Founded in 1822, the Maine Historical Society is the third oldest state historical society in the nation, and curates museums, programs, and events to celebrate the state's long history. The MHS Museum features a collection of more than 15,000 artifacts, including pieces of Native American archaeological material, political memorabilia, and pictures of the first governor with his head caught in a lobster trap. The society's 1-acre campus is also home to the the Wadsworth-Longfellow House, the childhood home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poet best known for penning "Paul Revere's Ride" and The Song of Hiawatha. Membership to the society includes invitations to exhibit openings, member parties, lectures, trips, access to the Brown Research library, a subscription to the Maine History Journal, and a 10% discount at the museum store, web store, and all vintage Maine image purchases.
Elizabeth Moss is dedicated to recognizing Maine’s role in American Fine Art—in particular, the 20th century contemporary tradition.
Elizabeth Moss, MA, fell in love with Maine during a summer excursion to Monhegan Island from Washington, D.C.
The Narrow Gauge Railroad train ride takes guests on a 35- to 40-minute adventure in an antique 1846 railcar scooting along the restored 2-foot track. From the plush, velvety seats, visitors can peer at the abundance of sights, such as the 1875 Portland breakwater lighthouse and the elusive Frankenmoose, while listening to factual orations by the conductor or guest docent. After ingesting the panoramic Casco Bay from the tassel-framed glass windows, riders can peruse the past in the museum, which collects informative displays, historic railcars and interactive conductors.
Mark and Nichole Stevens have always loved craft beer. Mark began homebrewing in his Mr. Coffee during college, and Nichole spent several years slinging drinks behind the bar. After spending a vacation in search of northern New England breweries that offered tours, the couple decided to create Maine Beer Tours to give guests a behind-the-scenes look at the burgeoning craft-beer industry.
Maine Beer Tours’ palatable expeditions explore the ins and outs of the brewing process and the Maine brewing industry. Groups sightsee at several well-known breweries that employ diverse brewing styles and ingredients, including the well-known Allagash Brewing Company, Shipyard Brewing Company, and Urban Farm Fermentory, which doubles as a food-fermentation center and bee yard. To help expand guests' knowledge and pique interest in new types of beer, breweries give guests samples of their toothsome porters, ales, and witches' brews.
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.
When most people think of Italian villas, elaborate textiles, and Turkish smoking rooms, they don't picture them in the United States. But they used to be. The Victoria Mansion showcases the grandeur of art, design, and architecture before the Civil War. Based in the 19th-century Morse-Libby house, the museum is now open to the public, although it was once in peril of being ripped down and turned into a gas station in 1940.
Visitors can tour the house to see rooms dripping with stained glass, gilded mirrors, and satin textiles. From the very large—chestnut paneled walls—to the very small—a silver salt cellar by Tiffany & Co.—the home displays the most opulent architecture and decor of the age. In addition to guided tours, the museum sponsors public lectures, discussion groups, and scholarly symposiums on 19th-century topics, like the mansion's artwork.