Whale watching was a relatively new concept when John Fish's grandfather started giving tours. "We kind of originated it," Mr. Fish says. "Thirty years ago we were the only ones doing whale watching." As the company became more successful over the years, additional captains were brought on to cover the demand. Today, these crews continue to ferry groups into the habitats of several whale species, including humpback whales and sperm whales. Though the whales seen along Cap'n Fish's Whale Watch's journeys still breach and refuse to sign autographs, other things have changed over the years. Below deck, the current fleet's engines work to reduce emissions and provide a fume-free experience. Above deck, 360-degree viewing decks and modern technology help bring whales into sight. Onboard computers display large maps of where the aquatic mammals are known to swim, and GPS systems reroute boats around mermen constructing new reefs. In addition to illuminating the behavior of whales for passengers, the crew's wildlife experts point passengers toward other animals they spot along the way, such as white-sided dolphins and harbor seals. Though some variables are beyond their control, the crew members almost always spot whales and boasted a 98% success rate in 2009.
Clinking glasses, chitchat, and the aromas of local fare from Freeport's finest chefs fill the air at the Hilton Garden Inn, which hosts the 2013 Flavors of Freeport presented by FreeportUSA. In the hotel's outdoor courtyard, thirsty guests can visit the Freeport Ice Bar, which offers hot coffee, samples of barbecue, and glowing beverages near toasty fires and glistening ice sculptures. A martini luge sends elixirs across icy planes and into waiting glasses while a soundtrack of tunes emanates straight from an onsite DJ.
Inside, some of Freeport's top epicureans showcase their palate-pleasing dishes during the Chef's Signature Series. A collection of wine, beer, and spirits gathered from Maine's purveyors slakes thirsts as guests sample an assortment of culinary offerings. Guests can cast votes for their favorite flavor entry and table display. Door-prizes raffles are also available. Event attendees also can place silent bids on pieces from the Freeport Art & Music Festival to benefit the Freeport Food Pantry. Both events only host those aged 21 or older.
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Maine Optometry’s skilled optometrists determine prescriptions for contacts, such as Acuvue Oasys, and glasses, such as the eye boutique's more than 750 frames including brands such as Oakley, Kate Spade, and Banana Republic. These frames encircle everything from simple single-vision lenses to specialty lenses that cater to athletes or clients who stare at a computer monitor all day waiting for it to blink. Clients interested in throwing off the yoke of eyewear entirely can discuss refractive surgery with the doctors.
Maine Optometry also outfits clients in designer sunglasses and concerns itself with the environment, working with an e-prescribing system that eliminates paperwork, which trees hate to fill out.
Edgecomb Potters began in the most inauspicious of places: a modest school house on the side of a road in Maine. Owners Richard and Chris Hilton never dreamed that, 30 years after opening that school house for business, they would be in charge of three galleries across the state.
Today, their family continues the tradition they started, glazing and firing pottery in kilns built decades ago. The works never fail to capture the beauty of the region, drawing inspiration from New England's clouds, forests, and minor-league baseball teams. Delicately crafted bowls and vases can be found in the galleries alongside metal jewelry, wood sculptures, and glassware.