September 2018 — The Portland food scene has been drawing legions of foodies and gourmets for more than a decade, yet it’s still a great honor that Bon Appetit magazine has named Portland “Restaurant City of the Year 2018.” That should make this year’s “Harvest on the Harbor” even more incredible than usual. Savvy visitors should sample some of the city’s eateries and then move on to explore the rest of the state. Fall is settling in, so it’s the ideal month to head out on one of Maine’s many trails for an easy – or challenging – day hike. Those with a cultural bent can check out the three art exhibitions that open this month at the Colby College Museum of Art. Later this fall, families and craft lovers can explore festivals throughout the state.
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Bon Appetit Names Portland “Restaurant City of the Year 2018.”
“From the butteriest croissants to outstanding pho, it’s never been a better time to hit up Portland, Maine,” says Andrew Knowlton of Bon Appetit magazine, which just dubbed it “Restaurant City of the Year 2018.” That’s a heady honor for the waterfront city, which has been experiencing an incredible explosion of culinary talent and innovation over the past decade. Knowlton writes that, “For starters, it’s the sheer number of outstanding openings—from a tiny pastry shop that serves knockout Roman pizza to a Jewish-style deli that ranks up there with New York and L.A.’s best. And while you can still get an Instagram-worthy lobster roll and a dozen local oysters, you’re missing out if you skip the killer pho spot or the guy selling hand rolls out of a Yeti cooler.” He goes on to name two dozen of his favorite cafes, restaurants, bars and food trucks in the city and its environs. Read more at Bon Appetit.
Three Fall Exhibits at Colby College Museum of Art
One of Maine’s most dynamic small museums is the Colby College Museum of Art. This fall, the museum has three new exhibitions that promise a provocative visual feast for those in the Waterville area. Darkness Visible: Goya Prints from the Lunder Collection runs from September 13, 2018 - January 20, 2019. It highlights work by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828), who conceived a series of prints guided solely, he professed, by his imagination. “Los Caprichos,” or the “Caprices,” is the whimsical title Goya gave to his project, yet the series’ images are far from lighthearted. For Goya, an artist beholden to the Spanish court, printmaking was a means of elucidating the human condition on his own terms during an era of revolution and tumult. Contemporary work will be on display at Currents 8: Carly Glovinski, a two-part exhibition that will be shown concurrently at the Colby Museum and the Waterville Public Library. Presented alongside Glovinski’s installations of painted, cast and woven sculptures will be contextual source material, including artworks from the Lunder Collection and library books awaiting readers, from September 25, 2018 - February 17, 2019. Finally, Torkwase Dyson: Nautical Dusk is a new project by visual artist Torkwase Dyson, structured as an invitation to examine how physics metaphors function in relationship to geography, science, and architecture in obituaries. The exhibition runs from October 4, 2018 - January 6, 2019.
September is the perfect time for hiking in Maine, with blue sky days and low humidity. Easy day hikes include ascending Bradbury Mountain in Pownal and Mount Agamenticus in York. Acadia National Park has a range of hikes for all abilities, and one of the most popular is the 9.5-mile Penobscot and Sargent mountains loop, which goes through forest and ascends two peaks. For serious hikers, the Bigelow Preserve is prime territory and the Bigelow Range has some of the tallest peaks in the state. The Firewarden’s and Horns Pond Trails Loop are especially good choices. There is always Katahdin, of course, in the heart of Baxter State Park. But Maine’s tallest mountain is no walk in the park, offering a formidable climb in one of the wildest areas of the state. Go to Visit Maine for more info.
Harvest on the Harbor
Harvest on the Harbor is an annual celebration of Portland’s culinary culture. This year’s event, which runs from October 16 to 21, includes Different Roads, which features dishes from around the world served by a curated group of Maine chefs and restaurants, with Winery Guild members pouring tastes of wines, beers and spirits. Maine Lobster Chef of the Year is a signature lunch where guests dine on multiple Maine chefs’ lobster creations and then vote for their favorite, helping to name the Maine Lobster Chef of the Year. There’s also an On The Rocks event in partnership with Maine Distillers’ Guild, the Maine Oysterfest with the Maine Oyster Company and Market on the Harbor, which offers access to the growing roster of locally owned businesses making new things to eat, drink and experience. For 2018, the Festival is proud to be supporting Maine Farmland Trust, Maine Aquaculture Association and SMCC Culinary Arts Program. Visit Harvest on the Harbor for details.
Fall Festivals for Families
Fall festivals are a great getaway for families eager to get out and enjoy the brisk autumn weather in Maine. In Boothbay, Family Harvest Days at the Boothbay Railway Village invites families to celebrate the bounty of autumn at an old-fashioned, family-friendly festival on Saturday and Sunday, September 29 and 30. There will be traditional cooking demonstrations (and tastings), farm animals, butter churning, antique tractors, a pumpkin hayride and much more. The Fall Festival Weekend at Sunday River in Newry on October 6th and 7th offers a family-friendly celebration of the end of summer with live music, the legendary North American Wife Carrying Championship, the annual Blue Mountain Arts & Crafts Fair and the New England Corn Hole Championships. The 15th annual OgunquitFest Fall Festival in Ogunquit runs October 19-21. This Halloween-centric festival includes a pumpkin carving contest and ghostly tours but also such events as an obstacle course, Whoopie Pie Eating Contest and a Dogtoberfest Beach Stroll & Social.
Maine Craft Weekend
An annual statewide tour of Maine craft studios, breweries and businesses held in conjunction with American Craft Week, a nationwide event promoting craft events each October, this two-day event runs October 13th and 14th this year. It’s a terrific opportunity to visit the home studios of potters and glass blowers and check out craft galleries. It includes open studios, demonstrations, tastings, exhibitions and kids’ projects. The Maine Craft Weekend is produced by The Maine Crafts Association in partnership with Maine Made. Go to Maine Craft Weekend for more info.