With its archipelago of island communities, Maine needed a way to connect its maritime residents after the system of colonial-era catapults became too expensive to maintain. Enter Casco Bay Island Transit District, also called Casco Bay Lines. The aquatic outfit operates myriad vessels year-round, transporting passengers between Portland and the islands of Casco Bay. Aside from scenic shuttle services, the line also introduces visitors to the storybook sights of the northern New England region, whisking them on music cruises and sunset tours along the kraken-dappled bay.
In the 1800s, windjammers and their mighty sails were a frequent sight up and down Maine's coast, where they would pull fish from the water and fill New England's insatiable need for goldfish crackers. By the 21st century, most had abandoned windjammers for engine-powered vessels—but not Hasket Derby Hildreth. A boat builder and mechanical engineer, Hildreth had a vision to re-create the windjammer's classic design on modern shores. Working with a friend who was a boat restorer, Hildreth and his team fashioned their own steel tools and built one of Portland's only engineless windjammers, which they affectionately christened Frances. Maine Sailing Adventures launched Frances in the fall of 2003. Though Hildreth has since passed away, his memory lives on through the legacy Frances continues to perpetuate with each voyage. Today, she can be found at Maine State Pier, where passengers board her shallow deck and sail out to enjoy Maine's scenic coasts without the noise or emissions typical of engine-powered boats. These trips stretch beyond standard tours, though. As they sail, the crew spins tails of Portland's maritime history, teaches passengers how to hoist the topsail, and transforms the boat into a floating classroom, where students can learn about lobster migration and how many wishes they can get from a starfish.
Maine Tactical features an indoor range, so students can practice what they learn in NRA firearms classes directly onsite.
At Maine Tactical, instructors lead training classes. When not helping guests improve their marksmanship, the team mans a pro shop that, as a Glock Blue Label dealer, extends exclusive benefits to law enforcement, military personnel, and state-licensed security officers. Maine Tactical's staff also includes armorers for manufacturers such as Sig Sauer and Smith & Wesson, which means the staff can complete custom builds, including hunting scopes.
Pilates Baxter Place is a fully equipped studio located in the historic Old Port district of Portland on the waterfront. By day the studio is flooded with natural light and at night by full-spectrum, color-corrected lights. Free parking is available right next to the building.
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.
In a mezzanine area flooded with natural light from arced windows, cardio machines stand alongside free weights and strength-training equipment, ready to help exercisers combat calories and stress levels. Instructors, meanwhile, inspire participants to reach their fitness goals during group fitness classes set to upbeat music, while yoga teachers promote a stronger mind-body connection with styles ranging from breath-focused Vinyasa to energetic prana flow. For more in-depth work, guests can work with trainers certified by the likes of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the National Academy of Sports Medicine. The crew also includes registered nurse Maria Glad, whose 12-week and 12-month wellness programs complement the club's fitness activities.
Staffers at the organic, raw-food juice and smoothie bar stand by to whip up a healthy and satisfying snack after workouts, while vapor from the locker rooms’ sauna and steam room loosens muscles.