Each June classic Maine windjammer schooners gather in Boothbay Harbor for the Windjammer Days Festival. The event has fun and activities for all ages, and c…
December 2017 — Winter has arrived and covered the state in snow, Maine's ski mountains are open for early-season skiers and snowboarders and the holiday spirit is everywhere. For visitors this month, it's the last few weeks to catch a landmark exhibit of Andrew Wyeth's watercolors. And it's the perfect time for a warming lunch or dinner at one of Maine's many brewpubs, or plan a trip into the backwoods with a Registered Maine Guide this winter. Looking ahead, December is the month to organize an outing to one of Maine's state parks later this winter. It's also a surprisingly good time to book a cabin on one of the coveted Maine windjammer theme cruises next summer and fall.
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Exploring Maine in Winter with Registered Maine Guides
Registered Maine Guides have a long and colorful history in the state, recognized around the world for skills that are the gold standard in outdoor skills and knowledge. Maine Guides were first registered 120 years ago, in 1897, when Maine became the first state in the nation to set minimum standards for outdoor guides. Maine Guides are probably still best known for taking "sports" hunting and fishing, but these capable men and women don't hibernate as winter arrives. Their survival and guiding skills are in equal demand when the snow flies. Registered Maine Guides take travelers snowmobiling, snowshoeing in the back country, dogsledding and ice fishing, often on day-long excursions that might be a guest's first taste of the Maine woods in winter. They also accompany guests on multi-night trips that feature winter hiking and camping. Go to Visit Maine for more information.
Brewpubs to Warm up the Winter
When the snow flies, nothing says "cozy" after a day in the outdoors like a visit to one of Maine's many brewpubs. The Maine Beer Trail now lists more than 80 craft breweries throughout the state that welcome visitors. The sweet spot, of course, is good beer and good food.
While some brewpubs have national recognition, such as Shipyard and Gritty McDuff's, others are a bit out of the way and off the charts, like The Run of the Mill Public House & Brewery in Saco, where mac and beer cheese pairs with Smelt Camp Strong Ale. Or, Norway Brewing Company, where a brewers burger and Belgian fries are what to order alongside their new Fjell & Fjord brew. Or maybe it's time to journey to Liberty, where Liberty Craft Brewing serves burgers as an accompaniment to a St. George Golden Pilsner. Whether it's Jack Russell's Steakhouse & Brew Pub in Bar Harbor, The Tides in Belfast or Mason's Brewing Company in Brewer, there are plenty of places to warm up, sip some fresh brew and get out of the cold this December. Go to Visit Maine for more details.
Andrew Wyeth: Maine Watercolors, 1938-2008
This has been the year to celebrate the achievements of painter Andrew Wyeth, with five separate exhibits to showcase the artist's work to mark the centennial of Wyeth's birth. The last of those exhibits, Andrew Wyeth: Maine Watercolors, 1938 – 2008, runs through December 31 at the Farnsworth Art Museum. It features many of the painter's most important watercolors of Maine and spans his entire artistic career, from 1938 through 2008. It includes a study for his final work, Goodbye my Love. The exhibition is co-curated by Farnsworth Chief Curator Michael K. Komanecky and renowned American art scholar Henry Adams. Go to the Farnsworth Museum for more information.
Windjammer Trips for Next Summer
Windjammers may not be on your mind in December, but now is the perfect time to book a cabin on one of these vintage ships for next summer. The most coveted dates fill up quickly, especially on themed cruises. The 24-passenger J.&E. Riggin offers "Maine Knitting Cruises" throughout the summer season, as well as a "Rug Hooking Getaway" and a "Maine Quilting Cruise." The 29-passenger Mercantile offers in-demand fall foliage cruises. The eight ships of the Maine Windjammer Association, which include Victory Chimes and Mary Day, have their schedules posted, so anyone who wants to sail during a race week, a yoga week or during the Perseids Meteor Shower in August would be wise to book now. For those who want a taste of the windjammer experience, check out the interactive story on the Maine Thing Quarterly.
Maine State Parks in Winter
January and February are ideal months to venture out into Maine's state parks for hiking, cross-country skiing, ice skating, sledding and snowshoeing. "Take it Outside this Winter" is the message from Maine state parks. The parks can be found all over the state, from Aroostook County State Park in Presque Isle to Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal. At Lily Bay State Park on Moosehead Lake, winter camping is permitted. Mount Blue State Park in Weld offers 15 miles of cross-country ski trails. For those who really want to experience the state parks in winter, Baxter State Park is ideal for backcountry multi-day cross country and snowshoe trips, with winter camping at its finest. Go to Visit Maine for details.
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