March 2018 — March is the tipping point in the Maine calendar, when a long Maine winter begins to yield just a bit to the promise of spring. There may still be snow on the slopes and in the woods but the first signs of spring and warmer weather usher in the month. Visitors come in March for a little maple sugaring at one of the state’s many sugaring operations. Or, they explore a more exotic side of Maine’s culinary revolution at one of the state’s bumper crop of new Asian eateries. A month from now, fishing season opens, which is all the news that many sportsmen and women need to hear. This summer, Maine welcomes its first Indian market in Bar Harbor and, while speaking of summer, now would be a great time to get a jump on booking a stay at a coastal inn for a summer vacation.
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MAINE MAPLE SUNDAY
The unofficial start of spring in Maine is Maine Maple Sunday, which falls on March 25 this year. The day is a long-standing tradition when Maine’s maple producers open their doors for a day of educational demonstrations, sugarbush tours, family activities and samplings of syrup and other maple products. Many samplings are free, as are most tours. One standout is Hilltop Boilers in Newfield, Maine, which has a brand new sugarhouse. Their Maple Syrup Weekend Celebrations, on March 17 and March 24-25, will feature the Axe Women Loggers of Maine who will be putting on demonstrations of axe throwing, log chopping, and sawing. There will also be wildlife encounters and all activities are free. Go to Visit Maine for more maple sugaring details.
ASIAN FLAVORS IN MAINE
The culinary news about Maine sometimes seems to be entirely about hip chefs, the Portland food scene and lobster pounds. But the past few years have witnessed an explosion of dynamic restaurants serving authentic and creative Asian food. Start with Anju, in the border town of Kittery, which is a traditional Japanese noodle bar where the stars include ramen and pork buns. Miyake in Portland has long been considered to be the best sushi restaurant in the state, with fish fresh from Maine waters or flown in from Japan. Up in Brunswick, Tao Yuan is where to find Asian street food, and incredible tastes of Korea, Japan and China, as well as a nightly chef’s blind tasting menu. At Suzuki’s Sushi in Rockland, chef/owner Keiko Suzuki Steinberger offers up extraordinary sushi that fans contend is the best to be found in Maine. Finally, at Long Grain in Camden, expect creatively paired food that offers tastes of Thailand, Vietnam, Japan and beyond. Go to Visit Maine for more ideas on Maine dining.
Everyone who fishes Maine knows that April 1 marks opening day, when legions of fishermen and women will brave the chill, take to their boats and canoes or don their waders, and go after the first catches of the year. It might be fly fishing for native brook trout on northern Maine rivers, trolling in the Rangeley Lakes or on Sebago Lake, or going after bass in one of the best habitats in the Northeast. Maine has an astonishing variety of waters for the angler, some 6,000 lakes, ponds and rivers. If you’re new to the sport, you can learn to cast at one of L.L. Bean’s Discovery Schools or plan a day or two with one of the many other outfitters around the state. Or, this might be the year to head to one of Maine’s famous sporting camps, like Bradford Camps, Libby Sporting Camps, Kennabago River Camps and others that can be found on Visit Maine.
|Baskets by Geo Neptune, Passamaquoddy|
ABBE MUSEUM INDIAN MARKET
Wabanaki people and their ancestors have lived in Pesamkuk, the place now called Mount Desert Island and Frenchman Bay, for thousands of generations. In what is known as the encampment period, from about 1840 to 1920, Wabanaki artists and craftsmen would travel to tourist areas, like Bar Harbor, in the summer to sell baskets and other items to supplement their income. So it’s fitting that Maine’s first Indian market will be hosted in Bar Harbor from May 18-20, 2018. More than 75 Native American artists and performers from 35 Nations across the U.S. and Canada will attend the inaugural Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM). The event will include a fashion show, film festival, storytelling, dancing, music, and internationally acclaimed performers. What better way to highlight the mission of the Abbe Museum, Maine’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate, which is to inspire new learning about the Wabanaki Nations.
INNS ALONG THE COAST
It may be March but now is the time for smart travelers to begin booking a coastal summer road trip. Inns Along the Coast is a consortium of nine classic inns, stretching from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor. They include the Captain Jefferds Inn in Kennebunkport and Brewster House in Freeport. Further north, the Newcastle Inn in Newcastle, the Berry Manor Inn, Limerock Inn and Granite Inn in Rockland, and the Hawthorn Inn in Camden are members. In the Bar Harbor area, the Saltair Inn and Aysgarth Inn in Bar Harbor also belong. Inns Along the Coast can assist with itineraries as travelers seek out Maine lobsters and Maine lighthouses, head to Acadia National Park and check out the restaurant, beach and museum scene. Visit Inns Along the Coast for details.