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Best of Maine

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With its rugged coastline, charming New England fishing villages, and pristine forests, it's no wonder Maine has long been America's summer playground—though the state's charm extend to all four seasons of the year. Here are picks of top sights, as well as shops and restaurants serving everything from classic dishes like steamed lobsters and blueberry pie to haute cuisine.
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95 Main St, Freeport, ME 04032, USA
If you want to shop till you drop, L.L. Bean, which never closes, is the place to do so; but that’s not the only reason to visit. Inside the flagship store, pop your head into a fish-tank bubble, try shooting in the archery range, and check...
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Maine, USA
Although the biggest chunk of this national treasure sprawls over about half of Mount Desert Island, there’s also a hefty backcountry chunk on remote Isle au Haut, an easy-to-access mainland section at the tip of the Schoodic Peninsula, and...
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1888 Golden Rd, Millinocket, ME 04462, USA
One of the best ways to experience Maine’s North Woods—the wilderness expanse of mountains, lakes, rivers, and forests north of Bangor—is to immerse yourself in it by staying at a Maine Sporting Camp, but that doesn’t...
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24 Reed Rd, Stratton, ME 04982, USA
Begin with a rural farmhouse rescued from abandonment and masterfully restored and renovated into a restaurant retaining its architectural bones. Not many folks would consider an unorganized territory with a population numbering fewer than 200...
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111 Main St, Machias, ME 04654, USA
At Helen’s, it’s all about the pie. Sure, there’s more on the menu, but the wild-Maine-blueberry pie at the restaurant has earned fame far beyond the state’s borders. For starters, it’s an authentic taste of down east...
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15 Peabody Dr, Northeast Harbor, ME 04662, USA
Skip the crowds at the Jordan Pond House and opt for tea and popovers at the Asticou Inn instead. Say "Asticou," and most people think of the lovely, 2.3-acre, Japanese-style pocket garden famous for its 70 varieties of azaleas, rhododendrons, and...
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9 Thurston Rd, Bernard, ME 04612, USA
Slip over to Bass Harbor, on the quiet side of Mount Desert Island, for an authentic taste of Maine. Unlike most harbors on the island, Bass is filled with working boats, not pleasure craft, and lobster traps, crates, and other gear top the...
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2 Main St, Rockland, ME 04841, USA
It is all about farm-to-table cuisine at Primo, where two-time James Beard Award–winning chef Melissa Kelly hangs both her toque and her garden shears. Behind the restaurant, in a Victorian house on the Rockland–Owls Head town line,...
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515 Basin Point Rd, Harpswell, ME 04079, USA
Decisions, decisions: What’s the best reason to visit Dolphin Marina and Restaurant? Some come for the panoramic views over Casco Bay and its many islands. A few like the location on a working marina, where boats come and go. The savvy come...
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315 Island Rd, South Thomaston, ME 04858, USA
Traditional lobster shacks edge shorelines all along Maine’s coast, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a more idyllic one than McLoons, tucked away in Spruce Head, south of Rockland. It’s situated on a working harbor, where you...
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288 Fore St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
Make a reservation or arrive early to score one of the walk-in tables at Fore Street, the restaurant that launched Portland’s culinary fame. Chef-partner Sam Hayward won Maine’s first James Beard Best Chef Northeast award in 2004, and...
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21 Wells Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
You’ve heard of farm-to-table, but the Well at Jordan’s Farm takes it to another level: farm-as-table. Culinary Institute of America grad Jason Williams sources most of the ingredients for his daily-changing menu from what’s in...
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Fire Road 23A, Millinocket, ME 04462, USA
The paper mills have closed, the towboats are gone, and the river drivers who used to ride and guide logs down Maine’s white-water rivers to lakes and on to mills are only a memory, but the Ambajejus Boom House survives. Constructed in 1906...
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Greenville, ME, USA
Greenville is a frontier town, the last chunk of civilization before entering Maine’s northern woods. Anchoring the southeast corner of Moosehead Lake, Maine’s largest body of freshwater, and with endless miles of backcountry hiking...
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When Flagstaff Lake was created by the damming of the Dead River in 1949, two villages were submerged. Gone but not forgotten, their history lives on in the houses and cemetery relocated to high ground, through artifacts and photos in the Dead...
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ME-4 & Rt 17, Oquossoc, ME 04964, USA
Even if you’re not an angler, paddler, or nature enthusiast, the Rangeley Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum is a keeper. The museum brings to life the Rangeley Lakes region’s rich history, especially its sporting luminaries: Fly-Rod...
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The Forks, ME, USA
When the logging era ended on the Kennebec River in 1976, Wayne Hockmeyer saw opportunity and launched Northern Outdoors, Maine’s first white-water rafting company. In the decades since, Northern has grown, and other companies have joined...
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459 NB-774, Welshpool, NB E5E 1A4, Canada
While Campobello Island is located in the Canadian province of New Brunswick, the only access to it by car is by crossing the International Bridge from Lubec, Maine. The 2,800-acre park honoring President Franklin D. Roosevelt covers most of the...
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12 Little Island Way, Bass Harbor, ME 04653, USA
Captain Kim Strauss, whose family has made a living off these waters for generations, built the 49-passenger R.L. Gott a decade ago. He and his son, Captain Eli Strauss, offer daily cruises on East Blue Hill Bay from Bass Harbor. The scenery...
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Castine, ME, USA
Step back in time in Castine, a National Register of Historic Places enclave well off the beaten path. Thanks to its strategic location at the tip of a cape at the mouth of the Penobscot River, France, England, and the Netherlands fought over it...
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740 Ft Knox Rd, Prospect, ME 04981, USA
On crisp, clear days, the eagle’s-eye views from the trilevel, glass-curtained Penobscot Narrows Observatory range from Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, to Mount Katahdin, Maine’s tallest peak. The observatory caps a...
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Rockland, ME, USA
Weave through the islands of Penobscot Bay, visit remote fishing towns, watch lobstermen haul traps, and experience the Maine Coast as the early explorers did by sailing aboard a Maine windjammer. The natural soundtrack accompanying your journey...
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Monhegan, ME, USA
Rugged Monhegan, aka the Artists’ Island, lies about a dozen miles out to sea, and is reachable only by passenger ferries. About 60 hardy souls live here year-round, most making a living from the sea. If you get a sense of déjà...
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132 Botanical Gardens Dr, Boothbay, ME 04537, USA
Since opening in 2007 with 128 acres and 3,600 feet of tidal shorefront, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens has grown to a whopping 295 acres. Equal parts masterful and magical, the gardens comprise formal plantings and themed gardens, woodland...
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243 Washington St, Bath, ME 04530, USA
Maine’s impressive seafaring and shipbuilding heritage is celebrated at the Maine Maritime Museum’s 25-acre campus edging the Kennebec River. The site encompasses five original structures on the former Percy and Small Shipyard...
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56 Commercial St, Portland, ME 04101, USA
There certainly are other ways to while away a summer day in Greater Portland, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better experience than island-hopping aboard a Casco Bay Lines ferry. Sure, you can simply ride out to an island for a...
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543 Shore Rd, Ogunquit, ME 03907, USA
Explore Maine through the works of the many artists who have been inspired by its crashing surf, craggy peaks, snow-covered landscapes, and spruce-fringed islands. The Maine Art Museum Trail comprises seven museums with stellar collections ranging...
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18 Dock Square, Kennebunkport, ME 04046, USA
If there’s a hub of the hubbub in Kennebunkport, it’s Dock Square, a colorful jumble of onetime fishing shacks that now house galleries, stores, and restaurants. Prowl through the shops to find unusual clothing, distinctive souvenirs,...
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10 Main St, Ogunquit, ME 03907, USA
The stars shine every night at the Ogunquit Playhouse, a theater with a rich history and an enviable reputation. Broadway professionals bring this 750-seat summer-stock theater to life from mid-May through October. Born in 1933 out of the Little...
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12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
Chances are that when you think of a lighthouse, the image that pops into your head is the iconic Portland Head Light. The tapered white tower on the end of a rocky cape buffeted by crashing waves? Yup, that’s the one. The adjacent...