This summer, Maine promises sea breezes and sailboats but it will also be different from summers past. The state will be welcoming out-of-state guests but has set up new guidelines when they come to Vacationland.
Celebrating it’s Bicentennial this year, the state of Maine has also just unveiled its Keep Maine Healthy plan, a multilayered strategy that offers an alternative to the existing 14-day quarantine requirement for out-of-state visitors. The plan utilizes testing as a simple and fast option to quarantine as well as increased symptom checking. The plan’s goal is to protect Maine people and visitors by reducing COVID-19 risks associated with travel, while supporting the local economy.
Maine is an extraordinarily beautiful state, beloved for its rocky coast, western mountains and cutting-edge food scene. 2020 promises to be the summer of the road trip and it will mark a return to a quieter Maine when singles, couples, and families can enjoy seaside and lakeside vacations.
Alfresco dining will be the rule this summer, from picnic tables at lobster shacks along the coast to Portland eateries with sidewalk dining, waterside decks, or garden settings.r. Maine Lobster is known as the sweetest, most flavorful lobster on Earth. It’s been an integral part of the coastal region for generations and is sustainably harvested. Lobsters are harvested by hand, one trap at a time, to protect their quality and marine habitat. Try a lobster roll served year-round at the Maine Diner in Wells, J’s Oyster in Portland, or Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery. All feature the delicious chilled meat on a toasted bun. So, you like lobster? Nowhere will you be able to stuff your face with lobster in such abundance and for so little as you will at the annual Maine Lobster Festival on the middle coast of Maine. Dating back to 1947, this festival not only features nonstop lobster dinners but also musical performances, a lobster crate race, a Ferris wheel, cooking contests, and a big Saturday parade. It runs during the first weekend in August, too, so you’ll get a peak of the bright summer weather in Maine.
The common nickname of “The Pine Tree State” is known because of the extensive pine forests that have covered the state. The White Pine is considered to be the largest conifer in the northeastern United States and some of the tallest trees in eastern North America grew in Maine. The northeasternmost U.S. state is known for its rocky coastline, maritime history, and nature areas like the granite and spruce islands of Acadia National Park. Moose are plentiful in Baxter State Park, home to Mt. Katahdin, the endpoint of the Appalachian Trail. Lighthouses such as the candy-striped beacon at West Quoddy Head, dot the coast, as do lobster shacks and sandy beaches like Ogunquit and Old Orchard.
If it’s lighthouses you wish to explore, the state of Maine is definitely the place to visit. With 65 historical lighthouses still standing and spread out along 5,000 miles of coastline, inlets, and islands, Maine is also commonly referred to as The Lighthouse State. These lighthouses have acted as beacons of light for sailors for hundreds of years, guiding sailors and fishermen safely in to harbors along the rocky Maine coastline. Today, lighthouses are an important part of Maine’s history and are popular tourist attractions. Although many Maine lighthouses are not accessible on land, lighthouse boat tours are an ideal way to see these attractions and get the best photographs.
One of Maine’s greatest winter secrets is the handful of smaller, family-run ski mountains that dot the state. Places like Lost Valley in Auburn, Black Mountain in Rumford, and the community-owned Camden Snow Bowl on 1,300-foot Ragged Mountain, which offers skiers dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean. In Bridgton, Shawnee Peak prides itself on providing families with a nostalgic, fun ski experience. At night, six lifts service 19 trails and three terrain parks can be skied under the lights. Mt. Abram has 10 beginner, 21 intermediate, and 13 expert trails, making it a great mountain for families.
Make it an extended weekend and stay at the newest hotel in Portland, the AC Hotel Portland Downtown/Waterfront. Located at 158 Fore Street, this luxury hotel, across from Ocean Gateway pier II, features a chic minimalist European design. There are 178 guest rooms, a 40-seat restaurant, an outdoor patio, 2,700 sq. ft. of meeting space and a 24-hour fitness center. The AC Lounge has outdoor water-view seating, signature cocktails, and a tapas menu. The property is ideally located two blocks from the shopping and restaurants of the Old Port District and is the only hotel in Portland with unobstructed views of Casco Bay. Visit the AC Hotel Portland Downtown/Waterfront.
Social distancing is easy here, since summer in Maine is, by definition, all about being outdoors. It’s an easy hike with kids in a state park or a challenging summit of one of Maine’s peaks. There’s road biking, off road biking on bucolic trails, and single-track to test any rider’s mettle. Maine is the place for sea kayaking, paddle boarding and sailing, not to mention water skiing and canoeing. The state is acclaimed for sport fishing, from casting for stripers in Casco Bay to fly fishing for trout and landlocked salmon on thousands of lakes and streams. Getting outside can be as easy as a beach walk at sunrise or sitting on a lakeside dock listening to the loons.
Maine hasn’t changed. Visitors may find that’s it a little bit quieter, a little bit slower and maybe just a little more authentic.