Summer Fun on Main'es South Coast: Kennebunkport and York

Summer Fun on Maine’s South Coast: Kennebunkport and York

Miles of white sand, saltwater taffy, long estuaries to explore by kayak, one of Maine’s most iconic lighthouses – what’s not to love about that stretch of shore between Kennebunkport and York?

The quartet of beach towns — Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit and York — couldn’t offer more variety. Wells and York are all about families kicking back. Kennebunkport and Ogunquit are known as more high-end enclaves, although their beautiful beaches are open to all and each offers a wide range of lodging and dining choices.

Near scenic Cape Porpoise in Kennebunkport, the affordable Rhumb Line Resort  caters to families, with large indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Stop at Cape Porpoise Kitchen for take-out and picnic at Cape Porpoise with views of Goat Island Light. Or head a mile or so north to Goose Rocks Beach, less known than the popular ones along Beach Avenue.

For a traditional shore dinner go to Mabel’s Lobster Claw (; if you’re lucky, the signature Lobster Milanese – grilled shrimp and lobster – will be on the day’s menu. On Route 1, taste craft beers at Sebago Brewing.

Get a different view of Cape Porpoise or the Kennebunk River on a guided tour with Coastal Maine Kayak and Bike in Kennebunkport or join them for paddleboard lessons or tours. They welcome all skill levels, and offer bike and scooter rentals, too.

The best beach at Wells is the four-mile stretch north of Mile Road (park on Mile Road or Atlantic Avenue). Only a mile from the beach and on the handy trolley route, Wells Beach Resort & Mini Golf has drive-through RV sites with full hook-ups, cable TV and wi-fi. There’s a big pool, an 18-hole mini-golf course, two playgrounds, a rec room and volleyball, basketball and bocce courts.

The 220 grassy sites at Sea-Vu Campground include shaded tent sites as well as RV sites with full hook-ups, TV and wi-fi. Everyone loves the setting overlooking the ocean, and families appreciate the large pool and mini-golf course, as well as the trolley stop at the front gate for car-free beach access. Sister campgrounds of Sea-Vu West and Sea-Vu South are nearby. Sea-Vu West offers spacious sites with full-hookups, WiFi and cable, a pool and kiddie pool, recreational facilities, and is on the trolley route.

If camping’s not your style, Sea Mist Motel on Route 1 is reasonably priced and has in-room kitchenettes and an indoor pool. A bit more upscale are the condo suites at Misty Harbor Resort on Mile Road.

Experience a different coastal environment at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge on Route 9. A mile-long interpretive trail winds through a coastal forest and along tidal marshes where sightings of heron, egrets and sea birds are common. Just across a tidal creek, the Wells Reserve at Laudholm has seven miles of walking trails.

The Maine Diner on Route 1 in Wells is no secret: for more than 30 years it’s been serving fried clams, chowder, blueberry pie and all the other Maine coast favorites: Get more suggestions of things to do at the Wells Chamber of Commerce visitor center.

Don’t think all the fun is within sight of the sea.

Head inland to Sanford to find Mountain View Golf Range, a family-friendly center with mini-golf, a driving range and batting cages.

York is a family favorite, not only for its beaches (descriptively named Long and Short Sands), but for Maine’s most iconic lighthouse, Nubble Light at Cape Neddick. Add The Golden Rod, famed for over a century for its saltwater taffy, and New England’s only zoo/amusement park at York’s Wild Kingdom,
and you have a winner.

You can’t camp closer to the beach than at Libby’s Oceanside Camping in York Harbor, overlooking the mile-and-a-half Long Sands. Owned by the third generation of the family that founded it in 1923, Libby’s offers full hook-ups, TV and free wi-fi, but best of all are the ocean views from nearly every site, and direct beach access.

Text: Bobbie Randolph
Bobbie writes about her favorite Maine experiences, from camping and kayaking to skiing and dogsledding.

The Saco River begins in Crawford Notch, NH, as Saco Lake, descending out of the White Mts, traversing through 24 towns, carving its way through south western Maine all the way to the Atlantic between the towns of Biddeford and Saco.

Quiet Paddling in Western Maine

My all-time favorite mode of transportation is by canoe. This ancient way of travel leaves me feeling peaceful and present in no time as I leave the work-a-day details behind with a few short paddle strokes. Experiencing the floating support, being suspended on water, another body, holding me up and carrying me along is powerful and healing. The sound of the wooden paddle slicing through the water’s surface, plunging down silently, propulsing me along the slow passing scenery, the perspective gained from being on top of the water, a place no one has walked or driven before—it’s simply magical.

Abenaki Indians, “The People of the Dawn,” relied a great deal on waterways of this area for easy and swift transport. Maine has 7 major rivers that tribes used as super highways to explore, gather resources, trade and enjoy the bounty provided my Maine’s epic natural resources. The rivers served as trade routes and also helped the Abenaki to make seasonal migrations from south to north to help ensure greater success with hunting and gathering. Many tribes spent their summers on the coast taking in the ocean’s bounty. By early fall, they would paddle and pole back upstream to their winter home, rich with game, shelter and resources.

I get to live near the serpentine shores of the Saco River, one of these 7 gems. The Saco River begins in Crawford Notch, NH, as Saco Lake, descending out of the White Mountains, traversing through 24 towns, carving its way through south western Maine all the way to the Atlantic between the towns of Biddeford and Saco.

The Saco River has been a hot bed for conservation drawing in the Nature Conservancy and the Saco River Corridor Commission to protect is shores and waters.

Our cities and towns used to turn their backs to the rivers, using them a receptacles for industrial waste, including paper, tanning and textiles. Thankfully, waterfronts are now being cleaned up, honored and featured, as the beautiful resource that it is.

The Saco has been a hot bed for conservation drawing in the Nature Conservancy and the Saco River Corridor Commission to protect is shores and waters. Because of its seasonal flooding and intense water level fluctuations after sudden storms, it is home to rare plants and animals that sustain and thrive in these varying conditions. The receding glacier left the river with a thick sandy bed that acts as a water filtration system, providing some of the cleanest water on the planet. Over 250,000 people and multiple bulk water extraction corporations tap into the aquifer surrounding the Saco’s sandy surroundings.

The quiet paddler has an opportunity to drift into some amazing wildlife along the Saco and its connecting streams, bogs, ponds and lakes. I have been directly escorted by river otter, swacked into attention by beaver as they slap their tails adamantly letting me know who’s turf I am in. I have paused to watch dozens of painted turtles sun bath on a river-worn log. Around bend and curve, I have followed the flight and distinct King Fisher’s song. Being mesmerized by the stillness and majesty of the great blue heron, bald eagle and osprey is humbling and inspiring.

Magic happens when one just shows up and joins the circle of what is already going on, tuning into the natural rhythm and natural world. Canoeing provides a life-long opportunity to access the wilderness we still get to experience and witness. Paddling totally shifts my mental state. There is still deep quiet in western Maine, off the hub-bub of major highways, out of town just enough to smell the trees, see the sky and hear the birdsong strong.

Text & Photos: Jen Deraspe
Founder of Nurture Through Nature Retreat Center, Maine’s first Green-Certified lodging retreat, Jen Deraspe lives off the grid on the slopes of Pleasant Mt. in Denmark. Her passion is leading earth-friendly retreats and holistic life coaching.

How to Photograph Whales and Other Elusive Wildlife, Michael Leonard

How to Photograph Whales and Other Elusive Wildlife

In most DSLR cameras there are 4 popular modes where exposure decisions are either fully or partially made for you by the computer in the camera. Those 4 modes are…

Full Auto – Green: where the camera chooses everything for you. You will certainly make a picture, but usually not with the best results possible.

‘P’ or the Program mode: where the camera chooses the exposure for you. Your camera will set the shutter speed and the lens f/stop to make a picture and this is a good all-around mode in which to shoot for everyday photography.

‘Tv’ or ‘S’ is for Time Value or Shutter mode: where you set the shutter speed and the camera assists by selecting the lens aperture appropriately to make a good exposure. A fast shutter speed can be a good option for freezing action to reduce motion blur when shooting moving subjects.

‘A’ or Aperture value: where you choose the lens f/stop or Aperture and the camera assists by selecting the appropriate shutter speed (time) to collect light to make a good exposure. Aperture mode is best for doing still life, portraits and for those times when you want or need to control the depth of field or the selective focus in a scene.

Tricking your camera

There is a fifth way where you can trick most new DSLR cameras to assist with the exposure, which can help you make your best shot.

The Manual mode is usually where you make ALL of the exposure decisions in your camera, including the light sensitivity or ISO. By setting the ISO to Auto you can force your camera to assist with the exposure based on your Shutter and Aperture settings and on the available light in the scene. In Manual mode you can set the shutter speed, to freeze the motion as desired, and set the lens aperture to get the selective focus or depth of field that you want all while letting the camera figure out the proper ISO to make a good exposure.

Here is an example – you are going on a whale watch and want to come back with sharp images, but you are on a moving boat and the subject matter is moving as well. Here’s what you do…

Select Manual mode in your camera and set the shutter speed to a fast setting – 1/1000th to 1/2000th of a second for instance. Most lenses have a sweet spot where their sharpness is the best, usually between f/8 and f/11. Set the aperture in this range favoring f/11 to get the sharpest image from your lens and to also gain more depth of field. Next, set the ISO to ‘Auto’ and let your camera assist by adjusting the light sensitivity accordingly. These settings work best in areas with bright sunlight. In darker scenes, the ISO may be raised too high causing noise in the picture that will manifest as grain. This ‘Auto-Manual’ or ‘Manual-Auto’ technique also works well for photographing birds, surfers, and other moving subjects where you want to have the ability to control the sharpness of the image.

Give it a try the next time you are out photographing and see if it helps you to make your best shot.

Text and photo: Michael Leonard

Hernit Island Campground

Wilderness Camping in Maine

Few things truly say “summer” like the crackling of a campfire as orange light dances around the campsite. The heady scent of the deep forest and the campfire smoke soothes your senses. Thankfully, you don’t have to heave off too far into the wilderness to find a piece of the forest you’ll feel you can truly call your own. These campgrounds will bring you that deep wilderness feel without having to mount a multi-day expedition just to get there.



Carol Savage

Photo: Carol Savage.

While indeed an island unto itself, Hermit Island is one you can reach by car over a short narrow causeway. The private campground at Hermit Island has something for everyone, whether you want to be nestled deep in thick evergreen forest on plunked on a windswept ridge or right on the smooth sandy beach. It’s a huge campground with 275 individual sites, but it doesn’t feel huge. When you set up your tent, you’ll still feel like you have a piece of the island to yourself. The preferred areas are Osprey Point and Sunset Lagoon, Joe’s Head and Sand Dune Beach. Make a reservation well in advance and hope for decent weather.

When you’re at Hermit Island for a few days, treat yourself with a side trip to Popham Beach. This spectacularly scenic smooth sand beach is shaped like two huge crescents, with a large jetty in the middle that’s great for climbing on and just hanging out to be with the ocean for a few hours.




Of all the campgrounds and campsites throughout Baxter State Park, you’d be hard pressed to find one that feels more magical. You are right in the cradle of Katahdin, and on the shores of Chimney Pond. It truly doesn’t get much better than this. Gaze around the scenery and you may feel as if you’ve been transported to Middle Earth. The gray granite spires of Katahdin loom ominously around you—at once inviting and daring you to climb.

Pack light, as you will have to hike in—it’s 3.3 miles from the Roaring Brook Campground. There are nine two-person lean-tos and a 10 person bunkhouse, so you won’t need your tent. This is one of two back country campgrounds within Baxter State Park and is quite popular. Reserve well in advance, and be respectful of the rules. The rangers take very seriously Percival Baxter’s doctrine of the park being a “wilderness preserve first, recreation resource second.”



Lily Bay on Moosehead Lake

Lily Bay on Moosehead Lake. Leah LaRoche


Lily Bay State Park is another wild and remote park and that provides the feeling of island camping on the shores of Moosehead Lake without having to load up a canoe or kayak. There are plenty of remote feeling lakeside sites, especially on the Dunn Point side of the park. Most sites must be reserved, but several are first come, first served. Do yourself a favor and reserve a waterfront site. These primo sites fill up fast in the summer. If the Dunn Point side is full, don’t despair. Go for the peninsula of sites 33 through 38 on the Rowell Cove side. This little group of sites is among the best at Lily Bay.

The sites deeper in the woods are also spectacular, but since you’re right on the shores of Moosehead Lake, your campsite might as well be there too. And if you’re truly daring, part Inuit, or have a high pain tolerance, you can even take a dip in the cool waters of Moosehead Lake. It will truly take your breath away, even on the hottest summer day.




In the right moments, the stillness, the darkness and the quiet at Rangeley State Park are absolute. The still may only be punctuated by loons checking in from alternate ends of the lake before they turn in for the night. Rangeley Lake State Park has 50 sites spread throughout the dense forest. Aim for one near the shore of the lake, especially sites 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23. If those are already full, fear not. You’ll never be that far from the lake either way. Try for one of the sites set along the outside of the campground loop road, as those typically have a bit more forest separating the individual sites. At night, when the campfire is crackling, all you’ll see is your immediate circle bathed in the orange light of the campfire. The surrounding forest will be shrouded in impenetrable darkness and you’ll feel like you have the forest and the night to yourself.



Cobscook Bay State Park has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to oceanfront campsites. Try to get a site on the Cobscook Point peninsula with sites 56, 57, 59, and 62. These spectacular sites are truly set off on their own. This is another spot where you can get that remote island camping feel, even though if you run out of Cheez-Its, your vehicle is parked only 30 yards away.

One cool thing about camping Cobscook Bay State Park is clamming out on the mud flats. You can venture out there at extreme low tide and pick yourself a peck (about two gallons or 15 pounds) of clams. Be mindful of the incoming tide though. When the tide turns and comes in, it comes in quite rapidly and the tidal range averages 20 to 24 feet. Getting trapped on the mud flats can be inconvenient; it can even be dangerous. Cobscook is actually the Passamaquoddy term for “boiling tides.” Back at your campsite, you won’t have any fresher clams than those you just dug up and grilled over your fire.

Text: Lafe Low

Camping photo - Robbie Martin

Summer Camping Gear Wish List

Summer camping gear wish list: Anker 15W Foldable Dual-Port Solar Charger


Outdoor Gear Lab gives the Anker15W Foldable Dual Port Solar Panel the best marks for 2017 for charging your phone and music in the wilderness. It’s lightweight, durable and competitively priced at $49.99.



Summer camping gear wish list: Hydro-Hammock


Hydro Hammock is one of the most buzzed about outdoor accessories in the last two years. This hot tub hammock holds up to 750 pounds of body weight and water, with a water heater that offers serious relaxation. It ain’t cheap at $1892 for both hammock and water heater, but it looks like pure bliss.



Summer camping gear wish list: Sawyer Mini Filtration System


The Sawyer Mini is an award-winning 2 ounce water purifier which filters up to 100,000 gallons of water coming in at an affordable $19.99.




Summer camping gear wish list: gourmet frozen meals from The Maine Meal


The Maine Meal are gourmet frozen prepared meals made by Skowhegan couple Mark and Kelly LaCasse ranging from lobster, sea scallops,beef and chicken, along with side dishes of vegetables, soups, pasta, potatoes and grain dishes. $30-35 feeds two people.





Text: Kay Stephens

5 Can't Miss Hikes Downeast by Johanna S. Billings

5 Can’t Miss Hikes Downeast

One of the most rewarding aspects of hiking Downeast is the chance to get off the beaten path. Downeast hikes offer the same spectacular views as their more well-known counterparts with the bonus being solitude. Here are five great places to explore hiking trails.

5 Can't Miss Downeast Hikes by Johanna S. Billings

A family makes its way along the Hollingsworth Trail in Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge in Steuben

Great Wass Island

The Great Wass Island Preserve in Beals offers several hiking trails with some of the best views Downeast. Trails take hikers both through the woods and along the rocky coast.

The Little Cape Point trail (2.2 miles) intersects with the Mud Hole Trail (2.3 miles) at Little Cape Point to make a nice 4.5-mile loop. The terrain is uneven and difficult and hikers should use caution, especially in bad weather.

Start by taking Little Cape Point trail through the woods. You will reach the ocean shortly before arriving at the point, where you pick up the Mud Hole Trail. Mud Hole runs along the shore for about a mile before cutting back through the woods to the trailhead. One of its best features is a view of Moose Peak Lighthouse, which is located across Eastern Bay on Mistake Island.

Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge

The Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge in Steuben offers two trails — Birch Point and Hollingsworth.

The 2.2-mile Birch Point Trail begins in an open blueberry field and takes hikers into the woods. The smooth and wide trail, which is easy for hikers of all ages, provides a number of scenic stops featuring benches and interpretive signs. One of the best views is Lobster Point, where Adirondack chairs in the woods look out over the bay and rocky shore.

5 Can't Miss Downeast Hikes by Johanna S. Billings

The Trails at Eagle Hill Institute allow hikers direct access to the water.

The 1.5-mile Hollingsworth Trail starts in an open field and takes hikers over a slightly more challenging terrain to a rocky granite beach at Chair Pond where they can enjoy a rest on Adirondack chairs. Explore the beach area, looking for shells, interesting rocks and even old lobster buoys that have washed upon shore. Pigeon Hill Bay and the lighthouse on Petit Manan Island are visible from the trail.

Eagle Hill Institute

Eagle Hill offers a network of six intersecting trails, which range in length and difficulty. Just a 10-minute walk from the main building is a scenic overlook offering views of Gouldsboro Bay, including Schoodic Head and Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Other trails take hikers through the woods, through blueberry barrens and along the coast of Dyer Bay.

Few people seem to know about this hidden gem. Hikers will enjoy solitude and the feeling of being alone on a private preserve. Eagle Hill also offers camping and has an on-site restaurant that is open in the summer. The institute also offers a variety of programs year-round, including concerts, workshops, seminars and presentations.

Quoddy Head State Park

Of course, the obvious attraction here is the West Quoddy Head Light, the easternmost lighthouse in the U.S. However, hikers can head off the beaten path right from the lighthouse to a series of trails not usually explored by lighthouse visitors. Most notable is the Coastal Trail which takes visitors along the shore from a high, rocky vantage point. At 4 miles round trip, this is the park’s longest trail. It shows off the cliffs from a wooded vantage point with periodic overlooks where views can be appreciated without obstruction.

5 Can't Miss Downeast Hikes by Johanna S. Billings

A group of seagulls sits on the rocky shore along the Hollingsworth Trail in Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge in Steuben

The other trails offer the hiker the chance to explore bogs and forests full of mosses and lichens. A variety of birds, from seagulls to bald eagles can also be seen along this and other trails. The park also features spots for picnicking.

Pigeon Hill Preserve

The Pigeon Hill Preserve offers 1.8 miles of trails. Hikers can climb to the summit to see views of the coast and pick blueberries in season. Other trails take hikers to the defunct silver mine.

At 317 feet above sea level, Pigeon Hill is the highest point along the coast in Washington County. The top of Pigeon Hill was used in the original “Eastern Oblique Arc” survey when the US government surveyed the eastern coast of the United States. From the top looking west Mount Desert Island can be seen, to the south Petit Manan Point and lighthouse can be viewed.



Great Wass Island Preserve, run by the Nature Conservancy, features 1,576 acres in Beals, Washington County. Described by its website as the “spectacular gem of Downeast Maine,” it is located off Route 187, accessible from Route 1 in Jonesboro.

Petit Manan Wildlife Refuge does not have its own website, but information on the trails is available on Maine Trailfinder: Birch Point trail  /  Hollingsworth trail.

Eagle Hill Institute is a nonprofit organization aimed at promoting natural history and the arts. Information on the hiking trails is accessible here.

Quoddy Head State Park is located four miles off Route 189 in Lubec and features 541 acres of forest and bog. Additional information on trails, including maps and day-use fees, can be accessed online or by calling 207-733-0911. The lighthouse, located adjacent to the park, is run by the West Quoddy Head Lightkeepers Association. The visitor center is open daily from Memorial Day to Oct. 15. For more information, call 207-733-2180 or email

Pigeon Hill Preserve is located off Pigeon Hill Road, just off Route 1 south of Milbridge. For more information visit


Text & Photos: Johanna S. Billings
In addition to being an avid hiker, Johanna is a national award-winning writer and photographer based in Steuben, Washington County. Her website is



Onawa Lake from Borestone Mountain, photo by Carey Kish

The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit


From my airy perch on Mt. Kineo, feeling the intense exposure of the dramatic 700-foot cliff face of granite below me, I enjoyed one of the finest vistas anywhere in Maine’s North Woods. The misty gray afternoon skies served only to enhance the wildness that characterizes the magnificent view across the vast waters of Moosehead Lake to a veritable sea of mountains north, east and south.

It’s little wonder then, I thought, that Mt. Kineo is one of the mountains featured in the Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit, which challenges hikers to scale six high peaks around Maine’s largest lake. Each summit provides a unique vantage point for appreciating the immense natural beauty and unspoiled quality of the Moosehead Lake region, much of which enjoys conservation protection.

The Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit was developed as another avenue to drive nature-based tourism to our region,” said Angela Arno, Executive Director of the Moosehead Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Arno collaborated with Dan Rinard, Operations and Facilities Manager for the Appalachian Mountain Club, which is involved in its own eco-tourism effort through its Maine Woods Initiative project on its 70,000 acres of conservation and recreation land in the heart of the 100-Mile Wilderness. Arno and Rinard sorted through the region’s extensive inventory of mountaintops, finally settling on six peaks with maintained foot trails that were accessible by road year-round.

The Maine Center for GIS (the folks that brought you the Maine Trail Finder) created the maps, while the Chamber had a colorful trails guide produced and a website established. For each mountain, hikers get driving directions, round-trip trail mileage, elevation gain and trail profiles, everything you need to hit the trail. You need only lace up your hiking boots, shoulder a day pack and go: to Mt. Kineo, Number Four Mountain, White Cap Mountain, Eagle Rock, Big Moose Mountain and Borestone Mountain.

Enjoy an extraordinary vista from the summit ledges and steel rungs of the old fire tower atop Number Four Mountain (2,890 feet), which looms over the wild landscape just south of First Roach Pond and includes the rugged slopes of Lily Bay and Baker mountains. For many years, the only trail to the top was the steep and eroded fire warden’s trail, but the path has been recently rehabilitated by a Maine Conservation Corps trail crew under the direction of the Bureau of Parks and Lands. A series of well-designed switchbacks now make the hike a little easier and much more enjoyable.

The most remote of the six peaks is White Cap Mountain (3,644 feet), which requires a 31-mile drive to reach its base, nearly half of that on gravel roads. The mountain is also the most strenuous, with an elevation gain of 1,909 feet over the course of the 3.3-mile climb to the alpine summit. The ascent follows the white blazes of the renowned Appalachian Trail on part of its 2,189-mile route from Georgia to Maine. Anytime from about midsummer on, you’re likely to cross paths with a grizzled thru-hiker, now less than 100 miles from the big prize at journey’s end, Katahdin, in clear view from the rocks above the treeline high on White Cap.

From the pinnacle of Eagle Rock (2,290 feet), you’re rewarded with an exhilarating top-of-the-world view that captures everything from the upper Kennebec River valley and Moosehead Lake to the vast forestlands and mountain peaks as far north as Baxter State Park. An informal trail has existed for years on the north side of Eagle Rock, but thanks to the handiwork of the Maine Conservation Corps, a new route has been opened from the south, a meandering path with a healthy dose of ups and downs. Raven Ledge part way along offers a nice preview of what lies ahead at trail’s end.

Big Moose Mountain (3,196 feet) is the crown jewel among the 13,500 acres of the Little Moose Public Reserved Land, rising prominently above the thick woods, jumbled hills and sparkling ponds. Site of the first fire tower in the United States in 1905, the steel tower erected in 1919 to replace the original wooden structure was carefully removed in 2011. The restored tower now adorns the lawn outside the Moosehead Chamber of Commerce office on Route 15 on the way into Greenville. Revel in the marvelous views of the region from the narrow summit ridge, including a look at the slopes of the revitalized Squaw Mountain Ski Area.

Amid 1,600 acres owned by Maine Audubon, the craggy twin peaks of Borestone Mountain (1,981 feet) feature spectacular views over Onawa Lake to the rough, undulating terrain of the Barren-Chairback Range and beyond into the famed 100-Mile Wilderness. On the eastern summit are the iron bolts of the former fire tower and a map and compass display that helps you to identify every mountain in a complete 360-degree arc. Halfway up the mountain is Sunrise Pond and the Robert T. Moore Visitor Center, where interpretive displays detail the fascinating human and natural history of the area.

Hikers who tackle the entire Moosehead Pinnacle Pursuit are eligible for a patch, sticker and certificate noting the accomplishment, all for the price of an application form and small fee. There’s no time limit on the Pursuit, so you’ve got all summer and fall. Up the adventure ante by pursuing the Ultra, Winter and Winter Ultra challenge options. Get started at

Carey Kish of Mt. Desert Island is editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, and writes a regular hiking column for the Maine Sunday Telegram.

Mount Kineo from Moosehead Lake, photo: Carey Kish

Moosehead Lake: a destination high above the rest

LOCATED OVER 1000 FEET ABOVE THE LEVEL OF THE SEA LIES THE WORLD-FAMOUS MOOSEHEAD LAKE. Surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, Moosehead Lake is a destination high above the rest. Home to an abundant population of moose, this part of Maine announces its grandeur at first sight. Indian Hill at Greenville offers a stunning glimpse of this deep lake and the endless mountain range that lies ahead. A warm community of quaint shops, local eateries and waterfront gardens welcome you in downtown Greenville, Maine.

Guide Outposts are plentiful and can provide you with a northern exposure adventure of a lifetime. Moose safaris are best enjoyed by canoe and NorthEast Guide Service can provide you with the experience, knowledge and perfect setting for an authentic Maine wildlife tour or whitewater rafting trip along the rapids of the Penobscot & Kennebec Rivers. Fly fishermen of all ages and abilities can also take to the water. Wading, drift boat or inflatable raft, Wilson’s on Moosehead Lake can show you what they do best in the cool headwaters of the Kennebec River and Indian Pond.

Moosehead Lake, Cathy Genthner

Photo: Cathy Genthner

A short drive up the eastern side of Moosehead Lake leads you to Blair Hill. The most magnificent views are found here as well as the finest dining, at the Blair Hill Inn & Spa. The road continues to Lily Bay State Park, a resource for recreational trails, day and overnight camping and Moosehead’s most popular public beach. Just beyond Lily Bay, half way up Moosehead Lake is the small town of Kokadjo, population “not many.” This is where the pavement ends and the North Maine Woods begin. ATV trails abound as do the mountain hikes that are found here in Maine’s Hundred Mile Wilderness. Number 4, Whitecap, Gulf Hagas and the B52 Memorial Crash Site are just a few of the hikes that are found on Moosehead’s east side.

Opposite Kokadjo on the west side, lies the town of Rockwood, the heart of Moosehead Lake. Rockwood’s location makes it the best for boating opportunities. Here you will find a full service Moosehead Marina for all of your watercraft needs. Motorized and non-motorized boats can be rented at The Birches Resort or Lawrence’s Lakeside Cabins. No visit to Rockwood would be complete without a visit to Mount Kineo State Park. Accessible only by boat, shuttle transportation can be found for a fee at the Kineo Docks. A beginner hike will lead you the fire tower at the summit, giving a 360 degree panoramic view of the entire lake. Mount Kineo is also home to one of the most historic and scenic 9-hole golf courses in all of New England.

A short walk across the carriage trails leads you to Pebble Beach, the most beautiful beach on Moosehead. Pebble Beach sits under the 750 foot flint cliffs of Mount Kineo. A rope swing and smooth stones that you cannot find anywhere else set this beach apart from them all. Private sailing and lake fishing charters depart daily at Gray Ghost Camps. A sunset sail and an evening spent around the campfire is the perfect way to end any day on Moosehead Lake. For more information visit

For just short of a century, Maynard’s In Maine has provided their guests with outstanding wilderness experiences in addition to excellent bungalow style cabin accommodations and great dining with wholesome fresh farm foods prepared to perfection. The Moosehead area offers outstanding landlocked salmon, trout and togue fishing. Recently, Billy Maynard landed a 29.67 lb Togue on Moosehead Lake measuring 41” long. His huge catch beats the old Moosehead Lake record set in 1961 of a 28 pound 12 ounce togue. The area’s large, pristine forests provide excellent cover for deer, bear and small game and make it an outstanding hunting region. Here guests at Maynard’s will find a real pearl in the North Woods. For additional information, call (207) 534-7703 or visit the Maynard’s in Maine website.

Beer tourism

Maine vacations built specifically around breweries

In recent years, I’ve gotten into the habit of counting license plates at big beer releases. Specifically, I’ve been checking out how many out-of-state plates are mixed in among the Mainers seeing what’s new from their local brewers. More and more, the number of people “from away” dwarfs the locals. There’s always a reliable contingent of Massachusetts folks, followed closely by flannelled Vermonters and our neighbors from New Hampshire. But Maine beer is drawing drivers from further and further away. On release days at Allagash and Bissell Brothers, you’ll increasingly see people coming from as far as New York, Pennsylvania and even Virginia.Skowhegan Brew Festival

Beer tourism — that is, trips and vacations with an itinerary built specifically around breweries — is booming in Maine and around the country. The Brewer’s Association (the trade association for small and independent American brewers) estimates that about ten million people visited craft breweries last year, and that number is only rising. With over 90 breweries operating in the state, and one of the highest concentrations of breweries per-capita in the country, Maine is at the forefront of the world of “beercations.”

“During 2016, 85% of the 5,300 guests on board came from places other than Maine,” says Don Littlefield, General Manager of the craft beer tour company the Maine Brew Bus. And these visitors weren’t here just to try Maine beer, but to take it home. “Over a 12-month period, our tour guests purchased over $50,000 in additional spending for beer and merchandise to bring home.”

These purchases of beer (either for consumption or to-go) at breweries are big business — the Brewer’s Association reports that about 7% of total brewery beer sales are made at a brewery or in a tasting room. Littlefield suspects the rate is much higher in Maine, with “75% or more of sales” for some brewers coming from direct interaction with customers at their breweries.


Old Mill Pub

Maine is called “Vacationland” for a reason — tourism is practically the state’s raison d’etre — and has been part of the state’s brewing landscape since the first lobster-branded phial of Geary’s Pale Ale rolled off the bottling line in the ’80s.

On top of this, the brewers of the Pine Tree State are making great beer. Beer so great, in fact, that it’s highly sought after outside of our borders. And with the majority of the state’s brewers only distributing within Maine (and many distributing themselves, only within a few dozen miles of the brewery), demand for Maine-made beer straight from the source is at an all-time high.

“Visitors from out-of-state have been a big part of the people who walk into our tasting room since we’ve opened, and it has only grown since then,” says Tina Bonney, Business Manager at Foundation Brewing Company. “It’s great to see interest in Maine beer grow, not only because we love to share what makes the beer scene here great, but it’s also a chance to share other cool things that are going on here, and why we love calling Maine home.”

While demand is peaking now, it’s not a new story. For years, the largest beer sites online (Ratebeer, BeerAdvocate, and Reddit’s r/beer) have hosted forums for beer-lovers looking to share their local beer. If you’ve ever looked on these sites, or even on Facebook and social media posts, you’ll see the popular acronyms FT (“For Trade”) and ISO (“In Search Of”) floating around every local beer release.

In the early 2000s, Bar Harbor Brewing’s Cadillac Mountain Stout was among the most highly sought-after beers from Maine. The dry stout, voted best stout in the world in the World Beer Championships in 1995, topped plenty of “best beer” lists and turned lots of people onto Maine beer. Also in high demand at the time was Shipyard Brewing Company’s Pumpkinhead, a divisive spiced beer that had devoted fans willing to go to great lengths to get their favorite seasonal beer as the days got shorter. Demand also rose for Allagash Brewing Company’s Belgian-style brews, particularly after 2010 as they began releasing small-batch beers brewed in their Coolship (a broad, open vessel used to cool spontaneously fermented sour beers). The Coolship beers age particularly well, and Coolship Resurgam, Coolship Red, Coolship Cerise, and Coolship Balaton, among others, remain in high demand by beer-lovers around the country.

In recent years, the fervor over beer releases has shifted in a hoppier direction. While bold stouts still demand some attention (Rising Tide Brewing Company’s Nikita and Tributary Brewing Company’s Mott The Lesser are two such examples), IPAs, Double IPAs, and cloudy “New England IPAs” draw hundreds of visitors to releases. Foundation’s Epiphany IPA and Maine Beer Company’s Dinner Double IPA both draw massive crowds at each release, creating snaking lines of visitors down Industrial Way and Route 1. Demand for Bissell Brothers’ Substance has been astronomical since they started brewing, but every new release from the brewery draws scads of people to their spot-on Thompson’s Point. The brewery releases a schedule of can releases seasonally, and there seems to be a line no matter the release.

In addition to the demand seen at Maine’s breweries and taprooms, Maine beer retailers see visitors looking to bring home local beer (or trade it with friends near and far). “When we wrote our business plan in 2011, we never foresaw how big beer tourism would be to our business,” says Greg Norton, owner of the state’s best beer store, Portland’s Bier Cellar. “Each year we see increasing numbers of out-of-staters coming in to Maine … It’s been amazing to see how much beer that has gone from our shop to other states and even countries.”

Norton has fostered a good relationship with local brewers, and his shop is a go-to spot for new releases from many Maine brewers, including the aforementioned Bissell Brothers, Foundation, and Allagash. He also advocates for other local beer that doesn’t have quite as much hype behind it. “I generally try to steer them to great examples of styles that may fly under their radar as well as crowd pleasing beers that are pretty universally loved. If it’s summer time, a nice Weiss beer or lager, in winter a porter or stout.”

Outside of Portland, beer stores represent both the greater Maine beer scene and their local brewers, many of whom might not be available in the Forest City. A stop at Tully Beer and Wine in Wells can get you beer from tiny Theory Brewing Company, for example, and Ron’s Market in Farmington carries growlers from local Tumbledown Brewing Company. Bottle shops in the expanding Bangor/Orono beer scene, like Bangor Wine and Cheese, carry bottles, cans and growlers that never make it to Southern Maine’s shelves.

Looking to enter the wild, wooly world of beer trading?
Be advised that shipping through the U.S. Postal Service is a strict no-no, while using carriers like UPS and FedEx is a bit more of a gray area. Forums on the popular beer sites are a great place not only to find trading partners, but also for advice on how best to package and ship your beer. Some bottle shops are also helpful, as sources for bottle shipping containers if nothing else. The short answer? Pack carefully, throw in some extra favorites, and don’t be a jerk. Use trading as an opportunity to share local favorites and receive the same from someone. If nothing else, think of it as a boxed-up beercation.

— Text: Josh Christie


Monhegan Island Brewing Co.

Visit an Island Brewery: Monhegan Brewing Co.

For you, dear beer, I would climb a mountain and cross the sea.

To grab a brew from Monhegan Brewing Co., it’s not like you can just drive up and hit the tasting room after work. This remote brewery is one of the few existing island stops on the Maine Beer Trail. You’re going to have to set aside an entire day for the journey, but it’s going to be the best damn beer you’ve ever tasted.

The entire experience starts from the moment you take the mailboat from the Monhegan Boat Line out from Port Clyde.  For $35 round-trip, you can make the 7:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. ferry out and take the return 4:30 p.m. boat back, giving you an entire day to explore Monhegan’s extensive trails.

The official ferry season starts Memorial Day, but the crowds start to hit around July 4, so if you want it to feel as though you have the island to yourself, go any weekday or weekend before then. With roughly an hour crossing (10 miles out to sea), stand out on the top of the deck and let yourself experience full sensory overload; feel the bracing salty wind, the churn of waves and take in the porpoises, seals, and shags. Close your eyes and imagine everyone else you know sitting in an air-conditioned cubicle, trying to decipher an Excel spreadsheet. Try hard not to cackle out loud.All of Monhegan Brewing Co. beers are named for Monhegan landmarks or aspects of island living.

After the boat docks, you’ll instantly see why this place inspires so many artists. There are no crowds or cars. Barely any stores. Just million dollar views everywhere you turn and a reclusive sense of silence. Maine: the way life used to be.

Have a good pair of hiking boots and bring a backpack with snacks and water or grab what you need at the island’s only year-round grocery store, L Brackett & Son on the main road just before the post office.

Buy the trail map at the boat ticket booth because your smart phone won’t likely work here. For those who want to boost the enchantment factor, take the easygoing Cathedral Woods trail, which reveals many tiny handmade fairy houses built alongside the path. (Just don’t cheese off the locals and alter the natural landscape or leave any items like beer caps).

If you want to get the biggest reward for your beer hike, forgo the easy trails and head straight for the cliffs. A short jaunt down the south side of the main road will take you to a fairly good loop starting with Burnt Head #4, which winds through the hushed forested interior of the island. Cut to the left slightly to Gull Cove #5, which takes you through a jagged cliffside path, (known as Trail #1) a spectacularly rugged hike that spans the perimeter of the island.

When you come out on Lobster Cove on the south side of the island, you’ll be sweaty and tired, but it’s going to feel like the chorus of angels just busted out in a cappella when you see the shingled cape taproom of Monhegan Brewing Co.

Owners Matt and Mary Weber started this family-owned brewery in 2013 and for the last three summer seasons, have seen traffic and sales exponentially increase. “The first year, people would sort of stumble onto the brewery, but now, especially with The Maine Beer Trail, we’re seeing more and more people come over specifically to go for a hike and sample a brew,” she said. “You earn your beer, that’s for sure.”
The inside of the taproom feels like a rustic clubhouse with cheerful blue and white decor and features about five to six brews ranging from IPAs and pale ales to a stout.

One of their most popular summertime brews is the Balmy Days Citra-Hopped Kölsch. After those cliffs, the light citrusy body with a touch of wheat is going to taste like Nirvana in a glass, no joke.

“A lot of people have told us it’s the best beer they’ve ever had, said Mary. “As much as it pleases me that they like our brews, I have a feeling that being hot and sweaty and having a cold beer at the end of the trail has a lot to do with it,” she laughed.

Each brew ranges from $5.00 – $6.00 per pint and they also offer handcrafted ginger beer and root beer as well. They take both cash and cards, but islanders always appreciate cash.

At this taproom, there is no such thing as a stranger. Many of those who came over on the ferry with you will end up here, or you might see an islander wheel up on an ATV to fill a growler. Mingle on the taproom steps or wander out to a shaded table in their lobster trap beer garden.

Out of all the day trips you take in your lifetime, you can honestly say you never went this far out of your way for a beer.
Okay, kick back and take a sip. You can die now.

— Text & photos: Kay Stevens

The Seasonal Runner

The Seasonal Runner

Leaping into Spring & Summer

The sweetness of that very first spring-like run of the season is intoxicating. Runners shed their winter layers and emerge from their treadmill lairs to drink in the warm, earthy air. The roads and trails are clear, days grow longer, and plant life gives birth to new leaves and buds. We, too, are innately connected to this pattern of growth and renewal. Suddenly, a motivation that was once dormant, breaks through. There is a palpable energy in the air, and that is especially apparent to anyone with a running mindset.

The turn of the warmer weather is often met with a zeal and eagerness to train harder, achieve that PR, or even to lace up a pair of running shoes for the very first time.  Ideally, we are taking cues from nature, and honoring these natural cycles; not overdoing it to risk injury and burnout, and training in ways that improve our performance, while allowing for sustainability and continued enjoyment in the sport of running. Here are a few points to keep in mind as we enter this exciting time of year.

The social aspect of running with a group is incredibly motivating.  Structured workouts within a group setting can improve your performance while having fun, and the accountability of the group will likely mean a stronger commitment on your end. As you connect with like-minded individuals, you are sure to make lasting friendships.

Think about what you want to achieve.  Do you want to commit to running more days per week? Do you want to go longer or faster, or snag a race PR?  Goals should have personal meaning, rather than meeting someone else’s expectations. By being specific and realistic, you will be in a better position to commit to the work required to meet whatever goal you set.

Yoga poses work the body in ways that can bring tremendous physical, energetic and mental benefits. Let your yoga practice work with your training, and not in opposition. On high mileage or active days, give in to a restful practice; and on lighter days, you can allow your yoga to focus more on strength and movement. The following short sequences highlight three poses for each purpose.  Add them to your routine to create more balance and see how you feel.


With the feet together or hip width, draw the hips back and down like you’re reaching for a chair. Let the weight be heavy in the heels and light on the toes. Feel the outer hips compacting as the torso lifts off the thighs and the chest is upright. Keep the hands at the hips or raise the arms as shown.

From Chair Pose, pour the weight on the right leg as you lift the left foot and draw it back behind you, so you land in a lunge.  Through that transition, keep the outer right hip exactly as you had it in Chair Pose.  In the High Lunge, you may experiment with a bent or straight back leg as you keep a tall spine and even explore a subtle backbend.

From High Lunge, shift the upper body forward and bear the weight in the front leg, again keeping the right hip pinned in and drawing back, which engages the glute and hamstring.  As you lean forward, keeping the chest searching forward, and spine long, lift the back leg. Work to keep the hips level – right and left hip bones facing the floor evenly.  Keep the back leg lifted by engaging the quadricep and drawing the inner line of the leg toward the ceiling. Step to Chair Pose, and then to a standing position.

Flow through these three poses, alternating from right to left.  Experiment with holding for 3-5 breaths in each pose, and then moving dynamically, holding for 1 breath per pose, and performing 5-10 times on each side.


Place the elbows under the shoulders, keeping the legs relaxed. Head may be kept in a neutral position, fall forward, or rest on a block.

From a seated position, draw the soles of the feet together, allowing the knees to go wide. Let the feet be further away from the hips, and incline the body forward.

Lie on your right side, supporting your head in your hand. Draw your left leg up, like you’re hanging out reading a magazine. Reach behind you with your left hand and catch ahold of your right foot, targeting the quadricep of the back leg. Stay on your side, or roll back (as shown in the photo), to invite a twist to the spine.

Hold each pose with the muscles fully relaxed, allowing the body to become heavy. Go only to the point where you feel a mild amount of sensation – nothing sharp or painful. Set a timer and hold each posture for 3-5 minutes.

6 Yoga Poses for Runners

—Photos: Yang: Terry Cockburn, Yin: Cindy Giovagnoli

Terry Cockburn has been teaching yoga since 2006 and owns Freeport Yoga Company (Freeport, Maine) and Yarmouth Yoga Studio (Yarmouth, Maine).  A marathon runner, mother to two boys (and one yellow dog), business owner and outdoor adventure seeker, she balances an active yang lifestyle with time on the meditation cushion and a contemplative yin practice.  Terry teaches classes, workshops and retreats and has a passion for working with the athletic population.  Check out her upcoming offerings at

Maine BrewGuide: 5 Summer beers you'll want to try

Summer Beers You’ll Want to Try

Maine BrewGuide reviews 5 summer beers from local breweries

Oxbow Brewing Company ~ Grizzaca
5% ABV

Kissing cousin to a Saison, Grizacca is Oxbow Brewing Company’s interpretation of the Belgian style beer called grisette. There is an infinite amount of lore surrounding this style, but it doesn’t have to get complicated: while saisons were made for farmworkers, grisettes were brewed for coal miners. Simple, until you find references to “grisettes,” young working women dressed in gray, “gris” in French.  Let’s stick to the beer. Sipping Grizacca with Anne Marisic, Oxbow’s Director of Retail Sales, at noon on a gray, er, gris Saturday, was a perfect example of why we go to tasting rooms. Once inside, the world becomes smaller, the outside no longer bothers our consciousness. We are talking beer and drinking it. Grizacca is bright, crisp, with notes of pineapple and hints of the promise of spring. Ahhh. A must-sip beer for the spring and summer season. Watch for Rivulet in Summer, 2017, their newest grissette.

Threshers Brewing Co. ~ Nor’easter
5% ABV

In the springtime, on a day that just breaks 50 degrees, if you happen to be sitting outside on the patio at Threshers Brewing Co. in the deep woods of Searsmont, just kick back, prop up your Muck Boots and gaze at the bare trees and muddy parking lot. Then take one sip of their Nor’easter and close your eyes. You’re on the beach, baby, and it’s fast forward to summertime. This Northeast style IPA is made with a Vermont-style ale yeast, which lends some cloudiness to the honey color and the Australian El Dorado hops smooth it out without any trace of bitterness. It starts with citrusy, almost naval orange flavor, which gives way to a juicy, clean finish—sort of like a breath of clear, cool air on a hazy, summer day.

Shipyard Brewing Co. ~ Fire Berry & Maui Mango Blend
5% ABV

Tea beers are currently trending in Europe, with Germany being the epicenter for tea blending these days. Fortunately you don’t have travel far to experience Shipyard’s two options, Fire Berry and Maui Mango Blend. Both of these tea beers are wheat based and low in alcohol to allow a neutral canvas so when the teas are blended it allows the elements of the natural tea ingredients to come through. Oh, and caffeine-free!

The tea used is from Tiesta Tea, who has highly researched and selectively sourced teas from around the world for the best characteristics and flavor. The Maui Mango Blend: Has an aromatic nose that presents with notes of pineapple, orange slices and strawberries. The flavor has a pleasant juiciness and is not overpowering, it leaves you with a clean, crisp finish. Fireberry: A more tea forward beer, is made with blackberries, elderberries, currants and hibiscus and has a clean slightly bitter finish which I enjoyed.

In lieu of hops: Tea beers have achieved what is being done with hops these days. Today’s brewers are finding new ways to exploit the bountiful flavors from natural fruit and varying tea blends that allow full, complex flavors in sessionable beers.

Oxbow Brewing Co. ~ Loretta
4% ABV

The brainchild of Oxbow head brewer Mike Fava, Loretta resurrects the once-forgotten style of grisette. Originally brewed as a libation for French coal and stone miners centuries ago, the style is a close cousin to saison, similarly low in alcohol and refreshing. Loretta is one of three grisettes the farmhouse brewery produces – along with the La Griseta and Grizzaca – and the most traditional example of the style. Brewed with European hops and locally-harvested spelt grain, the light-bodied beer clocks in at an easy-drinking 4% ABV. Loretta pours a pale yellow with a big, estery nose, and is a crisp, refreshing mix of lemon, wheat and grainy sweetness with a slightly citric bite.

Fore River Brewing Company ~ Lygonia IPA
6.5% ABV

Lygonia’s golden hue glows like a July sunrise over Casco Bay. Its nose emanates a summer-rich aroma of peaches, grapefruits, and pineapple from the Ella and Topaz hops. As you sip Lygonia, (Fore River Brewing Company) tropical fruit flavors give way to refreshing pine notes until finally easing back to a mango hop finish. It has just the right sweet malt body to balance out the generous addition of hops, while the dry finish leaves little residual sugars to get in the way of its refreshing hop voyage. Lygonia is the perfect companion to backyard cornhole with friends while Tom Petty croons on the radio.

— Text & Photos: Grizacca – Kate Cone; Nor’Easter – Kay Stephens; Fire Berry & Maui Mango Blend – Stan Rintz; Loretta – Josh Christie; Lygonia IPA –  Dave Patterson

Amanda Woods, Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Maine’s Cup Runneth Over

The State’s craft distillery movement is spilling over into its cocktails.

Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Photo: Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Did you know Maine was the birthplace of prohibition? Maine passed the first laws in the country to ban the sale of alcoholic beverages. If not being able to have your afternoon Old Fashioned doesn’t put a sour taste in your mouth, I don’t know what will.

As history states, the Maine prohibition law was repealed in 1934 and Maine residents were able to enjoy their afternoon beverage again and that’s pretty sweet.

Being part of Wiggly Bridge Distillery since its foundation, we see that the craft beer trajectory is being replicated by the craft spirits industry. According to the American Craft Spirits Association there are over 1,300 craft spirits producers nationally as of October 2016. That’s more than double the amount of craft distilleries that existed 10 years ago. This speaks volumes about the strong interest in craft spirits. This surge and uprising is no different for Vacationland. In 2009, there were only 3 distilleries in the state of Maine. Maine now has its own Distillers Guild and has 12 members mapped out on their website.

Wiggly-Bridge Distillery

Photo: Wiggly Bridge Distillery

Maine is known for its pristine waters and aquifers. Not connecting that fact, in reference to this rum punch rhyme, would be doing the State a disservice.

The craft movement has become a huge part of our society not only in Maine, but nationally. The United States seems to be infatuated with artisanal everything, from handcrafted furniture to homegrown organic food to hand crafted chair socks. Yes, you read that right! Look it up. Now that the bulk of the alcoholic offerings behind the bar have been upgraded by the craft movement, it’s time to upgrade the ingredients that play nicely with these craft spirits. The term “fresh is best” rings true for the craft cocktail scene. Bartenders are juicing their own citrus instead of using something that’s pre-made. Ian Michaud, distiller from Liquid Riot, can attest to the fact that craft spirits have opened the doors to the craft cocktail scene. “Craft cocktail makers pride themselves in creating their own mixers, bitters, shrubs, syrups etc. The variety and quality of craft spirits now available to these mixologists allows them a level of freedom to create so many amazing libations!”

Liquid Riot

Liquid Riot / Yo Yo Nana

Ashleigh Hamilton, Lead Mixologist, from Wiggly Bridge Distillery, believes that the cocktails play off the complexities in craft spirits. “When creating a cocktail with a craft spirit the flavors are accentuated and create a more interesting cocktail while a commercial spirit may cause the cocktail to fall flat.”

Ned Wight, owner of New England Distilling, believes that craft spirits give the bartender more nuanced flavors to work with in a cocktail than a regular spirit. “It’s like they [bartenders] were working with a 4 pack of crayons 10 years ago and now they have the mega-pack (with sharpener!).”

The next time you sip a rum punch or an old-fashioned, think about what’s in your drink. Try out one of Maine’s incredible craft distillery options and enjoy the exponential flavor experience you get from drinking a craft cocktail. Your taste buds will start to appreciate the difference between a craft cocktail made with local craft spirits and one that has just come out of a soda gun.

Text: Amanda Woods

5 keys to training stress-free

5 Keys to Training Stress-Free

Running and training shouldn’t be stressful. It is very easy to say that you don’t have time, you will go tomorrow, or you will start next week, but that is not a way to achieve your goals. Over the years, I have tried different ways to make going for a run highly efficient and focused, all while getting the results that I want. I have put together 5 easy ways to make going for a run simple:

1  Prep your gear the night before.

Make sure you have your shoes, shorts, tights, jackets, water and other necessary gear lined up so that you can walk out the door without spending time looking for your one sock, or watch. This is the ultimate time suck, especially when you don’t have time.

2  Don’t wait for others.

Many people say that they need to be motivated by others to go train, but do you really? You might talk while you are warming up and when you are done, but that is about it. If you are really training, you can’t talk because you are breathing too hard. Taking time for yourself is not a bad thing! Embrace the peace and quiet as well as focusing just on you!

5 Keys to Training Stress-Free

Photo: Ken Lubin

3 Have a route mapped out.

If you have a certain amount time to run, map out a route. 30min, 45 min, 1hr, or 1hr+ this is a great way to take the time constraints out of the equation and enjoy the experience. Just go!

4 Have a purpose.

Each run should have a purpose. Is it a recovery day? Do you need to do speed work? Are you going for endurance? Make sure you have a purpose for your run.

5  Reward yourself.

Most of us aren’t going to the World Championship or Olympics any time soon, so don’t be afraid to reward yourself for a job well done or finishing a week of accomplishing your running goals. Have a beer, an extra glass of wine or dessert. If you don’t allow yourself these types of indulgences you will go crazy! Life is all about balance.

As a busy traveling executive with kids, I compete with the top guys in multisport events, and using these tactics have worked extremely well for me. Efficiency, focus and purpose are the keys to being a top athlete.

Text: Ken Lubin, Founder of Executive Athletes (

In Maine, there are two great OCR events: Dynamic Dirt Challenge and Tough Mountain Challenge.

Ready for Your New Obsession?

This season’s obstacle course racing (OCR) is going to be the best yet in New England. There are several events for people who are just starting to get into this growing sport as well as professionals who are trying to make a name for themselves.

If you’re new to OCR, there are a few upcoming events to check out. In Maine, there are two great OCR events:

Dynamic Dirt Challenge and Tough Mountain Challenge. The Dynamic Dirt Challenge is on June 4th at Pineland Farms in Gray. This four-mile course is designed to challenge your all-around strength, stamina and mental grit. The second event is the OCR that I started with: the Tough Mountain Challenge in Newry on July 29th. This four-mile adventure obstacle race will test everything you have with the challenging Sunday River Resort as the setting for this twenty-four obstacle event. If you are looking to get an earlier start on this new physical hobby, then check out Thunder Run in Epping, NH on May 20th. This is a 5k format with all the fun of the other races including plenty of mud.

If you’re ready to tackle the next level of OCR, Tough Mudder offers “escape the ordinary events.” There will be two events in New England featuring Tough Mudder’s newest obstacles, that you won’t want to miss. The first event is at Mt. Snow, VT on June 24th – 25th, also known as the Beast of the East. This 10 to 12-mile course has more than 20 obstacles that will push you beyond any point you have reached before. The second “escape the ordinary” event is at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on August 19th – 20th and this will offer Full and Half Mudder both days. The Half Mudder is a 5-mile mud run without some of the advanced obstacles, a perfect way to start your Tough Mudder career. You will find that even if you went alone to these events you will come across the finish line with 20 new friends that are like family. In my opinion, it is an event that is truly life changing for most of the participants.

The next OCR series coming to New England are the Spartan Races. These races are for all levels, but geared to competitive OCR athletes because races are timed with cash prizes. The first New England race is the Spartan Sprint, this 3 to 5-mile course features 20 to 23 obstacles in Rutland, MA on June 17th. The second event is the Spartan Super and takes place on August 15th in Barre, MA, mileage is increased to 8 – 10 miles with 24 to 29 obstacles. The third and largest race is the Spartan Weekend on September 16th in Killington, VT. This is birthplace of Spartan racing and it offers the Ultra Beast, Beast and Spartan Sprint. The Ultra Beast is a test for the most advanced athlete with 26+ miles and 50+ obstacles. There are strict time hacks as well and not all who start will finish this race. The Spartan Beast is a 12 to 14-mile course with 30 to 35 obstacles to push you to the next level. The last of the Spartan race series is at historic Fenway Park on November 4th. This Spartan Sprint will be the one every OCR athlete who loves the hometown Boston Red Sox circles on their calendar. Many New England OCR athletes will attempt to earn their Trifecta medal, by completing a Spartan Sprint, Super and Beast in the same year.

I will round out this OCR report with some other upcoming race series dates and locations:

May 13 — Terrain Race, Thompson CT

May 20 — BoneFrog Challenge, Charlemont MA

August 10-13 — Shale Hill OCR Festival, Benson VT

August 19 — Warrior Dash, Thompson CT

— Text: Jeff McAninch

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