Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

Category Archives: vacation

Visit Maine Like a Mainer! A Guide to Seeing the Best of Maine

June 4, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

In our prior series, Visiting Maine? Where to Find the Information You Need, we talked about the regions of Maine and where to find information about visiting.

Maine's regionsOver the next several weeks we will be exploring the eight regions, Aroostook County, Downeast and Acadia, Greater Portland and Casco Bay, Kennebec and Moose River Valleys, Maine’s Lakes and Mountains, Mid-Coast, the Maine Beaches, and the Maine Highlands (not necessarily in that order!), with an article on each region, its activities, areas of interest, and more.

Our idea is to provide a sampling of the things each area has to offer, and information on where to find recommendations for food, lodging, activities, and more. We hope this will help people explore the great state of Maine.

Here are the posts in this series:
The Maine Beaches
Greater Portland and Casco Bay (Part 1)
Downeast and Acadia
Greater Portland and Casco Bay (Part 2 – Freeport and Vicinity)
The Maine Highlands
Maine’s Mid-Coast
Kennebec and Moose River Valleys
Lakes and Mountains
Aroostook County
Plan Your Trip!

For more information on Brewster House Bed & Breakfast, please visit our web site, or contact us using the information below.

Our Favorite Things to See in Maine

May 19, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

“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!

Visting Maine (Part 5): Seeing Lighthouses

May 12, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

The final installment in our Visiting Maine: Where to Find the Information You Need series is on Maine’s wonderful collection of lighthouses. We posted some information on lighthouses witin an hour of Freeport not too long ago, so some helpful information will be found there, too.

Maine’s Lighthouses

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, MaineThere are a number of web sites with photos and information on the more than 60 lighthouses of Maine. One of the best collections of lighthouse photos is on the Maine Office of Tourism web site. There you’ll find photographs, information on visiting lighthouses, historical and legendary stories, and information for families with children.

One of the most complete lists of lighthouses, and maps with GPS coordinates, is at Lighthouse Friends. In some cases they provide a lengthy history of the lighthouse, as well as information on the locations to see some that do not allow public access.

The U.S. Coast Guard’s archives also has a list of useful information about American lighthouses.

Favorites

With over 60 lighthouses to choose from, it is not easy to find favorites. In fact, we often feel that our favorite is the lighthouse we’re viewing at the moment! Still, by the attraction of certain photos, and the frequency with which we either visit or recommend certain lighthouses, some do rise to the top.

Without a doubt, along the south coast of Maine, there are several favorites. Among them we would choose several from our recent post on lighthouses you can visit within an hour of Freeport, Cape Neddick Light (the Nubble), Portland Head Light (often said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world), and Pemaquid Point Light (and the views from its rocky bluff).

Bass Harbor Head Light, Maine
In the mid-coast region, we would choose Owls Head Light (with its spectacular view of Penobscot Bay). Near Bar Harbor, on Mount Desert Island, our favorite is Bass Harbor Head lighthouse (pictured above). Farther up the northern coast (downeast, as we say), is West Quoddy Head Lighthouse (the easternmost lighthouse in the United States, pictured at the top of this post).

There are other wonderful lighthouses all along the coast, so we don’t mean to leave any out. People fall in love with all of them, so, as noted above, choosing favorites is not an easy task.

Which is your favority lighthouse? Please tell us and explain why in the comments.

Visiting Maine – Lobster, Lobstah, Ahhh, Heaven – Part 4

May 7, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

Continuing our series on where to find the information you need for your visit to Maine, let’s talk lobster – or let’s talk lobstah. However you pronounce it, it is uniquiely associated with Maine and uncommonly tasty.

Quite some time ago we talked about where to go for Maine lobster, providing a discussion of seasons, hard and soft shells, etc. – that information is a good starting point.

Where to Get It

As the Maine state tourism office says, “Maine lobster (is any other kind half as good?) is the starring item on menus at sophisticated restaurants throughout the state, as well as at rough-hewn shanties with picnic tables set along the coast.”

Most places offer lobster, whether restaurants, diners, hole-in-the-wall cafes, fast food places, lobster roll places, or lobster shacks. Usually it is a lobster dinner, with ears of sweet corn and a side of coleslaw.

Restaurants

Practically any restaurant in the state will offer lobster. Some are the traditional lobster dinner, others are more exotic creations from the chef. All use the delicious local red crustacean. Buy a Box of Maine Gifts

Lobster Shacks

Many folks like the idea of lobster fresh off the boats. You can find that at most of Maine’s lobster shacks along the coast. In some cases the prices are better at the lobster shacks, too. Travel + Leisure Magazine has an article (updated in June, 2009) on “The 10 Best Lobster Shacks in Maine” which gives some good recommendations. It includes Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, which we’ll class under Lobster Roll, below, but most of the others are genuine lobster shacks.

Some of our favorites are Harasseeket Lunch and Lobster, in South Freeport, and Five Islands Lobster Company in Five Islands. Five Islands offers a spectacular view of the five islands directly off shore, and you can watch the lobster boats come and go from the dock.

Not mentioned in the article, but certainly among our favorites, are the Lobster Shack at Two Lights, in Cape Elizabeth, where you climb up to a lobster shack perched atop a great bluff, and overlook Casco Bay and the Cape Elizabeth (Two Lights) lighthouses. The view alone is worth a visit. Another favorite is the Lobster Dock in Boothbay Harbor, where you can eat inside or out, overlooking the boat traffic in the harbor, and just a short walk across the footbridge to the village.

Lobster Rolls

An entirely different category (at least that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it) is the lobster roll. Found at many different kinds of eatery (including McDonalds in Freeport!), the lobster roll is an art form of its own.

Generally the roll is a small hot dog bun, laid open, with chunks of lobster piled on it. Some mix the lobster with a sauce, others serve the sauce on the side. Most agree that the less sauce, the better.

Consistently popular enough to cause traffic jams all summer long is Red’s Eats, right on US-1 in Wiscasset. About a pound of lobster chunks on a bun, with sauce on the side, the line winds down the street even on a cold, rainy, spring day. Expect to wait, but don’t be tempted to go elsewhere. You’ve been warned!

A similar experience can be had at the Clam Shack in Kennebunkport, where the lobster rolls are considered among the best in the state.

Lobster Stew

Once again, many types of eatery provide wonderful lobster stews. Creamy and filled with lobster chunks, the best ones are a meal in a bowl. Our favorite in this department is the Sea Basket, in Wiscasset. You can even buy the stock (frozen) to take home. Just add cream and heat!

Check the Maine Lobster Promotion Council for more information about Maine Lobster!

Visiting Maine – Part 3 – Searching for Moose

May 5, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

In our first two posts in this series on finding the information you need for your visit to Maine, we talked about Maine’s different regions and some of the specifics on the different areas along the Maine coast and in the mountains and lakes.

Maine moose crossing signIn the next several posts we’ll look at the three icons of Maine tourist attractions: the moose, the lobster and the lighthouse! This post will begin with the moose.

We posted a blog entry about moose in Maine quite some time ago. This will discuss some of the same ideas and add some new ones, as well.

Moose in Maine are most common in the western and northern portions of the state, but can be found almost anywhere on occasion. You can choose a variety of ways to see moose in Maine. We’ll talk about several of them.

A Moose Safari

One of the best ways to see moose in the Maine wilds is to take a guided tour. There are many tour operators who offer moose safaris ranging from a few hours to several days. Search “maine moose safari” to see a number of them.

Moose in the woods near Rangeley, MaineThese tours will take you into the woods, to get within camera distance of the majestic creatures. They are usually designed for photography, so there will also often be tips on lighting, positioning, and ways to get some really good photos of the giant mammals.

DIY Travel

If you’re not necessarily interested in a tour, both the Rangeley Lakes region and the Moosehead Lake region are prime locations for finding and watching moose.

Both areas have motels, bed and breakfasts, and cabins where you can stay and provide a wealth of information for those looking for a chance to see moose.

Day Trips

In addition, if your visit doesn’t allow for a trip of several days to one of the areas where moose are populous, some of these areas are not a difficult day trip from the coastal areas.

For example, Rangeley, Maine is only about a two hour drive from Freeport, Maine, so we have driven to Rangely in the afternoon, looked for moose at dusk, and returned to Freeport the same evening.

Keep in mind that moose are most often seen at dawn or dusk, as the low light often brings them out of the woods to graze. However, the same low light makes photography a bit of a challenge, and can make for danger along the roads, as you can round a curve or crest a hill to find a moose in the roadway. They are huge creatures, so drive cautiously, as they can do a lot of damage to a vehicle in a collision!

However you decide to search for Maine moose, we hope you’ll find them and have a richly rewarding time in Maine!

Visiting Maine? Where to Find Information (Part 2)

April 29, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

In part one of the Where to Find the Information You Need post, we discussed the regions of Maine that you may want to visit, and type of environment you will find in each.

This installment will discuss where you can find some more specific information.

Where to visit

Any of the regions listed in the first post, or listed at the State of Maine’s Tourism site would be a good choice. If you prefer smaller villages, or larger cities, mountain lakes or coastal beauty, you have choices to make.

Mountains and Lakes

Among the beautiful spots in western Maine are Rangeley and Moosehead Lake. Both are beautiful lake areas, with rivers and mountain streams, and loads of wildlife. You can rent a kayak or canoe, and drift right up to moose grazing along the river. Farther north is Aroostook County (or “the county” as Mainers would tell you) for a real north woods experience.

Coastal Areas

If the coast is more to your liking, there is the southern coast, from Kittery to Cape Elizabeth. There are sandy beaches and great ocean views near some of the popular communities like Old Orchard Beach, York Beach, and Kennebunkport. A little farther up the coast is Bailey Island, accessible by a one-of-a-kind cribstone bridge, followed by Boothbay Harbor, Bristol and Pemaquid Point, then all the towns of Penobscot Bay, Rockland, Rockport, Camden, Lincolnville, etc. Still farther north is Bar Harbor and the surrounding towns, then the population thins out as you head north past Machias toward Calais and the Canada border.

Larger Cities

Of course, Portland is Maine’s largest city, offering a wonderful variety of restaurants, from fine dining to traditional Maine diners, and most every variation in between, as well as theater, symphony, museums and art galleries. Other fine choices are Augusta, Bangor and Bath. Each has its distinctive history and attractions.

Villages

Small villages proliferate in Maine. From Kennebunkport’s upscale charm, to Freeport’s historical friendliness, Camden’s beautiful chic, and Southwest Harbor’s nautical feel. Inland, there are such delights as Rangeley, Freyburg, Skowhegan, Dexter, Greenville, and Millinocket.

Parks

Probably the best known park is Acadia National Park, on Mount Desert Island. However, there are also quite a number of State Parks, all providing hiking, many with camping, and all with wonderful views of Maine’s incredible scenery. For the ambitious there is Baxter State Park, home of Maine’s highest point, Mount Katahdin. For the less athletic, there is Camden Hills State Park, with its magnificent view of Camden’s harbor, or Bradbury Mountain State Park, with views back toward Freeport and Casco Bay. Also in Freeport is Wolfe Neck State Park, with trails along the edge of Casco Bay.

Stay tuned for more on where to find information on lighthouses, moose and lobster!

Visiting Maine? Where to Find the Information You Need

April 23, 2009 by Kelleigh Dulany

If you’ve never visited Maine you may find yourself wondering where to start to gather the information you need on places to visit (which lighthouses should I see?), things to see and do (where can I see a moose?), where to stay, dine and play, and the all-important question, “where can I get lobster?”

We’ve gathered some of the best information for you, so you can begin to plan that very special vacation! Over the next several posts, we’ll try to answer these questions and provide resources for more information.

Where should I go in Maine?
Maine’s Office of Tourism divides the state into eight regions, and you’ll find something wonderful in every one of them. The regions (more or less south to north) are Maine Beaches (did you know Maine has beaches? This is the area on the Atlantic coast just north of the New Hampshire border, from Kittery to around Kennebunkport), Greater Portland and Casco Bay (everything from Cape Elizabeth to Freeport), Lakes and Mountains (the unspoiled mountains and lake areas from New Hampshire north beyond Naples), Kennebec and Moose River valleys (from Augusta north almost to Quebec, Canada), Midcoast (from Brunswick north beyond Belfast), the Maine Highlands (a large area, encompassing Bangor, Greenville and Millinocket), Downeast and Acadia (from Bar Harbor to Eastport and Calais), and finally Aroostook County (everything north to the Canada border).

Where you go depends on what you like to see and do. If you like hiking, camping, fishing, skiing and other outdoor activities, almost any of these areas will have what you are looking for. If you’re looking for beaches, the Maine Beaches and the Midcoast are your best bet.

For lighthouses, harbors, lobster shacks and hidden places known only to the locals, almost anywhere along the coast will have them, but there may be more of them in the Midcoast and Downeast and Acadia areas than some of the others.

And, of course, if you are trying to see a moose… Well, it is possible to see a moose in virtually any part of Maine, but they are more likely to show themselves in the western and northern parts of the state.

In the next installment we’ll talk about resources for learning more about some of the places to visit, and where to go for more information.

Is there anything about Maine you’d like to know? Please post a comment and we’ll get you the answer, or if the answer is a long one, we’ll work on posting a new entry on that topic.

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