Monday, January 23, 2017

Introduction to Maine

Maine is beautiful in the fall.Maine is a northeastern state, but one of the most sparsely populated states in the USA. Its northern reaches, known as The Great North Woods, are largely pristine wilderness. The coastal regions, supported over the years by fishing, lobstering and tourism, are more heavily populated, particularly in the southern, more temperate part of the state. Although the water is decidedly cool, Maine’s mostly rocky coastline and more than 60 lighthouses make for some beautiful scenery. That, a comfortable place to stay, and a Maine lobster may be all you need.

Maine borders
Maine shares land borders with New Brunswick, Québec, and New Hampshire. For visitors from overseas or the rest of the United States, Boston is the major gateway to Maine. There is bus service from Boston to Maine’s major cities, and the Amtrak Downeaster offers train service from Boston’s North Station to Portland. Bus service also links New Brunswick with Bangor. A car is required for travel around the state. Many visitors rent a car in Boston and take Interstate 95 northward to Maine. It takes about two hours to drive from Boston to Portland, and another two hours to drive from Portland to Bangor. Several airlines provide direct flights to Portland and Bangor from most major cities in the northeastern U.S. Bay Ferries used to offer high speed ferry service from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia to Portland and Bar Harbor but shut down these routes at the end of 2009.

Things to see

Visit one of Maine’s many fishing ports.

• Whalewatching
• See the “Indian Summer”, the colorful foliage of the New England autumn, known locally as Fall.
• Lighthouses
• Acadia National Park exemplifies the beautiful Maine coastal landscape.
• The North Maine Woods is a remote, thinly settled expanse of lonely boreal forest. There is much in the area for those seeking solitude and natural beauty of the northern kind: Chesuncook Lake, the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and Baxter State Park with 5200 foot (1585 m) Mount Katahdin, the northern terminus of the Appalachian National Scenic Trail.
• Maine Lobster Festival (usually in late July going into early August) [6].
• Western Maine Lakes and Mountains. Bordering the state line with New Hampshire and the White Mountain National Forest, this is an area of outstanding natural beauty. Less rural than the North Maine Woods, high mountains and crystal clear lakes abound with plenty of hiking trails, waterfalls and off-the-beaten track driving available. Grafton Notch State Park [7] (3,000 acres) covers most of the area on Route 26 between Newry and Upton. Sunday River, close to Bethel, is one of the largest ski resorts in Maine.
• Midcoast Maine artisanal touring – Travel the roads of midcoast Maine and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the depth and quality of the goods created by local craftspeople.

Things to do
• Lake and ocean swimming – ocean temperature hovers around 60°F in the Summer months.
• Surfing
• Hiking
• Camping [8]
• Bicycling
• Sea Kayaking. Paddle the entire coast along the Maine Island Trail [9].
• River Kayaking / Canoieing. Paddle the entire Allagash Wilderness Waterway
• Whitewater canoeing
• Snowmobiling
• Historical site seeing
• Fishing (a fishing license is required for fishing in fresh water)
• Skiing

• Maine lobster. Lobsters are ubiquitous in Maine and are served a variety of ways. The basic preparation (served nearly everywhere from basic lobster pound restaurants that serve nothing else to high-end restaurants) is steamed with drawn butter. Bibs and claw crackers are provided. The more traditional clam bake layers steamer clams, mussels, lobsters, potatoes, onions and corn over seaweed all are steamed together with saltwater. Uniquely Maine preparations include lobster stew, lobster casserole, and lobster pie. A few ice cream companies even make lobster ice cream.

• Fresh seafood of all kinds, crab, scallops, shrimp, clams. Small but flavorful boreal red shrimp (more commonly known as Maine shrimp) are available from November to March. Like New England’s only shrimp variety, New England’s most extensive type of crab (rock crab) goes by the name Maine crab and although not as celebrated as lobster, is excellent steamed or served any other way. Local oyster varieties include Pemaquids and Sheepscots. Fishermen catch North Atlantic fish of all kinds.
• The best blueberries in the country… pancakes, muffins, bagels.