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March 9th, 2014 by Scott Gile

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There is so much to do in and around Freeport! To help with planning, we have prepared several sample itineraries with Maine coast vacation ideas, based on length of stay and areas of interest, complete with maps and driving directions, for use by guests staying at Brewster House. We also have some articles on special interest sightseeing, like our blog post, “5 Maine Lighthouses You Can Visit (within about an hour of Freeport)”, or our article with lighthouse map, “Maine Lighthouses – An Accessible Treasure”.

We also have a multi-part guide to visiting all of Maine’s regions, entitled “Visit Maine Like A Mainer”

Maine Coast Vacation Ideas

4 Day Maine Coast Stay

Here is a sample for a four day, three night stay, combining some Freeport shopping with visits to area lighthouses:

Day 1:

  • Arrive at Brewster House for check-in in the afternoon or early evening, request dinner reservations at one of our local restaurants
  • Walk to L.L. Bean for some quick shopping
  • Walk to restaurant for wonderful dining
  • After dinner walk through other shops on the way back to Brewster House

Day 2:

  • Delicious breakfast at Brewster House, make dinner reservations if needed
  • Drive to Pemaquid Point lighthouse and park
  • On the way back to Freeport, stop in Damariscotta (or Wiscasset, or Boothbay Harbor) for lunch
  • Stop in Boothbay Harbor for local shops, wonderful views, and possibly a whale-watching tour (in season)
  • Return to Freeport and park at Brewster House, allowing plenty of time to get to the L.L. Bean Factory Store (closes at 9 pm), then on to other stores for more shopping (L.L. Bean’s other stores are open 24 hrs)
  • Dinner at another excellent Freeport restaurant
  • Evening shopping in Freeport Village before returning to Brewster House

Day 3:

  • Another good breakfast at Brewster House
  • Drive to Portland Head Lighthouse in Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth
  • After enjoying the beauty of the lighthouse and park, continue through Cape Elizabeth to Two Lights State Park, and visit the lighthouses there
  • Enjoy a late lunch or early supper at The Lobster Shack at Two Lights
  • Return to Portland and wander the shops and restaurants in the Old Port.
  • Come back for more evening shopping in Freeport Village before returning to Brewster House

Day 4:

  • Enjoy your last breakfast at Brewster House for this visit
  • Make last-minute plans for any activities before traveling home
  • Make a reservation for your next visit to Brewster House!
  • Bid a fond farewell to your hosts!

Read on for more Maine Coast vacation ideas for shorter visits.

2 Day Freeport, Maine Stay

Day 1

If there is any way to arrive early in the day, this will greatly help to make the most of such a short visit to Freeport. Once you’ve checked in at your cozy B&B, you can stroll into Freeport Village, enjoying the shopping at over 160 shops and a meal at one of the fine restaurants in the village. Of course there’s the L.L. Bean campus, where the factory store is open until 10 p.m. every day but Christmas, and the other L.L. Bean stores never close.

When you run out of steam, stroll back up Main Street, packages in hand, and collapse into a comfortable bed at your Freeport B&B.

Day 2

Today there are choices to make. What should we try to do, and what shall we opt to leave for a return visit?

If you enjoy the magnificent coastal scenery, and the Maine lighthouses (there are over 60 of ‘em), we will definitely have time to visit one or two. We can start to the south, heading into Portland’s Old Port district, browsing among the shops before parking near the Maine State Pier, where we can take a two hour cruise on an antique schooner, built in Maine nearly 100 years ago, at Portland Schooner Co. One of the highlights of the cruise is seeing picturesque Portland Head Lighthouse from the water!

After the cruise, you can drive through the nearby community of Cape Elizabeth with its magnificent (mostly) old homes, to Fort Williams Park, where you can see Portland Head Lighthouse from the landward side, as well as exploring the park, its fort and other amenities.

From Fort Williams Park, continue down the road (to the south – away from Portland) to the road to Two Lights State Park. Here you’ll find “Two Lights” or the Cape Elizabeth lighthouse. Two lights set about 1/4 mile apart, when aligned would give mariners a clear idea of their position. Next to the parking area (up on the hill) is a lobster shack with a wonderful view of the sea (and good food, too).

If there is still time for more, before returning to Freeport, you might travel farther south, stopping at the quaint little town of Kennebunkport, before heading farther south to “the Yorks” (York, York Beach…) and Cape Neddick Lighthouse (also known as “the Nubble” for the small rock island it is on).

Before heading back to Freeport, stop for a light dinner at the Maine Diner in Wells, stop at one of Portland’s many fine restaurants (an amazing number of fine restaurants for the size of the town), or return to Freeport for dinner at another local eatery.

Day 3

Sadly, this is the day to check out (after a wonderful B&B breakfast, of course!).

If time permits, visit the Freeport harbor or Wolfe Neck State Park, for wonderful views of Casco Bay on your way out. Time has run out for the many other things that can easily be done when your trip is based in Freeport. Things like a tour of Eagle Island (Admiral Peary’s home), visits to beautiful Reid State Park or Popham Beach State Park, antique shopping from Bath to Bar Harbor, searching for photo opportunities of moose, and visiting seaside lobster shacks will all have to wait for another visit.

See you again soon!

1 Day Trip to Freeport, Maine

People visiting Freeport for the first time often stay only one night, not realizing how much there is to do in the area. That makes it a bit of a challenge when they ask what they should see in the short amount of time they can spend.

So, what should someone see if they have only a day?

To begin, let’s set some priorities. Do you want to shop? Do you want to see the coast? Visit lighthouses? Farms? Bird sanctuaries? Hike? Sail? Kayak? OK, now we can begin.

For the shopper, Freeport offers the L.L. Bean flagship store (open 24×7!) along with its Bike, Boating and Ski store, Hunting and Fishing Store and, of course, the Outlet. The Outlet is the only one not open 24×7 – its hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day but Christmas. There are also over 160 other shops and restaurants, almost all within a few blocks of us, so it is a nice walk.

If you enjoy hiking or the coastal scenery, you have choices, as you will not have time for more than one or two places to visit. Wolfe Neck State Park and Winslow Park are both within the Freeport area. Both are on the shores of Casco Bay and offer wonderful views of the bay, and Wolfe Neck offers hiking trails through the woods and along the shore. Another choice is to visit either Popham Beach State Park or Reid State Park, both offering sandy beaches, magnificent coastal views and views of the offshore islands, as well as hiking trails. Both Popham Beach and Reid are within an easy drive of Freeport.

For hiking of a more inland variety, there is nearby Bradbury Mountain State Park. Not difficult to hike, but somewhat more hilly than the others, Bradbury Mountain is only a few miles from Freeport.

If getting out on the water is your preferred way to see the coast, you have lots of choices. From the wharf in South Freeport you can rent a kayak and take the self-propelled route. Or, take a tour of Casco Bay to Admiral Peary’s Eagle Island on an old lobster boat with Atlantic Seal. Looking for something quieter? How about a two hour cruise (or a sunset cruise) on an antique wooden schooner built in Maine? Portland Schooner Co. has two of them and offers several daily cruises.

Were you thinking of whale watching and/or puffin watching, or even seeing lighthouses from the water side? There are whale watching cruises and lighthouse cruises from Boothbay Harbor, just a short drive from Freeport. If you want a puffin cruise, you can find one in New Harbor, just a bit farther north.

If lighthouses are something you want to see, we have lots – over 60 of them! Some, of course, you can only see by boat. Others may be too far away (Maine has a LOT of coastline, you know!). However, there are at least eight within an hour’s drive from Freeport (that doesn’t count the ones you can see on distant islands off the coast), and another 4 or 5 if you extend the distance to an hour and a half drive. Since lighthouses can be in remote areas, we also supply our guests with maps and directions or GPS coordinates of the places where they can be found.

If you’re looking for a bird sanctuary or a working historic farm, you’ll find those right here in Freeport. Mast Landing Bird Sanctuary is a serene Maine Audubon Society property, with trails to walk, places to picnic and, of course, bird watching. Not far away is Wolfe’s Neck Farm, where cows, pigs, sheep and chickens may be seen at this organic farm on the shores of Casco Bay.

If you can only stay for a day, you’ll have some tough choices to make. You may want to consider more than one day…

Find out more: Favorite Restaurants | Shopping | Lighthouses | Outdoors | Itineraries | Art, Museums, and More

BAH-GUN WEEKEND & HAPPI NEW YEAH’S!!

November 10th, 2013 by Scott Gile

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

BAH-GUN WEEKEND
Friends of Brewster, our suggestion is to save your Christmas money (and any gifts you can put off) and come to Freeport for the weekend after  Christmas to take advantage of all the over-stocking mistakes the retailers represented here made!!  Not only do you get to take advantage of LL Bean & neighbors, but Brewster House has our own BAH-GUN for you!! 
Arrive on Thursday 12/26, or Friday 12/27 and we’ll offer you 3 days here for the price of just 2!  Not only that, we’ll throw in your choice of a Mimosa or Proscecco cocktail with your breakfast on Sunday ON US!!  We’ll even handle the recycling from all of your buying victories, and provide you with a 50 gallon bag for your gifts (like Santa’s, but polyethylene) and help you wrestle that beast to your car!
HAPPI NEW YEAHS -2014!!
Hey, the Wednesday Christmas/ New Yeahs weekday makes this Holiday a bit challenging for we celebrants.  If you are among the fortunate (or committed to partying) who will go away, consider coming to Brewster House on Tuesday, 12/31!  We have OUTSTANDING DINING OPTIONS, both here and in Portland!!  LL Bean is sponsoring fireworks on New Year’s Eve.  See this link for all of the WILD goings on in Portland!  http://www.newyearsportlandmaine.com.  We’ll not only welcome you with a bottle of sparkly, but will help with “hair of the dog” at Mary’s always elegant breakfast with your choice of a mimosa or Prosecco cocktail. 

And as a tease, this was the “fruit” offering w/ breakfast a few days ago……Mary called this vanilla pannacotta w/ strawberries.  Seems to me something like “life-altering creamy slathering love-bomb of strawberries” might be more accurately descriptive!!

Visiting Maine Lighthouses – Cape Neddick (The Nubble)

May 7th, 2013 by Scott Gile

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Cape Neddick Lighthouse (the "Nubble")

Not too surprisingly, Cape Neddick Lighthouse (nicknamed the “Nubble” or Nubble Light) is one of the most often photographed of Maine’s 60-plus lighthouses. That is because it is so accessible (see our Maine Lighthouse Map).

In the town of York Beach, less than half an hour from the New Hampshire border, the lighthouse stands on a small island known as the Nubble, less than 100 yards off shore.

Cape Neddick lighthouse is charming in its gingerbread Victorian keepers house, perched on the small island. It is decorated in white lights every year at Christmas time, and these photos abound on the internet.

Since many are not able (or willing) to visit Maine in December, the lighthouse is also lighted for the town of York’s “Christmas in July” – which falls this year on July 28. If you’d like to see it decorated, but don’t want to brave the New England winter, you may like to visit for Christmas in July.

Nubble Lighthouse is one of several lighthouses on our Lighthouse Tour special at Brewster House, as guests can easily visit it from our Freeport Maine Bed & Breakfast.

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

Thanks to our Guests!

December 18th, 2012 by Scott Gile

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As 2012 draws to a close, we pause to take time to be thankful for the wonderful blessings we’ve experienced this year – our busiest year ever! We are thankful for our wonderful guests and friends, and for the many guests who have become friends over the years.

With the passing of time, many guests who are dear to us have had to stop traveling, for reasons associated with aging and health. We think of you often, and with great fondness, and are very grateful to have known you.

One announcement is needed, as we just revised our January special today – Book our Wild Winter Wonderland special for a January visit, and get a bigger discount the longer you stay! You’ll get a personal plate of Ruth’s wonderful cookies for a one night stay, a 20% discount on a two night visit, and 30% off a three or more night visit.

We are very grateful for our guest who return, because, over time, we all get to know each other better, and relationships grow. Brewster House is about the people, and the people are what makes it so enjoyable to be here!

We can’t thank you enough for your kindness, friendship and loyalty, and we certainly look forward to seeing many of you again in the New Year.

We wish you and yours a very wonderful Christmas and a superb New Year!

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

Recipe: Lemon Sugar Cookies

December 4th, 2012 by Scott Gile

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As the Christmas season is beginning, it is time to think about all those wonderful Christmas cookie recipes you have tucked away somewhere. One we use year ’round, but is especially good at Christmas, is our Lemon Sugar Cookie recipe. Ruth doesn’t even like lemon cookies (can you believe it? I know!), but she LOVES these!

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar for rolling cookies

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using a mixer, beat together butter and sugar until smooth and creamy.
  4. Add lemon zest, egg, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Mix until combined. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients.
  5. Roll rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar. Place on prepared baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until cookies are slightly brown around the edges and set. Let cookies sit on the baking sheets for two minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yield: 3 dozen cookies.

If you want to make them ahead, after Step 4 you can roll the rounded tablespoons of dough into balls and freeze on baking tray. When ready to use, roll the balls in sugar and then bake as indicated above.

Enjoy – and Merry Christmas!

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

Who Visits Maine Lighthouses in the Winter?

November 20th, 2012 by Scott Gile

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Who visits Maine lighthouses in the winter? We do!

Before we ever came to Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, we enjoyed visiting and taking photographs of lighthouses – in Maine and elsewhere. After a number of visits to Maine in the Spring, Summer or Fall, we finally made a trip to Maine in the winter. In the back of our minds was the possibility of a light snowfall, and a visit to one of Maine’s beautiful lighthouses to take photos of it. It didn’t quite go according to plan.

On the way north to Maine, we drove into a blizzard in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maine that left the roads icy and visibility very poor. At one point we went into the highway median to avoid another car that had lost control – we were very thankful that we escaped unscathed and made it safely to Maine amid considerable snow, in the dark.

The next morning dawned sunny and white, so, undaunted, we headed to Portland Head Lighthouse to see what the snow had left for us. We found a charming winter scene, with a light blanket of snow on the gingerbread keeper’s house, and along the rocks. In the bright sunshine, we were able to take some very nice pictures of a favorite lighthouse, as we had never seen it before!

In addition to the unusual beauty of lighthouses in snow, the Cape Neddick lighthouse (the Nubble) is decorated with white lights for the Christmas season.

Considering a winter lighthouse excursion? How about some early Christmas shopping at Freeport’s outlets and shops? At Brewster House we’re running two specials – our Christmas Shopper from December 9 through 19, and our Wild Winter Getaway for the month of January 2013 – each provides 3 nights for the price of 2!

Get a jump on your Christmas shopping. Check out a lighthouse or three while you’re here!

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

30 Events in and Around Freeport This Year (and then some!)

May 15th, 2012 by Scott Gile

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Our website has long been a source of information on Freeport and Maine coast events, as well as about things to do near Freeport Maine, and along the Maine midcoast. We’ve just finished updating it with more events for this year, and there are over 30 events (and many are multiple day events) available for you to participate in, yet this year!

Of course, one of the biggest is the all-year-long L.L. Bean 100th Anniversary, but its Hometown Celebration in its home of Freeport, Maine, is July 4-7, 2012. This includes the Fourth of July celebration, parade, fireworks, as well as activities during the day, and free concerts July 6. July 7 will have the largest fireworks display in Maine history.

Throughout the summer there will be free concerts on select Saturday nights (the L.L. Bean Summer in the Park was formerly called the L.L.. Bean Summer Concert Series), as well as other activities for the entire family.

In addition there are festivals galore! There is the Great Falls Balloon Festival, the Yarmouth Clam Festival, the Moxie Festival, the Maine Lobster Festival, the North Atlantic Blues Festival, the Freeport Fall in the Village Art and Music Festival, the Maine Highland Games, and more!

We’ll also have the Lobsterman Triathlon, the Great State of Maine Airshow, the Maine Bike Rally, the Topsham Fair, plus local college Parents and Family weekends, homecoming, orientation, and more!

Practically every week throughout the summer and fall there is something for everyone. Lest we forget, the winter months will also bring Freeport’s beloved Sparkle Weekend, with parade (of course!) and Santa riding into town on a lobster boat, L.L. Bean’s giant Christmas tree, the L.L. Bean New Year’s Celebration, and, as Spring rolls around, the annual Spa, Knit and Spin weekend.

See you here!

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

Freeport’s Outlets and Shops – Something for Everyone!

May 1st, 2012 by Scott Gile

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Many people are aware that Freeport Maine is the home of outdoor retail giant L.L. Bean, and still others are aware that Freeport can be said to have been something of a town filled with shops and outlets. However, neither of these statements adequately conveys what a delightful and special place Freeport is. For those of us who live in Freeport, it is easy to forget that so many people (even throughout the New England region, let alone the rest of the USA or worldwide) have never heard of Freeport or L.L. Bean.

Because of that, instead of writing, as we often do, about things to do in or near Freeport other than shopping (including our recent article for the Maine Innkeepers Association blog), this time we wanted to provide more information on the five L.L. Bean stores, and the other shops and outlets in Freeport. 

Following Freeport’s time as a shipbuilding town, it became a shoe manufacturing town. Later, young Leon Leonwood Bean started a mail-order catalog featuring his Maine hunting shoe. That small family business has grown into a huge enterprise, with 5 stores in Freeport (four of which are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week – only the L.L. Bean Outlet closes at night and on Christmas Day). Eventually, Freeport reinvented itself as an outlet town (before America had outlet malls in almost every city). As outlet malls became more common, Freeport changed again, into an unusual mix of outlets and retail, with many local Maine-owned stores, interesting retail shops.

 In addition to the five L.L. Bean stores (the flagship store, the Hunting and Fishing Store, the Home Store, the Bike, Boat and Ski Store, and the L.L. Bean Outlet), Freeport is home to many other shops and restaurants. In fact, it feels a bit like living in a huge, outdoor, shopping mall. Many of the shops are members of Freeport USA, Freeport’s marketing organization, and therefore are included on the Freeport USA map. Many others, however, are not included on the map, yet do a thriving business in Freeport.

According to Freeport USA there are well over 140 shops and restaurants in Freeport. They range from L.L. Bean’s five stores to small shops like Isabella’s Sticky Buns. There are well-known clothing and shoe stores, like Talbots, Jones of New York, Banana Republic, Polo, and J. Crew, Clark, Bass, Nike and 9 West. There are specialty shops like Georgetown Pottery, Cuddledown, Freeport Knife & Kitchenware, The Mangy Moose, and Cool As A Moose. You’ll find fine jewelry, like R.D. Allen or Brown Goldsmiths, and crafts such as the Beadin Path. From the Pet Pantry to the Coach Factory Store, there is something in Freeport for every member of the household.

 Let’s not forget the many restaurant, specialty food and candy shops, and more. There’s Wilbur’s of Maine for local chocolate, When Pigs Fly bakery, and Wicked Whoopies for a whoopie pie. There is coffee and tea from Starbucks to Coffee By Design to Jacqueline’s Tea Room, serving a formal tea, as well as selling teas. Restaurants include Azure Cafe, Jameson Tavern, the Broad Arrow Tavern, the Maine Dining Room, the Mediterranean Grill, and more. You’ll find lighter fare at Corsican, or just stop in for a cup of chowder at the Freeport Chowder House or Linda Bean’s Maine Kitchen and Topside Tavern.

These are just a few of the wonderful shops and restaurants you’ll find when you visit Freeport. Don’t just allow a couple of hours to walk through the shops. First time visitors often tell us they had no idea there was so much here! Plan at least a day, just to walk through all the stores.

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

33 Recipes for Breakfast, Snacks, Dessert, or Whatever

March 27th, 2012 by Scott Gile

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It’s here!

We’ve been writing for a few weeks about the upcoming release of Breakfast at 8, the Brewster House cookbook, and it is now back from the printers, full of bed and breakfast recipes, and is almost ready to go!

Whether for a special breakfast (some of our guests like to use these recipes for Christmas morning, or other special occasions), or for just a special breakfast on a quiet weekend, there is something for everyone in Breakfast at 8. In addition to loads of selections of sweet and savory main breakfast dishes, there are plenty of fruit starters (many of which make wonderful desserts in the evening, as well), scones and muffins, cookies, and more!

Those who pre-ordered will be receiving their copies as soon as we can get the shipping materials together (we expect to begin shipping by about April 10). New orders will go out as quickly as possible after the pre-orders.

If you haven’t ordered your copy, you can use the convenient shopping cart at right (you’ll be taken to a secure area using Google Wallet to put in payment info), or on our website’s gift shop page.

[ OUR APOLOGIES for any inconvenience, but we are sold out of our cookbook, and the new owners of Brewster House do not have copies for sale]

We hope these recipes will bring you as much enjoyment (and good taste!) as they have for us!

Ruth & Scott
Brewster House Bed & Breakfast

What a great time to be in Freeport!

November 29th, 2011 by Scott Gile

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What a beautiful time of year to be in Freeport! The leaves have fallen, we’ve seen a couple of snowfalls (though they’ve since melted), and the crowds of summer vacationers and shoppers have gone back to school, jobs, etc.

It’s time for us to put away the fall decorations and begin decorating the house for Christmas. The carols are playing in the house, and the dining room, entryway and living room, as well as the guest rooms, themselves, take on a festive air.

This is the time when our “old friends” — the guests who come back frequently, or even annually — come to Brewster House. They’ve seen the beauty of the Maine coast in summer many times, so they don’t mind if the weather isn’t perfect. They’ve visited most of the lighthouses and lobster shacks, so they don’t mind having their lobster at one of the fine Freeport restaurants instead of along the water.

These guests are here to relax, do a bit of Christmas shopping, and remember the good times they’ve enjoyed here over the years, and maybe take in a bit of the L.L. Bean Northern Lights Celebration (through New Years’ Eve).

We always look forward to these return visits – it’s a bit like having your extended family visit – whether they’re here to visit their own family, do a bit of shopping, or just looking for a bit of relaxation before the holidays.

We hope to see you here!

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