April in Maine

April 2016 – This is the month when summertime plans are made. It’s the ideal time for visitors to book a spot with an ocean view at the new Schoodic Woods Campground in Acadia or to plan a driving itinerary with Inns Along the Coast. There are new kid-friendly diversions in Portland such as the Portland Science Center and adult-friendly stops like a tasting room at a local Maine distillery. April marks the launch of one Mainer’s ambitious 1,500 mile paddling expedition. For those who want to link a trip to the state with an exploration of the Canadian Maritimes, the good news is that ferry service is returning. For writers, editors and bloggers looking for short-lead news, you’ll find immediate details under Happening Now. Those in search of longer lead news can scroll down to the Looking Ahead section.
PaddleQuest 1500: A 1,500 Mile Expedition with John Connelly

Falmouth, Maine resident John Connelly is about to paddle 1,500 miles on a 75-day river/ocean odyssey that will carry him to two countries, four states, 22 streams and 58 lakes. Launching on April 16, Connelly intends to be the first person to link The Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Saint John River, Bay of Fundy and Maine Island Trail, with the goal of gathering increased support for the organizations that maintain these world class water trails. Connelly, who ran L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery Schools for 10 years and was a former member of the U.S. Canoe & Kayak team with numerous whitewater first-descents to his credit, is uniquely qualified to meet this challenge. Follow his progress at PaddleQuest 1500.

Ferry Service Returns to Link Maine with Nova Scotia
Maine will once again have a sea link to the Maritimes. Bay Ferries Ltd., the Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island-based ferry company that operated CAT services from 2006 through 2009, said it will launch high-speed ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia in mid-June. The company has leased the USNS Puerto Rico from the U.S. Navy for two years, and will rename the ferry “The Cat.” The high-speed ferry, which will take just 5½ hours to traverse between Portland, Maine and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, can hold up to 282 vehicles and 866 passengers. A preliminary schedule calls for the ferry to depart Yarmouth at 8 a.m. daily, with return service from Portland at 2:30 p.m., with the ferry arriving back in Nova Scotia by 9 p.m. For information and bookings, contact Bay Ferries.

Portland Science Center 
On a wharf in the heart of the Old Port, the Portland Science Center debuted late last summer as a new “edu-tainment” venue with a focus on engaging and unique traveling attractions and exhibits. The space has been renovated and reimagined within the cultural hub of the city. “Space: A Journey to Our Future” and “The Robot Zoo” are the exhibits currently on view. Visit the Portland Science Center for details.


Inns Along the Coast 
The ideal road trip along the coast this summer? Plan it with Inns Along the Coast, a group of eight classic inns on the coast, stretching from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor. They include the Saltair Inn and Canterbury Cottage B&B in Bar Harbor; Lime Rock InnBerry Manor Inn and Granite Inn in Rockland, Maine; and 1802 HouseCaptain Jefferds Inn andInn at English Meadows in Kennebunkport. 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.
Maine Distilleries

While Maine-brewed beers have received national attention in recent years, there’s been an equally important growth among small Maine distillers. Many of them offer tasting rooms where visitors can sample wines, spirits and meads that have been produced in Maine, many of them sourcing Maine-grown ingredients. Some of the most noteworthy include Maine Craft Distilling in Portland, Cold River Distillery in Freeport and Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery in Union. Go to Visit Maine for a complete list of the state’s distilleries and check out the Maine Beer Quarterly, a multi-media e-zine.

Schoodic Woods Campground

While close to 3 million people visit Acadia National Park annually – and perhaps many more will this summer when the park celebrates its Centennial – most of them head for the deservedly famous mountains, trails and loop road on Mount Desert Island. Yet just a one hour drive further along the coast is the Schoodic Peninsula, a section of the park that offers more peace and quiet as well as an unforgettable camping experience at the new Schoodic Woods Campground. The campground is due to the largesse of a philanthropic family foundation that purchased 3,200 acres adjacent to the existing park. They built a visitor center, 8.5 miles of bike paths, 4 miles of hiking trails and a 100+ site campground which they then donated to Acadia National Park. The campground was unveiled last fall and opens for the 2016 season on May 24. Now is the time to reserve a space for summer and fall. Go to the National Park reservations site.