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The Interview: Jeffrey Ryan & 28 Years on the Appalachian Trail

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Interview by Everett Potter

Jeffrey H. Ryan is the author of Appalachian Odyssey and his subtitle says it all: A 28 Year Hike on America’s Trail.

Your read that right. Of course, he hasn’t been out on the legendary trail from Georgia to Maine the entire time. He “section-hiked” it, to use the parlance of avid AT hikers, one section at time. But 28 years is a long span of time to devote to anything so it’s not surprising that Jeff knows the trail as well as anyone that I’ve met. I recently had a chance to interview him while he was traveling to promote his book, which is a fun and engaging read. It might even make you want to lace up your boots and go.

Jeff, why hike the AT? 

The AT appeals on so many levels. It is iconic. The AT is the second oldest long-distance hiking trail in the U.S. and the first multi-state trail, touching or traversing a total of 14 states. It is challenging – over 2000 miles of walking through an amazing variety of terrain are consistent tests of strength and perseverance. Yet, even more than these, the AT has an irresistible, beckoning aspect to it. If you get hiking in your blood, it is inevitable that you will at least entertain the idea of hiking the AT.

Jeff at right, with his partner Wayne, after 28 years of ups and downs.

Jeff at right, with his partner Wayne, after 28 years of ups and downs.

 What is the appeal to section-hiking the AT?

There are several reasons to section hike. The most practical is that most people don’t think they can take the time away from work and/or family to hike the trail in its entirety. That was initially the reason Wayne (my hiking partner) and me hiked the trail this way.

But we found out that section hiking has a much greater appeal than simply the convenience of working the trail into a busy life (or as one reader put it, “Maybe it’s the other way around”). It has to do with the depth of the experience. Having done an extended hike (I was on the Pacific Crest Trail for almost seven months in 1983), I can say that the pull of finishing the trail can sometimes prevent you from completely enjoying the moment you’re in. You need to constantly be making progress toward the end goal in ways that can make you speed through sections you might have spent more time in if you weren’t racing against the changing seasons or a finite end date.

Section hiking can allow you to immerse yourself in the surroundings to a greater degree. If you know you are doing 80 miles in a week, you have the luxury of slowing the pace and getting a deeper feel for a place. The hike through Maryland is a prime example. You traverse a 40-mile ridge that was the site of intense fighting during the Civil War. I was able to research the battles before I went, which yielded a completely different hiking experience. Could I have done the same as part of a through-hike? Certainly. But with it being a 40-mile stretch out of 2,100, I doubt I would have. 

It took you 28 years to complete the AT.  You kept coming back for more — and more.  For an endeavor that many people find demanding and difficult, there’s clearly an addictive aspect to the trail – or perhaps it’s just the need to finish what you started? 

That’s a great observation. It’s not as much a yearning to complete what I started as much as it is an honoring of a pact I have with myself to periodically “get on the trail” — any trail. I’ve found that being in the outdoors is one of the greatest gifts I can give myself (and by extension, others). In that sense, the trail is an elixir. The combination of generally knowing where the path leads and the unknowns of the weather, how you will feel on a given day and what you will see along the way have a seductive draw. I really consider it an honor to be walking in the woods and mountains for days on end. That’s what keeps me coming back for more.

Looking at Chimney Pond, Maine.

Looking at Chimney Pond, Maine.

 You report that the “toughest mile” on the AT turns out not to be a walk in the park but also turns out to be not as tough as some other parts. What were the most challenging hiking moments for you? 

Many times the toughest parts of the trail are followed by mountaintop views that immediately diminish the memory of the effort it took to earn them. But one particular trip was the most difficult. We were in Tennessee, where there were several days of ups and downs. I struggled mightily on that trip and it frightened me because I had never berated myself like I did on some of those climbs. I was able to periodically make the “voice of the drill sergeant” go away, but it kept coming back, day after day. In retrospect, it was fatigue that made me susceptible to the negative self talk. It was also a needed reminder of how much your mental approach comes into play on hikes of any duration.  

The drop- out rate for AT hikers  is quite high. Is it the sheer physical difficulty?  Boredom? Or just a lack of mental preparation?

I think it’s a little bit of everything. I love Bill Bryson, but I do think the title “A Walk in the Woods” paints a picture that isn’t anything like what you encounter on the trail. The AT is a mountain trail. There are a lot of ups and downs. If you’ve never carried a pack before or slept in a tent for days or months, there’s a steep learning curve.

The mental part can’t be underestimated. As I say in my book, you either have perseverance, learn to get it or you go home. There are so many things you can grab onto for reasons to go home. You miss the food. You’re sore. The trail is harder than you thought. You miss your own bed. How firmly these things take root directly affect whether you can or will want to stay out on the trail.

You need to be mentally nimble out on the trail. I equate the things you need to be adept at juggling with a hard drive that’s constantly running in the background. As you hike, you need to make sure you are constantly pulling things “onto your desktop” or, if you prefer, into your consciousness. These include keeping tabs on the weather, your mental outlook, your physical health, your food situation, where the next water source is and how you are doing vs your intended itinerary.

How about moments of unexpected beauty and grandeur along the way – what really took you by surprise?

I, like most people that hike the AT, had often heard horror stories about the Pennsylvania section. A number of people complain about the rocks on the trail. Over the years, this has created a kind of group resignation and dread about the evil rocks. I adopted an attitude about the rocks that helped put the whole situation into a healthy perspective. My feeling is that complaining about rocks on a mountain trail is like going sailing and complaining about the ocean. This, in turn, set me up to discover just how beautiful a walk across Pennsylvania can be. The ridges are long, and the views from them spectacular — encompassing valleys chock full of farms below and enormous migrations of hawks and hundreds of other bird species above.

Walking through the Great Smoky Mountains was also a thrill. At some points you are completely surrounded by peaks, which fills you with both awe and gratitude.

It may sound trite, but what I found through section hiking was that every part of the trail is capable of providing a sense of beauty and wonder, that each area has it’s own personality, shaped by time, and to greater or lesser degrees, man. Digging into the histories of the sections made my journey much more interesting and hopefully for my readers as well.  

Jeff, on right, on top f Mt Katahdin, Maine in 1985

Jeff, on right, on top of Mt Katahdin, Maine in 1985

What was your physical regimen to prepare for one of your section hikes? 

In “the old days”, say when I was under 50 years old, I had done so much hiking that I could literally take leave of my desk job for a week or two, put a 50 or 60 lb. pack on my back and traipse up and down mountains all day. By day three, I’d be broken in and be completely ready to roll. I admit that even that was probably an anomaly. By the time I was in my early 50’s, I put more emphasis on making sure I was regularly walking several miles per day. Sometimes I’d walk to work and back. Others I’d head to a nearby park. Still others I’d walk to the grocery store with an empty backpack to buy the week’s food. 

Tell us about your diet along the trail – what worked and what did not?

My mother was a gourmet cook. That had a tremendous impact on what I pack for food. For example, I found a mini-pepper grinder 25 years ago and I’ve been carrying it in my pack ever since. I can’t abide by eating the regular trail staples. (I declared the “fall of the Ramen empire” a few years ago. I can’t stomach the stuff. I’m convinced that the flavor packets may say, “mushroom”, “beef” or whatever, but they all come from the same vat.) We have had a great time cultivating our trail menu. Dehydrated chili and freeze dried eggs make surprisingly good breakfast burritos for example. You can even buy mini packets of guacamole. You definitely don’t need to suffer from a poor diet on the trail! We even joke that we don’t start losing weight until after the first week.

The only food disasters we’ve had were a time when we were winter camping and I decided to pack apple turnovers for dessert. The box showed golden brown turnovers on the package, so I threw them in my pack. (I didn’t have time to research them further, or even repackage them, because we were on the way to the mountains.) Two nights later in the tent, with the outside temp of -20°F, I sprung my surprise dessert. They were uncooked, disgusting looking blobs accompanied by “pre-heat oven to 400” instructions. Uggh. From there on out, I paid close attention to packing and preparation.   

Jeff on Blood Mountain, Georgia

Jeff on Blood Mountain, Georgia

After 28 years, what were the injury tallies? 

I can’t believe how fortunate we’ve been to stay healthy and still going strong. My injuries have been pretty much relegated to ankle twists (hard to avoid on rocky, roots trails) and a few bouts with colds. Wayne took a really bad tumble in New York when a rock pile gave way beneath his feet. He hit the back of his head and had quite an egg, but pulled through. I think the fact I use two hiking poles has been instrumental in keeping me upright. They have also saved my knees. I won’t hit the trail without them. 

What’s the next long hike for you? 

We’ve actually started hiking the New England National Scenic Trail, which goes from Guilford, CT (on the ocean) to Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire. We’ve walked the length of Connecticut so far and will pick the trail back up in Agawam, Massachusetts late this year. In 2017, we plan on starting a new 1,800 mile adventure on the Great Eastern Trail, from New York’s Finger Lakes to Florida. As long as we are healthy, we’ll keep on walking!

 

Visit Jeff Ryan’s site to learn more about his epic hike and purchase his book.

A Last-Minute Sail on a Maine Windjammer

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IMG_6576By Steve Jermanok

Sad to be leaving the Schooner Mary Day and heading back to civilization. I tried to convince Captain Barry to sail straight through Election Day but he had other commitments. The good news for you is that the Maine windjammer season runs all the way to mid-October. This year’s Camden Windjammer Festival takes place in the harbor on September 2nd and 3rd. Festivities include a parade of sail, live music, dancing, and fireworks. On Tuesday, September 13, the fleet gathers in Brooklin for a day of live music and tours at the WoodenBoat Sail-In. Also don’t forget the full moon sail over August 18th and the fall foliage sails in late September/early October. The windjammer Angelique is featuring a 4-night Wine and Foliage sail October 2-6. The schooner Ladona has a 4-day wine cruise with wine expert and consultant Michael Green August 26-30. Stephen Taber has a 6-day Photo & Lighthouse Cruise with photographer John Shipman September 4-10. With a 9-ship fleet, you’re bound to find a sail on a Maine Windjammer that fits your schedule. Take it from an expert, you won’t regret it.

 

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Maine’s Migis Lodge Celebrates 100th Summer

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View of Sebago Lake from Migis Lodge.

Story & photos by By Melissa Coleman

Migis Lodge, located on the shores of Maine’s Sebago Lake, may feel like a summer retreat where time never passes. However, the resort is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and now welcoming forth (and even fifth) generation guests—evidencing that time has most certainly passed.

Over the course of a truly relaxing weekend last June, I found that Migis today retains much of the charm of 100 years ago, while concurrently benefiting from changes appropriate to the passing of a century.

The Lodge

The American Craftsman lodge built in 1916 by Charles Goodrich still presides, with eight of the original 12 rooms upstairs, as well as dining rooms, kitchen and common area. This is where we checked in and enjoyed cocktails on the expansive front porch overlooking the lake through the pines. We also returned after dinner to hang out in the living room, where tradition assures there is always a fire burning, as well as game tables for backgammon, chess, and the favorite with the kids—Shoot-the-Moon.

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Once a gentleman-only fishing camp, Migis is now all about kids and families.

We were told that the lodge, which was initially a gentleman-only fishing camp called National Camps, was renamed Migis from a Native American story meaning, “a place to steal away and rest.” The current owners, the Porta family, arrived in 1968, when Gene and Grace Porta came from Martha’s Vineyard to buy the resort. Son Tim and his wife Joan took over in 1978 and were later joined by their youngest son Jed, who has been the general manager for the past six years.

Dining

Many meals are still served in the lodge’s dining room just as they were 100 years ago. We enjoyed the à la carte dinner menu offered from 6:30 to 8:30, Sunday to Thursday, with an ever-changing variety of apps, hot and cold soups, salads, and entrées, plus a chef’s station with lobster and a carved item like prime rib with sides, and eight dessert choices. Some traditional menu carryovers from year’s past included raspberry shrub, which is sorbet with cranberry juice, and a relish plate service.

The gourmet buffet on Saturday night is headlined by a four-foot copper platter filled with chilled lobster tails and claws, and an extravagant dessert buffet with a time-honored selection of Key lime pie, truffles, chocolate-covered strawberries, and almond brittle. (If any of these choices are missing, someone is sure to complain.).

The dining area includes an adult room as well as a family room, for groups with children under six. The Zoo is a great free program where kids eat and are supervised by babysitters from 6-9 pm, allowing parents to enjoy the main dining room.

Jackets

As has been the tradition for 100 years, gentlemen are asked to wear a jacket to dinner at the main lodge, and women dress accordingly. While it may seem like an antiquated rule, in these days of anything goes at restaurants, it was one of my favorite touches, setting as it did the tone for a more elevated dining experience and conversation.

Full American Plan

The full American plan with all meals and activities included in the per-person rate has been the program from the start, and continues to this day. The bonus is that we didn’t have to think about money the whole time we were at Migis. As well as all meals, we enjoyed multiple waterskiing outings, and the use of canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, fishing gear, and the wood-fired sauna. There were also sailboats, tennis courts, exercise classes, a disc golf course, as well as evening events including karaoke, bingo, bonfire nights with s’mores, and fireworks for July 4th and the closing weekend. (Only alcohol, motorboat rentals, massages, and guides are not included.)

 

Complimentary waterskiing.

Complimentary waterskiing.

An additional complimentary benefit is Mary, the photographer (also called the Director of Nostalgia for her photo archives), who takes quality photos of guests that are loaded on a computer in lobby and on Flickr for download. She is always happy to take a family portrait, many of which end up on holiday cards in December.

Until the 1980s, Migis was an adult-only resort, now it’s all about the kids. Added in the 1990s and expanded over the years, the complimentary Kids Camp (ages 4-6) and Adventure Camp (7 and up) provide children with activities from noon to 5 pm seven days a week.
A number of special events have been planned to celebrate the centennial summer, including weekly birthday celebrations with cake and Champagne, throw-back menu items at dinner such as tomato aspic and Indian pudding, and history/memory talks with second-generation Porta owner, Tim, who has been at Migis since his parents bought it in 1968.

Another centennial special is a partnership with Camp Sunshine, a nearby retreat for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Migis has a goal to raise $250,000 in order to send 100 families to Camp Sunshine in honor of the 100th.

Cookout Point

What is now called Cookout Point, with its pines and views of the Dingley Islands, has been part of the property since the beginning. About 50 years ago it became the site of the outdoor lunches served everyday, as well as the Friday night lobster bake and Sunday cookout breakfast.

We joined most of the guests there for the daily cookout lunch, which was great for the kids, as they could come in their bathing suits. The spread included lobster rolls and sandwich fixings, as well as hot dogs and grilled cheese. Particularly popular was the ice cream sundae stand, with chocolate and caramel hot sauce, marshmallow fluff, and cherries for the top.

The Friday night lobster bake includes complimentary cocktails beforehand, and all the clam chowder, steamers, and lobster we could eat on picnic tables with red-and-white checkered tablecloths. Tim Porta, with his long white beard, could be found on the grill or serving the strawberry shortcake for dessert with the all the fixings.

The Sunday cookout breakfast is also on Cookout Point, with stacks of pancakes as well as blueberry muffins, and everyone’s favorite—handmade donuts.

Cottages

Eleven of the 35 cottages were built in 1916 and named after states, including South Wind, which was originally called Connecticut. Today the cottages range from occupancy of two to 10, and most feature porches with views of the lake and fieldstone fireplaces. We found the Loon cottage, with its spacious living room and separate bedroom with two queen beds, plenty of room for a family of four. Located near the tennis courts with views of the Dingley Islands from the rocking chairs on the porch, it was central yet private.

Loon cottage.

Loon cottage.

Fire and Ice

Since the very first summer, cabin boys have delivered ice to the cottages, and carefully laid the makings for a fire in the fireplace. Until around 1958, the ice was cut from Sebago Lake and stored in sawdust in the icehouse. The kindling and paper laid in the fireplace has always been prepared with a magic formula so guests can light it with a single match, and a little TLC. They way the glow from the fireplace warmed the honey-colored wood of the cottage interior made us feel as if we’d been transported back to an earlier time.

Living room with stone fireplace in Loon cottage.

Living room with stone fireplace in Loon cottage.

Sebago Lake

The lake itself is perhaps the most constant element of the Migis experience. Thanks to preservation efforts, the view from lodge is nearly the same as it was in 1916. The 3,500 feet of lakefront looks out to the Dingley chain of private islands, behind which is Millstone Island, where the Wednesday steak roast is held for those who opt to take the Tykona II, a vintage lake cruiser, out for lunch. We especially enjoyed the sunsets from the lodge situated on the west-facing shore.

 

Views of the Dingley Islands on Sebago Lake.

Views of the Dingley Islands on Sebago Lake.

 

Firewood Walls

Guests to Migis often remember the firewood log walls that have weaved around the property for as long as anyone can remember. Migis burns about 30 cord of wood a year, which they buy green from Maine forests and age on the property for 15 to 18 months before using. What arrived last spring gets burned this summer. Over the course of 18 months, the walls slowly dwindle and are rebuilt, but their presence remains constant.

Firewood walls weave around the Migis Lodge property.

Firewood walls weave around the Migis Lodge property.

 
Timelessness

Migis is sometimes described in terms of the retreat in the movie Dirty Dancing, a rural camp where wealthy urban families return every summer and engage in the same traditional activities. While this is in part true, minus the dirty dancing scenes (for the most part), it doesn’t capture the essence of what is so magical about a stay at Migis, and that has everything to do with the timelessness of the experience.

Time passes here, but not as quickly as it seems to elsewhere. When on summer vacation from our busy lives, this reminder of the mirage of time is a welcome bonus.

As Gabriel García Márquez writes in “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” in a conversation between the family matriarch and her great-grandson:

“‘What did you expect?’ he murmured. ‘Time passes.’


‘That’s how it goes,’ Úrsula said, ‘but not so much.’”

 

ColemanMelissaMelissa Coleman has written for publications including The New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, and National Geographic Traveler. She is the author of This Life is In Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres and a Family’s Heartbreak, a New York Times bestselling memoir and finalist for the New England Book Award, about growing up during the 1970s back-to-the-land movement. She lives in Maine and can be found at melissacoleman.com.

 

An Early Summer Drive Along the Maine Coast

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The Guildive, Castine, Maine. Photo Gayle Potter.

The Guildive, Castine, Maine. Photo Gayle Potter.

By Everett Potter

We sailed at sunset on the Guildive, a motor yacht built in 1934 for a Wall Streeter to commute via the East River to a city emerging from the Depression. But we weren’t commuters and we were hundreds of miles north of Manhattan, in the dark waters off Castine, Maine, on a plutocrat’s yacht now owned and

Kate, Zander and first mate on the Guildive, Castine, Maine

Kate, Zander and first mate on the Guildive, Castine, Maine. Photo Gayle Potter.

ably commanded as a day cruiser by a young husband and wife team of captains, Zander and Kate, and their six month old son getting his sea legs. It was getting to sunset, which takes its sweet time in June along the coast of Maine, leaving time for a beer, talk of maritime Maine and of the peculiar history of Castine, where a Revolutionary War naval battle was famously lost by the Americans.

It was last summer, and my wife Gayle and I decided to return to the coast of Maine, where we had honeymooned 16 years earlier. It wasn’t so much nostalgia as a chance to freshly explore, to see what had changed, to see what we had missed, and frankly, because our daughter was off at summer camp for the first time and we felt freshly sprung.

It was a chance to reacquaint ourselves with a concept we had nearly forgotten: serendipity. That is the golden word for a few aimless days along the coast of Maine. That sign pointing to a road down a long peninsula to Pemaquid Lighthouse? Take it. The realization that we needed to stop in the visually engaging town of Damariscotta? A gift. A cruise on the Guildive? Why not?

The author and his wife sailing on the Guildive off the coast of Castine, Maine

The author and his wife sailing on the Guildive off the coast of Castine, Maine

It was a long overdue return, and we moseyed up from Portland, with a near obligatory stop at L.L. Bean in Freeport to each grab a high tech garment to handle the forecast for cooler than normal coastal temperatures.

The last week of June can be blissful but even in a state with a rather short summer, it’s still not quite high season here. While we booked hotels ahead of time, there were still vacant rooms at the inns we stayed at. Late June is a sweet spot in Maine, too early for families, yet typically offering clear, blue sky weather, uncrowded restaurants and roads unclogged by tourists hell bent on lobster and lighthouses.

Day one set the pattern. We spent the night in Rockland at the Captain Lindsey House Inn, a fine old bed & breakfast on Route One, with a glimpse of the town’s working harbor from our room. Dinner at the hipster haven of 3Crow was wonderful – great pork tacos and a mighty Maine microbrew selection — as was a chance to visit the Farnsworth Art Museum the next day. Here we saw works by Winslow Homer and Fitz Henry Lane and all three generations of Wyeths, a finely honed museum that baptizes you in several centuries of the Maine coast.

The next day we meandered up that coast, poked around Camden, a picture perfect sailing town that could serve as near constant inspiration for the preppy minds at Vineyard Vines. Then it was time to see a bit of a reborn Belfast, where chicken processing facilities, never much of a magnet for tourism, have yielded to bookshops and bohemia, a place of cafes, warm brick architecture and a quirky energy.

Pentagoet Inn, Castine

Pentagoet Inn, Castine

Then we drove down the long and winding finger of wooded land to Castine, one of my favorite towns on the Maine coast. It’s a stage set of white clapboard Greek Revival houses from the turn of the 19th century, thriving perennial gardens and a mere handful of shops and restuarants. It seemed and has always seemed just a little too quiet down here: ghostly, beautiful, the houses white and silent in the strong light, too far from everywhere to be corrupted. It’s Brahmins on the beach, or more precisely wrapped up in an old Bean sweater on the rocks, possibly with something on the rocks in hand. Castine was where the poet Robert Lowell summered. So did the writer Mary McCarthy.

Mural of Castine. Photo Gayle Potter.

Mural of Castine. Photo Gayle Potter.

We borrowed fat tired bikes and explored the Thornton Wilder stage set of a town and stayed at The Pentagoet Inn, the Maine inn in your mind’s eye. A late 19th century building with a wide and inviting porch, it has creaky staircases and narrow hallways hung with pictures of sailing ships and rooms reminiscent of your grandmother’s house, had your grandmother been a proper Yankee with a penchant for inn keeping. The surprise was the owner, Jack Burke, with a graying beard and ponytail and vest. He had the very demeanor of a retired pirate, albeit a highly literate one.

Passport Pub in the Pentagoet Inn, Castine

Passport Pub in the Pentagoet Inn, Castine

Think of Captain Jack Sparrow in life’s second act. In fact, Jack is something of that, a retired Foreign Service professional with some colorful tales of his earlier life. Amidst the wicker furniture and a jazz combo and morning pancakes and screen doors, there’s also a bar, Passport Pub, a remarkably dark and inviting hotel bar that perhaps belongs in coastal Britain. Its walls are covered with Jack’s eccentric collection of paintings of famous world leaders and dictators, picked up along the way at his postings in Africa and Asia.

Inn on the Harbor, post-fog. Stonington, Maine

Inn on the Harbor, post-fog. Stonington, Maine. Photo Gayle Potter.

We ambled along the back roads of Deer Isle, where crab rolls and lobster rolls and local ice cream vied for our attention, and eventually came to the lobster town of Stonington. It offers a vintage Opera House, a great cafe in 44 North, nautical flotsam and jetsam at Marlinspike Chandlery, and good local fish at Fisherman’s Friend and the Harbor Cafe. We stayed at Inn on the Harbor, which makes up for its simple style with its nautical location, as it seems to hover directly over the harbor, partly cloaked by the fog that often sweeps in. Somewhere out there in the gloaming lay many islands, including Isle au Haut, the remotest part of Acadia National Park, where I had dragged my bride by mail boat on our honeymoon for a 14 mile hike. It must have sealed the deal because there we were, back again, 16 years later. Shortly before driving away, Mother Nature parted the fog and granted us a brief glimpse of the island, a scene Melville would have found too cheesy.

View from the front porch of The Claremont, Southwest Harbor, Maine

View from the front porch of The Claremont, Southwest Harbor, Maine. Photo Gayle Potter.

 

Doorknob, The Claremont

Doorknob, The Claremont. Photo Gayle Potter.

We drove through Bar Harbor, busy but not yet gridlocked for high season, so we could park and have lunch on the harbor and stroll past some fine houses. But we slept in the much quieter Southwest Harbor a few miles away, in an attic room complete with claw foot bathtub in The Claremont, which commands a painter’s view of Soames Sound. This hotel is about fireplaces with a healthy blaze day and night,  broad lawns with Adirondack chairs and a never-harried bow-tied manager. It where somewhat befuddled urban guests command easy chairs with fat tomes or slip uncertainly into a porch rocker and try to let the Maine air get the city out of their systems the best it can. We walked to dinner in town at the remarkably good Sips, friendly and filled with locals and with imaginative takes on seafood. The day had been pretty much perfection, so we did the same thing the following day and night. I believe it’s called a vacation.

 

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The Claremont, Southwest Harbor

 

 

 

Glorious day for a boat ride along the Maine coast.

Glorious day for a boat ride along the Maine coast. Photo Gayle Potter.

Our last day we dedicated to the water, leaving Bass Harbor on a small Island Cruises sightseeing boat out to Frenchboro, one of the remoter of Main’s inhabited islands,. The three and a half hour tour showed off the best of the coast, from islets covered with harbor seals to sightings of guillemots, cormorants, porpoise and a bald eagle. We spied the remains of 19th century granite quarries on Blacks Island and the windows of a house near Bass Harbor where Julia Child had patiently sat and corrected the proofs of Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

Frenchboro. Photo by Gayle Potter.

Frenchboro. Photo Gayle Potter.

We landed at Frenchboro, which felt less like Maine than one of the remoter shores of the Canadian Maritimes: wild, very isolated, ruggedly beautiful, with a handful of weathered fisherman’s houses and a school. That might change a little this summer, when a small wilderness campground opens here. But it’s doubtful since this is a fierce little island that’s the preserve of the locals, not day trippers.

But it was our evening sail on the Guildive in Castine that keeps coming back to me, and the easy conversation with the married skippers about all things Maine and all matters coastal. We were the sole guests –  another benefit of June travel — and it was a chance to connect to people who call the coast home – and for Gayle to happily relieve Kate of her baby while she did a nautical chore for a moment. Kate and Zander are fresh faced and enthusiastic and stewards for an older way of life. A sail with them was the opposite of mass tourism, and it’s why Maine remains one of my favorite places to slow down and let serendipity be our guide.

For more information, go to Visit Maine.

Gallery in Castine. Photo Gayle Potter.

Gallery in Castine. Photo Gayle Potter.

 

Dinghies in Camden harbor. Photo Gayle Potter

Dinghies in Camden harbor. Photo Gayle Potter

 

Marlinspike Chandlery, Stonington. Photo Gayle Potter

Marlinspike Chandlery, Stonington. Photo Gayle Potter

 

 

On the dock in Frenchboro. Photo by Gayle Potter.

On the dock in Frenchboro. Photo by Gayle Potter.

Schoodic Woods, Maine’s New Campground

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Schoodic Woods, at Schoodic Point, Maine. Photo by Jeff Ryan

Schoodic Woods, at Schoodic Point, Maine. Photo by Jeff Ryan

By Jeff Ryan

Last September, I had the chance to spend a weekend at the National Park Service’s newest campground, Schoodic Woods, on the coast of Maine.

The verdict?

Stunning.

While close to 3 million people visit Acadia National Park annually — and perhaps many more this summer when the park celebrates its Centennial — almost all of them limit their visit to the celebrated mountains, trails and loop road contained on Mount Desert Island. But a one hour trip further up the coast will introduce you to a section of the park that offers more solitude and an unforgettable camping experience.

Schoodic Woods Campground

Schoodic Woods Campground

Like the Mount Desert section of the park, the Schoodic Peninsula has a paved loop road that winds along the ocean’s edge with views that will have you constantly reaching for your camera. The Schoodic loop is a 6-mile, mostly one-way road. (the exception being a short two-way spur that leads past the Schoodic Education and Research Center to Schoodic Point, where the ocean views are inspiring and often invigorating).

After 2009, when the only campground nearby closed, it was difficult for visitors to justify staying much longer than it took to take a spin around the loop road (perhaps stopping long enough to hike to the summit of 440’ Schoodic Head mountain along the way).

That all changed in 2011, when a philanthropic family foundation (that chooses to remain anonymous), purchased 3,200 acres adjacent to the existing park through a New Hampshire timber holding company. The foundation’s only conditions were that the land be conserved and that public access be ensured in perpetuity. The holding company’s first orders of business were to build a visitor center, 8.5 miles of bike paths, 4 miles of hiking trails and a 100+ site campground. In 2014, they donated all of it to Acadia National Park.

And what a gift it is. Schoodic Woods officially opened on September 1, 2015. I have stayed at a number of campgrounds in the U.S., Canada and overseas, and this one easily ranks in the top three. The sites are well spaced, so you don’t feel like you are elbow to elbow with your neighbors, the bathrooms are clean and the outdoor stainless steel dishwashing areas (each with a generously large sink) are a camper’s dream.

The newly built bike paths made me wish I brought my mountain bike along, but I more than made up for it with a one-way hike on the Buck Cove Mountain trail that led over the spine of the low mountains to the loop road at the southern end of the peninsula (4.4 miles). From there I road walked an additional 3/4 mile to Schoodic Point, where the park’s shuttle bus arrived to take me back to the campground. It was the perfect way to enjoy an autumn day on the Maine coast.

If you go

The Schoodic Peninsula doesn’t have the range of amenities you’ll find on Mount Desert, but you’ll find a grocery store and a few restaurants in Winter Harbor, as well as a few small stores here and there. My advice is to stock up on food and ice on your way into the campground, because you’ll probably want to spend your time hiking or biking instead.

Schoodic Woods, Schoodic Loop Rd, Winter Harbor, ME 04693
877-444-6777

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Maps and guidebooks
The visitors center at the entrance to the campground has maps and guidebooks for sale. As of this writing, the National Park Service did not have updated Acadia National Park maps (to include Schoodic Woods Campground). Meantime, you may find this black and white map (provided by a website not affiliated with the NPS) handy for trip planning.

Reservations
The campground has sites for tents (including walk-in sites), vans, RVs and trailers. Reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov.

Handy Trip Planning Links

Acadia National Park

Schoodic Education and Resource Center

 

Jeff Ryan, a Maine based author, speaker and photographer, has a contagious passion for exploring the outdoors, particularly on foot. Jeff has hiked thousands of miles including his first “trip of a lifetime”, a 6 1/2 month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 1985, Jeff began “section hiking” the Appalachian Trail with a childhood friend (a journey that would take 28 years to complete and culminated in his first book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year hike on America’s trail ).

Jeff Ryan, a Maine-based author, speaker and photographer, has a contagious passion for exploring the outdoors, particularly on foot. Jeff has hiked thousands of miles including his first “trip of a lifetime”, a 6 1/2 month hike on the Pacific Crest Trail. In 1985, Jeff began “section hiking” the Appalachian Trail with a childhood friend (a journey that would take 28 years to complete and culminated in his first book, Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-year Hike on America’s Trail ).

Active Travels: Maine Huts & Trails Week

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Hut_Stratton_GreatRoom_1024x576By Steve Jermanok

On my multisport adventure this week visiting all four of the Maine Huts, I kept a running commentary in my notebook on the many surprises I found along the way.

Huts Are Much More Comfortable Than You Imagine—From the cherry wood tables to the floor to ceiling windows to screened-in porches, these are the latest version of the hut-to-hut wilderness experience. Lisa and I had our own private room at each hut, the chance to shower every day, and my personal favorite, an opportunity to toast our accomplishment with an excellent list of Maine microbrews like Allagash White or Baxter Stowaway IPA.
Huts Are Located Next to Stunning Viewpoints—It’s only a 2-minute walk from Stratton Brook Hut to a glorious vista overlooking the 4,000-foot peaks of the Bigelow Range. At Poplar Stream, you stroll down a hill 10 minutes to reach a waterfall nestled in the deep forest. I won’t soon forget the sunset over Flagstaff Lake, a 5-minute walk from the hut. Finally, everyone should see the mighty Grand Falls once in his or her lifetime, a mere 10-minute walk from the Grand Falls Hut.
IMG_0959
Meals are Far Better Than Expected—As the 5th grade teacher from Florida said to me after finishing her dinner at the Grand Falls Hut, “I’d come here just for the food!” Dinners included chicken with a boysenberry sauce, braised beef stew, a pasta primavera made with quinoa, all served with fresh local greens. Desserts were also tasty, like blueberry cobbler or lemon squares. For breakfast, we had strawberry pancakes with real Maine maple syrup, eggs with corned beef hash, freshly made biscuits with local jam, yogurt, and granola. They also supply tuna salad, chicken salad, or homemade hummus to pack sandwiches for lunch. So there’s no need to bring food on the trip.
They Transport Packs to the Next Hut—I have no problem backpacking or throwing my pack into a canoe, but mountain biking with a full pack is not fun. That’s why I loved their daily transport, which shipped my sleeping bag, clothes, and bathroom stuff.
The Maine Wilderness is Closer Than You Think—Only a 4 ½-hour drive from my house in suburban Boston and I was at my first trailhead outside of Kingfield, Maine. For the next 5 days I rarely saw another person while hiking, mountain biking, or paddling. In its place was a vast wilderness with few signs of civilization. Follow the cue of the bald eagles and loons and get here.
Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

In The Maine Woods: AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins

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My cabin at Gorman Chairback.

My cabin at Gorman Chairback.

by Everett Potter

A slow day of fishing is quickly forgotten when a decent fish finally takes the fly. Granted, this sounds like a truism of the kind that my beloved Yankee grandfather might have said to me as we fished in Maine together decades ago, but it had the ring of truth to it on this day. My pal Frank and I had spent five hours fruitlessly casting towards the shoreline of beautiful Long Pond in northern Maine with nary a rise. It was hot July day and Frank had hung it up an hour earlier and had somehow managed to wedge himself cross wise on the seat of the small boat being piloted by Registered Maine Guide Casey Mealey. Frank’s afternoon torpor was turning into a sunburn just as a 14 inch landlocked salmon violently snagged my much-flailed Eastern Green Drake and put up a tremendous fight before I caught and released him. By this time, Frank had sat up, grabbed his rod, and began casting as if his life depended upon it. That’s all it took to turn a slow July day on a beautiful and remote Maine pond into an afternoon to remember. My second landlocked salmon during the evening hatch sealed the deal.

The view from the cabin at Gorman Chairback.

The view from the cabin at Gorman Chairback.

Long Pond lies an hour from Greenville, Maine in the middle of the woods at the end of a maze of dusty logging roads. The remote and pristine nature of these waters and this land are due to the vision and largesse of the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), which set out to buy and preserve large tracts of Maine wilderness more than a decade ago as part of the Maine Woods Initiative. The AMC now has about 70,000 acres in northern Maine, east of Moosehead Lake, and its holdings overlaps the famously difficult 100 Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail. In the decade since the original purchase, the AMC has restored and reopened two remarkable wilderness lodges and their attendant cabins in this area: Little Lyford Lodge & Cabins (see my story on Little Lyford here) and Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins. A third lodge, Medawisla Lodge & Cabins, is being restored and will open in 2017. What makes the AMC’s work especially heartening is that they’ve kept the essential flavor and attributes of these 19th-century traditional Maine sporting camps. These are one and two bedroom cabins with wood stoves and gas lamps, even as the AMC reaches for LEED certification for their energy-efficient lodge at Gorman Chairback.

In January, the AMC made news yet again with the purchase of “scenic and ecologically significant lands on and around Baker Mountain in the 100-Mile Wilderness region.” The purchase was completed with assistance from The Nature Conservancy.

“Baker Mountain was surrounded by conservation lands, but the Baker Mountain tract itself was not protected,” said AMC Senior Vice President Walter Graff. “It was ‘the hole in the doughnut,’ and this purchase of 4,311 Acres by AMC and its conservation partner, The Nature Conservancy, has ensured that this ecologically significant land will be protected.”

It’s a move that conserves the second highest peak in Maine between Bigelow Mountain and Katahdin, as well as the headwaters of the West Branch of the Pleasant River, a vibrant wild brook trout fishery. Having fished that area during my stay at Little Lyford a couple of years ago, in the very shadow of Baker Mountain, I can testify to the abundance of wild brookies to be found in those waters.

 

The Lodge at AMC's Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins in Maine.

The Lodge at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins in Maine.

This time I had a chance to experience Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins. Originally built as a private camp in 1867, it was acquired by the AMC and opened as an AMC lodge in 2011. Nicely sited on the shores of Long Pond, it feels a bit less rustic and more summer camp-like than Little Lyford and features a central “green” Lodge building for meals and lounging, twelve cabins (some of them a few feet away from the shoreline) and a bunkhouse. There is wonderful swimming in Long Pond, which gets surprisingly warm by mid-summer, and that’s one of the major draws for the families that flock here.

Paddling on Long Pond at AMC's Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine.

Paddling on Long Pond at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine.

Still, there were plenty of couples as well, and a more relaxed vacation vibe here than at Lyford, which tends to attract more hard core fishermen and hikers. There is a motley fleet of colorful kayaks and canoes that guests can take out for a paddle or for fishing. Long Pond is indeed long enough so that an end-to-end paddle, never minding the various coves and islands, takes a couple of hours. Crowds are not an issue: I counted a half dozen rustic houses on the entire body of water. With the AMC’s canoes and kayaks so readily available, and the waters so calm, this place is ideal for an after dinner paddle to watch the sunset over the mountains, or even better, to watch moose up close. On two nights of our stay, a bull moose meandered through the weeds in a cove not a hundred yards from camp.

There were grown ups who kayaked and read on their porch and took short hikes, families that seemed to spend most of their time in the water, and a disciplined gentleman of a certain age who swam the crawl every day for at least an hour. Only a handful were actively fishing and truth be told, the fishing was slow, the price one pays for visiting in July when the water and the temperatures are warm.

 

Lounging in the Lodge at AMC's Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine

Lounging in the Lodge at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine

Our lakeside cabin at Gorman Chairback was rusticity itself, with a covered front porch where you could sip morning coffee or an evening beer and listen to the loons. The interior, with two beds, gas lighting, and a woodstove, was classic Maine camp comfortable. Meals are hearty and homemade, served family style at long tables. Unlike Little Lyford, Gorman Chairback even has a beer and wine list, and a half decent one at that.

We paddled and we fished, and ended up on a couple of bushwhacking hikes to reach ever more remote ponds, one of the benefits of staying out in the wilderness. The AMC leaves a couple of canoes at each of these ponds, so the reward for a mile long walk is the chance to glide out by paddle power on a pristine pond with only wildlife for company. In the four years since it opened, Gorman has emerged as the favorite lodge among AMC members, booking up quickly in summer and also in winter, when it pairs up with Little Lyford for cross-country lodge-to-lodge skiing experience.

“Each camp has its own character,” says Graff, who was visiting Gorman Chairback during my stay. “Lyford is like a little village and it’s all about hiking and fishing. But Gorman Chairback is about the lake, about kayaking and swimming and fishing as well as hiking.”

Medawisla is next for AMC but Graff says that it requires a complete rebuilding.

“It’s in rough shape,” he says. “We will build a new lodge and cabins by the waterfront, and they will have housekeeping options. It has great views of Mount Katahdin and it will be close enough to Little Lyford and Gorman Chairback to become part of our lodge-to-lodge cross country experience.”

 

Dining area at AMC's Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine

Dining area at AMC’s Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins, Maine

The AMC, which was founded in 1876 to preserve New Hampshire’s White Mountains, has long been associated with that state. But Graff is quick to point out that it has been part of neighboring Maine’s efforts to preserve and protect for nearly as many years.

“At our headquarters, we just came across a photograph of AMC members going up Mount Katahdin,” he says. “The date was 1886. We’ve been in Maine a long time.”

Visit the AMC for more on Gorman Chairback Lodge & Cabins

Active Travels: Cross-Country Ski Hut-to-Hut in Carrabassett Valley, Maine

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Skiers-at-Flagstaff-Lake-300x199By Steve Jermanok

Even as New England ski areas make it more and more enticing to venture their way, adding an array of exciting activities like tubing and ziplining, many of us want to avoid the crowds. We savor the opportunity to get lost in the wilderness, breathing in the scent of pines in relative quietude. Add a sport that will wipe away the worries of the world and you’ll quickly remember why we treasure New England. This week, I’m going to discuss 5 ways to get lost in the New England wilderness this winter.

Maine Huts & Trails is a nonprofit organization determined to build 12 backcountry huts over 180 miles of trails in the remote western mountains of the state. A year ago, they unveiled their fourth property, Stratton Brook, overlooking the 4,000-foot peaks of Carrabassett Valley. When the 180-mile route is complete, it will be the longest groomed ski trail in the country. But there’s no need to wait. This winter, you can choose to stay at one of their four comfortable lodgings and go out on daily excursions, or opt for self-guided or guided cross-country ski trips that lead from one hut to the next. Each of the four huts is spaced about 11 miles apart, so people can reach it within one day of cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. The ultimate adventure is a four-night, five-day package that includes 50 miles of skiing and spending each night at a different property. All meals, shuttle for gear, and lodging are included in the price ($414 for members, $474 for nonmembers). Nightly rates at the huts start at $79 for members, $94 for nonmembers, including lodging and meals.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.

 

Biking to 5 Lighthouses Outside Portland, Maine

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Portland, Maine

Portland, Maine

I spent my 50th birthday on Saturday biking with my extended family of ten on a guided day ride on the outskirts of Portland. Led by Norman Patry, owner of Summer Feet Cycling, we biked along the scenic shoreline of South Portland and Cape Elizabeth to five lighthouses. They included such picturesque gems as Bug Light, the smallest lighthouse in operation in America, and Portland Head Light, painted by the likes of Edward Hopper. Near Portland Head Light, we bought lobster rolls from a food truck and dined overlooking Portland Harbor. The lobster rolls were excellent, chockful of fresh meat, and you could order them Maine-style (with mayo), Connecticut-style (lightly buttered), spiced with curry (loved it) or wasabi. Washed down with locally made Eli’s Blueberry Soda and topped off with ginger molasses cookies from Standard Bakery in town, it was a perfect Portland meal. The ride ends at Kettle Cove, a small beach, just past Two Lights State Park. Summer Feet offers a slew of other bike trips in Maine including a self-guided 3-day ride near Kennebunkport that sounds enticing. But if you only have a limited amount of time in the state, this 5-hour ride gives you a good taste of Maine and comes highly recommended. 

 

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok Working as a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, contributing editor at Budget Travel, and regular contributor for The Boston Globe, Men’s Journal, and Yankee Magazine, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1500 articles on 80 countries. He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. With his wife, Lisa Leavitt, Steve launched a boutique travel agency, ActiveTravels.com, in May 2012. His clientele includes many people in the travel business, including Steve Kaufer, founder of TripAdvisor (designed his honeymoon to Turkey), and Mark Snider, owner of The Winnetu Resort on Martha’s Vineyard and The Nantucket Hotel on Nantucket. You can follow him @ActiveTravels

Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Maine Windjammer Week

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Hauling aboard the Lewis R. French. Photo by Bridget Besaw Gorman.

Hauling aboard the Lewis R. French. Photo by Bridget Besaw Gorman.

Returning from Acadia National Park one summer with the family, we wisely timed our return drive to coincide with the annual Camden Windjammer Festival the last weekend in August. More than 20 tall ships arrive in the picturesque harbor to take part in the festivities. We enjoyed an all-you-can-eat lobster feast on the deck of a schooner and then watched a talent show as crews sing sea shanties. A firework show tops off the night.
This summer, there will be six gatherings of the schooner fleet. It’s a festive time to be aboard one of the schooners:
June 9 Schooner Gam 
To kick off the summer season, the entire windjammer fleet ties up together in Penobscot Bay to enjoy live music and take walking tours of each vessel.
The grand sail parade enters picturesque Boothbay Harbor, where you’ll enjoy
concerts, crafts, and fireworks.
July 4 Great Schooner Race
North America’s largest annual gathering of tall ships race from Islesboro to Rockland. After the award ceremony, enjoy live music.
July 11 Maine Windjammer Parade
This time the grand parade of sails heads past the mile-long Rockland Breakwater, providing spectators with stunning, close-up views.
Aug 39-31 Camden Windjammer Festival
Festivities include a parade of sail, maritime heritage fair, fireworks, chowder challenge, schooner crew talent show, family scavenger hunt, outdoor movies and more.
September 9 Wooden Boat Sail-in
The last gathering of the fleet takes place in Brooklin, Maine, the headquarters
of WoodenBoat Magazine and WoodenBoat School. Expect live music and boat school tours.
I want to thank the Maine Windjammer Association for allowing me to rekindle fond memories of past sails this week. I’m excited to return this summer!
steve   Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at  Active Travels.

 

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