Category Archives: Southern Maine Coast Lodgings

Shore Signs of Spring In Maine

Spring has arrived in Maine…sometimes its slow to arrive, with snow in April and skiing til May at Sugarloaf. Maine winters can be long, cold and snowy – skiers and snowmobiler love it but some folks just long for spring. Longer warmer days, beach weather and beautiful flowers. Cheers – spring is here!

Here are 7 shore signs of Spring in Maine:
Flowers popping their tender heads out of garden beds… the bright yellow daffodils, purple pansies, regal red tulips and golden forsythia buds busting forth – say that 3 times!

Shrink wrap ripping of boats as trailers and hauls drop boats into the water – well not literally dropping the boats – that would be a bad start to the yacht season!

Shorts – As the barometer peaks over 70, bold brave eager Mainers shed their long LL Bean layers and don shorts for the first time since September. Beware the bright white legs that have been under rap all winter.

Decks at your favorite Maine restaurants on the water are opening up faster than you can say “let’s get a drink down by the water.”

Portland’s Sea Dogs are playing ball. Nothing says spring in Maine like a home opener of baseball at Portland’s Hadlock Field with Slugger the Sea Dog and the Boston Red Sox Double A Team.

Lawns – the purr of lawnmowers returns as homeowners greet and groom the green grass they have missed  – buried under a winter coat of snow.

Lobster – yes it’s the season to start cracking into Maine lobster again. Here’s praying for a plentiful yield of crustacean this year. Maine lobstermen have set and exceeded their records for the biggest catch for seven straight years… insert clap of claws here.

Cheers to spring in Maine! Get in your short, get on a boat, go to the beach, catch a ballgame, enjoy a beer on a waterfront deck, and enjoy some Maine lobster.

For Maine lodging, visit Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Maine Beach Getaways in Winter

The true beauty of the southern Maine coast is you can walk the beach year round. Southern Maine is legendary for its long sandy stretches of pristine, picture perfect beaches, from York to Wells, Ogunquit to Kennebunkport, Old Orchard Beach to Portland! While everyone comes for a Maine beach vacation in the summer.

Spring, fall and winter on the Maine coast are undiscovered gems for long beach walks, finding smooth beach stones, sea glass and shells, even the occasional lobster pot after a storm out to sea. What’s especially enjoyable about the southern Maine coast is that the Atlantic Ocean provides warmth in colder weather, with the sea temperature averaging in the 40’s. So seaside towns are more temperate often than inland and toward the Maine mountains.

The other bonus of a winter Maine beach vacation is great off-season lodging rates at the best waterfront inns and hotels, not to mention free available parking by the beach.

Here are some great oceanfront resorts, steps to beaches  – ideal for a winter getaway:

York Harbor Inn  in York Maine – a romantic BnB walking distance to Harbor Beach, with a cozy Ships Cellar Pub for happy hour.
Ogunquit Resort Motel in Ogunquit – near Footbridge Beach and Town, affordable and friendly lodging.
Cliff House Resort and Spa– which just underwent a complete renovation in Cape Neddick near Ogunquit.
Misty Harbor Resort in Wells is a short walk to Wells Beach Maine – with suite lodging and an indoor pool and spa too!
Village by the Sea in Wells is not far from the beach, and has an indoor pool and condo style lodging!
Seaside Inn in Kennebunk is steps to the a beautiful sandy beach, with an outdoor ocean view hot tub,  and its a nice walk to Kennebunkport.
Breakwater Inn and Spa is right on the river with ocean views, a short walk to a beach, shops and restaurants,  and a pleasant stroll to President Bush’s Walkers Point home on scenic Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport. Stripers Waterfront Restaurant is on site with a great happy hour, sunsets and lobster specials!
Rhumb Line Resort in Kennebunkport has an indoor pool and spa, plus an outdoor hot tub, and is great for families, in Kennebunkport, a short drive to several sandy beaches.
Sea Cliff is located directly on 7-mile Old Orchard Beach, open in winters with great rates and the sound of waves from your suite at night.
Portland HeadlightIn Portland Maine, stay in town in the Old Port at Portland Regency and you’re a short drive to Portland Headlight and beaches, best of all you walk around Portland’s great boutiques and bars from the hotel.

So make plans for a Maine beach break – this winter! Stroll the beach, save on lodging with off season special, walk in to your favorite restaurants for lobster and enjoy local happy hour specials at some of Maine’s best restaurants…  it’s a shore cure for cabin fever and winter blues, and sure easier and less expensive than flying to a tropical island.

See more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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What to wear in Maine in Fall Y’all

Maine fall landscapeIts sweatah weathah to quote my friend in her salty Maine accent. Mainahs just love fall, except for the raking of the leaves that fall in your dooryahd.

Fall along the Southern Maine Coast brings warm sunny days, usually a perfect 65-70-degrees so you can stroll the sandy beach, bike along pretty coastal paths, or kayak on the rivers to enjoy the spectacular kaleidoscope of colors. Maple, oak, and birch provide reds oranges and yellows contrasting Maine’s state pine tree in green and family-poolthe sparkling ocean and waters that turn a deep dark blue. Evenings on the southern Maine coast, the temperatures drops to a cool 50, perfect for a fireside dinner, and the sky fills with fantastic stars following a brilliant orange sunset.

w-farm-pumpkins4w-farm-pumpkins4Fall foliage is the highlight of a Maine visit in autumn. And there is still so much to see and do. For your planning, peak foliage is typically Columbus weekend, but the last few weekends in September through the third week of October offer prime viewing in various locations from the coastline to inland lakes and rivers.

Fall is a great time to go apple picking, Kport1 (3)hiking, biking and walking along nature trails. Fall also marks the harvest, with farmers markets,  craft fairs and agricultural fairs. While the  Fryeburg Fair is the big daddy of fairs, followed by the Cumberland County Fair, there are Maine craft fairs galore in York, Wells, Ogunquit Kennebunkport and on up to Portland, Camden, Boothbay and Bar Harbor featuring locally made Maine crafts, art, food and entertainment. See our list of Fall events, fairs and festivals in Maine.

Fall is also a great time to score a deal on lodging along the southern Maine Coast as peak summer is over, and rates really fall after Columbus Day weekend while the leaf peeping remains prime for a few more weeks. So lobster_platepack your sweater, your camera and be prepared to be wowed by the display of foliage, and don’t forget to make time for a Maine lobster dinner at a waterfront restaurant before winter arrives.

September in Wells – The Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival

Mid September in Freeport – The Lobstermen’s Triathlon

Mid September  – Maine Open Lighthouse Day

Early October The Fryeburg Fair – Maine’s largest agricultural fair

Oct 1-2 The Dempsey Challenge in Lewiston – Actor Patrick Dempsey’s annual Cancer Fundraiser walk/run/bike ride

Oct 8 Columbus Weekend Sunday River hosts the North American Wife Carrying Championships

5bass-harbor-maine18Oct 15 York Harvestfest

Oct 21-23 OgunquitFest

Oct 20 – 23 Harvest on the Harbor in Portland food and wine festival

Oct 22  Camp Sunshine’s Maine Pumpkin Festival at LL Bean in Freeport

See more at Southern Maine Coast Lodging Guide , Visit Maine Lodging Directory, and Kennebunkport Maine Lodging Guide.

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Fall sun, fun, music, beer and boats

1cape-arundel-inn-oceanFall on the Southern Maine Coast is super. The warm summer weather continues, ushering cool clear evenings and autumnal sunsets. You can still have your beach days, boat rides, and the towns of Kennebunkport ,Ogunquit and Wells are far less busy as kids have gone back to school. September and October are full of festivals, fairs, art and music in Maine.

pineapple-ketch-nonantumOur favorite events in September:
Nonantum’s Paddlebattle is a super fun day on the river Saturday, September 3rd, 1-5pm at The Nonantum Resort on Ocean Ave. Whether you battle it out on your paddleboard, kayak or canoe, or just observe and cheer from the waterfront, it’s a great event. This 4th annual river race is open to all levels of kayakers, canoers, stand-up paddle boarders, even surfboarders. The 1pm race, at high tide,  from the sup-kennebunkportNonantum goes up river, under the Mathew Lanigan Bridge, around a  barge and back for a  1.7 mile course, beginning and ending at the Nonantum with live music, and a BBQ on the riverfront lawn. You can be competitive or casual just enjoying the camaraderie and scenery along the way. There’s even a kids race, which was named a top Summer Fun event by Sports Illustrated Kids’ magazine. Sign up before September 2 – your $30 admission fee includes a t-shirt, day of the event is $35, benefitting the Kennebunkport Fire vinegar-hillDepartment’s Aquatic Safety Division.

For music the first weekend in September, Vinegar Hill Music Theatre hosts two great bands, Friday September 2 is the Live Bullet Band – New England’s Bob Seger Tribute. Saturday September 3 is the Johnny Winter All Star Band.

The fun keeps flowing Tuesday September 6 as Nonantum Resort’s new Executive Chef Steve Sicinski hosts a Craft Beer Dinner. Chef Steve will pair his four courses of innovative cuisine with local craft beers. The dinner with beer and Chef Steve’s accompaniment is $65pp.

Kport1 (3)Friday September 9 is the Village Art Walk, always the 2nd Friday. Art galleries and artisan studios in Lower Village Kennebunk and Kennebunkport open their doors and serve snacks and drinks for patrons to enjoy while browsing local art, photography and crafts.

The weekend of September 10- 11 is the big Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival in Wells at Laudholm Farms.

While you are visiting Southern Maine, be shore to get aboard a boat, The Rugosa Lobster Boat Tour is a great hour and half trip out the Kennebunk River, you will haul lobster traps, see the Bush’s estate – Walkers’ Point from the water, and maybe a few harbor seals during your beautiful cruise. If you prefer pineapple-ketchto sail, The Pineapple Ketch is a beautiful sailboat which also departs from the docks at the Nonantum for daily sails and a spectacular sunset cruise. If fishing is your thing, then Captain Bruce will take you out aboard the Libreti Rose II to catch some striper and have a fun charter at sea.

See our Maine lodging guide for the best places to stay in Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, York and Old Orchard Beach, Portland and Freeport too.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0749.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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10 Waterfront Dining Spots in Maine – south up into the lower midcoast

lobster-bake-maine-style3aMaine’s legendary seafood just tastes better with an ocean view, it’s true. Where better to savor succulent Maine lobster than by the sea from which it came? Here are some beautiful oceanfront spots with top Maine chefs for waterfront dining. Get your clams, scallops, mussels and more near the shore at these Top 10 Maine Restaurants…

Davids’ KPT in the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel
The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel is home to this great riverfront restaurant – David’s KPT love-kbpt-davids6hangs over the Kennebunk River, just steps from Dock Square in central Kennebunkport. Portland’s popular chef David Turin is the host, and his creative menu has lots to choose from –a raw bar, light bites to pizzas and entrees. David’s has three vibrant bars plus a spacious outdoor deck with cozy seating for Happy Hour or late night overlooking the river lights. David’s KPT is a locals’ favorite. 21 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, 207-967-8225

stripers-fishing-boatStripers at the Breakwater Inn and Spa in Kennebunkport
Right near the breakwater out to sea in Kennebunkport, hence the name of the Inn where Striper is located – you can watch fishermen catch stripers from this choice spot. Go for cocktails on the gorgeous lawn at sunset, then enjoy mussels or duck or lobster in the beautiful waterfront dining room. 131 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport 207-967-5333

1cape-arundel-inn-oceanOcean Kennebunkport
Ocean at Cape Arundel Inn overlooks Walker’s Point, so you can enjoy a gourmet dinner with a presidential view of the Bush Compound. An elegant dining room and old fashioned wrap around porch in this classic seaside Inn are extraordinary. Chef Pierre is European trained, his sophisticated menu features local seafood and farm raised fare artfully prepared. Go to Ocean before sunset so you can enjoy the ocean view. Cape Arundel Inn is at 208 Ocean Ave, Kennebunkport, 207-967-2125

pineapple-ketch-nonantum95 Ocean at Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport
This historical and friendly hotel on Ocean Ave in Kennebunkport has water view dining with live entertainment most nights in the summer time. Favorite dishes include fresh seafood and famous Blueberry Chipotle Ribs along with funky cocktails at Heckman’s Pub and the more formal 95 Ocean. Foodies can also enjoy dancing to live music view grand views of the Kennebunk River. Nonantum Resort, 95 Ocean Avenue, Kennebunkport, 207-967-4050

dine_view21637 and Ships Cellar Pub in York Harbor
York Harbor Inn’s Ship’s Cellar Pub is great for a casual lunch or dinner, modeled after an old wooden ship, or dine upstairs in the more elegant 1637 – same menu – with ocean views and plenty of fresh seafood. Executive Chef Bonsey is a top chef in Maine. 480 York St, York Harbor. 207-363-5119

Dimillos in Portland
Waterfront restaurant doesn’t get any better than being on a boat. DCIM100GOPROGOPR0721.Dimillos is in fact the only floating restaurant on the upper East Coast, opened in 1982 on an old car ferry. But the Dimillos family has a history of great eateries dating back to 1954 in the Old Port. Dimillos restaurant and Marina is an ideal location on Commercial Street, near the Old Port, right on the waterfront so you can watch the fabulous yachts and ferries come and go while you enjoy fresh seafood and drinks in the casual setting. There are several outside decks plus two levels of inside seating – all with Portland Harbor views. 25 Long Wharf Portland, 207-772-2216

Doplhin Cove MarinaDolphin Restaurant in Harpswell
About 40 min from Portland on a most spectacular point in the heart of Casco Bay is the Dolphin with extraordinary waterfront views and delicious handmade Maine food. This family owned and operated restaurant and bar in Harpswell’s beautiful Potts Harbor serves the freshest seafood with homemdae legendary blueberry muffins, in a panoramic restaurant. Arrive by car or boat to Dolphin Marina docks. Open for lunch and dinner. 515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, 207-833-6000

sebasco-harbor-resort1200Sebasco Pilot House
Sebasco Harbor Resort has two waterfront dining spots, the casual Ledges Pub and the upstairs more elegant Pilot House. Seafood is always on the menu, salmon, lobster, crab, scallops and clams, at this classic Maine resort with lodging and golf course plus an outdoor salt water pool. Arrive by boat at the marina or stay at Sebasco in the summer for a night or a relaxing week. Sebasco Estates, 207-389-1161

grey-haven-inn-georgetown-blueBlue at Grey Havens
Blue at Grey Havens Inn is an extraordinary setting with equally fine food – and of course ocean views. On peaceful Georgetown Island, not far from Wiscasset and Boothbay, this 1904 Inn sits atop a bluff overlooking Harmon Harbor on the Sheepscot River and sea beyond. You can just make out Cuckold Light. Enjoy a drink on the porch before dinner at Blue. The Chef has fresh specials daily from tuna to lobster inspired treats. Innkeepers Eve & Dick are lovely hosts at this most magical place, we suggest you stay the night and enjoy this bold oceanfront setting. 96 Seguinland Road, Georgetown, ME. 207-371-2616

osprey-restaurant-wine-flightOsprey Restaurant at Georgetown
Osprey Restaurant in beautiful Robinhood Cove in Georgetown serves the freshest seafood and fun pub fare overlooking Robinhood Marina and the picturesque cove where osprey and seals play. Located 50 minutes north of Portland, southeast of Bath and west of Boothbay, in quiet Riggs Cove off the Sheepscot River, you can arrive by land or sea for lunch or dinner, sitting inside or out. Enjoy live music Sunday afternoons and Jazz Friday nights, cocktails specials in a casual Maine seaside setting. 340 Robinhood Road, Georgetown, 207-371-2530

Enjoy your Maine lobster and seafood with a sea view. Be shore to book waterfront lodging so you can relax and savor the sights, tastes and sounds of being on the waterfront in Maine. And let us know your favorite place for fresh Maine seafood with a view, on our Southern Maine Coast Facebook page.

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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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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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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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.

What is there to do on the Southern Maine Coast in winter?

5seaside-inn-winterWhat is there to do on the Southern Maine Coast in winter? Plenty – walk the beach, shop, eat, drink, ski, sled, skate, surf, cozy up to a fire at a romantic seaside inn, eat lobster, snowshoe, paint, read, write…

You can walk the beach all year round. In winter, Ogunquit, Wells Beach, Kennebunk Beach and Old Orchard are all beautiful. You can watch the surfers ride the winter waves, walk your dog, take pictures of the snow and sand, and just enjoy an entirely different season on the beach, read: not wearing your bikini.

Cross country skiing or snowshoeing at nearby Wells Reserve at Laudholm Farm on their 7 mile of beautiful trails or Harris Farm in Dayton makes for a great day, even an hour outside enjoying the snow and the scenery.

2dock-square-kbpt2For a more relaxing romantic endeavor, take a horse drawn carriage ride through Kennebunkport’s Docks Square, Ogunquit and Kennebunk both have beautiful outdoor ice skating rinks. Kennebunk’s Waterhouse Pavilion is a free public covered ice rink in downtown Kennebunk next to the Kennebunk Inn.

Sledding hills are peppered throughout the coast – Kennebunk’s Sea Road Dump, no longer a landfill, is very popular for sledding on the well-pitched hill. Munjoy Hill and the Eastern Prom in Portland have some good sledding spots too.

99love-kbpt-davidsAs for fun festivals, Kennebunkport celebrates Paint The Town Red and February is For Lovers with red and white lights, Ice Bar at David’s KPT, heart decorations and romantic specials on lodging at fabulous inns, happy hours, dining and shopping.  Ogunquit throws a Mardi Gras party in February 20 weekend with fir jugglers, a Masquerade Ball and a Hat and Mask Parade down Ogunquit’s Main Street. Let the good time roll in Ogunquit in winter.

4dock-square-kbpt7Shopping is a four season sport, and Maine is no exception, especially with LL Bean open 365 24/7. Winter shopping in Maine means deals and sales – whether you are at Kittery Outlets, Freeport’s Outlets, or the many boutiques and shops in Kennebunkport, Ogunquit and the Old Port of Portland. You can also find bargains at Mardens and Reny’s  -two classic Maine shopping experiences – buy it if you see it – these Maine shopping institutions are never the same twice. The local people watching is a hoot to.

davids-serverMaine restaurants host Maine Restaurant Week March 1-16, 2016 – so it’s actually two weeks of great Maine dining deals at the best restaurants in southern Maine. Maine’s foodie scene as rocketed to top chef status, in fact Portland recently topped Boston as the coziest city in America – with the great dining spots as a number 1 reason.

Per capita, Portland Maine has more restaurants than any other city in the United States, and many are walkable and wonderful! Winter is a better time to tackle the Top Restaurants in Portland – less lines and less waiting for a table and better dining deals than peak summer. Don’t worry, lobster is always on the menu, clams too.

6captain-lord-mansion-kennebunkportLastly, cozy romantic lodging along the Southern Maine Coast in winter is a great deal. You can score a beautiful suite or a fireplace room in a BNB for less than spring, summer or fall, and you have the place to yourself. Many lodging properties like Seaside Inn and Captain Lord Mansion in K’port, and Ogunquit Resort Motel offer packages including wine and flowers, or dining certificates to local restaurants during your stay, even late check outs. Family resorts like Rhumb Line in Kennebunkport and Village by the Sea and Misty Harbor in Wells have indoor heated pools perfect for a family vacation.

love-kbpt-davids6See our Southern Maine Coast lodging guide and plan a winter getaway today – bring the kids, 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.

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!

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