September 9, 2020 – When you’re ready to explore Maine again, we’re ready to welcome you back. The Keep Maine Healthy plan represents a multilayered approach to protect Mainers and visitors, and reduce, to the greatest extent possible, COVID-19 risks associated with travel. All in an effort to make Maine one of the safest places to travel this fall. Maine lodgings, campgrounds, restaurants, shops, museums and other attractions, have implemented recommendations from the state CDC and completed a safety checklist before opening to the traveling public.*
The Lost Kitchen is Now Open
The Lost Kitchen, which may well be the most celebrated restaurant in Maine, is open at last for 2020. Chef Erin French normally opens the restaurant in May but the pandemic has kept the restaurant, located in a former gristmill in Freedom, Maine, closed until now. The good news is that dinner is being served at 10 outdoor tables, with diners chosen through The Lost Kitchen’s famous postcard lottery. French, who authored “The Lost Kitchen: Recipes and a Good Life Found in Freedom, Maine” is a three-time James Beard Award nominee. She is currently the focus of a new show about The Lost Kitchen that will appear next year on the Magnolia Network, a project of Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Texas couple behind the show “Fixer Upper.”
Maine Maple Sunday Celebrates in October
Maine Maple Sunday is a statewide tradition on the fourth weekend of March, a time of year when the maple syrup is flowing. Unfortunately, the state’s COVID-19 shutdowns began in March just as the season was getting underway and events were largely cancelled. Now the Maine Maple Producers Association has announced that Maine Maple Sunday will take place Oct. 9-11, with new virtual elements and in-person events at a variety of sugar houses. The event will be held in conjunction with the new North American Maple Tour in the U.S. and Canada, a 14-day event that includes the promotion of maple products at events, breweries, distilleries and restaurants across the Northeast. Information about the recipe contest and the producers participating in Maine Maple Producers Weekend can be found at mainemapleproducers.com.
Under Canvas, a leading glamping company, has announced that it will open Under Canvas Acadia on the coast of Maine. Located in Surry, Maine just outside Acadia National Park, Under Canvas Acadia will welcome guests from May 2021. This marks the brand’s entry into waterfront glamping experiences, with 63 safari-style canvas accommodation tents on elevated decks with private ensuite bathrooms. The 100 acre site has more than 1,200 feet of coastline. The furnishings are from West Elm, and there will be a waterfront lobby tent and an expansive communal dining area, a gathering space and a waterfront yoga and events space. Acadia National Park is about a 35-minute drive from the new resort. Under Canvas says that 75% of the 100-acre site will remain undisturbed to keep a minimal footprint. The season for this camp is May 13 – October 31. Reservations are now available at www.undercanvas.com.
Sea Kayaking on Casco Bay
Casco Bay offers some of the best waters for sea kayaking in the state of Maine. There are islands, coves, and beaches to explore. Local guides and rental companies can help organize a day on the water, for newbies and for experienced paddlers. For example, Portland Paddle leads scheduled day trips to Fort Gorges, a Civil War-era fortress and half-day tours that include island hopping. Rings Marine Service in South Portland rents kayaks on a sheltered section of Casco Bay for exploring the Harraseeket River. Other outfitters include Alice’s Awesome Adventures, Seaspray Kayaking and Paddleboarding and H2Outfitters, the state’s oldest sea-kayaking service, which is based on Orr’s Island. Go to Visit Maine for more on sea kayaking in Casco Bay.
Farmstands, Farmer’s Markets & Apple Orchards
September is harvest month in Maine. Take a drive on any country road and you’ll discover farmstands filled with the bounty of summer. The state is known for its large number of apple orchards, many of them pick-your-own (PYO) like Hope Orchards, which has 20 varieties of apples and pears to pick and purchase. Ricker Hill Orchards in Turner, North Star Orchards in Madison and Lakeside Orchards in Manchester are also major destinations for PYO fans. Maine has farms where families can participate in agricultural chores and learn about farm life. Smiling Hill Farm, owned and operated by a 12th generation family, is free and open to the public. Guests can help with farm chores, feed and pet the animals, and buy the farm’s fresh produce and cheese from the market. Pineland Farms in New Gloucester is located on 5,000 acres of farmland and offers daily farm activities, from milking cows to collecting eggs. Go to Visit Maine for more details.
Historic Maine Inns for a Fall Getaway
Maine is a treasure trove of 19th century inns, perfect for a long weekend or week-long stay in September, as summer makes way for the first blush of foliage season. The Grey Havens Inn has been welcoming guests for more than a century. The 1904 bed and breakfast is on Georgetown Island, offering great ocean views and is a short drive from Reid State Park. Camden offers the Norumbega Inn, a castle-like edifice in the High Street Historic District of Camden. Built in 1886 by Joseph Stearns, the design is based on castles he saw as he traveled throughout Europe. Converted into a bed and breakfast. Norumbega Inn overlooks Penobscot Bay and offers 11 guest rooms, including two suites. For those seeking a place to stay in Maine’s lakes and mountains, the Greenville Inn at Moosehead Lake was a lumber baron’s estate that dates from 1890 and is now routinely ranked among the top bed & breakfasts in New England. Visit Maine lists a dozen more historic inns on its website.
*Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey are exempt from Maine’s safety guidelines of quarantining or testing. Everyone else is asked to complete The Certificate of Compliance in order to visit safely. Visitors must complete a certificate of compliance indicating they have either received a negative COVID-19 test, or agree to quarantine for 14 days (or the length of their visit, if less) upon arrival in Maine. For a comprehensive look at what the state of Maine is doing to keep residents and visitors safe, go to Visit Maine.
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