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Things to do in Maine

  • Victoria MansionVictoria Mansion Portland, Maine
    The Victoria Mansion, known as the Morse-Libby House also, is perhaps the best example of a residence design from the pre-Civil War period in this nation. With fabulous architecture and well-preserved original interiors that were the epitome of wealth in their day, this is one of the most elegant and spectacular mansions in America. It has become an unmatched document of this nation's highest ambitions in interior design, decorative arts and architecture. The Victoria mansion is a marvelous example of 19th century and personifies the princely palaces that were constructed for the nation's richest people in the pre-Civil War period. The house was constructed between 1858 and 1860 for Ruggles Sylvester Morse and his wife, Olive Ring Merrill Morse, who had extensive luxury hotels in New Orleans during the 1850s. Ruggles was a native of Maine, and his experience as a hotelier would shape his tastes in design, and when it was time for him to build a summer residence, he sought the country's best designers. Ruggles picked Henry Austin of New Haven, Connecticut as the architect and this mansion is not just his masterpiece, but it has become the finest surviving Italian villa style home in this country. Built of brownstone, the masterful design depicts a four story tower with deep overhanging eaves, elaborately carved window surrounds and elegant verandahs. The interiors were designed by Gustave Herter, the founder of the well known New York City design firm of Herter Brothers; and this is the earliest known Herter commission and the last one intact. Incredibly, over 90% of the original contents of the house have survived, which includes the fabulous furniture from the Herter workshops, beautiful wall paintings, gas lighting fixtures, silver, porcelain, stained glass, artworks and glassware. The mansion was constructed with the latest modern technologies that included; hot and cold running water, central heating, gas lighting, and a servant's call system; making it one of the most magnificent houses of that era. The Morses didn't have any children and after Ruggles passed on, Olive sold the house, complete with its contents to Joseph Ralph Libby, founder of a well known Portland department store. The Libbys occupied the mansion for more than three decades, meticulously caring for all the contents and house. In 1928, the Libby children moved from the house, which would remain empty and its future in doubt. In 1940, it was saved from destruction by a retired teacher, William H. Holmes, who realized its prominence and used his own money to save it for the future generations. In 1941, he opened the house as a museum, named after Britain's Queen Victoria and in 1943 donated it to the Victoria Society of Maine. It has been a museum for more than 60 years and is listed on the National Historic Landmarks.

  • Portland Museum of Art
    The Portland Museum of Art is located in Portland, Maine and started out as the Portland Society of Art in 1882, in the arts district of the city; and is today, the oldest and biggest public art facility in the state. Until 1908, the collections were placed in a number of exhibition spaces, when Margaret Jane Mussey Sweat left her three-story mansion, called the McLellan House and enough money to make a gallery in memory of her late husband, Lorenzo de Medici Sweat, who had been a U.S. representative. Well known New England architect, John Calvin Stevens designed the L.D.M. Sweat Memorial Galleries that opened in 1911 to the public. During the next 65 years, the size and scope of the displays continued to grow, with the limitations being realized. In 1976, Maine native Charles Shipman Payson promised his collection of 17 paintings by Winslow Homer and seeing the physical restraints, also donated $8 million for the construction of an addition that would be designed by Henry Nichols Cobb of I. M. Pei & Partners. In 1981, construction started on the Charles Shipman Payson building and by the second year, the facility was opened. Payson's gift of the Winslow paintings became a catalyst for the museum's expansion, and the important long-term loans and wonderful gifts given to the museum. In response to Payson's gift, the Hamilton Easter Field Art Foundation Collection added another 50 paintings, sculptures and American modernist works on paper to the museum's collections. In 1991, the Joan Whitney Payson Collection, that was owned by Charles Payson's wife, Joan Whitney, a Whitney family heiress and New York City socialite, gave 20 impressionist and post-impressionist artworks were donated to the museum on permanent loan. Elizabeth B. Noyce, art collector and Maine philanthropist, left 66 works of American art, that has become the most expansive and diverse donation of American art that has ever been given to the museum. More than 160,000 visitors are welcomed here every year, with about 13,000 of them being school children. The collection contains over 17,000 objects of the decorative and fine arts that date from the 18th century to the current day, and the nucleus of this collection is the State of Maine Collection, that features such notable artists as Andrew Wyeth, Louise Nevelson, Winslow Homer, John Marin and Marsden Hartley and the biggest European collection in the state. The main European movements from impressionism through surrealism are well represented by such exquisite collections as Scott M. Black, Joan Whitney Payson and Albert Otten and contain outstanding works by Edgar Degas, Pablo Picasso, Mary Cassatt, Edvard Munch, Rene Magritte, Auguste Rodin and Claude Monet. The Elizabeth B. Noyce Collection has added more scope and quality to the magnificent collection with such notables as George Bellows, Jamie Wyeth, Alfred Thompson Bricher, Abraham Walkowitz, Childe Hassam, N. C. Wyeth and Fitz Henry Lane.

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Budget Car Rentals Knox Cty. Reg. Apt. 
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  • Abbe MuseumAbbe Museum Bar Harbor, Maine
    The Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine concentrates on the Native American culture and its related history to the state of Maine. Presently, those descendants of that culture are called the Wabanaki, or "the People of the Dawn" which includes the tribes of the Penobscot, Mailseet, Passamaquoddy and Micmac. The museum was started in 1927, by Doctor Robert Abbe, and then opened to the public in 1928; and was one of the first museums to ever be constructed in the state. It is the only museum in the state that is devoted to Native American heritage and had been conceived as a trailside museum, and is still today, only one of two trailside private museums in the national park system. The Abbe's archaeological collections contains over 50,000 objects that span 10,000 years of history up to the current day; and includes; stone based tools like knives, projectile points, fishing weights and axes; bone objects like needles, combs, fish hooks and harpoons, and some of the earliest pottery ever discovered in the state. One exquisite and very rare object is a 3000 year old flute made from the bone of a swan, with more current collections including copper tools, beads, jewelry and traditional crafts and arts like basketry and woodcarving. The Abbe Museum at Sieur de Monts Spring in Acadia National Park is open during the summer season which runs from Memorial Day through mid October and sits in a magnificent wooded setting that is full of paths and trails meandering through the region and smells like a splendid pine tree. Driving into the parking lot is deceiving since you can't see much but pine woods all around you, but once you start up the trail, it all becomes perfectly clear. It is a magical place, full of sights and sounds and aromas like no where else on earth, with the Wild Gardens of Acadia surrounding you and the Nature Center that holds more secrets for you to explore. There are many places to sit and relax, enjoying the best that mother nature has to offer. There is also a new location in the heart of Bar Harbor, called Abbe Museum Downtown and the spacious gallery will encourage you to spend some time here taking in all the glory the museum has to offer. There is a hands-on learning lab as well as indoor and outdoor areas for special programs and a very unusual circular gallery called the "Circle of the Four Directions". Both Abbe locations have outstanding gift shops with all the best Native American arts and crafts available as well as books that pertain to the Native American people history, culture and archaeology.

  •  Mount Desert IslandMount Desert Island Bar Harbor, Maine
    Mount Desert Island is located in Hancock County Maine, close to Bar Harbor, is the biggest island off the coast of Maine and holds 108 square miles of gorgeous lands, and it is the 6th biggest island in the contiguous United States. Although it has been claimed as the third biggest island on the east coast of the nation, it is really second behind Long Island and bigger than Martha's Vineyard on Cape Cod. The island maintains a permanent population of about 10,000, but another 2.5 million visitors come here every summer. The island is home to many famous summer colonies like Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor, with famous summer residents like Martha Stewart, David Rockefeller, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon. Many natives stress the second syllable, de-ZERT, in the French style, but just as many pronounce it in the English fashion named after a landscape that is without vegetation, DEH-zert. It was the French explorer Samuel de Champlain who saw the bare mountain tops without any woods or vegetation and called them "Ile des Monts Deserts" or Island of the bare mountains. Just four towns are located on the island, Tremont, with the villages of Bernard, Gotts Island, Bass Harbor, Seal Cove and West Tremont; Bar Harbor with the villages of Town Hill, Hulls Cove, Eden and Salisbury Cove; Southwest Harbor with the villages of Seawall and Manset; and Mount Desert with the villages of Somesville, Northeast Harbor, Pretty Marsh, Hall Quarry, Otter Creek and Seal Harbor.  The deep shell heaps indicate that American Indian encampments going back 6000 years were in Acadia National Park, although prehistoric records are scarce. The first written descriptions of the Maine coast Indians were recorded a century after the European trade contracts started and describe the American Indians that lived here lived off the fishing, hunting, gathering of berries and plants and collecting shellfish. The blueberry bushes that grow wild around the island are the best berries you could ever taste, and the pies and muffins that are made in Bar Harbor will keep you coming back here as often as you can. The Wabanaki called Mount Desert Island, Pemetic or "the sloping land". These ingenious and hardy folks would build bark-covered conical shelters and traveled the rivers, streams and creeks with splendidly designed birch bark canoes; and speaking of birch bark, they make a kind of soda up in that area called birch beer, instead of root, and it is the tastiest concoction you could ever gulp, sip or drink. Historical notes state that the Wabanaki wintered in the interior forests and then spent their summers by the coast; much like many vacationers of today do; although the waters along the coast are some of the coldest waters that you could ever "try" to swim in. Archaeological evidence suggests just the opposite, in other words, they wintered on the coasts and summered inland, but if they spent a winter and summer up there, then they would know which idea was the truth. But whatever the truth of that matter is, it is one of the best places on this wonderful earth that you could ever visit or vacation at; with cool summer nights and warm summer days filled with brilliant blue skies and green forests that stayed that way all year long. 

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Local Restaurants in Maine
  • Clay Hill Farm
    Appetizers; lobster bisque; escargot en croute is five snails poached in garlic butter, served in puff shells; grilled shrimp with cocktail sauce; scallops wrapped in bacon with a caramel-balsamic glaze; pulled BBQ pork served on brioche with summer slaw; Maine lobster salad mixed with mayo, tarragon, celery & chives served in lettuce leaf with side of pita chips; summer garden flatbread is whole wheat grilled flatbread topped with local organic veggies, crumbled goat cheese & drizzled with balsamic reduction. Salads; house is baby spinach leaves tossed with maple vinaigrette topped with pistachios & dried cranberries; classic Caesar is romaine hearts mixed with Caesar dressing topped with garlic croutons & parmesan cheese; seasonal salad. Entrees; roasted half duckling semi-boned & served crisp over blueberry-merlot sauce with roasted new potatoes; prime rib au jus is slow cooked rib eye served with baked potato & chive-sour cream; roasted haddock is fresh local fillet roasted with lemon-herb crust served with jasmine rice pilaf; grilled filet of beef is served on portobello mushroom cap & topped with roasted garlic & bleu cheese, served with roasted potatoes; chicken breast is pan-seared statler served over polenta with olives, spinach, pancetta & roasted red pepper; seafood Francaise is fresh Maine lobster, shrimp & scallops sautéed with shallots, tarragon & Dijon mustard in light cream sauce served over fresh pasta; pan seared day boat cod served over whipped potatoes & finished with crab coconut curry sauce; vegetarian special; nightly lamb special. 

  • On the Marsh
    Small Bites; beef tenderloin Carpaccio with shaved ramps, truffle, capers, Grissini stick; petite lobster roll with lemon aioli, house-made potato roll; Pemaquid oyster in the half shell with lemon, champagne mignonette. Appetizers; local organic mushroom soup with leeks, garlic, shallots, fresh herbs, veggie stock; Napoleon caprese salad with heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil, XVOO, balsamic, greens; demi salad with organic mixed greens, heirloom cherry tomatoes, crouton, parmesan reggiano, cucumber, champagne vinaigrette; cheese & meat for two with True Blue Hancock VT, truffle cheese, caciocavallo, North Country smoked chicken, prosciutto, cacciatore; pan-roasted rope cultured mussels with oven roasted tomatoes, roasted garlic, white wine, cream, fresh herbs. Entrees; oven-roasted halibut fillet with couscous, marinated veggie slaw; local organic mushroom & tagliatelle with leeks, shallots, local mushrooms, mushroom essence, reggiano, fresh herbs; fresh Maine lobster succotash with polenta cake, corn, English peas, carrots, onions, saffron-fennel pollen cream; center cut beef tenderloin with root veggie mash, organic mushrooms, wilted greens, fried onion, truffle demi; seared sea scallops & lobster-truffle risotto with fresh blackberry truffle-sherry vinaigrette, baby toy mui; grilled venison Denver leg steak with tarbais beans, baby carrots, baby green beans.

Roasted Half Duckling Clay Hill Farm Ogunquit, Maine

 

Roasted Haddock Clay Hill Farm Ogunquit, Maine

 

Fresh Maine Lobster Clay Hill Farm Ogunquit, Maine

 

 

 North Country Smoked Chicken On the Marsh Kennebunk, Maine

 

 

 

 

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  • Joshua L. Chamerlain's Museum Joshua L. Chamerlain's Museum Brunswick, Maine
    The Joshua L. Chamerlain Museum was the former house of American Civil War general, Bowdoin College president and Maine governor, Joshua L. Chamerlain for half a century and is located at the corner of Maine and Potter Streets in Brunswick, Maine. It is currently open to the public and is being renovated to its former glorious condition when Joshua lived there. Jesse Pierce constructed the house, a southern facing, Greek revival cape style house that would eventually become the Chamerlain Museum, not long after buying the land on Potter Street in 1824. In 1829, Pierce lost the property to creditors, with the land and house being purchased by Mary Ann Fales in 1830, and she lived there until 1836. During that tenure, Mary rented out the extra rooms, that included three rooms she rented out to a young Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his wife, while he taught at Bowdoin College. The house would then be owned by Anthony C. Raymond from 1836 to 1848, and then it was bought by Alice and David Dunlop, who kept it until 1849 and sold it to Edward Fisher. Fisher owned it from 1849 to 1851, and then George B. Upham owned it from 1851 to 1852, who sold it to Roswell Hitchcock. Roswell lived there from 1852 until 1856, and then John Wild owned it from 1856 to 1859. In that year, Professor Joshua L. Chamerlain bought it for $2100 after he and his wife, Frances Caroline Adams and their two children lived in an apartment for two years.  Joshua went off to fight in the Civil War, and after returning, he sold part of the property to Eldridge Simpson and moved the whole house down the street to the corner lot on Maine and Potter Streets in 1867. After moving the house, a few architectural changes were made to the outside, including a crenellated trim and chimneys decorated with Maltese, Latin and Greek crosses. In 1871, Joshua was appointed president of Bowdoin College, and instead of moving into the president's house on Federal Street, remodeled his own home to accommodate guests and visitors. Using equipment from local shipyards, the entire house was jacked up 11 feet into the air, and a completely new floor was added underneath. The first floor is gothic in style, but some elements of Greek revival and Italianate have been incorporated into it. Joshua added a gothic piazza in 1890 to the back of the house, and in 1907 had the crenellations taken away. When Joshua passed on in 1914, his daughter, Grace Allen inherited the house and contents; so she began renting rooms from 1916 to 1937 when she passed on as well. Her daughter, Rosamond Allen became the next recipient, but she sold the house and the majority of its contents to Emery Booker in 1939; who then divided the house up into seven apartments, which he rented out to Bowdoin students. In 1983, the Pejescot Historical Society bought the building from Booker's estate, for $75,000 and it was made a museum in 1984. 

  • Bowdoin College Museum of Art
    The Bowdoin College Museum of Art is located on the campus in Brunswick, Maine and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The collection started in 1811 and 1826 with separate donations of artworks from James Bowdoin III, after having been stored in various locations during its history, it finally found a place of permanency in the Walker Art Building in 1894. This structure had been restored once already in 1974, with a $20.8 million project by architects Machado and Silvetti Associates of Boston that was completed in 2007 and got a lot of national attention for the new modern entrance to the museum while still saving the structural integrity of the original building. The magnificent collections range from the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world to art that was created in the first few years of the 21st century. There are more than 14,500 objects in the beautiful collection that includes; works on paper, sculpture, paintings and decorative arts. Within those categories, the collections are further divided by region and period. In the decorative arts collections there are galleries of American, pre-Columbian, ancient, European and non-western decorative arts. In the paintings collections are the non-western, American and European paintings; in sculpture, American, pre-Columbian, ancient, non-western, European and Native American sculptures. In the works on paper collections are the stencils, American drawings, American prints, photographs, European drawings, European prints and non-western drawings. There are numerous illustrations and a fantastic Winslow Homer Collection with works on paper, letters, photographs, objects and memorabilia and paintings. American paintings include works by John White Alexander, Joseph Badger, Samuel B. Ames, Jesse Atwood, John Charles Barrett, Joseph Blackburn, Dozier Bell, Albert Bierstadt, Frederick Andrew Bosley, Hyman Bloom, John Brewster, William Merritt Chase, Riley P. Brewster, Harrison Bird Brown, Charles Ephraim Burchfield and many, many more.

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  • Maine State MuseumMaine State Museum Augusta, Maine
    Maine was one of the first states that considered a state museum, however, it would be 120 years before the idea became a reality. Just after the district of Maine was separated from Massachusetts in 1820, the new capital would be Augusta, and the state started exploring its new independence more aggressively; but finding things is a whole lot easier than preserving and interpreting the objects you find. The state legislature voted for funds to create a cabinet or museum of mineral specimens at the state house in Augusta in 1836. Boston geologist, Dr. Charles T. Jackson, who had conducted the first geological survey of the state, chose various specimens of his discoveries to be exhibited in 1837, and that initial display contained 1,566 catalogued rocks and minerals in specially constructed cabinets. Sadly, a legislative report came out and said that no one was interested in saving the curios and there wasn't anyone capable or interested enough in taking care of them or studying them; so they became ruined and soon disappeared. In 1861, a second geological survey was done and the "typical set" of specimens were once more exhibited in the state house, and again, no one cared, so the samples and catalogs were again lost. In the latter 1880s, the disgusted legislature ordered the remaining items transferred from the state house basement to the Colby University in Waterville as a long-term loan; now Colby is a College. In 1912, a Lewiston Journal article started with "How many of our readers realize that our state is fast accumulating one of the finest museums and natural history collections to be found in New England?" and went on to tell of a Inland Fisheries and Game employee had started a systematic collection of mounted animals that represented the fauna in the state. Basement rooms had been used by the employee to expand the collection, with the annual report for 1900 saying that about 10,000 visitors had come to view the many specimens that included; 200 identified animals, fish and birds; as well as 1 chair made of deer horns; and is still in the collection today.  During the 1910-1911 expansion of the state house, new space was approved, and the Inland Fisheries and Game Commission returned the mineral collection to the state house from Colby and an enormous oak display case that was formerly used to house the state's battle flags was taken down and refitted with electric lights. Stretching across one entire side of the new museum room, the case showcased the mineral collection plus there were natural history specimens, a South Sea island war club, Revolutionary War rifle, Eskimo clothing, a shoe that was worn by someone aboard the Mayflower, and Japanese goods. Eight tanks of live fish were shown that year as well, with the curator's report stating that more attention was given to the educational functions of the collections rather than the display of miscellaneous curios. In 1931, the new Department of Education was created and the museum was handed over to them to care for. By 1937, the live fish tanks were still shown, as well as historic curios and military artifacts, and while the museum had survived both world wars, records show that the museum was discontinued because of overcrowded spaces in the state house. In 1957, with renewed public interest, the legislature revived the museum under the Department of Economic Development and put Klir A. Beck, a multi-talented taxidermist, painter and sculptor in charge of curation. Beck had become well known for his years of promoting the state's outdoors attractions, winning first prize at the 1939 World's Fair in New York for his State of Maine exhibit.  Beck would bring more than expertise and ingenuity to the museum, he would bring entertainment; and one of his first important projects was the creation of four life like dioramas using state-of-the-art wildlife habitat groups. In 1963, he and the museum were transferred to the State Park and Recreation Commission, but sadly passed on three years later, and the legislature would dedicate the marvelous wildlife dioramas to his abilities and promotion of the public's interest in the state's natural environment. Over the following years, the museum grew in stature and size, bringing in more visitors as the exhibits grew.

  • Old Fort WesternOld Fort Western Augusta, Maine
    Fort Western was a colonial outpost at the beginning of navigation on the Kennebec River in Augusta, Maine and constructed in 1754 by a Boston land company to encourage people to come and settle the region. The fort was a log palisade with blockhouses to protect the warehouses and store, and luckily never attacked. During Benedict Arnold's expedition to Quebec, in 1775, they stopped here long enough to construct a long flat bottomed boat called a bateaux. Benedict, Aaron Burr, Daniel Morgan and Roger Enos would be guests in the fort, while their forces were stationed outside. The fort would be their starting point to march through the forests on their way to Quebec. It is still located in the same place today, and is now the oldest log fort in the nation, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and owned by the city. The store and fort have become part of the museum and are always open during the summer season; and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1973. After 1767, the fort would no longer be needed, until Benedict and his group arrived here, but until then and for a century plus it would become a private residence and general store.

National Rental Cars Maine

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May 11, 2011