Happy Spring Everyone!
After such a long, cold, snowy winter, it's nice to see some springtime signals arriving. Crocuses are coming up in some sheltered spots. I have heard some of the warmer weather bird songs in the mornings. The best sign is that I don't find it necessary to layer on so much protective gear before leaving the house.
At this time of year, many people have already begun planning their summer vacations, whether as a mood altering exercise of cabin fever, or because their experiences have taught them that it really does behoove them to plan and reserve ahead. Though I am a fan of the spontaneous departure (in theory anyway) working in the tourism industry has taught me a few things. So, whether you'd like to begin dreaming about your summer vacation in Maine or you're in the deep planning stages, you might find some of these resources helpful.
My top 10 Maine vacation planning resources:
- Visit Maine: www.visitmaine.com - this is the site of the Maine Office of Tourism, a state agency tasked with gathering and providing tourism related information for all eight tourism regions of the state. This is a great starting point to begin planning your Maine vacation. With lodging, events, maps, dining and things to do all in one place, you can see that we've got a lot going on here. From the site, you can delve much further and find exactly what's the best route for you and your family.
- Maine Arts Commission: Live music, dance, galleries, lectures, classes, performing arts, and just about everything that can fall under the classification of an art form is here. This events calendar is a handy one to bookmark and return to.
- Maine Agricultural Fairs: I love going to the fair. Fresh squeezed lemonade, fried dough, sizzling sausages, cotton candy - can you tell I like to go for the food? Oh yeah, and the animals and the 4H contests. Rides, shows, and the midway - no matter which fair you choose to check out, you'll surely find what you expect in a fair, but will also be surprised. The Bangor State Fair is the one I am most familiar with and one of the biggest in the state. It takes place in late July - early August each year. The Fryeburg Fair is another biggie in Maine, slated for a bit later in the season, it often showcases some of the agricultural freaks of the summer growing season like the state's largest pumpkin. Both always have live music, spectacular events and not to harp on the food, but THE FOOD.
- The Maine Camping Guide at http://www.campmaine.com is the place to go to find out about camping in Maine. Whether you're the tenting type of folk or want to bring the RV this site can link you to all the campgrounds, RV resorts, and other camping resources.
- Maine Camps & Cottages - a sister site to the Maine Camping Guide, this is the place to go if you're looking to rent a cottage or go "upta camp" in Maine. Lake front, beach front, or into the woods it's got info about all types of places you can start your family traditions.
- The Maine Innkeepers Association is a fabulous resource for hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and inns throughout the state. Traveling on a budget or in high style, you may be surprised at the range of offerings here. Really a great site.
- Part of the Maine Restaurant Association, Feast on Maine is the ultimate Maine dining guide. Last year they introduced the app you can use while in state and on the hunt for great food. Maine is earning quite a reputation as a foodie destination, with a strong farm to table movement and the state's allure to creative and industrious types of people, it's not a surprise to me that its getting more and more recognition.
- Up for some sports? The Maine Sports Commission is a relatively new arrival on the tourism scene in Maine. Not only focused on traditional sports, this site will provide you all you need to know and where you can find out more about what's going on in sports in Maine this summer.
- I'm a huge fan of North Woods Law, the Discovery Channel show that's on the lives and work of Maine Game Wardens. Just thought I'd throw that one in there as a plug for the really good guys who do their best out there. When you visit Maine, if you're coming for the fishing, hunting, and other outdoor wildlife, the website for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife will provide you with the laws, seasons, and whatever else you need to know about enjoying Maine's abundant outdoor resources.
- Last on this list, but only the beginning the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands will give you locations, hours, amenities, and various programs offered at Maine's State Parks.
So, if that's not enough to get you started, stay tuned. I will be posting more in the coming weeks as we approach the summer. If this is all too overwhelming and you don't know where to turn, simply email me at celesteATcelestecotaphotography.com. I would be happy to help you with some itinerary suggestions, personal recommendations, and additional resources to help you plan your vacation in Maine.