Hilary Nangle answered your questions about vacationing in Maine on June 1, 2004
Riverside, NJ: Hello Hilary, I will be traveling to Owl's Head in July, the week of the 17th. I am interested in visiting museums, nature areas (photography) and, of course, sampling the regional cuisine. Do you have any suggestions?
Hilary Nangle: For museums, there are quite a few: the Owls Head Transportation Museum is a must for old-car buffs, and its weekend events often include an aerobatic airplane show. The Farnsworth Museum, in Rockland, has a fabulous collection of American Art and a whole center devoted to the Wyeths. You can also visit the famed Olson House. The Shore Village Museum is great for lighthouse buffs.
Do take a cruise to Monhegan island for nature and photography. It's a must (but don't do it if it's foggy).
Regional cuisine: Waterman's Beach Lobster, in So. Thomaston. Chef Melissa Kelly, of Primo, in Rockland, on the Owls Head line, is a James Beard award winner. It's pricey.
St Paul, MN: Is it possible to find a oceanfront home, anywhere along the coast, for two people in their 50s that is 'affordable' - within $250k?
Hilary Nangle: Only if I get first refusal!
Not easy...but prices do drop the more Down East you go. Check Machias through Eastport.
Las Vegas, NV: I am on a budget and would like to stay at a place where you don't feel like a tourist and get a feel for the lifestyle and the local people...a place that is cozy and friendly and hopefully make a friend. I would be gone at least two weeks. Thanks.
Hilary Nangle: Belfast and Portland come to mind. Hit the local restaurants and coffee shops and go to local church or community suppers.
Menifee, CA: Is it possible to use Maine as a home base to visit Montreal, Quebec, and Prince Charles Island? Is there a train system you can use to get there?
Hilary Nangle: Not really. All are quite distant. Rail links Canadian points, but not Maine ones.
Manasquan, NJ: We will be vacationing for the first time in Maine 2 weeks in August. We are staying at a house on Big Sebago Lake in Raymond. What would be some great day trips to do while there?
Hilary Nangle: Portland for its wealth of activities.
Take a driving loop through Naples, Bridgton, the Waterfords, perhaps even to Bethel, to get a taste of the mountains. Lots of antiques shops; even a bison ranch.
Freeport, for L.L. Bean and outlets, then up to Bath for the Maine Maritime Museum.
Check visitmaine.com's calendar for area events.
Houston, TX: My wife and I have never been to Maine. We would like to take 3 or 4 days this summer to drive the coastal area. What itinerary would you suggest?
Hilary Nangle: For beaches, concentrate on the Southern Coast, from York up to Portland.
For a more rural, scenic route, loop around the Blue Hill Peninsula.
Great Barrington, MA: We want to go to the Yarmouth Clam Festival. Where should we stay for a Thursday-Sunday weekend? We'd like quaint and nice accommodations, near the ocean with A/C and TV.
Hilary Nangle: Now I haven't been there yet, but I'm hearing good things about the Chebeague Island Inn, a short ferry ride from Yarmouth.
In nearby Freeport, try the Harraseeket Inn.
Or, try some of the inns on Portland's West end noted in another answer.
Hilary Nangle: I've really enjoyed answering your questions. I'm sorry I wasn't able to get to all of them, but you might find the answers to your question in another answer, so do browse through.
Enjoy your summer wherever you go, but I truly hope your plans include Maine.