Sadler House

Sadler House

Rockland, Maine


All of the posts under the "midcoast" tag.

Vacation in Maine Like a Local

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.

Vacation in Maine like a local - Beth's Farm Market

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.

Find the Less Famous Lobster Shack

Getting lobster in Maine is a no-brainer, and all the famous lobster shacks are well-known for great reasons. Here’s the thing, though: I have yet to get a mediocre lobster roll in midcoast Maine, regardless of venue. The truth is that the best thing about Maine lobster rolls is how simple they are, and the star of that roll is the fresh lobster that just came hoppin’ mad out of the water nearby.

Locals don’t spend a lot of time standing in line at the lobster shack lauded in the latest travel magazine. Instead, they go to their local lobster pound and enjoy a tranquil meal served by cheerful local staff. One of our favorite jaunts is Miller’s Lobster Co. in Spruce Head. We never have had to wait for a table there and our kids can walk around the dock freely while we’re waiting for our lobsters. Pro tip: the mussels there are crazy good. I gather they make them in the big pot of salty water there and I just can’t replicate it at home! Get them.

If you’re not sure where to find the hidden local lobster shacks, ask around! People who live nearby will be devoted to their favorites and full of great advice for a memorable (and genuine) experience. For a list of all the outdoor food shacks and trucks we could find in the midcoast, check out our article Midcoast Food Trucks and Shacks. 

Hit up the General Store or Coffee Shop Bulletin Board

I’m always amazed by the wealth of cool local events going on in the midcoast, whether it be history talks, art walks, or music. One event that was popular with our guests in August for years was the outdoor Internet Cat Festival, but you wouldn’t be able to find out about these hyper-local delights while planning your vacation on Pinterest. This tip compliments of our friends at Doubling Point Cottage is a winner: be sure to stop in your local General Store or the town coffee shop and find the flyers! Local museum websites may also be helpful in discovering cool one-time opportunities to enjoy Maine on a local level.

Most years, we are lucky enough to arrive for a visit in Rockland on the week of the Summer Solstice Festival, which involves a street fair, food, and even free vintage cartoons at The Strand Theater. It’s one of our favorite summer traditions!

2015 Summer Solstice festival in Rockland, Maine. #latergram

2015 Summer Solstice festival in Rockland, Maine. #latergram

A post shared by Sadler House | Rockland, Maine (@sadlerhousemaine) on

A post shared by Sadler House | Rockland, Maine (@sadlerhousemaine) on

If the town you’re visiting has a website, you can also seek out their calendar of events for great ideas.

Uncover the Secret Ice Cream Stand

No vacation in Maine is complete without lots of ice cream, and locals would agree! We have many favorite ice cream stands around our house in Rockland, but one of the coolest is Harjula’s, which is a short drive to South Thomaston. Harjula’s is a favorite destination for those in-the-know because of its stunning view. We can’t believe it took us so many years to get out there, because now it’s a favorite stop!

Your ice cream stand doesn’t have to have a view, though. Unassuming little places in every corner of each small town offer the most incredible flavors and quality. Another favorite haunt of ours is Jefferson Scoop, which is a family-run place tucked right next to Lake Damariscotta State Park. We can’t go to the lake without stopping there afterwards. Check out our article The Best Midcoast Maine Beaches to read about visiting Lake Damariscotta.

Whatever the view or the seating, make sure you get your ice cream!

Stay in a Vacation Home

This is not a surprising piece of advice coming from us, but we really believe it. Hotels and inns are superb at giving tourists star treatment, and that’s wonderful! However, your vacation in Maine means to sit in your Adirondack chair with a Maine beer, make your own lobster, and get advice from a neighbor who has lived there for thirty years, however, you can’t beat staying in a vacation rental home.

Backyard at Sadler House midcoast Maine

Simple and relaxing, like midcoast Maine should be!

If you can, try to book directly with owners. You can save yourselves unnecessary booking fees and, if you love the house, it’s a quick way to book a return visit with old friends the next year! We love repeat guests and lavish all our best, most individualized advice on them.

But this advice, we give to all of you.

What are your favorite insider tricks and places in Maine? Share in the comments!


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?


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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Find the Best Midcoast Maine Beaches

One of the first questions I get from first-time visitors to midcoast Maine is “where are the best midcoast Maine beaches?” Although there are lots of midcoast Maine beaches, finding just the right one for you and your kids can be tricky if you aren’t in-the-know. It’s taken me a couple of years to find the most convenient, fun, and relaxing beaches in our orbit of the midcoast. Plus, naturally, your ideal beach will depend on what you and your family most like to do. Therefore, I’m going to tell you about some best bets in our area. This isn’t all the midcoast Maine beaches, by any means, and I hope others will share their favorites in the comments.

I’ve included a map here to help you locate all of these spots. The addresses are pretty vague in some cases, due to their locations off of major roads, but plugging the name of the beach into your navigation will often help you pinpoint the parking areas more precisely!

To get started, here are my top five go-to sunning spots, plus one everyone else loves, but we have yet to visit.

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New in Rockland, Maine – 2016!

New in Rockland - 2016If I’ve learned anything about Rockland, Maine in the time we’ve been here, it’s that it will constantly be changing. I thought a lot of new things had happened in 2015, but posting a round up of what’s new in Rockland for 2016 is an even bigger task!

Fond Farewell

Change is good, but it’s still sad to say goodbye to some of the old businesses that made way for the new. Most notably from our point of view, favorites The Thorndike Creamery, The Blackboard Deli, Comida, and The Brown Bag are no longer with us.

The good news is, some very exciting new people have come to occupy a few of the old spaces. Furthermore, there is a spectacular new art attraction in town for me to tell you about. Without further ado, here are some wonderful new developments coming in downtown Rockland, Maine! Read more →

Vacation Rental Decor You’ll Love

Vacation rental decor has evolved.

Remember when you used to browse the listings and be faced with one house after another, all furnished with somebody’s cast-off recliner and mismatched sheets? Those houses are still out there, but there’s no reason for you to stay in one of them when there are so many owners using their great taste and creativity to create wonderful settings for your vacations.

Vacation Rental Decor for Everyone

We all drool over the homes in the design magazines and populate our Pinterest boards with their zillion dollar dream rooms. But is staying in an adorable or inspiring or luxurious setting just a dream for most of us? Isn’t that stunning decor by designers and for designers?

Not anymore.

In my time as a vacation home owner, I have met so many wonderful people who have inspiring vacation rentals in the perfect places. I asked a few of them if they’d be willing to share just one of their favorite rooms with me and explain how (and why) they put the space together that way. The best part is, these are homes you can go and rent, yourself! See how these extraordinary ordinary people are bringing the style to the homes that host your trip.

Vermont Chalet
California Beach Cottage
Texas Beach House
Maine Coastal New Englander Read more →

Rockland “What’s New” Round-Up for 2015!

Some people would call us crazy for heading north to Maine for spring break, but we would have it no other way. Not only does it give us an opportunity to take care of projects around the house before a fresh season of guests, but it allows us the chance to enjoy Rockland in the off-season, when there is no waiting at restaurants and everyone has time to chat.What's New in Rockland Maine

No matter where you go, even with cooler weather persisting, it seems you run into someone you know, and it’s so much fun to feel the strong local ties that you don’t notice in the summer, when the town is full of visitors. Of course, after a tough winter like this one, there’s also the happy feeling that summer is on its way. The snow is finally (!) melting and Rockland is buzzing with quiet excitement about several new additions. Make sure not to miss these new Rockland favorites as the weather warms and outdoor living resumes.

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