Whether leading visitors along the historic streets of Old Port or along the craggy coast near Portland's harbor in a trolley, the guides at Maine Foodie Tours regale visitors with background on the area's artisan cuisine. Each of them partners with local culinary artisans to uncover historical tidbits about dishes or reminiscences about the days when whoopie pies were still carved out of wood. On walking tours, they explain how fish houses, canneries, and textile mills have given way to coffee shops, bakeries, and restaurants, stopping for samples of fish, cheese, and microbrews to illustrate each point. On chocolate tours, they may explore the history of the cocoa bean by leading guests to confectioneries that craft cupcakes, ice cream, fudge, and truffles. In the spring, summer, and fall, Maine Foodie Tours offers other excursions, such as trolley and bike tours.
Located within walking distance of an ocean-side beach, the pet-friendly NASCAR RV Resort keeps campers comfortable with well-maintained campsites trumpeting a slew of amenities. Camping quartets pop a tent or stow a bungalow-on-wheels at one of the resort’s many sites, keeping creature comforts flowing with hook-ups for necessities, including water, electricity, and fondue. Occupy sunshine-drenched days fishing the stocked lake, swimming in the resort’s four pools, or parading about the four playgrounds, or settle vacation quarrels with old-fashioned rounds of horseshoes or shuffleboard. Visitors can also work up a sweat at the resort’s basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts, or make a gentlemanly wager at the 18-hole miniature-golf course.
With a seasoned captain and crew at the helm, Boothbay Whale Watch's 100-foot Harbor Princess ferries up to 149 passengers into the glistening Atlantic in search of exotic marine life. Voyages meander from scenic Boothbay Harbor into the feeding grounds of whales, dolphins, sharks, and seals, with each marvelous sight indicated and explained by the boat's naturalist, Mechele Vanderlaan. Equipped with an open-air top deck and heated cabin, the boat grants sightseers the ability to watch for marine life year-round without baking in the sun or warming up next to a sympathetic harbor seal. Though alcohol is banned from the boat, the Harbor Princess houses a full-service galley that slings light meals and soft drinks throughout each cruise.
It was love at first sight when Zach and Allison Poole moved to Maine. Not with each other, but with the area's rich food and beer culture. Zach dreamed up the Maine Brew Bus as a way to share his epicurean discoveries with others and promote local businesses in the process. Zach takes groups to breweries and pubs across Southern Maine during six all-inclusive themed tours that cover every step of the beer-making process, from adding hops to checking bottle for miniature ships.
Maine Brew Bus wouldn't be able to function without its all-time employee of the month, Lenny—a 14-person bus that once transported children to and from school, but is now outfitted for a life of beer tours. The bus sports a bright green exterior painted by a local artist, a eye-catching nod to the vehicle's biodiesel engine and the business's commitment to preserving the environment.
When Captain Lemuel Moody designed and built The Portland Observatory in 1807, he could hardly have imagined that his maritime signal tower would outlive all of its siblings to become the oldest one remaining in the United States. Though the winds and high seas have relentlessly conspired to bring it down, the tower continues to stand more than 200 years after its construction. It owes its longevity in large part to Greater Portland Landmarks, a conservation society whose efforts led to the observatory’s designation as a National Historic Landmark in 2006. Today, Greater Portland Landmarks continues to introduce new generations to one of the city’s oldest treasures through guided tours. Led by knowledgeable docents, tours focus on maritime history and chart the many changes that have taken place in Portland since the tower’s founding. One thing that hasn’t changed is the breathtaking view from the observatory’s deck, where one can look out on Casco Bay, Back Cove, and Spanish galleons arriving in port after grueling, century-long journeys across the Atlantic.
Urban Farm Fermentory aims to obtain as much of its ingredients from the local community as possible—even its founder, Eli Cayer, is a Maine native. At the Fermentory, juice pressed from Maine apples is allowed to ferment under the direction of yeast that occurs naturally in the air and on the fruit itself, producing a cider that is as tart as it is dry. Raw Maine honey goes into the experimental center’s crisp mead, and its kombucha is sure to please lovers of fermented tea and displease the ghost of Earl Grey. As it expands, the Urban Farm Fermentory is coming to serve as a hub for local artisans, providing a space for enthusiasts to provide workshops in such fields as making lacto-fermented foods such as kimchi, and harvesting mushrooms.
It took only the encouragement of his friend Peter and the effects of a single beer for Norman "Big Toe" to quit his investment job, buy a bike, and complete his first cross-country cycling ride. After a brutal first week, he found his cycling legs and an enduring love for the sport that led him to found Summer Feet Cycling. "I started Summer Feet with the very selfish goal of spending days outside sharing the beauty of Maine with people," Norman says, "If I wanted to spend my days dealing with swarming hoards I would have taken up bee keeping." He keeps his company and tours intimate and small, guiding his charges on half- to multi-day tours of Maine's coastlines and countryside.