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Maine’s Best Festivals

Best Festivals in Maine – food, crafts, music, decorations – you name it – Maine celebrates it!

January
Polar Plunge New Years Day l Kennebunkport, Portland and Old Orchard Beach

2heart-dock-square-ocean2February is for Lovers | Kennebunkport
Kennebunkport celebrates February for Lovers with a “Paint the Town Red” month of Red tag sales in boutiques, red plates at the best restaurants,  lodging specials,  red lights and hearts strewn around the seaside town.

March
Maine Maple Sunday | Statewide
Maine Maple Sugar Shacks provide free samples and show how maple syrup is made at sugar shacks aroiuond the state typically the third weekend in March.

April
Parrothead Weekend | Sunday River, Bethel
Jimmy Buffet music, spring skiing, margarita mix key lime pie contests and pond skimming at this annual event at Sunday River.

perkins-cove-footbridge2Patriots Weekend l Ogunquit
Fife & Drum Parade, Soldier Re-enactments, taste of the town and a Patriotic Pooch parade.

Sugarloaf Reggae Fest l Sugarloaf
4 days of Reggae Bands, and spring skiing at the Loaf

kennebunkport-festival-singerMay
Kennebunk May Day
The 1st weekend in May downtown Kennebunk hosts a hometown parade, live outdoor music, craft fairs and farmers market.

Taste of Bar Harbor | Bar Harbor
This May festival of food in Bar Harbor showcases creative local cuisine, with the best chefs and restaurants of Bar Harbor.

Memorial Day Weekend Parades and Events Throughout the state of Maine Towns.

June
kennebunkport-festivalKennebunkport Festival | Kennebunkport
An early June fine food, art and wine festival celebrated in Kennebunkport.

Kennebunkport LAUNCH – a Maritime Festival and Blessing of the Fleet| Kennebunkport

George H W Bush Celebrity Golf Classic  | Kennebunkport
Annual June golf tournament with past presidents, pros and celebrities is followed by an evening gala at The Colony Hotel in a fundraiser for Gary’s House.

arundel_wharfTour de Cure | Wells Reserve, Wells

Annual fund-raising bicycle ride to benefit the American Diabetes Association offers one of five routes, 5K, 25K, 50K, 100K, or 100 Mile.

Old Port Festival | Portland
Portland’s annual Old Port Fest is Maine’s largest one-day event, for over 40 years with live  music, crafts, activities and a Puppet Company parade on Exchange Street.

Trek Across Maine l Sunday River to Portland
A mid June bike ride fundraiser across Maine from Sunday River to Portland, Maine to benefit the American Lung Association.

July
Southern Maine Fireworks DisplayFireworks July 4 around Maine, and at beach towns Kennebunk, Old Orchard, York and Portland

Windjammer Days Festival | Boothbay Harbor
A parade of windjammers sail into Boothbay Harbor.

Moxie Festival | Lisbon
Since 1982, a festival celebrating Moxie – Maine’s original soda pop l Lisbon
Maine Windjammer Parade in Rockland and Tall Ships in Camden Harbor | Rockland

lobsterLobster Boat Races | Stonington
Deer Isle goes wild as working lobster men in suped-up boats race around the harbor.

Maine Lobster Festival  | Rockland
Maine lobsters, music, Maine arts and crafts.

August
Maine Boats, Homes and Harbor Show | Rockland
Three day in water boat show in Rockland

Casco Bay Swim Run l Portland

Wells Annual Chilifest | Wells

September
Camden Windjammer Festival and Parade | Camden
Camden’s beautiful windjammers sail in fleet through Camden Harbor.

sup-kennebunkportPaddle Battle at Nonantum Resort l Kennebunkport
Annual race of canoes, paddleboards and kayaks on the Kennebunk River.

Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival | Laudholm Farm, Wells
Summer Solstice and Nature Crafts Festival the first Weekend after Labor Day.

Lobsterman Triathlon | South Freeport
riathlons of lobstermen and athletes swimming across Casco bay, biking and running.

halfway-light-casco-bay (3)Maine Open Lighthouse Day
Maine’s lighthouses are open to the public and free of charge one day each September.

October
Fryeburg Fair | Fryeburg
Since 1851, local farmers show off their produce, livestock and goods, along with a midway, live entertainment and booths.

The Dempsey Challenge | Lewiston
Actor Patrick Dempsey’s (Grey’s Anatomy) annual Cancer Fundraiser walk/run/bike ride from Lewiston Auburn through Maine’s Lakes and Mountains.

North American Wife Carrying Championships | Sunday River, Bethel
Men and women compete in a challenging obstacle course with a twist – the husband must carry the wife in the Estonian style to win her weight in beer and a cash prizes.

w-farm-pumpkins4Kennebunk Harvestfest | Downtown Kennebunk
Farmers Market, parade, craft fair, food and music are part of this  fall festival.

York Harvestfest | York Beach
An annual celebration of Maine food and culture, a juried craft fair, marketplace, and music on York Beach, Maine.

OgunquitFest | Ogunquit
Fall weekend of pumpkin and cookie decorating, costume parade, classic car show, craft show, fun house, high heel race, bed race, wagon rides,  and a scarecrow contest.

Harvest on the Harbor | Portland
 pineapple-ketch-nonantumPortland’s premier food and wine event showcasing top local chefs, Maine food and wines in a beautiful waterfront settings.

Nonantum Phantom l Kennebunkport
Annual Halloween Bash for adults with costumes and live band at this historic, haunted Kennebunkport inn.

November
Festival of Lights | Kennebunk
Kennebunk’s Christmas Tree illuminates the night in downtown Kennebunk the weekend following Thanksgiving!

Lobster Trap Christmas TreeFestival of Trees | Saco
Dozens of decorated trees and wreaths are  displayed at Dyer Library, Saco Museum.

Lighting of the Nubble | Sohier Park, York
he annual Lighting of the iconic Nubble Lighthouse in Sohier Park at dusk is beautiful.

December
Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude Celebration | Kennebunkport
Two weeks of holiday events, tee lightings, entertainment, shopping, craft fairs, caroling, and Santa in a lobster boat!

Freeport Sparkle Weekend | Freeport
Parade of Lights down Main Street, Holiday Movie Marathon, Tuba Christmas Concert, Visits with Santa, Horse Drawn Wagons, Musical Holiday Light Shows in Freeport.

Festival of Lights | York
Festival of Lights and craft fairs in York.

1kbpt-sign-heartChristmas By the Sea Celebration | Ogunquit
A seaside Christmas season celebration in December in Ogunquit.

Christmas Boat Parade of Lights | Portland
Boat Parade of Lights and Fireworks.

Southern Maine Christmas Parade | Wells

See more great Maine Events and where to stay in Maine to enjoy all these fun festivals.

See our Southern Maine Coast lodging guide  – bring the family, the dog to a pet friendly place, or just your sweetheart to a romantic inn in Maine.

Photos by Greg Burke, see more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com.  Text and photos property of IMS-21.net.

Best of Southern Maine, eat, beach, shop, boat!

american-flag-schooner-eleanor3The Southern Maine coast is the ideal place to vacation, visit, even relocate. Southern Maine from Kittery to Kennebunkport to Portland and Freeport is full of beautiful beaches, ocean drives, seafood and shopping. So much to see and do. Here is our favorite guide for your tour of the Maine coast, and our recommendations on the very best places to eat, drink, sleep, shop and boat!

wells-so-beach3Hit the beach – Maine has so many beautiful beaches from soft long stretches of sand, to rocky beaches with perfect smooth pebbles, tidal pools and quiet coves , to broad open strands that surfers love for the big breaking waves. Southern Maine’s beaches are the best, unlike anywhere else in the world, given the 8-11 foot tide twice daily, Maine beaches are incredibly scenic and unique. Old Orchard Beach, Higgins Beach and Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport are among the best in southern Maine. See our guide to Maine’s best beaches.

water_goat_island_lightBest Photographs – Maine Lighthouses   Maine has a proud maritime history, and the lighthouse is the beacon and best representation to this day. From Whaleback Light best viewed from Kittery’s Fort McClary, to the most photographer Nubble Light at Cape Neddick York, to Goat Island Light off Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport, Woods Hole Light in Biddeford and the oldest and most celebrated Portland Headlight in Fort Williams Park… you should see them all. Pack a picnic and enjoy the grounds Portland Headlight these gorgeous seaside settings, and ponder the shipwrecks these lights have thwarted over the centuries.

Take the Presidential pass to Kennebunkport
Kennebunkport Maine is the summer home to President George H W and Barbara Bush, as well as George W (we call him 43 versus his Dad 41), and Jeb too. You can drive along Kennebunkport’s Ocean Avenue and see their spectacular Walkers Point estate (locals call it gawkers point in prime tourist season), then visit Kennebunkport‘s White Columns Bush First Family Exhibit at Kennebunkport’s Historical Society.

Sea Food – Eat Maine
stripers-lobster-bakeEat some local Maine seafood, lobster, fried clams, shrimp, scallops, and oysters. You can dine at a fancy four star restaurant on artfully prepared lobster out of the shell, or you roll up your sleeves at a roadside Clam Shack, or enjoy a fresh made lobster roll.

Some of our favorite Maine restaurants include the York Harbor Inn – try the Ship’s Cellar Pub downstairs, Velveteen Habit and MC Perkins in Ogunquit, Joshua’s in Wells, David’s KPT at the Boathouse Waterfront in Kennebunkport, and Mabel’s Lobster Claw, Old Vines Wine Bar in Kennebunk, or casual pub fare at Alissons – it’s the Cheers of Kport1 (3)Maine. Portland has so many good restaurant – too many to mention.

Shop Maine
Maine is loaded with local crafts people, artists, chefs, and jewelers. Whether its lobster or lighthouse decor, starfish and sea glass jewelry, seascape inspired art, or Maine made blueberry and maple products, be “Shore” to save time to shop Maine boutiques. Score some bargains at Kittery Outlets and Freeport Outlets, and go open minded with an open wallet to Maine discount stores Mardens and Reny’s. You must LL Bean,  in Freeport 365/7/24 since 1913,  and see this Maine clothier and outdoor gear flagship store,  famous for its amazing return policy,  LL Bean boots, and the Bear and Moose display, plus the massive Bean Boot boat-tour-exits-river5outside (photo opp)!

Meet the Mainers
Accents – we got that! Mainers are incredibly proud,  funny, pragmatic people. They work hard, laugh often and have a strong sense of Yankee-ism. Mainers are  often sarcastic, you’ve been warned. See this guide to Maine slang for a clue, ayuh!

Biking in Kennebunkport MaineMaine’s natural assets
Besides the beaches, southern Maine is host to wonderful walking trails, bike paths and seaside walks. We recommend the Marginal Way in Ogunquit, Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm, and Parsons Way in Kennebunkport, plus the Eastern Trail which encompasses 65 miles from Kittery to Casco Bay, Portland. Get out and explore the great Pine Tree State.

Get on a boat
The best way to see Maine’s dramatic coastline is by sea. Maine boat tours range from lobster boat tours and sailboat rides that last an hour or two, to scenic lighthouse excursions, or all-day fishing cpineapple-ketch-nonantumharters and whale watch expeditions. Southern Maine’s most beautiful ports offering boat tours include Ogunquit and Kennebunkport and Portland. We think the best boat rides are the Rugosa Lobster Boat Toor from Kennebunkport‘s Nonantum for a fun family-friendly boat ride on the Kennebunk River, captain Bob takes you out to President Bush’s estate at Walkers Point, and you get to see how lobster is trapped caught and hauled. If sailing with the wind floats your boat, then the Pineapple Ketch is a beautiful sailboat charter from the same docks – the sunset sail is a 10. For a fishing charter, Libreti Rose II in the same Nonantum Marina is a great day, or a few hours, fishing with a licensed experience Captain Bruce, he was once featured on Deadliest Catch.

Kennebunkport Maine InnStay another day
There is a reason Maine is called Vacationland, and  “The Way Life Should Be” so slow down and enjoy your visit to Maine. Find a romantic seaside inn, or a full service hotel on the ocean, even a nice motel right on the beach. See our favorite Maine lodging locations and stay a little longer.

Photos by Greg Burke, see more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com.  Text and photos property of IMS-21.net.

 

Maine Summer Concerts and Theatre

wells-so-beach3Summer on the Maine coast means more than just beaches, lighthouse beacons and breaking into a fresh Maine lobster. You can add some culture to that side of Maine crustacean… after all summer stock theatre on the southern Maine coast is classic, and some of the best bands and performers come to the coast to host concerts and performances. Let’s just say it a good gig for the audience as well as the band.

ogunplayHere are the top theaters and concert venues on the southern Maine coast:
The Ogunquit Playhouse got its start in 1933, in a garage, during the depression when Walter Hartwig brought the Manhattan Theatre Colony to Maine.  In 1937, the playhouse moved to its current location on Maine Street, Route 1. In 1951, John Lane took the reins, before Bradford Kenney. The Ogunquit Playhouse brings top off Broadway productions and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2016 is Ogunquit Playhouse 84th season and with the following productions:
Let It Be May 18 – June 11, a celebration of the music of the Beatles
Anything Goes June 15 – July 9 – a Cole Porter Classic
Hunchback of Notre Dame July 13 – August 6 –Victor Hugo’s medieval novel
Priscilla Queen of the Desert  August 10 – September 3 – a Broadway Musical Classical
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers  September 7 – October 1
Million Dollar Quartet  October 5 – November 6 – a musical of the Fathers of Rock n Roll

kennebunkport-festival-singerHackmatack Playhouse in Berwick was founded in 1972 as a classic summer stock theatre in a 1716 barn, the old Gupthill farm in pastoral south western Maine. The following plays fill the Hackmatack summer 2016:
“Noises Off” June 17 – July 2
“On the Town” July 6-23, 1944 – a NYC story of three sailors
“Once Upon a Mattress” July 23- Aug 13 – The Princess and The Pea version play
“Almost, Maine” August 17 – Sept 3 – a romantic comedy on a mythical Maine town.

dine-kennebunk-innVinegar Hill Music Theatre is Maine’s newest music venue, in the old Arundel Barn Playhouse near Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.  The new name Vinegar Hill pays tribute to the history of this area in Arundel and the Smith Sister’s Farm. Tim Harrington (also of  Kennebunkport Resort Collection) is the man behind the scenes as Vinegar Hill’s managing partner, with Broadway experienced George Dvorsky as Creative Director. Vinegar Hill will be more music venue than playhouse. Here are the big name music groups and talents to perform his summer at Vinegar Hill:
Four C Notes June 25
Deep Blue C Orchestra June 29
Liz Callaway
July  1 famous actor and singer of film songs.
Comedian Justin McKinney July 2
Frank Santos
July 7 – Comic Hypnotist
James Montgomery Band July 7  – a legendary local 70s rock & harmonic band
Debbie Gravitte July 9 – Tony Award singer
John Davidson Roots, Roles, Rhythym July 10
Joel Known Trio July 12
Venus Mars Project  
July 13 – Boston pop rock band
Carolyn Rhea Live July 14 – Comedienne
Evan Goodrow Band July 15
Emily Skinner
July 16
Juice Newton Trio July 20
The Quebe Sisters
July 21 – a fiddling sisters trio from Texas
Elliott Yamin July 22 – American idol star
Well-Strung
July 23 Men’s Quartet playing Beethoven to Madonna
Paula Cole
July 24 Grammy Award winner for “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?”
Terry Sylvester July 27
Adam Ezra Group July 28  – Boston based awarded band, Ragtop Angel & Takin off
Joe Louis Walker July 29 – Blues Hallof Famer
Linda Eider July 30 – Broadway singer
Livingston Taylor Aug 2
Medium Lauren Rainbow Aug 3
Frenchie Davis Aug 5 – American Idol & The Voice star
Evening with Ronan Tynan
Aug 6 – one of the Irish Tenors
Howie Day Aug 11
John Ford Coley
Aug 12  – the “I’d really love to see you tonight” wonder
Comedien Lenny Clark Aug 13
Sugar Blue Aug 18 Grammy award winning Harmonica
Evans Halle Salon Soiree
Aug 19
Larry Gatlin Acoustic
Aug 20 Catlin brother country singer
Sherry MacArthur
Aug 24 PBS musician
Joe Scarborough
Aug 26
Sally Mayes
Aug 27 – Tony award singer
Johnny Winter All Star Band
 Sept 3
Jennifer Porter
Sept 9 – Opera singer
Andy Fairweather Low and the Low Riders
Sept 16
Heather Maloney
Sept 30  -“Making Me Break” music fame
All About Elvis Oct 1

portland-headlight

Portland Maine State Pier brings in top shelf bands in summer, open air with a view of the ocean. For 2016, Maine State Pier will host Jackson Brown June 9, Bare Naked Ladies June 24, Beach Boys July 7, George Thorogood, Goo Goo Dolls,

At the Cross Insurance Center in Portland, aka the Portland Civic Center, summer rock concerts include Phish July 6, Bonnie Rait Aug 19, and ZZ Top Sept 4

Kittery Star Theatre and Community Center is another cool venue for music, productions and theater camps.

kennebunkport-festival-tentSo there are just a few fun performances and plays to mix in with your time at the Beach in York, Wells, Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach and Portland Maine! May your summer be full of fun, music and theatre.

See our Southern Maine Coast lodging guide  for lodging in Portland, Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, Kittery and York.

Photos by Greg Burke, see more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com.  Text and photos property of IMS-21.net.

Love Wine and Love Maine? Try a Wine Walk

perkins-cove-footbridge2Wine Walks in Maine are the perfect pairing – wine education while on vacation – or an afternoon appreciating wine at new-to-you local venues. Your lovely host Erica Archer, CWP, WSET, offers this fun format of mobile wine classes in the Kennebunks, Ogunquit, and Portland, and Wine Sails in Portland and Camden.

I joined in a Friday Wine Walk in Kennebunk, as our group from Boothbay to Fort old-vines-bar-tableLauderdale, made our way to four Kennebunk restaurants tasting unique Chardonnays – the wine theme for the day. Erica, the beautiful blond brainchild behind Wine Wise – her wine event company founded five years ago, presented four fabulous wines with rich detail and description as we sipped away the afternoon together.

We uncorked our first taste at Duffy’s on Kennebunk’s Main Street. Chef John prepared a delicious poached salmon with summer squash medley that provided just the right balance to our buttery Kendall Jackson Vintner Reserve Chardonnay. Erica offered regional background, technical terms like malolactic fermentation, and then very pragmatic tips like how to open a bottle of wine perfectly and champagne like a pro (turning the bottle – not the cork).

winewalk2Our next stop at Owen’s Farmhouse, we smelled, sipped and savored a bright but subtle French Burgundy-region Albert Bichot Chardonnay which complemented the wood-fired pizzas we shared in this cozy café. Erica’s wine knowledge is impressive, she’s a Certified Wine Professional with Level Three Advanced Certification as a Sommelier. But she’s also warm, witty and passionate about her wines – no wine snobbery here. As Erica says, “If wine is a foreign language, we all become more fluent after a few glasses.”
winewalk1
At Academe, in the Kennebunk Inn, Chefs Brian and Shanna had created a clever BLT – Arancini with Brussels sprout and bacon which was fantastic with our beautiful bubbly – Veuve Clicquot Champagne (a Chardonnay in fancy French clothing).

We learned wonderful little wine facts:
Champagne corks can release at 45 mph
80% of the taste in wines comes from the aroma
Wines are served too cold, red, white, even rosé
French White Burgundy = Chardonnay
Red Burgundy = Pinot Noir
The Master Sommelier Certification Exam has a less than a 10% pass rate
The best wine opener* is the basic corkscrew with a knife, screw, and two notches
*note to my friends: please no more silly battery operated openers for my birthday

winewalk5Our final stop was 50 Local for a Foxglove Chardonnay from San Luis Obispo California paired with spicy tofu, local field greens, earthy pasta and mushrooms. So we had toured the west coast to France and back in our two-hour wine block walk. Our minds had been opened with each bottle, to new approaches to drinking wine, and better appreciation of how territory and treatment affect each vine and harvest. Our food pairings were excellent – showing Erica’s attention to detail and collaboration with her host chefs.

We walked away from our Wine Walk having tasted and toasted new friends with a new improved vino lingo and greater love of wines.

windjammer-maineNow I want to  Wine Sail in Camden or Portland at sunset, sounds sublime. See Wine Wise’s schedule for Erica’s upcoming Wine Walks in Ogunquit, Portland, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and Wine Sails in Casco Bay and Camden.

Wine Walks in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport Poertland, and Ogunquit

Sunday, November 22 Wine (and food) Walk in Ogunquit, ME: Wines of Piedmont, Italy

Saturday, November 28 A Wine (and food) Walk in Portland’s West End: Delicious Wines of Spain

Sunday, November 29 Bourbon (and food) Walk in Portland, ME

Saturday, December 5  A Wine (and food) Walk in Portland, ME: Cabernet Sauvignon

Saturday, December 12 A Wine (and food) Walk in Portland, ME: Sparkling Wines

Saturday, December 19 A Wine Walk in The Old Port, Portland, ME: Italian Wine & Food Pairings

Sunday, December 20 A Wine (and food) Walk in Ogunquit, ME: Sparkling Wines

Saturday, December 26 -Wine (and food) Walk in the West End, Portland, ME: Wines of the Rhône Valley, France

Saturday, December 26 Wine (and food) Walk in the West End, Portland, ME: Wines of the Rhône Valley, France

Sunday, December 27 Spirits (and food) Walk in Portland, ME: Scotch

See more fun food and wine events on the Southern Maine Coast including  Kennebunkport’s Progessive Dinner Trolley and The Kennebunkport Festival!

Coastal Maine Restaurant Week Oct 24-30

If you love creative cuisine and touring the southern Maine coast – then we have just the scene for you!  Coastal Maine Restaurant Week is October 24-30, 2015. What started as Kennebunk Restaurant Week in 2013 has grown to a gourmet event spanning the Coastal Maine towns of Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Arudnel, Cape Poprpoise,  Wells,Oqunquit, York, Kittery and Eliot with the top places to dine on the waterfront like York Harbor Inn, The Cliff House,   Hurricane, On the Marsh,and Nonantum, and Stripers. There are two fantastic new restaurants this year,  Velveteen Habit in Ogunquit and Ports of Italy in Kennebunkport!

davids-serverMaine Restaurants are now home to top chefs serving local  Maine ingredients – with a flair during these special culinary weeks each spring and fall, when restaurants aren’t super busy like they are in peak summer. The dining format is three-course themed price fixe menus – above and beyond the Chef’s usual offerings for foodies to celebrate and congregate. Kennebunkport’s top restaurants are participating, Nonantum 95 Ocean, Hurricane, Ocean, Stripers, Academe, and the new Ports Of Italy.

October 24-30 is Coastal Maine Restaurants with special dining menus from Kittery to Kennebunkport– organized by the York County Coast Star. During this week southern Maine chefs will prepare special three course gourmet menus –often with an ocean view at a prix fixe dinner of $25, $35, and $45 per person, before beverages, tax and gratuity. So maybe not a steal of a deal, but a special tasting experience.

Maine has attracted top chefs in recent years, and received high praise in food article from Forbes to Yankee, Gourmet and Bon Appetite, to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Many of the culinary talents in the Pine Tree State are focused menus featuring Maine sourced, locally grown and farm raised food, fresh caught lobster and seafood  to artisan farm cheeses. There’s more to Maine than just blueberries, broccoli and potatoes don’t ya know?!

cape-neddick-yorkWhat’s fun about Coastal Maine Restaurant Week, besides the view and delicious cuisine, is meeting fellow foodies in your travels. You meet new people while dining out – folks who share your passion for fine food and wine. Wine pairings and drinks specials are often offered to complement the chef’s menu, but not included- nor is gratuity.

Here are the Coastal Maine Restaurants participating in Coastal Maine Restaurant Week:

Ports of Italy, Western Ave, Kennebunk
Hurricane, Dock Square, Kennebunkport
Stripers Waterside  at Breakwater Inn 207-967-3118, 133 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport
Federal Jack’s 207-967-4322, 8 Western Avenue Kennebunk

On the Marsh Bistro -207-967-2299, 46 Western Avenue, Kennebunk
York Harbor Inn – 207-363-7151, 480 York Street, York
Jonathan’s Ogunquit 207-646-4777, 92 Bourne Lane, Ogunquit
Bintliff’s 207-646-3111, 335 Main Street, Ogunquit
Velveteen Habit, 207-216-9884, 37 Ogunquit Road, Ogunquit
Angelina’s Ristorante 207-646-0445, 655 Main Street, Ogunquit
The Front Porch 207-646-4005 9 Shore Road, Ogunquit
Bintliffs, 207-646-3111, 335 Main Street, Ogunquit
Roost 207-646-9898, 262Shore Road, York
Surf Point 360 207-646-9384, 1205 Post Road (Route 1) Wells
50 Shore Road, 207-646-5001, 50 Shore Road, Ogunquit
York River Landing 207-351-8430, 150 US Route 1, York
Stage Neck Inn 207-646-8988, 8 Stage Neck Road, York

Reservations for dinner are recommended during this special week. See you out an about enjoying Coastal Maine Restaurant Week! Make it a mini vacation by staying a night or two midweek and get great lodging rates in Kennebunkport Hotels like Seaside Inn, Breakwater or Captain Lord Mansion, or Ogunquit Resort Motel or York Harbor Inn.

Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com 2015, all photos and content.

Vacation Guide to the Southern Maine – Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, York, Old Orchard Beach – Resorts Inns

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Fall is Fair Time in Maine!

bouysFall is Fair season in Maine, and we’re not talking about the beautiful cool sunny days or the calm seas and turning leaves. No, we’re talking food fairs, craft fairs, agricultural fairs – where folks come from far and wide to enjoy rides, harvests, handmade goods, see livestock and live shows – often all that in the same day. Maine is very proud of its heritage and homemade art, crafts, food and fun – and there is no better place to witness all of this than a Maine fair, ayuh.

September 12-13 Wells Annual Laudholm Nature Craft Fair at Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm, now in its 28th year, crafts people show their wares at this beautiful farm on a natural slat water estuarine.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0749.September 12-13 Summer Solstice Craft Show in Wells – at the Wells Elementary is a display of over 70 Maine crafters, local food producers, artists and photographers.

September 12-13 Cappricio in Ogunquit is a town-wide festival of art, music, poetry, ballet, live theater, craft fairs and food, plus concerts. Ogunquit’ Festival of Kites is a highlight.

September 12 Old Orchard Beach Bikefest on the Pier – a fair for bike fans with motorcycles, parts, people and music on display by the beach.

September 10-13 is the Clinton Lions Agricultural Fair with a midway, animal pulling events, mechanical pulling event, exhibits, and live entertainment on stage .

September 11-13 Litchfield Fair is a classic Maine Country fair with midway, animal exhibits,  pulling events. and of course fair food

w-farm-pumpkins4September 14-20 Farmington Fair hosts a midway with rides, exhibit halls, livestock and animal games and  pulls, harness racing, and a demolition derby.

September 16-19 Oxford County Fair offers rides on the midway, Maine fair food, livestock shows, crafts, exhibits and harness racing.

September 18-20 New Portland Lion’s Fair – North New Portland. Midway with rides, exhibit hall, animal and tractor pulls, Maine crafts, livestock exhibits and fair food

September 25-27 Common Ground Fair in Unity celebrates rural life and farming with demonstrations, Maine organic-produced foods, crafts and livestock on display.

September 27-October 3 Cumberland Fair is a big one, with large exhibit halls, a midway with games, rides and prizes, plus food, crafts,   livestock exhibits. animal pulling events and harness racing.

October 4-11 Fryeburg Fair is the big daddy of all Maine fairs, the fair to which all others in New England compare. This is Maine’s largest agricultural fair, a Blue Ribbon Classic, that last over a week and spans acres – folks come out of the word (as the saying goes) to attend this fairest of fairs. Fryeburg Fair, started in 1851, features a midway of rides, games and fair food, plus crafts, local products, farming equipment and livestock, and nightly entertainment with top name live bands. The pig scramble and harness racing are top attractions – so is the people-watching and the fired dough, or watching the local Maine people eat fried dough!

October 10 Kennebunk Harvestfest is a family fair with a day dedicated to crafts, a farmers market, kids games, costume parade, climbing wall, and music in downtown Kennebunk.

October 9-11 Sunday River’s Fall Festival – Maine’s ski mountains come alive in fall with music, food and crafts, plus the annual North American Wife Carrying Championships at this annul peak foliage Columbus weekend.

October 21-25 Portland Harvest on the Harbor is a fancier fair featuring food- Maine’s best chefs compete to create the prize winning cuisine while patrons get to taste, sip and see a view of the water. Th pricey tickets, $465 for the whole event, is far higher than Fryburg’s $10 bucks a day, but this swank foodee event is a fundraiser for End Hunger in Maine.

Market Square Portsmouth, NH

So let’s be fair, there’s a fair for everyone in the fall in Maine!  For lodging on the southern Maine Coast during your fall fair visit, check out our lodging in Wells, Ogunquit, places to stay in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach, Portland and hotels all over Maine.

Copyright SouthernMaineCoast.com 2015, all photos and content.

Vacation Guide to the Southern Maine – Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, York, Old Orchard Beach – Resorts Inns

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Maine is famous for its food- more than just lobster!

stripers-lobster-bakeA trip to Maine is not complete with a crustacean… a fresh Maine lobster steamed and served with drawn butter. But there is much more to the Maine food scene than just seafood – clams, scallops, crab, oysters, mussels and fish.  You also have to sample Maine specialty foods like saltwater taffy, made right before your eyes at the Golden Rod in York Beach.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0442.Maine blueberries and strawberries are delicious in early summer -whether eaten fresh and simply by the handful of berries, or baked in cakes, pies, muffins, shortcake and cobbler or jams.  Maine gourmets are making their own delicious artisan cheese, apple cider in season and fresh berry jams and preserves. You can tour Stonewall Kitchen in York, and learn about their award winning Maine recipes and specialty food products.

old-vines-bar-tableThere are numerous Maine breweries and Maine wineries like Cellardoor using native berries to create unique homemade brews and wines. There is even a potato vodka made right here with Maine potatoes – one of Maine greatest products. Maine is also a top producer of broccoli – who knew?!

colony-kennebunkport-festival-aspenEnd your day with a cocktail on the deck of a gorgeous inn, or one of our favorite spots on the waterfront, then enjoy a perfectly prepared seafood dinner followed by homemade blueberry pie for desert.

In Scarborough, you can visit the world’s largest moose made entirely of chocolate (chocolate moose – get it?!) at Libby’s – next to Cabela’s.

bass-harbor-light (9)And you’ll have to take home some delicious Maine treats. So save room in your car for live Maine lobster packed to go, fresh picked Maine crabmeat, Maine Harbor candies, fresh Maine blueberries, and a quart of Maine maple syrup. Or you can just stay another day and try more of Maine’s best restaurants.

pineapple-ketch-nonantumEnjoy your Maine vacation  and see our southern Maine Coast lodging guide for where to stay!

Copyright 1996 – 2015 by SouthernMaineCoast.com

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Why Maine vacationers should know about tides

wells-so-beach3You don’t have to be a meteorologist of maritime student to appreciate the cause and effect of tides. Vacationers to Maine should know about tides because they are dramatic – up to 11 feet of water rises and falls on the Maine shoreline twice every day. Tides are caused by the gravitational interaction of the Earth and Moon. The gravitational attraction of the moon causes the ocean to rise in the direction of the moon.

3bass-harbor-lighthouse-acadia1Full moons cause very full tides, but every day in Maine the tides are significant – ranging from 8-11 feet of water ebbing and flowing – up and down the shoreline, the beach and in the rivers that flow to the ocean. Tides are fascinating, and fun when you work with them, and challenging if you are naive to them.

Why you should know tides when you are on a Maine vacation:

Where you place your beach chair in Maine matters…
wells-mid-beachIf you arrive at a Maine beach at low tide and place your picnic towels and chairs near the ocean, you may well get very wet in just a few hours, loose your stuff, or at minimum have to move your beach gear quickly as the waves reach suddenly higher up the sand. On the flip side, arriving at the beach at high tide, you can feel free to get very close to the water and set up your beach blanket knowing that the water will continue to retreat for the next 5 hours.

sup-kennebunkportKayak, canoe and SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board) excursions vary greatly with the push and pull of the tide. Going up river with an incoming tide is great fun, you get an extra push from the incoming flow of water, just know that if you don’t wait until slack tide or the reverse tide- it will be a stiff current and hard work returning into an incoming tide.

Smart kayakers, canoers and SUP go with the flow, then have a rest, picnic or swim kayak-penobscott-bay (4)at peak tide at their destination before turning around as the tide turns – you feel like a hero both ways with the assistance of the powerful tidal current. Conversely, fighting the tide, or following an incoming mid-tide then returning into the tide can make for an exhausting workout .

Boating in Maine with the tides…
Tides have hung up many a Maine boater. Passing between islands, or within a harbor castine-tour-boator river at high tide things look completely safe, while 5-6 hours later exposed ledges, rocks, reefs and ground appear. Imagine 11 less feet of water and the many dangers that lie below. Having a navigational chart handy at all times and being aware of your depth is key when cruising around Maine’s tidal harbors and rivers.

Enter and anchor at low tide.
Smart boaters tend to enter harbors at DCIM100GOPROGOPR0442.low tide when shoals, rocks, reefs and sand bars are visible. Entering in high tide may seem safer, but you must study your chart very carefully as hazards are not apparent to you. Ignorance is not bliss when boating in 11 foot tidal areas.

If you anchor, you should put out enough scope for high tide, but also know the radius of your boat and any danger at dead low for your boat’s draft (draw) which is the amount of water need from the bottom of your boat so as not to run aground, hit your prop or breakwater-river-view7keel.

A fish finder or depth finder alone is not sufficient to knowing where you are in your boat and what lies beneath. A depth gauge will often sound an alarm when its too late and you have just struck a ledge, shoal or sand bar. You should know where you are on a chart at all times. Chart depths are marked with the depth at normal low tide. A dramatic low tide can be -1 foot or more below the chart indicated depth.

Winter Surfing in MaineFinally a word of caution on RipTides.
Riptides in Maine are strong tidal currents caused by the ebb and flood jets created in restricted tidal areas which can be dangerous to swimmers and small crafts. Rip current is different, describing tidal wave action.

Maine has a semi-diurnal tide – two relatively similar high and low tides each day. See our Maine tide charts here. To Mainers, especially Maine fisherman and Maine lobstermen, the tide chart is as ipineapple-ketchmportant as their traps and pots. Tide charts are unique to each Maine town, region and harbor, changing daily, geographically.

Enjoy your Maine vacation  and keep in mind the tides – the Maine tide can be your friend or your frenemy!

Copyright 1996 – 2015 by SouthernMaineCoast.com

Vacation Guide to the Southern Maine – Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, York, Old Orchard Beach – Resorts Inns

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The changing coastline of Maine

pineapple-ketchThe Maine coast has been a retreat for city folks for over a century – people continue to love to escape for a summer by the sea. There is something so relaxing and restorative  about the cool ocean breeze and the quiet natural setting of Maine.

At the turn of the century and even into the 1920s, people from away, Boston and New York,  would come to southern Maine and stay for weeks, even months or the entire “season” by the sea, staying in a summer cottage or one of the grand oceanfront resorts in York, Ogunquit, Kennebunk Beach and Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach and Portland. shawmut-kennebunkportThere were large hotels on the water, with grand porches, pools and beaches.

Today, many of those historic seaside hotels have closed, converted to condos like the Narragansett on Kennebunk Beach, or were torn down and replaced with massive private mansions like the Shawmut Inn (pictured here courtesy of Kennebunkport Conservation Trust) formerly located off Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport, now a private residence.

pineapple-ketch-nonantumBut a few gracious and grand hotels remain on the coast, from the Wentworth in Newcastle New Hampshire, to the York Harbor Inn in York, The Cliff House in Ogunquit, the Colony Hotel, Breakwater Inn and Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport, and the Seaside Inn on Kennebunk Beach.

Guests can no longer afford to stay for a month or the summer season, time and stripers-fishing-boatmoney constraints in our fast-paced lives don’t allow for such long lavish getaways, but a few days at these top seaside hotels can feel like a grand getaway even if its just for a few days.

Sipping a cocktail on The Colony porch’s gazebo overlooking the Atlantic, or watching the sunset over the Kennebunk River from an Adirondack chair at the Breakwater Inn is rejuvenating…and reflective of the good ole’ days on coast in the summer.

colony-kennebunkport-festival-aspenConsider a summer escape to the southern Maine coast… the way life should be, by the sea.

See our southern Maine lodging guide, and things to do on the southern Maine coast from boating, the best beaches, shopping and dining.

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Photos and Copyright, property of Southern Maine Coast.com, IMS-21,  2015

Best Events on the Southern Maine Coast

wells-so-beach3There are so many fun events in Maine from Kittery to Kennebunkport and Portland Maine. You just have to “sea” some of these zany vibrant foodies fun festivals to appreciate how Maine does things, fun parades, parties, and celebrations …”The Way Life Should Be”!

Every Saturday in Kennebunk is a Farmers Market from 8-1pm. Fridays throughout Southern Maine.Art Walks occur every Friday evening  in Maine – the 1st Friday in Portland, 2nd Friday is the Village Art Walk in the Lower Village Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, and 3rd Friday Art Walk in downtown Kennebunk.

The Padpaddle-boarder2dle Battle at the river front Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport is August 2– this third annual race of canoes, paddleboards and kayaks on the Kennebunk River starts at 1:30,  register for the race here.  Food, music and fun are part of the event for non-paddlers too on this Father’s Day.

Southern Maine Fireworks DisplayFireworks at Old Orchard Beach every Thursday night  on the beach next to the Old Orchard Beach Pier all summer June 25 – September 3rd.

July 4th  fireworks on the coast at Maine Beach Towns including York, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk Old Orchard Beach, Portland.

pineapple-ketchThe Tallships Parade Comes to Portland Maine  July 18-20 2015  – Portland Harbor will hosts 8 historic tallships on their final stop of the 2015 Tallships Challenge . The highlight, the Tallships Parade, sails into Portland Harbor at 1pm July 18

Nonantum Resort Kennebunkport has live entertainment and riverfront dining Monday – Thursday all summer 6:30-9:30.

Stripers Waterside Restaurant stripers-lobster-bakeat the Breakwater Inn in Kennebunkport has an authentic  Maine Lobster Clambake every Monday night at 6pm served outside on the river with beautiful sunset views.

Aug 29, 2015 is Wells Annual Chilifest at Wells Harbor – a Mexican fiesta in Maine as Wells best restaurants compete for the best chili title.

breakwater-river-view7Laudholm Summer Solstice Nature Crafts Festival in Wells is the 1st Weekend after Labor Day featuring 100 artisans, jewelers, and crafts people display at Wells Laudholm Farms.

MaineStage Shakespeare presents outdoor Shakepeare theatre in the park every Wednesday-Saturday at the Colony, Lafayette Park and River Green in Kennebunkport.

portland-headlightMaine Open Lighthouse Day is September 12 with free admission to Maine lighthouses along the coast

Maine Lobsterman Triathlon in South Freeport is September 12

cape-neddick-yorkFor lodging on the Southern Maine Coast during any of these events and festivals, go to our Lodging Deals Guide.

For a list of Events throughout Maine, see our Maine events page.