SUMMER GUI DE
Life on the Big Lake: Exploring Moosehead Summer Fun in the City: Insider’s Guide to Portland The Taste of Maine: Ode to Wild Blueberries
MAINE GUIDE Summer
1121 Main St., P.O. Box 520, Dublin, NH 03444 603-563-8111 newengland.com This special edition was produced by Yankee Publishing Inc. for the Maine Office of Tourism. Select stories and photographs are excerpted from articles previously published by Yankee. Vol. 1, No. 2 Copyright 2022 by Yankee Publishing Inc.; all rights reserved. PUBLISHER Brook Holmberg MARKETING DIRECTOR Kate Hathaway Weeks EDITOR Mel Allen ART DIRECTOR Katharine Van Itallie MANAGING EDITOR Jenn Johnson SENIOR FEATURES EDITOR Ian Aldrich SENIOR FOOD EDITOR Amy Traverso ASSOCIATE EDITOR Joe Bills PHOTO EDITOR Heather Marcus
On the cover: A view along the Coastal Trail on the Cutler Coast Public Lands, a popular hiking spot on Maine’s wild Bold Coast. Photo by Cait Bourgault
While Maine attracts visitors from around the world in every season, there’s a certain kind of magic about summer in the Pine Tree State. This idyllic stretch of long, sun-filled days is something that residents look forward to all year long—and for travelers, it’s an unbeatable opportunity to explore Maine to the fullest. Nearly as large as all the other New England states combined, Maine holds so many diverse experiences: You can marvel at its 3,500-mile coastline and discover hiking adventures throughout the state that pay off with exceptional mountain, forest, and ocean views. You can go whitewater rafting in The Forks, embark on a moose safari in the Moosehead Lake area, and wander through rooms of paintings by the world-famous Wyeth family at Rockland’s Farnsworth Art Museum. There are many Maines, and each can provide memories that last a lifetime. Last year, with travel restrictions beginning to ease, some 15.6 million visitors came to Maine—an upward trend that promises to continue in 2022. After all, there’s plenty of room for exploring here. Well-known destinations such as Bar Harbor, Portland, and Ogunquit have long been magnets for summer visitors, but there are also countless hidden gems to discover in Maine’s quieter towns and remote natural areas. And everywhere you go, you can count on summer to bring out the local flavor—literally— from bustling farmers’ markets, to restaurants serving fresh-picked produce and just-off-the-boat seafood, and even to scoops of ice cream made with milk from local dairies and flavored with Maine ingredients (wild blueberry is a must-try). In the end, a summer visit to Maine offers the chance not just to travel, but to immerse yourself in everything that makes this state so special: the beauty, the culture and heritage, the quality of life it offers. And when you depart, you know you’ll return, because what began as a vacation has become an experience you’ll want to revisit in every season.
—Steve Lyons Director, Maine Office of Tourism
Maine Summer Guide 2022
Maine oysters are the headline attraction at Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co.
CONTENTS MO MEN T S
5 Water World Summer finds Maine’s fresh- and saltwater gems shining their brightest.
D ISCO VER I E S 10 Summer in the City A Portland insider’s guide to the heart of it all. 14 The French Connection In the far reaches of Aroostook County, the spirit of Acadian settlers still rings out: Nous sommes encore ici!
M A RK FLEMING
16 Blue Heaven Maine’s official state fruit reaches its sweet peak. 20 Life on the Big Lake Generation after generation, Moosehead Lake remains one of Maine’s truly special places.
24 The Wild Bunch Spotting the stars of Maine’s world-class wildlife scene. 28 Taste of the Town Discover why foodies are beating a path to Biddeford. 31 Island Odyssey Meet the Maine Island Trail: 375 miles of wild islands, stunning coastline, and lasting memories.
RES O U R C ES 34 Local Flavor From food festivals to farm-to-table dining options, Yankee editors share their favorite ways to get a taste of Maine. plus: A salute to local ice cream.
ICONS 41 Sweet Sensation Celebrating the enduring pull of saltwater taffy.
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1. THE MAINE BEACHES Long swaths of white sand and scenic rocky coves give many visitors an unforgettable first look at Maine’s famous coastline.
4. DOWNEAST & ACADIA Home to Acadia National Park and stunning historic lighthouses, this is also a place to revel in Maine’s state fruit: wild blueberries.
PINE TREE STATE W here are the best places to go in Maine? What makes the best Maine vacations? There is no one answer, for this is a state where the tourism regions are as distinct as they are plentiful. For parks and natural sights, many are drawn to the Maine Highlands, home to the state’s biggest lake, Moosehead, as well as its tallest mountain, Katahdin. Those who love city excitement find all the first-class dining, shopping, and nightlife they seek in Greater Portland & Casco Bay,
Maine Summer Guide 2022
3. MIDCOAST & ISLANDS Maine’s classic coastal charm abounds amid picturesque villages and vibrant waterfronts.
while classic seaside vacation spots await in the Maine Beaches. The stories in this guide provide a sampling of the many things to do in Maine’s tourism regions, including a wild blueberry celebration in DownEast & Acadia [p. 16], a visit to Moosehead Lake in the Maine Highlands [p. 20], and a sweet trip to a candy shop in the Maine Beaches [p. 41]. And while it’s impossible to sum up all the destinations and adventures that Maine offers, this guide can help map out the best Maine vacation for you.
5. MAINE’S LAKES & MOUNTAINS This region lives up to its name with hundreds of glacial lakes and two majestic mountain ranges traversed by the legendary Appalachian Trail. 6. THE KENNEBEC VALLEY Over 5,000 scenic square miles offer wilderness and whitewater alongside quiet river towns and the state capital, Augusta. 7. THE MAINE HIGHLANDS Natural beauty reaches its peak in the center of Maine, where Katahdin reigns over the massive and “forever wild” Baxter State Park. 8. AROOSTOOK COUNTY “The Crown of Maine” beckons visitors with Acadian culture, historic sites, and endless outdoor recreation possibilities.
JA NGELTUN/ ISTOCK
2. GREATER PORTLAND & CASCO BAY Don’t-miss restaurants, shops, museums, and breweries make for a lively scene in Maine’s largest city and its neighboring communities.
GREATER PORTLAND & CASCO BAY: Located on the back shore of Peaks Island, Spar Cove offers views of neighboring Casco Bay islands and, directly east, the wide-open Atlantic.
WATER WORLD WINK Y LEWIS
t almost seems unfair how much land here in Maine is touched by sea or bay or tidal rivers. It has 3,500 miles of coastline, including tidal inlets, peninsulas, and islands—more than any other state on the Eastern Seaboard except Florida. Away from the coast, Maine’s wealth of water is just as awe-inspiring, with some 6,000 lakes and ponds and more than 31,000 miles of rivers. Heaving with surf, churning with waves, or just lying almost perfectly still, glittering in the sun,
all of Maine’s beautiful bodies of water are playgrounds like no other. They are made for plunging off docks. For hoisting sails, or easing kayaks into secret coves. For casting a line and watch it float out over the river in search of a fish. Maine’s mountains and forests call to us, as do its welcoming towns and cities, but it is these waters that lodge especially deep in the memory of anyone who comes here in summer. Through them, in every sense, we can soak in the season.
MIDCOAST & ISLANDS: At one time a prized source of granite for buildings across the country, including the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C., and New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine, quarries on the island of Vinalhaven now serve as classic swimming holes.
Maine Summer Guide 2022
M A RK FLEMING
LITTLE OUTDOOR GI A NTS (TOP); CAVA N IM AGES/OFFSET.COM (BOTTOM )
THE MAINE HIGHLANDS: Designated a National Monument in 2016, Katahdin Woods and Waters in Penobscot County encompasses more than 87,000 acres of Maine’s famed North Woods. Land once held by timber barons is now, like neighboring Baxter State Park, forever wild.
MAINE’S LAKES & MOUNTAINS: Taking its name from a Wabananki term meaning “big still water,” Sebago Lake is the state’s second-largest lake, at more than 45 square miles, as well as its deepest—which makes it a popular spot for lake trout, known throughout Maine as togue.
MAINE GUIDE Summer
THE KENNEBEC VALLEY: An angler finds a quiet spot to cast his line below Grand Falls on the Dead River. Running 43 miles from Flagstaff Lake to The Forks, the river is better known to whitewater rafters as one of “the Big Three,” along with the Kennebec and the Penobscot.
Maine Summer Guide 2022
JA MES K A ISER (TOP); JOHN ORCUTT/CAVA N IM AGES (BOTTOM )
DOWNEAST & ACADIA: Seen from the deck of the Alice E., the fairest of summer skies hangs over Seal Harbor on the southeastern coast of Mount Desert Island. Built in 1899, the Alice E. is the oldest Friendship sloop—Maine’s original lobster boat—that is still sailing today.
CHRIS BENNETT/CAVA N IM AGES (TOP); M A INE OFFICE OF TOURISM (BOTTOM )
AROOSTOOK COUNTY: High atop Deboullie Mountain, near the town of Allagash, adventurous hikers can revel in views of Deboullie Pond as part of a 360-degree vista provided by an old fire tower, a holdover from the days when as many as 144 lookouts guarded the state’s forests.
THE MAINE BEACHES: With its miles of easily accessible sandy beaches, southern Maine is the heart of the state’s surfing scene. And while the big waves don’t come till fall and winter, given Maine’s famously brisk waters many riders are happy to explore the gentler swells of summer.
MAINE GUIDE Summer
Maine Summer Guide 2022
SUMMER IN THE CITY
A Portland insider’s guide to the heart of it all.
BY S AR A AN N E DONNE L L Y
MICH AEL D. WILSON
or the past few years, I’ve hosted summer travelers in the guest room of my house in Portland’s West End. And through them, I’ve been able to vicariously explore my beloved hometown, which is also the hometown of my mother and my grandmother before her. My favorite part of the whole thing is scribbling down a few quick sightseeing suggestions for my guests, because Portland is special—of course I want to share it. It’s creative, walkable, socially conscious, and immortal. The city’s seal portrays a phoenix rising from the ashes, a nod to the fact that Portland has burned to the ground no fewer than four times—most notably in the Great Fire of 1866, which began in a waterfront boat shop and ended with more than 1,600 homes and businesses leveled throughout downtown. (Walk around and you’ll see the fire’s legacy: Victorian buildings built of brick or stone, per a postfire city ordinance.) Portland rebuilt. Our motto, after all, is “Resurgam.” Some orientation: Think of Portland’s peninsula as a saddle—a hill on either side with the Bayside, Downtown, and Old Port lowlands in the middle. The peninsula is about three miles long and includes the West End, Parkside, East and West Bayside, the Arts District and Downtown, the Old Port, and the East End. This city center is bookended by the Western Promenade and Eastern Promenade
parks, both laid out by famed landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted. I’ve focused my suggestions on the peninsula not because there aren’t wonderful things to check out farther afield (Portland Head Light, for one), but because the area is Portland’s historic, walkable, bikeable center of activity— not to mention the hub of its nationally recognized dining scene—and if you have just, say, a summer weekend here, it’s small enough to really get to know. The West End & the Arts District
The West End features some of the city’s grandest mansions, built in the 19th century by a wealthy merchant class that wanted to settle far from what was then a fish-fumed Old Port filled with rowdy sailors. You can experience a bit of that elite exodus with a stay at The Francis, a boutique hotel in an 1881 mansion designed by one of Portland’s most prolific architects, Francis Fassett. After tipping your hat in Longfellow Square to the statue of beloved bard Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, stroll east down Congress Street toward the shops and galleries in the Arts District, anchored by the Portland Museum of Art. There’s plenty to see here, so grab a caffeine boost if you need it at the award-winning Speckled Ax. And don’t miss a chance to visit Portland Flea-for-All, filled with vintage furniture, clothing, and crafts.
A center for fishing, commerce, and travel for more than 350 years, the Portland waterfront is still the beating heart of this coastal city. Today, harbor tours and dockside restaurants invite visitors to join in the scene.
and lookouts, plus its eccentric Umbrella Cover Museum. Back on the mainland, make time to explore the thriving food scene along Washington Avenue in East Bayside. Standouts include Red Sea, serving madefrom-scratch Ethiopian and Eritrean fare; Forage Market, for yummy sandwiches and wood-fired bagels; and Vietnamese specialist Cong Tu Bot, named by the New York Times as one of the nation’s 50 most exciting restaurants. To help work off those calories, hike a few blocks up Congress Street to one of my favorite historical spots, the c. 1807 Portland Observatory. A tour of the 86-foot-tall building will whisk you back to the maritime heyday of Port City, with a bonus view on a clear day all the way to the White Mountains. With its cobblestone streets and 19th-century brick buildings, the Old Port blends a historical feel with a lively collection of boutiques, restaurants, and bars. Spend the afternoon browsing local shops, such as owner Kazeem Lawal’s meticulously curated Portland Trading Co., before settling in for dinner (the finedining seafood stalwart Street & Co. is a favorite). By the time you finish, the Old Port should be buzzing with live music in every bar and on every patio, so wander the streets and see what intrigues you.
Chef Akberet Bahta with a hearty platter of her cooking at Red Sea, an Ethiopian/Eritrean restaurant that’s part of the flourishing East Bayside dining scene.
Spanning 78 waterfront acres, the Eastern Promenade is a summertime magnet for food truck fans in the summertime.
A view from the Portland Observatory, the only remaining historic maritime signal station in the country.
The West End brasserie Chaval offers a memorable way to wind down a day of exploring. Run by James Beard Award– nominated pastry chef Ilma Lopez and her husband, chef Damian Sansonetti, Chaval is known for its delicious farm-to-table Spanish and French food and its array of vermouths and sherries, the latter of which can be sipped, per tradition, via a halved length of roasted bone served with Chaval’s bone marrow appetizer. Peaks Island, East Bayside & the Old Port
Start your second day in Portland by hopping the Casco Bay Ferry to Peaks Island, the closest of the city’s year-round island neighborhoods. The 20-minute ride is a nice on-the-cheap cruise of the bay. Once on Peaks, rent a bike or golf cart close to the landing and spend a couple of hours roaming the island’s beaches, forts,
Maine Summer Guide 2022
The East End
For a harborside stroll with a stunning view of Casco Bay and the islands, head to the Eastern Promenade, the Western Promenade’s prettier sibling (even this West Ender has to cop to that fact). The scenery isn’t the only draw, though: Some of the city’s best food trucks congregate here, such as Falafel Mafia and Mr. Tuna (but who are we kidding—most of us are here for the melt-in-your-mouth mini doughnuts of the Eighty 8 Donut Café). Picnic on the sprawling lawn, chase the kiddos around the playground, or gaze at the bay and Fort Gorges. You might see kayakers and paddle boarders cruising the water; if you’re motivated, rent the necessary gear at nearby Portland Paddle. Otherwise, just take the opportunity to relax and reflect on all you’ve seen, done, and tasted: east, west, and everything in between. After all, that’s what I’d do.
A LL PHOTOS BY MICH AEL D. WILSON
PORTLAND: MORE TO SEE & DO Casco Bay Lines: One of the oldest ferry systems in the country is also an insider’s favorite for sightseeing, offering sunrise and sunset trips and a oneof-a-kind “mailboat run” to five different Casco Bay islands. cascobaylines.com Portland Freedom Trail: These 13 sites
highlighting African American history include the 1829 Abyssinian Meeting House, the third-oldest building of its kind in the U.S. and a major hub of the Underground Railroad in Maine. mainehistory.org Portland Head Light:
Just down the road in Cape Elizabeth you’ll find Maine’s oldest lighthouse and, in the former keeper’s house, an award-winning lighthouse museum. portlandheadlight.com Portland Museum of Art: Explore three
centuries of artwork, including a top-flight collection of American impressionists and realists (Wyeth, Kent, and Hartley, to name a few). portlandmuseum.org Victoria Mansion: A 6-by-25-foot stainedglass ceiling window, stunning examples of trompe l’oeil, and 90 percent of the original 19th-century furnishings give the sense of stepping back into the Gilded Age. victoriamansion.org
MAINE GUIDE Summer
THE FRENCH CONNECTION In far northern Maine, the spirit of Acadia still rings out: Nous sommes encore ici!
Brian Theriault, a traditional snowshoe maker from Fort Kent, stands ready to greet the fleet of canoes during a re-enactment of the first Acadians’ landing in Madawaska in 1785, a spot marked by a large marble cross on the banks of the St. John River.
he Acadian flag around the girl’s shoulders billows crazily in the wind. The banner is the stately French tricolor of France with an added golden star, and she wears it like a cape. Smiling, eyes wide, hair blown to tangles, she looks like she’s on a roller coaster, which isn’t far from the truth. Our float in the tintamarre—a clamorous, potsand-pans-banging parade in the annual Madawaska Acadian Festival—took the hill much faster than we’d anticipated. Laughing, a boy yells, “We’re all going to die!” But of course we’re not: This is a tintamarre, and a tintamarre is about life. It’s about a tiny community raising a joyful noise in the piney wilderness of northern Maine and shouting, “Nous sommes encore ici! We are still here!” In 1755, British troops swept through the French colony of Acadia—spanning today’s Canadian Maritime provinces and northern Maine—burning villages and shipping the inhabitants against their will all across the Atlantic world. Yet some Acadians, like the families who would settle here in the St. John Valley, managed to escape, hiding out in forests and Micmac villages until they could find a home of their own. As one Madawaska historian likes to quip, “We’re descended from those who missed the boat.” On the surface, the towns of the St.
Maine Summer Guide 2022
John Valley resemble many that share U.S. 1 as their Main Street. But look closely and you’ll notice signs in shop windows declaring “On parle francais ici,” and it may strike you that the churches here are a little larger than you’d expect. At the center of each hamlet the doors of the Catholic mini-cathedral erected by the town’s Acadian forefathers still stand open. Climb to the top of one and you’ll spot the spire of the next church on the horizon, then the next—some on the American side, some on the Canadian— like needles stitching the valley together. After our tintamarre parade briefly crosses into Canada for a noisy circuit of Edmundston, we turn back toward home. Downtown Madawaska is ready to receive us: The Acadian flag flies from every storefront as the parade rattles by in the fleeting light of the afternoon. At the head of the marchers, a woman holds a gold star on a pole that bobs and sways. The star is the same one that graces the Acadian flag, the Stella Maris (Star of the Sea), symbol of the Acadians’ patron saint, Mary of the Assumption. It also represents the lodestar, which has guided mariners and travelers for millennia. It’s a fitting symbol: During their time in the wilderness, Acadians followed both the stars and their faith, and they’re following them still.
JONATH A N KOZOW Y K
BY J U ST IN S HA T W E L L
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS Madawaska Acadian Festival, Madawaska: From traditional music and poutine-eating contests to food demonstrations and snowshoe-making, the unique FrancoAmerican culture of Maine’s northernmost outpost is on full display. 8/11–8/15; madawaskaacadian festival.com Acadian Village, Van Buren: The 17 buildings at this openair museum include a replica 18th-century log church and the c. 1855 Morneault House, the oldest house in the valley and a classic example of Acadian architecture. nps.gov/ maac/planyourvisit/ acadvillage.htm Tante Blanche Museum & Acadian Landing, Madawaska: The log-cabin Tante Blanche Museum offers a collection of artifacts and photographs that shed light on local Acadian heritage, while nearby is a 14-foot marble cross erected at the spot where the first Acadians landed. nps.gov/ maac/planyourvisit/ acadlanding.htm Musée Culturel du Mont-Carmel, Lille: Explore classic French architecture and Acadian and Québecois artifacts at this nonprofit cultural museum housed in a stunning former Catholic church. museeculturel.org
MAINE GUIDE Summer
Maine Summer Guide 2022
BLUE HEAVEN Summer in DownEast & Acadia finds Maine’s official state fruit at its sweet peak.
BY M O LLY S HUS T E R
GRETA RY BUS
or a few weeks in August, the wild blueberry season transforms the rocky land north of Bar Harbor into an all-hands-on-deck hub of frantic productivity. Beyond the coastline, past evergreen trees dotting the shore, green blueberry fields stretch into the distance. In acre after acre, pickers hunch over their rakes, sifting up berries and throwing them into big crates, while machines harvest the fruit in nearby fields. During this end-of-summer rush, the northern half of the state will produce more than 80 million pounds of wild blueberries in a good year. Lobster may be the signature flavor of Vacationland, but here, the blueberry is king. About 45 minutes northwest of Bar Harbor lies Cherryfield, the selfproclaimed “Blueberry Capital of the World.” Home to Wyman’s, the largest U.S. producer of wild blueberries, the town traces its name to the wild cherry trees that once grew abundantly here. Today, locals have recast the moniker as a reference to the cherry-red flush of blueberry bushes in autumn. So much of the local economy depends on this crop—from the equipment suppliers and rake manufacturers to the restaurants selling blueberry pies—that it’s common to overhear locals inquiring after one another’s fields and harvests before asking about their family. This abundant love of wild blueberries culminates in the annual Wild Blueberry
Festival in Machias, halfway between Cherryfield and the Canadian border. During the third weekend in August, the town hosts a blueberry jubilee, with pie-eating contests, bake-offs, pancake breakfasts, fish-fry dinners, craft booths, and road races. So what is it about wild Maine blueberries that makes them so special? They’re different from the large, cultivated berries sold in most supermarkets: They’re smaller and more delicate. They’re also more intensely flavored, as if some plant breeder took a shrink ray to a plump berry and concentrated all the flavor into a fruit the size of a peppercorn or a green pea. Freshly picked, they taste sweet, a little wine-like, and somehow blue. Despite its small size, the wild or “low-bush” blueberry is a mighty species, both in its importance to this community and in its ability to take root in rugged terrain. One of just three native North American berries (along with cranberries and wild grapes), Vaccinium angustifolium is indeed wild, unlike its more common counterpart, the towering “high-bush” blueberry. Wild blueberries are difficult to plant or transport, which makes them as much a natural resource as an agricultural crop—they’re managed, not planted. All of Maine’s wild blueberries are part of an indigenous network of underground runners (or rhizomes)
Producing tiny berries with intense flavor, wild blueberry bushes rise less than a foot off the ground, hence the name “low-bush” blueberries. Unlike the “high-bush” blueberries cultivated worldwide, wild blueberries thrive in cool climates on thin, acidic soils—making the glacier-scoured reaches of DownEast & Acadia a perfect home for them.
MAINE GUIDE Summer
that grow along the coastal lands of northern Maine, Atlantic Canada, and Quebec. This rocky landscape, known as “the barrens,” is the product of a glacial retreat that occurred more than 13,000 years ago, and its starkness seems to promise nothing but lichen and weeds. Yet tucked among the rocks, the low-lying bushes are bursting with tiny berries, stretching as far as the eye can see. The barrens are vast, but nature can hardly keep pace with demand. Wild blueberries are lauded as a “superfood,” offering double the antioxidant power of their high-bush cousins. And their deep indigo color comes from compounds called anthocyanins, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that hold promise for the treatment of cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Given that kind of popularity, feeding the wild blueberry supply chain is a delicate balance, especially given that these plants produce fruit only every other year. Careful management is the key—something that’s made clear at Wyman’s, a company that was “doing the sustainability thing before we knew what the word meant,” as former CEO Ed Flanagan once put it. Founded in 1874 by Jasper Wyman, the familyowned business has funded research into honeybee preservation with Penn State and the University of Maine and speaks out on the importance of pollinators to the U.S. food system. Today, the company manages hundreds of acres of pollinator habitat in addition to the 8,000 acres it manages for wild blueberries. Because without honeybees, there would be no blueberries. And without blueberries, an essential culture would be lost. For Maine farmers, that’s unthinkable. As one retired local grower said after wrapping up nearly four decades of working in the barrens, “If I were 16, I’d be right back there.”
Maine Summer Guide 2022
Early into blueberry season, a hopeful picker strolls a blueberry field in Surry, looking for the first ripe berries.
BLUEBERRY PICKS Ready to immerse yourself in Maine’s wild blueberry scene? Here are some ideas: Machias Wild Blueberry Festival:
Founded 45 years ago, this harvest celebration takes over downtown Machias with crafts, food, live entertainment, cooking contests, and all things blueberry. 8/19–8/21; machiasblueberry.com Wild Blueberry Land, Columbia Falls:
Look for the adorable little blueberry-shaped building to discover a blueberry-themed shop, museum, and bakery (the blueberry pie is A-plus). wild blueberryland.com PYO Farms: A number
of Maine family farms invite the public to harvest their own wild blueberries. Some places, like Perseverance Wild Blueberry Farm in Kingsbury Plantation, will even set you up to do it the traditional way, with a bucket and rake. realmaine.com Blueberry Overnights:
For a truly immersive experience, Blueberry Fields Bed & Breakfast in Washington offers accommodations next to a 10-acre blueberry field (blueberryfields bandb.com). Or stay at a sixth-generation working farm when you book a guest cottage at Welch Farm in Roque Bluffs, where guests are encouraged to pick blueberries for any and all of their meals (welchfarm.com).
STEVEN WIDOFF/A L A M Y STOCK PHOTO
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LIFE ON THE BIG LAKE
Generation after generation, Moosehead remains one of Maine’s truly special places.
Built in 1930, The Birches Resort faces east across Moosehead Lake, offering spectacular sunrises over Mount Kineo. Here, picnic tables and Adirondack chairs on the resort’s dock invite kicking back, drinking in the expansive views, and contemplating moving to a lake in Maine.
hen I was a kid, Moosehead Lake was an outsized presence in my summers. A family friend owned a former boys’ camp that sprawled across a quarter mile of shoreline, and each August we’d trek deep into Maine for a couple of lazy August weeks on the water. The property was reachable only by a 20-minute boat ride from Greenville; it lacked electricity and running water. Our meals came courtesy of a big wood cookstove, and our evenings were spent reading or playing cards by kerosene light in the grand lodge. At the end of our stay, as we packed up the Boston Whaler for the ride back, my thoughts would inevitably turn to next summer. Today the camp is gone, and a road now reaches deep into the woods to bring visitors to the homes that have been erected in its place. And yet this neck of the North Woods remains very much untamed, with the same sense of place that Henry David Thoreau evoked in 1858, describing Moosehead as “a suitably wild-looking sheet of water, sprinkled with low islands … covered with shaggy spruce and other wild wood.” Moosehead is Maine’s biggest lake:
Maine Summer Guide 2022
40 miles long, some 20 miles wide in certain spots, with more than 400 miles of shoreline. It’s also home to more than 80 islands. Debate swirls as to how the lake got its name: Was it for its shape, or its preponderance of actual moose? Maybe both. Regardless, locals and visitors alike know that Moosehead is a special place— no surprise that U.S. News & World Report recently named it as one of the top lake destinations in the country. At the center of Moosehead life is Greenville. While the grand hotels that once attracted wealthy summer visitors from New York and Boston to these cool forest environs are long gone, the town’s welcoming vibe remains very much intact. Restaurants like the Dockside Inn & Tavern and the Stress Free Moose Pub & Café cluster near the water’s edge, and come summer, the nights are tailor-made for a cone of soft-serve or Maine-made Gifford’s ice cream from the Dairy Bar, savored while relaxing on a bench and watching the harbor scene. A siren call to shoppers emanates from Kamp Kamp, a modern incarnation of the much-loved Moosehead Lake Indian Store. That retail maze of wonder had so captured the childhood imaginations
BY IA N A L D RI CH
An 1891 “gentleman’s estate” overlooking Moosehead Lake is now the Blair Hill Inn, one of only two Maine properties in the prestigious Relais & Châteaux hospitality association.
Scenic beauty and local history converge during a cruise on the 1914 steamboat Katahdin, which formerly towed tons of timber across Moosehead during the spring log drives that once fueled Maine’s forest economy.
of siblings Randy Coulton and Cheri Goodspeed that after it closed in 1997, they bought the building and stocked it with prints, furniture, artwork, signage, toys, and rare collectibles, and Kamp Kamp was born. Another local institution is Northwoods Outfitters, which got its start nearly 30 years ago when Mike Boutin began renting outdoor equipment out of a small downtown retail space. Business grew, and so did Boutin’s ambitions. Today, Northwoods Outfitters offers easy entry to Moosehead’s wilder side with clothes, gear, and guided trips for adventureminded types. Just across the way floats perhaps the lake’s most revered icon, the Katahdin. This wooden steamboat has been plying the waters of Moosehead Lake since 1914; now converted to diesel, it’s operated by the Moosehead Marine Museum and hosts scenic tours ranging from a three-hour trip to a full-day cruise. In addition, the Kate (as it’s affectionately known) hosts R&B dance party cruises throughout the summer. Moosehead’s seaplane culture is likewise renowned, as adventurous pilots have long been called upon to ferry visitors to the lake’s most remote spots. Scenic flights now make up the bulk of the itineraries, with veteran outfits such as Currier’s Flying Service and its fleet of vintage Cessnas giving passengers
Maine Summer Guide 2022
unmatched views of not just Moosehead but also nearby Mount Katahdin. Around the lake, old sporting camps have transformed into intergenerational retreats that get their guests onto the water and into the woods. One of the bestknown of these can be found in the tiny town of Rockwood, where John Willard Jr. welcomes, guides, and even offers airplane service to guests at The Birches, which his family has owned more than half a century. Cabins line the shore, meals are served are in the camp’s grand
CA RL TREMBL AY (BL A IR HILL INN ); COREY HENDRICKSON (K ATAHDIN )
PLANNING YOUR TRIP For more ideas on where to go and what to see in the Moosehead Lake area, go to destinationmooseheadlake.com. Katahdin Cruises & Moosehead Marine Museum, Greenville:
Home base for the historic steamship Katahdin and a wide display of local nautical artifacts. katahdincruises.com Moosehead Historical Society & Museums, Greenville: Area
history, including one of the state’s largest displays of Native American tools, takes center stage. mooseheadhistory.org The Birches Resort, Rockwood: Once a
prominent sporting camp, this familyand pet-friendly destination offers lakeside cabins, a big lodge, and various guided adventures. birches.com Currier’s Flying Service, Greenville:
lodge, and evening gatherings take place under some of the clearest night skies in New England. The Birches is within easy distance of another Moosehead landmark, Mount Kineo. Sacred to the Wabanaki, the mountain boasts a dramatic cliff face and is composed of rare green flint-like rhyolite, prized by indigenous hunters as a material for arrowheads. The moderate, nearly two-mile hike to the top of Kineo concludes with a final scamper up the fire tower for 360-degree views of the lake and
Kineo’s verdant golf course below. There are many more facets of Moosehead to explore: the car camping scene at Lily Bay State Park; the backwoods allure of the Appalachian Mountain Club’s Little Lyford Lodge & Cabins; the elegance of the Blair Hill Inn, a Queen Anne Victorian mansion perched on a knoll above the lake. But whether your Moosehead experience is rural or refined, you can be sure of one thing: You’ll be dreaming of your next visit even before you start your journey home.
Currier’s has been giving visitors unforgettable aerial views of the Moosehead region for 40 years. curriers flyingservice.com Kelly’s Landing Restaurant & Lodging, Greenville: Pub menu
and full-service bar with large outdoor dining area that puts guests right on the lake. kellyslanding atmoosehead.com
MAINE GUIDE Summer
Where to spot the stars of Maine’s world-class wildlife scene.
was paddling on the West Branch of the Penobscot River when I rounded a bend and came within a few feet of a bull moose. It was feeding, its head submerged; only its back, like a rounded hill, poked out from the water. Bubbles rose, and then the head. The moose shook itself off, spraying water, looked me over, then ambled off into the woods. Another time, I was kayaking in an Orr’s Island inlet on Casco Bay and suddenly felt a whoosh of air only a few feet above me. A bald eagle had taken
Maine Summer Guide 2022
flight, close enough for me to be both startled and thrilled. I will never forget these close encounters with the magnificent wild creatures of Maine. Few places in America offer the visitor the opportunity to feel so connected, so close to the natural world. From the coastal waters alive with seabirds and whales and dolphins and whales, to the forests that shelter the stately moose, you can plan a trip to fill a wildlife-watching bucket list of creatures great and small.
THE WILD BUNCH
Here are some ideas on starting your own personal safari. Always bring binoculars so you can keep a proper distance. And remember, even in high summer, the breeze on the Maine ocean can make it feel more like fall, so bring an extra layer for on-the-water expeditions. Atlantic Puffins
Puffins are the pandas of seabirds: adorable and immediately able to capture the imagination. Called “sea parrots” for their distinctive colors and beak, they
stand only 12 inches tall, fully grown, and when they’re in flight they zoom close to the water like miniature fighter jets. Part of the joy of seeing Maine’s puffins in the wild is knowing how near they were to extinction at the turn of the 20th century, as well as learning about the efforts that were undertaken to give them a sanctuary. Nearly 50 years ago, Audubon began a nesting project on Eastern Egg Rock, six miles off Pemaquid Point in Maine’s MidCoast region. That was followed by other puffin restoration
Atlantic puffins on Machias Seal Island, home of the largest puffin colony in the Gulf of Maine and the only one where specially permitted cruises are allowed to actually land on the island and provide passengers the opportunity for up-close viewing.
MAINE GUIDE Summer
One of the most amazing sights for whale-watchers is when a whale breaches, using its powerful tail fin, or fluke, to propel its massive body out of the water.
The official state animal of Maine, in all its majesty. About 70,000 moose live in Maine, the biggest population in the lower 48 states, mainly in its northern woods and western mountains.
Maine Summer Guide 2022
board (projectpuffin.audubon.org). One notable option is the Cutler-based Bold Coast Charter Company, the only U.S. tour operator permitted to actually land passengers on Machias Seal Island, where they can survey the spectacular birds from behind blinds (boldcoast.com). Moose
The moose is the largest land animal in Maine, and seeing one will always stop you in your tracks. In northern Maine, home to thousands of moose, you can typically spot them feeding if you drive the back roads along bogs and riverine environments in early morning and at dusk. (A note of caution: Moose can be
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projects, and today nesting sites on Eastern Egg Rock, Seal Island, Matinicus Rock, Machias Seal Island, and Petit Manan Island help provide habitat for more than 4,000 puffins each summer. To see a puffin takes planning, but it’s worth it. The small islands where they breed are accessible only by boat tours, led by captains who know the water and know how to bring passengers close enough to photograph the birds. Audubon Project Puffin has long spearheaded one of the most successful eco-tourism efforts in the state, and its website lists boat tours that operate throughout the summer, some with Audubon naturalists on
hard to see at night, since their height means that most headlights don’t fall on their full shape. Always drive slowly and be extra alert.) While moose can be spotted in the western Maine mountains, the Kennebec Valley, and Aroostook County, your best bet may be in the Maine Highlands, especially around Moosehead Lake. Among the hot spots here are Lazy Tom Bog, just past the town of Kokadjo, and the boggy area between the upper and lower Shirley turn-offs on Route 15 south of Greenville. Nature does not give guarantees when it comes to wildlife sightings, but to go moose-watching with a guide who knows the land like their own backyard comes close. A popular option here is the moose cruise, led by expert guides using pontoon boats or kayaks and canoes to take you into the backwaters for an intimate, often unforgettable moose-watching experience. To learn more about the variety of guided tours offered by outfitters across Maine, go to visitmaine.com/things-to-do/ wildlife-watching/moose-watching. Whales
Whales, the largest living creatures on the planet, converge on the Gulf of Maine from spring to fall to feast on the small
marine life that thrives in their feeding grounds there. Whale-watching tours bring you close to humpbacks, pilots, minkes, and the massive fin whale, which can reach 80 feet in length; sometimes the endangered North Atlantic right whale will even make an appearance. (As a bonus, on the way to see the whales you will almost certainly spy seals sunning on rocks and dolphins leaping through waves.) There are whale-watching tour operators all along the coast, from the Maine Beaches region to the farthest reaches of DownEast & Acadia; for examples, see the “Cruise Control” sidebar on this page. Bonus: For the Birds
Just 11 miles south of Portland is the Scarborough Marsh Audubon Center, one of the most significant wildlife conservation areas in New England (maineaudubon.org/visit/scarboroughmarsh). Rent a canoe or kayak, and wend your way through more than 3,000 acres of tidal estuary, home to egrets, herons, glossy ibises, piping plovers, and many other species of shorebirds. Peregrine falcons and bald eagles also come here to forage and rest. The naturalist’s rewards match the lovely setting. —Mel Allen
CRUISE CONTROL While you can spy whales from a number of vantage points on Maine’s coast, taking a cruise with a licensed tour operator can deliver both close-up sightings and a dose of wildlife education. A sampling of Maine’s numerous whalewatch cruises: First Chance Whale Watch, Kennebunkport:
Based in one of the Maine Beaches’ most scenic enclaves, First Chance offers 41/2-hour trips to see whales, or shorter lobster tours closer to home. first chancewhalewatch.com Odyssey Whale Watch, Portland: Daily
whale-watch cruises from Maine’s biggest city include narrated tours of Casco Bay’s lighthouses, forts, and islands. odyssey whalewatch.com Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch, Boothbay Harbor: Founded
more than 80 years ago, Cap’n Fish leads both whale and puffin tours—plus a combo of the two. boothbay boattrips.com Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co., Bar Harbor:
More than 25 years’ experience leading whale tours, including sunset expeditions. barharborwhales.com
M A RK PICA RD
Eastport Windjammers, Eastport: The famed
Old Sow whirlpool and East Quoddy Lighthouse co-star along with sightings of eagles, seals, porpoise, and whales. eastport windjammers.com
TASTE OF THE
TOWN Standout chefs and eclectic eateries have food lovers beating a path to Biddeford. BY T IM CE BUL A
I opposite , clockwise from top left:
Jackrabbit Café in the Pepperell Mill Campus, a group of renovated 19th-century textile buildings in downtown Biddeford; a dish of Maine’s own Bangs Island mussels with celery and fingerling potatoes, from Magnus on Water; getting a fresh-roasted batch of coffee going at Time & Tide; stick-to-your-ribs breakfast fare, courtesy of Palace Diner.
n a state like Maine, you’d assume that an old mill town like Biddeford— half an hour south of Portland, the state’s culinary mecca—couldn’t possibly establish itself as a dining destination all its own. But about 10 years ago, after closing a local trash incineration facility that had given the downtown streets a markedly unsavory air, this little town of about 22,000 people saw a crop of new restaurants begin to arrive—their owners drawn at first by Biddeford’s low rents, then by the excitement and energy of the burgeoning food scene itself. “Small businesses and restaurants have really been able to make it and blossom here,” says Delilah Poupore, executive director of the local businessboosting group, Heart of Biddeford. “Biddeford had never really been a
Maine Summer Guide 2022
tourist destination. Now, so many visitors come to town just for the food. And we have a pretty amazing variety of restaurants for a small town. You can get everything from vegan food to shawarma to Swedish bakery treats to serious finedining tasting menus.” The old brick mill buildings that line Biddeford’s downtown streets now house businesses, boutiques, bookstores, breweries, distilleries, and of course restaurants. Biddeford’s diverse urban feel has drawn young entrepreneurs and residents, helping make it Maine’s youngest city, with a median age of 29 in its historic downtown. “There’s a young energy to this town, even among people who are older,” says chef Jason Eckerson, a former sous chef at Portland’s Eventide Oyster Co., who opened the seafood restaurant Fish & Whistle in Biddeford this summer with his wife, James Beard Award–nominated pastry chef Kate Hamm. “What we really love is how tight a community we have here in Biddeford,” Hamm adds. “Everybody downtown is engaged and pretty young—it’s very exciting.” Among the eateries that paved the way for Biddeford’s current renaissance is Palace Diner, opened in 2014 by Greg Mitchell and Chad Conley. Housed in a vintage 1927 Pollard train car, the 15-seat diner serves diner classics— breakfast plates, burgers, fried chicken— that many swear are the best versions of those dishes they’ve ever had. (Indeed, when Bon Appétit ranked Palace Diner among the top 50 new restaurants in America in 2014, it hailed the diner’s tuna sandwich as one of its favorite meals of the year.) Another forerunner of the Biddeford dining boom is Elements, the Main Street coffee shop, beer bar, and bookstore. When it opened in 2013, Elements was the only shop in town where you could buy premium coffee. (Or craft beer. Or books.) Now it’s been joined by other quality cafés, such as Time & Tide Coffee,
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: HEIDI K IRN; BRI A N CATA PA NG; JULIE K. GR AY; M A RK FLEMING
IF YOU GO: BIDDEFORD For more ideas on where to eat and drink in Biddeford, go to heartofbiddeford.org. Fish & Whistle:
New England–style fish-and-chips using sustainable, local seafood. fishand whistlemaine.com Palace Diner: Elevated
vintage comfort food (buttermilk pancakes, cheeseburgers, etc.) in a vintage dining car. palacedinerme.com
Biddeford’s industrial past echoes in its distinctive cluster of historic red-brick mill buildings.
Maine Summer Guide 2022
Banded Brewing Company and Lucky Pigeon Brewing Co., Maine’s first dedicated gluten-free brewery, in the Pepperell Center and Blaze Brewing Company on Pearl Street. For stiffer stuff, visit Round Turn Distilling to sample their citrusy Bimini Gin, or head to Stone Fort Distillery for smooth vodka and single-barrel whiskey made with 100 percent rye in a hand-forged copper still. And no food lover’s trip to Biddeford would be complete without a stop at Rabelais, the town’s cherished food and beverage book store in the Pepperell Mill Campus. Owner Don Lindgren has compiled one of the largest selections of rare and out-of-print cookbooks at the shop, and is a walking encyclopedia of food history himself. The town’s upward trajectory, or the “Biddaissance,” as locals jokingly call it, makes this summer an ideal time to go off the beaten trail and try a taste of Biddeford—at least while there are still reservations and parking spaces available. “We’re nearly at 100 percent commercial occupancy downtown, and the growth continues,” Poupore says. Tim Cebula is the food and dining reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Inventive cocktails and refined small plates in a stylish, intimate setting. magnusonwater.com Elda: Fine dining with a Maine-centric focus from acclaimed chef Bowman Brown. eldamaine.com Jackrabbit Café:
Breakfast spot known for its Scandinavianinspired baked treats. jackrabbitmaine.com Time & Tide Coffee:
Single-origin coffees, top-notch espresso drinks, and light bites. timeandtidecoffee.com Lorne Wine: Wine bar/
bottle shop pouring sustainably produced vino and local beers and ciders. lornewine.com Elements: A bookstore
and much more, with house-roasted coffee and a lineup of local craft beers and wine—plus live music and special events. elementsbooks coffeebeer.com
DAV ID BISHOP
whose selection of single-origin coffees is derived from thoughtfully sourced green coffee beans that they roast in their own production facility. Down the street in former mill buildings now called the Pepperell Mill Campus, Jackrabbit Café serves up freshbaked, Scandinavian-inspired pastries, cakes, and breads. Owners Anna and Bowman Brown first turned heads in town in 2017 when they opened the upscale small-plates seafood restaurant Elda, for which Bowman notched a James Beard Award nomination (his sixth) for Best Chef: Northeast in 2022. Also earning a James Beard nod this year was chef Ben Jackson of Magnus on Water, a fine-dining restaurant on Water Street. Co-owner Brittany Saliwanchik says when her team first opened Magnus more than two years ago, they knew Biddeford was the right place. Like other new Biddeford restaurateurs, the Magnus team was concerned their efforts would be duplicated or overshadowed in Portland, “one more restaurant in a city with loads of good restaurants already,” Saliwanchik says. Biddeford has plenty to offer the parched as well. Downtown boasts multiple breweries within walking distance of one another, including
Magnus on Water:
MAINE GUIDE Summer
The 375-mile Maine Island Trail offers kayakers stunning coastline, wild islands, and lasting memories.
In the Great Wass Archipelago, kayakers can paddle through a labyrinth of channels created by more than 40 islands off the coast of Jonesport, in the heart of DownEast Maine.
Spending a night on a Maine island doesn’t get more magical than at Shivers Island: Owned by the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands, this lovely one-acre island off Stonington accommodates just one campsite and only two people at a time.
orking off the belief that “people who care about the islands will care for them,” as founder Dave Getchell Sr. once put it, the Maine Island Trail has been sharing the beauty of the coast with small-boat travelers for more than three decades. Encompassing some 255 sites—some on the mainland but most on islands spanning the Maine coast from New Hampshire to Canada—the Maine Island Trail is recognized as the firstever modern recreational water trail. But in truth, it isn’t a trail at all: There
Maine Summer Guide 2022
is no official route to follow, and most users choose to explore its wonders over multiple journeys. The roots of the trail go back to 1987, when the nonprofit Island Institute was doing a survey of Maine’s coastal islands. As Getchell later recalled in an interview for Yankee, “In the course of the survey we came across 30-odd [islands] that had tremendous recreational potential. And it occurred to me that if we set up a water trail instead of a land trail, people could cruise along the coast and have a place to stay at night.”
A.G. EVA NS PHOTOGR A PHY
HITTING THE TRAIL The Maine Island Trail is divided into 10 distinct regions: Southern Coast:
Home to 90 percent of Maine’s sand beaches and many salt marshes. Casco Bay: Featuring some 200 islands in a region shared by Greater Portland. Western Rivers:
Characterized by several large tidal rivers and their unique estuarine ecosystems. Muscongus Bay:
Known for some of the highest densities of seabirds in Maine. Penobscot Bay: The
largest bay in Maine, containing some of the state’s biggest islands. Deer Isle: Offering a
trove of interesting geology, shaped in part by a rich glacial past. Mount Desert: Home to
Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain. DownEast: Marks the start of some of Maine’s most rugged and undeveloped shoreline. Bold Coast: Remote,
Getchell plugged the idea in an issue of Small Boat Journal, and the response was enthusiastic. The Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) was established as a program of the Island Institute, with additional funding from L.L. Bean and the Maine Bureau of Parks & Lands. In 1993, MITA spun off as an independent nonprofit. The mission of MITA has never changed, and executive director Doug Welch sees that as one of its primary strengths. It doesn’t own land or hold easements, so initially all of the trail’s
wild, and challenging, from Machias Bay to West Quoddy Head. Cobscook: Known for
tidal ranges of 18 to 25 feet, some of the largest in the U.S. Detailed information about individual Maine Island Trail sites can be found in MITA’s trail guide and app, available with a MITA membership (mita.org).
sites were public property. But owners of private islands were soon asking to be included as well, happy to open their properties to camping in exchange for the association’s stewardship services. Trail users are expected, at minimum, to leave no trace of their visit, but many go even further, aiming to leave sites nicer than when they arrived. Boatloads of trash are removed from the islands each year—most of it left not by visitors but by the ocean itself. Encompassing sand beaches and rock ledges, and islands that are hundreds of acres in size as well as others that are less than an acre, the sites on today’s Maine Island Trail represent 106 different landowners. Participation in the trail is governed by trust, Welch says: “There is something uniquely Maine about doing this with nothing more than a handshake. People aspiring to launch water trails in their own regions sometimes ask to see the contracts that spell out the terms between land owners and MITA—they find it hard to believe there isn’t one!” Today, MITA continues its work to increase access to and stewardship of Maine’s coastal islands. For instance, Welch says, MITA is piloting a program this year to help partner organizations to bring their participants out to the islands, including guides, camps, and educational partners working with younger people. “A core activity for us is to take people to the islands for meaningful, inspiring stewardship activities such as cleaning beaches, clearing trails, etc. Volunteer outings are a great opportunity for people who don’t have ocean boating skills and experience to visit some of the uninhabited islands.” In addition to caring for the islands, MITA is also the keeper and distributor of the Maine Island Trail Guide and its companion app, a comprehensive resource for maps and landing spots, campsite locations, and up-to-date information on the islands. But if you go, know this: Having an island entirely to yourself can be a lifechanging experience. And by now it’s pretty well established that once you care about these natural wonders, you’ll want to care for them, too. —Joe Bills
MAINE GUIDE Summer
LOCAL FLAVOR From food festivals to farm-to-table dining, Yankee’s editors share some of their favorite ways to get a true taste of Maine.
the largest in the state, at its permanent indoor spot on Spring Street. belfastfarmersmarket.org; belfastmarket.com
To see searchable listings for all things farm-related —markets, events, tours, farm stays, and more— go to realmaine.com.
Beth’s Farm Market, Warren Owners Beth and Vincent Ahlholm farm on hundreds of acres across Knox County, which supplies all the produce offered at this sprawling stand about 20 minutes from Rockport/Camden. Even better, they sell oysters and lobsters harvested by friendly fishermen right in Muscongus Bay. bethsfarmmarket.com
Belfast Farmers’ Market & United Farmers’ Market of Maine, Belfast Love a good farmers’ market? How about two? In MidCoast Maine, the town of Belfast hosts its year-round namesake market, founded in 1980, every Friday; in summer, vendors set up outside the Waterfall Arts building. On Saturdays the action shifts to the United Farmers’ Market of Maine,
Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust Farmers’ Market, Brunswick One of Maine’s biggest farmers’ markets makes its home on the 331-acre Crystal Spring Farm, the largest property owned by the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. No surprise a strong spirit of community runs through the event, held Saturdays from May to October, with live music, demonstrations,
FARM STANDS & FARMERS’ MARKETS
Maine Summer Guide 2022
and kids’ activities. btlt.org/farmers-market Four Season Farm, Harborside Founded by farmers and authors Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman (The Garden Primer, The New Organic Grower), Four Season Farm is dedicated to growing its food organically—and the popularity of its producepacked farm stand is a testament to its success. Highlights: candy carrots, leeks, and Belgian endive. fourseasonfarm.com Jordan’s Farm, Cape Elizabeth Before Cape Elizabeth became a well-to-do bedroom community of Portland, it was largely farmland. Jordan’s Farm put down roots here in 1948, and the family-run farm stand has only grown over the years. Look for an expansive selection of vegetables, cut-your-own flowers, and locally raised and harvested meat and fish. jordansfarm.com
El El Frijoles, Sargentville
Orono Farmers’ Market, Orono At the height of the summer season, this farmers’ market offers a twice-a-week opportunity to load up on berries, honey, pork, eggs and other farm goodness from more than 25 vendors— all just up the road from Bangor, Maine’s thirdlargest city. oronofarmers market.org Portland Farmers’ Market, Portland Portland’s first farmers’ market dates back to 1768. Nowadays, its vendors line the walkways in Deering Oaks Park, all offering Maine-grown produce and products— red-cabbage sauerkraut, raw honey, kefir, freshly picked blueberries, etc.—on Saturdays and Wednesdays into the fall. portlandmaine farmersmarket.org Weston’s Farm & Market, Fryeburg This seventh-generation farm in western Maine encompasses more than 1,000 acres of vegetable crops, maple sugarbush, Christmas trees, and more, giving it an amazing variety of items to sell yearround out of an antique Fryeburg barn (there’s also a second farm stand in North Conway, NH). westonsfarm.com Winterberry Farm, Belgrade On a 40-acre “forever farm,” preserved in perpetuity through an agricultural easement, browse the old-fashioned
RI A LTO IM AGES/STOCKSY (TOM ATOES); GRETA RY BUS (EL EL FRIJOLES); COURTESY OF NORTHERN OUTDOORS (BEER)
farm stand for everything from eggs and organic vegetables to flowers and socks made of wool from the resident sheep. Take a farm tour or stroll the beautiful grounds on your own. winterberryfarmstand.com
FOOD & DRINK TRAILS Maine Beer Trail Launched in 2009 by the Maine Brewers’ Guild, the Maine Beer Trail has grown from about two dozen stops to more than 160 active, licensed craft breweries pouring all kinds of brews in every corner of the state. A visit to the guild’s website— where you can customize a beer trail map and download a “passport” that you can use to earn prizes—shows the heady possibilities that await. mainebrewersguild.org Maine Oyster Trail Aiming to get travelers off the beaten path and connected with local farms, this interactive guide helps you find oyster farm tours, raw bars, and boat and kayak tours, as well as where to buy oysters directly from farmers anywhere along the Maine coast. Use the
blowout, a MidCoast tradition since 1947. Some 20,000 to 25,000 pounds of lobster— all freshly caught by local lobstermen—will be served during the festivities. August; mainelobsterfestival.com
Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland
Maine Oyster Passport to check in at each stop on the trail, track your visits, and earn hats, totes, and other swag. maineoystertrail.com Maine Wine Trail While Maine’s beer scene is rightfully famous, there are equally innovative goings-on in the state’s wineries, cideries, and, yes, meaderies. The brainchild of the Maine Winery Guild, the Maine Wine Trail provides a handy guide to nearly 30 artisan producers across the state; the interactive online map also lets travelers search for such features as tasting rooms, tours, snacks, and pet-friendliness. mainewinetrail.com MidCoast Cheese Trail Foodies traveling to MidCoast Maine will want to first download this tasty little sampler of regional cheesemakers, which comes paired with
Maine Summer Guide 2022
a select listing of nearby wineries and breweries. The emphasis is on farm-based operations, meaning a trip down this trail will lead to Maine food and drink made right at the source. midcoastcheesetrail.com
FOOD & DRINK FESTIVALS Eastport Salmon & Seafood Festival, Eastport Learn about the fishing industry of years past as well as the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry of today while enjoying live music, arts and crafts, a fishing derby,
and the crowning event: a community salmon grill-out. September; eastportchamber.net/ salmon
Maine Maple Sunday, Statewide Some 40 farms and sugarhouses participate in this annual celebration, where open houses give visitors the opportunity to learn how maple syrup is made and to sample the supremely tasty results. March; maine mapleproducers.com
Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, Machias Founded 45 years ago, this harvest celebration takes over downtown Machias with crafts, food, live entertainment, cooking contests, and all things blueberry. August; machiasblueberry.com
Maine Red Hot Dog Festival, Dexter Whether steamed in a bun, or with baked beans and brown bread on a Saturday night, Maine loves its distinctive “red snapper,” a hot dog with red casing. Discover the allure at this free event featuring a “Bun Run,” eating contests, and all kinds of family fun. August; redhotdog.org
Maine Artisan Bread Fair, Skowhegan Dedicated to real, honest, Maine-made bread, this one-day event offers delicious loaves and pastries, wood-fired handmade pizza, books and equipment for baking at home, live music, and more. July; kneading conference.com/bread-fair
Maine Whoopie Pie Festival, Dover-Foxcroft Celebrate the official state treat of Maine with a day of fun, music, and sweet snacking, as dozens of bakers serve up thousands of whoopie pies in Piscataquis County’s largest annual event. June; maine whoopiepiefestival.com
Maine Lobster Festival, Rockland Gorgeous Rockland Harbor is the backdrop for this venerable lobster
Moxie Festival, Lisbon Falls Three full days can barely contain the “wicked cool” Moxie-fueled fun as Maine
TIM SULLI VA N ( LOBSTER); BONCH A N/ ISTOCK ( WHOOPIE PIES); MICH AEL D. WILSON ( ROCOCO)
THE BIG CHILL 10 great spots to start exploring the delicious world of Maine ice cream.
Bresca & the Honey Bee, New Gloucester At her ice cream shack on Sabbathday Lake, celebrated Maine chef Krista Kern makes ice cream you’d willingly drive out of your way to eat. The siren songs of things like roasted strawberry ice cream and crème fraîche–lime ice cream with blueberry compote are hard to resist. brescaand thehoneybee.com Butterfields Ice Cream, Dover-Foxcroft Founded in 1950, this family-run scoop shop has long been a go-to for the Moosehead Lake summer crowds. Try the blueberry flavor for a true taste of Maine goodness. butterfieldsicecream.com Fielder’s Choice, Auburn, Bangor, Brunswick, Manchester, Old Orchard Beach, and Sabbatus Discover 30-plus homemade flavors, gobs of toppings, and soft-serve and sugar-free options at this baseball-themed local chain. Cookie dough and peanut butter cup can’t be beat, but we love the Indian pudding (made with homemade pudding, naturally). fielderschoice icecream.com
Indulge your sweet tooth by the sea at Rococo, a Kennebunkport mainstay.
Gifford’s, Auburn, Bangor, Farmington, Skowhegan, and Waterville Tracing its family roots back to a 19th-century home-delivery milk and ice cream business, Gifford’s opened its VisitMaine.com
MAINE GUIDE Summer
first shop in 1980 and become one of Maine’s best-known brands (not to mention a World Dairy Expo Ice Cream Grand Champion for five straight years). Among the ingredients: locally sourced cream and milk, and wild berries “from just up the road.” giffordsicecream.com
Mount Desert Island Ice Cream, Bar Harbor and Portland Count two celebrity fans among the crowds that crave MDIIC: Barack and Michelle Obama, who paid a visit to Bar Harbor’s Main Street shop in 2010. Almost everything—from the toffee in the chocolate pretzel toffee to the baked apples in the honey baked apple— is made in-house. mdiic.com Rococo Ice Cream, Kennebunkport Founded by Lauren
Maine Summer Guide 2022
Gifford’s: putting locally grown berries to their best use for over 40 years.
Guptill, a 10th-generation Mainer, Rococo scoops up everything from Maine whoopie pie to guava rose. While drawing international inspiration for many of her flavors, Guptill keeps a local focus by incorporating a variety of seasonal Maine-grown fruit. rococoicecream.com Round Top Ice Cream, Damariscotta A MidCoast & Islands fixture since 1924, Round Top Ice Cream offers more than 50 farm-fresh flavors, including many
New England classics (maple walnut, black raspberry). Don’t miss the extra-thick frappes, but know you’ll need a spoon to eat one. roundtopicecream.com Sweetcream Dairy, Biddeford Reopened this year in a new, bigger space, Sweetcream churns out stellar small-batch ice cream in inventive (roasted chestnut) but never-gimmicky (Meyer lemon custard) flavors, and uses local ingredients ranging from
coffee to fresh fruit. sweetcreamdairy.com Toots, North Yarmouth At the original, seasonal location of Toots, an old railcar has been renovated into an ice cream shop. Order, then take your cone outside, where you can pay a visit to the farm’s many animals, including the goats that supply the milk for the gelato. A second location opened nearby recently, so you now can sample Toots’s ice cream year-round. tootsicecream.com
COURTESY OF GIFFORD’S
Houlton Farms Dairy Bar, Caribou, Houlton, and Presque Isle The Lincoln family insists on using its own mixes for its Houlton Farms ice cream, working from these bases to create ideal versions of classics like vanilla and chocolate as well as more New England-y concoctions, like grape-nut soft-serve. houltonfarmsdairy.com
celebrates its unique soft drink. There’ll be plenty of Moxie available, of course, which you can sip as you listen to a concert, stroll through a car show, or watch the parade. July; moxiefestival.com
ABR AH A M ZINER (A R AGOSTA); COURTESY OF THE FIDDLEHEA D RESTAUR A NT
Ploye Festival, Fort Kent Discover ployes, the delicious buckwheat pancakes beloved by the French Acadian exiles who settled in northern Maine, during a weekend whose signature event is the making of the world’s largest ploye (up to 12 feet in diameter!). August; ployes.com/ ployes/ploye-festival.html Yarmouth Clam Festival, Yarmouth From start to finish, more than 6,000 pounds of clams (along with an estimated 6,000 lobster rolls, 2,200 pancake breakfasts, and 400 homemade pies) are typically consumed this weekend. But there’s more to the fun than just food, thanks to live music, a clam-shucking contest, a parade, street dancing, and fireworks. July; clamfestival.com
LOCAVORE EATERIES Aragosta, Deer Isle Chef-owner Devin Finigan’s wizardry with locally sourced ingredients, especially seafood, has made Aragosta the island’s hottest ticket (as well as its most beautiful venue,
Aragosta, Deer Isle
Earth at Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport True to its name, Earth partners with local farmers and foragers to bring in a plethora of produce and specialty items—on top of what this fine-dining restaurant already sources from two on-site organic gardens. earthathiddenpond.com
The Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor
set on 20-plus waterfront acres). Don’t miss a chance to try anything Finigan does with lobster. aragostamaine.com Café at Nezinscot Farm, Turner Everything is made from scratch at this delightful
farm-to-table café in the western Maine foothills, whose menu of honest, hearty fare changes seasonally and uses ingredients grown on-site or sourced from other local farms and artisan food producers. nezinscotfarm.com
El El Frijoles, Sargentville Who says street food can’t be sustainable? This California-style taqueria is infused with plenty of local Maine goodness, from the lobster tacos to the organic black beans from Horsepower Farm just up the road in Penobscot. elelfrijoles.com The Fiddlehead Restaurant, Bangor From spring’s first
Flanagan’s Table at The Barn at Flanagan Farm, Buxton In partnership with the Maine Farmland Trust, The Barn at Flanagan Farm hosts monthly dinners that spotlight not only a rotating roster of Maine’s top chefs but also local produce, cheese, meats, and wine and beer.
The Well at Jordan’s Farm, Cape Elizabeth
Maine Summer Guide 2022
Even better: A portion of the proceeds goes to support Maine agriculture. mainefarmlandtrust.org/ flanagans-table Fore Street, Portland The brick and soapstone hearth at the heart of Fore Street isn’t merely decorative: It’s where fresh fish, meats, and vegetables are roasted over hardwoods and fruit woods, providing a mouthwatering form of dinner theater. Awardwinning chef Sam Hayward was a pioneer in the locavore movement long before farm-to-table was a concept, so his live-fire cooking always begins with exceptional ingredients. forestreet.biz The Lost Kitchen, Freedom Every year, thousands of foodies enter a lottery in hopes of nabbing a
reservation at chef-owner Erin French’s nationally acclaimed restaurant in rural Maine. The prize: a multicourse dinner made with seasonal, regional ingredients and presented like a fine work of art. findthelostkitchen.com Misty Meadows Organic Farm, Grand Isle In the St. John Valley, this farm’s friendly café is the go-to for all-natural/ organic comfort food. Look for Maine potatoes, pasture-raised and grass-fed meat, and homemade desserts and goodies. mistymeadows organicfarm.net Primo, Rockland On the grounds of chefowner Melissa Kelly’s farmhouse restaurant, Primo, there’s a seasonal, open-air venue called 0KM Bungalow that
takes its name from “zero kilometer,” a concept that arose in Italy to describe food prepared and eaten near its source. That ethos underlies everything at Primo, whose Italianleaning menu features many ingredients raised or grown just steps away. primorestaurant.com Walkers Maine, Cape Neddick At Justin and Danielle Walker’s low-key but refined restaurant, a hefty portion of the summertime produce comes from their own nearby farm. Throughout the menu, Justin’s genius for woodfired cooking is on full display (don’t miss the duck). walkersmaine.com The Well at Jordan’s Farm, Cape Elizabeth Chances are you’ll be eating vegetables that were picked just a stone’s throw away when you dine at this seasonal eatery on a picturesque working farm, where seating options include wee private gazebos. For a small donation, you can even pick your own flowers from the garden. thewellatjordansfarm.com 122 Corson, Mercer Located off the beaten path in the rural town of Mercer, 122 Corson is an intimate “on farm” finedining experience. Much of the food is grown right here on the 150-acre Blue Ribbon Farm, and the expansive views of the western Maine foothills simply can’t be beat. 122corson.com
DEA N BLOTTO GR AY (THE WELL AT JORDA N’S FA RM )
asparagus to autumn’s bounty of pumpkins and squashes, it helps to have your own farm if you run a restaurant serving farm-to-fork cuisine—and chef Mel Chaiken does. The meats, seafood, and cheeses, meanwhile, come largely from Maine farms, fishermen, and cheese makers. Raised in Japan, Chaiken brings some innovative Asian treatments to otherwise recognizably New England food. thefiddle headrestaurant.com
MAINE GUIDE Summer
The enduring pull of York Beach’s signature saltwater taffy.
A DA M DETOUR; ST Y LING BY CATRINE KELT Y
he longest-running show in the village of York Beach, Maine, still draws a crowd more than 125 years later. No surprise, since admission is free and the aroma-based marketing campaign is essentially irresistible. Each May, the wafting sweet smell of boiling sugar and molasses returns to the streets here, indicating the production of Goldenrod Kisses, a brand of saltwater taffy that—around here, at least—is as indispensable an ingredient of summer as the sun itself. It was in 1896, just one year before a new railway connection would raise the area’s profile as a tourist destination, that Edward and Mattie Talpey opened their York Beach eatery, The Goldenrod, across the road from Short Sands Beach. Now the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Maine, The Goldenrod found popularity with its full-service soda fountain and tasty menu, yet it soon became clear that the real star was its taffy. And not just the candy itself, but also the performance that
Edward would give in the front window: hanging the taffy from hooks, pulling it by hand, and cutting it into those signature Kisses. Today, the original recipes are still followed for the 12 primary flavors: chocolate, cinnamon, licorice, lime, maple-walnut, molasses, molassespeppermint, peanut butter, peppermint, strawberry, vanilla, and wintergreen. During the summer, special flavors are rotated in as well. Goldenrod Kisses are made fresh daily, as they were in Edward’s time—although in quantities he never could have imagined. Viewers now line up outside not just the front window, but also windows along the side of the building, where they follow the whole Willy Wonka process from cooking kettles to cooling tables to a pulling machine (which took over Edward’s lead role in the 1940s). The pulling fluffs the taffy, doubling its size and readying it for the 1958 cutting and wrapping machine, which chops off 180 morsels a minute, eight million a season. And the show goes on. —Joe Bills