Visitors heading up the Maine coast should stop for a taste of the new dining scene in Biddeford and Saco. Families love the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport while art lovers will have a chance to see the works of one of Maine’s master watercolorists this summer in Lewiston. The Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair returns later this summer. Heading to Acadia? Guided tours in Bar Harbor are an ideal way to explore this jewel of a town on Mount Desert Island. While the warm weather is just arriving, it’s not too soon to plan a trip for the best fishing of the year this fall at a Maine sporting camp. 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.
Biddeford & Saco Dining Scene
Just south of Portland lie the twin cities of Biddeford and Saco, which have emerged in the last year or so as the hottest new dining scene in the state. The former mill towns have seen an infusion of talent moving into formerly empty spaces and opening creative dining spots. Elda, run by six-time James Beard nominee Bowman Brown, was one of the first, bringing fine dining to downtown Biddeford. But it now has a host of friendly competition. Palace Diner has perfected the diner breakfast while Time & Tide Coffee is being lauded for their brews and Farm to Coast Café is where to head for steamed pork belly buns. Biscuits & Company is a popular breakfast and lunch spot, Round Turn Distilling makes their own Bimini craft gin, while Banded Horn Brewing is a welcome addition to Maine’s growing legion of craft brewers. In Saco, Barred Souls Brewing is a respite from Route One, Up & Up handles the cocktail crowd while Quiero Café serves Latin American dishes.
Seashore Trolley Museum
Celebrating its 80th birthday, the Seashore Trolley Museum was founded by a group of enterprising college students in 1939 who banded together to save an ageing Biddeford and Saco Railroad trolley car. The Seashore Trolley Museum is now the oldest historic transportation organization of its kind in the world and curates the largest streetcar collection. Visitors can ride a three-mile round trip on its heritage railway and see 330 trolleys and buses. There are streetcars from Los Angeles, New Orleans and Chicago, as well as Maine’s northernmost county, Aroostook. Open daily. Seashore Trolley Museum.
DeWitt Hardy, Master of Watercolor
Bates College Museum of Art is unveiling a retrospective of the watercolors of DeWitt Hardy (1940-2017) this summer, an unheralded Maine master of the form. Hardy focused on the coast of southern Maine, as well as its interior woods and fields, houses and factories, and its people. His work depicts Maine after the tourists had left, and his paintings shunned the predictable picturesque in favor of harsh but often beautiful realities. This exhibition, covering a career of more than fifty years, will contain an overview of Hardy’s evolution of style from the spare renderings of the early 1960s through the more baroque and colorful work of his later years. June 7-October 5, 2019, Bates College Museum of Art.
Maine Kneading Conference and Bread Fair
A gathering of farmers, millers, bakers, maltsters and grain enthusiasts from all over the world will descend upon Skowhegan for the Maine Kneading Conference and Bread Fair in late July. The Kneading Conference on July 25 and 26 will have hands-on baking workshops, live demonstrations, and lectures and panel discussions, including wood-fired oven-building workshops and lectures on grain growing. The Anatomy of Bread, Building an Earth Oven and Creating Seaweed Bread are some of the topics. On July 27, the Maine Artisan Bread Fair will offer the wares of 60 different food vendors from all over the state. Go to the Kneading Conference for more details.
Tours of Bar Harbor
Bar Harbor, the gateway to Acadia National Park, is one of the most visited towns along the coast. But the ideal way to explore the town’s architecture, restaurants and incredible setting is on a tour. The Bar Harbor Ghost Tours is a nightly walking tour that’s all about local hauntings and the history behind them, including tales of the Wabanaki Indian spirits and Bar Harbor’s colorful past during the Prohibition Era. Maine Foodie Tours takes visitors on walking tours, like “Savor Bar Harbor: Culinary Walking Tour” and the “Bar Harbor Afternoon Tasting Tour.” It’s a mix of restaurants, pubs and shops for tastes that include samples of mini lobster rolls, duck-fat fries and award-winning local cheeses. For those who prefer to sit back and ride, Oli’s Trolley offers narrated trolley tours of Mount Desert Island, from half-hour Downtown Bar Harbor tours to 2.5 hour tours of Acadia National Park. For more information, go to Visit Bar Harbor.
Maine Sporting Camps for Fall Fishing
Summer has yet to arrive, but it’s actually the perfect time of year to book a classic Maine sporting camp getaway for fall fishing. That’s when trout and landlocked salmon are at their peak and dedicated sports head to their favorite waters. Maine sporting camps typically feature lakeside cabin accommodations and home-cooked family-style meals. Sports head out for the day, often in the company of a registered Maine guide, by boat, canoe or even floatplane to explore different waters. Check in with the 40-plus members of the Maine Sporting Camp Association, who are scattered across the northern half of the state. They offer some of the best fishing and old-fashioned accommodations in the Northeast.
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