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FALL FOLIAGE IN MAINE

August 21st, 2014 by Scott Gile

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sunlit fall photo of red blazing maple above a rocky river with stone bridge in the backgroundDSCN0379

Blazing maple

Experiencing fall foliage in Maine is one of those “have to” bucket list life adventures.   One of the toughest question I field is “when is it the best time to come for fall foliage? It’s a bit of a moving target from year to year, the intensity or timing of said being somewhat variable and unpredictable..   Long term and recent temperature trends, moisture trends, rain, wind and even insect and caterpillar plagues have a bearing on timing and color.

 

The lingering warmth of the ocean closer to the coast makes “the changing” delayed relative to the colder interior and mountainous areas (a little over an hour northwest of here) , often by as much as 2 weeks. Native Yankees leaf-peepers know this and go for the mountains early. Once those yellow birches, blazing red and swamp maples start to go though, one windy night (especially combined with heavy rain) can find most leaves stripped and on the ground by morning!     The oaks (red oaks being the most intense of their species) turn a beautiful aged brick red and tan, a couple of weeks after the maples.

yellow and pink maple leaves laying on green grass

Black maple leaves

 

Summer of 2013 was odd and very warm at times, with some extended wet spells, but the late summer was very dry, and the maples here pretty much browned up, turned yellow and fell off from early to mid-October. At least that was true of the 2 adolescent black maples beside Brewster House, and the sugar maples and ashes were a little disappointing.

 

This summer has been cool with very even periods of sun and some rain, and it’s getting cool in the evening, in mid-August as low as the 40’s back in the western Maine mountains! Supposedly, when the trees start to turn is determined by sun angle, not temperature, but if I was a betting man, I’d bet on things starting a little early here this year!

 

Here’s a great little map to show the typical timing and progression of the tree colors here. http://www.yankeefoliage.com/peak-foliage-forecast-map/. It suggests peak foliage in coastal Maine happens around the second week of October. Don’t forget, not far west of here foliage peaks 2 weeks earlier, so you have a real range of mid-September through the end of October to share in our bounty-time! It’s really the premier time to be here, no bugs, dry crisp ‘see for 100 mile’ air, typically mostly dry, crystalline cobalt-blue skies against the blazing orange, yellows and reds…and “not-summer-crowds!”

 

We at Brewster House offer a number of specials into Fall, including “Fall Colors Surf & Turf (including a self-drive map of the choicest viewing areas),” “The Maine Seafarer Adventure,” and the always popular “Lighthouse Tour.”  Please see the details in the “Specials” tab at our website.  In addition, many local boat charterers, including our friends on the Alert schooner and Captain Ring on Atlantic Seal Charters offer “foliage cruises” in that crisp, crystal Autumn air very reasonably.  There are many Fall Festivals, like Oktoberfest http://www.oktoberfestmaine.com, and Country Fairshttp://www.mainefairs.org/fairs.html to enjoy too!DSCN0577

We still have some availability at Brewster House for September & October, so reserve your fireplaced room now!!

Wow, I’ll have to check on the downhill ski equipment soon! Winter comes quick after “stick season” here in Maine!

WINGS & WHEELS SPECTACULAR

August 2nd, 2014 by Scott Gile

I know, it’s a bummer that because Naval Air Station Brunswick has been de-commissioned that we won’t likely be seeing the Blue Angels there again, but we do have the amazing Owl’s Head Museum nearby on the southwest corner of Penobscot Bay ( a little over one hour’s drive), who will be hosting the 40th annual Wings & Wheels Spectacular on August 9th & 10th!  One testosteronal delight after another will present itself for your visual and aural pleasure between 9AM and 3PM http://owlshead.org/events/detail/wings-and-wheels-spectacular!!

 

Not only will their killer collection of cars, motorcycles and biplanes be open, but the show will feature the addition of aerobatic perfumers Jimmy & Jim Parker (Jim in Salto Aerobatic Glider). The the WWII Warbirds from the Texas Flying Legends will be showing off their perfect WWII fighters on the ground and in the air, and the Museum will be flying their antique bi-planes during the morning for your viewing pleasure as well!  The airplanes on display will include their P-51 Mustang, “Miss Cincinnati,” an FG-1D Corsair “Whistling Death,” a TBM Avenger and other incredible WWII airplanes http://www.texasflyinglegends.org/planes.The museum will be flying their bi-planes, including  their 1917 checkerboard Spad, 1917 Fokker DR.1 Triplane (made famous by the Red Baron) and new acquisition, a 1930 Travel Air Speedwing, among others!  The Museum is also running a show entitled “The Quest for Speed,” highlighting our New England racing history and featuring such amazing examples as Michael Schumacher’s 2002 Ferrari F-1 car and the worlds 2nd oldest Duesenberg, a 1915 “Benedict Special” race car.

A paltry $16 gets you in, and you might choose to catch Owl’s Head light and dinner in Rockland on your way back to your spacious and welcoming womb at Brewster House!  We do have a couple of rooms open for next weekend, as I write this.  DON’T DELAY!!  You could move onto the Maine Homes, Boats & Harbors Show in Rockland, if the Wings and Wheels Show isn’t enough to fill your bucket maineboats.com!!

Oh, and for all you Celts, Clansman and other so inclined lovers of the Highlands, on August 16th, the Maine Highland Games will be held in our neighboring town, Topsham!  The “Clan Gathering” will take place on the eve of the 15th, and the games on the following Saturday.  We do not have availability for Friday night (unless we get a cancellation), but we do have 2 rooms open for Saturday.  Come to Brewster House and take in the games, and spoil yourself with Mary’s amazing breakfast!  Who knows, maybe we’ll go crazy land offer Prosecco mimosas for breakfast Sunday!

 

 

 

Harpswell Neck

July 31st, 2014 by Scott Gile

It’s very hard to blog, unless you feel something about the subject. When escaping Brewster House, Mary and I  often speculate on what a great place to live Harpswell Neck will be when we quit innkeeping (don’t get nervous!). The Neck and adjacent islands www.harpswellmaine.org are our escape (only a ten minute ride from Brewster House), and a quietly stunning example of the glacially sculpted fingers into the ocean that comes to mind when most of think of Maine! The ride down Rt. 123 starts with some big farms, and if you look close, you’ll see salt meadows at the ends of the fields.  You might stop in to Nance’s Seafood Shanty (in front of a large gorgeous farm, which reaches right down to tidal marsh)  a few miles onto the road for a fab lobster, clam or crab roll and fresh lemonade.

Nance's Seafood Shanty

Nance’s Seafood Shanty

A few miles south, you’ll have to decide to head straight down Harpswell, or follow the sign west to rt. 24.  Crossing  over Harpswell Cove to Great Island, turn right on 24 and you’ll know your crossing onto Orrs Island, as you drop and twist into the stunning vista of Merriconeag Sound and Gun Point Cove.    The ride over Orr’s Island is a delight of roller coaster turns, dives and climbs as you take in the sparkling atlantic vistas of granite, fir and modest, and the occasional lovely waterfront homes or cottage.  These islands and Peninsula actually include 216 miles of rugged Maine coastline!

Orr's Island bridge

Orr’s Island bridge

Bearing left shortly after leaving Brunswick down Rt. 24 would take you to the real Maine lobster fishing village of Cundy’s Harbor, which  doesn’t really look like anything has changed in 50 years!  Want authentic?  Grab a sandwich at Holbrook’s Snack Bar!

Cundy's Harbor

Cundy’s Harbor

DSCN1916I digress, back south on rt. 24 we come to the Village of Orr’s, just before the longest granite bridge in the world  connects Bailey Island to Orr’s, over the fast running Will’s Gut.http://www.bowdoin.edu/news/archives/summerresearch/003397.shtml.  To your right is Cooks Lobster House, left Morse’s Cribstone Grille.  Either will serve you lunch or dinner right on the ocean!  Around Cooks, many boating opportunities are available, including our favorite new schooner charter, Alert w/ Captains Perry & Bethany  https://www.facebook.com/SchoonerAlert!   Heading south, Mackerel Cove is the textbook picture of a lobster fishing harbor, and just to it’s left, a path for a scenic hike down The Giant Staircase!  Then to one of the Gile Family favorites, Estes Lobster House.  Very reasonable and again, oceanside outdoor dining, facing the sunset!!

Mackerel Cove

Mackerel Cove

There are several art shops, antique stores, quilters, ice cream shops here and there, in places you’d never expect to see them, all over Harpswell. Had we stayed on Rt. 123, rather than crossing over to Orr & Bailey Islands, we’d have cruised by several lovely coves and inlets on our way to the Village of Harspwell.  A mile or so south, there’s a little dirt road to the right that circumnavigates Basin Cove, ending at The Dolphin Restaurant & Marina.  The Dolphin was completely rebuilt a little over a year ago.  The dining room sits right on Casco Bay and is 180 degrees of glass for your eating, drinking and socializing pleasure.  A sublime way to end a great day exploring Harpswell Neck!  Then, back to that killer bed with the ironed sheets and that unbelievable next days breakfast awaiting you at Brewster House……..  DSCN1384

AMAZING BOATING FROM FREEPORT EAST

July 7th, 2014 by Scott Gile

“Boating Portland, Part I” http://brewsterhouse.com/2014/06/21/boating-around-freeport-maine/, was the first part of this encyclopedic  compenduim, so start there and catch up before you dive in here!

Tour boating captain in blue shirt standing at the helm of his boat

At the helm – Atlantic SealCruies

OK, so we’ve moved up the coast from Portland to Freeport!  I’d love to tell you that there were multiple boating options from our hometown, but I only know of one, Atlantic Seal Cruises, with Captain Ring from Harraseeket Harbor in South Freeport (& Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey’s Island), but when you add in “the neighborhood,” there are AMAZING BOATING CHOICES FROM FREEPORT, & east!   Captain Ring is very entertaining, and works most of the year a commercial tug captain.  You’ll pick up some lobster traps, he’ll show you some seals, osprey, eagles and you’ll spend an hour on Eagle Island at what was the former home of the famous Arctic explorer, Admiral Peary!  Tom and his Wife actually owned a B & B on the Harraseeket waterfront, and he always raves about Brewster House when he stops by! He also does some special trips to Seguin Island light and fall foliage cruises.

A new opportunity locally is a husband and wife team, Bethany & Perry, who would love to share their 31’ ketch, “Tevake”, or their new acquisition, a beautiful dark green 70’ schooner, “Alert.” They sail out of Cooks by the Bailey/ Orr Island granite bridge, off Harpswell Neck. They offer a myriad of 2 hour to 6 hour charters on either yacht. Both boats are beautiful and they sail the local waters of Merriconeag Sound to Casco Bay. I can’t wait to have the time to sail with them! I would recommend this as the premier local sailing opportunity, the dock is a gorgeous 30 minute drive from Brewster House and their prices are very reasonable, and lunch or dinner awaits at Cook’s!   https://www.facebook.com/SchoonerAlert

We don’t get a lot of questions about boat fishing, but enjoying ocean fishing myself, I’ll offer a little information.  The “Barbarian III” out of Harpswell is a good example.  Chartering a sport fisherman is a blast, but it’s expensive enough that you’ll want to share the trip (& the stories) with some buddies.  $350 – $450 for a four hour trip is typical (for the whole boat), with $700 – $800 for an 8 hour shark or tuna fishing adventure.  Further, keep in mind, the premier sport fish in Maine are stripped bass or bluefish.  As they are both pelagic (they migrate), the fishing is best in either mid May to the end of June, or September to mid-October.

White cabin cruiser boating opportunity with outriggers at dock

Further afield (or should I say abay), but one heck of a daylong adventure, would be a trip to the lovely, rugged and wild Monhegan monheganwelcome.com. This would be an excellent adventure for those enjoying longer stays at Brewster House!  The May edition of Down East Magazine has a great piece about Monhegan, and it’s struggle to keep a year round population. The island is about 8 miles offshore, just short of 2 miles long, and very high and rocky. Its’ jewels are a year round community of artists and a very hardy community of lobster fisherman who only pursue their quarry in Winter, when prices for the delicious sea spiders are higher. It is a lovely place to hike and explore, and at the end of your hike, there’s even a local micro-brewery (the Monhegan Brewing Company) to reward your efforts! You can depart from either Boothbay or New Harbor (either of which is about 50 minutes east of us). Ferries depart at 9AM or 2PM, and you are asked to be there 45 minutes early hardyboat.com. I would recommend reservations. Bicycles are not welcome, although, you can arrange to bring your kayak!

Yellow & white hulled large schooner at anchor with blue sky behind

Schooner Heritage at anchor

Lastly, and really more of a “mid-coast” adventure is life experience you should not miss! That would be the traditional fishing schooner Heritage at anchorschooner charter fleet that sails out of Penobscot Bay www.sailmainecoast.com. These are largely classic, former fishing schooners, 75 – 150’ in length, that go out for 3 to 10 day trips, complete with crew, all meals provided, and you participate in running the boat as much (or as little) as you like. My Sister, cousin and myself took a 6 day trip on the “Heritage” in August a few years ago and had a wonderful, relaxing trip…..no TV’s or other distracting electronics, laying on deck at night watching the meteors and satellites, just quiet, extraordinary views of the sea, mountains, islands and marine life aboard a comfortable large, powerful schooner equipped with fabulous water toys, like sailing dinghies, rowing dinghies, etc. Food is prepared on a woodstove and of remarkable quality and taste. Don’t forget your wine!! And, don’t forget to start and/ or end you adventure in the luxurious comfort of Brewster House, at the turn of the Maine coast!

 

Boating Portland, Part 1

June 21st, 2014 by Scott Gile

Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Wow, boating Portland offers so many great boating opportunities, this blog will be confined to that City, and I’ll follow up with a subsequent blog for boating choices from Freeport, and East.  Commercial St. is 20 minutes from our door, so after the bustle of a day on the water, and lunch or dinner around the Portland waterfront, there is no better respite than a glass of wine on the porch of Brewster House on the quiet north side of little ole Freeport!

Please refer back to my piece of July 29th, 2013.  In that blog I referred both to Atlantic Seal Cruises and The Portland Schooner Company.

Wendameen on a port tack

Wendameen on a port tack

The Portland Schooner Company runs two vintage, beautiful schooners “Bagheera” & “Wendameen” several times a day, including sunset cruises http://www.portlandschooner.com.  Sailing is a beautiful & unique experience in which the power of nature is both moving and soothing!   See their website for schedules.  This experience  is very economical and exhilarating, when there is wind!!  Our Seafarer Adventure Package includes a trip with Portland Schooners for two!

A simple and inexpensive approach to appreciating Casco Bay by ferry would be Casco Bay Ferry Lines http://www.cascobaylines.com.  They offer a great variety of adventures, everything from the “Mailboat Run” (to most of the inhabited islands in the Bay) for a 3 hour round trip for just $16, to “Sunset” and “Sunrise” runs.  Can you think of a better way to while away a few hours, taking in the Bay on a summer day?  I’ll bet you can bring your own cooler too!

Of the same ilk, but a hair more tourist oriented would be Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours http://www.portlanddiscovery.com.  While much of their business is bus based, they do sell a couple of “Lighthouse Tours” of the Portland Casco Bay area, one of which is a sunset tour!  All for a piddling sum!

White & Blue hulled lobster boat with smiling crew aboard

Lucky Catch Lobstering

One of our favorite themes is lobsters, so the Lucky Catch Lobstering Tours www.luckycatch.com are a hoot!  For $30 (adult), you’ll get to participate in being a lobstaman (or lobtsawoman) and even take home a lobster for dock price!!  These tours are 1 hour 45 minutes, and they also lead seal watches as well.  Seals remind me of dogs a bit.

Humpback tail on wate & Tour Boat

Odyssey Whale Watch

There are whale watch boats from both Boothbay Harbor and Portland, but for this installment, we’ll confine our attention to the latter.  Odyssey Whale Watch Tours http://www.odysseywhalewatch.com operate a good size boat (above) out of a Commercial Street wharf.  They leave at 2PM in season, and go out up to 20 miles out for a 4 hour trip, during which you may see humpbacks, fin whales, minke whales, and often porpoises.  Remember, on any of these trips, once you leave the dock, the air temperature will reflect the sea temperature (which is now in low 50’s), so bring an extra layer!  It is an amazing experience to hang at the bow of the boat looking down at porpoises riding the bow wave, as they turn and look back at you!

Whatever your taste in ocean adventure, Brewster House has the best beds (choice of pillows, choice of layered blankets, ironed sheets), quietest rooms and most incredibly delicious breakfast in Freeport, so come back to recoup!!   We’ll deal with the Nova Scotia Ferry as a whole other subject!  Remember, this is only Part One!  Next blog, we’ll work up from Freeport North and East to New Harbor, stay tuned!!

MAINE RAIL LOVERS BLOG

June 8th, 2014 by Scott Gile

green & silver diesel engine approaching w/ 4 passengers over small bridge

MAINE RAILROAD LOVERS BLOG

 

We in Freeport have recently become especially rail conscious since restoration of train service here in the guise of the Downeaster www.amtrakdowneaster.com/schedules clearly a growing and welcome trend for those of us frustrated, traffic bound commuters!! Further, from a historical perspective, in Maine rail had a long important history with narrow gauge rail and the Great North Woods. You can experience the history of these little trains, and actually ride one in Portland. Experience the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum on Front St. (the waterfront) in Portland! http://www.mainenarrowgauge.org

Long provate passenger car train passing along rivers edge in desert area

AAPRC Private Car Train 2013

I got off on this jag, as I saw a piece in the Portland Press Herald this week on a unique train opportunity that will be here in late September. Having had a little stint with model railroading, I know trains offer a special glimpse into our past, and on September 21st, the Pine Tree Limited is scheduled to arrive in Portland for the Private Railroad Car (AAPRCO) Owners Convention, staying until September 25th. What the heck is the Pine Tree Limited, you ask….? Well, going back into the early 20th century (when rail gauges were standardized in width), if you were wealthy, your personal Winnebago would’ve been a custom rail car. This Pine Tree Limited is the 2014 custom voyage for 30 custom rail car owners, starting in Chicago on 9/18, and breaking up in Albany, NY on 9/29/14. The 85’ x 10’ private cars will be accompanied by coaches, sleepers and diner cars as well.  I understand they will be picking up the old Boston & Maine route near Troy, NY, then heading east on that line towards us.  Some of these car owners sell travel space on their cars to defray the cost of ownership, so contact this website if you’re interested http://www.aaprco.com!  There will be a couple of cocktail parties hosted on private cars at the convention in Portland, so if you sign up for the convention, YOU’RE IN!!

To give you an idea of this level of luxury, “The Federal,” built in 1911 has two master bedrooms, a large shower, changing room, crew quarters and a full service kitchen. It has carried both Presidents Taft and Woodrow Wilson in the past. The cars run from $100,000 for a “fixer-upper” to many multiples of that for the finer examples. The AAPRCO holds these trips in a different destination city each year, so this is a special opportunity to see these beauties in New England,   At this point, we have some availability at Brewster House, but late September fills up quickly, so don’t delay!!

green & silver diesel engine approaching w/ 4 passengers over small bridge

photo of Maine Eastern Railroad by Kevin Andrusia

Another fantastic more regularly available nostalgic and beautiful train excursion here would be the Brunswick to Rockland Line with traverses a stunning mix of rivers, peninsulas, bridges, ledge and forest, as well as such famously scenic towns as Bath and Wiscasset.   The Maine Eastern Railroad operates Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays offering a 112 mile round trip: between Brunswick and Rockland. They offer some special Blues Rides, as well as special trains to and from the LobsterFest in Rockland in early August. Check out their website for more detail http//www.maineeasternrailroad.com

I guest it’s time to consider “Boats & Planes” for future blogs!!

MAINE BEER BLOG

May 27th, 2014 by Scott Gile

DSCN1899

 

MAINE BEER BLOG

Beer, beer, beer…..everybody loves it and the craft beers/ microbrewery explosion (especially huge in Maine) does nothing but widen and deepen the experience. In Freeport, we have two micro-brews, and there are many more very nearby!

 

This week I did my fifth “Go-Trippin” interview with the lovely Colleen Croteau of the Maine Beer Co. www.mainebeercompany.com. David and Dan have only been selling beer since 2009, and only moved here in April of 2013, but have cut themselves quite a reputation in the region with many fine ales, and I have to say, I’m thoroughly relishing their porter in my frig. They do tastings in their Freeport facility, which overlooks their brewing operations. My son is going there tomorrow for a personal inspection (of course, I can’t fit it in!).

We also have a Gritty McDuff’s here in Freeport., www.grittys.com, which is quite the local hotspot for imbibing, as well as excellent pub-fare.  After the mosquitoes are fed, you might head out to their deck for a mix of Maine air and chilled brew!

 

Although we’ve sadly been unable to get there yet, there is a Sea Dog Brewery (http://www.seadogbrewing.com) in this dizzying 90’ over the Androscoggin River location, in an old mill building in Topsham (right over the River from Brunswick) only about 5 miles north of Brewster House.  Believe me when I tell you, their deck location is AMAZING!!

Of course, Portland (15 or 20 minutes south of Freeport) has “brewery row,” including such notable names as Shipyard, Bunker, Geary, Rising Tide and so on!!

 

One of the major challenges inherit in this beer tasting sport is the “who’s going to drive?” question! Well Bunky, we’ve got you covered! The aforesaid sweet Colleen was kind enough to share several local “beer tours,” whereby this question is effectively eliminated!

 

In no particular order, first we have Zak and Don with the The Maine Brew Bus, out of Portland. Learn more about their tours $55 – $65) at www.themainebrewbus.com . Some include snacks too, others a full lunch, so all things considered, an excellent deal!

 

As a second option, there’s Mark at Maine Beer Tours www.mainebeertours.com.

 

Finally, as a connoisseur of beer, in Maine you can be rewarded for these visits yu signing up for “The Maine Beer Trail Pass!” 10 visits gets you a hat, 20 a t-shirt. Think how proud you could be! Climbing K2 will seem trivial by comparison!! Go to www.mainebrewersguild.org for details.

 

Of course, this is going to be exhausting, so you’re going to need a hell of a breakfast to get you started and a great bed to recover. Brewster House is the natural solution! Start with check our availability before booking your adventure, make a reservation and know we’ll have your back!!

 

As I was reading over a pub bar in Killarney a couple of weeks ago (actually it was in Gaelic), “Drunk is bad, but thirst is worse.”

 

Salud!

Eight Awesome Mid-Coast Maine Things To Do

May 1st, 2014 by Scott Gile

Boothbay_Harbor_High_Tide-21. BOATS– In our view, if you really want to appreciate Maine (or at least our part of it), there is no substitute for experiencing our gorgeous coastline, islands & peninsulas on a boat. Whether that be the Portland Water Taxis, Atlantic Seal Cruses out of Freeport, an antique schooner trip,  the experience of where the land and water meet is intoxicating! If you have the time, spend the day cruising out of Boothbay or New Harbor to Monhegan. It’s 8 or 10 miles offshore, high, windy & naturally stunning with huge cliffs and puffins nesting in them, populated by a few hardy fishermen, and a thriving year round artists colony, and a 100+ year old hotel. One fabulous breather!!

2. BEACHES– Maine has some beautiful beaches, as different in character from each other as the far reaches of our huge State! South of Portland, there are several long sandy stretches, from the black long sands of York, to the white beaches of Wells, Ogunquit and Old Orchard Beach. In Freeport, we have our own Casco Bay facing beach at Winslow Park, and at either end of the Kennebec River two stunningly wild, different and unspoiled State Parks including both Popham Beach on the west, and Reid State Park at the east end of the River.

3. LIGHTHOUSES– There at least five of these within an easy drive of Freeport, including Cape Neddick Light in York, Goat Island Light on Cape Porpoise, and the Portland sisters, Cape Elizabeth (or Two Lights) and the photogenic queen, Portland Head. Less than an hour east of here, you’ll find the Pemaquid Point Light, sitting on a huge striated, slanted granite ledge that can only be described as breathtaking! DON’T MISS the lighthouse boat tours of the Kennebec lighthouses offered by the Maine Maritime Museum either (see link in “Museums)! We have specials at Brewster House built around these explorations!

4. OUTDOOR ADVENTURE– Wow, this is a HUGE category!! I’d put such diverse items in this box as kayaking, bicycling, golf, white water rafting (see Kennebec, Dead & Penobscot Rivers) Northern Outdoors, hunting, fishing, cross-country, Discovery Outdoor Center, ziplines and downhill skiing, mountain-biking, ATVS, snowmobiles…..and so on!!

5. RAINY DAY?– Museums such as the magnificent Maine Maritime Museum in Bath , Portland Art Museum, the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum  (the man who saved the Union Army at Gettysburg), or the Sabbaday Village on Rt. 26 where you can experience a still active Shaker village and their magnificent furniture and handworks, or check out the DeLorme Maps store and 30’ globe 5 miles south on Rt. 1!

LLBeanBoot-sm6. SHOPPING, ETC. – This one is obvious; Freeport being the center of the LL Bean Universe, (5 separate stores) and all of the surrounding outlet stores is 3 blocks south of Brewster House! Kittery and its outlet stores are about 40 miles to the south. If you’re of the gambling persuasion, there is the Oxford Casino, about 30 miles northwest on Rt. 26 too (1/2 mile paved racetrack nearby)!

7. EATING– Again, HUGE category, Freeport has a pretty high food bar, as well as the adjacent towns – Brunswick & Bath! Portland has really become elevated as a “Foodie” center of the east coast. Pahk your cah at Congress Square in Portland and check out the amazing choices of cuisine, or head to the waterfront for ATMOSPHERE+!! Obviously, seafood and fresh local meat and produce is a big part of that program. Check out our neighbors at the Azure Café.

8. DRINKING – Many, many choices for wine, beer or martini lovers within a very short drive!! For beer in Freeport, check out The Maine Beer Company or Gritty’s McDuffs. Both microbreweries, and Gritty’s is a pub style restaurant as well. There is a relatively new “wine bistro” in Freeport, very popular among locals (yes, we’re working our way there too!) called “Conundrum”. Last summer, some guests from Georgia shared their fabulous experience with “Wine Wise Events” of Portland, who does wine tasting cruises, restaurant samplings and other really fun such imbibing adventures ! I’ll be talking more about Christa’s company soon.

That should get you stahted this summah!!

THE DOWNEASTER- LL BEAN OUTDOOR DISCOVERY WEEKEND

April 12th, 2014 by Scott Gile

DE_home_stations1

God, thank you for today!!  Mid-sixties, no wind and you could even feel the warmth of the sun on your skin!  I took a big gamble and took off my snow tires! 

What’s the last thing you want to do on the weekend, after a week of commuting?  No more driving, or sitting in traffic, right??  Brewster House has your answer!!  Take your comfy seat on the Downeaster, (North Station, Woburn, Haverhill or Exeter, NH), even bring your bicycle, and enjoy the ride!  http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com.  We will pick you up and drop you off at the station, if you let us know when you’ll be arriving.
Then you ask, “what will we do, Tonto?”  Brewster House recently arranged for you to join LL Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools!!  For very short money, LL Bean offers an amazing array of choices of “learn to” activities.  The tie in to being car-less here is that you simply walk the 3 blocks to meet them, and they will take you by shuttle to their Discovery Center where these activities are offered (near Wolfs Neck).  If you can imagine this, you could be learning to fly fish, skeet shoot, kayak, paddleboard, or canoeing!  Further, at specified times, they will be offering mixed activities for more extended adventures, such as biking and camping, sea-kayaking including camping, etc.  In the winter, they offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing lessons as well (snow conditions permitting).    Check out their website for dates, times and availability http://www.llbean.com/llb/ods/33?page=outdoor-discovery-schools. 
 
Our new website is only weeks from being operable.  In fact, it could be sooner, but we want to hold off to include new photographs showing off our newly renovated rooms, which Christian Giannelli http://www.christiangiannelli.com will be taking for us next week.  In re-evaluating some of what’s on our current website, and what we inherited vs. new directions we think we should take, we will be offering several new packages.  We know you will find them to be simply elegant and will want to come spend time with us!  One of these will be the “LL Bean Outdoor Discovery Package,” including your choice of activity, and a dinner gift certificate to reward you for your outdoor efforts.
Not being a shopper myself, I’ve long thought we should be offering a package making it clear that shopping does not have to be your activity to enjoy the area (even though it may be your partners)!  I haven’t settled on a name, and please don’t jump on me with the “sexist” label, but I’m thinking of something like “Women Shop/ Men Play Package.”  Please know I am open to other name suggestions!  It is my intention to offer a range of active choices including golf, boating or LL Bean adventures, and maybe a spa treatment for the ladies!  Of course we need to reunite the group with dinner, so a dinner gift certificate will be in order as well.  I don’t know about your relationship, but in ours, usually the guys and ladies team up for such weekends, so this is a perfect set-up for two or more couples!
We are working with a local company who owns five golf courses, including the Bath Country Club and Sunday River Golf courses for a Golf  n’Stay Package.
You know those less exciting seasons?  Here we call them stick and mud season, but you may feel the same about winter.  Don’t forget Reconnect Weekends, where during our slower seasons, you and your family/ friends/ college buddies/ co-workers can take the whole inn for a VERY DEEP DISCOUNT.     

Jump into Spring with a plan to come to Brewster House and play!!  Please call if we can help you plan, or answer questions for you!  We love to help people relax and enjoy life!!!   

White Water Rafting Maine

April 4th, 2014 by Scott Gile

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For those of us Mainers who love the outdoors, a significant transition marker every spring is the annual four day Reggae Fest at Sugarloaf Ski Resort, http://www.sugarloaf.com/activities-and-nightlife/reggae-festival. A fabulous outdoor event marking the coming of spring with the last days of spring skiing!! If you haven’t participated and you’re a lover of Reggae, skiing, boarding or the outdoors, GET HIP!!

In other miscellaneous news, Amtrak is offering $10 one-way adult fares between Brunswick (one stop past Freeport) and Haverhill, MA on the Downeaster weekends of April 12 & 13, and May 17 & 18. COME UP AND SEE US!! We’ll even pick you up and drop you off at the Freeport Station (call to make arrangements)!! We’re already pretty busy for that second weekend, so don’t wait to make reservations!http://www.amtrakdowneaster.com/deals is the link to Amtrak, but my instructions read you need to call Natalie Bogart at 207-780-1000 x108 to make arrangements.

Ahhhh, WHITE WATER RAFTING, one premier wilderness Maine experience!! If you’ve not had one of these thrill rides, this year is the time! Rafting is a team event, with the in-raft guidance of your personal experienced guide, who is also your boss, calls out instructions and steers the raft. The three rivers we run in Maine, the Kennebec, Penobscot and Dead Rivers, are all dam controlled, and transit pristine wild, beautiful country. The first two are also the primary drainages for the state, the Kennebec enters the Gulf of Maine not far from here, and the mighty Penobscot carved out Penobscot Bay, an hour + east of here.

All full trips run about 4 or 5 hours and cover about 15 miles of river.  Many companies run shorter ½ trips too.  The Kennebec and Penobscot are run year round, depending on daily releases from hydro-elecrtic dams for the ride.  The Dead is run a couple of weekends in the spring and fall, via flood control releases from Flagstaff Lake, east of Mt. Bigelow, across Carrabassett Valley from Sugarloaf, and is the only ride with consistent rapids the entire distance.  The Penobscot run starts east of Moosehead Lake (just south of Baxter State Park), and as the river includes class 4 and 5 rapids, is the wildest ride of the three.  Out family has rafted all but the Dead multiple times and will agree the Penobscot is the most intimidating, although many of it’s later stretches laze bucolically under the majestic Mt. Katahdin.  Most of the rafting companies that run the Kennebec are quartered in The Forks on that River, and you get in below the dam at the West end of Indian Pond, which empties Moosehead Lake (which at 45 miles long is one big a– lake!).

YOU WILL GET WET, so a wet-suit rental is a good idea on all but the warmest days, as the water that emerges from the depths of these big damned lakes IS COLD! All rafting companies have them available, as well as including helmets and other safety equipment. Rides begin with a safety briefing and practicing your teams response to your raft Captains’ commands. Halfway down any trip, you pull over for a scrumptious grilled lunch, hot drinks and of course, the brews flow after any trip, as you watch videos of yourselves negotiating the rapids.

A Google search will produce a number of options, but a place to start might be www.northernoutdoors.com. Most of these are based about 2 hours north of Freeport, and the plan is for us to be your cony refuge after (or before) your adventure! Believe me when I tell you that you can’t have more thrills (& lunch) for under $100!!<

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