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Trip Ideas

10 Greatest Small Cities in Maine, In line with a Native

Maine is stuffed with small-town allure that always will get missed when guests flock to the southernmost elements of the state. As a Mainer, I at all times encourage vacationers to avoid wasting time for all of the magic that lies north of Portland.

My recommendation usually invitations the query, “Oh, you imply Acadia Nationwide Park?” Whereas Acadia shouldn’t be missed, I am speaking in regards to the in-between cities — the locations with comfort shops that promote a mishmash of groceries, antiques, and garden ornaments; locations the place your server might be additionally the proprietor, and the place “ayuh” is used as a substitute of “sure.”

Listed below are among the finest small cities in Maine.


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Most know Ellsworth as a spot to drive by en path to Acadia Nationwide Park and Mount Desert Island. However there are just a few causes you must do greater than stretch your legs right here. For starters, you should buy cheesecake on the respect system. Momo’s Cheesecakes gives its treats from a storage that has been renovated to maintain up with the demand.

On the opposite finish of Principal Road, 86 This! calls itself “an aesthetic, punk-rock burrito store.” All kinds of artistic wraps are good on your picnic basket. In the meantime, yogis will enjoyment of Steamy Buddha’s choices. And simply previous the Ellsworth line, there is a Maine expertise like no different: Timber Tina’s Nice Maine Lumberjack Present. Watch the present or attempt your hand at log rolling.

The place to Keep: Below Canvas Acadia, a luxurious glamping expertise, is a brief distance away in Surry.


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Moosehead Lake is Maine’s largest lake, however it’s not as frequented as its southern counterpart — Sebago Lake. Greenville is a 1.5-hour scenic drive from Bangor Worldwide Airport and Moosehead is definitely the point of interest of the city. A method to absorb the lake’s magnificence is by reserving a seaplane experience — best for each the summer time and fall.

Steamboat Katahdin has been round for 100 years and outlived what was a aggressive market of vessels. Guests may also be part of a Registered Maine Information for a novel moose safari. And street trippers will love Lily Bay State Park for its sandy seashore, campsites, playground, and picnic areas.

The place to Keep: Lease a camp. “Camp” is a time period Mainers use instead of lake home, cottage, cabin, and extra.

Swans Island

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If you happen to’ve dreamed of staying in a Maine city that is solely accessible by ferry service, Swan’s Island is the place to go for lazy days on the seashore with a view that has no finish. Its allure lies in its simplicity: one retailer, lighthouse, museum, and library. Whereas swimming is accessible at 4 public seashores, the “quarry pond” offers guests the choice of a freshwater dip. Quite a lot of trails, boat charters, and eco excursions are additionally out there for vacationers wanting some exercise. If you happen to’re already planning a visit to Acadia Nationwide Park, do not miss this close by treasure.

The place to Keep: Trip leases could also be your finest wager right here. Because the ferry leaves from Bass Harbor, staying at The Claremont is commonly most well-liked.


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After I attended the College of Maine, Orono appeared like a school city. Now as a mom of two, Orono appears like a household vacation spot. These seemingly contradictory vibes boil all the way down to the truth that nobody is an outsider right here. You will by no means really feel like a vacationer (except you need to).

After grabbing espresso and an acai bowl from Nest, cross the road to the Stillwater River Path, which is simply wanting 4 miles out and again. For one thing extra outdoorsy, Maine Sure Journey Middle on the college gives kayak, canoe, and paddleboard leases (together with rooftop kits for transport). Locals additionally love Pat’s Pizza (or the fish tacos at Woodman’s). And in true faculty city style, there are many locations to take pleasure in a beverage, with Orono Brewing having probably the most intensive number of craft brews.

The place to Keep: Away from downtown, part of Orono is situated on Pushaw Lake, the place this quaint cottage is situated.


Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald through Getty Pictures

Maine’s Mid-Coast is lined with charming, can’t-miss cities, like Camden. Whereas the downtown space is chock-full of outlets, eating places, and cafes, remember to search out some elevation by mountaineering or climbing Mount Battie at Camden Hills State Park. For a novel strategy to see Maine’s coast whereas capturing its magnificence, take a look at a images workshop tour on board the Moon Canine.

The place to Keep: 16 Bay View overlooks the harbor and is centrally situated to dozens of outlets and eating places.


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Residence to the Maine Maritime Academy, Castine is without doubt one of the state’s most missed locations and likewise one of many oldest, with greater than 100 historic markers all through city, which landed it on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations. To get a way of its allure, be part of a strolling tour or meet up with the native crowd on the newly renovated Dennett’s Wharf, which has been a staple in the neighborhood for 50 years.

The place to Keep: Examine into the Pentagoet Inn & Wine Bar, a historic bed-and-breakfast with an on-site pub and quaint woodland backyard with views of Penobscot Bay.


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Within the winter months, Kingfield comes alive as a ski city of types, located subsequent door to the famed Sugarloaf Mountain. However to solely know Kingfield as a spot to relaxation your head between journeys to the slopes can be lacking out on a distinct kind of magnificence that blossoms through the summer time and early fall. Out of doors fans carry their bikes and mountaineering sneakers to hop on the 80-mile community of groomed paths referred to as Maine Huts & Trails. In case your purpose is to cowl as a lot of the Maine woods as attainable, reserving a “hut” to sleep in between hikes is an effective way to satisfy native adventurers.

The place to Keep: Take a look at this lovely A-frame cabin on Airbnb.


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Situated on Deer Isle, Stonington has every thing a customer may need from a historic fishing village. A working waterfront offers vacationers a glimpse into how their famed lobster dinner was made attainable. The city is nestled right into a hillside, with sweeping views of the bay. You may get misplaced in nature, busy your self with artwork galleries, or absorb a present on the Stonington Opera Home. After all, it would not be a visit to the island with out stopping at Nervous Nellie’s Jams and Jellies. Eclectic sculptures and items made by Maine artisans accompany the treats.

The place to Keep: Aragosta at Goose Cove not solely gives dreamy oceanfront lodging in cottages and suites, however the fine-dining restaurant serves artistic culinary delights from a famend chef who works immediately with native fishermen and farmers to curate the freshest delicacies.


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A former mill city, Buckport sits on the banks of the Penobscot River and is house to a thriving waterfront with picturesque views of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox. The paved walkway stretches for nearly a mile, and guests can discover a bench and luxuriate in some fried clams from close by Crosby’s Drive-In. Friars’ Brewhouse Faucet Room serves native beer and is a good place to cease in between looking outlets on Principal Road.

The place to Keep: Take a look at this quiet waterfront Airbnb.


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Maine’s Lakes and Mountains area within the western a part of the state is house to a number of idyllic cities, together with Naples, which is nestled between Sebago Lake and Lengthy Lake (with one other 50 lakes close by). Learn to water ski or wakeboard, or take it simple with a pontoon rental. Eating choices are plentiful, too, with many waterfront eating places and eateries (assume: all of the seafood and blueberry desserts you’ll be able to eat).

The place to Keep: Lakeview Inn is a bed-and-breakfast the place you’ll be able to anticipate ukulele concert events and weekend barbecues.

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