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5 of the Spots that Define Maine

Tenants Harbor

There’s a lot of Maine to love. We’re lucky to have agriculture, wilderness, food, and much more within our state’s borders. To celebrate our wealth of local goodness, we recently criss-crossed our home state during A Week in Maine, highlighting just a few places that are special to us. Together, we think they represent the amazing span of what’s available right here. If you wanted to see it all for yourself, these spots are a great place to start.

1: Aroostook County

We stayed in Presque Isle, but there are so many beautiful towns in Aroostook County. Fun Fact: it’s the biggest single county east of the Mississippi. Up in “The County” it almost feels like you’re out West, with hills and fields rolling to the horizon—the view alone is worth a visit. There are also some quintessentially Maine spots to drop in for food and drink. On the way up, your ice cream fix awaits at Houlton Farms Dairy, in Houlton, Maine. Homemade peanut butter fudge should not be missed under any circumstances. Another stop would be the Mapleton Diner—where we had an unreal prime rib corned beef hash. You also should not overlook Presque Isle’s The Irish Setter, where you can find big, frosty mugs of Allagash White and tasty Irish-themed bar fare.

2: The Allagash Wilderness Waterway

Nearly a straight shot West, you’ll find the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. What you won’t find is cell phone service (which we’d consider a very good thing). During our most recent trip, we spent our time camping out on the shores of Chamberlain Lake. This twelve-mile-long body of water sits at the Southern end of the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and features a first-come first-served campsite system. We’d recommend Ledge Point, the campsite we secured at the southwest corner of the lake. Unless you’re a skilled paddler and camper with all the necessary gear, we’d also advocate going with a guide. Our choice would be Chip and Lani of Allagash Canoe Trips. Chip is actually a third-generation Allagash guide, and his campfire cooking skills alone show it.

3: Moosehead Lake Region

Moosehead Lake is a year-round vacation spot for Mainers and out-of-staters alike. We filled our time there with a hike up Mt. Kineo, a moose-watching tour through Northwoods Outfitters, and a delightful meal at Stress Free Moose in Greenville. Our cottage at The Birches was steps away from the lake’s water, and provided a clear view of floatplanes taking off and setting down. If the lake’s name didn’t already give it away, this is also prime moose-sighting country. Seriously, just pick a road—either around sunrise or sunset, when the moose are most active—drive slow, and you’ll spot one eventually.

4: Camden

Next, you can’t miss Maine’s inimitable coast. This time around, we stopped in Camden. Just a mile up Route 1 from the town proper, you’ll find Camden Hills State Park. Mount Battie rises from the center of the park, and offers a gorgeous view of the harbor below. To reach this vista, you can either hike up or—if you’re almost late for a reservation like we were—just pop in your car and drive to the top. Once you’re done there, head downhill to the James Beard Award-nominated Thai cuisine at Long Grain. And you’re just minutes away from Rockport and Rockland, which also offer up beer, art, and much more. Pro Tip, if you’re a film buff, head there during the Camden International Film Festival, it’s an intimate festival featuring world-class documentaries.

5: Tenants Harbor/ Damariscotta River

You can’t leave Maine without getting in a little fresh seafood—and both of these spots deliver. Tenants Harbor’s accessibility doesn’t prepare you for how secluded it feels. It’s like all of Maine’s lobstering communities distilled into one quiet nook. When it comes to Lobster, you have a built-in spot in Luke’s Lobster. They buy 100% of the lobster caught in Tenants Harbor, and are actually a member of the Lobstermen’s Coop there, which was founded in 2016. After you’ve had your fill of lobster rolls, a short trip south will have you at Glidden Point Oyster Farm. The oysters come fresh out of the Damariscotta river—an oyster-growing spot that dates back nearly 2,000 years. To top it off, the Glidden Point shop is BYOB. So be sure to pack in a beer or two to enjoy with your freshly shucked oysters. We’d recommend an Allagash White or Tripel, if you were wondering.

And there you have it, a small sampling from a long list of places we love in Maine. If you have any must-see spots you thought we missed, we’d love to hear from you.

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