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.
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.
Dedicated to upholding company founder Captain Arnold Whittaker’s passion for seafaring, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company owners Robin and Bob Whittaker introduce guests to the rich history and scenic beauty of New England’s harbors, estuaries, and islands on a variety of daily cruises. The heart of their operation is the Coast Guard–inspected and certified M/V Thomas Laighton_, a replica Victorian steamship replete with a brass staircase and open-air sundeck. During tours, a licensed captain and seasoned crew steer the ship to destinations such as the Isles of Shoals, a scenic area located a few miles from the U.S. coast and 3,577 miles from the Portuguese coast, which affords passengers a chance to glimpse historic forts and lighthouses. Additionally, fall-foliage tours along the Piscataqua, Cocheeco, and Salmon Falls Rivers, Dover Point, and Great Bay offer waterside views of color-changing flora. Along with public cruises, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company also rents out its majestic vessel for private events and hosts field trips that introduce passengers to local marine life.
It's a tough job, but somebody has to search the globe for little-known destinations for discerning travelers. For the past 35 years, Mike Thiel has been happy to oblige. He's climbed aboard all manner of transportation—from hot-air balloons to vintage steam trains to dogsleds—in order to curate upscale and exotic vacation experiences. As the son of a United States Diplomatic Corps officer who became a consultant for the oil and gas industry, Thiel has long been globetrotting and seeking respite from overcrowded beaches and tourist-filled hot spots. He founded Hideaways International, Inc. to share what he knows about luxury travel with everyday people. As his company has grown over the years, Thiel has advised high-profile media outlets such as Forbes.com on how to get away from it all, with a 2007 article about the world's best private beaches and a 2008 feature on avoiding spring-break crowds.
Thiel and his team of travel specialists guide people to high-end cruises, breathtaking Italian villas, and vacation-home rentals in the Caribbean. They even help clients rent a private island to feel like a celebrity or test out a dinosaur-DNA cloning project. Members of the Hideaways Aficionado Club also receive exclusive perks and discounts with participating partners.
Gundalow Company likens its namesake to the tractor-trailer rigs of today. Flat-bottomed cargo barges with a single mast, gundalows once sailed down shallow rivers, carrying fish, lumber, bricks, and coal to towns in the Piscataqua region. The company’s mission is to preserve the history of this ship and the maritime life it once facilitated. They are aided in this mission by two vessels. The Captain Edward H. Adams is a historically accurate replica of the Fanny M., the last commercial gundalow. It was helmed by Captain Adams, who was also known for gathering awareness for the health of the Great Bay Estuary. Visitors can hop aboard this permanently docked ship and participate in an array of hands-on educational programs. The Piscataqua, on the other hand, offers on-the-go lessons, as it is US Coast Guard–certified and available for public and private sails. During two-hour tours, passengers travel along six inland rivers, picnicking, helping the crew pull up lobster traps, or searching the water’s surface for a third eye in their reflections.
Al Gauron Deep Sea Fishing & Whale Watching’s three boats ferry up to 150 passengers out into the Atlantic’s cobalt waters during fishing and whale-watching excursions. The fleet also escorts passengers across the ocean on evening fireworks cruises.
Al Gauron’s sea-seasoned team takes fishermen miles offshore on 2-, 4-, and 8.5-hour deep-sea fishing trips that have yielded fish up to 20 pounds in the past. Anglers have even been known to catch up to 100 mackerel on four-hour trips. The fleet can also make 12-hour fishing-marathon trips in order to give anglers a chance to fish in waters that are farther out.
For close encounters with humpbacks, finbacks, minke whales, and giant sharks, the ships sail up to 40 miles offshore on five-hour whale-watching trips. All information the crew gathers from the whales, such as pod size and each whale’s sweater size, is given to the cetacean-research unit in Gloucester, Massachusetts.
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.