All the Maine Things: A Guide

“What do you want to do in Maine?” Mom asked.

She first asked while she was visiting me in Arizona in May, then again the week before I came, and repeatedly in the first days I was in Vacationland. And so I put together a bucket list of “Maine Things” (outdoor things, because: new pandemic wave) and went about scheduling as many as we could. This is how we chose to spend our time.

Maine Lakes

You’ll have to find your own, my family has claimed this one, but there are so many lakes to choose from, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. They never really get warm, but they tend to be clear as glass right down to the bottom, crisp and a little bit sweet when you accidentally swallow a sip. In addition to swimming, they’re great for boating, fishing, walking, birding, wildflowers….

Bridgton Twin Drive -In

I’ve been going to this drive-in theater since I was little, but with the pandemic, this was our first big screen movie since I was in Bridgton spring of last year.

Jockey Cap

Mom says I was probably 14 the last time I did this hike, though my brother would have been at Jockey Cap a little more recently than that for the bouldering. But I remember doing this hike quite a bit earlier than that, in elementary school, perhaps even as early as when I was six and allowed to fly to Maine alone for a week with Grandma and Grandpa before the rest of the family came for our usual vacation.

It’s not especially tall, but Jockey Cap has a great view of the White Mountains and the lakes, and a fun little monument that explains everything you can see.

Sadly, the spongy moth caterpillars had been on Jockey Cap for awhile before we got there, and had stripped most of the trees down to the veins of the leaves: oak, aspen, maple, beech … they didn’t discriminate.

Lobster

I mean, I guess this goes without saying on a trip to Maine. You might look at the prices and cringe, but with the right equipment, it’s not so hard to make your own, with significant savings!

Birds and Flowers

Wildflowers, garden flowers, and I had forgotten just how many birds I recognize on sight or by sound in the Northeast!

We had a wonderful wander at the Sebago Lake Land Reserve. I didn’t catch many birds on film, but we saw and heard many: American Robin, Gray Catbird, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, American Goldfinch, House Wren, Blue Jay, Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Kingbird, and more, plus ducks, enormous dragonflies and an adorable little frog!

And Mom’s gardens were full of a variety of big, bold blooms and plenty of birds, too.

Beaches

There are so many to choose from, but one of our family favorites is Crescent Beach State Park in southern Portland. It was the season for rosehip blooms, too.

Whale Watching

There are lots of Maine options for whale watching, of course, but we were delighted with our voyage aboard Nick’s Chance out of Kennebunkport.

We saw a Minke whale fairly close to shore, and followed for some time a Humpback whale named Satcheler for the shape of her hump. We were also treated to a very up-close encounter with an ocean sunfish, funny looking newcomers to the Bay of Maine that flap their dorsal fins above the surface.

We saw birds, too: gulls and cormorant, of course, mallards close to shore, and shockingly far from land: northern gannet and the Wilson’s storm-petrel.

A day on the water is never wasted, and this was a beautiful day for a family outing!

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