Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Fall Foliage in Maine

The East Coast, especially the New England states, provide some of the best places to see the colors change, and Maine is no exception. Leisure travel to this far north state increases significantly after Labor Day, and it's easy to see why. The lush environment is ideal to see the fall foliage and the coastal regions boast some of the most picturesque scenery in the country. Maine also has a number of fall activities to complete any trip.

Before you go, check the fall foliage website, the official tracker of conditions in Maine and where the colors are really starting to show. As of right now, most of Maine is still pretty green, but it's only a matter of time before the index ticks up and it will be in peak foliage season.

Acadia National Park. Credit: Acadiamagic.com
Once you decide when you want to go, the next step is figuring out what to do. As I said before, there is no end to the possibilities in Maine. Obviously, seeing the leaves change will be at the top of your list--at least it should be--but, in all honesty, how can you miss it. Maine has over 17 million acres of forest, so catching the reds, golds and oranges will be no trouble at all. Whether you want to see a lot or a little is up to you. If you are eager to take in as much of the fall season as possible, I suggest taking a hike, bike ride or drive through the numerous trails that wind through the state. Acadia National Park has 57 miles of paved and less-traveled trails where bikers can travel along the coastline or venture on an old logging trail.

There are dozens of festivals in Maine during the months of September and October, including pumpkin carving events, haunted tours and craft shows, and there is no end to the wide array of foods one will taste while attending the festivities. Here is just a quick list of events you could hit throughout the state:

  • Harvest Fest & Chowder Cook-off in Bethel
  • ChiliFest in Wells
  • Salmon Festival in Eastport
  • Country Roads Artists & Artisans Tour
  • WoodenBoat Sail-In in Brooklin
  • Ogunquit's Antique Show & Sale
  • Cumberland Fair
  • Common Ground Country Fair in Unity
  • Apple Festival in Rangeley Lakes
  • Acadia's Oktoberfest on Mount Desert Island
  • Caribou Fall Arts & Crafts Festival
  • North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River
  • Candlelight Ghost Tour in Bangor
  • Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest in Hiram
Obviously, that's a lot to choose from, but at least you know you have options.

As far as food, well, you certainly will not go hungry in Maine. The state is known for its seafood, especially its lobster, and visitors will devour its fresh, farm raised clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, salmon and trout, too. There are many great places to enjoy a traditional lobster "shore dinner," so check out this list to find one you like. Maine is also credited with having some of the best artisanal cheeses in the country from popular cheesemakers like Hahn's End, Appleton Creamery, Liberty Fields Farms and Oak Leaf Creamery, among others.
Portland Head Maine. Credit:Imagemania.net

Another symbol of Maine is the lighthouse. In our age of digital technology, satellites and GPS, lighthouses no longer serve the same important purpose of guiding boats home that they once did, but they are still very distinctive features of Maine's coast, where more than 60 lighthouses can be found. So no matter what coastal city you choose to visit, chances are there will be a lighthouse somewhere along the beach.

If the outdoors are not your thing, Maine provides plenty of indoor attractions and activities, including world-renowned museums and art galleries, critically acclaimed theaters and performing arts centers, traditional antique and craft shops, and relaxing spa and salon getaways. Trust me, you can still enjoy those fall colors from the comfort of a lodge, boutique shop or museum gallery.

So why not schedule a trip to see the seasons change in one of the most magical places in the United States?

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