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.
Nestled along the sandy shores of a spring-fed lake, Peters Pond RV Resort keeps campers comfortable with well-maintained campsites trumpeting a slew of amenities. Campers stow the bungalow-on-wheels or pop a tent 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, hiking nearby trails, or parading about the two beaches, or settle vacation quarrels with old-fashioned rounds of bocce ball, badminton, or horseshoes. Wash away the musk of strenuous hikes or the memories of losing at hot potato with the resort’s hot showers and laundry machines. The modern facilities also anchor campers to civilization, with cable hookups, a free WiFi hotspot, and hourly news updates beamed to each mind via the camp’s resident medium.
An FAA-approved helicopter-flight tour operator, North Andover Flight Academy employs five licensed instructors with combined flight and teaching experience that numbers in the thousands of hours. Fledgling aviators can begin their aeronautical journeys at Lawrence and Marlboro Airports, which serve as home bases for services that range from tours and photography flights to full pilot-certification courses and agricultural applications. The team commands a fleet of six Robinson helicopters, including one R44 and five R22s, and keeps Robinson factory-trained mechanics on staff to ensure their safe operation and to ice down their blades after particularly vigorous training flights.
Segway Tours of Portland gears up for the Halloween season by visiting notable haunts of the Casco Bay area and recounting sinister tales and little-known historical facts. Journeys commence with a 30-minute introduction to Segway technology and proper operation, including a brief history of the machine as well as tips on using its secret pogo function. From a starting point on Pearl Street, wheel-mounted adventurers embark on a 60-minute exploration of the waterfront and Munjoy Hill, as experienced guides describe spine-tingling tales of pirates and phantom naval officers via audio headsets. The tour pauses periodically to allow guests to take advantage of scenic photo ops or collect autographs from famous poltergeists at the East End Cemetery.
Wheelie Good Bike Rentals makes exploring Portland’s trails and cityscape as easy as remembering how to ride a bike. Every cruiser and hybrid rental includes a helmet, lock, water-bottle cage, and a map of downtown Portland, provided as an edgeless jigsaw puzzle. Cyclists can call to have their bikes delivered as early as 9 a.m. the day of their rental, or they can make a reservation in advance to schedule an earlier drop off. After bombing down off-ramps and performing wheelies at Deering Oaks Park, simply give the bike cab fare or lock it up at one of three convenient drop-off locations—Casco Bay Ferry Terminal, Monument Square, or Portland Museum of Art—by approximately 9 p.m.
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.