Hilary Nangle answered your questions about vacationing in Maine on June 1, 2004
Hilary Nangle answered your questions Tuesday, June 1, 2004 at noon EST.
Freelance writer Hilary Nangle has lived in Maine since childhood. Her articles have appeared in publications such as Budget Travel, Yankee, New England Travel and Life, Where to Retire and Ski, and she appears regularly as a travel expert on "207," a nightly news magazine show on WCSH6, the NBC affiliate in Portland, Maine. Hilary's contributed the Maine chapters to dozens of guidebooks, and she's currently researching the second edition of Moon Handbooks Coastal Maine. Although she grew up in the Portland area, she's been migrating up the coast since and now calls the Mid-coast home. An avid skier, she spends much of the winter at Sugarloaf, in Maine's Western Mountains. She travels throughout the state frequently with her husband, photographer Tom Nangle.
Hilary Nangle: Hi,
Thanks for joining me. I'm looking forward to answering your questions during the next hour.
Edgewood, KY: Hi, we are going to Alden Camps in Oakland for a week for the fourth time the end of Aug. For our post-camp sidetrip this year we would like to visit Deer Island and Isle au Haut. Can you recommend a clean, basic, inexpensive place to spend a couple of nights? Any restaurant recommendations in that area (lobster, of course!)? Thanks for any help you can give.
Hilary Nangle: Check out Eggemoggin Landing (acadia.net/eggland), just over the bridge on Little Deer Isle and facing Eggemoggin Reach. Rooms are basic motel style, but clean and comfortable, and rates include a continental breakfast.
A bit pricier but worth the money, is the Inn on the Harbor (innontheharbor.com). It's right on Stonington's Main Street; easy walking distance to the Isle au Haut ferry. It has a huge deck hanging over the harbor, where you can enjoy the continental breakfast that ' included in the rates.
For lobster-in-the-rough, head to Eaton s'Lobster Pool, on Little Deer Isle. Nice ocean view, especially at sunset. Make reservations for weekends, 207-348-2383.
Both Finest Kind Dining and Fishermans Friend have long-established reputations are equally popular with locals and tourists. Last summer, I enjoyed meals at both Lily's and the Island Star Cafe, both on Route 15. Both are casual and creative, catering more to the areas 'rtistic and summer-resident population. If you re'up for a splurge, ask locally about Pilgrim s 'nn. It s 'lways had a stellar reputation, but it just changed hands.
Isle au Haut is wonderful to visit for a day. If your wallet s f't, you might consider splurging on a night at The Keeper s H'use. You ll 'leep in a renovated lighthouse keeper s h'use or the primitive oil house, and get three meals, but the rates are gasp-worthy; keepershouse.com.
Pittsburgh, PA: Are there nice and warm beaches in Maine in August? Can you give me some your best recommendations?
Hilary Nangle: Maine has beautiful sand beaches. As for warm, well that depends on your definition of warm. As a child, I swam in Maine waters from late May into September. These days, older and perhaps wiser, I'm a bit pickier.
The best bets for warm water are the beaches lining the southern coast: Old Orchard, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunk and York. Popham Beach, at the tip of the Phippsburg Peninsula, is another possibility. For the warmest water, time your swim with the tides. It will be warmest when the tide rolls in over sun-warmed sands.
Mt. Airy, MD : Are reservations necessary for a driving trip or are motel/hotel rooms usually available? I am interested in the blueberry festival and events. Thanks.
Hilary Nangle: Reservations are highly recommended. If you're thinking about the Machias Blueberry Festival, lodging in that region is limited, so do make room reservations or you might end up driving a long distance. Reservations aren't as necessary in the spring or fall except for holiday weekends and peak foliage but still, it's a good idea to make them, at least for your first night or two.
Seattle, WA: What are the best locations for vacationing with kids, 10-20 years of age? And when is the best time weather-wise?
Hilary Nangle: Let's start with weather. You know the old saying, if you don't like it, wait a minute. It's oh-so-true in Maine. In general, August tends to be nice. September is undoubtedly the best, but that's difficult if you're traveling with kids.
As for where, here are a few possibilities:
Portland: Honestly, I don t'see how anyone could get bored in Portland. It s'a very walkable city and a comfortable one no skyscrapers, and it has a vibrant, but not overwhelming, cultural scene, and it s'an active seaport. Take a ferry to the islands of Casco Bay and spend an afternoon or a day exploring one or more. Ride a Narrow Gauge railway along the waterfront. The Old Port has fabulous restaurants and shops. One often cited but unverified statistic boasts that Portland has more restaurants per capita than any other city but San Francisco, and it s'easy to believe. Good food is plentiful in all price categories. Portland has a world-class art museum, a renowned Victorian house museum, a quirky museum of African Tribal Art, a number of performing arts houses. Architectural walking tours are available. Excursion, sailing and fishing boats leave from the waterfront (Eagle Island is a fun trip). And Freeport, home to L.L. Bean and scores of outlets, is just 20 minutes or so away.
Mt. Desert/Acadia/Bar Harbor: Acadia National Park and its wealth of outdoor-oriented activities is the big draw, but there are plenty of other activities, too. Museums, shops, restaurants, a good range of lodging/camping possibilities, a couple of theaters, etc. I went into more detail in another thread about vacationing with kids.
Now let me throw one more possibility into the mix: Bangor, Aug. 27-29, for the free, three-day, National Folk Festival. It s p'rhaps the best value in Maine: three days of non-stop entertainment on five stages, all free. The entertainers are all top notch, most of national caliber, too.
By the way, it s fo'k as in multi-ethnic traditional and roots music and dance, not folk as in Peter, Paul and Mary. Fabulous blues, great bluegrass, everything from Portuguese to Vietnamese, Native American to Congolese. It all takes place along the Penobscot River, under tents and it outdoor stages. Plentiful food, fabulous crafts, children s ac'ivities and more. Check nationalfolkfestival.com for this year s li'eup and lodging links.
Bangor is about an hour from the coast; about two hours from Maine s whi'ewater rafting rivers and the wilderness of Baxter State Park.