Category: Maine Info

The Benefits of Owning a Maine Inn

This post is especially fitting at this time, given the news that the owner of the Center Lovell Inn has decided to give the property away in an essay contest, which has gained national news coverage. Simply write a 200-word essay saying why you want to own a country inn, send in $125 with the essay, and you can be entered into a competition to win the 200-year old property. Okay, enough of that. Let’s go big picture: why inns in Maine are special. Oh, and if you want a chance to “win the inn,” you have until May 7 to submit your essay.

The Center Lovell Inn. Photo courtesy of Boston.com.

The Center Lovell Inn. Photo courtesy of Boston.com.


An inn is defined by Merriam-Webster as “an establishment for the lodging and entertaining of travelers,” and the inns in Maine definitely live up to that description. Lodging, yes, basically every inn in the US provides that. But entertainment is what sets these establishments apart. If you ever stay at an inn in Maine, I highly recommend having a short conversation with the innkeeper; many times they have an interesting story to tell. Whether they inherited the inn from their family, or they are new to the area, innkeepers are a great resource to help you get oriented to the area. Maine innkeepers are the epitome of overall kindness and warmth of Mainers. Let’s now more on to talk about some of the inns in southern Maine which are worth a visit, in true OTMR list fashion.


That’s it for now. The point of this post is to encourage you to go Off the Maine Road and try something new during your stay in Maine. Try an inn next time, instead of that same old Hilton or Hyatt in Portland (not that those are necessarily “bad,” but it may be time for a change in your accommodation while in the Pine Tree State). Thank you for reading!

P.S. Another reason why I love inns is the true family atmosphere they provide. I was struck by the friendliness of Maine people seven years ago, and that has been keeping me coming back ever since.

“I’m Gonna Make this Place Your Home” – Maine Summer Camps: A Second Home for Kids

There are over 100 different summer camps in Maine, giving kids ranging from ages 6-18 the summers of their lives. Maine and summer camp have gone hand in hand since the beginning of time (well, not really). Many summer camps have created a second “home” to campers during the limited amount of time they are in Maine. To quote Philip Phillips’ song Home:

“Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home.”

Some kids and teens are obsessed with their summer camp. As they do consider it their “second home”, they live the 10 months of the year waiting for summer to roll around, so they can be with their friends at camp (and be in Maine of course, since that’s what OTMR is all about). They change their Facebook profiles to say, “Works at Camp ____” and “Lives in ______, Maine”.

The idea of home is an interesting one. It’s kind of a philosophical issue, really. In order to dig a little deeper into this, we must first understand the difference of “house” and “home”. A house is a structure, where one goes home to every day and sleep there. A home does not necessarily have to be one’s house. People can have multiple homes (and multiple houses too, but that’s another matter). If you spend so much time with your grandparents, you may consider their house to be your home.

How does this relate back to Maine? Ah, yes. Summer camp. The joyous time of the year, where kids congregate from around the country (and the world, even) and spend their summer on Maine’s lakes and in Maine’s forests. Summer camp is a place for kids to “make themselves at home”. And as cliché as that sounds, these summers become a defining moment in the futures of these kids and teens, as this is an experience that they will never forget.

You can expect more about Maine summer camps in future posts. In the meantime, check out Maine Camp Experience’s website, representing a community of summer camps dedicated to finding the perfect summer camp for kids. It has some valuable and interesting information to all past, present and future Maine campers.

Bowdoin, Bates and Colby: Not Just Colleges, but Quaint Maine Hangouts

Congratulations to the newest members of the Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby College families! I thought I would talk a little bit about their surrounding areas, as these are the places where many students will be spending the next 4 years.

(Thanks to Simone for her valuable picks in this post!)

Bowdoin College – Brunswick, Maine

Bowdoin College Quad in the fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bowdoin College Quad in the fall. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Located 26 miles north of Portland and on the Androscoggin River, Brunswick is very much shaped by the Bowdoin (pronounced Bow-den for all you non-Mainers) College community. In addition to its 215 acres of campus and extensive art museum, Brunswick’s Maine Street (get it?) is filled with small shops and restaurants, one of which is the one and only Gelato Fiasco‘s flagship store. It’s also home to another Cool as A Moose location. A few other nice sports are Wild Oats Bakery & Cafe, which is on Maine Street. It has some delicious salads, sandwiches and pastries. I’m always on the lookout for Asian restaurants, so Tao Yuan is also a good choice. El Camino is a Mexican eatery featuring locally grown meats, produce, and seafood. Although quite off the beaten track, Gurnet Trading Co. is known to have the best lobster around, located in a small seafood shack on the Androscoggin tidal section. On the services front, there’s an Amtrak station right next to the campus with Downeaster service to Boston, and a few movie theaters nearby.

Bates College – Lewiston, Maine

Located up the river from Bowdoin and 34 miles from Portland, Lewiston and its adjacent town Auburn are full of action. They’re actually sometimes referred to as the “Twin Cities”. Like Bowdoin, Bates also has an art museum to complement its liberal arts curriculum. If you’re around mid-August, The Great Falls Balloon Festival is a “hot” scene. Lewiston is also home to the Maine Music Society, so if you’re interested, stop by for a performance. The Androscoggin Bank Colisée has some hockey and other sporting events. More Asian Fusion? Why not! Orchid Restaurant has you covered. Fish Bones American Grill has blown Lewiston’s seafood scene out of the water. Shops are spread out on both sides of the river, but if you’re in the market for a bike, Rainbow Bicycle can get you on the road.

Colby College – Waterville, Maine

It’s interesting how all 3 of these schools are located along the banks of a river. Colby is no exception, being located on the Kennebec River and 78 miles northeast of Portland. And what would a Maine liberal arts college be without an art museum? Colby has another art museum to suit your artistic tastes. One of the coolest attractions is the Two Cent Bridge, which spans the Kennebec River to connect Waterville and its neighboring town Winslow. It is one of the oldest surviving wire-cable steel suspension bridges and is considered to be the last known extant toll footbridge in the United States, although the toll was abolished in 1960. There’s really nothing on the shopping front that surpasses Maine Made and More. It literally has every Maine creation you can think of, from Stonewall Kitchen Blueberry Jam (more on that later) to t-shirts and lobster bibs. It’s well worth the visit, especially if you’re wondering down Main Street. More Asian food – Pad Thai Too takes Thai classics and puts on a Maine lobster twist. Finally, Holy Cannoli has some Italian favorites.

Well, that’s it for now. It should provide you students and tourists with a good list to start your college visits/Maine visits. These 3 towns really bring out the quaint soul of Maine, so I encourage you to go Off the Maine Road and take a trip!

(Cover photo is of Bowdoin College in the fall, and is from Wikimedia Commons.)

The Maine Loon

Maine is home to some amazing wildlife. Moose and lobsters and black bears…oh my!

One of the lesser-known animals living in the Pine Tree State is the loon. Now, the loon is a strange animal. It’s like a duck, but it’s not. In fact, loons are one of the oldest species of flying birds still living.

Loons can be found on license plates, t-shirts, and even socks (just go to Urban Outfitters in Portland, you’re bound to find some there). However, the most popular place to see a lone is in one of many lakes and ponds in Maine. Enter the Maine Loon Project. Its mission has two components: raise awareness and protect the Common Loon, and survey the population of loons in Maine’s lakes and ponds.
One Saturday in July each year, over 900 volunteers arise early and flock to lakes and ponds in order to count the population of loons. You may think loon counting is an easy task. It’s not. Not only do these volunteers have to count loons, they must count the number of adults and chicks.

During my summers, I have had the privilege to see quite a few loons. Here’s one that I saw three summers ago.

A Maine loon in Crescent Lake, in the Sebago Lakes region of Southern Maine.

A Maine loon on Crescent Lake, in the Sebago Lakes region of Sourhern Maine.

For more information on loons, check out the links below.
http://www.gma.org/tidings/loon.html

http://www.maine.gov/sos/kids/about/loon.htm

The Bean Boot: A Maine Symbol

One of the quintessential symbols of the Pine Tree State is the Maine Hunting Shoe, aka the L.L. Bean Boot. Let’s start with a brief history of L.L. Bean. The company was founded as a one-room operation by Leon Leonwood Bean, a hunter and fisherman living in Freeport. Bean had created a waterproof boot, which he originally sold to hunters. He called it the Maine Hunting Shoe, and it has evolved into the great piece of footwear we know today. The Bean Boot is definitely an all-purpose shoe-it’s suitable for any weather from extreme cold to rain to the perfect sunny. Now I’m not the best person to talk to when it comes to fashion, but I’d say that these boots have become quite a stylish element to any Mainer’s wardrobe. Although I regrettably do not own a pair, I have come quite close with this accessory, pictured below.

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To celebrate its 100-year anniversary of the boot’s creation, L.L. Bean built 2 “bootmobiles“, which is a 13-foot tall Ford F-250 frame in the shape of a boot. It’s quite a formidable creation, and has been seen cruising New York’s highways. One of the bootmobiles has been parked outside the Freeport flagship store for a while, and has been painted in the livery of the Boston Red Sox (see picture below).

Be on the lookout for the bootmobiles-they’re constantly on the road!

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The Bean Boot at Hadlock Field, home of the Portland Sea Dogs (more on that later).

 

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