Try Something New this Summer in Maine
Maine is known for its miles of wide sandy beaches and rock-bound coast, lighthouses, lobsters and moose….and there's even more. Learning a thing or two during summer vacation can be fun in Maine. It can happen while learning about Maine’s exploding foodie scene on a culinary tour. Or, during a second loop around a singletrack mountain bike trail in the middle of the forest. Or, while zipping down a natural water slide at a swimming hole. These summer attractions and activities make uniquely Maine memories.
Three Tours to Take This Summer
Take a Foodie Tour – Take a walking tour to explore one of Maine’s iconic downtowns, from Kennebunkport to Bar Harbor, through the lens of the local food scene with Maine Foodie Tours https://www.mainefoodietours.com. Discover what is feeding Maine’s growing reputation as a culinary destination.
Dig for Minerals and Gems – Live the life of a lapidary during a field trip and digging experience at a Western Maine gem mine. Learn about the local geology, mining history, and how to identify minerals like tourmaline, quartz, beryl and lepidolite on a guided and outfitted mine tour with Dig Maine Gems http://digmainegems.com/index.html. Sift through the rubble at an active mine to find a unique Maine souvenir.
Acadia Carriage Tour: See Acadia National Park and Atlantic vistas the way Bar Harbor's original rusticators did on a horse-drawn carriage ride. The park's 45-mile network of broken-stone carriage roads were designed and built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. between 1913 and 1940. Carriages of Acadia (https://acadiahorses.com) provides one and two-hour narrated tours with mountain vistas, views of beautiful cobblestone bridges, or a trip to Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers.
Fat Tire Fun: Maine is a growing destination for mountain biking.
Bradbury Mountain State Park - This Pownal park (www.bradburymountain.com) has some of the most popular singletrack and doubletrack bike trails in southern Maine. Bradbury has more than 18 miles of trails on two park parcels splitting Route 9. The East Side parcel is where experienced riders prefer to play on trails like the tight and rocky 2.4-mile singletrack O trail and the 1.3-mile singletrack Island trail packed with tight turns. The park hosts the 12 Hours of Bradbury race for solo riders and teams each September.
Camden - Ragged Mountain – known to skiers as Camden Snow Bowl – has an expanding network of mountain bike trails (www.camdensnowbowl.com/mountain-biking) for summer recreation. Try the challenging Pitch Pole trail with 600 feet of climbing, or the moderate 1.5-mile Round the Mountain trail which heads west to Ragged Mountain Preserve and eventually links to a 3.5-mile singletrack trail that loops back to the base of the mountain.
Carrabassett Valley - A number of trails for all riding levels are available in the Sugarloaf Mountain region (https://www.sugarloaf.com/activities/mountain-biking). The Narrow Gauge Trail is an easy out and back ride along the Carrabassett River, up to nine miles one way. The five-mile Carriage Road trail covers steep, rocky terrain with stream crossings. The Sugarloaf Outdoor Center is the base for the Carrabassett Backcountry Cycle Challenge happening July 12-14 with 100K and 50K races, and family and adult group rides.
Summer Swimming Holes: Cool off at one of these spots on a hot day.
Houston Brook Falls – These wide cascades drop more than 30 feet to a large shallow pool with a sandy bottom. An easy 10 minute walk on a woods trail to the falls begins about a mile beyond the Wyman Lake Recreation Area off Route 16 just north of Bingham.( www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WMZ23_Houston_Brook_Falls_Bingham_ME )
Step Falls Preserve – A series of falls along Wright Brook that drop more than 200 feet. Several falls drop over granite ledges or run in natural chutes into oval shaped pools. Soak up the sun or watch others jump or slide into the pools. Parking for the preserve is off Route 26 in North Newry just south of Grafton Notch State Park. (www.mahoosuc.org/hikes)
Quarry Pond – A Swan's Island granite quarry that has been dormant since 1925 is now known as Quarry Pond (http://www.swansisland.org/interest.htm) and is a popular place for locals and summer visitors to beat the heat on the hottest of island days. Take in the ocean views from the top of the quarry ledge. Reach Swan's Island by ferry from Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island. The pond is about 4.5 miles from the ferry landing, so bring your vehicle if you'd rather not walk or bike that far.