Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine

Kid-Friendly

All of the posts under the "Kid-Friendly" tag.

Sailing in Midcoast Maine: How to Arrange a Day Sail

 

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

Sailing in Maine on The BuffleheadPoking 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 →

Midcoast Maine Spring Fun

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 →

Midcoast Maine Fishing Trips Made Easy

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?

Fishing.

Midcoast Maine fishing trips can be easy to plan! Find out how to do it hassle-free and have a great family day.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!

Midcoast Maine Fishing Trips

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Midcoast Maine Food Trucks and Shacks

Watermans Beach Lobster Table

UPDATED as of May 2019!

As much as we all love a great restaurant meal, it’s no secret that some of today’s greatest food is being served through a window. There is no place where this is more true than in midcoast Maine, where lobster shacks have long been a huge draw for visitors and a way of life for locals. There’s more than just lobster to be had at these casual spots, though. Nowadays, visitors to the midcoast of Maine can find every type of cuisine from Thai to tacos being sold outside. For visitors who want to enjoy the weather, or who are on a budget, or who just can’t stand barking at their kids through one more seated meal, a lobster shack or a food truck can be a godsend.

Here’s the thing, though…how do you locate these little gems? So often, the informal addresses or teeny tiny nooks where these great places are located make them tough for the visitor to find. I’ll be the first to admit that I hate looking like an idiot, driving around and thinking “Is this that pier? Is that the alley?” It has taken us a couple of years to scout out all the good pass-through-window food in Rockland and we still have some places to check out.

I’m going to make this easy for you.

Buoy Park, Rockland, Maine

Buoy Park in Rockland – a great place to eat!

What follows is a list (by town) of the midcoast Maine food trucks and shacks I’ve been able to find out about in the areas around Rockland, Camden, Rockport, and South Thomaston. I hope this gives you the courage to patronize some of these delicious establishments. Eat like you’re in-the-know and enjoy!

In order to fully take advantage of the food truck and food shack offerings, though, you need to understand a few unwritten rules. The main one is that these hardworking folks have basic hours, but those may change day to day due to weather or other random circumstances. This is what they need to do to stay in business, so just take advantage of their social media postings and, when in doubt, call them! The hours I’ve listed below are probably correct, but I cannot guarantee them.

The other plea I would make to you is to be nice. Sometimes they’re mobbed and sometimes they’re not. I’ve seen visitors get super crabby about waiting a little extra time for their order or not getting their straw. Every one of these people behind the window is working in a hot, small space and churning out the best food they can at the fastest rate they can manage. If your order is a little long in coming, enjoy the view and be cool. It’ll be worth the wait.

Please note that most of these food trucks and food shacks judge opening and closing by the prevailing weather each year. Wherever I have noted “seasonal” you can assume that means roughly late May to early October, but during those times you may want to double-check to see if they are open.

Disclaimer: I realize this doesn’t cover all midcoast towns and cities. Just managing this area was a good initial challenge! Listings south of Damariscotta are a work in progress.

With that said, let’s start at home base, shall we? Read more →

Owls Head General Store: MidCoast and Down Home

When you start spending your vacations in the midcoast of Maine, there are just too many things to do and too many places to eat. Especially with a vacation rental to run and maintain, and kids to manage, you just don’t get to all the great local spots fast enough. This generates what I’m beginning to think of as The Secret Slacker Shame. You find yourself getting red-faced all the time because people are raving about the places you still haven’t been, but you don’t want to admit you haven’t been there.

Alright, well, that’s over for us with the Owls Head General Store. Visiting the Owls Head General Store - Maine

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Kid-Friendly Day in Rockland

Parents know that half the battle on vacation is finding things you can do with the kids and still have fun. There are so many kid-friendly activities to do in the mid coast of Maine, but I’ve thrown together an example of a great day you can spend with your kids in Rockland. Choosing just a few activities and restaurants was hard, but here’s a sample of one great day you can plan.
Kid-Friendly Rockland Infographic

 

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