Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: moose

Planning Your Trip to Maine – Part 3

April 23, 2013 by Scott Gile

In Part 1 of this series we talked about a strategy for visiting Maine – staying a few days in Freeport, and taking in Freeport shopping and L.L. Bean, lighthouses, beaches, and more. In Part 2, we discussed some ideas for a few days in and around the Bar Harbor area. In this concluding part we’ll talk about some inland options, Moosehead Lake and Baxter State Park.

Moosehead Lake

Located about 3 hours north and west of Brewster House, Moosehead Lake is the largest lake in the eastern United States that is entirely within one state. Claiming to have more moose than people, the area is truly a sportsman’s paradise. From fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and whitewater rafting to moose safaris and scenic tours by boat or by air, there is something for everyone.

Of course one of the primary activities is moose watching. The Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce has some tips for moose watching to get you started.

Baxter State Park area

North and east of Moosehead Lake is Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. Less than 60 miles away, the drive takes about two hours, because of the mountain roads. Baxter is filled with wonderful hiking trails, rock climbing, and magnificent views.

Hiking or climbing Mount Katahdin can be a great challenge, with elevation changes of about 4,000 feet, depending on the trail chosen. Be sure to review the warnings and hiking safety information provided by the Baxter State Park Authority website.

Enjoy your visit to Maine!

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

Is That Moose Crossing Sign For Real?

July 24, 2012 by Scott Gile

Just a mile or so north of Brewster House on US-1, as you leave Freeport, Maine, there is a “Moose Crossing” sign. It fascinates many of our guests.

One reason for the fascination is that most of the guests don’t see “Moose Crossing” signs (let alone moose) near their homes. Another reason might be that they’ve never seen a moose anywhere near the “Moose Crossing” sign.

The conventional wisdom is that, if you want to spot a moose, you should go inland, to one of the areas in Maine known to have a fairly sizable moose population, then make sure to be there at either dawn or dusk, and you’ll be likely to see a moose, or maybe even more than one. We’ve tried that, and it certainly is a good way to go about finding a moose.

One of our guests was determined that he was going to see a moose near the moose crossing sign, so he got up early and headed up US-1, and figured he’d go find a coffee shop open all night, then see if there was a moose near the sign.

When he returned for breakfast, he told us he had seen a moose, off in the brush near the “Moose Crossing” sign. Since this fellow was known to exaggerate a bit, we were naturally a little dubious. We thought maybe he had seen a deer.

Our skepticism increased when he came back the second morning saying he had seen a moose that day, too! But we realized he was giving us a true story when his tale was confirmed by another long-time guest that we trusted, who had gone out the same route for a drive, and had seen a moose in the same spot!

So you can follow the conventional wisdom if you’d like to see a moose. Or you can come to Freeport, get up early, and hang out near the “Moose Crossing” sign. It seems to work!

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, Freeport, Maine

5 Shortcuts for Planning Your Maine Vacation in Record Time

February 14, 2012 by Scott Gile

Are you getting ready to plan your Maine vacation, but dreading the planning process? Take the pain out of the process by using these timely shortcuts for a great vacation, planned in record time!

Travel brochures

1. Plan Where You Want to Spend Your Time.
Maine is more than the Maine coast, and more than its mountains. There are eight distinct tourism regions, from the beaches in the south to the sparsely populated area in the north. They are described briefly in the Regions page at the State of Maine’s official tourism site.Our blog has an article with more details for each one in our guide to a Maine vacation, “Visit Maine Like A Mainer.” Some will want to tour all (or at least most) of the regions, while others prefer to find a region or two that they love, and spend their Maine vacation in those areas.

2. Decide When You Want to Visit Maine.
For a quick overview, the Seasons page from the Visit Maine site will provide basic information on seasons, and some activities that are particular to a season.The most popular time in most areas of Maine is the summer and Autumn (July through October). The weather is generally warmer, temperatures are mild for the most part (though most years see a week or two when we are happy to have air conditioners in our guest rooms). Later Spring can also bring Summer-like weather, with fewer visitors. Fall is the foliage season, of course, and is a very popular time to visit. In the mountains, Winter is very popular with downhill skiers, and cross-country skiers will find great locations throughout the state.

3. Take Advantage of Local Knowledge
If you plan to visit the Maine coast, to see lighthouses, visit Maine’s beaches or rocky coastline, you’ll want the latest information on the nearest lighthouse, the best beaches for your style of vacation, or the best locations along the Maine coast for photography. The very easiest way to find out where to go is to stay at the perfect alternative to a traditional Maine hotel — to stay in a Maine bed and breakfast, such as our Freeport Maine bed & breakfast. Your B&B innkeepers will be able to give you the information you need to find just the kind of activities that will suit your interests.

4. Look for Packages, Specials or Tours
Many bed and breakfasts will offer vacation packages, specials or tours to help you with your planning. For example, at Brewster House we offer several packages throughout the year, as well as seasonal specials, a Lighthouse Tour package and a Fall Foliage Tour package. If you take advantage of these specials and packages, you not only save money (there is even a small savings in the busy summer season), but you’ll have several activities pre-planned, so your Maine vacation will have plenty of opportunity to see things that many visitors miss, and you won’t have to spend your valuable vacation time wondering what to do next.

5. Be Sure to Include Unique Opportunities
For some, the uniqueness of Maine is the opportunity to visit the rocky Maine coast. For others, it is to see moose during their Maine vacation. Still others want to visit as many of Maine’s lobster shacks as possible.Whatever your interests, be sure you do a bit of homework (search the web, contact the innkeepers at your B&B, visit the VisitMaine website, etc.) to be sure you will be able to see the things that will make your Maine vacation a memorable one.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Maine vacation!

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast

A Day Trip to See New England Fall Foliage

October 4, 2011 by Scott Gile

Some of our guests in late September had hoped to be able to tour some of Maine’s fall foliage areas and see the vibrant fall colors we are known for. While the leaves have begun to turn in many places, it is quite clear that the best is yet to come.

Meanwhile, areas to the north and west of us are well along in their colors. As a result, to see the better colors while it is still a bit early for the best color in the midcoast area, you can drive north and west to see some wonderful foliage.

Just about two hours drive from Brewster House will bring you to Rangeley Lake and all of its wonderful wooded areas. They are very scenic in their own right, and our guests tell us that the trees are filled with color right now. While there, if you wait until dusk, you may even find some moose grazing by the roads.

Another option is to drive west on US-302 to Fryeburg, Maine, on the New Hampshire border, where you can see an old covered bridge among the fall foliage, then continue to North Conway, New Hampshire, for a bit of outlet shopping and a drive up the magnificent Kancamagus Highway for a view of the fall colors in the mountains. Even with all that area to cover, you’re still only about 2 hours from Brewster House.

Whether you visit the fall colors in other areas, if you come early, or here in Freeport, you’ll love the fall foliage throughout the New England region.

A Day Trip to See Moose in Maine

August 30, 2011 by Scott Gile

One thing our guests staying in Freeport Maine at our Bed and Breakfast often ask is where you can see a moose in Maine.

Just a mile or two north of Brewster House on US-1 is a “Moose Crossing” sign, though we’ve never seen a moose in that area (we thought perhaps they couldn’t read the sign, so didn’t know that was their designated “crossing”). However, a few weeks ago, an early-rising guest drove up that way in search of a local donut shop, and happened to see a moose not far from the sign! The next day he saw it again!

If you aren’t interested in an early morning moose-hunt from Brewster House, you may prefer a day trip to see moose in a location with a much higher probability of success.

A drive of just a bit more than two hours to the north and west of Freeport will take you to Rangeley, Maine, where Maine Route 16, affectionately known as “Moose Alley”, can be found. If you arrive in the middle of the day, there is little point in looking for moose, as they are most likely to be napping. They usually are out near dawn and dusk. Instead, spend some time driving around Rangeley Lake – it is surrounded by Maine Routes 4, 4 and 16, 17, and South Shore Drive. The drive around the lake is stunningly beautiful, and the mountains around it give it something of the appearance of Lake Tahoe in California (and Nevada).

If you go before September-October, the bulls will still have their antlers, which they lose during their annual rut in the autumn, then grow them back in the spring.

As dusk nears, head out of Rangeley on Route 16 (being careful to drive at or even below the speed limit – you do NOT want to collide with a moose when you crest a hill or go around a bend in the road). Keep your eyes on the road, and especially along the shoulders, as the fading light, and the dark color of the moose, can make them appear out of the shadows quite suddenly. Keep your camera handy, and be ready to stop!

When we went in October, there was a moose just a short distance from Rangeley, standing along the shoulder of the road. Another time, in the spring, there was a moose drinking from a small creek along the road.

Enjoy the search as much as the discovery, as the area is beautiful, and well worth a visit for that reason alone.

As darkness falls, carefully return to Brewster House and your bed!

Planning Maine Day Trips from Freeport

May 18, 2010 by Scott Gile

Lobster Buoys BernardOur two previous posts, on Planning Your Maine Getaway and Touring Some Out of the Way Places have merged into an idea of what type of day trips make sense from a relatively accessible area like Freeport, where Brewster House Bed & Breakfast is located.

Of course, if you can only stay a short time in Freeport, from one to three or four days, we would normally suggest day trips that are within about an hour to a two hour drive from here. That will allow for some absolutely wonderful sightseeing (several lighthouses, moose, beaches, rocky coastlines, hiking in state parks, exploring quaint villages, historic sites, and more). We’ve written a number of posts about these spots, such as our Ten Things to do Near Freeport Maine (Other Than Shop), 5 Maine Lighthouses You Can Visit (Within About An Hour of Freeport) and of course our series called Visiting Maine: Where to Find the Information You Need.

If you have the time, however, there is much more to see! In fact, that is one reason the official (and excellent!) State of Maine website has as its slogan, “There’s more to Maine.”

Lubec Channel LightOur day trip up the coast to Lubec (just across the river from Canada’s Campobello Island) is the proof that you can really cover a lot of territory in a day trip from Freeport. We were up and away early. While we have found that taking US-1 is not much different than taking I-295 to I-95, then back down to US-1, there was a big difference this time. The State of Maine will be doing major road improvement on US-1A between Bangor and Ellsworth, and the delays were (and will be through fall 2010) significant. Even so, once we were back to US-1 we drove along through the beautiful scenery until we reached Lubec, where we stopped to take pictures of the Lubec Channel light, then went on to West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, where we enjoyed a picnic lunch overlooking Quoddy Narrows and its (Canadian) islands.

After lunch we went into Lubec, where we photographed the Canadian Mulholland lighthouse (just across the river) near the Roosevelt Bridge to Canada and learned from a friendly museum curator about the smokehouse and its use in smoking herring.

Prospect Harbor MaineAs we returned south on US-1 we took several side trips, exploring the coastline near Cutler Harbor, Hancock Point, and the Schoodic Peninsula section of Acadia National Park, as well as Prospect Harbor, Winter Harbor, and vicinity. We also had time to visit Mount Desert Island and Bass Harbor Lighthouse, before returning to US-1, where we drove to Camden, Maine for dinner, then returned home.

Yesterday, in search of more lighthouse photos, we repeated part of the route as another day trip. We drove to Mount Desert Island, where we again visited Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, then decided to explore some areas of the island we had not seen previously. We found some wonderful harbors and vistas, then returned to US-1, where we went from antique shop to antique shop until they had closed for the afternoon.

All of which goes to show that even some fairly far-away sights can be included in a good day’s activities, if you’re willing to make a bit of a drive.

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Aroostook County

August 4, 2009 by Scott Gile


Maine’s largest and most northern county, Aroostook, is the topic of this week’s installment in the Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series. A listing of all the regions and sub-regions covered is at the end of the first post.

There are not a large number of people in Aroostook County, despite it’s making up more than 20% of the state of Maine. In fact, there are only about 11 people per square mile. Contrast that with Maine’s average density of about 41 people per square mile, and Massachusetts’ 809 people per square mile or New Hampshire’s 137. In addition to those few people, “The County” (as the rest of Maine refers to it) is blessed with a sizable proportion of Maine’s 35,000 moose population, as well as deer and bear. It is truly an outdoor paradise.

From bicycling to 4-wheeling, from hunting, fishing, or golf, to hiking, camping, bird watching, and other outdoor activities, there is much to do or see, though it isn’t always appreciated by those who have never been to The County. For a great tale of a visit, and the bemused reaction of others in Southern Maine to the plans to visit Aroostook, take a look at the Visit Aroostook site.

Being such a large county, Aroostook can be divided into smaller regions, each with its own temptations and attractions. Ranging from towns like Fort Kent and Madawaska, along the Canadian border, to the North Maine Woods, to Southern Aroostook, there are scenic drives, and unfathomable beauty at every turn.

The region has many hunting camps, and guide services, as well as B&Bs, hotels, housekeeping cottages and other forms of accommodations. Loads of information for planning your trip to the County is available on the Visit Aroostook site.

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Maine’s Lakes and Mountains

July 28, 2009 by Scott Gile

Overlooking Rangeley Lake
Our Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series continues with a look at Maine’s Lakes and Mountains region, situated in the southwest portion of the state.

We first visited the Lakes and Mountains of Maine while vacationing on the coast, a year or two before we came to Brewster House B&B. In our previous trips to Maine, we had never seen a moose, and wanted to see one. We realized that Rangeley Lake, in the Lakes and Mountains region, was a good place for moose-spotting, and only a couple hours drive from where we were staying.

We booked lodging in Rangeley, and drove to Rangeley Lake. Although it was only late October, we began to see snow in the foothills, and later learned that this was a result of one of that year’s many hurricanes which had come up the middle of the United States, and turned to a snowstorm over the New England mountains.

We were astonished at the surpassing beauty of the region. We drove around beautiful Rangeley Lake, looking down from the mountains and finding it reminded us of Lake Tahoe, along the California and Nevada border, but with as smaller population. Our motel had canoes available for guest use, and the lakeside view was so pretty we were tempted, but the snow and unusually cold weather put us off that idea.

As dusk approached, we drove out “Moose Alley” (so nicknamed for rather obvious reasons), and Ruth remarked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we came around the next bend and there was a moose there?” And there was!

Moose - Rangeley MaineLike the car in front of us, we pulled quickly to the shoulder and began taking pictures. The moose, a big male, ambled across the road into the trees, and disappeared. We drove on, finding a second moose – a female this time – along the side of the road, casually grazing where the snow hadn’t covered all the grass. After she disappeared we turned around and headed back toward town. There was the first big fellow again, standing in the center of the road! We got as close as we dared and stopped the car, and took a few photos, before he again disappeared into the woods.

In addition to the lakes and mountains, themselves, and moose, of course, the area is filled with ski resorts, snowmobile and snowshoe trails, and a wonderful opportunity to see nature unspoiled. See the region’s website for more information.

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! The Maine Highlands

July 7, 2009 by Scott Gile

The Maine Highlands
The sixth in our Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series takes us to the Maine Highlands. The Maine Office of Tourism’s web site aptly describes this region as a region of superlatives, with the largest population of moose and deer in the state, the greatest area of parks, the largest lake in the Northeast (Moosehead Lake), and the tallest peak in Maine (Mt. Katahdin at about a mile above sea level).

The Maine Highlands region actually encompasses six distinct sub-regions, Greater Bangor, Katahdin, Lincoln Lakes, Moosehead Lake, Sebasticook Valley, and Southern Piscataquis. So from the metropolitan area of Bangor, to the nearby University of Maine, north through the other regions to Katahdin area’s Baxter State Park (a gift to the people of Maine by former Gov. Percival P. Baxter), there is something for everyone.

Moose cow with calfMany will want to visit Baxter State Park to see, and possibly climb, Maine’s tallest peak, Mt. Katahdin. Many others will want to avail themselves of the miles of rivers, streams and lakes, and particularly the Moosehead Lake region, where you may kayak or canoe down a stream, slipping nearly silently along, and find a moose grazing along the stream as you round the bend.

Just beyond I-95 is Lincoln Lakes, offering an appealing mix of small town Maine charm and real outdoor adventure. Sebasticook Valley is a fisherman’s paradise, with small streams, lakes, ponds and rivers. Southern Piscataquis is ideal for the outdoor sports enthusiast, with hiking trails and waterways, as well as villages, craftsmen and historic sites.

If you have suggestions of places you would like us to include in our “Visit Maine Like A Mainer” series, please feel free to post them in the comments, or to Tweet them to us.

Our Favorite Things to See in Maine

May 19, 2009 by Scott Gile

“Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… these are a few of my favorite things.” So go the familiar words of the song from The Sound of Music. One of our favorite things is to introduce first-time visitors to Maine to some of our favorite things. Here are a few of them:

Lighthouses

Readers of previous posts will not be surprised to hear that our very favorite thing to do in Maine is to visit lighthouses. There are over 60 in Maine, and many can be visited (a surprising number are within only an hour or so of Brewster House).

Portland Head LighthouseWe have visited fewer than half of them. Actually, visited is a bit of a stretch, as some can be seen from shore, but can only be reached by boat.

In any case, of the lighthouses we have visited in Maine, Ruth’s favorite is Portland Head Lighthouse. Commissioned by President George Washington, and a favorite location of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose poem, “The Lighthouse” is said to be inspired by this majestic beacon.

Scott’s favorite (though he says it is a close call) is Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, which stands above a rocky slope down to the pounding surf, which affords wonderful opportunities for photos of the lighthouse.

Moose

Like many who visit Maine, looking for, and photographing, moose is a great adventure for us. As we’ve discussed previously, there are several places where searching for moose is likely to be successful. Having a favorite is easy, though, since we haven’t (yet) visited any other. We thoroughly enjoy the beauty of the Rangeley Lake area, and have always been able to find moose.

Exploring the Coast

We love the craggy rocks along the Maine coast, so exploring it is one of our favorites. We love the rocky coastline near Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, or near Bass Harbor Lighthouse, but our all-around favorite is much nearer to home. We love to visit Reid State Park and the village of Five Islands. The views are absolutely magnificent, and at Reid the boulders give way to a sandy beach that glistens in the sunshine. For us, this is Maine!

Where are your favorite spots? Leave replies in the comments!

»