I equate summering in Maine to dining at your favorite beachside shack. The view is amazing. The amiable servers greet you with warm smiles. And the food surpasses anything you’d pull out of the fridge at home. Summering in Maine just makes life better.
I’ve thought a lot about why Maine engenders this feel good quality. And I’ve broken down this attribution into 8 key reasons. As a bonus I’ve also included some favorite places to eat and shop! So why not decide for yourself if the state known as “Vacationland” is where you should spend your next vacation.
8 Key Reasons Why Summering in Maine Makes Life Better (Plus Where to Eat and Shop)
Table of Contents
- Maine’s Remoteness Promotes a Rustic Charm
- People are Friendlier in Maine
- Maine Connects You Nature
- You Breathe Better in Maine
- Maine Facilitates Better Bonding
- Food Tastes Better in Maine
- Sunsets Dazzle in Maine
- Shopping in Maine Rocks
- List of Some of My Favorite Restaurants and Shops in Maine
1 – Maine’s Remoteness Promotes a Rustic Charm
If you spot Maine on a map, half of the state sits above the Canadian border in the northeast corner of the USA. Look it up! It’s almost like visiting Canada without needing a passport. In fact many Down-Easters (another word for Mainers) share relatives with our neighbors to the north.
Perhaps in part to Maine’s faraway location, it has preserved this authentic, down-home quality. People act unassumingly while day to day tasks transpire as lazily as a trickle of maple syrup. Even local architecture melds into the landscape in an uncomplicated yet picturesque way. Maine just dazzles.
2 – People are Friendlier in Maine
Visiting Maine in many ways is like being transported back in time 50 years. Native Maniacs tend to welcome complete strangers with a warm smile and friendly gaze. And communities remain tight-knit. Imagine living in a town where everyone knows your name!
For better or worse, you’ll make friends in Maine – some you may want, others you may not. Regardless, Mainer’s unpretentiousness and broad-mindedness warms even the saltiest of cods. The only challenging part may be deciphering the down east accent. Ayuh!
3 – Maine Connects You Nature
Did you know Maine offers over 540,000 acres of natural beauty in all of its state parks? This includes Acadia National Park, Baxter State Park (location of Mt. Katahdin and the northern end of The Appalachian Trail), and the 92-mile Allagash Wilderness Waterway. You may even try hiking Maine’s version of the Grand Canyon known as Gulf Hagas.
Furthermore, wildlife abounds in Maine. As a matter of fact, it’s not uncommon to witness foxes playing on the roadside or to wake up to Moose grazing on the horizon. Plus local waters are laden with fish just wait to bite on your lure!
4 – You Breathe Better in Maine
According to a 2017 survey by the American Lung Association, Bangor, Maine has some of the freshest air of any American city. It’s no surprise. With a scarcity of industrial pollutants and a small population (32,000 in 2017), samples of Bangor’s air have even been sold on eBay for as much as $29 USD.
Whether it be kayaking or jogging, I seem to always feel more invigorated and refreshed in Maine’s back country. That surplus of oxygen gives me that boost to keep on moving. And to think some people pay for samples of this fresh air!
5 – Maine Facilitates Better Bonding
Just being in Maine helps to relax the mind. Stress dissipates and defenses lower. I think overall for families, this leads to better bonding.
In fact, some of my most favorite memories originate around a table with family in a little cottage in Maine. We’d be playing cards or chit-chatting, when laughter would erupt over some egregious comment. And life would feel like this is how it was meant to be.
6 – Food Tastes Better in Maine
Maine is known for its wonderful seafood. Succulent boiled lobster with drawn butter. Seared scallops. A bucket full of steamers. Just the words make my mouth water.
However, Maine’s culinary expertise is not limited to the sea. For example, on a recent trip to Vacationland I’ve also found myself repeating after many meals “that’s the best ever.” Even hamburgers and sweet potato fries seemed to pack more of a punch. I’m not sure if it was the preparation or ingredients – maybe even the freshness. But the food tasted exquisitely.
7 – Sunsets Dazzle in Maine
As a photographer I search for stunning sunsets in prime locations. And in Maine the dramatic coastline acts as the perfect backdrop. They sky turns into a technicolor light show rivaling Las Vegas.
For instance, sunsets at Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth are especially climactic. Surrounded by water on 3 sides, the peninsula lights up in tones of blue, pink and purple. The experience sends me running around like a possessed person trying to photograph from every angel possible.
8 – Shopping in Maine Rocks
From deeply discounted factory outlets to artisan pottery and antiques, Maine offers an eclectic assortment to scratch that shopping itch. I especially love the quaint craft boutiques in coastal villages. There you can find one-of-a kind treasures.
Leisurely follow coastal Route 1 to discover an array of speciality shops. From Boothbay to Rockland, Ogunquit to Bar Harbor, you can enjoy Maine’s colorful coastline while searching for treasures. Actually most towns in Maine are filled with boutiques and art galleries. Many crafters and jewelers find inspiration in Maine.
9 – List of Some of My Favorite Restaurants and Shops in Maine
- Maine Diner – the best seafood chowder ever! 2265 Post Rd, Wells, ME, Tel (207) 646-4441, mainediner.com
- Frontier – fantastic food served in a rustic old mill overlooking the river. Make sure to order the amazing sweet potato fries. 14 Maine Street, Brunswick ME, Tel (207) 725-5222, https://www.explorefrontier.com
- Morse’s Cribstone Grill – right on the harbor on Bailey’s Island with delicious scallops and seafood. 1945 Harpswell Islands Rd, Bailey Island ME, Tel (207) 833-7775, https://www.morsescribstonegrill.net
- Holy Donut – just about the best handmade donuts anywhere. 7 Exchange Street, Old Port, Portland ME, Tel (207) 775-7776, https://theholydonut.com
- The Red Barn – luscious lobster rolls, 455 Riverside Dr, Augusta ME, Tel (207) 623-9485, https://theredbarnmaine.org/
- Margaritas Mexican – my favorite Mexican restaurant, Portland and Augusta ME locations, https://www.margs.com/
- C & J Variety – a convenience store with first-rate lobster rolls at budget prices, 86 Park Street, Milo ME, Tel (207) 943-2121
- Wasser’s – iconic hot dog stand with unforgettable dogs. 2 N Main St, Rockland ME, Tel. (207) 594-4347, https://www.facebook.com/Wasses
- Ocean Fire Pottery, 23 Woodbridge Road, York ME, Tel (207) 361-3131 https://oceanfirepottery.com/
- LL Bean – clothing and outdoor company based in Freeport ME open 24/7, 365 days a year https://www.llbean.com
- Freeport Factory Outlets – fantastic outlets. In fact, we stop here every time we visit Maine. Freeport ME https://www.visitfreeport.com
- Kittery Factory Outlets – outlets but smaller than Freeport. Kittery ME https://www.thekitteryoutlets.com
- Made in Maine – Maine crafts, 170 Front St, Bath ME, Tel. (207) 443-2225, https://lisamariesmadeinmaine.com/
- Stable Gallery – fine arts and crafts from Maine, 26 Water St, Damariscotta ME, Tel. (207) 563-1991, https://stablegallerymaine.com/
- Gifts at 136 – small but charming gift shop, 136 Main St, Damariscotta ME, Tel. (207) 563-1011 – https://www.giftsat136.com/
- Abacus – Maine crafts and jewelry handmade by artists, locations in Booth Bay, Ogunquit, Freeport and Portland ME, https://abacusgallery.com/
- Edgecomb Potters – Porcelain pottery with crystalline glaze. Locations in Edgecomb and Portland ME, https://www.edgecombpotters.com/
- Smiling Cow – Family-owned gift shop with colorful trinkets, 41 Main St, Camden ME, Tel. (207) 236-3351, https://smilingcow.com/
- Once a Tree – crafted works in wood by Maine artists, 31 Main Street, Camden ME, Tel. (207) 236-3995 http://www.onceatree.net/index.html
- Planet Toys – unique Maine-made toys, 10 Main Street, Camden ME, Tel. (207) 236-4410, https://www.facebook.com/PlanetToysofMaine/
- The Grasshopper Shop of Rockland – gift shop, 400 Main Street, Rockland ME, Tel. (207) 596-6156 https://www.grasshoppershopofrockland.com/
- Farnsworth Art Museum – collection of art by local artists, 16 Museum Street, Rockland ME, Tel. (207) 596-6457, www.farnsworthmuseum.org
- Reny’s – an iconic, small Maine department store with locations all over Maine https://www.renys.com/
- Gimbal & Son’s Country Store – gift and vintage store, 14 Commercial St, Boothbay ME, Tel. (207) 633-5088, https://www.facebook.com/Gimbel-Sons-Country-Store
- Mung Bean – Maine and American handicrafts, 37 Townsend Ave, Boothbay ME, Tel. (207) 633-5512, http://mungbeanmaine.com/
- Hatch on Maine – featuring an ever-changing array of antiques and accessories, whimsical gifts, handmade baby items, and vintage finds, 96 Maine St, Brunswick, ME, Tel. (207) 373-0567, https://www.hatchonmaine.com/
A special thanks to Maine locals, Katie Heath, Kendra Lakeman and Sandra Johns, for some of their dining and shopping recommendations.
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