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.
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.
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.
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.
Al Gauron Deep Sea Fishing & Whale Watching’s three boats ferry up to 60 passengers out into the Atlantic’s cobalt waters during fishing excursions, and up to 150 while whale-watching. 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 Blue Ocean Society in Gloucester, Massachusetts.