COVID-19 Resources


Pumpkin Patch Trolley
October 9th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

The Seashore Trolley Museum is hosting its 22nd annual Pumpkin Patch Trolley this weekend. The ride is about 30 minutes long and travels along the scenic heritage railroad during the peak of the leaf-peeping season. Your ticket includes one free pumpkin for you to paint or carve as well as access to the many fun "pandemic-friendly" activities for you and your loved ones to enjoy.

Riding to the Pumpkin Patch

Tickets are available for rides that depart the Visitors Center at 10:50AM, 11:35AM, 12:20PM, 1:05PM, 1:50PM and 2:35PM. Multiple trolleys will be operating during each time slot to ensure social distancing on the trolley ride is maintained. As mentioned above, the trolley ride to the pumpkin patch is about half an hour. Typically, all activities and events are held right at the pumpkin patch, but in the spirit of social distancing, the museum is changing it up this year! After everybody has selected their perfect pumpkin, the trolley will then escort everyone back to the visitor's center, where even more fun will take place.


Now that you have your own pumpkin, why not paint it?! Once you have painted your masterpiece, leave your pumpkin to dry and partake in the other fun activities. These include the photo scavenger hunt, arts and crafts, and the cookie walk. The cookie walk is just like musical chairs; when the music stops, find a number on the ground and stand next to it. Somebody will spin the wheel, and if your number comes up, you win a pre-packaged cookie (or non-edible prize if cookies aren't you're thing.) The best part is you get to play as many times as it takes you to win.

Bring your Appetite because Texas Grace Kitchen will be at the event. This food truck specializes in authentic Texan food, which is hard to find in Maine. Some of their delicious menu items include brisket sandwiches and carnitas tacos.

Costume Contest

There is still much uncertainty about Halloween this year, so the Pumpkin Patch Trolley coordinators are encouraging event-goers to wear their costumes. The flashier, the better as there are prizes for the best costume and the best face mask. We've already been wearing masks for months, so why not make a costume out of it.

Explore the Museum

The visitor center houses a 1600 square foot gallery that currently exhibits History in Motion: Public Transportation Connecting Maine Communities. This exhibit invites you to journey into the history of how trolleys changed the lives of people in Maine and to learn what past forms of transportation can teach us about contemporary issues and possible futures that we face today.

After enjoying your time at the visitor center, venture outside onto the museums sprawling campus. Besides hiking and enjoying the views (yes, your dog is welcome in case you are wondering), there are also three large exhibit barns open for exploring. These buildings are filled with trolleys from throughout the ages and the tools that helped build them. 

One of the buildings is named The Donald G. Curry Restoration Shop and is dedicated to restoring old trolleys back to their former glory. This building offers a second story viewing gallery where you can look down on the mechanics repairing these treasured pieces of history. If you're interested, they'll even talk to you and walk you through what they're doing.


Fryeburg Fair Online
October 2nd, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

As can only be expected, all 26 of Maine's agricultural fairs have been canceled for 2020. Maine's fair season typically begins in late June with smaller fairs such as the Monmouth and Houlton and grows progressively bigger and busier until ending with the big shebang that is the Fryeburg Fair. Although you won't be able to pet the adorable farm animals this year, you can still participate in many of the fair's events and demonstrations. For the first time in its history, the Fryeburg Fair will be virtual this year.

169 Years and Counting

It was a chilly day in March of 1851 when a few local farmers and merchants got together and decided to show off their harvest, produce, cattle, and wares to the community. Since those humble beginnings, Fryeburg Fair, Maine's Blue Ribbon Classic, is Maine's largest agricultural fair and second in New England only to the Eastern States in Massachusetts. Today, Fryeburg Fair sits on 185 acres and has over 100 buildings. 

In a typical year, the eight-day fair hosts over 3,000 animals, including prize-winning draft horses, ponies, racing horses, oxen, dairy & beef cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, poultry, rabbits, and much more. The fair has flourished since that day 169 years ago when William Walker of Lovell won $3 for the best acre of corn, and William Spring of Brownfield earned $1 for the best seed wheat.


The Fryeburg Fair is the culmination of a series of events coordinated every year by the Maine Association of Agricultural Fair's (MAAF). MAAF's objective is to create a friendly environment where fairgoers can learn more about Maine's long-standing agricultural industry. The sweet-smelling carnival food and exciting rides draw the crowds in, but they stay for the fun and informative classes and demonstrations. This year will obviously be slightly different, but MAAF is still dedicated to educating people about agriculture.

Online Vendors

Over 100 vendors are offering their goods online for the virtual fair. Much like a craft fair, each vendor sells their own unique and hand-made goods that include jewelry, food, pet supplies, furniture, artwork, and so much more. These vendors can be found on the Fryeburg Fair's official website and are categorized by genre.


Contests are now being judged online, and many of them have already been closed for submissions, the results of which will be posted during the virtual fair. Some of these contests are a bit on the zany side with titles such as the "Handsome Rooster Show", "The Haunted Gingerbread House Contest", and the "Dapper Duck Exhibition." These silly contests are a part of what makes the Fryeburg Fair so unique, and there is currently one contest left open for submissions.  

On Monday, October 5th, at 10:15 am, hop online and watch Mr. Twister walk you through how to make the perfect pretzel. Then, using your own recipe or the one provided, create your own and submit a photo to the website. The deadline for this delicious contest is October 9th at 6:00 pm.


The performers that bring the fair alive haven't bailed for the 2020 fair. These performers, whose names have yet to be released, are bringing the show to your tv or laptop screen. Performers in the past have include laudable names such as Clint Black, Diamond Rio, and Lady Antebellum. Follow the Fryeburg Fair's Facebook page for updated information on which stars will be performing.


Portland Restaurants
September 25th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald

It seems Mother Nature is eager to close the calamitous chapter that was the summer of 2020. The cold weather and early nights have swept away any memory of summer, and Fall officially started on the 23rd. As it does every year, the drop in temperature brings with it cravings for comfort foods. Restaurants are finally open again, so why not reward yourself for making it through this crazy summer and indulge in some delicious food. Not only will your stomach thank you, but so will the local restaurants trying to stay afloat.

East Ender

Bill Leavy and Karl Deuben started cooking together in 2004. Their shared love for food led them to open one of Portland, Maine's first food trucks, SmallAxe, in 2012. At SmallAxe, they converted their appreciation for local ingredients into delicious, hand-made, casual food. Their success led to the opening of East Ender in 2015. Here they continue their unique vision for casual dining.

East Ender's menu is a delightful combination of classic comfort foods and creative dishes, which will be sure to satisfy even the most diverse group of diners. Their comfort foods include classics such as chowder and fried chicken, but one of their best sellers is their thrice cooked fries; the pinnacle of crispy french fries. One of their more creative dishes is the chickpea patty melt, which is considered a hit by both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

David's Restaurant

David's Restaurant is the brainchild of award-winning Chef David Turin, who was honored by the Maine Restaurant Association as Maine's 2012 Chef of the Year. In its current location since 1997, Turin and his team of innovative chefs continue to serve-up perfected favorites alongside an ever-changing array of comfort fare with flair. Conveniently located right in Monument Square, this is the perfect restaurant for a fun night out.

David's menu had everything from salad, to pizza, to meatloaf, all with his own creative twist. A personal favorite of mine is the mushroom pizza loaded with garlic oil, shiitake and button mushrooms, lavender flowers, and truffle oil. If you find a dish that you love, and I am sure you will, David posts the recipes of many of his dishes online.

Back Bay Grill

Chef Matthews received his degree in culinary arts from Newbury College in Boston. He then went on to work with the prestigious White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, followed by a year with the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia before returning to Maine, where he became Sous-chef at the Back Bay Grill. Larry became Executive Chef in 1997 and purchased the restaurant from owner Joel Freund in August 2002. Since then, Back Bay Grill has been the recipient of the Wine Spectator Award every year since 1998

The menu at Back Bay Grill contains items one would only expect to find in an upscale restaurant such as seared foie gras, pate de campagne, and rack of lamb. Not only is the food pleasing to the palette, but it is also diligently plated and garnished to create a food masterpiece. Unfortunately, due to COVID, they are only open for dining Thursday through Saturday with limited seating. So if you plan on dining at Back Bay Grill, it would be wise to make a reservation.


A rustic Greek restaurant, Emilitsa offers a wide variety of mezethes (small plates), megala piata (large plates), and pristinely fresh seafood. Emilitsa honors the breadth of traditional cuisine from all regions of Greece.

Each menu item is written in Greece; however, a short description of the food you're ordering is offered in English underneath. The friendly waitstaff will help you pronounce the Greek names such as popia meh patates psarion or hirino meh glykia patata, and unlike other restaurants, you get to leave having learned a new word in Greece.


Apple Picking Season
September 18th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Although it is technically not Fall yet, the cool weather and emergence of sweaters and scarves are certainly making us feel like it is. The leaves are just beginning to change, which is our yearly reminder that apple picking season is finally upon us. After such tumultuous summer, it's relieving to take part in a classic activity that even COVID can't cancel.

When to Pick?

Not all apples ripen at the same. This time of year is ideal for your classic varieties such as McIntosh, Cortlands, and Honeycrisp. Wait till October, and the sweeter varieties will be available such as Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Fuji. Some farms like to experiment and crossbreed apples to create their own apple varieties. How they do it is a mystery to me, but the results are delicious.

What to Pick?

Some people pick apples with ambitions of baking delicious desserts in mind while some people intend to make sauces or cider. Before you start pulling apples off from trees, it is important to know that not all apples are created equal. Some apples make divine pies while others are meant to be thrown in the juicer. When it comes to baking, choose only apples that hold their shape well during cooking. Golden Delicious, Baldwin, Cortland, and Idareds are highly recommended by Cook's Illustrated.

People making sauces should stick to sweeter apples such as Red Delicious and Fuji. If you're looking to make your own cider, then it entirely depends on your own taste. Try mixing different varieties together to find your favorite balance of sweet and tart.

There are over 7,500 types of apples in the world, 2,500 of which are grown in the United States. That's a lot of apples, and I certainly don't recommend taking the time to learn what each variety is best used for. Luckily, if your memory bank is short on space, just remember that Honeycrisp is generally considered to be the most versatile apple. Although, you can't go wrong with a granny smith or a Golden Delicious either.

Where to Pick?

Wallingford's- Wallingford's in Auburn is a one-stop-shop for all your favorite fall activities. Not only do they have several acres of apple trees to pick from, but they also have a bakery where you can purchase fresh apple doughnuts or apple fritters. Don't forget to ask for it a la mode. They also have their own line of handmade foods such as salsa, pickled vegetables, and jams.

While the petting zoo and playground equipment may attract families with small children, Wallingford's also has an adult appeal. Their recently expanded tasting room has over a dozen of their homemade ciders and wines on tap. The classics are always available such as the Mac and blueberry, but some of the taps rotate with experimental flavors such as maple and horseradish.

Sweetser's- Greg Sweetser, the 5th generation of Sweetser's, owns and operates this 200-year-old family business in Cumberland. This impressive farm boasts over 50 varieties of apples. They understand that not everybody is an expert in apples, so they have a chart at their farm to help you choose the right apple for you.

Sweetser's is open 7 days a week from 9am to 6pm during apple picking season. They are a proud local business, and they support their own by offering local goods such as: bakery products from HiFi doughnuts, pies and pastries by Two Fat Cats Bakery, Preserves by Orchard Ridge Farm, Maple Syrup and Honey by Cooper Maple Products, Cookies by Cumberland Baking, and fresh ground coffee by Coffee by Design.


Leaf Peeping
September 11th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

We're only two weeks into September, and already the leaves are beginning to change. Although many of us aren't ready for Fall's chilly air, the vibrant red, orange, and yellow hues of the season are always welcome. Because Maine is such a heavily forested state, many people flock to our mountains, farms, and forests to "peep" at the beautiful, changing leaves. Our state's leaves don't all turn at once, though. It's a slow progression that varies by region, so if you time your trip correctly, you'll be able to see the vibrant showcase of foliage at its peak.

Why Do Leaves Change Color

If you reach back into your memory bank, you might remember your childhood science class, where you learned that chlorophyll is what gives leaves their green color. Chlorophyll is essential in a plant's food-making process. However, in the Fall, because of changes in daylight and temperature, the leaves stop their food-making process. The chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears, and the yellow to orange colors become visible, giving the leaves part of their fall splendor. Whatever color the leaves turn is due to the mixing of varying amounts of the chlorophyll residue and other pigments in the leaf during the fall season.

When to Come

Color change progresses from north to south. As a rule of thumb, Northern Maine's peak leaf-peeping season begins the last week of September. Central and Western Maine are near peak during Indigenous Peoples' weekend, and Coastal and Southern Maine generally reach peak conditions mid-to-last October. However, Mother Nature is a fickle soul, and it appears the leaves are eager to change this year. For the most accurate dates, visit the Maine government's official website for an up to date report on peak leaf-peeping dates.

Where to Go

Unless you're coming from Canada, Northern Maine (really anything north of Bangor) is quite the haul. Unless you're gungho about making the 5+ hour drive to Fort Kent, you're better off staying in Central and Southern Maine, where there are plenty of locations to take in the splendor of Fall.

Acadia National Park- Visitor rates to this acclaimed state park drop drastically after August. This decline in tourism makes Acadia a perfect destination to leaf peep while maintaining social distancing during these still uncertain times. If you grow tired or hungry, the beautiful coastal town of Bar Harbor is only minutes away. Like Acadia, Bar Harbor also sees a decline in tourism during this time of year, making for safe dining and shopping and after a long day of hiking.

Songo River Queen- Naples is a small town that offers spectacular views of both Long Lake and Bradley Pond. Besides being an excellent place for food and live music, Naples is also famous for its much-loved Songo River Queen. The Songo River Queen is a privately built replica of the famed Mississippi River Paddle Wheelers. The Queen is 93 feet long, 23 feet wide, and tips the scales at over 100 tons, enabling it to offer an exceptionally smooth ride for even the most timid of passengers. During the Fall months, The Queen offers scenic foliage cruises on Long Lake.

Kennebunkport- While we all love Fall, the season is mixed with a bit of melancholy for the end of summer. In Kennebunkport (summer home to the Bush family), you can have the best of both worlds. Here, you can still walk on the beach and feel the sand between your toes as you appreciate the quaint town backdropped by colorful foliage. If you're not one for walking, you can always charter a lobster boat and take a cruise along the craggy coastline.


New England Clam Chowder
September 4th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

September has only just begun, and it has already brought with it longer nights and plummeting temperatures. The sudden chill has many Mainers craving warm comfort food such as a steaming bowl of chowder. While there are many variations of chowder, with diverse ingredients and broths ranging from clear to red to white, there is only one type of chowder acceptable in Maine. New England style chowder.

History (yes, chowder has a history)

Chowder has its roots in the Latin word calderia, which originally meant a place for warming things, and later came to mean cooking pot. The word calderia also gave us cauldron, and in French, became chaudiere. Like many English words, the translation and pronunciation were muddled somewhere along the way, and the word chowder was born.

This delicious dish was popular amongst early settlers due to its simplicity and the abundance of seafood on our coast. In 1751, the Boston Evening Post published the first known recipe for chowder:
First lay some Onions to keep the Pork from burning
Because in Chouder there can be not turning;
Then lay some Pork in slices very thing,
Thus you in Chouder always must begin.
Next lay some Fish cut crossways very nice
Then season well with Pepper, Salt, and Spice;
Parsley, Sweet-Marjoram, Savory, and Thyme,
Then Biscuit next which must be soak’d some Time.
Thus your Foundation laid, you will be able
To raise a Chouder, high as Tower of Babel;
For by repeating o’er the Same again,
You may make a Chouder for a thousand men.
Last a Bottle of Claret, with Water eno; to smother ’em,
You’ll have a Mess which some call Omnium gather ’em.

I'm not exactly sure why this recipe was written in the form of poetry, but the gist of how to make chowder has differed little. Today, Claret would never be used in a chowder, but this particular chef was probably influenced by Elizabethan cooking methods he had learned in Europe.

Different Variations

Let it be known that Manhattan clam chowder, a tomato-based chowder, is not welcome in Maine. Mainers feel so strongly about this that in 1939, a state legislator by the name of Seeder actually introduced a bill to make adding tomatoes to chowder illegal. While the ridiculous bill did not pass into law, it may as well have in the minds of Maine residents.

Despite our seemingly strict outlook on chowder, many subtle variations of the dish can be found throughout the state. For example, to add bacon or not to add bacon? Many chefs choose to add bacon to their chowders while others deem the extra salty ingredient unnecessary. Chefs also feud whether thickeners and herbs are necessary, but, in my opinion, it's all delicious.

While New England clam chowder is most common in Maine, rivaling in popularity are haddock chowder and seafood chowder. As clams can be a bit chewy, many people prefer these two variations as they are meatier and heartier.

Where to Find the Best

There is no shortage of restaurants in Southern Maine that offer chowder, but Gilbert's Chowder House is one of the most popular. Gilbert's is a no-nonsense restaurant with its staple dish right in the name. Their chowder is thick, creamy, inexpensive, and can be ordered in a bread bowl. 

On the opposite side of the culinary spectrum is Eventide Oyster Co. This restaurant is a bit more expensive and loves to be innovative with their food. Their chowder is classic in that it's unthickened and relies on dairy and clam juice. However, they then add their own creative twist by adding sea vegetables like kombu (kelp) and nori.


Golfing in Southern Maine
August 28th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

For some, summer is not complete without getting a few (dozen) rounds of golf in. Maine is naturally a beautiful state, which reflects in the landscaping of our many golf courses. Whether you are a beginner, an expert, or you're just using the game as an excuse to crack open a beer, Southern Maine has a course for you.

Riverside Golf Course

Riverside Golf Course is owned by the city of Portland and is nestled beside the scenic Presumpscot River. Riverside is your classic golf course with rolling hills, tree-lined fairways, and elegant water hazards you can't help but appreciate even if your ball falls right into its trap. The serene atmosphere at Riverside is perfecting for melting away stress, just as every vacation should.

Riverside offers an 18-hole golf course and a separate 9-hole golf course. If you're traveling with a friend or family member that doesn't quite have a grasp of golf yet, you can leave them to practice and have fun at the 3-hole practice golf course; or sign them up for a private golf class. Weather and wind conditions for the week are posted on the golf course's website so you can plan your trip accordingly. In addition to this, all tournaments and events are listed as well. Tee times can be viewed and booked from the Riverside website.

After a rousing round of golf, take a load off your feet and fill your belly at the Riverside Grill beside the golf course. Riverside Grill focuses on upscale comfort foods, and on the weekends, they have brunch with discounted bloody marys and mimosas. It's the perfect way to start your day before moving onto an exhilarating round of golf.

South Portland Municipal Golf Course

Some people aren't golfing professionals, and that's just fine! South Portland Municipal Golf Course is a short course targeted towards beginner and intermediate players. This course is only nine holes, so it's perfect for a quick round of golf that won't take up your entire day. If you have little ones you want to introduce to the world of golf, this course is perfect for them.
More specifically, this par 33 layout measures 2071 yards, with a course rating of 59.0 and a slope rating of 92. It is a fun course for players who are new to the game, and seniors who are looking to relax, get outside, and enjoy a round of golf. Yet it is tricky enough to challenge the intermediate player. More experienced players will benefit from working on their short game, as the doglegs, and hidden, postage-stamp greens can make shooting a challenge.

Nonesuch River Golf Course

This 203-acre facility, situated on the Nonesuch River, features a meticulously maintained 18-hole public championship golf course, a modern 2,500 square-foot clubhouse, a full-size practice range and two putting greens, as well as a golf academy with professional PGA Instruction.

Besides its impressive amenities and credentials, what makes this golf course truly unique is its namesake. The Nonesuch River runs directly through the golf course property, creating wetland areas that support a variety of plant and animal species. During the design and construction process, the course's owners were careful to maintain valuable wildlife habitat critical to local moose, wild turkey, fox, and deer populations. It is not uncommon to catch a glimpse of these beautiful animals while playing.


Food Trucks: The New Fad In Food
August 21st, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

One fateful day, Portland resident Matt Noone and his son set out on a journey to find a particular food truck. Noone checked all the usual spots that he typically finds this "meals on wheels" vendor, but to no avail. Sure, there's plenty of other places to get food in Portland, but none of them hit the spot that particular day. It was then that he realized that his hometown was in need of a new service.

FoodTrux: The App

Inspired by his failed mission to find lunch, Matt Noone created and recently launched FoodTrux. Scouring the streets for your favorite food truck is now a thing of the past, thanks to this app. Free to download, FoodTrux uses GPS to show you the realtime location of food trucks in your area. You can even change the radius of the tracker to display however far you feel like traveling. Of the 80 food trucks in Maine, 50 of them are currently on this app. Below are some of the tasty vendors you can find.

Totally Awesome Vegan Food

This food truck describes their dishes as "gourmet vegan junk food." They serve lunch, dinner, and can be found for brunch every Sunday at Tony's Donuts. This food truck typically stays within the Portland area and is one of the easier ones to find. Despite being a vegan food truck, you may be surprised to find burgers and dogs on the menu; but they are all animal product free! Their pastrami Reuben is a best seller and is made with jackfruit, a fruit with a meat-like texture.

Pinky D's

Besides being fun to say, Pinky D's is awesome because they have mastered the art of making the perfect poutine. For those unaware, poutine is a Canadian dish made with three simple ingredients: fries, gravy, and cheese curds (also called squeaky cheese). Of course, nothing about this dish is good for you, but everyone deserves a delicious treat every now and then. Not only has this food truck perfected poutine, but they have made about a dozen variations of the dish. Their menu changes, but they frequently offer buffalo chicken, pulled, pork, lobster, and even shrimp scampi poutine. They make sure there is always something new to try.


You know you're in a foodie city when somebody is trying to recreate the PB&J. This food truck typically stays in the Portland area, and they are most well known for their fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Yes, you read that right. Not only do they fry PB&Js to a crispy, sweet golden brown, but they have other tasty sandwiches as well. One of their most noteworthy sandwiches is called the Lumberjack. This sandwich contains peanut butter, bacon, and Maine maple syrup. Of course, it's also deep-fried to add to the deliciousness. 

Bite Into Maine

Whether you're a local or an out-of-stater, summer in Maine is not complete without enjoying a fresh lobster roll. Karl and Sarah Sutton agree with this sentiment and have tried lobster rolls all across the state. What they discovered is that lobster rolls have absolutely no variety whatsoever. Inspired by their desire to add a little pizzazz to this Maine staple, they created Bite Into Me. Their menu offers the classic lobster roll that we all know and love, but they also have variations of it, including wasabi, chipotle, curry, and picnic-style.


August 14th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 
Maine is such a calm and peaceful state that it may be surprising to learn that our coast has a long history of pirate activity. The famous movie franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean, has painted a specific portrait of the life of a pirate in our minds. Oddly, other than the stage makeup and the fantastical aspects of the movie, this portrayal is not far off. The coast of Maine has served as a battle sight for plundering pirates for many years. Two pirates, in particular, have become very notorious in Maine lore.

Black Sam Bellamy

Samuel Bellamy was born in England in 1689. By his late teens, he was already an experienced sailor and even fought several battles for the Royal Navy. In 1715, Samuel made the fateful decision to leave England and travel to Cape Cod to be with family. It was here that he met the local beauty, Goody Hallett, who some speculate is why he became a pirate in the first place. Rumor has it that Hallett's parents did not think that a poor sailor was good enough for their daughter, and Bellamy turned to piracy to acquire the wealth needed to ask for this woman's hand in marriage.

Whether this was the reason or not, Bellamy joined a small group of men heading for Florida in search of a recent shipwreck filled with treasure. Their mission was unsuccessful, however, and the crew turned to piracy to recoup their losses. The crew, irritated by their captain's lack of vigor, mutinied against him and voted Samuel Bellamy as their new captain. Samuel rose to the call and was a successful pirate, as well as a striking figure. It was then that he earned the nickname "Black Sam Bellamy," derived from his long black hair that he wore pulled back in a ponytail instead of the white powdered wigs that were popular during the time.

Only a year later, in 1717, Bellamy's ship was caught in a dreadful storm off the coast of Massachusetts. The ship sank, killing Bellamy and all but two of the 145-man crew. Goody Hallett, who was shunned from society for her promiscuousness, never saw her beloved again.

During his one year career as a pirate, Black Sam Bellamy terrorized the Atlantic coast, including Maine, and captured 53 ships. He is accredited as the wealthiest pirate in history. He rose to further fame when his sunken ship was discovered in 1984, making it the first authenticated pirate shipwreck ever found in North America.

Dixie Bull

Dixie Bull was born in England around 1611. He served as an apprentice skinner (someone who skins animals) under his brother for nine years. Perhaps skinning animals was not the life for him because in 1632 Dixie moved to Boston. Here, he purchased a vessel and began trading furs with Indigenous People along the New England coast, especially Maine. The finer details of what happened next in his life are hazy, but what is known is that the French attacked his ship and stole all his goods, leaving him penniless.

Dixie's storyline from here on out is straight from a villain's plotline in a superhero movie. Fueled by anger, Dixie Bull turned to piracy to restore his wealth and seek revenge on those who robbed him. He earned his nickname "The Dread Pirate" when he and his crew of three ships and 25 men attacked Pemaquid, Maine. Pemaquid was a well-defended settlement, and locals were shocked by the brazen attack. Dixie Bull plundered their stockade and looted the town.

Poems and legends claim Dixie died in a sword fight, but evidence suggests that he simply returned to England and lived out his life in peace. Even more fascinating are the legends that Dixie buried his gold on Damariscove Island and Cushing Island in Casco Bay. If the treasure really does exist, then it is still waiting to be found.


Maine Wildlife
July 7th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

The coronavirus pandemic has canceled many summertime events, but one thing that the virus can't cancel is the great outdoors. Many people are reconnecting with nature this summer and what better place to do so than in Maine, which has the highest forestation rate at 90%. Maine boasts an abundance of wildlife that has awed and inspired many over the years. Today, we will share a small list of some of the many critters you can find in this state.

Black-Capped Chickadee

Why not start with our state's official bird? The black-capped chickadee is one of nine birds in the chickadee family. These small birds, measuring no more than 5.5 inches, are named so because of the distinct "chick-a-dee-dee" sound they make. This is how they communicate, and the number of "dees" at the end of their call determines the type of danger they are trying to warn their fellow chickadees about.

This iconic songbird is native to Canada and the northern United States, which explains why we share our state bird with Massachusetts and New Brunswick, Canada. The black-capped chickadee is a friendly species and has even been known to feed from human hands.


Second, only to Alaska, Maine has the highest moose population. Due to their thick skin and heat-retaining coats, moose tend to spend their time near water during the summer to cool off. If moose fail to stay cool during the summer, they may suffer from heat stress and fail to gain enough weight to survive the winter.

Moose are solitary creatures, meaning they do not form packs or herds, making them difficult to spot. If you do end up seeing a moose, make sure there is ample distance between you and the animal as they have been known to attack.

For more fascinating facts about moose, including a story about the devil's antler, check out the July 18th blog post form this year.


Whenever someone mentions Maine seafood, usually a bright red lobster with a side of butter comes to mind. However, if you're not from New England, you might be surprised to find that lobsters aren't actually red. Lobsters are typically murky brown or black in color, and their distinctive red hue after cooking is due to a chemical released while the lobster is being boiled.

But even when alive, lobsters still don't have consistent coloring. Rare genetic mutations can cause lobsters to have orange, yellow, and also blue shells. Even more unique are "cotton candy" lobsters. This unusual name doesn't refer to the lobster's flavor but to its vibrant shell with varying pink, blue, and purple shades. Just as odd are "Halloween lobsters." Halloween lobsters are black on one side and orange on the other. These two strange mutations are 1 in 100,000,000.

Black Bears

Bears are prevalent in the northern United Staes as well as Canada. Of all bear species, black bears are the most abundant, with a population twice the size of all the other species combined. Black bears are also the smallest, but that doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. You may have been told at some point in your life that if you encounter a bear, lay on the ground and play dead. This is good advice, but only when facing a brown or grizzly bear. Black bears are less hostile and aren't as likely to attack. It is recommended to speak loudly to the bear to make yourself known and quietly back away.

Luckily, black bears tend to inhabit areas that would be difficult for a human to navigate. Like Yogi Bear, though, black bears can be attracted to the smell of food. For this reason, wardens always recommend never leaving food out while camping, and disposing of any food remains in "bear safe" trash cans.


A Quiet Beach Day
July 31st, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald

You'd be surprised to learn that Maine had more shoreline than California, but unlike the Golden State, most of our shores consist of craggy, rocky cliffs. Our largest beach is Old Orchard Beach, and thousands of people flock to its warm sand every year. This beach is 11 miles long, enough space to social distance, however there's no getting away from the loud clamor that comes with being Maine's most popular summer destination. Those looking for a more peaceful beach day will be heartened to know that there are other options away from the hustle and bustle of Old Orchard.

Ferry Beach State Park

Any beach with the words "state park" next to it in Maine is going to be immaculate. All state parks in Maine have an entrance fee, but it's definitely worth it knowing that you're going to be in a clean area with restrooms, changing rooms, and lifeguards. Ferry Beach is less than 30 minutes away from Portland and is perfect for anybody looking to do more than lay on the beach or play in the waves.

Ferry Beach is fun because once you're done on the beach, there is a trail system to explore as well. In addition to taking care of the beach, Ferry Beach State Park also ensures that all trails are well-groomed, and hazards (such as roots) are brightly marked. I recommend Ferry Beach to any family with children old enough to enjoy a hike in the woods before or after their beach day. Guided hiking tours are available as well.

Pine Point Beach

One town over from Portland is Scarborough, where Pine Point Beach is located. Although still a popular destination, you will find Pine Point to be much calmer and less crowded than Old Orchard. Pine Point is my go-to destination when I'm looking to have a fun beach day, but want to beat the crowd and traffic of Old Orchard. 

Beachfront parking at Pine Point is a steal compared to Old Orchard, and there is a food shack in the parking lot that serves casual yet delicious food. If nothing on the menu catches your eye, there are a wide variety of restaurants within walking distance as well.

Willard Beach

In Maine, "quiet" and "beach" simply do not go together, but the closest you can come to that combination is Willard Beach in South Portland. This beach is only four acres in size and is tucked between Southern Maine Community College (SMCC) and Fisherman's Point. The sand here may not be as smooth and white as other beaches, but the location is unbeknownst to many people, making it the perfect getaway for a tranquil beach day.

If you didn't bring a book or something else to entertain you, you can sit back and watch the sailboats and lobster boats drift back and forth instead. From the beach, you can easily spot House, Catfish, and Cushing Island. These islands act as a barrier from the ocean waves, making Willard Beach a very safe area for young children to go swimming.

Unlike nearly everything else in the Portland area, parking for Willard Beach is free. Once you are done at the beach, Scratch Baking and North 43 Bistro are within walking distance for a convenient bite to eat.


July 24th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 
Maine is a state admired for its abundant and captivating outdoors, so it’s only natural that one of the most successful outdoor apparel companies originated from this state. The L.L.Bean flagship store is the heart of Freeport and thousands flock to this 220,000 sq ft retail store, which resembles more of a college campus than a store, every year. 

The Man That Started It All

It all started in 1912 when avid outdoorsman, Leon Lemonwood Bean, became tired of getting his feet wet while hunting. A crafty man, he designed a waterproof boot with rubber bottoms and a leather top. This became known as the Maine Hunting Shoe, or the duck boot. Wanting to share his invention with the world, Bean managed to get his hands on a list of people with Maine hunting licenses, and sent out a series of mailers.

The mailers were a considerable success, but sadly, the boots were not. 90% of the first batch of boots Bean sold were defective. Refusing to be disgruntled, Bean stuck to his commitment to providing quality products. He reimbursed his customers, and corrected the problem, and went right back to making more boots. Twelve years later, Bean would go on to add the Maine Duck Hunting Coat to his product line, and it only grew from there.

The Early Bird Gets The Worm

Bean started his company with the comfort and convenience of the outdoor enthusiast in mind. This is why in 1951, he decided to make his flagship store open 24/7. This new policy would accommodate visiting outdoor enthusiasts, particularly hunters and anglers, who would drive all night to get an early start the next morning. In reference to the new store hours, Bean said, “We have thrown away the key to the place.”

Since 1951, there have been only four instances where the Freeport location closed its doors. The store shut down operations in respect of the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the death of Leon Bean himself in 1967, and the death of his grandson Leon Gorham. The fourth instance was in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The Iconic Boot

The Maine Hunting Shoe that started the company is still sold in stores today and has not strayed far from its original design. The boot has become an emblem for L.L.Bean, and mini boot keychains, ornaments, and other paraphernalia can be found inside the store. Outside the store is a 16-foot statue of the iconic boot, and it sits right beside the front entrance waiting for a size 410 foot to come to claim it.

In 2012, for the company’s 100th anniversary, L.L.Bean came out with the bootmobiles. If you haven’t heard of them before, they’re exactly what they sound like. These motorized, twenty-foot long boots on wheels travel the country, mainly visiting college campuses, spreading the love for the outdoors. Between the two, they have driven over 350,000 miles.

Creating Community

L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School started out in 1979 as a single clinic and has since boomed to encompass 16 outdoor activity programs. Each program is centered around outdoor activities, such as fishing, hiking, and archery, just to name a few; and offers classes for all skill levels. All equipment is provided by L.L.Bean free of charge. Despite the pandemic, L.L.Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School is still in session, although some restrictions have been made.

Another way L.L.Bean has created a sense of community in Freeport is through its annual summer concert series. Every weekend of every summer, L.L.Bean hosts live music at Discovery Park located right next to their flagship store. These concerts include local musicians as well as internationally known acts such as Nickel Creek, the Mavericks, and Andy Grammer.

The Scoop on Moose
July 17th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald
What comes to mind when you think of Maine? Lobsters and blueberries are definitely on the list, but I'm willing to bet moose come to mind as well. Walk into any gift shop in Maine, and I guarantee a depiction of a moose will be on 50% of the paraphernalia. Moose are iconic creatures, yet most people don't know much about them, even Mainers. Below you will find a list of wild facts about moose that may have you looking at these beautiful animals in a new light.


We all know what moose look like, but it's hard to grasp just how big these giants are without having seen one. Male moose, also known as bulls, can grow to be 10 feet tall and weigh as much as 1,500 pounds. Moose have hollow hair and the air trapped inside insulates them during the cold winters. For this reason, its rare to see moose any further south than Maine.

Moose are herbivores, but they're too big and gangly to comfortably eat grass, so they prefer to graze on low lying twigs and leaves. Their favorite foods are native willow, aspen, and balsam fir trees.


Did you know what the British refer to moose as elk? Having never seen a moose before, the first British explorers to visit New England in the 17th century assumed these giant beasts were some sort of mutant elk. By 1606, they learned that the Algonquian people referred to these animals as mos, which means "eater of twigs." This eventually evolved into modern-day moose. While the word moose did make its way back to England, the British had no animals to serve as a reference, so the word never grew roots in their corner of the world.


Humans are drawn to moose because their massive antlers are so captivating. Only bulls grow antlers. Though size varies among moose subspecies, antlers can grow as wide as six feet and weigh a whopping 70 pounds. Although these antlers seem as permanent as any other appendage, they actually fall off ever winter in order for the moose to conserve energy. Upon shedding these antlers (can you imagine the relief they must feel?), bulls immediately begin regrowing their antlers. In order to sustain their antler growth, bulls must eat a whopping 9,000 calories a day.

The growing antlers are covered in velvet. This velvet contains an intricate network of blood vessels, and the antlers are overly sensitive during this time. Once the antlers are grown, and the velvety fuzz has been shed, bulls use their antlers to attract mates and battle rival bulls. 

Devil's Antlers

If a bull becomes castrated, accidentally or intentionally, the bull will immediately shed it's existing antlers and grow a set of mutilated antlers which the animal will never shed. This phenomenon is due to the lack of testosterone in the bull's body, which is essential to antler growth, also called antlerogenesis. The indigenous people refer to this disfigurement as Devil's Antlers.

Indigenous People have many myths and legends surrounding the devil's antlers. One of which tells of a Cree man that shot and killed a moose, not knowing that it had devil's antlers. Upon his discovery, he refused to eat the meat. They referred to the dead animal as weetogo, their word for devil. One year after the animal's death, the Cree man who shot it was killed by a passing train.

A Battle to Remember

In 2016, two friends in Alaska stumbled upon the perfectly preserved remains of two moose encased in ice. Even more bizarre was the fact that the two animals' antlers were intertwined, meaning the moose must have gotten stuck during battle, which resulted in their death. Although uncommon, the remains of moose who became entangled while fighting have been found before, but never a preserved specimen. A replica of the fighting bulls can be found in Freeport's L.L. Bean.

Long Lake
July 10th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

COVID has caused many beloved water parks to shut down throughout Maine, the most prominent being Splashtown and Aquaboggin. The summer of 2020 has been a particularly hot one, so many people are resorting to nature to find reprieve from the scorching sun. Just a short drive north of Portland is my personal favorite lake to cool off in. Long Lake stretches across the scenic towns of Naples, Bridgton, and Harrison and offers plenty of shoreline for a relaxing beach day as well as a few other hidden gems.

Island Hopping & Sand Bars

If you have access to a boat or kayak, Long Lake is a fun place to explore as it is eleven miles long and has many beautiful sites. Dotted across the lake are small islands where boaters can moor and enjoy the sun, and kayakers can take a break. The most popular of these islands is Long Point Island, the south side of which is nothing but sandy beach.

Long Lake passes under the bustling causeway in Naples, where the Songo River Queen, an antique paddle-wheeler boat, can be seen in all her glory. On the other side of the causeway just past the marina is a sand bar, another popular spot known amongst locals. It’s common to see a handful of boats anchored down at the sandbar enjoying the shallow water and the beautiful view of the Naples Marina.

Songo Lock

Past the sand bar and on the other side of Bradley Pond, which is connected to Long Lake, is the Crooked River, which leads you to the Songo Lock. The Songo Lock was built in 1830 as part of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal, which was used to transport raw materials and other goods from Portland Harbor to Bridgton and Harrison. The lock also controls the amount of water in Long Lake. 

The Songo Lock is the only remaining lock of the Cumberland and Oxford Canal. Even if you have no need to pass through it, the lock is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a pleasant sight to see. To even reach the lock, you have to pass through the Songo Lock Bridge, a hand-operated swing bridge, one of the few left in the country. Once you pull up in your boat, an employee from the State Department of Wildlife stops all traffic on the bridge and uses a hand crank to turn the bridge sideways. Now, with the bridge out of the way, watercraft can pass. After this, you can access the lock.

Fishing & Wildlife

Long Lake is stocked every year, meaning that the state releases adult fish that were raised in a hatchery over the winter, into the water to supplement existing populations. The fish are plentiful, as are secluded fishing spots. Meaning you can enjoy a day of fishing while easily practicing social distancing. This lake is particularly famous for its landlocked salmon, although a wide variety of fish can be found, including bass, trout, perch, and even eel. It’s not uncommon for anglers to walk away with enough fish to feed a family.

This lake is particularly shallow, so if you’re a more serious angler, you should head to Kent’s Landing in Naples, where the water level is particularly deep. A vessel with a depth-finder would also prove handy.

The shores of Long Lake are nesting grounds for Maine Loons. These aquatic birds are elusive, and their cries are both beautiful and bone-chilling. Loons are not built to be on land, so if you ever come across one on the shore, it is likely nesting and will become defensive. It is recommended to slowly back away if this happens.

Fun Facts

Author of the beloved children’s books, Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White, called Long Lake his home during the summer months. He is not the only author to be inspired by the lake. Famed Maine author, Stephen King, was inspired by Long Lake and made it the home of his fictional character David Drayton in his famous novella, The Mist, which was adapted into a movie in 2007


Independence Day on the Water
July 3rd, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

As mentioned in the previous post, most Fourth of July festivities have been canceled. These cancellations, coupled with social distancing restrictions, have put a damper on many beloved Independence Day traditions. This upcoming holiday not only falls on a Saturday, but the weather forecast calls for bright and shining skies. What better way to spend a beautiful holiday than on a boat or kayak, enjoying the beautiful weather safely and enjoyably.

Sebago Lake

This 30,000-acre lake is a playground for boats, and its many inlets and islands are perfect for kayakers to explore. In the middle of the lake is the seasonally inhabited Frye Island accessible by boat or the public ferry. Facing the island is a large cliff face known as Frye's Leap, where daring individuals can jump and plunge into the lake.

Another popular activity at Sebago Lake that doesn't involve jumping off cliffs is fishing. The lake is famous for its many species of trout, but bass, perch, and landlocked salmon can also be found. Unfortunately, there is also an abundance of pike, an invasive species that was introduced illegally. The state asks anglers to kill or hold any pikes that are caught. 

Sebago Lake Marina is a reputable business to rent a boat if you're looking to cruise the waters of Sebago lake this Independence Day. On the other side of the lake, closer to the many inlets, is Sebago Trails Paddling Company, where kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards can be rented.

Casco Bay

Why limit yourself to a lake when there's the open ocean? Casco bay is an exciting place to explore by either kayak or boat, as there are many scenic islands. Even if you don't visit the islands (call ahead for mooring availability if you plan on doing so), the islands are simply a beautiful sight to see. Great Chebeague Island, in particular, is popular among boaters due it long, sandy beaches.

Another popular destination in Casco Bay is Fort Gorges. This fort was built on Hog Island Ledge and takes up nearly the entirety of the island. As beautiful and historic as this fort is, it's history is actually a long list of failures. For many years, Congress neglected to give enough financial support to build the fort. When the Civil War started, construction workers rushed to finish the project, but the war was over by the time they finished in 1865. At this time, modern explosives had made the fort obsolete anyway. The fort never saw combat, but it is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Portland Boat Rental didn't beat around the bush when choosing their name. They are one of the many boat rental services located directly on Casco Bay. If you're looking to explore the water without a motor, Eastern Mountain Sports and Portland Paddle are also located in the area.

Hay Moon

After spending your day soaking up the rays, you're in for quite the spectacle after sunset. In lieu of fireworks, Mother Nature has gifted us with the Hay Moon on the night of the Fourth. The Hay Moon is July's full moon because it is in sync with when hay is harvested. It's often called the Buck Moon as well because this is the time of year that male deer, bucks, begin growing their horns which shed every year. No matter what you call it, this full moon will light up the night sky and make for a beautiful night out on the water.


Boat, kayak, or paddleboard; no matter your preference, always wear your life vest or have one on hand. If you've never operated a boat before, please take a moment to read up on boating rules for your safety and the safety of others. In addition, always clean and inspect your vessel to help end the spread of milfoil, an invasive plant species that is becoming a growing problem in Maine.

Independence Day, 2020
June 26th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

The famous movie Independence Day, starring Will Smith, is a beloved movie that can always be seen playing on one channel or another around this time of year. Although we may not be under attack by aliens, many are light-heartedly comparing this year's tumultuous Independence Day to that of the movie's. With social distancing restrictions still in place, many cities throughout our state are scratching their heads as to how to celebrate this upcoming national holiday.


Some optimistic city leaders chose to simply postpone their Fourth of July festivities to Labor Day Weekend in the hopes that current restrictions will have subsided. Unfortunately, most cities in Maine have chosen to pull the plug on firework celebrations altogether, and not just because of the virus. Many cities in Maine, including Portland, are struggling financially and simply do not have the money to spare for a grand fireworks display. Jessica Grondin, the spokesperson for the city of Portland, stated, "It is the city's hope to bring back the annual tradition for next year."

These widespread cancellations have added firework shop owners on the long list of businesses that have been negatively impacted by the virus. Steve Marson, the owner of Pyro City Maine, has reported that the 110 Fourth of July shows he had planned throughout the state has now dropped to merely 10, costing him $1 million in sales.

The Show Must Go On

It's still possible to see a fireworks display this year, but it could cost you a lengthy drive. Smaller, rural towns such as Jackman, Millinocket, and Greenville are continuing forward with their Fourth of July plans. Their smaller populations allow them to comply with social distancing regulations with much more ease. Greenville, for example, is hosting its fireworks display at their local municipal airport. The ample, open space within the airport will allow for the people of Greenville to safely congregate.

One inspiring story of community comes from e small town of Houlton. Due to safety and budget concerns, this city also made the unfortunate decision to cancel its show as well, that is until Fred Grant of WHOU radio station stepped forward and proposed an alternate solution. Rather than host the celebration at a park as is traditionally done, the fireworks will now be shot from Drake's Hill, the highest point in Houlton. Through community donations, the city purchased only high-altitude fireworks so that the majority of Houlton citizens would be able to see the display from the safety of their own homes.

Celebrate Safely

Many people are resorting to purchasing their own fireworks for this coming holiday. Although firework shop owners welcome the supplemental revenue, they are encouraging everyone to practice safety. Steve Marson stated, "If you can't do it safely, you should not be messing with them."

Fireworks are not allowed on public lands such as parks and beaches. They can only be used on your own property, or where the landowner has given permission. Law enforcement is also reminding everyone to check with their local municipality to make sure fireworks are allowed in their area to avoid any legal trouble.

Have fun, stay safe, and Happy Independence Day!

Happy Father's Day!
June 20th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Bright, shining skies are predicated for Father's Day weekend, which is a relief from the long list of holidays and celebrations that COVID-19 has put a damper on or canceled altogether. The list of outdoor activities is endless here in Maine but, what better outdoor activity to enjoy on Father's Day weekend than fishing. Dads and fishing just seem to go hand-in-hand, and luckily there is no shortage of fishing spots around the state. Our abundance of lakes, ponds, and shoreline make for a diverse fish population. Whether your idea of fishing is a couple lines and a handful of worms or an intense, deep-sea expedition, here is a list of ideas on how to make the most dad's special day.

Inland Fishing

Not only is fishing with dad fun and relaxing, but getting some fresh air after being trapped inside all winter is refreshing and good for the soul. Sebago Lake, only an hour outside of Portland, is a massive body of water with plenty of inlets that allow for private fishing away from others. This lake is particularly popular because it is one of the few places where landlocked salmon can be caught. Trouts are another common fish in this area, with some weighing in at an astonishing 20 pounds.

Everybody has heard of Sebago Lake, even out-of-staters. For something a little more seclusive, you'll have to take an hour's drive northwest of Portland to reach Kezar Lake. The surrounding towns of Lovell and Stowe give off an endearing small-town vibe, and residents are always ready to greet travelers with a wave and a smile. Those that visit this almost "secret" lake know that it's widely used for fishing, which is why boats no larger than 10 horsepower are permitted. While not needed, boats are recommended for exploring the many tiny islands dotted throughout this body of water. The most common types of fish caught here are a variety of bass.

Saltwater Fishing

You don't have to drive out to the boondocks to enjoy a couple hours of fishing. Bug Light Park in South Portland is a convenient and popular fishing hole due to the abundance of fish and the park's easy accessibility. In addition to the shoreline, there are also two ramps jutting into the bay from which you can fish. For a small fee, you can also use the boat launch for a close-up view of Casco Bay.

For a more private saltwater fishing experience, Bailey's Island is an ideal and scenic location. If you follow the main road, it will bring you to the far end of the island commonly referred to as Land's End, due to the gift shop located there with the same name. There is always ample parking, and although the sand beach is small, there are plenty of rocky outcroppings to choose from to claim as your own for a couple hours as you fish with dad or the whole family. Land's End looks out onto Turnip Island and Jaquish Island, home to a wide variety of birds.

Deep-Sea Fishing

Renting a deep-sea charter is a perfect way to surprise dad and make his day if you are looking to add a little more excitement to Father's Day. Maine's coast is rich with sea-life; you'd have to have your hands tied behind your back to walk away from a deep-sea fishing trip without a catch. The most common fish that are caught are cod, haddock, pollack, cusk, and hake. However, special excursions can be booked to try your hand at reeling in bluefin tuna, a fish that is commonly 800-900 pounds. 

Maine Deep Sea Fishing Charter and Kristin K. Charters are 2 of several companies in the Portland area that rent their vessels for deep-sea fishing trips. Depending on your level of skill, you can customize your trip to fit your needs. Two-hour mackerel trips are available for families with smaller kids that are just learning how to fish. On the other end of the spectrum are eight-hour shark trips that take you 30 miles off the coast.

Congratulations Grads of 2020
June 12h, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Our team at Bayley Vacation Rentals wanted to dedicate this post to the graduating class of 2020. Senior year of high school is usually a bittersweet moment in any young person's life. Sweet, because of the endless possibilities that lie ahead of you after graduation, but bitter because it means parting ways with friends and familiar routine. However, students of the class of 2020 won't be able to look upon fond senior year memories like most of us can. COVID-19 has turned their worlds upside down. Even after their perseverance and hard work, they still won't be able to walk across that stage with their peers.

Change Around Every Corner

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, students across the state have not physically attended school since mid-March. Teachers scrambled to try and make life as normal as possible for their students, but learning virtually can be stressful to anyone who needs hands-on attention. Many people held their breath, hoping this would be temporary, but by April it was clear that there would be no returning to school for the rest of the academic year. Nonetheless, seniors buckled down and completed their assignments, only to be told that their graduation ceremony, the special day they have waited for their entire lives, could not go on as planned. 

Creative Thinking

School officials juggled with the idea of postponing graduation ceremonies until 2021, but that plan didn't sit well with them. In efforts to give students what they want and deserve, they collaborated with the graduating seniors to brainstorm creative ideas on how to celebrate their special day.

The results were varied, as you can imagine. On one end of the spectrum is Lisbon High School. These students wanted to make their graduation as close to the real deal as possible. So, on June 7th, all graduates convened at the high school parking lot in cars. Small groups of students took turns entering the school where they could actually walk across the stage and receive their diplomas. Although there was no physical audience present, the entire process was live-streamed. After the ceremony, students returned to their cars and "paraded" through town.

Portland and Mt. Ararat chose to do something similar. Students were allowed to enter the school one by one, and they were recorded crossing the stage and receiving their diplomas. Speeches were recorded as well, and all the recordings were compiled into a virtual graduation ceremony. 

We've reached the opposite end of the spectrum with Morse, Lewiston, and Edward Little High Schools. These schools brought their graduations to the next level by hosting them at local airports. Although still not ideal, how many people can say they graduated at an airport?

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Graduation is not the only aspect of high school that seniors could not experience with normalcy. Proms, a right of passage for any teenager, were canceled across the state, but these resourceful Gen-Z students found a way around that as well. Many outlets such as Teen Vogue, MTV, and even Jack-In-The-Box, stepped up to host virtual proms for these quarantined teens. Celebrities such as Ellen, Michelle Obama, and John Krasinski participated in these events to make them all the more special.

Senior trips and project graduation ceremonies have also widely been canceled or postponed to a later date in the hopes that CDC regulations would change. But, it's the small experiences such as signing yearbooks that can leave the most lasting impact. Most people can pull their yearbook off a shelf and look back at all the sentimental scrawlings left behind by their peers, but the class of 2020 will only have blank pages. Some high schools, such as Westbrook, have navigated around this hurdle by creating virtual yearbooks. Each student is assigned a URL where their friends can leave their messages.


Fresh Air, Fresh Food
June 5th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, dining services in restaurants were temporarily suspended in Maine, with certain counties seeing harsher restrictions than others. Although the world may not be back to normal yet, we're beginning to feel a slight return of the lives we use to live. On June 1st, Cumberland County was permitted to reopen for outdoor dining. This is important because Portland, one of the most popular foodie cities in the country, resides in Cumberland. While certain restaurants in Portland such as Portland Lobster Company and The Porthole are celebrating on their spacious decks, many so-called "hole-in-the-wall" restaurants are not so lucky. In efforts to level the playing field, the city has decided to close certain streets so these restaurants can expand to street-side dining.

Mash TUN

Wharf Street is one of the five streets in Portland shutting down, allowing for cozy and eclectic, Mash TUN, to expand it's otherwise tight quarters into the streets. Portland is known for its uneven cobblestone streets, and Wharf Street is no exception. Owner Curtis Campbell has set out comfortable picnic tables throughout the street, allowing for social distancing dining.

The menu at Mash TUN consists of simple, time-tested bar fare with a modern twist, without losing the affordable bar fare price. The most popular item on their menu might be their unbelievably priced $6 grass-fed burger that is offered every day. Vegetarians need not beware, however, as there are plenty of meat-free options such as their veggie burger, brussels sprouts, and homemade chips and salsa.

Also, if you're wondering what on earth the name of the restaurant means, a mash tun is a vessel used in brewing beer. A mash tun mashes grains to get them ready for the fermentation process.

Petite Jacqueline

The state of Maine has a strong French heritage, and this restaurant's catchy name isn't a vain attempt to capitalize on that market. Petite Jacqueline is the grandmother and grandmother-in-law of restaurant owners Michelle and Steve Corry. Jacqueline stands at only 4'8" tall, but what she lacks in height she compensates in her inherent ability to create passionate and enticing dishes that, according to her granddaughter, "would astound even the most discriminating palate." Petite Jacqueline passed on this talent to Michelle and Steve, and they decided to share this gift with the rest of their community.

Petite Jacqueline is another restaurant benefitting from the closing of certain streets throughout Portland. Milk Street, where the restaurant is located, is cordoned off, allowing more people to enjoy Jacqueline's French-style cuisine. They offer French dishes such as poutine, arancini, and pot de creme, but they also off seaside staples such lobster rolls and lobster mac and cheese. After all, what's a Maine summer without lobster?


For those unfamiliar with DiMillo's, the full name of this restaurant is DiMillo's On The Water, named so because the restaurant is a stationary floating boat. Because this restaurant is docked, it doesn't have a street to set out additional tables on, but luckily a portion of the top deck of this restaurant is uncovered. This dining area offers unique views of the harbor and Casco Bay.

DiMillo's will be offering a limited menu that still promises to deliver five-star cuisine, especially seafood. They are continuing to offer their famous scallop roll, classic fried seafood dishes, and steamed lobsters. The most enticing item on their menu undoubtedly has to be their lobster stuffed twice baked potato.

DiMillo's is taking some time to prepare for reopening, so get ready to visit them after June 9th. If it's your first time, keep in mind that even in the summer, the breeze from the Atlantic Ocean can be a bit chilly. Dress warm and enjoy!


Maine Outdoor Film Festival is Staying Strong
May 29th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Maine is an extraordinary state where raw wilderness and the fine arts live side by side. This unique combo has manifested in the relatively new, but still much loved, annual Maine Outdoor Film Festival (MOFF). Although it won’t be operating to its full capacity due to social distancing restrictions, MOFF still has the green light to host festivities this summer. Amidst this crisis, we can all take comfort in the arts and why not support local artists while you make the most of this strange summer.

What is MOFF

MOFF is an international festival of adventure, conservation, and the arts in Portland, Maine. This festival has many purposes, but the most important is bringing wilderness lovers together to celebrate nature as well as supporting amateur filmmakers. The festival features short films about the great outdoors that are submitted from all over the world.

The Early Days

MOFF’s roots reach way back to 2002 when Nick Callanan and Kristen Kaiser founded No Umbrella – A Reader for River People in The Forks, Maine. No Umbrella was a newsletter dedicated to sharing compelling stories and photographs from the great outdoors. The Forks is an area in Maine well-known for its plethora of outdoor activities, primarily white water rafting. Rafting addicts flock to this are where the Kennebec and Dead River meet every summer, making it a perfect location for an outdoors newsletter.

Sadly, the 2007 economy crash essentially murdered the newsletter, but the spirit behind it remained strong. In 2012, Nick, with the help of fellow rafters, Nick Bowie and Joe Christopher, revived the idea in the form of film rather than newsletter. In August of 2012, the first MOFF was held in The Forks and was a smashing success.

Today, MOFF is a wholly-owned subsidiary of No Umbrella Media LLC, owned by Nick and Nick. Inspired by the newsletters from the early days, No Umbrella Media is a video production company based in Portland, Maine.


MOFF has graced all 16 counties in Maine. The Nicks and their collaborators aim to reach as many Mainers as possible every year and, unfortunately, due to COVID-19, this year will have to be slightly different. In efforts to keep everyone safe, they are pumping the brakes on the 2020 festival and are keeping the screenings confined to the Greater Portland area. From July 30 to August 9, they will be hosting eight screenings with a max capacity of 45 people each. All events will be in strict compliance with CDC regulations, and they are even offering an online version of each screening for those who choose to stay at home.

Supporting a Good Cause

In 2013, MOFF partnered with Teens To Trails, a non-profit dedicated to connecting Maine teens with nature. Since their collaboration, MOFF has raised over $5,500 for this Brunswick based organization. Teens To Trails uses this money to bring Maine students on outdoor adventures such as hiking, camping, and rafting. As of 2020, this humble group has touched the lives of over 1,500 students. In a day and age where obesity rates are skyrocketing, and cellphones are practically turning people into zombies, a little outdoor activity is certainly something I can get behind.


Maine State Parks
May 22nd, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

We've waited a long time, but warm weather has finally made its long-overdue return to Maine. Yes, social distancing orders are still in effect, but luckily 90% of Maine is forested, making for nearly infinite hiking opportunities and ample room to maintain the recommended six-foot distance. Because of this, most of Maine's 48 state parks will remain open this summer. Even if hiking isn't your cup of Moxie, there are plenty of other recreational activities that can be enjoyed safely.

Bradbury Mountain State Park

Right next door to Freeport is the small town of Pownal, where Bradbury Mountain State Park is located. This park is unique as it is one of the five original state parks in Maine, and it is the only park with multi-use trails, meaning it allows hikers, bicycles, and horses.

Other than a tiny pond, there is no lake to swim or fish in at Bradbury. Still, there are over 20 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to advance. Trails such as the Boundry Trail are more apt for advanced hikers as there are rock ledges to climb and navigate around. For those looking for a more casual stroll, Tote Rd or the Northern Loop Trail are ideal. The Northern Loop Trail will take you passed a quarry from the 1920s as well as the remnants of a cattle pound. This area was used in the 1800s to store cattle or other farm animals that roamed too far and onto other farmers' properties. Although it's merely a low-lying wall now, its fun to imagine the space full of cattle and farmers in 1800s garb.

Wolfe's Neck State Park

Wolfe's Neck is located in Freeport just a few minutes away from L.L. Bean. This park is rather small, with only 4.4 miles of hiking trails, but it provides unique, scenic views of the Harrasseket River, Casco Bay, and the lush estuary where these two bodies of water meet.

One of the main attractions of Wolfe's Neck is Googins Island, a place that many ospreys call their home for the summer. Ospreys are a type of hawk that mate for life and their breeding grounds are on this island, which is barely a stone's throw away from the mainland.

Wolfe's Neck has a beach, but it is very rocky and not ideal for swimming. Instead, visitors entertain themselves by fishing or searching the tide pools for crabs, mollusks, and various other types of sea life.

Sebago Lake State Park

Of all the state parks in Maine, Sebago Lake State Park is by far my favorite as it offers an array of outdoor activities to choose from. As the name implies, this park is located on Sebago Lake, Maine's deepest, second-largest lake. For those with a boat or planning to rent one, the lakes 45 square mile surface is easily accessible by boat ramps throughout the park. The lake serves as a playground for water skiers, tubers, and anybody looking to simply spend a Maine summer day on a boat.

If you want to enjoy the water by kayak or paddleboard instead, this is still the place to visit. This state park is located at the northern tip of Sebago Lake, where the Crooked River flows into it. This river gently winds throughout the park, making for easy and relaxing paddling.

Sebago Lake State Park also has several sandy beaches, and if you grow tired from being in the sun all day, you can cool off in the 1,400 acres of forest. The hiking trails in Sebago Lake State Park are generally flat and easy to navigate, although there are plenty of mosquitos thanks to it's close proximity to the water. Make sure to bring bug spray!


The Return of Restaurants
May 15th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

As you can imagine, writing a blog about things to do and places to see in the beautiful state of Maine has been challenging during this coronavirus pandemic. However, there finally seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel. Maine is a state full of foodies resulting in a plethora of restarts offering exotic cuisine, unique dishes, and good ole delicious comfort food. These restaurants have temporarily been shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, and many have been offering a limited curbside menu only. Starting May 18, according to a new plan released by the governor, restaurants in 12 of Maine’s 16 counties will be able to reopen. Here are just a few of the local Maine restaurants that will be opening soon and the new restrictions they will abide by.

J R Maxwell’s

J. R. Maxwell’s owner, Ken Hall, is no stranger to hard work as his restaurant is located in the bustling heart of downtown Bath. The restaurant celebrated it’s 40th-anniversary last year and is beloved by locals for its fresh seafood dishes and homestyle cooking. They offer Maine staples such as fried clams, haddock, and scallops; or treat your tastebuds to something new such as their tasty walnut salmon.

When asked by a local news station if Ken plans on reopening May 18, Ken replied with enthusiasm and assured he would comply with all new regulations. As a long term staple of the Bath community, many people are anxiously awaiting the reopening.

Boothbay’s Lobster Wharf

Boothbay is about an hour away from the Portland area, but the sight alone is well worth the drive. If you find yourself in the city on or after May 22, you will be able to dine at the famous Boothbay Lobster Wharf. More than just a restaurant, this wharf is a working lobster pound. You can watch the professionals handle the lobsters, and you can even pick out which lobster will be served on your plate.

Primarily a seasonal business, this restaurant has an abundance of outside seating. The epitome of a Maine summer is eating lobster on a deck overlooking the water, and the team at Boothbay’s Lobster Wharf is dedicated to providing you with that experience this summer.

The Duck

Located in Topsham, The Duck is unique because it is three businesses in one! The first floor is The Duck Restaurant, where patrons can choose from a variety of artisan dishes and apps, or stick with the well-loved comforts of a pizza or calzone. Downstairs is The Duck Pub, where there is an extensive collection of local beers and spirits. The Duck also has a market that specializes in delicious, homemade pastries that you can take home after a warm, filling meal.

The Duck has not stated when opening day will be, but we know it will be in the coming weeks. As can be imagined, many changes must be made to enforce all the new health guidelines, and the people at The Duck are taking their time to ensure they are following all precautions.

What Are the Precautions?

The safety guidelines that restaurants must abide by starting May 18 is a whopping five pages long. Some of these precautions include spacing tables six feet apart, face coverings on all employees, laminated menus, and disposable condiments. Due to the new spacing rule, the restaurants allowed to reopen can only do so at a fraction of their normal capacity. Reservations are being encouraged, and parties larger than eight are not allowed per state order. The only counties not allowed to reopen yet are Cumberland, Androscoggin, Penobscot, and York.


Drive-In Theaters
May 8th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

With social distancing orders still in effect due to the coronavirus, many people and families are starting to run out of ways to entertain themselves. The days of going to the movie theater for a couple hours of fun and entertainment are temporarily over, and watching movies at home doesn’t quite have the same excitement. However, an alternative is available. Governor Mills has just given the green light for drive-in theaters to open. Of the only 300 drive-in theaters left in the country, Maine proudly boasts three of them, and they all plan on opening this May.

Meet Maine’s Drive-In Theaters

Saco has its very own drive-in featuring the refreshing smells of the ocean. The Saco Drive-In plans on opening mid-May with their featured films to be disclosed. Admission is only $20 per vehicle, and this price includes two films that are played back to back. They will be offering a new, online food ordering website and safe, contactless food delivery to all vehicles.

Pride’s Corner Drive-In, located in Westbrook, is the closest drive-in movie theatre to Portland. The theater was opened in 1953, and in 2013 it was closed while owners contemplated the theater’s future. However, Pride’s Corner was so popular that locals came together to support the business, and the theater reopened in 2017. Opening day is tentative, but owners have announced it will be in May. Admission is $20 per vehicle.

The Bridgton Twin Drive-In is named so because it has two screens, one on either side of the expansive lot (well, also because it’s located in Bridgton). Generally, this drive-in offers double-feature nights, but in efforts to prevent people from needing to use the bathroom and sharing a pubic space, they will only be offering single-features. Admission is $15 per vehicle, and the food window will offer a limited menu in efforts to keep people out of line and in their car.

History of Drive-In Theaters

Amateur and impromptu drive-in theaters have existed since the 1910s. It wasn’t until over twenty years later that a man named Richard Hollingshead officially patented the concept of a drive-in theater, and in June of 1933, The Park-In Theatre Inc. was established. Although “park-in” is just as fitting a name as “drive-in,” the name eventually evolved over the years. Hollingshead was inspired by his mother, who had difficulty sitting in traditional theater seats, which are generally small, cramped, and uncomfortable. 

A byproduct of his invention was that drive-in theaters were ideal for large families, especially those with small children. Noisy children couldn’t be heard from outside the car, and bored children could simply color or play in the backseat. 

In 1933, Hollingshead sold tickets to his drive-in theatre for 25 cents a car and 25 cents a person, with a maximum of one dollar. Even in the ’30s, that was considered a very reasonable price. The popularity of drive-in theaters grew, and after Hollingshead’s patent was overturned in 1949, the industry boomed and reached its peak in the ’50s and ’60s. At its peak, there were over 4,00 drive-ins in America.

The 70’s to Today

During the ’70s, many people began purchasing smaller, cost-effective vehicles due to the oil crisis. This, coupled with the invention of the VHS, was detrimental to the drive-in theater business. To make up for lost revenue, drive-in owners switched gears and began playing horror films and even adult content. While this appealed to young adults and teenagers, theaters were steadily losing revenue. Due to the large amount of land needed to run a drive-in theater, many owners opted to instead cut their losses and sell their large plots of land to developers.


Thank You, Essential Workers!
March 1st, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald
Our team at Bayley Vacation Rentals would like to dedicate this post to all the brave essential workers risking their lives to provide the American people with critical services. We continue to self-isolate in support of our essential workers and to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Today, we also want to highlight two Maine residents who are showing their thanks and support in a very unique and creative way.

Portland’s Graffiti Wall

Along Portland’s well-traversed Back Cove Trail, near the sewage treatment plant, is a long wall famous for attracting graffiti artists. While graffiti tends to have a negative connotation to it as it can be unsightly and explicit, this wall attracts serious artists rather than vandals. The city of Portland once considered demolishing the wall but, upon realizing the cultural importance of graffiti art, they chose to instead keep the wall and make it an official space for public art.

Due to the temporary nature of graffiti, the art on the wall is ever-changing. In the past, it has served as a welcome banner for tourists, with picturesque renderings of Maine products and attractions. More often than not, it looks like a landscape of doodles as artists practice their techniques. In recent history, the wall played a part in a major controversy as an artist used the space to create an anti-LePage political message.

The Message

In the spirit of supporting essential workers, local artists Ryan Adams and Spenser MacLeod, have spray painted a colorful mural with the words, “To the Helpers & the Heroes: Thank you!”. The positive message is backdropped with a variety of essential workers, such as doctors, nurses, and mechanics, just to name a few. The art adds a splash of brightness and hope during this otherwise bleak spring.

The Artists

Ryan Adams is a painter and muralist, as well as a Portland native. In his own words, he inspired by “a pure obsession for letters, as well as attempting to convey human emotions and insecurities through bold imagery inspired by traditional tattoo flash.” On the very same wall, he has created hyperrealistic portraits of rapper/actor Donald Glover, Anderson Paak of NxWorries, and his own daughter.

Spenser MacLeod from New England is also an illustrator and muralist. In addition to Portland’s graffiti wall, MacLeod’s art can be found in businesses throughout New England who hire him to jazz up their workspaces. In his own words, he draws inspiration from “vintage pop culture cartoons and comics, resulting in scenes that are funny, kinetic and invoke a strange yet exciting flashback all at once.”

Is It Safe To Visit The Mural?

If you live in the Portland area and want to visit the mural, the Back Cove Trail, where the art piece is located, is still open. If you’re feeling apprehensive about visiting because of the coronavirus, the CDC has stated that walking/exercising outside is entirely safe as long as you maintain six feet apart from others. They have also noted that exercise during these trying times is essential for mental and physical health, so why not enjoy some art while you stretch your legs?


Enjoy The Outdoors While Practicing Social Distancing 
April 24th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 
The warm weather that spring brings with it usually heralds in the sense of rejuvenation and excitement for the upcoming summer. Among this coronavirus pandemic, however, many people are shutting themselves inside and succumbing to cabin fever. Physical exercise is essential for physical and mental health, and the CDC is actually recommending people to go outside and go for a walk or a hike. It's healthy and completely safe as long as you practice social distancing. If you're getting tired of walking the same loop around your neighborhood, here are a list of hiking trails in Southern Maine. If you're reading this from out of state, then consider the following a to-do list for your next visit.

Eastern Trail
The Eastern Trail is an impressive network of 62 miles worths of trails connecting Bug Light Park in South Portland all the way to Kittery. The majority of these trails run alongside quiet, rural roads while the rest are off-road, connecting you directly with nature.

The majority of the trails have a wide berth, allowing walkers, runners, and cyclists plenty of space to stay six feet apart from one another. Though, the Eastern Trail Management District does ask that if you arrive at the trail and see a full parking lot, to please revisit at a different time or try another location. A full parking lot means a full trail.

Probably the most scenic part of the Eastern Trail is the Scarborough Marsh, where a broad variety of animals, mainly birds, can be observed in their natural habitat. If you happen to own a kayak or a canoe, then you can launch into the marsh and get a closer look while getting an upper-body workout as well.

Jewell Falls
In a city as sprawling and bustling as Portland, you'd assume that waterfalls in the area would be nonexistent. Well, you would be surprisingly wrong. Jewell Falls is Portland's hidden natural gem. As it is not well known, there's a slim chance that you will encounter any people. Even if you do, simply step aside into the forest to maintain six feet.

To find Jewell Falls, simply type 167 Rowe Avenue into your GPS and follow the directions. When you arrive, there is a dirt area at the end of the street where you can park your car. From there, you are only 15 minutes away from the waterfall.

To get the most of Jewell Falls, I highly recommend visiting after a good rainstorm. This is when the falls are most vigorous and beautiful. If Maine happens to be going through a dry spell, it's still worth the visit, though. After all, the hike to and from the falls is only 30 minutes. A simple but enjoyable walk to get you out of the house.

Clifford Park
The hiking trails of Clifford Park in Biddeford remain open and offer a little bit of something for everybody. The red and black trails consist of nearly three miles of even paths for easy hiking, perfect for inexperienced hikers or families with small children. The remaining networks of trails range from moderate to difficult and are quite popular among experienced mountain bikers.

Other than stretching your legs, another reason to visit Clifford Park is the scenic waterfall. This waterfall is located on the east side of the park just off the red trail. Both the top and bottom of the waterfall are accessible, allowing for multiple breathtaking views.

Clifford Park has recently expanded and now boasts 140 acres. Their new trail network has not been revealed yet, so its recommended to stay on marked, known trails. During your walk, keep an eye open for foxes, turkeys, and various other wildlife that call the park their home.


Thinking Ahead
Aptil 17th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald
We at Bayley Vacation Rentals are wishing you all good health and happiness amid these uncertain times. We are taking every precaution recommended by the CDC in efforts to overcome the coronavirus and see our customers' smiling faces as soon as possible. Even though many of you are stuck inside, you can still indulge in your wanderlust by discussing future family trips to our beautiful state. If you have children, or perhaps an inner child yourself, a trip to an amusement park may be the perfect way to celebrate once these coronavirus restrictions have been lifted. Plan ahead by taking a look at a couple of Maine's premier amusement parks.

Funtown Splashtown USA
You'll be hard-pressed to find a Mainer who hasn't had a blast at Funtown Splashtown USA at some point in their lives. Funtown Splashtown USA, commonly referred to as just "Funtown" by locals, is Maine's largest amusement park. Funtown is full of classic amusement park rides such as bumper cars and the log flume, but the jewel of Funtown is Excalibur, New England's tallest and longest wooden rollercoaster that reaches speeds of 55mph.
Funtown is only half the fun, though. As can probably be guessed by the name, Splashtown is the water equivalent of Funtown. On a map, Splashtown only takes up about a quarter of the park's space but accounts for nearly half the rides. The many brightly painted slides intertwine as they tower over the surrounding pools. For even more adventures, check out Pirate's Cove, an interactive jungle gym nestled in Splashtown. Just be prepared to get wet!
Funtown's admission rates are very fair compared to most other amusement parks, and you have the option of buying a ticket for just Funtown or just Splashtown. Visit after 3:00 pm for a discount, or visit after 6 pm for an even more significant discount. A helpful hint: the later you go, the more likely you are to avoid annoying, long lines.

Maine's Original Waterpark
Aquaboggan has been family operated and providing Maine families with lasting memories for over 40 years. Aquaboggan is home to a giant wave pool where you can enjoy the experience of high tide without the bitter chill of the ocean. For something more exciting, Aquaboggan also has a ton of fast-paced, thrilling slides.

If your fingers are getting pruned, step out of the pool and play a round of mini-golf or drive go-carts in the Grand Prix. The 18-hole mini-golf course is beautifully landscaped and is perfect for the entire family to enjoy an activity together. The go-carts are a much more fast-paced activity. They will surely make any child feel like an adult as they drive their own vehicle and will bring out the child in most adults.
Aquaboggan is located at 980 Portland Rd and is just down the street from Funtown Splashtown. Aquaboggan is also a very affordable park, but to get the best deal, visit Aquaboggan on a Monday for discounted tickets.

Splashtown vs. Aquaboggan
Splashtown obviously has the perks of being attached to Funtown, but for this argument, we will only look at Splashtown. Splashtown has recently been updated and undoubtedly has more fast-paced and exciting slides. Unfortunately, these new slides and renovations also draw in a more substantial crowd. Lines at Splashtown are generally longer than they are at Aquaboggan. 

Aquaboggan is the more affordable of the two parks and also provides more money-saving opportunities by offering pool passes (enjoy the pools but no slides) and a toddler pass (access to only the toddler area). Aquaboggan has many pools, including the giant wave pool, while Splashtown's deepest pool is only 3ft.

In a nutshell, thrill-seekers would most likely enjoy Splashtown as long as they don't mind the lines (which can potentially be avoided by visiting later in the day). Although a bit dated, Aquaboggan offers a wider variety of fun and relaxing activities for a lower price. Both parks offer free parking, sell food, and allow you to bring your own lunch.


Plan Ahead: Acadia National Park
April 10, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

In efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Mainers are still practicing social distancing, and we encourage the rest of the world to do the same. While now is not an idyllic time to visit our beautiful state, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan ahead! When these uncertain times are over, celebrate by reclaiming the outdoors and your freedom. What better way to do this than a day trip to Maine’s most famous national park, Acadia.

The Where and When

Acadia National Park is located across a series of islands, the largest of which is Mount Desert Island. This grand island is off the coast of Bar Harbor, a beautiful city itself, and is approximately a two and half hour drive from Portland, Maine. As you can probably assume, the park is temporarily closed but will reopen again once it’s safe to do so. Generally, the park is open year-round, and there are plenty of activities on the island to keep you entertained no matter the season.

The Indigenous Peoples

America’s Indigenous Peoples have lived in Maine for over 12,00 years. Presence of the Indigenous Peoples, specifically the Wabanaki, on Mount Desert Island has been traced back to at least 5,00 years ago. The Wabanaki consists of four tribes: the Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot. Some tribes lived on the island while others simply visited to take advantage of optimal fishing, hunting, and clamming conditions. On the island, the various tribes would also trade and interact with one another.

European Settlers

The first recorded European to land on Mount Desert Island was a Frenchman named Samuel de Champlain in 1604. Champlain took notice of the various barren, rocky mountain tops and took it upon himself to name the island, Isles des Monts Deserts. This translates to, you guessed it, Mount Desert Island.

In 1613 the first French mission was established on the island. In the early days, these French missionaries lived in unison with the Wabanaki, exchanging goods, knowledge, and friendship. Unfortunately, as more and more European settlers arrived, the Wabanaki population dwindled due to disease, warfare, and harsh government regulations.

Recent History

In stark contrast to the national park it is today, Mount Desert Island became a place for the affluent. Artists in the 1800s flocked to the island, and their depictions of the unique landscape caught the eyes of the more prosperous. By 1880, there were 30 hotels on the island, and the population continued to grow. It wasn’t until The Great Depression that the population started to decline. The ensuing war, followed by a devastating fire in 1947, led the wealthy to vacation elsewhere.

The national park that we know and love today can mainly be attributed to George B. Dior. He was an avid conservationist who bought as much land on the island as possible in efforts to conserve the unique ecology. In 1919, his efforts came to fruition when President Wilson established what is now known as Acadia National Park.

What is There to do in Acadia?

One of the most prominent activities at Acadia is hiking. There are over 120 miles of trails to choose from, ranging in difficulty from easy, ideal for beginners and families with small children, to difficult. Some trails even have ladders and ropes you have to use to navigate the path.

There are also trails designated for bicycles and horses. Hikers are NOT allowed on these trails. You can bring your own horse, but since many people do not own a horse, you can always rent one for the day from the friendly people over at Wildwood Stables.

Acadia is surrounded by ocean, so there are a variety of water activities to choose from including, swimming, kayaking, and tide pooling. There are two lifeguarded beaches safe for swimming during the summertime, and there are plenty of shops in Bar Harbor that offer kayak or paddleboard rentals.

Thunder Hole

One of Acadia’s most famous natural attractions is Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks. At the end of this inlet is a small cavern where, when a surging wave comes in, air and water is forced out like a clap of distant thunder. Water has been known to spout out of this hole as high as 40 feet! If you plan on visiting Thunder Hole, make sure to check the weather forecast. On mild days when the sea is calm, Thunder Hole is more of a “Gurgle” Hole. To get the full effect, try to visit when there are strong waves at sea.


Supporting Your Local Community
April 3rd, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 
Due to COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, social distancing is still being practiced in Maine. Non-essential businesses, including restaurants and bars, are currently closed with no end in sight. Maine has an abundance of locally-owned restaurants, which play a crucial role in our economy. At the moment, it is unclear when these unprecedented times will end, which is putting a substantial financial strain on many business owners and restaurant industry workers. What is clear, however, is the resolve and strength of the Maine people. When this time of social distancing is over, give back to your supportive community by dining at your favorite local restaurants. Here are a few that can’t wait to open their doors again.

Hot Suppa, Portland

In 2004, two brothers from Portland embarked on their dream vacation of touring America and tasting the delicious food that local restaurants throughout the states had to offer. From fine dining to drive-ins, these brothers sought out as many local eateries as they could in efforts to learn what makes a restaurant a community staple. Two years later, Hot Suppa was born.

Hot Suppah has it all, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Though all their food is delicious, they are most known for being a breakfast place. A good portion of their menu is inspired by southern comfort foods, with dishes such as fried green tomatoes egg benedict and good ole biscuits with sausage gravy.

Vegetarian and gluten-free items are marked on their menu, making this an ideal eatery for those with dietary restrictions. Hot Suppa sources its ingredients from Maine vendors, so you can feel good knowing your money is staying in the community.

The Garage BBQ, Scarborough

Due to its proximity to Pine Point Beach, The Garage is surrounded by seafood restaurants. Although there’s nothing like fresh Maine seafood, eating clam strips day after day can get a little monotonous. The Garage offers fresh seafood, but they also give locals and tourists a delicious break from typical seaside fare with their homemade bbq dishes. They offer traditional comfort foods such as brisket, ribs, and pulled pork, but they also have a variety of creative smaller dishes. When you visit, I recommend trying the lobster tail tempura or the deep-fried brussels sprouts.

As you might be able to guess, this restaurant is located in a renovated garage, giving diners a scenic view of Pine Point Beach. Their patio is dog friendly, making it a perfect spot to eat after taking Fido for a walk on the beach.

elda, Biddeford

elda is an upscale restaurant that uses local and seasonal ingredients to create one-of-a-kind, mouthwatering dishes. Head chef and owner, Bowman Brown, is a recipient of the 2011 Food and Wine Best New Chef Award. Adding creativity to cooking is clearly his passion, which has manifested in elda, named after his beloved grandmother.

elda offers two dining experiences. Their bar menu has a variety of small dishes to choose from, whereas their dining-room has a fix-price menu. This menu is coursed and changes monthly. It’s not clear what the restaurant will offer when they open again, but you can expect exquisite cuisines such as cured sea trout with crispy nori, and steamed cod with potatoes, seaweed and mussel sauce. Due to their limited menu, it is important to note that they may not be able to accommodate all dietary restrictions, although they will always try their best.


Monhegan Island
March 27th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

We hope this blog post finds everyone well amidst these uncertain times! Social distancing is still being recommended by the CDC during this COVID-19 pandemic, and Bayley Vacation Rentals is taking this and all other recommended precautions to keep our community safe.  In efforts to stop the spread of the virus, we are not recommending any unnecessary traveling. Instead, stay home and take this time to read up on everything Maine has to offer and start working on your future vacation bucket list.  One weekend getaway that you should make sure to pencil in is a trip to Monhegan Island.


Monhegan Island was once inhabited by Indigenous peoples, and its name is Algonquian for out-to-see. The first European to set foot on the Island was Martin Pring in 1603. Upon discovering how abundant the Gulf of Maine was with fish, the island was soon after colonized by the British. A trading post was established on the island, and it was Monhegan traders who taught Samoset, an Indigenous chieftain, how to speak English. To this day, fishing remains Monhegan's number one industry.

How Do I Get There?

Monhegan Island is twelve miles off the coast of Maine and is accessible by ferry rides. Numerous ferry services are located in the New Harbor and Port Clyde area. Tickets are inexpensive; however, it is recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. Leashed pets may ride on the ferry for a fee, but car transport is not permitted.

What Is There To Do?

There are 350 acres of land on Monhegan Island protected by the Monhegan Associates Inc. Within this land, there are 10 miles worth of trails that wind through the unique fauna. Many of these trails are steep, craggy, and require caution when navigating. Bicycles and strollers are not recommended on these trails. Hikers should bring water, bug spray, and wear sturdy footwear.

Monhegan Island is home to one of the country's last one-room schoolhouses. During the summer months, you can tour the adorable schoolhouse and feel as though you are on the set of Little House on the Prairie. This school serves grades k-8 and is taught by a single teacher named Mandry Metrano, who is a Monhegan native herself.

Monhegan has inspired many artists over the centuries, and the island even has an artist's colony that flourishes in the summer months. Due to its rich history of inspiring artists, it's no wonder the island has it's own art and history museum. The Monhegan Museum of Art & History is located adjacent to the island's signature lighthouse. The museum is open spring through fall and even offers tours of the iconic lighthouse twice a week, the dates of which can be found on their website.

There are two public beaches on the island, and they are aptly named Fish Beach and Swim Beach. Surrounding Fish Beach are "fish houses," which serve as workshops for many of the islanders who fish and lobster. Swim Beach is for, as I'm sure you can assume, swimming. The water is generally frigid, and many people use this area as a place to kayak or soak in some rays.


Like the ferry ride, it's recommended that you plan your accommodations ahead of time if you're planning on staying the night at Monhegan Island. July and August are their peak months, and their prices will reflect that. Dogs are not permitted at any of the inns; however, there are quite a few rental cottages that allow them. Despite the extensive forest on the island, camping is not permitted in efforts to sustain the island's fragile ecosystem.

Gentle Reminders

Approximately 65 people call this island home year-round. These residents welcome visitors and are proud to share their picturesque home. While enjoying the Island, they kindly ask that you keep in mind that this is their home and not a playground. Please respect property boundaries and do not disturb the delicate plants. Smoking is not allowed outside of the village.


Wishing You Well From Bayley Vacation Rentals
March 20th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Our team at Bayley Vacation Rentals wanted to take a moment to wish everyone good health and peace of mind during these trying times. This week, we want to calmly and kindly discuss COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus. As COVID-19 continues to spread and impact our community, we want to share some helpful information that can keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

What Is COVID-19?

There is much misinformation floating around about COVID-19. We have pulled this excerpt from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in efforts to alleviate any confusion: “Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.”

This virus is spreading at an alarming rate, and although it is true that most people who contract COVID-19 show only mild symptoms, this virus can be deadly for the elderly, those with respiratory diseases, and the immunocompromised. While we understand that this sounds scary, it is actually quite simple to protect yourself and prevent the spread of the disease. Read on to learn more.

Symptoms And How To Protect Yourself

The symptoms of COVID-19 include cough, fever, and tiredness. If you believe you are showing any of these signs, it is recommended that you call your doctor and discuss your symptoms. This will help prevent the spread of the disease, as well as allowing healthcare professionals to care for the immunocompromised patients who desperately need their help. However, if you are showing emergency symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, pressure or pain in the chest, new confusion, or inability to arouse, then seek medical help immediately.

You can protect yourself by washing your hands often. While we’re sure you’ve heard this a million times already, it’s genuinely one of the best ways to prevent the spread of the disease. Avoid contact with people, stay home as much as possible, and avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose, especially when out in public. The CDC does not recommend that people in good health wear a face mask to protect themselves.

What Are We Doing To Help?

This is an evolving situation, and we are closely monitoring guidelines from the CDC and our federal and local government. We have doubled down in our efforts to clean and disinfect high traffic areas and frequently touched surfaces to protect our coworkers and visitors from the disease. In addition, we are closely monitoring all phone lines so you can do business with us from the comfort of your home!

Isn’t This Usually A Travel Blog?

Generally, we post about the many beautiful sights, delicious restaurants, and entertaining events that Maine has to offer! Due to the uncertain times we live in, however, we find that this would be irresponsible. Given that southern Maine is full of foodies, we are instead providing a shortlist of local restaurants offering takeout services for your safety and enjoyment.

Black Cow Hamburgers, Portland- Offering contact-free takeout of their delicious burgers, milkshakes, and their famous brussels sprouts.
Pine Point Grill, Scarborough- They have a variety of options ranging from seafood, meats, and salads, but they are most well know for the artisan crafted pizzas.
The Golden Rooster Restaurant, Saco- Serving hearty American food, the Golden Rooster is currently offering $8 to go meals from a limited menu. Some items include meatloaf, chicken parmesan, and a clam cake dinner.
Tuscan Table, South Portland- This well-loved Italian restaurant is offering its many wood fire pizzas and handmade pasta for pickup or delivery.
Taco Escobar, Portland- Taco Escobar is staying open to offer you their tasty, authentic Mexican food to go.


St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
March 13th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Beer and St. Patrick's Day go together like peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and Fluff if you're from New England. Unfortunately for all of us, this much anticipated holiday falls on Tuesday this year. This bears the questions, do we celebrate on Tuesday or the weekend before? If you're as enthusiastic about this holiday as many Irish people are, you may say both. Then there are the select few that are rambunctious enough to begin partying Friday and continue all the way into Tuesday. Whatever category you may fall into, here are some classic, fun, and unusual ideas on how to celebrate this year's St. Patrick's Day.

The Thirsty Leprechaun 5k, March 14th

No, The Thirsty Leprechaun is not a bar, it's a 5k race! Before you start groaning, there is free beer offered at the end if you are over the age of 21. Feel a little better about your carb consumption on St. Patty's Day by starting your holiday off with a race. This 5k starts at 10am in South Portland and runs along the coast and through Bug Light Park, where there are spectacular views of Casco Bay (nobody will notice if you stop!) waiting for you. The race ends at The American Legion, the organization hosting the event.

The race is split into age groups with a $25 prize for each group. Larger prizes will be awarded to the top three overall winners. Once you've crossed the finish line at The American Legion, the afterparty begins, and you will be rewarded with a complimentary 16oz beer from Foulmouthed Brewery, based in South Portland. The beer garden will be open until noon.

All proceeds from this event go towards The American Legion, which works hard to provide life-changing assistance and guidance for veterans and their families. Help comes in the form of personal assistance, cash grants, donated goods, disaster relief, labor, networking, volunteerism, and advocacy.

It Doesn't Get More Irish than Bull Feeney's, March 17th

Bull Feeney's is the pinnacle of everything Irish in Portland, Maine. John A. Feeney was born in Galway, Ireland and immigrated to Portland in 1878. After initially opening a grocery store, Feeney then opened a series of saloons. Irish immigrants would gather in these saloons, and Feeney would spend his time helping them settle into America, find jobs, and register as citizens. His son, John M. Feeney, earned himself the nickname "Bull" while playing football in college and later went on to gain fame in Hollywood. Giving us the current name, Bull Feeney's.

Bull Fenney's serves brunch and dinner, so your St. Patty's day celebrations can begin bright and early. Popular, Portland-based band, Chatroom, will be playing in the spacious area upstairs. The brick walls, coupled with the stone floors and vintage decor, will truly make you feel as though you're celebrating this Irish holiday on the Emerald Green Isle.

Begin Celebrating Bright and Early with Ri Ra, March 17th

The Irish Pub, Ri Ra, is hosting the 17th annual Paddy Day Plunge. The Plunge begins at 5:30am, and although this seems like an odd way to start off a holiday, hundreds of eager participants show up every year as the proceeds benefit the Portland Firefighters Children's Burn Foundation. This honorable foundation offers financial and moral support for young burn victims and their families in the Portland area.

After plunging into the frigid March waters, all participants can enjoy a complimentary Irish breakfast at Ri Ra, beginning at 6:00am. Following breakfast is a live auction and raffle with plenty of chances to win a prize. Before the festivities are over, the official Plunge Cup will be awarded to the team that raised the most funds.

Once the awards and prizes are all doled out, that doesn't mean it's time to leave! You're already at an Irish Pub on St. Patty's day, so why not find yourself a good seat and stay? Live music begins at 9:3am and lasts well into the night.


Maine Restaurant Week
March 6th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

March isn't the most exciting time of year for those that work in the restaurant industry. It's a sluggish month full of temperamental weather that'll turn anyone into a recluse. Back in 2008, the city of Portland decided to give local restaurants a helping hand by hosting Maine Restaurant Week, and it was so popular that it is still around today. During Maine Restaurant Week, participating businesses create specially priced three-course menus that feature the best food that their kitchen has to offer. The multiple courses give the diner a sense of elegance and grace. So, get out of the house and treat yourself to a delicious feast! The list of participating restaurants is lengthy and can be found online. In the meantime, we will take an in-depth look at a select few of these establishments.

Pine Point Grill, Scarborough

From the outside, Pine Point Grill looks like someone's well-kept oceanside cottage. As you step inside, you'll feel at home when you are greeted by the warm and welcoming staff. This restaurant offers a wide variety of original dishes from seafood to meats, but they are most recognized for their artisan pizzas. Pine Point Grill offers guests the comforts of a classic pepperoni pizza, or the delicious thrill of trying one of their inventive pies, such as their lobster, bacon, and jalapeño creation.

For Restaurant Week, Pine Point Grill is offering their three-course menu for $35. Although all options are delicious, I recommend starting with the brussels sprouts. Fried brussels sprouts have become popular in recent times, and I have yet to find a restaurant to serve them better than Pine Point Grill. For an entree, I whole-heartedly recommend the salmon served on a bed of house-made fettuccine, and then finish with a classic creme brûlée.

Ishi Ishi, Portland

Ishi Ishi is the definition of a hole in the wall, however, what they lack in size they make up for tenfold in taste. This restaurant specializes in ramen noodle dishes and is out to prove that ramen isn't limited to cheap instant noodles in styrofoam cups. Make sure to bring your favorite beer with you when going in to try their Asian inspired cine, because this restaurant is BYOB.

Ishi Ishi's is offering it's Maine Restaurant Week menu for only $25. Begin with tuna or veggie nigiri (a form of sushi), and then move onto to either tonkotsu or veggie mazemen for dinner. The tonkotsu is a pork-based ramen dish loaded with flavorful ingredients, and the mazemen is a vegan-friendly option. End your meal with a sweet scoop of ice cream from local business, Dear Dairy Ice Cream.

Gather, Yarmouth

Every dish that Gather serves is sourced from local farmers. The team at Gather believes in supporting the community and connecting with one another. That is why all diners at this homey restaurant are seated at shared tables. Long wooden tables stretch across the dining room of this restaurant, very reminiscent of the Great Hall in Harry Potter (albeit, without the floating candles). The idea of sharing a table with a stranger may seem odd to some, yet the dining room is always full of laughter and smiles.

Gather's restaurant week menu is priced at $45. As a starter, my recommendation is the sambusas, a hearty Somali inspired dish made with local beef. For dinner, they are serving a delicious steak au poivre, which is a filet mignon coated in freshly cracked black peppercorn and a rich pan sauce. And, for dessert, you can't go wrong with the butterscotch pots de creme.

Supporting Local Businesses

Most of the restaurants participating in Maine Restaurant Week are located in the Portland area. Still, there are quite a few scattered throughout the state as well. Check online to find the nearest restaurant near you! Maine Restaurant Week's website also categorizes the businesses by price, so there's something suitable for everyone, no matter the size of your wallet. Wherever you choose to dine, you can feel good knowing that you're supporting a local business and hard-working restaurant employees. 


A Month of Comedy
February 28th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald
March 19th will be the first official day of Spring, and department stores are gearing up with neon bathing suits and floral sundresses. While the rest of the country is ready for the long-awaited arrival of warm weather, this seems more of a tease for Mainers. As any Mainer will tell you, we generally don't start seeing warm weather until well into April. We still have at least another month of snow and slush to dredge through, but luckily it doesn't have to be so bad. An impressive lineup of famous comedians are coming to Portland this month, so get ready to laugh your way through March and into Spring.

Bert Kreischer A.K.A "The Machine"

Bert Kreischer will be visiting Portland on Sunday, March 1st. After the show is over, Bert is known to go bar hopping through town so you may have the chance to meet The Machine yourself.

Upon seeing Bert with his shirt off, you may wonder why he has been nicknamed, The Machine. Although he is a large man, this seems more of an apt title for the likes of Schwarzenegger or The Rock. Bert's nickname originates from Russia after he inadvertently helped the Russian Mafia rob a train while on a school trip. The impressive story, coupled with Bert's hilarious storytelling ability, has helped skyrocket his career.

If you've ever seen a large man with a beer belly performing standup on tv, then that was probably Bert Kreischer. His signature move is always ripping his shirt off, often throwing it into the audience, as he takes the mic and begins his performance. Despite his silly antics, Bert's career as a comedian is quite impressive. He's hosted his own sitcom, has two major comedy specials, and has his own podcast. In 1997, Rolling Stone published an article about him and dubbed him "the top partyer at the Number One Party School in the country." His hijinx listed in the article became the inspiration for the hit movie, National Lampoon's Van Wilder.
Ilana Glazer
Ilana is the co-creator, writer, director, executive producer, and star of the critically acclaimed show Broad City. This side-splitting show chronicles the misadventures of Ilana and her best friend Abbi as they figure out life as adults in New York City. The show was widely popular and ran for five seasons. A woman of many talents, Ilana also co-wrote and produced the upcoming horror movie, False Positive.

Ilana is a very progressive and liberal woman, and her comedy resonates strongly with younger crowds, typically between the ages of 18 and 35. Her demeanor is upbeat, positive, and contagious. She will be rocking it at the State Theatre Tuesday, March 17th.
LetterKenny began as a humble Youtube web series and quickly blossomed into a hit tv show. The show is based in the rural town of Letterkenny, Canada, where siblings Wayne and Katy run a family farm. The show centers around their bizarre friendships and rivalries within their small town.

Nine of the most prominent cast members are coming to Portland for their LetterKenney Live Tour. This show will feature never before seen sketches, Q&A, and autographed merchandise. Tickets are sold in three tiers, bronze, silver, and gold, with the gold package featuring a meet and greet with the entire cast. This once in a lifetime opportunity is being held on Tuesday, March 24th.
Much, Much, More

Unfortunately, when comedians go on tour, they can't ensure that every show in every city will be held on a weekend night. If work, family, or other obligations prevent you from attending any of the above shows, then there's no need to worry. Both Gabrielle "Fluffy" Iglesias and Artie Lange will be gracing the city of Portland on weekend nights, making for a more convenient experience. Also, don't forget the Empire Comedy Club, which hosts comedy shows every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.


Peace, Love, & Donuts
February 21st, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

February is winding to an end at an astonishing pace, but it's not too late to participate in #BestDonutsPortland LoveFest 2020. For only $15, you will receive a booklet of coupons to use at any of the 14 different participating donut shops throughout Southern and Central Maine. Present one coupon, and you will be given a free donut of your choosing. This is a friendly and delicious competition amongst local business owners where the only real winner is your tastebuds. Here's a look at some of the participating donut shops.

The Holy Donut

The Holy Donut's creative concoctions can be enjoyed both in Scarborough and in the Old Port. Leigh Kellis, the brilliant owner of the Holy Donut, opened her first store in 2012, and it has quickly grown in popularity. Employees at both locations always have a smile on their face and are efficient at keeping the staggering lines moving.

 Unlike traditional donuts, these hearty treats are made from potatoes. Using potato gives the donuts their unique, moist texture. These donuts come in classic flavors such as vanilla gaze and old fashion, but there's also fun flavors for those with a more daring palette. Some of these creative options include maple bacon, Allen's Coffee Brandy, and honey lavender.

HiFi Donuts

HiFi Donuts in Portland, Maine has partnered with a second local business to create their one-of-a-kind donuts. Lager from Liquid Riot is used to create their yeast donuts, which are known for their hoppy and aromatic flavor. They also offer two other styles of donuts; cake and cruller.

The team at HiFi Donuts love flavor, and they're not afraid to mix-match seemingly oddball ideas to create tasty masterpieces. In addition to the classics, they run many daily specials. On any given day, they could be offering banana split, s' mores, or Mexican hot chocolate. One of their most popular donuts is the Simpson Donut. In homage to our favorite cartoon dad, this donut has a bright pink glaze and is topped with colorful sprinkles.


Lovebirds is a new restaurant that opened in the spring of 2019 in Kittery, Maine. The restaurant is entirely vegan, which is a blessing to the vegans out there who have' t had a donut in years. Owners, Tamara Monroe and Ryan MacDougall, have spent most of their lives in the restaurant industry. Both have always envisioned having a restaurant of their own one day.

Lovebirds' donuts and fritters are as decadent as they are massive. As if their goods weren't big enough, they also offer GBD's, Great Big Donuts. GBD's serve up to eight people and are stuffed with your choice of fruit, fillings, and cream. These are perfect for a fun, family breakfast or could even substitute for a celebratory cake.

Their array of regular-sized donuts changes monthly. In the past, they have had flavors such as macaroon, cookies and cream, and mocha latte. After having one of their donuts, you're going to wonder why all donuts aren't vegan.

Supporting Local Business

Wicked Mini Donuts, Reilly's Bakery, The Donut Shop, and Gross Bakery are just a few of the other amazing bakeries and restaurants participating in this monthlong event. The full list can be found on Eventbrite, where coupons can be bought as well. As mentioned, coupon books are going for only $15, but you also have the option of purchasing two for the low price of $20. You and your significant other, or best friend, can have fun together as you try to find Maine's best donut. Your participation helps support local business owners who are bringing joy into the world one donut at a time.


How to Keep Your Kid Entertained This February Break
February 14th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

It all starts with a school calendar you found stuffed in your kid's backpack. Being a responsible parent, you hang it on the refrigerator, so you're prepared for teacher workshop days, school events, and the like. You make a mental note to plan ahead for the week-long vacations, but you have time, so you push it to the back of your head. Before you know it, your child comes home from school, bouncing off the walls, declaring how excited they are for winter break. Oops.

Begin and End Your Week With Winter Carnivals

On February 15th, Maine Audubon in Falmouth will be hosting a day-long Winter Carnival. Maine Audubon is the state's oldest and largest wildlife conservation organization, so its only fitting that this carnival is nature-themed. There will be plenty of outdoor activities, including a snowshoeing trip with the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Program. For those not to keen on spending time in the cold, indoor activities will be held in the Audubon Center. And, like any good carnival, there will be face painting, live music, and food trucks.

Double the fun by attending Old Orchard's Winter Carnival precisely one week after Falmouth's. This carnival falls on Saturday the 22nd, but you have the opportunity to start the festivities early. On Friday night, there will be an epic sledding party on Old Orchard St, where a massive mountain has been constructed. Spend the night flying down the hill with family and friends, then get ready to gear up and have all over again. The following day the carnival will commence, and it will have everything a child could ask for: pony rides, a petting zoo, and plenty of cocoa! Save yourself the extra trip by staying at the Alouette Beach Resort, where guests will receive 20% off and a special snowman making kit.

What About Breakfast at Becky's

When we look back on our childhood as adults, the most cherished memories come from the simplest of moments. These treasured memories cost us (or rather, our parents) very little money or effort at all. Over winter break, make the most of a mundane morning by rounding up the kids and heading to Becky's Diner in Portland.

Besides the delicious and acclaimed food they've been serving since 1991, Becky's has the famous Mickey Mouse Fruity-Face Pancake. This dish has an uncanny resemblance to the widely loved Disney character and never fails to put a smile on a child's face. Plus, you can feel good as a parent, knowing that your child is being served a well-balanced breakfast. Rather than the whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles some establishments choose to put on their children's dishes, Becky's opts to decorate their pancakes with fresh fruit!

Treehouse Toys

It hasn't even been two months, but I guarantee many of your child's Christmas presents lay untouched and forgotten at the bottom of the toy box or shoved somewhere in the corner of their room. There's a good chance at least one toy hasn't been played with since Christmas Day. Give yourself a break from entertaining the kids and let them bring home some fun from Treehouse Toys.

Every single item at Treehouse Toys has been researched and tested by dedicated employees for safety, play value, and enjoyment. They even categorize their toys into five groups: Create, Grow, Learn, Play, and pretend. The Grow and Learn categories have educational games intended to help your child learn as they play. Well-being items such as pacifiers, bibs, and bath toys can also de found in these categories. The Create category will help your child tap into their inner Beethoven or Van Gogh, and the Play and Pretend groups are for what kids do best. Play and pretend!

February 7th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Valentine's Day has a myriad of meanings, and it all depends on who you ask. To those that have been scorned by love, it is often seen as a contentious day, while lovebirds use it as an opportunity to celebrate their special bond. Some simply couldn't care about this holiday at all. Whatever your standpoint, Valentine 2020 lands on a Friday this year, so plan ahead and treat yourself to a night out!

Rising Thighs: Burlesque and Beer

Rising Thighs is an aptly named burlesque show that will be hosted at Rising Tide Brewing Company on Valentine's Day. This show promises burlesque, drag, and, of course, Rising Tides wide selection of tasty beer. $12, or $15 at the door, buys you three hours of entertainment that can be enjoyed with your partner, friends, or just yourself! Special guests include Honey Nightingale, LaLa Drew, and Fantasia. These fabulous performers will be singing, demonstrating their aerial skills, and belly dancing all night long. So, if your tired of humdrum Valentine's dinners with cliche heart-shaped desserts, order your ticket for this dazzling event now. Life is more fun on the wild side!

Valentine's Day Comedy Night

Couples who laugh together, stay together. Save the romance for later in the night and spend Valentine's Day clutching your sides as you reel with laughter. As you enjoy the line-up of hilarious comedians, you can also feel good knowing that proceeds from your ticket purchase are going towards The Lafayette Family Cancer Center. Fighting cancer is a battle that The Lafayette Family of Hotels holds close to their heart, and their efforts have saved many lives.

Fireside Inn & Suites is kind enough to be hosting this exciting event. The show starts at 8:00 pm, and tickets are being sold for $20 each or $35 per couple. The hotel is also offering comedy show-goers a special discounted rate at their hotel of only $100 for a room. They are also taking reservations at Zackery's Fireside Restaurant, which is located in the hotel.

Masquerade at the Mansion

The lavish mansion that houses the Portland Club will be the home of a masquerade ball this Valentine's Day, hosted by Gold Coast Labels. Masks will be provided at the door, and your ticket purchase will determine which mask you receive. There will be upbeat music, a fully loaded bar, and a photographer that will capture the magical moments all night long. All ticket purchasers will receive a special gift which could possibly win them a prize at the end of the night.

Tickets for couples are discounted at only $26 each. Those flying solo will have to purchase a $30 ticket or a $40 ticket, which will grant you an extraordinary mask that will surely get you noticed by your future spouse. Festivities begin at 9:00 pm, and the party doesn't stop until 1:00 am.

Family Valentine's Day at the Tontine Mall

If you're looking to include the entire family in on the Valentine's Day fun, head to Tontine Mall in Brunswick on February 13th. This quaint mall is nestled in the heart of downtown Brunswick and is open late Valentine's Day Eve to bring you a family fun event. Shops will be open late for your convince, and there will be live music, raffles, and delicious food. The event is free, but for only $20, you can participate in the dessert and beer pairing. This curated group of beers is provided by Moderation, and the delicious desserts are the creation of Wild Oats. 

Family Valentine's Day is a perfect event because you get to celebrate the holiday with the whole family and then spend Valentine's Day with just your significant other. Plus, once you've rung out all the fun you can from this jovial gathering, you have the rest of downtown Brunswick to explore together.


Carnaval Maine 2020
January 31st, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald

Maine is in for a blast from the past. A festivity that hasn't been around since 1923 is finally making a comeback. Carnaval Maine is being revived by Shamrock Signature Sports and Entertainment to celebrate the state's 200th anniversary. The Bicentennial Ball kicks off this three-day event. Between the snowboarding, dancing, and craft beers, there will surely be something to pique everybody's interest.

The When & Where

The Bicentennial Ball will be held Thursday, January 30th. The actual Carnaval lasts from Friday, February 1st to Saturday the 2nd. Festivities begin at 11:00 am both days and last well into the night, ending at 10pm. 

Carnaval Maine will be held in Eastern Promenade in Portland. Shamrock Entertainment understands that convenient parking in Portland is hard to come by, so that is why they're offering free parking at the Ocean Gateway Parking Lot. From there, it's only a short walk to the carnival, or you can hop on the Narrow Gauge Railroad for only $5.


As mentioned, the Bicentennial Ball kicks off this spectacular event. There will be a DJ playing throughout the night, local craft beers, and delicious apps to snack on as you enjoy the night. Although the word "ball" may bring to mind beautiful gowns and cute shoes, Shamrock recommends you leave the dress at home and opt for warmer layers instead as this ball is being held in a giant igloo! What better way to celebrate Maine's 200th anniversary than in a building made of snow. 

Food and beer lovers are going to love the Bites & Brews sessions that will be held twice a day Friday and Saturday. These sessions take place inside the same giant igloo where the ball is hosted. For only $65 a ticket, you get to taste six Maine craft beers that are expertly paired with artisan cuisine from local restaurants.

USASA Maine Mountain Series is hosting a USASA National Qualifying Rail Jam on Friday. If you don't know what USASA or Rail Jam is, it's actually quite simple. USASA is the United States Amateur Snowboard Association, and a rail jam is when snowboarders jump onto and ride on a railing. Whether snowboarding is a hobby of yours or not, it will certainly be entertaining to watch these talented athletes perform impressive tricks in hopes for the gold. If you're a budding snowboarder yourself, you can compete in Sunday's rail jam, which is open to the public.

There is also plenty of family entertainment for those with children. Local mascots such as Crusher from the Maine Red Claws will be seen wandering the venue, waiting to take pictures and sign autographs. There will also be fun caricature artists, ice sculptors, and dazzling light shows.


In 1852, the first portion of the Bates Mill in Lewiston was completed, and with it brought an influx of Quebec citizens looking for work in the mills. Those brave immigrants made Maine their new home, which is why our state has such a rich, French background. With so many Mainers with ties to Quebec, its only natural that we became inspired by their culture and customs, including the Carnaval de Quebec. Up to a million people every year attend this festival to have fun and celebrate winter.

The first Carnaval de Quebec took place in 1894 and quickly became a time-tested tradition. The five-hour journey to this winter festival has become something of a pilgrimage to many Mainers, so it only made sense to bring the festivities to Maine.

Get Your Tickets Now!

If certain parts of this carnival seem more appealing to you than others, then that's okay! Shamrock is offering three different types of tickets for everyone's convenience. For those looking to party it up on their favorite state's birthday, there are tickets available for just the Bicentennial Snow Ball, but keep in mind, this a 21+ event.

For the carnival itself, general admission tickets are only $20, and children under three can get in for free. Anyone interested in the Bites & Brews sessions must buy a Bites & Brews tickets, which also grants you general admission.

Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine
January 24th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 

Many activities that center around children can often be boring and tedious for parents or guardians. When you bring your child to the park, you have to sit and keep watch on them at all times as if you're a warden and they're the prisoner. Going to the movies with your child usually involves spending a lot of money on a movie you don't really want to see. The Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine is different because it is fun and interactive for both child and parent.


The Children's Museum & Theatre originally began as two separate entities. In 1923, The Children's Theatre planted its roots in Portland. The theatre produced shows for young children and was widely popular, so much so that the theatre troupe began traveling and performing in parks and public spaces. The Junior League of Portland were the original actors in these shows, but upon seeing the excitement in the children, they began letting children participate in the plays as well.

What about the museum aspect? The Children's Museum of Maine was founded by the Junior League of Portland in 1976. The original museum was located next door to Portland in Cape Elizabeth. After much effort to raise funds, in 1993, the museum moved to its permanent home on 142 Free Street in Portland. It wasn't until 2008 that the museum merged with the theatre to produce the Children's Museum & Theatre of Maine as we know it today.

The Theater

Starting on the lower level is the expansive theatre, which is currently holding an exhibit named Action! Headquarters! This is where kids can exercise their imagination, dress up as their own creative superhero, and flaunt their superpowers on the stage. With so many colorful props and fantastical backdrops, kids can feel like they're performing a real play.

The theater certainly isn't meant for everyone. Children uninterested in thespian life can flaunt their talent backstage in the Backup Lair, where they can learn about the light and sound equipment. There is also a puppet show where children can tell a story through their puppets as only children know how to do best.

The Museum

The next three levels are dedicated to the museum aspect of the organization. With over a dozen exhibits, there is something that will capture every child's interest. Our Town is located on the first floor and this is where children can interact with each other in a town shrunk down to their size. There is a farmer's market, car repair shop, and even a post office. Watch your kids become young entrepreneurs as they grab a wrench, operate the lobster boat, or examine the sick teddy bears in the Be Well Center.

The next floor is home to the ranger station, space shuttle, and several other exhibits. This is where children can stay close to Earth and learn about sustainable forestry or soar into the cosmos and learns about our galaxy. Also located on the second level is the ever-popular touch tank where starfish, sea cucumbers, sea urchins live.

The third and top floor is home to Cloud City. This exhibit is a sensory-rich environment, with many soothing lights and sounds flowing throughout the room that makes you feel as though you are floating on a cloud. After a day filled with so much excitement, Cloud City is an excellent way to relax.

Outdoor Adventure

Open seasonally, the Outdoor Adventure area has been transformed into an ocean paradise. Climb aboard Mr. Magee's boat, dig in the sand for treasure, or splash in the water with the whales. Parents can have peace of mind that their children are exploring and playing in a safe environment. In an age filled with iPads and iPhones, it's heart-warming to see kids connect with nature again.

Breweries In Southern Maine
January 10th, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald 
Maine is beginning to garner nationwide notoriety for its abundance of craft breweries. In 2012, there were 43 craft breweries in Maine, an impressive number for such a rural state. Since then, however, that number has shot up to 90, many of which are located in Southern Maine. Each brewery is founded with love and passion and is deserving of its own recognition, but that would turn this blog post into a short novel. Instead, here is an overview of just a few of the excellent breweries Maine has to offer.

Maine Beer Company

If you ever sat a bar in Maine, chances are you have seen a nondescript, white tap handle. Many companies choose frilly, eye-catching designs for their tap handles to attract more customers to their beer. Maine Beer Company instead chooses simplicity and lets its reputation precede itself.

If you ever hear a Mainer talking about Lunch, there's a good chance they're not talking about food. Lunch is the name of Maine Beer Company's trademark beer. It is an IPA with an ABV of 7% and a unique flavor profile consisting of citrus, pine, and guava. People who don't care for IPA's start singing a different tune when they taste Lunch's smooth finish. What many people don't know, Mainers included, is that Lunch is actually named after a whale. This whale has a bite taken out of her fin and has been visiting the Maine coast since 1982.

Taste Lunch and the many other brews by Maine Beer Company at their tasting room in Freeport. They have twenty rotating taps, plenty of seating, and delicious wood-fired pizzas. Dogs are allowed on the patio, so come back in the summer with your furry friend!

Fore River Brew Company

Having opened its doors in 2016, Fore Reiver Brew company is relatively new to the brew game but has already grown immensely in popularity. Located in South Portland (or as the locals like to say, SOPO), this brewery is not far from the river from which its name derives. Unlike many new breweries, Fore River is not jumping on the IPA bandwagon. Although they do brew some very flavorful IPA's, Fore River is more dedicated to producing a spectrum of beer options. This includes American Wild Ales, Irish Reds, Stouts, and Sours.

Although nestled in the bustling city of SOPO, stepping into the tasting room at Fore River feels like visiting a rural, country store. There is a roaring wood stove in the tasting room that gives you a warm feeling of comfort. Most days of the week, this is an intimate setting to enjoy a beer with friends. On Fridays and Saturdays, though, there is live music, and the small space transforms into an electric concert hall.

Austin Street Brewery
Jake Austin and Will Fisher, the owners of Austin Street Brewery, are the epitome of Mainer work ethic. They began dabbling in home brewing on Austin St in Westbrook, from which the company got its name. They soon realized they had a passion and a talent for what they were doing and opened their brewery in early 2014. Self-financed, their beginnings were humble, and they started off with a one-barrel brewing system that they assembled themselves.

To this day, Austin and Fisher are the sole owners of the company. This limits them financially, but the duo both agree that this is the best way to ensure the integrity and quality of their beers. Despite this financial hindrance, their company has grown astronomically. They now produce over 40 beers and utilize 160 brewing barrels.

Austin Street has two tasting rooms in Portland. Their Fox Street tasting room is very chic and modern and offers a wide selection of their many beers. The Industrial Way location is directed more towards dog lovers, with dogs allowed both on the patio and inside the tasting room. Both sites offer fantastic service and tasty beer.

Accomplish Your New Year’s Resolutions In Maine
January 3rd, 2020 | By Stacy Oswald

January has always been a time for new beginnings, and these fresh starts take form in New Year’s resolutions. Just as people differ from each other, these resolutions can take on all shapes and forms; however, there are a select few classic resolutions that are the most popular year after year. Here is a look at how a trip to Southern Maine can support the most common resolutions.

Exercise More/ Get In-Shape

Finding a gym in Maine is almost as easy as finding a Dunkin Donuts. If you’re like most Americans, chances are you ready found a gym… and canceled your membership because you lost interest. It’s okay, though; you’re not the only one! It can be hard to find the motivation to work out every day, which is why 2020 is the year to start something new!

EVO Rock & Fitness is a rock climbing gym located in Portland. EVO caters to beginner and expert climbers alike and offers classes for all skill levels. The team at EVO understands that some people might be nervous about trying rock climbing for the first time, which is why they strive to cultivate a friendly and judgment-free environment. Tentative beginners can even purchase a day pass before committing to a year-long membership.

Still apprehensive? EVO also offers Yoga classes that center around honoring the body and mind.

Eating Healthier/ Dieting

In a world where delicious items such as deep-fried Oreos and mashed potato pizza exists, it’s no wonder dieting is our most popular resolution. Eating healthier sounds like a chore, but it really doesn’t have to be! The Green Elephant in Portland serves delicious and healthy vegan-friendly food, without sacrificing any flavor. Time and time again, avid meat-eaters have praised their dishes, which include vegan “spare ribs” and tofu that tastes uncannily like chicken.

If you’re craving lean and savory cuisine from the other side of the world, Quiero Cafe is the place for you. Quiero is a Latin American restaurant that serves a variety of healthy options from our southern neighbors. They offer a range of delicious empanadas, which are similar to a pita pocket, with the filling of your choosing. Traditionally fried, Quiero offers this dish in a healthier baked version. If you’re low on time, they also offer a wide selection of protein-packed smoothies.

Saving Money

With personalized ads being thrown at us from every screen we look at, it can be difficult to avoid temptation and save your hard-earned money. One way you can be money-conscious in the new year is by shopping at the Portland Co-op for your groceries.

For those unsure, a co-op is simply a grocery store owned by community members. The Portland Co-op has over 1,000 members, and each member has an equal say in what happens in the store by democratic vote. Because community members own the store, they get a say in setting the prices, which results in affordable, fresh, and local food.

If being a member of co-op sounds like too much responsibility, then no worries! Everyone, member or not, is welcome to benefit from the low prices of the co-op. The Portland Co-op, in particular, has products from over 200 local farmers and producers. Their goods range from meat, dairy, bulk grains, produce, and household products.


Maine’s peak tourist season is in the summer; however, our many wintery slopes draw in thousands of skiers and snowboarders from all over the country. Between Powder House Hill in the south and Big Rock Mountain in the far northeastern corner of the state, there are dozens of slopes for visitors to check out. Many of these mountains have luxurious resorts you can roam around while not hitting the powder, or you can choose to stay in a cozy cabin in the neighboring “ski-towns.”

If snowmobiling is more your idea of a good time, then Maine will be your Nirvana. There is no shortage of crisscrossing trails in Maine, with The Forks alone having over 14,000 miles of groomed trails. That doesn’t even include the vast network of trails in Rangeley, Millinocket, and Eustis. The further north you travel, the more snowmobiles you will see, in fact, many Mainers up north travel solely by snowmobile in the winter. 

New Year's Eve Events
December 27, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald 
In only one short week, 2019 will come to an end, closing the chapter on a decade full of technological advancements, breaking news, and memories, both fond and disheartening. Many are eager to usher in the new decade with open arms and are planning their New Year's Eve festivities already. If you're left scratching your head at and at a loss for plans this New Year's Eve, perhaps this list of events will slick the gears in your mind.

New Year's Eve At The Planetarium

The Southworth Planetarium at the University of Southern Maine has been a place of fun and education for Mainers of all ages. For those unfamiliar with the establishment, the planetarium is similar to a movie theater in that it has a large projection screen and rows of plush seating. What separates the planetarium from your traditional movie theater is that the screen is on the dome ceiling, and the seats recline into a laying down position for comfortable viewing. Shows and classes held at the Southworth Planetarium generally focus on astronomical subjects.

For New Year's Eve, the team at Southworth has put together an entertaining line-up of their most popular shows. For the price of only one admission, you can come in and watch as many of the shows as you want. Beginning at 6pm, the shows don't stop until 11:55pm when the screen will switch to show the ball being dropped live at Time Square. If six hours of learning about space doesn't sound entertaining to you, then don't worry! The planetarium will also be including shows such as Expedition Reef and Dinosaurs at Dusk, ensuring that everyone will have a captivating experience.

A Masquerade Ball

With 2020 just around the corner, many nostalgic people are becoming reminiscent of the 1920s. In honor of the roaring twenties, the Best Western Merry Manor Inn is hosting a very Gatsby-Esque masquerade ball at the Maine Table Restaurant in South Portland. Go all out and arrive in your most elegant evening wear or keep it casual; the choice is yours as long as you bring a mask.

DJ Stormin' Normin will provide the entertainment for the night alongside a karaoke contest (don't worry, all singers have passed a preliminary round). Besides singing and dancing, there will also be appetizers provided as well as a champagne toast when the clock strikes midnight. All of this entertainment can be bought for only $25.

This event is 21+, and all attendees are urged to drink responsibly. For those that cannot find a DD, the Merry Manor is offering events goers a two-person room for the discounted rate of only $100.

Midnight Soiree At Victoria Mansion

Historic Victoria Mansion is opening its doors on New Year's Eve to those looking for a night of elegant celebration. This ornate mansion in Portland was built during the 1850s and served as a summer home to the Morse family. The home is a stunning example of Italian Villa style architecture. When the mansion was bought by the Libby family in the 1890s, the new owners recognized the beauty of the home and took special care to preserve the original decor.

Enjoy New Year's Eve in style at the soiree, which will include live music from TPerk Productions, a selection of appetizers, drinks, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. As you drink, eat, and mingle on New Year's Eve, you can also explore the sprawling mansion. Rarely seen spaces in the estate will be open for attendees to discover and enjoy.

Tickets for this magical night are being sold for $55, and space is limited. No walk-ins will be allowed. Feel good about your New Year's Eve celebrations by knowing proceeds from this event will go towards the upkeep of Victoria Mansion, a historical landmark of Portland, Maine.

Maine’s 32nd Annual Lobster Dip
December 20, 2019| By Stacy Oswald 
Mainers have a reputation for being robust and resilient people, and we wear that rep like a badge of honor. Every New Year’s Day, however, hundreds of the hardiest people in the state gather on the frozen sands of Old Orchard Beach for the annual Lobster Dip.

What Is A Lobster Dip? Sound Delicious!

If you think you’ll be greeted with delicious lobster dip if you show up to Old Orchard Beach on New Year’s Day, you’ll be surprised when you instead find hundreds of people gathered in only their bathing suits. The Lobster Dip is a polar plunge where Mainers from all over the state gather to run and dive into the freezing cold waters of the ocean. Despite what you may think, there are always cheers of excitement as people plunge into the sea and smiles all around as they come back out.


The first question everybody has when they hear about the Lobster Dip is always, “why?” Some do it to test their mental fortitude while others do it to prove their salt as a Mainer. Whatever the underlying reason may be, the most important motivation for participating in the Lobster Dip is charity. All proceeds from the event go directly towards the Special Olympics of Maine. 

All “dippers” must contribute $100 to participate in the Lobster Dip. The $100 can be your own money or raised through charitable donations from others. Dippers can even form teams of five or more and register under their own creative team name. 

In 2019, the Lobster Dip raised a whopping $100,000 for the Special Olympics. These funds go towards supporting the over 4,300 athletes with intellectual disabilities across the state. These athletes train hard, and their excitement can be seen on their faces every year during the seasonal Special Olympics.

The Fun Begins

The dip begins at noon, but even if you don’t want to dive into the chilling ocean water, there’s still plenty of fun to be had! 2020 will be the first year that a costume contest will be held at the Lobster Dip. So many people had fun dressing up for the dip in previous years, many choosing to dress up as giant lobsters, that event organizers decided to make a fun contest out of it.

After the dip is over, the post-dip festivities commence. The upcoming post-dip party will be held at The Brunswick right beside the beach. After braving the icy waters, dippers can immediately run inside and warm up in one of Old Orchard’s most recognizable hotels. The party will have a cash bar, live music, and a free buffet. The celebration goes on all day, so dippers will have plenty of time to mingle, make new friends, and have fun!

Want More?

If you’ve participated in the Lobster Dip before and are craving more, there are other dips, all equally as crazy, to join. One hour before midnight on New Year’s Eve is 
Portland’s Dip And Dash. Registration is $100, and the proceeds go towards the National Resource Council of Maine, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting Maine’s environment. If you’re too scared to brave the frigid ocean in the middle of the night, you can choose to participate in the Chicken Dip instead. For the Chicken Dip, all you have to do is dunk a single toe in the water.

If you still can’t get enough, January 4th, 2020 will be Kennebunk’s 19th annual Freezin’ For A Reason and is held in front of the Seaside Inn. This dip only costs $25 to get in, but the proceeds also got to a charitable cause. Your $25 will benefit Caring Unlimited, an organization that helps and supports victims of abuse in York County.
Gather your friends and family and make this New Year a time to start a new tradition. Ring in the New Year by testing your limits and proving to yourself just how strong you are. You’ll be surprised by how much fun you'll have in the process!

The Holiday Season In Maine
December 13th, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald

The holiday season is finally upon us. For many, this is a stressful time of year. "Who am I buying presents for, and what do they want? What are the latest and hottest toys and gadgets?" Not to mention the bustling crowds of angry shoppers eager to lay their hands on the limited supply of merchandise. You've worked too hard not to enjoy this special time of year. Gather your loved ones, whether they be family or friends, and spend a night away from the department stores at one of these magical events.

A Time-Tested Tradition

The Nutcracker is a captivating ballet that draws in crowds from all walks of life, eager to take part in this timeless holiday tradition. Merrill Auditorium in Portland has the honor of hosting this classic play with regular admission tickets starting as low as $20. Your $20 will buy you two hours of entertainment filled with enchanting scenery and dazzling costumes. The cast of over two hundred members is comprised mainly of local Maine dancers making it the largest Nutcracker in New England.

For those who aren't familiar with the Nutcracker, the play is based on the fairytale by E.T.A. Hoffmann. First premiered in Russia in 1982, one week before Christmas, The Nutcracker tells the story of young Maria. Maria, or Masha in Russia, is coming-of-age when, one Christmas, she finds a nutcracker that has come to life. The play recounts their adventures together as they wage war against the evil Mouse King. This thrilling saga gained increasing popularity in Russia and very quickly became a holiday time tradition. In 1944, The Nutcracker finally made it to US shores where the San Francisco Ballet first performed it. However, it wasn't until 1954 when the play hit New York City that it finally took off and captured the hearts of many Americans.

Parade Of Lights

The parade of lights in Portland is a spectacular light show that brightens both the sky and spirit. If you're wondering which street from which you can catch this captivating show, the answer is none. Instead of floats, this parade consists of boats. Every year for the past 14 years, ships of all shapes and sizes have congregated in Portland Harbor. These boats are decked out in twinkling lights, some modest and elegant, while others are vibrant and flashy. No matter the style, these boats sail across the harbor, their lights reflecting off the ocean to create a beautiful scene.

If Mother Nature is feeling kind and the night is fair, you can catch this light show for free from Dimillo's Marina or the Maine State Pier. Many of the harborside restaurants, including Dimillio's, offer special seating during the time of the parade. The best way to enjoy this show, however, is to catch a boat ride with Caso Bay Lines. Casco Bay Lines provides at least one, sometimes two, boats from which to enjoy the show. A ticket to embark is only $10, making this one of the most unique and affordable ways to enjoy the holiday season.

Time For New Traditions

The Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl is in its third year of operation, and it is quickly gaining popularity. This event is 21+, so hire a babysitter and enjoy some much-needed adult time away from the kids this holiday season. The crawl begins at Fore Play Sports Bar on 436 Fore St in Portland. From there, crawl (please, not literally) from bar to bar, with the list of participating establishments growing every year. Mingle with friends, enjoy discounted drinks, and capture the moment with the professional photographer on site.

The Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl only has two requirements in order to participate: You must be 21 or older, and you must have an ugly sweater. Your ugly sweater can be a cheap, thrift store find, but some people go all out and decorate their sweaters with flashing lights, ornaments, and sparkling garland. Those truly taken by the spirit of the holidays have been known to take it a step further and find insane, holiday-themed pants and hats to wear as well. Whatever your preference is, The Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl will undoubtedly win its way into your heart and become a new holiday tradition.

Explore The Portland Museum Of Art
December 6th, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald
During your stay in Maine, you'll quickly learn why so many people fall in love with the state. The craggy coastal shores are something out of a movie, and there is no shortage of lush foliage to enjoy. There is so much beauty in Maine to be taken in, but not all of it is from nature. Maine is brimming with artists of all mediums, many of whom gather inspiration from the state's natural beauty. Many of these local artists' works can be viewed at the Portland Museum of Art.

Fun For Any Age

Many families, especially those with small children, choose to shy away from museums. The quiet and mature atmosphere of many museums doesn't always coincide with the antics of even the most well-behaved kids. The Portland Museum of Art (PMA) is different, though. PMA welcomes children and, in fact, encourages developing an appreciation for art in children at an early age. There are many interactive games and events where children can have fun and learn at the same time.

If your child is too old for finger painting, the PMA is an ideal place for them to visit as well. PMA has plenty of events and programs targeted towards teenagers. These programs are centered around honing in on your teenager's creative ability and making new friends with similar interests.

Tickets And Tours

The PMA is conveniently located right in Congress Square with access to plenty of public parking. General admission tickets are only $18, and anyone under the age of 21 can enter the museum for free, making this a very affordable day trip. The free admission to anyone under 21 years old is due to the Art for All initiative. The PMA is actively trying to engage more and more young people to take an interest in art and is doing so by removing the financial barrier.

If you know ahead of time when your visit to Maine will take place, you can book a group tour of the museum guided by art-loving experts. As a group, you will tour the museum and learn the rich history of many works of art and view the rotating exhibits. If you prefer to explore and appreciate at your own pace, the museum offers self-guided tours as well. 

If you plan on being at the museum for a while, don't bother bringing a snack as PMA has its own cafe. Give your feet a break and sit down and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or cocoa and a delicious treat.

Programs And Events

As mentioned earlier, the PMA hosts many events, but not all of them are meant for children. Most of the PMA's events are film screenings of new and emerging directors and actors. These films are only $9 for admission, making it more affordable than going to a regular movie theater. PMA will also occasionally host a free screening of a family-friendly movie.

Besides films, PMA also hosts informative discussion groups, holiday events, and will even have local artists come in and discuss their work. All events are listed on the museum's website so you can plan your visit according to your own interests.

The Winslow Homer Studio; Who Was Winslow Homer?

The PMA is proud to own and display a large number of Winslow Homer's works. Although born in Boston, Homer is primarily associated with Maine. Like so many others, he fell in love with Maine during a visit and chose to spend the later years of his life by the Maine seacoast. Many of his most famous and influential works were inspired by the Maine coastline. In fact, his studio even faced the ocean so he could draw inspiration while he worked. Homer moved to Maine in 1883 and stayed where his soul felt most at home until his death in 1910.

Take A Tour Of The Winslow Homer Studio

In 2006, PMA was fortunate enough to purchase Homer's home in Prouts Neck, Maine. Extensive renovation were made on the building to bring it back to its former glory. The house now resembles the home as Homer knew it and is open for tours. The tour begins at PMA, where a luxury van will pick you and your group up and bring you to Homer's old home. There, you are free to explore the house, which will make you feel like you have been transported through time. The most exciting part of the tour is visiting Homer's old studio. You can even gaze out the same window he did while he worked and enjoy the same nautical vistas he did over 100 years ago.

Exploring Peaks Island
November 29th, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway from the hustle and bustle of the Portland area, you don’t have to look far. Of the 4,600 islands that Maine boasts, Peaks Island is the most populated and is located in Casco Bay. On Peaks Island, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Maine coast that seems to stretch on forever. Peaks Island offers a relaxing escape from city life with its many beaches and nature trails.

How Do I Get There?

This quaint island in Casco Bay is only three miles from the shores of Portland. The ferry rides to Peaks are only 17 minutes long, affordable, and even allow dogs. Ferry rides run at various times throughout the day, roughly between 6am-10pm, making this a perfect day trip to fit into your schedule. For a fee, the ferry can also transport your vehicle, but locals don’t recommend it. Peaks Island is only 740 acres and can easily be explored on foot.

What Is There To Do?

Peak’s Island is for the nature lover that wants to experience the best of coastal Maine. If you’re up for it, there is a 3.7-mile hiking trail that encircles the island, offering 360 degrees of scenic vistas. The quaint lobster boats and luxurious sailboats that criss-cross the harbor throughout the day ensure that every view is unique.
For those not too keen on walking, Peaks Island offers a variety of rentals, including golf carts, bicycles, and kayaks. Locals on the island love sharing their home with visitors, and only ask that golf carts adhere to traffic laws.


Peaks Island has three public beaches to offer. Sandy and Centennial Beach are both sandy, idyllic beaches where families and friends can enjoy laying out in the sun, a round of volleyball, or a refreshing dip in the ocean. Sandy beach is the closest to the ferry landing, and kayakers can enjoy exploring Catnip Island not far from the shore. Centennial beach is perfect for watching the sunset over Portland.

Cairn beach is on the far side of the island and is a rocky beach not ideal for swimming. This doesn’t mean you should pass up on visiting, though! Many visitors of this beach take part in the tradition of rock stacking. People spend hours having fun while they search the shore for the perfect rocks to balance and stack. Some of these rock structures can reach over ten feet in height. Once you’ve had your fun, leave your rock art behind for the next visitor to enjoy.

Explore WII Forts

 Battery Steele is a decommissioned military fort located on Peaks Island. Built in 1942, the fort was named after Harry Lee Steele, who was an artillery officer in WWI. This battery boasted the largest land-based gun ever made in the United States. This powerful gun was capable of firing a 2,000 lb bullet over 26 miles.
Although the gun is no longer there, the battery still exists. In the 1990s, the Peaks Island Land Preserve purchased Battery Steele and registered it with the National Registry Of Historic Places. This historic landmark is open to the public, and tourists can travel back in time as they walk through the forts and explore the many nooks and crevices. Those that are daring enough can even discover the underground bunkers. It’s recommended that anyone that visits the battery should bring a flashlight.

A Brief History

Peaks Island has gone by many names over the years. In the early 1600s, the island was known only as Pond. The island’s name jumped back and forth between Munjoy and Palmer Island until the town settled on Peaks Island sometime in the mid-1700s. It’s not sure how the island got its name, but locals believe it may be from a soldier named Joseph Peak.
It is not known when the first inhabitants of Peaks Island came to be, but there is evidence of a man named Christopher Levitt visiting the island as early as 1623. He proclaimed, “there was good fishing and much fowl.” By 1833, there were thirteen families living on the island, making 7o inhabitants. Today the island has just under 1,000 year-round residents. During the summer, the population triples to 3,000 and sometimes higher.

The Portland State Theater
November 22nd, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald
The heavy snowfall in Maine, coupled with the mountainous terrain, makes Maine a perfect vacation destination for skiers. However, as any Mainer can tell you, nobody knows when the first snowfall will come, and some years we've had to wait long into December. During this long, cold hiatus, many people are left wondering what to do with their free time. Mainers and vacationers alike can look no further than the Portland State Theater.

A Bit Of History

The Portland State Theater is turning 90 years old in 2019, and it is undoubtedly in the height of its glory. It first opened its doors in 1929 ad was known as one of the most technologically advanced motion picture theaters of its time. The theater boasted an ornate art deco style with much Spanish and Italian influence. At the time of the theater's opening, a single ticket would cost a theatergoer a mere 10 cents.

The theater thrived for over thirty years until its manager Ralph Tully retired, and long-time employee Edith Francis took his place in 1963. Francis was not entirely to blame, but the theater fell on hard times after the change in management. Many point the finger at the rise in home television sets. Unfortunately, poor Francis never had the opportunity to showcase his potential as he was struck and killed by a vehicle shortly after receiving the management position.

Some Dark Times Before The Theater Today

Following Francis' death, The Portland State Theater was bought by The American Theater Corporation and turn into an adult film venue. To little surprise, the theater fell into disarray, and much of the valuable memorabilia and decorations were either lost, stolen, or destroyed. The last adult film to air in the theater was in 1990 when it was then shut down to disrepair. Afterward, the theater bounced from owner to owner for two decades.

After $1.5 million in repairs, the state theater finally reopened its doors again in 2010, this time as a performing arts venue. The elaborate art deco style was kept, making stepping into The Portland State Theater feel like traveling back to the 1920s.

What Kind Of Shows Does The Theater Put On?

No longer a place for cinema, The Portland State Theater now hosts a variety of live performances. During the day, the theater puts on many field trips for school-age children. Most Southern and Central Mainers have experienced at least one trip to the Portland State theater in their childhood, where they learned to develop an appreciation for performance art.

In the evening, during the week and weekends, people can enjoy live music, theater performances, magic, and stand up comedy. The theater gives local artists a chance to showcase their talent, but the theater has also been known to host world-famous artists. Elvis Costello, Skrillex, The Flaming Lips, Aziz Ansari, The Arctic Monkeys, and Fun have all shared the enjoyment of performing at The Portland State Theater in the past.

Where Is The Theater And Where Can I Buy My Tickets

The Portland State Theater is located in downtown Portland on 609 Congress St. You have the option of buying your ticket directly at the venue, but your safer buying them online at The Portland State Theater's website. Not only is it more convenient, but Portland is a densely populated city, and the shows have been known to sell out quickly. The theater's website has most of its significant shows posted months in advance so that you can plan out your trip out according to when you're available and what you want to see.

The Surrounding Area

Parking is plentiful in downtown Portland and convenient, with the city offering parking meters that can be paid by your phone. Portland is known as a culinary hubbub, so adding dinner to your exciting night out will be effortless. Surrounding the theater are dozens of bars and restaurants you can visit before or after your show. No matter your taste or your budget, there is a restaurant near the Portland State Theater that will suit your needs. 

Support The Environment, Support The Community, Support Your Health
November 15th, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald 

Portland's Farmers' Market is in its impressive 247th year of operation and is thriving now more than ever. This bountiful farmers' market owes its success to the over 40 local farmers that sell their goods there every week. These farmers are dedicated to their craft and take pride in their work. This commitment to quality ensures your shopping experience is full of warm smiles and friendly greetings.

When And Where Is The Farmers' Market?

Depending on the day of the week, Portland's Famers' Market can be found at one of two convenient locations. On Wednesdays, it can be located at Deering Oak Park from 7am-1pm. On Saturdays, the market can be found at Monument Square, also from 7am-1pm. Both locations are easily accessible and offer plenty of parking.

Sounds Fun, But I Don't Need Any Fresh Veggies Right Now

If your vacation in the Portland area is brief or you are merely passing through, you may opt to forgo the farmers' market. After all, the fresh produce will only spoil before you have a chance to bring it home, right? Though logical, that assumption is very wrong. There are a plethora of treasures to be found at this farmers' market that can appeal to everyone's individual needs.

The Portland Farmers' Market offers a wide variety of products besides fresh fruits and vegetables. At the market, you will be able to find local honey, dairy products, a variety of meats, eggs, mushrooms, flowers, and even handwoven bedding. Each vendor offers unique products that will keep you shopping and entertained for hours.

What Happens During Wintertime?

Unlike most farmers' markets that take a break during the harsher months, the Portland Farmers' Market is open year-round. During the winter, the market is moved indoors and held at 631 Stevens St. As you may be assuming, winters in Maine are nowhere near ideal for farming, but that doesn't mean there's any less product to sell during this time of year. The wintertime is when many greenhouse farmers come out of the woodwork to sell their produce. Meats, dairy products, and textiles are still available in the winter, ensuring that the market hardly varies from season to season

Rich History

The first public farmers' market in Portland was held in 1768, meaning America still belonged to England at this time! Prior to 1768, people generally farmed their own food. However, being on the ocean, Portland was quick to grow. More jobs brought more people, which resulted in less land to go around. Farmers began peddling their food door-to-door in homemade hand carts. History even tells us of a man named Stephen Cash, who owned a bright red wheelbarrow which he would plop in from of city hall and fill with lobsters to sell.

1805 is the year the farmers' market moved Hay Market Square, or, as we now call it, Monument Square. It stayed at this famous landmark for five years before being bounced around over the centuries, only for it to return to Monument Square in 1976.

Feel Good About Yourself

Purchasing products from the Portland Farmers' Market means you're putting money into the pockets of hard-working local families rather than throwing it at multi-billion-dollar businesses. Because the food is local, minimal greenhouse gases are created during the transfer of foods as it is only traveling a few miles, rather than across the country or even across continents.

Helping the environment and the community is applaudable, but you're also helping yourself out in the process when you purchase from local farmers. Fresh foods from the Portland Farmers' Market is free of harsh chemicals and preservatives. Shop happy knowing you're doing a good thing for yourself and the community around you.

South Portland, Maine Turkey Trot 2019
November 8th, 2019 | By Stacy Oswald 

It seems every store you walk into is blaring Christmas music. The shelves are lined with festive decorations, and your friends are even putting up their Christmas trees in the first week of November. While we all love the cheer that the Christmas spirit brings, everyone seems to be forgetting one crucial holiday… Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Traditions

Family and friends gathering together to share thanks as they dive into a delicious turkey is the central theme surrounding Thanksgiving. However, the beautiful thing about Americans is that we all evolve into our own quirky family traditions. Some families start a game of touch football in the backyard while others drink cocoa while they snuggle up and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. You’re probably ticking through a list of your own family traditions in the back of your head as you read this. Whatever your turkey-time routine is, there’s a good chance you have room in your day for one new, meaningful activity.

Turkey Trot 5k

2019 will mark the third annual Savage Family Turkey Trot. This family event is held in honor of Nathan Savage, and the proceeds go towards the Nathan Savage Memorial Fund. What better way to jumpstart your Thanksgiving appetite than to run a 5k? If running and sweating isn’t your ideal way to start your day off, though, then no worries! People are welcome to run, walk, push their strollers, or even take their furry friends with them. However you decide to participate, you and your family can have fun while supporting a touching cause.

Who Is Nathan Savage?

Nathan Savage was a loving husband and a caring father to three beautiful girls, triplets to be exact. Determined to be around to watch his family grow, he dedicated himself to fitness. An avid swimmer, cyclist, and runner, he was ready to participate in his first full Iron Man event in 2016. However, tragedy struck this unsuspecting family when Nathan suffered a fatal heart attack just months before his 40th birthday in 2016.

What Is The Nathan Savage Memorial Fund?

Displaying strength that few of us possess, the Savage family transformed their heartache into good by starting the Nathan Savage Memorial Fund. Nathan was a man dedicated to health and fitness, and this fund reflects that commitment to being active. The fund benefits youth recreational groups in the Portland area, ensuring that the children of Portland will always have a way to remain active.

How Do I Sign Up And Where Is This?

Registration for this 5k can conveniently be done online. The Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving Day in Bug Light Park. Bug Light Park is located on the coast in South Portland with picturesque views of the harbor. Participating in the 5k will also give you a perfect family photo opportunity in front of the adorable, little lighthouse for which the park is named.

A Tradition To Remember

The Turkey Trot begins at 9am, making it easy to slide into even the busiest Thanksgiving Day. On a day dedicated to being thankful, you can participate in this 5k and be thankful for your health and the health of your loved ones. It’s never too late to start new traditions!