Baxter State Park kayak

May 2016 – The first signs of summer are approaching in Maine. In fact, May is the month when golf clubs come out of the garage, family canoes are loaded onto roof racks and Mainers set out on their first hikes of the year. It’s the ideal time to plan a vacation around one of Maine’s food festivals this summer or zero in on one of the 80 plus art walks that can be found in the warmer months. 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.

Happening Now

Kayaking Camden HarborThe best way to explore Maine? Many would say by canoe, kayak or SUP. Seeing Maine from the water is one of the best ways to explore the state, and there are plenty of rental outlets as well as outfitters to help you explore. The state has more than 5,000 miles of coastline to travel by sea kayak, such as paddling from Acadia east to the Bold Coast, or cruising among the many islands of the Midcoast region, from Penobscot Bay to Casco Bay. The most outstanding route is the 375-mile long Maine Island Trail, America’s first water trail designed to protect the fragile coastal environment and provide an organized recreational route for sea kayakers, with more than 200 designated campsites along the way. 

Companies like Kayak Excursions, Port Clyde Kayaks and Midcoast Kayak offer guided day trips and overnights. Maine also has more than 2,500 lakes and ponds, ideal for kayaks, SUPS and canoes. For those who really want to explore some of Maine’s legendary rivers, there are outfitters who can take you on the Allagash River Waterway, the St. Croix and the Penobscot. Check out Allagash Canoe Trips, run by Chip and Lani Cochrane, Maine’s oldest continuously running guided canoe trip service, or Canoe the Wild, which offers multi day trips on the major northern rivers. Go to Visit Maine for more info.

Golfing in Maine

Sugarloaf Golf CourseThe start of the golf season has arrived at the 100 plus courses in Maine. Each course has its own challenges, but for golfers, the real choice begins with deciding which course to play. A mountain course, a course on an island in a lake or a seaside course? The Maine Golf Trail can help visitors plan their vacation around some of the state’s most famous links, from the Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed Sunday River Golf Club to Samoset Resort Golf Course, overlooking Penobscot Bay. There are also venerable nine hole courses, like the Frye Island Golf Club on an island in the middle of Sebago Lake and the Evergreen Golf Club in Rangeley. Visit Maine has more info. 

Apps for Maine Parks 

There’s a great new app for exploring the Katahdin region of Maine, which includes Baxter State Park and Mount Katahdin. Discover Katahdin was designed to aid discovery and trip planning. The app highlights the region’s rich cultural history, conservation, park and recreation lands and the diverse outdoor recreation activities available, including its extensive trail network. It’s available for free download from the App Store, Google Play and the Windows store. Chimani‘s apps for the state and national parks are also free and include Acadia and Baxter. The Official Maine State Parks & Lands app, yet another free download, has advanced GPS maps, and is an essential tool for exploring the state this summer.

Looking Ahead

Maine’s Summer Food & Drink Festivals 

Potato Blossom Festival FireworksOne of the best ways to enjoy the summer in Maine is by attending one of the food & drink festivals that run throughout the season. The kickoff is the Moxie Festival in Lisbon Falls, July 8-10, an annual celebration of the state’s unique soft drink, with music, entertainment, food, fireworks, and carnival games. Fans of bivalves head to the Yarmouth Clam Festival, July 15-17, which includes a parade, an art show, a carnival and live music. One of the state’s newer and more cutting edge festivals is Seaweed Fest, which will be held in Portland in August. There’s also the Artisan Bread Fair in Skowhegan, the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield and the Machias Blueberry Festival, not to mention Fort Kent’s Ploye Festival, the Salmon and Seafood Festival in Eastport and the Pemaquid Oyster Festival in Damariscotta. The most popular festival is, no surprise, the Maine Lobster Festival, held in Rockland from August 3-7. It features amateur and professional cooking competitions, a lobster crate race, craft show, historical tours and more lobster rolls than you can imagine. Go to Visit Maine for details.

ArtWalks

PotteryArtists have been coming to Maine since the 19th century, seeking inspiration in nature. They’re still coming, and they’re still inspired, so this summer, ArtWalk Maine invites visitors to explore artist studios, galleries, museums, and assorted venues in beautiful downtowns across the state. These art walks are a chance to discover the creative communities and working artists of Maine. Each year, local communities host more than eighty art walks, self-guided tours that include art museums, galleries and artist studios, as well as businesses and cafés exhibiting local artwork. An art walk evening might include an opening reception, street performances, and visits to open studios, with the opportunity to view works in progress. From Belfast to Portland, Kingfield to Lewiston/Auburn, there are art walks all across the state this summer. Go to ArtWalk Maine for more info.


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