July 8, 2021
The Maine Oyster Trail
The Maine Oyster Trail is a new interactive guide to oyster experiences in Maine that launched this summer. The first interactive, incentive-based oyster trail in the U.S., the Maine Oyster Trail features 75 Maine businesses and connects visitors and locals to oyster farm tours, raw bars, mobile shuck trucks, charter tours and kayak excursions, as well as opportunities to buy oysters directly from farmers along the Maine coast. The Trail’s interactive Trip Planner allows users to build their own custom trip and they can use the digital Oyster Passport to check-in at participating businesses, track visits, complete challenges, and redeem check-ins for Maine Oyster Trail swag. Spearheaded by the Maine Aquaculture Association, the guide comes with the generous support of Maine Sea Grant, the Maine Office of Tourism, and the Maine Aquaculture Innovation Center. Details at maineoystertrail.com
AMC’s Maine Woods Property Certified as an International Dark Sky Park
The International Dark-Sky Association has granted International Dark Sky Park status to the Appalachian Mountain Club’s 75,000-acre parcel of forestland in Maine’s 100-Mile Wilderness. It is the first International Dark Sky Park in New England, a certification given to land possessing an exceptional quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, and cultural heritage, and/or public enjoyment. The AMC Maine Woods Dark Sky Park lies at the edge of the North Maine Woods, an expanse of more than 14,000 square kilometers of largely uninhabited forest land that stretches from Monson, Maine to the border of Canada. This region is one of the darkest places remaining on the East Coast and has also been identified as an area of exceptionally high habitat connectivity and climate change resilience. Alongside nearby Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, which was designated an International Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020, the AMC Maine Woods Dark Sky Park is an important step in preserving this area and driving future dark sky conservation opportunities. More info at outdoors.org.
Whale Watching Season in Maine
Maine’s whale watching season runs through early October and there are plenty of opportunities to see the earth’s largest living creatures a mere 20 miles off the Maine coast. In these waters, expect to see humpback whales, pilot whales, minke whales and finback whales. It’s also possible to glimpse sei whales, sperm whales, orcas and right whale. Head out with Bar Harbor Whale Watch or Boothbay Harbor’s Cap’n Fish’s Whale Watch, which has offered trips for more than 80 years. First Chance Whale Watch in Kennebunkport and Odyssey Whale Watch in Portland offer trips in the southern end of the state. Downeast, there’s Robertson Sea Tours and Adventures in Milbridge and Tarquin Whale Watch in Lubec. Find out more at Visit Maine.
Open Farm Day and the Maine Cheese Festival
The Maine Cheese Guild will hold Open Farm Day on July 25 for anyone interested in learning more about Maine cheesemakers and their farms. Participating farms include Maggie’s Farm at Mulberry Farm, Bowdoinham; Lakin’s Gorges Cheese, Friendship; Abrahams Goat Farm and Dairy, Newport; Smiling Hill Farm, Westbrook; and Balfour Farm, Pittsfield.
On September 12, 2021, the Maine Cheese Festival kicks off at Manson Park in Pittsfield. A partnership between the Maine Office of Tourism and the Maine Cheese Guild, the day-long festival will have demonstrations on the art of cheesemaking and offer live music, food trucks and a beer tent. Info on both events can be found at mainecheeseguild.org.
More Fall Festivals
Autumn in Maine means weekend and multi-day festivals that celebrate the harvest. While some of these events have been postponed because of the pandemic, others are scheduled to go. At the Boothbay Railway Museum, the 53rd Annual Fall Foliage Festival on October 9 and 10 will have dozens of vendors with crafts and food ranging from lobster rolls, hot cider, fish chowder and kettle corn. There will be narrow gauge steam train on the museum’s village green, a four acre lawn surrounded by historic buildings and structures and center stage for entertainment. The 21st annual Freeport Fall Festival, from October 4 to 6, will have a juried art show, live music, artisanal food and the Chowdah Challenge. A contest for the biggest pumpkin is a highlight of the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta from October 8- 11. There are also pumpkin carving artists, childrens’ events, and of course, the pumpkin catapult and the Pumpkinboat Regatta. Go to Visit Maine for more fall activities and events.
International Seaplane Fly-In
Seaplanes, which are also known as floatplanes, support a way of life in the great north woods of Maine. They’re how fishermen and hunters get around the wilder parts of the state. They are often the only way to reach remote camps and resorts on the thousands of lakes and ponds that can be found in the northern part of the state. Seaplanes will be celebrated at the next annual International Seaplane Fly-In in Greenville, on the shores of Moosehead Lake, from September 9 -12, 2021. In a typical year, up to 200 aircraft, many of them vintage, can be seen at the event, offering a great chance to watch flying demonstrations. Go to the International Seaplane Fly-In for more details
The Fryeburg Fair
Maine’s county fairs are the purest expression of the state’s agricultural traditions and lifestyles. The good news is that its most popular and largest fair, which dates back to 1851, is returning in-person this fall. The Fryeburg Fair, which will run from October 3 – 10, is a huge county fair with such classic events as team-pulling, 4H awards and the ever popular pig scramble. The Fryeburg Fair offers a sizeable arcade with vintage carnival rides, as well as harness racing. Sheep dog trials and tractor pulling are among the highlights of this fair, which attracts more than 170,000 visitors during its run.
Maine’s leaf bearing trees will show off their array of fall colors in the upcoming weeks.