August 2, 2023

The Longfellow Hotel

Portland is welcoming a new hotel with the opening of The Longfellow Hotel, now taking bookings for late 2023. Described as the first independent, full-service hotel to open in the city in two decades, the boutique hotel is located at 754 Congress Street and will have 48 rooms. There will also be a spa called Asteria, inspired by Nordic traditions, focusing on mind and body wellness. Maine-based and family-owned hospitality group Uncommon Hospitality is behind the Longfellow, which has been designed in partnership with New York-based design firm Post Company. Dining options will include the Twinflower Café, a wellness-focused restaurant serving wholesome breakfast and lunch offerings. The Five of Clubs is the name of the bar, and both the café and bar will be operated by Siobhán & Mike Sindoni, owners of the Wayside Tavern, located in The Francis Hotel. In the evening, Five of Clubs will focus on classic cocktails, local seafood, and charcuterie. The hotel is named for Portland-born poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, one of America’s most-beloved bards. The Congress Street location is in Portland’s historic West End neighborhood, across from Uncommon Hospitality’s Francis Hotel. That restored historic mansion was reimagined as a hotel in 2017.

AMC Maine Woods Dark Skies

Maine is beloved for its coastline, lakes and mountains, but it also has two of the best places for stargazing in the Northeast. The AMC Maine Woods International Dark Sky Park is the first and only International Dark Sky Park in New England. Due to its exceptionally dark skies, the park is one of the best places for stargazing in the region. It 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.  Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument has also been designated as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, the first certified in the state of Maine and New England.

Maine’s Performing Arts

From thrilling dance to boisterous music festivals, Maine’s vibrant performing arts community entertains visitors year-round. Start with world-class theater companies such as the Ogunquit Playhouse, which is offering On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan and The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown’s worldwide bestselling novel, as well as Tootsie: The New Broadway MusicalThe Bangor Symphony Orchestra one of the country’s oldest continuously operating orchestras, begins its fall season with Scandinavian Splendor.  The Stone Mountain Arts Center features contemporary performers like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Patty Griffin and Peter Rowan this fall. Thompson’s Point offer up both new and well-known artists, including the three-night Guster’s on the Ocean concerts in August. Maine Savings Amphitheater in Bangor will feature The Chicks World Tour 2023 and Nickelback. The free three-day Trails End Festival in Millinocket runs September 22-24 while Tales by Poe kicks off the 2023-2024 season of Portland Ballet and the Salt Bay Chamberfest brings classical music to Damariscotta August 7-19. Go to Visit Maine for more details.

Late Summer Festivals

The Maine Lobster Festival marks the peak of summer festivals in Maine, so from August 2-6, visit Rockland in the Midcoast region for a celebration of the state’s favorite crustacean. The 32nd Annual Forest Heritage Days at Moosehead Lake on August 11-12 highlights the state’s logging history. The Annual Blueberry Festival in Rangeley is August 17 while the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, honors the “blueberry belt” of the state with treats, pie-eating contests and more from August 18-20, 2023. It’s all about hot air at the Great Falls Balloon Festival August 18-20 in Lewiston-Auburn. The Belfast Harbor Fest on the third weekend in August includes boatbuilding demonstrations. Catch the Camden Windjammer Festival and Fireworks on Labor Day Weekend and Maine Open Lighthouse Day on September 9.

Maine Craft Weekend

The annual Maine Craft Weekend will run on October 7 and 8, 2023. This is a great opportunity to visit private artist studios, glass-blowing studios, outdoor installation sites, non-profit craft organizations, craft-based schools, craft beer breweries collaborating with artists, and pop-up shops. Featured cities this year are Belfast, Biddeford, Ellsworth, Freeport, Gardiner, and Monson. The organizers encourage participants to plan a route to include a pottery wheel lesson and a glass-blowing demonstration in the morning, swing by a brewpub for lunch, peruse a craft show in the afternoon, and stay in an artist-hosted Airbnb off the beaten path. Visit Maine Craft Weekend for more information.

Maine Farms & Fiber Arts

Maine’s farmers and fiber artisans are rooted in long-standing traditions and reveal much about the culture of the state. Visitors are encouraged to visit farms, farm stands and specialty shops, and to try their hand at a workshop and learn how to knit a sweater using handspun Maine wool or even learn how to make wine or cheese. Staying overnight at a working farm B&B is a great way to get closer to the land. The Maine Fiberarts’ Tour is a great way to meet the artists in their studios and watch them create beautiful textiles. There are fairs, festivals and workshops throughout the year that highlight Maine’s farm-fresh products and fiber arts. Visit Maine has created a number of itineraries: New Gloucester, Sumner and Paris Hill; Portland and Freeport: and Brunswick, Bath and Waldoboro. Go to Visit Maine for details.

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