trails. Then ski and snowshoe all winter long. No matter what kind of fun you seek, Waterville is where great outdoor and indoor experiences easily converge.
beginning and end of each day.
Dining in Waterville ©Heidi Kirn/Waterville Creates
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L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley
Colby College Museum of Art
Fort Halifax, Winslow
Visitors of all kind will enjoy Fairfield and may even extend their stay once they have a chance to see it up close. Downtown offers a welcoming main street while the rolling hills are perfect for a hike, and excellent fly fishing is found in the tailwaters of the Shawmut Dam on the Kennebec River.
Perched at the North End of Lake Messalonskee, the town of Oakland offers the ideal blend for vacationers. It is a lakeside retreat with easy access to the best that the region has to offer, minutes from the in-town excitement of the Watervilleâ€™s dining, entertainment, and cultural attractions.
Look into the wide-ranging cabinet of curiosities that is the L.C. Bates Museum or come for the excellent antiquing and auctions that tell the story of the region through the collected bric-a-brac, furnishings, and ephemera on offer.
Paddle or hike the Messalonskee Kennebec Trails in the morning, fish for your lunch, then spend the afternoon at the Colby Museum of Art. Wake up the next day to a round of golf at the Belgrade Lakes Country Club.
The stout blockhouse at the entry of Winslowâ€™s Fort Halifax Park is the oldest of its kind in the U.S. and all that remains of the large complex completed in 1755. The fort, set on the eastern bank of the Kennebec River, was once a northern outpost for the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was intended to defend the upper Kennebec Valley from French and Native American attacks common at the time. Today the picturesque site is a popular location for town festivities, gatherings like picnics, and it is an excellent spot for an afternoon of fishing.
Visit. Relax. Fish. TIRED OF FISHING THE SAME SPOTS AND NOT CATCHING “THE BIG ONE”? Then look no further than the lakes of mid-Maine. To help you make the most of your fishing trip, Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce has a website dedicated to some of the best bass fishing in Maine. You will find a full list of the area’s lakes, rivers, and streams, information on boat launches, fishing tournaments, local amenities, plus photo and video galleries filled with images of “big ones” that didn’t get away.
2018 MAINE MAN VS BASS TRAIL TOURNAMENTS April 28: Great Pond - June 16: China Lake August 26: Damariscotta Lake - September 22: Salmon McGrath (Wild Card) October 6: Great Pond (TOC) - October 7: Long Pond (TOC)
For more information visit
WWW.MIDMAINEBASS.COM These Events Sponsored by Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce • 50 Elm Street, Waterville, ME • (207) 873-3315 • www.midmainechamber.com
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WATERVILLECREATES.ORG Common Street Arts presents a diverse array of exhibitions each year that incorporates local, regional, established, and emerging artists as part of its gallery and event programming. The educational and clay studios at Common Street Arts provide a unique, safe, and supportive environment for creative endeavors for all ages and levels of experience. All programs at CSA are designed to reflect and promote diversity, creativity, and accessibility.
93 main street, waterville | 207-872-arts www.commonstreetarts.org gallery hours: wedâ€“sat 12â€“5 pm
Art and Culture Itâ€™s all about knowing where to look for inspiration.
DONâ€™T MISS Colby Museum of Art Waterville | Colby.edu/museum Common Street Arts Waterville | WatervilleCreates.org Johnson Hall Gardiner | JohnsonHall.org Lakewood Theater Madison | LakewoodTheater.org Langlais Art Trail Statewide | LanglaisArtTrail.org Maine Outdoor Film Festival MaineOutdoorFilmFestival.com Maine International Film Festival Waterville | MIFF.org Snow Pond Center for the Arts Sidney | SnowPond.org South Solon Meeting House SouthSolonMeetingHouse.org Theater at Monmouth TheateratMonmouth.org Waterville Opera House OperaHouse.org Colby Museum of Art
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A dancer emerging from the shadows. A critic and filmmaker together on the same stage. The lone voice of a guitarist at an open mic night. Three centuries of American masterworks. Concertos, operettas and country music standards. Shakespeare. The arts are alive and well in Maine’s Kennebec Valley.
Art hiding in plain sight If you look beyond the obvious or trendy that often steal the spotlight, you will see that Maine and especially the Kennebec Valley have long been a haven for those who love to make art in all its forms.
The art of performance For classic and contemporary theater productions and concerts featuring top-tier musicians, book your seat at the Waterville Opera House or Gardiner’s Johnson Hall. During the summer months, enjoy an outdoor concert at Snow Pond Center for the Arts in Sidney. Lakewood Theater in Madison raises its curtain on compelling dramas and laugh-out-loud comedies every season, as does the Gaslight Theater in Hallowell, and Theater at Monmouth. Each winter classic holiday dance performances are shown region-wide.
South Solon Meeting House
Hallowell offers an abundance of music venues, including a stage right on the banks of the Kennebec River. And if you love bluegrass, don’t miss the Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival in Litchfield (held twice each summer). If your soul is stirred by classical music, bathe in the experience of Waterville’s multi-week Atlantic Music Festival.
Our finest works Maine’s largest art museum. Yes, it’s here. The Colby College Museum of Art is a modern architectural wonder housing a vast collection of works of art from diverse cultures and historical periods, with a focus on American and contemporary art. All of this and more
are housed in the 26,000-square-foot Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion and an additional 10,000 square feet of exhibition space. Admission is always free. For art on a smaller yet still-compelling scale, view the work of gifted artists at Gardiner’s Monkitree, Hallowell’s Harlow Gallery, or Waterville's Common Street Arts.
Screen gems Waterville is the place for film in midMaine. Specifically, The Maine Film Center, which projects movies onto the silver screen year-round and hosts the annual Maine International Film Festival bringing together filmmakers, critics, educators, and fans from around Maine, New England, and the globe. Travel to The Forks in August for the Maine Outdoor Film Festival, where you’ll find the perfect venue for watching films about the great outdoors beneath the shimmer of stars on a moonlit night.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Arts Commission– MaineArts.Maine.gov
Theater at Monmouth
For more about arts in the region visit KennebecValley.org
Where to Stay We’ve got a place for everyone, no matter what they plan to do. Even you! The best way to begin your search for a place to stay in Maine’s Kennebec Valley is to figure out what you plan to do and build up from there. With the huge variation in the activities visitors come here to enjoy in all four seasons, there will no doubt be a place for you. Looking to get off the grid? Camping is a natural choice whether you plan to park your RV or bring a tent. No equipment? No problem. Maybe it’s an Outdoor Adventure Resort or one of the many traditional Maine Cottage Resorts you need. Either keep you well rested and ready to face the day. Want to handle all the daily scheduling and details like you would at home? A Vacation Rental will provide you with control over every moment of your stay.
Hampton Inn, Augusta
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Find a lakeside cottage of your dreams or a cozy mountain bungalow built for two; you make the rules and the meals. Sporting Camps and Wilderness Lodges are purpose-built for adventure and for the hunting and fishing types. But don’t be fooled, most have the comforts of an in-town hotel; they just happen to put their guests in the center of the action. Visitors to the region coming in for shorter getaways—perhaps something like a special event, destination wedding, or romantic leaf-peeping trip can pick from a collection of in-town Inns and B&Bs. And if you plan on being in Augusta, Waterville, Skowhegan or some of the other larger towns here, there are excellent choices when it comes to Hotels and Motels.
Maple Hill Farm Inn, Hallowell
Camping From rugged fun to relax in the sun, pack your gear and go. Don’t forget your sense of adventure and a plan to have no plans. Campgrounds range from simple tenting to full-on family RV camping resorts, so do your homework as you look for the “perfect spot.” Keep in mind the things you want to do, too, when you are not on your site.
Northern Outdoors, The Forks
WILDLIFE WATCHING: Bring Your Camera
The Village Inn and Tavern. Belgrade
Cottage Resorts With nature right outside your door, a Cottage Resort can combine the nostalgia of a classic Maine getaway with unmatched hospitality and family fun. Meal plans are pretty standard and camp activities like hiking, kayaking, and fishing are usually available at no extra charge. Or you can just relax and let time slip by.
Vacation Rentals Vacation like you live here. Big or small, you make the call. Most any of our towns have real estate offices or rental specialists that cater to these kinds of properties. Or for the more tech savvy, there are any number of online lodging sites. When you rent the right place it feels like you own a vacation home.
Inns and B&Bs An overnight stay at one of our many bed and breakfasts or historic inns provides a highly-personalized lodging experience, and also a way to connect
with your hosts and other visitors. These friendly folks are in the know about the best of the region and will be glad to arrange for a sunset boat ride on the lake or a picnic to take along on your day out.
Outdoor Adventure Resorts These resorts are built around taking care of their guests with an activityfilled vacation in mind, with onsite outdoor activity planning (including guides), dining, entertainment, and even onsite breweries. Plus, they usually have accommodations that range from roughing it in a tent to posh multi-unit cabins or suites. After your adventure, enjoy a dip in the pool or a soak in a hot tub.
Sporting Camps and Wilderness Lodges Camps and lodges are a Maine tradition. These purpose-built lodgings grant easy access to the outdoors and insider tips from the owner—usually a Registered Maine Guide as well. Guests enjoy
home-cooked meals, camaraderie, and fully-stocked cabins right out in the woods.
Hotels and Motels Hotel and motel lodging in Maine’s Kennebec Valley provides a comfortable and welcome respite from your day’s activities. Augusta and Waterville are where you will find national chains to fit every budget. Or experience traditional Maine hospitality at the motels and motor courts in virtually all the towns along the region’s major thoroughfares.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Innkeepers Association– MaineInns.com Maine Campground Owners Association – CampMaine.com
For more on lodging options in the region visit KennebecValley.org
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1041 US Route 201, Caratunk, ME 04925 • 207.672.3333 • MaineSterlingInn.com
34 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
Skowhegan State Fair, ©Knightvision Photography
Skowhegan Indian by Bernard Langlais
Lake George Regional Park, Canaan ©Dan Marquis
Canaan may just be the perfect base camp for sportsmen and vacationers. Just to the east of Skowhegan, Canaan is home to the spectacularly beautiful Lake George Regional Park, 520 acres of well-manicured space with a welcoming beach, about 10 miles of looped trails— the Alphabet Trails because of their trail markings—picnicking facilities and access on both the east and west sides for visitors. Paddlers and hikers will be thrilled with this regional gem and with all there is to enjoy here in summer, as will snowmobilers and snowshoers during the wintertime.
A classic Maine town with a mix of well-preserved brick and clapboard turn-of-the-century homes set back from wide, tree-lined streets. The river here offers a nice challenge for kayakers and anglers will find excellent trout fishing below the dam and alongside the river. Look for the monuments erected in town that tell the story of Jesuit missionary Sebastian Rasle. Away from town, in East Madison on the shore of Lake Wesserunsett, is Lakewood Theater, where the curtain first rose in 1901 and continues to do so each summer.
Just off Route 201, in East Madison, visitors looking for an experience that defies description should make dinner and theater plans for a night out at Lakewood Theater. Beginning in 1901, Lakewood brought world-class performances to the shore of sparkling Lake Wesserunsett. With time a summer community developed and Broadway came to the woods of Maine. And it still does with each summer season. Those seeking to dine only can do so seasonally in the historic dining room adjacent to the theater for dinner and brunch.
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Skowhegan A place to watch becomes the place to be. Event-full year 2018 is a big year for Skowhegan and it’s going to be busy. March gets things rolling with the Maple Festival. Yummy! Then in June, we welcome the annual Moose Lottery with the Skowhegan Moose Festival. July brings the amazing Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair. Catch your breath as August kicks off with River Fest and the Somerset Family Arts Festival, followed by the Skowhegan State Fair celebrating its bicentennial. By the time September rolls around, it’s no wonder we will need the Craft Brew Fest to help level things off. So don’t worry if you can’t make an event—there will be plenty of chances to jump in and enjoy the fun.
fishing in the state. Climbers looking to explore a little might find a treasure here, and trail running and biking are found in any direction you go. But the best part? At the end of the day, you can head back to town for a hot meal, some local craft beer, and a welcome slice of civilization. Cheers to that!.
Farm-to-table The Kennebec Valley has always been known for its rich soil and farming has been part of the community since the Norridgewock Abenaki began to till the soil long, long ago. Fast forward to today. As home to a year-round farmers market on the rise, Skowhegan upped
the ante with a stroke of genius when it upcycled the abandoned county lockup into Maine’s premier modern grist mill. That plus the continued success of the Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair have given Skowhegan the cachet that makes it an ideal location for breweries, food-friendly events, restaurants, pubs, and of course, one heck of a tasty bakery.
Along Water Street As one of the three Main Street Maine communities in the Kennebec Valley, Skowhegan has been recognized for its very walkable downtown area, filled with small cafés, shops, and businesses. These are set in a backdrop of beautiful and well-maintained buildings that show off the history of the town. When you get here, walk around some. Just up the street from downtown is Coburn Park, a pretty and welcoming green space that also hosts events like the charming summertime gazebo concert series and dinner in the park.
That’s the thing about Skowhegan, it possesses an indescribable vibe and boundless energy. Through the last few years, that energy and vibe have continued to grow like the rolling waters of the Kennebec River cascading into the river’s deep gorge here. Whatever the cause, it is definitely worth keeping track of. But don’t just stand there and watch: join in and see what you’ve been missing.
Basecamp for adventure For the visitor who loves adventure, Skowhegan makes a perfect jumping-off point. Further up the valley is the state’s best white water rafting. The waters of the Kennebec River, its tributaries, and the dams along the way make for excellent kayaking (try the Madison Wave) as well as some of the finest trout
Skowhegan River Gorge
Shopping If you can’t find it here, you don’t really need it. Small shops: they’ve got it
The hunt for antique and vintage
It’s all at the Mall
Keep your eyes peeled as you travel along our byways and through our towns. You’ll find small, local shops in the most surprising places, gladly welcoming visitors inside. Whether it’s a bike repair, handmade earrings, a custom fishing fly, or a coffee mug, these artisans have their fingers on your pulse. They are there if you look hard enough. Snugged in between a barber and a Realtor you might find new fashions, collectibles, and even things that go zip and zoom for the kids. Sometimes it may be the only option as well. That gas station in town may also make the best sandwich around and have a raincoat, a kayak paddle, and a first aid kit. We should probably call them “necessity stores,” because if you need it, they’ll surely have it.
Central Maine offers great antiquing, pickers come here and go home happy. Country auctions held on a somewhat regular basis are filled with all kinds rural maine finds and other “great stuff,” while the antique malls overflow with mountains of oddities or treasure, depending on which way you lean on the subject. Casual shoppers should head to Hallowell’s densely lined Water Street for shops like Johnson-Marsano Antiques and The Hallowell Antiques Mall. In Waterville, there is the massive Hathaway Mill Antiques. Those looking to dig a little should follow the roads out of the bigger towns, especially Route 201, to find spots like Jellison’s in Augusta, Poulin’s, and the Fairfield Antiques Mall a mile or so off of the interstate in Fairfield.
For some time now Augusta has been home to some of the best shopping in Maine, and because it’s outdoors, it’s way less crowded than Portland. So if you need something, or even if you want to browse, visit The Marketplace at Augusta. It’s close to the interstate and while nearly all of the mega-retailers are represented—Barnes & Noble, Home Depot, Walmart, and Old Navy— there are many unexpected surprises, too, with brands like ULTA, Yankee Candle, and Eddie Bauer Outlet. You can also shop for bargains at Kohl’s or grab a bite with friends and family at Red Robin, Chipotle, or Elevation Burger. Whether it is shopping for something you forgot at home, or maybe you just want to treat yourself while on vacation, you are bound to find what you need.
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Downtown Gardiner ©Tom McPherson
Find yourself down on Main Street
Crafted in Maine
Shopping for Maine foods
The Kennebec Valley is home to three of Maine’s Main Street Communities— Gardiner, Augusta, and Skowhegan— that represent the idea that a vibrant downtown is an economic engine. Each works in different ways, but all continue to advance their communities. Their streets are lined with shops, boutiques, and restaurants of all kinds. Most, if not all, are run by local business people. Shopping in other downtowns is no less enjoyable though. Make time to hit the bricks in Hallowell, Monmouth, Belgrade, Waterville, and Madison. More than just places to shop and eat, they are gathering places for local celebrations like Kringleville or Old Hallowell Day and performances at places like Johnson Hall in Gardiner, or the Waterville Opera House.
If you find yourself headed north into the Kennebec Valley traveling along the interstate, jump off and take a break at the West Gardiner Travel Plaza. Once inside, you’ll find the Center for Maine Craft located in the corner next to Starbucks. Take time to wander around this amazing store organized and run by the Maine Crafts Association. It’s open year-round and nearly every kind of craft imaginable—from carved and turned wood pieces to delicate jewelry, fiber art, books, and even some food products—are represented here. Everything in the store has been created by Maine’s hugely-talented crafts workers. Those looking for other Maine-made merchandise should visit the Maine Made & More stores in Belgrade and Waterville.
Not to discount what you will find at over a dozen farmers markets here, but there is a food revolution happening in the Kennebec Valley. Good food, made here is showing up everywhere. Some of the best tomatoes in the world are grown in Madison. Gourmet chocolate from Waterville. Wines and spirits from Oakland. Ice cream from Skowhegan. Whoopie pies and artisan crisps from Waterville. Flour and grains milled in Skowhegan. Sauces and marinades from Canaan. Maple syrup from Madison. Mushrooms from Gardiner. And microbrews from just about every zip code in the region. Look for the Made In Maine brand when you are shopping in the region and give our local stuff a try. Happy eating.
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Tree-to-Table: Ironically, it’s right around Valentine’s Day that the maple trees begin to produce what will become some of the sweetest and most delectable edibles on earth. When the days start to get a little longer (and the nights stay wicked cold), the roots of these miraculous trees send out the call that springtime is on its way. Multiply that annual miracle by tens of thousands of trees across the northern part of the region. More syrup pours out of the Kennebec Valley—Somerset County to be exact—than anywhere else in the world. Over the next several weeks the trees do their thing while maple producers do theirs. Gathering up
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You’ve never had it so sweet. and boiling down the sap from its watery start to the delicious amber liquid that we all know so well. Like wood smoke, excitement begins to fill the air because, as the fourth Sunday of March arrives, so does Maine Maple Sunday, when hundreds of sap houses across the state open their doors to share their bounty. “Sugaring” reflects tradition, science, innovation, and the ever-changing weather. At its core, it is an age-old process, from bucket to evaporator to bottle. Every sugar-maker has stories that describe why their syrup is the best you’ve ever had.
Fill Your Basket FARMERS’ MARKETS
Augusta Mid-May to Mid-October
Arnold Farm Sugar House Jackman | Arnoldfarm.com
Mill Park, Augusta Mid-May to Mid-November
Bacon Farm Sidney | BaconFarmMaple.com
Viles Arboretum Year-round
Carrier Sugar House Jackman | 207-668-4391
Belgrade Lakes Mid-May to Mid-October
Cobbs Hill Sugarhouse Mount Vernon | 207-620-2326
Canaan May to October
Dennis Brook Maple Syrup Litchfield | 207-268-2834
East Vassalboro May through October
Easton’s Maple Syrup Farm Belgrade | 207-649-8470
Fairfield Mid-May through October
Echo Valley Farm/ Wilson Family Maple Syrup Albion | 207-453-6969
Avalon Acres Orchard & Farm Saint Albans | 207-938-2501
Haulk’s Maple Madison | 207-474-8047
Cayford Orchards Skowhegan | CayfordOrchards.com
Gardiner Year-round Hallowell May through October Madison May through November Pittsfield May through October Skowhegan Year-round Waterville Year-round Wayne June through October Winthrop May through October
Hay’s Maple Shack Athens | 207-654-3804 Hopkins School Farm Saint Albans | 207-938-3258 Luce’s Pure Maple Syrup Anson | 207-696-3732 Maine Maple Products Inc. Madison | MaineMaple.com Mike's Maple House Winthrop | 207-377-2501 Poulin’s Maple Syrup Windsor | 207-445-5030 Raider’s Sugarhouse China | 207-968-2005 Sawyer’s Maple Farm Jackman | SawyersMaple.com Smith Brothers Maple Syrup Skowhegan | 207-474-3491 Strawberry Hill Farms LLC Skowhegan | 207-431-1481 Sugar Brook Maple Farm Mount Vernon | 207-293-2831 Tessiers Farm Skowhegan | 207-474-6380
Two Sams Maple Syrup Hallowell | 207-623-8601 Y’s Farm Winslow | 207-872-6857
PICK YOUR OWN APPLES The Apple Farm Fairfield | AppleFarm.us
Chick's Apple Stand Monmouth | 207-933-4056 Kents Hill Orchard Kents Hill | 207-685-3522 Lakeside Orchards and Farm Market Manchester | LakesideOrchards.com Lemieux's Orchard North Vassalboro | 207-923-3518 Lombard's Appleberry Orchard Saint Albans | 207-938-2861 Mt Nebo Orchards Mount Vernon | 207-242-8763 North Star Orchards Madison | NorthStarOrchards.me Sandy River Apples Norridgewock | SandyRiverApples.com Whit's Apples Winthrop | 207-395-4436 VISITOR RESOURCES: Get Real, Get Maine – GetRealMaine.com Maine Maple Producers Association – MaineMapleProducers.com
For more on markets and orchards visit KennebecValley.org
Let’s Go Camping! It’s awesomer here.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Camp Maine – CampMaine.com
For more on camping in the region visit KennebecValley.org
What is camping? Maybe it’s the lack of definition that makes camping so great. Let’s keep the definition simple: A tent or RV on a beautifully wooded site where the starry sky and a campfire replace the television for nightly entertainment. Now all you need to do is pack—be it almost everything or virtually nothing depending on your style—and find your spot. Here are some ideas. But with about a hundred campgrounds, cottage resorts, or vacation rental services here you should be able to find a really great spot; the rest comes naturally.
Looking for a lakeside escape Maine’s reputation as Vacationland is well earned and with dozens of the cleanest and most respected fishing and recreation lakes in the U.S. found in the southern part of the region—less than a tank of gas from home—you’ll quickly 44 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
agree. Bring the boat or the floats. Fish all day and sizzle up your catch for dinner. Hike the dawn and repeat what you did yesterday. Look for places around Winthrop, Monmouth, Rome, and Belgrade.
On the outskirts of town That special camping glow doesn’t always need to be out in the wilderness. Besides, some great camping can be within easy reach of all the needs and feeds found in the cities and towns along the Kennebec River. Maybe even arrive in time for the Fourth of July, a local fair, or family fun. If you’re looking for centrally located family camping that still delivers on all the Maine camping experiences (water, woods, fun) you’ll want to start your hunt around Skowhegan, Oakland, or Madison. KennebecValleyExplorer
Getting back to nature Camping is about the great outdoors, right? If you don’t limit your camping to what you can fit in your trunk or to just the warm weather, this may be your jam. Easy hikes to mountain peaks. Picnic lunches next to a thundering waterfall. All of it is breathtaking. Don’t forget your kayak or canoe. Once you arrive, you won’t want to leave. This place sets a high bar for outdoor recreational camping with great spots in The Forks, Jackman, and Rockwood, and all around The Moose River Valley
More than we thought possible During a recent search we found that the Kennebec Valley is home to nearly a hundred campgrounds, RV parks, cottage resorts, vacation rentals. So dig deep and you just might find camping perfection this year.
With so many choices — from the simple pleasure of tent camping to full-service RV resorts with everything you need, or even comfy cabin rentals — a Maine camping experience is like no other. CampMaine.com will help you find the camping experience as unique as you are within reach of all you want to see and do in Maine. With easy to use search tools, maps, and resources, Maine’s Official Camping Guide will virtually point the way.
Get started today at
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shifting season brings the fly fisherman. Intrepid anglers looking to stand waistdeep or float atop a kayak in the frigid waters feeding the Kennebec River in pursuit of spring trout hungry for a post-winter meal.
The Forks With four seasons of adventure sport, are you packed yet? It’s amazing how far a place can come in 40 years. During these past four decades, The Forks has grown, if not in size or population, but in reputation as the home of white water rafting in Maine. But it is way more than that. With the popularity of adventure sports growing by leaps and bounds each year, The Forks has kept pace with demand, adding services and trails at every step of the way. Here the confluence of the Dead and Kennebec Rivers offers sportsmen of all kinds and skill levels the opportunity of a lifetime. Rafting, fishing, hunting, ATV & snowmobile riders, hikers, bikers, trail runners, long-distance backpackers. To make things even better, for the soft-adventurer we have an easy halfmile trek to the region’s crown jewel and Maine’s highest waterfall Moxie Falls. Whatever the need calls for, our
We are rafting
legion of local guides are here to provide gear, meals, and lodging for adventurous visitors in all four seasons.
Winter thrills Each year, long before the rafts hit the gorge, this place has seen its first and second seasons of adventurists. Wintertime, starting back in December, brings snow and with it the thrill of long days spent riding well-groomed trails through the deep woods, across lakes, and climbing peaks. Snowmobiling here is a community like none other. Our trails are like none other. The experience is like none other. The number of Nordic skiers and snowshoe hikers also continues to grow in proportion to the growing number of trails that crisscross the area.
Spring trout fishing Once the snow (and mud) are gone, the
In The Forks, rafting season kicks off in May. Around this time of year, it’s green and cool, the trails firm up, and springtime starts to feel a little more summery. People come here to go white water rafting and for many, it is the experience of a lifetime. The 12-mile Kennebec River trip begins on Indian Pond and roars through the spectacular Upper Kennebec Gorge, with rapids up to Class IV. Even more challenging, the Dead River provides the longest stretch of continuous white water in the East. There are many rafting companies and guides in the area, each well suited for different kinds of passengers. In fact, several offer good-quality accommodations in addition to home-cooked meals and an experienced crew.
The pleasure of paddling Despite being known for rafting, there is quite a bit of other paddling here as well. The Bow Trip is a welcome respite from the heaving froth of tubing. Wyman Lake is a 12-mile long widening of the Kennebec River that makes for ideal paddling and fishing.
On the ATV trails Once the weather warms up and the mud dries, trails begin to firm up and visitors with ATVs begin to make their presence known. Wherever you go, ATVs can be heard in the distance and moose safaris become more available. With access to hundreds of miles of trails, there is nothing better than a day spent riding on the trail.
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Wyman Lake, Moscow
Bingham Free Meeting House
Route 201 ©Dan Marquis
Moxie Falls ©Heliconia/Maine Woods Discovery
Located on the 45th parallel, Bingham sits exactly halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. Bingham is more readily known as the gateway to Maine’s outdoor sporting paradise. Local anglers are especially fond of the Kennebec here, affectionately calling sections of this wonderful stretch of river Rainbow Alley. Bingham has a well-known and really fun swimming hole at Houston Brook Falls where Houston Brook empties into Wyman Lake on the Kennebec River. Bingham is also the northern end of the multi-use Kennebec Valley Trail.
The small residential town of Moscow is situated just north of Bingham and 24 miles from Skowhegan. The friendly town’s outstanding feature is the Wyman Hydroelectric Dam which slows the Kennebec River and creates a widening in the river known as Wyman Lake. Along the lake on the eastern side of the Old Canada Road, visitors can observe a recent man-made phenomenon: dozens of birdhouses, many delightfully colored, have been fastened to the retaining wall and now extend for several hundred yards along the highway.
When you visit The Forks, one absolute “Don’t Miss” on your checklist should be Moxie Falls, Maine’s highest and— many would say—most beautiful waterfall. Follow Lake Moxie Road out of The Forks and look for signs about two miles out. The wide path meanders through the forest for about half a mile to the falls. If you visit during the summer, bring your towel so you can revel in the old-fashioned swimming hole just a bit down from the main falls.
Wide Open Spaces Redefining the â€œgreatâ€? outdoors.
Bog bridges along the Holeb Carry
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Maine’s public lands are a genuine wonder. Time spent in any of these glorious places will help you to understand one of the important reasons behind calling this guide the Explorer. Taken as a whole, all the public lands and places in Maine can seem overwhelming because there are so many to choose from. But individually, each is a beautiful green place filled with undisturbed and protected nature just waiting to be explored.
Our own ‘Great Outdoors’ places The Kennebec Valley has a pretty fair share of these places and we welcome you to come spend time here. From places like the highly remote and jaw-droppingly pretty Seboomook, which is public reserved land up in the Maine Woods; to the more accessible Kennebec Highlands, which are easier to get to and offer vistas of the Belgrade Lakes that are no less spectacular.
Live like an explorer These are places meant to be hiked and paddled; they are ideal for birding or even deep contemplation. You’ll often spot wildlife and have excellent opportunities to take pictures. It’s these kinds of “off the beaten trail” locales where you can get a taste of what it’s really like to be an Explorer.
Wood Pond, Jackman ©Dan Marquis
Visit and repeat So find a map and look up these places, then just go. Take it all in. If what you see isn’t what you had anticipated, pick another spot and check that out. Dead River Public Reserve Land Includes the north shore of man-made Flagstaff Lake and several miles of The Dead River. Anglers and bald eagles both enjoy fishing in The Big Eddy. This site also offers great vehicle-accessible camping and paddling. Bigelow Preserve Public Reserved Land Hike the Bigelow Range along the Appalachian Trail or paddle part of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail on Flagstaff Lake. A gem to visit when foliage is changing.
Holeb Public Reserved Land Ideal for paddling and wildlife watching, home to the Maine Bow Trip, a multiday looped trip with one portage and excellent campsites. Great hikes include Sally and Burnt Jackson Mountains. Kennebec Highlands Public Reserved Land Hike McGaffey Mountain (the tallest in Kennebec County), Round Top, and Sanders for unmatched views of the Belgrade Lakes. Cold Stream Conservation Land This primeval and recently protected land near The Forks provides shelter to large populations of native wild brook trout and white-tailed deer, while Canada lynx prowl beneath the forest canopy. Seboomook Lake Public Reserved Land A remotely located spot that offers unfettered access to fishing, paddling, white water, and backcountry camping in a pristine Maine Woods location. VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Bureau of Parks & Land – ParksandLands.com Natural Resources Council of Maine – NRCM.org Registered Maine Guides – MaineGuides.org
French Mountain view of the Belgrade Lakes
For more visit KennebecValley.org
A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE, WORK AND PLAY! COLONY HOUSE INN
ROY’S INFLATABLE WATER SLIDES
68 Beach Road • 207-474-6599 ColonyHouseInn.com Built in 1929, the Colony House Inn is situated in scenic and historic Lakewood, offering both the elegance of the Inn or more rustic cottages.
76 Theater Road • 207-474-7176 LakewoodTheater.org The longest running summer theater in the nation, located lakeside, this historical setting features nine performances each summer.
469 Main Street Facebook.com/roysinflatablewaterslides 7 huge slides in this park near Madison High School. $10 per person for a day of fun. Summer hours 10am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
FOSHAY’S INFORMATION BOOTH
MAINE MAPLE PRODUCTS, INC
144 Main Street One stop shopping for all your tourism and business information in and around the Madison area. Also the home of Santaville during the holiday season.
449 Lakewood Road • 207-474-3887 MaineMaple.com Our maple syrup has been named Maine’s Best for quality, purity, and taste many times in recent years; judge for yourself!
98 Main Street • 207-696-5800 SomersetAbbey.com A music, wedding, and events hall in a historic setting. See our website for a calendar or musical and comedy events or call for a tour.
KENNEBEC ICE KREAMERY
NORTH STAR ORCHARDS
TREASURES: A PRIMITIVE SHOP
469 Main Street • 207-399-4392 Facebook.com/kennebec-ice-kreamery Delicious homemade ice cream served in generous portions. Over 20 original flavors in hard and soft serve. Try a super sundae today!
97 Orchard Road • 207-696-5109 NorthStarOrchards.me A family farm for family fun! Visit our farm store for fresh apples, cider and much more. Find us on Facebook – we’re open year-round.
270 Main Street • 207-696-8440 Like Us on Facebook A shop of old and new primitives, including home décor and accents of times gone by.
LAKEWOOD GOLF COURSE
R&B’S HOME SOURCE
803 Lakewood Road • 207-474-5955 LakewoodGolfMaine.com Originally built in the 1920s, our beautiful course includes Maine’s only Par 6, with amazing scenery to give you a great golfing experience.
517 Lakewood Road • 207-474-2400 RandBsHomeSource.com Looking to furnish your camp? R&B’s is a familyowned discount appliances, lawn and garden, furniture, mattresses, and electronics store
221 Lakewood Road • 207-474-7353 YonderHill.com A family-friendly campground that also has cabin and RV rental units. Gem mining, bounce area, pedal cart rentals, fishing, pool, birthday party packages, and much more!
LAKEWOOD INN RESTAURANT
RENYS – A ‘MAINE’ ADVENTURE
XANA-DO SALON & DAY SPA
76 Theater Road • 207-858-4403 LakewoodTheater.org Enjoy simple Maine elegance with lakeside views. Enjoy dinner, dessert or a libation before the show or at intermission. Sunday brunch 10-2.
65 Main Street • 207-696-4405 • Renys.com A big Maine attraction in Madison. Just a short drive from Eaton Mountain, Lakewood Theater, and Sugarloaf USA.
411 Lakewood Road • 207-474-1234 Xana-DoSalonandDaySpa.com Relax with our exceptional, effective beauty treatments and allow yourself and your body to get the rest you need in a rejuvenating environment.
YOGI BEAR’S JELLYSTONE PARK
For more information, visit MADISONME.ORG or Facebook.com/visitmadisonmaine. 52 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
NORTHERN OUTDOORS MAINE’S PREMIER ADVENTURE RESORT HO
Serving You Maine’s Best Active Vacations!
Celebrating Over 40 Years
Classic Open Timbered Log Lodge: Fieldstone fireplace, gameroom, free wifi, outdoor swimming pool and giant outdoor hot tub.
Kennebec River Brewery: Great food and fresh, handcrafted ales.
New England’s Best Whitewater Rafting: Kennebec, Penobscot, and Dead Rivers.
ATV Trails, Guided Fishing Trips & Hiking Trails: Explore more adventures during your resort stay.
World-Class Snowmobiling: Sled rentals, guided tours, fantastic grooming, trailside access to Maine’s ITS trail system.
Adventure Resort in The Forks and Adventure Basecamp at the Penobscot River and Baxter State Park.
Centrally located in Western Maine’s renowned outdoor recreation playground.
Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway 1771 US Route 201, The Forks, ME 04985
Trail Riding Summer or winter, the trails never seem to end.
Maine’s Kennebec Valley was made for riding. It is easy to access, but distant enough from civilization’s whirl. The sights and sounds are exactly what you seek. And the community of clubs and people make you feel right at home. So fire ‘em up and head out. Let’s hit the sights, take in a waterfall or a perfect lookout spot, enjoy a trailside lunch, then off to spot moose or deer. Maybe we’ll end the day with a ride alongside a lake to catch the sunset, heading home followed by the haunting call of the loons across the water.
Summer? Winter? Maybe both? Have you ever dreamed of traveling by snowmobile through one of the best trail systems in the U.S.? This region alone offers hundreds of miles of wellmaintained backcountry trails for all skill levels. And if you desire, you can use your place in Bingham, The Forks, or Jackman as your basecamp for exploring the rest of the state. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing family ride, a day of mountain trail exploration, or an overnight excursion, ATVing and snowmobiling in the Kennebec Valley are classic, don’t-miss Maine experiences.
A community of riders As you travel toward the Canadian border there are so many rider-friendly towns. A constant flow of club activities includes pancake breakfasts, trail lunches, region-wide social rides, and competitive events. Look online for clubs, and if you need to rent a machine, camps, resorts, and historic outfitters can provide you with exactly what you need. You can also benefit from guide services if you don’t want to explore on your own. Most of the guide services are well-equipped with riding gear and supplies.
VISITOR RESOURCES: ATV Maine – ATVMaine.org Maine ATV Trails – Bit.ly/MaineATVTrails Maine Snowmobile Association – MESnow.com
For more on trail riding in the region visit KennebecValley.org
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Take care of the trails We do ask a few things: Follow the rules. Wear appropriate safety gear. Ride on the right. Finally, always tread lightly and be respectful of the land and of nature while you ride. Nearly all the land you are traveling on or across (95% or more) is privately owned. Treat it as if it were your own.
Try something new If you have never been on a snowmobile or an ATV, making these exciting sports part of your vacation adventures is easy. Local chambers of commerce or snowmobile and ATV clubs can hook you up with outfitters. Or you can join club rides and events to make your visit memorable and successful. Some of the best places to look for “your people” include the bigger towns along Route 201
above Skowhegan, including Bingham, The Forks, and Jackman. An online search will show you where to go.
Make it an unforgettable vacation Visitors have been coming to Maine’s Kennebec Valley for years to experience world-class snowmobile and ATV-riding. Throughout the region, resorts and lodges offer packages allowing you to ride trails to and from their back doors. Your vacation will let you travel through fragrant fir, spruce and balsam forests and along streams and rivers. You will traverse wide-open fields and vast expanses. Those looking to fish or hunt can make separate arrangements. The vast network of accessible trails will take you beyond the boundaries of your imagination.
THREE TOP RIDES Sugarloaf Mountain Lookouts Trailhead Bingham | 35-mile loop This scenic ride offers views of the Sugarloaf Mountain range and river. Spot bald eagles, ospreys, loons, whitetailed deer, and moose. ATV trails are 80% gravel / 20% backcountry trail. Greenville Trail Trailhead The Forks | 100 miles round-trip Ride includes Moxie Falls, Lake Moxie, Moxie Bald Mountain, Shirley Bog, Moosehead Lake. ATV terrain is 85% gravel / 15% skidder trails. Pittston Farm Trail Trailhead Jackman | 60-mile day trip Travel to historic Pittston Farm past several breathtaking vistas. ATV terrain varies from gravel and skidder trails to true forest terrain.
Heritage Sports Down home hospitality paired with the timeless spirit of the outdoor life. There’s a reason that sportsmen continue to take advantage of the long-established fishing and hunting available in the Kennebec Valley. Curious? Consider yourself invited for a chance to partake in these time-honored traditions. You might just make it a regular outing.
Hunt and stay in style. Sporting camps or lodges, along with the guide you choose, will make your trip memorable. For those hunting for black bear, white-tailed deer, birds like ruffed grouse, rare quarry like a bobcat, even our mammoth moose, our region welcomes hunters like old friends and makes them feel right at home. What more could today’s sportsman want? Check around to find a place that fits your style and suits your needs. There are nearly endless opportunities, ranging from decades-old sporting camps to updated cabins and ultra-modern lodges set up to meet the needs of a sportsman looking for something really special.
central Maine during the height of the season. In the northern Kennebec Valley head to the Brassua inlet streams like Johnson Brook or Misery Stream; hit Moosehead Lake, too. Down south, visit Cobbosseecontee and other Winthrop and Monmouth lakes for more incredible bass fishing.
Storied fly fishing spots. The fishing story in Maine’s Kennebec Valley all started with fly-fishing along the upper reaches of the river’s mighty banks. The story continues every year, with the best chances happening in the early morning and late afternoon. More thrills are found along the Old Canada Road between the top of Lake Wyman and The Forks, where abundant spots for fall fishing with bright flies are found. From The Forks north to Indian Pond, spring fishing includes hooking
brook trout and salmon until the warm water pushes the fish up to Harris Dam. Between the dam and the gorge, anglers can find good-sized fish (over 12”) up for a fight.
Hardwater: a winter way of life. Winter is hard in Maine—from those first flakes to the last storms that blow through in the early spring. That doesn’t stop a hardcore angler. Bear up, grab your traps and an auger, and make friends with someone who has a heater and a fishing shed. Finally, don’t forget your license. Then give it a go. You may end up trading stories and tipping back several “cold ones,” but the time goes quickly when you are among friends.
Maine’s Masters of Bass The Kennebec Valley has a “big bass” reputation that grows with each passing year, making it the perfect destination for your fishing expedition. Bassmaster Magazine agrees, putting three of the region’s many lakes on its Top 25 Northeastern Lakes lists—China Lake at number 13, Webber Pond at 15, and Great Pond at 18. Happily, for you, these are all centrally located. Competitive anglers should look for the Maine Man vs. Bass Trail series that dominates 56 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
Maine Man vs. Bass Trail
Silverton Sporting Ranch
HIRE A REGISTERED MAINE GUIDE You will without a doubt get more out of your hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation experiences if you invest in the services of a Registered Maine Guide. Maine has one of the largest, best-tested group of guides around. And for every trip, there is a guide to match. So call around, trade emails, ask questions and better yet, make sure you answer questions about your planned trip. Yep, that’s how to know a guide is doing their best to build a winning trip. Lastly, check the guide’s credentials to make sure you are getting the genuine article.
VISITOR RESOURCES: Maine Man vs Bass Trail – MVBMaineTrail.com Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife –Maine.gov/ifw Mid-Maine Bass Fishing – MidMaineBass.com Registered Maine Guides – MaineGuides.org
For more on fishing and hunting visit KennebecValley.org
Set along the Old Canada Road and the edge of Wood Pond, Jackman is the gateway to sixty lakes, ponds, and streams, as well as an extensive system of interconnected snowmobile and ATV trails. It is a four season sportsmanâ€™s paradise on earth. Just south of town, be sure to stop at the Attean Overlook rest area with its unparalleled vistas. Many visitors to this small town choose to stay at a traditional sporting camp. During your visit, make the hike to the peak of Sally Mountain for a spectacular view or embark on the historic Bow Trip.
Situated on the western side of Moosehead Lake and directly to the west of the monolithic and historic Mount Kineo is the lakeside village of Rockwood. This little town serves as a gateway to the north and to the great world of sporting activities that have made the region famous. Sporting camps and cottages are all within easy reach as are dozens of trails for use in both summer and winter. Mount Kineo, accessible by the Kineo Shuttle boat from Rockwood, is home to a state park and Mount Kineo Golf Course.
Accessible by boat from Rockwood, Mount Kineo climbs over 700 feet from the depths of Moosehead lake. Shaped by glacial ice over 10,000 years ago Mount Kineo shares its distinctive shape with many other Maine peaks. For hikers, the park is encircled with well-marked trails that also lead hikers to the summit and the spectacular views. Those looking to make a day of their visit should consider bringing their golf clubs and having a go at the 9-hole course located at the base of the mountainâ€™s majestic cliffs.
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The Moose River Valley A place to find a sense of peace or experience the thrill of adventure. Devotees have been visiting the Moose River Valley for its unblemished natural beauty and access to fishing, paddling, and hunting for well over a century. Now many come for the snowmobiling and ATV riding. Along the historic Old Canada Road National Scenic Byway this unspoiled place is a delight when seen from behind the wheel in the autumn. Those looking to harvest enjoyment of a more natural kind should spend a day or two here, and push deep into the red-painted and golden-tipped forest for a day of hiking or paddling across fish-filled lakes. Spot a moose in rut or simply climb one of the surrounding peaks at dawn to capture a glorious sunrise (or set).
Fishing: the original “sport.” Quiet days interrupted only by the splash of hungry land-locked salmon or trout is nothing new around here. Day-trippers should consider hiring a Registered Maine Guide for the best results. If you are going it alone check out the many tributaries along the Moose River. Drop a line along the dropoff in Moosehead Lake near Rockwood for brook trout and salmon. Springtime anglers should head to Attean Falls for landlocked salmon and splake.
more remote parts of the North Woods is filled to the gunwales with lakes and ponds. But you won’t need to go far to find watery adventure. Wood Pond sits at the epicenter of 60 easily accessed and paddle-friendly spots. Paddling expands your access to other activities that transform a vacation into an unforgettable experience. Spend time exploring, bird watching, and wildlife watching or do a little exploring on 40+ islands that populate Attean Pond. Ambitious adventurers should try the Moose River Bow Trip. Other paddling trips include the Moose River to Long Pond, or those seeking an in-between challenge and light rapids should seek out the Moosehead Lake to Indian Pond trip.
Hunting remains popular. Some folks joke that camouflage and blaze orange are the official colors of
the Moose River Valley. The fact is, something always seems to be in season here. Deer, moose, and bear are again plentiful, and other types of hunts are popular as well. During the winter, many guides even offer bobcat, coyote, and snowshoe hare hunting.
Thrills of a different kind Sometimes the area’s best thrills come from the action of snowmobiling or an ATV trek through the woods. This remote (but accessible) part of the Kennebec Valley welcomes riders in all seasons, offering easy access to national and international trail systems, like the ITS, right out the door of virtually every accommodation and restaurant. Services are offered both on the trail and in town, and clubs are here to show you around. Plus, Coburn Mountain (highest trail in Maine) is just a few miles south of Jackman on ITS 89.
Just add water. And go. Your escape won’t be complete without time spent on the water. The area is home to incredible options for swimming, fishing, or gliding in your kayak or canoe. The area around Jackman and up into
View across The Moose River Valley, ©Dan Marquis
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Plan Your Trip
Visitors should be well prepared so that they can relax once they arrive. Below is information on getting here, visitor resources, times and distances, and what the weather might be like.
Visitor Resources Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group PO Box 518, Belgrade, ME 207-495-9217 | BelgradeLakesMaine.com Forks Area Chamber of Commerce PO Box 1, West Forks, ME 207-663-2121 | ForksArea.com
Town of Madison 26 Western Ave., Madison, ME 207-696-3334 | MadisonMaine.com
Airports Augusta State Airport (KAUG) 207-626-2306 | AugustaMaine.gov Served by Cape Air Airlines to Boston
Gardiner Main St. 149 Water St., 3rd fl., Gardiner, ME 207-582-3100 | GardinerMainSt.org
Bangor International Airport (BGR) 888-826-6893 | FlyBangor.com Served by 5 airlines to 6 major hubs
Hallowell Area Board of Trade PO Box 246, Hallowell, ME 207-620-7477 | Hallowell.org
Portland International Jetport (PWM) 207-774-7301 | PortlandJetport.org Served by 6 airlines to 6 major hubs
Jackman-Moose River Region Chamber of Commerce PO Box 368, Jackman, ME 207-668-4171 | JackmanMaine.org
Car Rentals Alamo: 888-826-6893 Alamo.com (PWM & BGR)
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce 269 Western Ave., Augusta, ME 207-623-4559 | KennebecValleyChamber.com Kennebec Valley Council of Governments 17 Upper Main St., Fairfield, ME 207-453-4258 | KVCOG.org Main Street Skowhegan 48 Court St., Skowhegan, ME 207-612-2571 | MainStreetSkowhegan.org VisitSkowhegan.com
Distances measured from state line at Kittery.
Avis: 800-633-3469 Avis.com (PWM & BGR)
Travel Information Maine State Police: 800-452-4664 (in Maine) | 911 cellular, for emergencies
Budget: 800-218-7992 Budget.com (PWM & BGR)
US-Canada Border Crossing: 800-461-999 (within Canada) 204-983-3500 or 506-636-5064 (outside Canada) | CBSA-ASFC.gc.ca
Enterprise: 800-261-7331 Enterprise.com (Augusta, Waterville, PWM & BGR) Hertz: 800-654-3131 Hertz.com (KAUG, PWM & BGR)
Road conditions and traffic information: 866-282-7578 511 from any phone | 511Maine.gov
National: 877-222-9058 NationalCar.com (PWM & BGR)
Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce 50 Elm St., Waterville, ME 207-873-3315 | MidMaineChamber.com
Concord Coach Lines Stops in Augusta and Waterville 800-639-3317 | ConcordCoachLines.com
Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce 23 Commercial St., Skowhegan, ME 207-474-3621 | SkowheganAreaChamber.com
Greyhound Lines Stops in Augusta and Waterville 800-231-2222 | Greyhound.com
Wear your seatbelt. Maine law requires that drivers and all passengers wear a seatbelt. Don’t text and drive. Texting while driving is prohibited in Maine. The fine is $100.
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Kennebec Valley Tourism Council Members Bear Spring Camps (ad p. 16) Jamaica Point Rd., Rome, ME 207-397-2341 | BearSpringCamps.com
Kennebec Valley Council of Governments 17 Upper Main St., Fairfield, ME 207-453-4258
Silverton Sporting Ranch 51 Webb Rd., Canaan, ME | 207-399-3647 SilvertonSportingRanch.com
Belgrade Lakes Marine & Storage (ad p. 16) 366 Augusta Rd., Belgrade, ME 207-495-2378 | BelgradeLakesMarine.com
Lake Parlin Lodge & Cabins 6003 Rt. 201, Parlin Pond Twp., ME 207-668-9060 | LakeParlinLodge.com
Belgrade Lakes Region Business Group (ad p. 16) PO Box 518, Belgrade, ME 207-495-9217 | BelgradeLakesMaine.com
Madison Business Alliance PO Box 172, Madison, ME | MadisonME.org
Skowhegan Chamber of Commerce 23 Commercial St., Skowhegan, ME 207-474-3621 SkowheganAreaChamber.com
Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival 263 Trafton Rd., Waterville, ME 207-873-6539 | BlisteredFingers.com C. Moxie Gore Outfitters Lake Moxie Rd., West Forks, ME 207-663-2121 | CMoxieGore.com Colby Museum of Art (ad back cover) 1600 Mayflower Hill, Waterville, ME 207-859-5600 | Colby.edu/museum Fireside Inn and Suites 376 Main St., Waterville, ME 207-873-3335 | FiresideInnWaterville.com Forks Area Chamber of Commerce PO Box 1, West Forks, ME 207-663-2121 | ForksArea.com Gardiner Main Street (ad p. 24) 149 Water St., 3rd fl., Gardiner, ME 207-582-3100 | GardinerMainSt.org Go Tubing 60 Alder Park Rd., South China, ME 207-445-4450 | GoTubingMaine.com Gray Ghost Camps 161 Jackman Rd., Rockwood, ME 207-534-7362 | GrayGhostCamps.com Hallowell Area Board of Trade PO Box 246, Hallowell, ME 207-620-7477 | Hallowell.org Heritage House 182 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, ME 207-474-5100 | HHRestaurant.com Jackman-Moose River Region Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 368, Jackman, ME 207-668-4171 | JackmanMaine.org Johnson Hall 280 Water St., Gardiner, ME 207-582-7144 | JohnsonHall.org Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce (ad p. 25) 269 Western Ave., Augusta, ME 207-623-4559 KennebecValleyChamber.com
62 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org
Magic Falls Rafting Co. 38 Dead River Rd., West Forks, ME 1-800-207-7238 Main Street Skowhegan (ads pp. 17, 35, 40â€“41, 46â€“47) 48 Court St., Skowhegan, ME 207-612-2571 | MainStreetSkowhegan.org VisitSkowhegan.com Maine Film Center 76 Main St., Waterville, ME 207-861-8138 | MaineFilmCenter.org Maine Lakeside Cabins 1008 US Rt. 201, Caratunk, ME 207-618-6987 | MaineLakesideCabins.com Marketplace at Augusta (ad inside front cover) 197 Civic Center Dr., Augusta, ME 617-232-8900 | AugustaMarketplace.com Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce (ad p. 28) 50 Elm St., Waterville, ME 207-873-3315 | MidMaineChamber.com Moosehead Lake Vacation & Sportmans' Association Rockwood, ME | 207-534-7362 RockwoodonMoosehead.org
Skowhegan State Fair 33 Constitution Ave., Skowhegan, ME 207-474-2947 | SkowheganStateFair.com Snow Pond Center for the Arts (NE Music Camp) 8 Goldenrod Ln., Sidney, ME 207-618-8908 | SnowPond.org The Pleasant St. Inn 84 Pleasant St., Waterville, ME 207-680-2515 | 84PleasantStreet.com The Sterling Inn (ad p. 34) 1041 US Rt. 201, Caratunk, ME 207-672-3333 | MaineSterlingInn.com Town of Madison (ad p. 52) 26 Western Ave., Madison, ME 207-696-3334 | MadisonMaine.com Towne Motel 172 Madison Ave., Skowhegan, ME 207-474-5151 | TowneMotel.com Tree Spirits 152 Fairfield St., Oakland, ME 207-861-2723 | TreeSpiritsofMaine.com Vacationland Skydiving 176 Harrison St., Pittsfield, ME 207-487-5638 | VacationlandSkydiving.com
Moxie Outdoor Adventures 1609 US Rt. 201, The Forks, ME 207-663-2231 | MoxieRafting.com
Waterville Creates! (ads p. 29) 92 Main St., Suite 201, Waterville, ME 207-616-0292 | WatervilleCreates.org
North Country Rivers, Inc. 36 Main St., Bingham, ME 207-672-4814 | NorthCountryRivers.com
Waterville Opera House (ad p. 25) 93 Main St., 3rd Floor, Waterville, ME 207-873-7000 | OperaHouse.org
Northern Outdoors (ad p. 53) 1771 Rt. 201, The Forks, ME 207-663-4466 | NorthernOutdoors.com Old Canada Road Scenic Byway 356 Main St., Bingham, ME | 207-672-3971 Old Fort Western 16 Cony St., Augusta, ME 207-626-2385 | OldFortWestern.org Quarry Rd. Recreation Area 300 Quarry Rd., Waterville, ME 207-314-0258 | QuarryRoad.org
For information about membership in the Kennebec Valley Tourism Council, please contact Executive Director Tanya Bentley at 207-623-4883 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bigelow Public Reserved Land
Dead River Public Reserved Land
Holeb Public Reserved Land
Little Big Wood Pond
Houston Brook Falls
Seboomook Lake Public Reserved Land
Cold Stream Conservation Lands
Canada Falls Lake
64 Make a Plan: KennebecValley.org Kennebec Ri
Maineâ€™s Kennebec Valley
Cobbosseecontee Lake Annabessacook Lake
Three Mile Pond
Great Moose Lake
Start of Old Canada Highway
Kennebec Highlands Public Reserved Land
r Rive ebec Ken n
From its birthplace at Moosehead Lake down to the capital at Augusta, the Kennebec River ties this region together. Home to Maine's prime pa...
Published on Feb 27, 2018
From its birthplace at Moosehead Lake down to the capital at Augusta, the Kennebec River ties this region together. Home to Maine's prime pa...