As the third in my sleepy series about the lighthouses of Maine, this seasonal tale about the spirits (and legends) of the Owls Head Light is perfect for October. Travel along with Emma as she listens to some cozy fireside tales about one of our favorite lighthouses. If you know Rockland well, you may even be able to spot a favorite local bakery in the beginning!
Whether you get to make this walk often, or you need a trip down memory lane to dreamland, my hope is that this tale will send you off on waves of sleep. Link to the YouTube channel here or follow Get Sleepy on any podcast platform!
Professionally, my time is divided between teaching college and writing stories for the Slumber group.
What is that, you say?
After discovering the magic of the Get Sleepy podcast during my sleepless pandemic nights, I eventually started writing them…and I have to say it’s one of my favorite jobs of all time. I’ve written something like 30 stories at this point, but I’m sharing this one because it’s kind of special! Narrated by the incredible Abbe Opher, this sleepy bedtime tale about visiting the Portland Head Light is the first in a series that will eventually bring our character to the midcoast. Part travel, part history, I hope it’s the magic mix for anyone who has insomnia or just for lovers of lighthouses and Maine, in general.
You can listen to the podcast for free by adding Get Sleepy on any podcast app you may use OR if you prefer to get it on YouTube it’s also available free (twice a week) right here.
Last year, I wrote about the many fun things we found to do in Rockland and the surrounding area during our Maine spring break. Yes, that’s during mud season! This year, as always, we were back to brave the unpredictable weather again. Despite the usual large dose of rain, then sun, then clouds, then more rain, we had as great a time as ever. What were we up to? Read on.
3856 Washington Rd., Rt. 220, Waldoboro
What better way to start your Maine spring break visit than with an incredible brunch at Morse’s Sauerkraut in Waldoboro? Locals know the delights of Morse’s quite well. The European deli is a smorgasbord of delights, brimming with artisan sauerkraut, house made pickles in many varieties, an insane deli case of cheeses and meats, and innumerable packaged European treats (many of which I remember from my childhood in Germany). As if this isn’t enough, they run a cozy restaurant with an absolutely incredible selection of German-style dishes. Mix and match sausages, enjoy potato salad, or try a special. You will not regret making the short trip!
You can find Morse’s easily by following them on Facebook or visit their website.
Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA)
21 Winter Street, Rockland
Rainy days are a perfect time to catch up on indoor pursuits! We had glimpsed an amazing exhibit called Hubris Atë Nemesis at the CMCA, so we took the opportunity to get the boys in there to see it. Now, our kids are not always excited about museums. This exhibit was such a sensory feast that they spent a good ten minutes just strolling around the room and inhaling the wood smell. This was a lot of quiet time for two active boys. The artists Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen say that they “hope this work captures a moment of suspense in a dynamic system – a snapshot with an uncertain future – and that it appears to be unwritten what the restored natural order should or might become.” (check out @wadekavanaugh on Instagram.) All I can say is, my family loved this stunning installation!
The rest of the museum is currently filled with beautiful and heartbreaking photos and reflections upon climate change. This is a topic my boys are at a perfect age to understand and really care about. If you get in to see it, do read the plaques and take time to watch the videos. I left feeling gutted, but it’s an important topic to discuss with kids, and the museum makes it so easy to engage them.
Don’t miss the amazing Art Lab, where the little people can vent some of their own artistic energy! This is truly a stop you shouldn’t pass up on.
Keep up with the CMCA and their ever-changing offerings by following them at their site or on Facebook or Instagram. The “Melt Down” exhibit is there until June 9th and the Hubris Atë Nemesis exhibit until June 16th.
Bixby & Co. Chocolate Factory
One Sea Street Place, Rockland
Another superb indoor activity just a hop skip and a jump from the CMCA is visiting the Bixby & Co. chocolate factory. For those who haven’t already heard about this wonderful company, they are a bean-to-bar chocolate maker focused on being sustainable, natural, and community focused. It just so happens the chocolate is completely divine.
You walk into a showroom and shop featuring tons of beautiful chocolate and you can have a really interesting short lecture on how chocolate is produced, while watching Bixby employees at work through a glass window. I honestly had no idea how chocolate was created and didn’t even realize my ignorance until learning about it on our visit.
Afterwards, you can taste little samples around the room and choose what you want to buy. Good luck deciding, though! Every variety appears to be insanely delicious.
For info about making your own visit, check out their website and Facebook page. It’s a short walk from Main Street and pairs nicely with any other activity you might be doing in town that day.
Oyster River Equestrian Center
1051 Atlantic Hwy, Warren
In Virginia, we literally live on the edge of horse country, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to get our boys scheduled for the occasional riding lesson. After a few failed attempts to contact various stables in the area, I was overwhelmed by the schedules and rules and horse culture in place and I gave up. Coming to the midcoast is a great chance for you to put your child or yourself in the saddle even for just a very first lesson with zero hassle. Every time we come up, we try to get the boys at least one lesson!
My kids are complete beginners and setting up a lesson at Oyster River was totally my speed. We’ve had lessons with two different instructors there over the past couple of years. Lessons are a half hour and include learning horsemanship for beginners.
If you want to schedule even a single lesson, it’s simple! I generally try to call in advance for best scheduling luck, and then we just show up that day and have our lesson. The instructors have been so patient with them and are used to working with kids, so you can feel comfortable that nothing will throw them (no pun intended).
Pro tip: Morse’s Sauerkraut is a short drive away and is perfect for lunch, after!
Liberator Brewing Co.
218 South Main St. Rockland
Despite the people who theorize that Maine will eventually have (gasp) too many breweries, they continue to thrive in the midcoast. Rockland’s newest brewing company considers itself a nano brewery, but it’s serving up tasty beers and it comes with a big dose of cozy, laid-back hangout space. The front area is for serious chatting and beer consumption, but there’s also a spacious back room full of board games and it even has a Nintendo!
For kids or any grownups who prefer a non-alcoholic beverage there are tasty snacks and Maine Root sodas available. This may be the preferred route if you are trying to dominate on the Operation game in the back because…steady hands.
Beer enthusiasts, naturally, can try the micro brews on tap that day. Dan and I both loved our selections (I had the Riveter’s Lager and he had the Tailwind Session IPA) and we are planning to get back there for a growler to take home as soon as we arrive in June.
Liberator has also been having some fun trivia nights and other events, so check out their Facebook page to find out what’s going on while you’re in town. You can also find them at their website.
Other Must-Do Midcoast Maine Spring Break Activities
What else did we do this week? Naturally, we took a windy walk on the Breakwater. Just like last year, we also spent a couple of hours enjoying bowling and arcade games at Oakland Park Bowl. We also couldn’t miss a trip to the Maine Prison Showroom for handmade wooden toys and gifts. I have a bit of a cutting board addiction.
There’s plenty of quiet spring time left before the summer vacationers arrive. Check out our availability and see if you can squeeze in a quick getaway to the coast. Feel free to message us with any questions at all! We are standing by and happy to help.
Also consider following us on Instagram and Facebook for more fun ideas about what to do in Rockland and the midcoast during your own upcoming visit!
A Maine summer is gorgeous, but a Maine fall is truly fantastic. Midcoast Maine fall fun is everywhere you look. From gorgeous foliage to festivals to apple picking, Maine is the gold standard in autumnal experiences. Why should you visit when the weather cools? Read on and find out!
It’s no secret that New England boasts the most fiery foliage around in the autumn, but how about getting a bird’s eye view? The Camden Snow Bowl’s proclaims itself to be the only ski resort on the East Coast with ocean views, and taking in that view is a special treat when you take advantage of their foliage chairlift rides.
The schedule for 2019 chairlift rides has not yet been posted but, in past years, they were on Sunday in October. I’ll watch for updates to post here, but you can check for yourself at the Snow Bowl site!
If you can’t fit the chairlift ride into your schedule take a drive up to the top of Mt. Battie at Camden Hills State Park and see one of Maine’s most iconic coastal views from there. If you’re looking for a physical challenge, try hiking it! Read more →
I can finally write a post about how to go sailing in midcoast Maine. Why didn’t I do this sooner? It’s because I’d never done it and I couldn’t get over my nervousness about figuring out how to make it happen. What I’m going to share here is not as much for people who are experienced in sailing and who have boats and connections. It’s for those of you who, like me, didn’t grow up near the water and want to experience sailing in midcoast Maine – possibly for the first time.
Sailing in Midcoast Maine Just for the Day
As a newbie, of course you are not going to want to get on a boat by yourself and throw caution (literally) to the wind. There are numerous gorgeous schooners in the midcoast that will take people out for overnight or multiple day sails. These are a thing of beauty, but it’s a commitment some of us (especially with kids) may not be ready to make. What I needed was to get my kids on a boat for a few hours and see how it went.
Bufflehead Sailing Charters
Poking around town, I finally heard about a wonderful ship called The Bufflehead. This 32′ wooden gaff sloop is owned by Daniel and Amanda Bennett, who have a great website with a calendar and lots of information about all the different types of sails they can provide for up to six people at a time. Because I didn’t even know how my kids would react to sailing, I jumped at the chance to take just a two hour trip. I emailed Daniel and Amanda and easily arranged for an August morning when we would have our first sail as a family! Read more →
As we head up Route 1, our excitement builds. We’re finally going to see Sadler House again, heading right into the Maine spring after being absent the entire fall and winter. “Where do you want to eat dinner tonight?” I ask the boys. Rockland has become their second home after all these years, and they are full of opinions. After discussing the many kid-friendly options in town, the boys settle on The Waterworks Restaurant. The free popcorn may be giving those folks a little edge.
People always look at us strangely when we say we’re heading to Maine for spring break. The easiest way to explain it is “We have to do spring cleaning at the house,” but the truth takes a little bit of convincing. In reality, we love being back in Rockland at the onset of mud season, when we can get a last glimpse of the snow my kids pine for in Virginia and see the crocuses arrive. The Maine spring may not feature all the charms of summer, but it has plenty of advantages. Many of our favorite places in town will be open, but few will be sustaining the crowds of summer. Visitors may be largely absent, but local friends abound. We are nearly guaranteed to run into people we haven’t seen since August. You can hardly go anywhere in town in the quiet season without seeing people you know. Read more →
I’ve always felt like there are two types of travelers in the world. There are those who are perfectly fine with being tourists, and then there are those who prefer to travel like locals, keeping a low profile and seeing the soul of a place. Admittedly, vacationing like a local is a bit of a contradiction, and it can be tough to pull off. After seven straight summers living and traveling in Maine, these are our best tips on how to vacation in Maine like you live there! Disclaimer: it appears that we spend a lot of time doing things that involve food.
Buy Fresh Food at Farmstands
People who live in Maine are serious about fresh, local food. Patronizing roadside stands is a matter of course and a matter of honor. More than that, though, it’s just fun! We are fortunate to have the divine Beth’s Farm Market near us. It’s a destination all its own. We end up leaving with everything from lobsters to produce to fresh doughnuts. Pro Tip: Beth’s sells lobsters on Sunday.
But there’s no need to make a huge excursion out of buying from hardworking farmstands in Maine. Just pull over and shop at one! You’ll be amazed at how great they are. Read more →
Some of our most popular posts have been those giving vacation rental owner advice. For people dreaming of starting their own vacation rental, tips on budgeting, furnishing, and running that rental can be worth their weight in gold!
We don’t have all the answers, but we’ve shared some! Check out these articles to get started:
Maine is known for its wealth of outdoor activities, so it can be intimidating when you grew up sort of an “indoor” person and then begin spending time in Maine. I was never a camper and didn’t have a lot of family hiking experience as a kid. I don’t know how to sail and never had friends with boats. You know what else I’d never done?
When our 8-year-old son began asking about learning to fish, we balked. My husband had never fished, either, and we started off by buying him a silly fishing rod Dan saw on the internet and going down to our neighborhood lake in Virginia. The rod became hopelessly tangled after five minutes and no fish were caught.
I started thinking how there must be so many places near our home in Maine to do just this, but I didn’t know who could help us. Putting aside the obvious problem that we don’t know how to fish, we also had no boat, no fishing licenses, no gear…and no idea how to obtain some of these things. Sure, we could have done lots of internet research and gone to sporting goods stores. Still smarting from the last fishing rod failure, however, I knew that was not going to work out. Having a solo successful midcoast Maine fishing trip seemed pretty unlikely.
Maine Outdoors Saves the Day
Luckily, I stumbled upon Maine Outdoors on Twitter and followed the links back to Don Kleiner’s site. Lo and behold, while Don takes out very experienced fishing enthusiasts and is a Master Maine Guide, he also helps inexperienced novices like us, via his fantastic offering of a half-day family fishing trip.
Contacting him through his site was a piece of cake, and I was able to easily reserve our trip on the day of my choice through his online reservation system. Shortly thereafter, he was in touch via e-mail with all the preliminary details. Namely, all my husband, father-in-law, and two boys would need to do was show up at the appointed location at Megunticook Lake at the reserved time. They didn’t need gear, licenses, or even bottled water for staying hydrated!