Free Things that you can do while visiting Maine.
As I sit here writing this hub I hear the sounds of the spring peepers, smell the roses and honeysuckle on the breeze and I have suddenly realized that it is SUMMER! I have always believed, that this time of year is God's/evolution's way of saying "Good Job, you survived another long, dark, and cold winter!"
But, for me and mine this time heralds our temporary relocation to our home in beautiful Maine. The home that I speak of is where my father and aunt grew up in the 30's and 40's. I spent my time as a child basking under the spoiling care of my Grammie. So every summer, without fail, my father, myself, two kids take the long road trip to Norway, Maine. It is there that we finally live at a slower pace and spend tons of time adventuring around the Oxford Hills region, and Portland. If you happen to find yourself heading "Down East" this summer check out some of these great free adventures and enjoy Maine like the locals.
1) Portland Headlight:
You have probably at some point in time have seen the Red Lobster commercials that feature a beautiful light house and crashing waves. Well this landmark is officially known as the Portland Headlight, which is located in Fort Williams Park. The lighthouse was commissioned by George Washington in 1787 and was first lit on January 10, 1791 and is still an active lighthouse today.
This lighthouse and the keeper's house located in Fort Williams park. Fort Williams commissioned as a substation for Fort Pebble in 1875. This fort was very active in providing protection for our coast during World War I and II. In 1963 the fort was closed and was bought by the town of Cape Elizabeth and turned in a scenic park that is free to the public to use.
The park is comprised of about 90 acres and is situated on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the breathtaking views and the lighthouse you will find wide open grassy fields, great for kite flying, picnic tables and barbecues, a playground a small rocky beach where you can splash in the water. If this wasn't enough there are the ruins of the old fortifications that you can climb on safely and explore.
2) The Local Lakes:
Maine is filled with tons of lakes and ponds. In the tiny little town where we reside in the summer, we go to Norway Lake. This lake is free to use and was several years ago voted one of Maine's top 10 swimming holes by Down East Magazine. This particular lake offers a boat launch, a swimming beach, cookout facilities and picnic tables, several little playgrounds nestled in the trees, incredible views of the White Mountains, and if you know where to look wild Maine Blueberries in late July that make a great treat. Keep in mind if you are new to visiting Maine there are tons of local fresh water lakes that cost nothing to visit. Just ask a local and they can point you in the right direction.
3) The Portland Promenade:
When I decided to write this hub I asked my 10 year old son and my 6 year old daughter where some of there favorite haunts were. This was one of them. If you are in Portland ask how to get to the Promenade and you will find a great place to let your kids play on the playground learn a little bit about Maine's Military history, and get amazing views of Casco Bay, and Fort George.
4) Historical Societies:
If you are a history, genealogy buff or just really curious about Maine. Most towns offer Historical Societies that you can check out for free. For example, if you find yourself in Portland you can check out the Maine Historical Society for free. This is a really great way to find out about the state and the people who made it famous.
5) Take a walk:
If you are a hiker, or walker there are hundreds of places that you can go walking. For example, in Norway there is Snow Falls. This picturesque little place is really a rest stop on the side of RT 26. However, it offers a nice walk across the falls and picnic tables. Another great option is the Portland Freedom Trail. This trail is a tribute to the Abolitionists in Maine, the anti-slavery movement and the Underground railroad. This walk will take you all through the city and you can do it at your own pace. You can download a free pdf map of the tour at http://www.portlandfreedomtrail.org/index.html.
Many towns and cities in Maine have festivals for everything you can think of. For example, in June you can attend the Moose Mania Days in Machias, the Portland the Old Port Festival, Old Home Days in West Paris and even the Summer Solstice Festival. They are great family fun, with music, craft booths, demonstrations, food and even fireworks. For more information about all the festivals occurring in Maine check out this link: http://www.maine.info/events/festivals/june.php.
If you find yourself in Maine this summer, I hope that you check out some of these great activities. Because you can't beat the price.