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The beautiful state of Maine lies in the easternmost reaches of the United States, bordering on the Canadian provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick. Its rugged coastline is dotted with picture-perfect lighthouses, fishing villages and sandy beaches, with an interior covered with lush forest, towering mountains, and mirror-like lakes.
Maine is the largest state in the New England region, creating a wide expanse of sparsely populated wilderness. The original inhabitants of the area were Native Americans of the Algonquin while the French settled in 1604. Over subsequent years, control of the area was fought over by the English, French, and the Americans, evidence of which remains in the large number of historic forts still standing.
Strong Acadian and French Canadian heritage is still felt in the Acadian Village in Aroostook County and other parts of central Maine, while the coast boasts a fierce maritime history. The warmer months bring a flood of holidaymakers to Maine and summer homes pepper the landscape. With plenty of outdoor activities, this is the nature lover and outdoor enthusiast's paradise.
Maine experiences harsh winters, though this brings its own charms as snowboarding, skiing, and snow-shoeing replace the summer activities of canoeing, kayaking, camping, and hiking. In true New England style, autumn brings a festival of colours to the foliage and spring is a riot of blossoms. The Acadia National Park, on Maine's Mount Desert Island, is home to a variety of wildlife and birdlife.
History buffs can enjoy plenty of historical sites, including visits to the house of poet Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow. Food lovers can feast on Maine's fine seafood and blueberries, with visitors exploring the capital Augusta and the bustling city of Portland. Big, beautiful, and charming, Maine is well worth discovering from top to bottom.
Maine is often considered remote to many tourists due to its far northeast position in the US, but once in the Pine Tree State, Maine promises lots to do and a great rugged outdoors to explore.
Outdoor activity is a year-round affair offering visitors opportunity to hike, camp, go boating and explore countless trails. With over 3,500 miles (5,600 km) of coastline and 6,000 lakes to enjoy, Maine is the perfect place to unwind and take in some fresh air. The Acadia National Park includes 60 square miles (155 sq km) of the robust and remarkable coastline drawing in close to four million visitors each year to tour its landscape and observe some incredible wildlife. Not far from the Acadia National Park is the village of Bay Harbour. Whether it's the museums of the Bay, the gorgeous restaurants and bars, or the whale watching, there is loads to keep visitors occupied and entertained.
For lovers of history, Maine has a rich history in the fields of shipbuilding, whaling and of course the Revolutionary War, offering historical sites to visit statewide. There are also lots of memorable galleries and museums to explore in the downtown Arts District for those with artistic interest and flair.
This beautiful and one of a kind state is a wonderful place to visit any time of year, offering charm, history, art and the best of the great outdoors!
It's no surprise that the Portland Head Light, also known as the Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse, is the most photographed lighthouse in the world. Every view of this 18th century lighthouse is spectacular. The lighthouse took four years to build, with construction ending in 1791.
The lamps originally used to power the light were of whale oil, replaced by an autobeacon in 1958. Situated in Fort Williams Park, the lighthouse has an interesting museum housed within the old Keepers Quarters.
It is well worth packing a picnic and enjoy the beauty of the park and exploring the historic forts within its parameters. Portland Head Light closes during winter, but the park is open throughout the year and offers activities like cross-country skiing, sledding, and ice skating during the cold months.
Built between 1785 and 1786, the Wadsworth-Longfellow house was home to three generations of a Portland family that formed an integral part of the cultural, political, and literary life of New England and the rest of the country.
Revolutionary War General Peleq Wadsworth was its first inhabitant and Anne Longfellow Pierce, younger sister of poet Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow, was its last. It was Anne's foresight that left the house, grounds and furniture to the Maine History Society, allowing public access.
The house was the first brick building in Portland and visitors can enjoy a ramble through the three-storey house, containing effectively all original furniture and artefacts, and the Maine Historical Society Museum. Several different tours are also available throughout the year.
Stretching from upper Congress Street to the West End, the Arts District incorporates several galleries and museums. These include the Portland Museum of Art, the largest of its kind in Maine and dating back to 1882, and the Maine College of Art.
A great way to explore the Arts District is by participating in the First Art Walk, a self-guided tour that runs on the first Friday of every month from 5pm to 8pm. Local businesses, museums, and galleries are open to the public and aim to highlight what is new in the art community.
The Acadia National Park encompasses 60 square miles (155 sq km) of rugged coastline, forest, granite peaks, lakes and plenty of wildlife. Roughly four million visitors flock here each year to drink in the beauty of the park, hike up Mount Cadillac, spot wildlife, or enjoy a ranger-led programme.
Summer is a popular time to visit for hiking, mountain biking, boating, birdwatching, fishing, and horseback riding. Winter offers cross-country skiing, ice fishing, dog sledding, snowmobiling, and snow-shoeing, although several roads close for safety due to snow. Of course, autumn is a spectacle of colour. Acadia National Park remains one of the most visited parks in the United States.
Bar Harbor is a village on Mount Desert Island that's extremely popular with tourists. With a few interesting museums, parks, and educational centres, the town is the perfect destination for a great weekend getaway in Maine. Popular activities include golf, whale-watching, sailing, hiking, and kayaking.
The shops and restaurants in Bar Harbor are on the pricey side, but offer excellent selection and quality. Beer aficionados will also enjoy sampling the brews from Bar Harbor's microbreweries. Bar Harbor is located near Acadia National Park, and makes a great base for exploring the spectacular scenery, especially in autumn.
Maine has a continental climate, with cold winters and warm summers. Winter temperatures drop between 20°F (-6°C) and 30°F ( -1°C), while summer temperatures in Maine range between 80°F (27°C) and 90°F (32°C). The northern part of the state tends to be drier and colder in comparison to the southern and coastal areas, while the sea keeps the coastal temperatures moderate. Snowfall usually occurs during the winter months.
As its name suggests, Old Orchard Beach's most popular attraction is its seven mile (11km) stretch of sand, one of the best beaches in Maine. The town is a popular excursion for families in the summer, and a seaside amusement park and weekly fireworks shows add to the entertainment.
Other popular activities include surfing, lobster boat tours, hiking, canoeing, and clamming. Old Orchard Beach hosts many festivals and events throughout the year with most happening between July and September during peak holiday season.
A direct seasonal train link from Boston and Portland makes Old Orchard Beach easy to get to. But holiday weekends can often be uncomfortably crowded. Old Orchard Beach is not a wildly popular winter destination, but cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are both on offer.
Located just 30 miles (48km) from Portland, Kennebunkport is a popular destination for weekends, especially those escaping the heat in big cities like New York and Boston. This pretty town is known for its laidback and genteel atmosphere.
Several golf courses, antique shops, art galleries, and a busy harbour draw in well-to-do holidaymakers, and both former President Bushes are often seen at the nearby Bush holiday home.
However, the most popular attraction in Kennebunkport is its beaches. Kennebunk Beach, Gooch's Beach, Mother's Beach, and Parsons Beach are all packed on weekends each summer, and guests can hire kayaks, boats, surfboards, as well as scooters and bicycles.
Common activities in Kennebunkport include whale-watching, fishing, sailing, and horseback riding. Visitors can even take a ride on a working lobster boat to get up close and personal with Maine's most famous crustaceans.
Historically a blue-collar fishing town, Rockland has had a recent facelift. The somewhat derelict main street is now somewhat revitalised, enhanced by attractions like the Farnsworth Art Museum, Wyeth Center, and a number of shops and restaurants.
Rockland has enough interesting attractions for a perfect weekend break in Maine, including the Maine Lighthouse Museum and the Owl's Head Transportation Museum. Active visitors can take a walk to the Breakwater Lighthouse or catch a ride on the Maine Eastern Railroad.
Rockland exists as the home of the Maine Lobster Festival, held each August, and it also hosts the North Atlantic Blues Festival every July. Rockland also makes a great base from which to explore the Saint George Peninsula and the islands of Penobscot Bay: Vinalhaven, North Haven, and Matinicus.
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