Maine

Maine

A vacation in Maine is not set in stone, meaning you can be a beachcomber or a backwoods adventurer; you can follow the track of history or a ski trail, or the wind in a sail. LGBT-friendly businesses and LGBT-owned businesses abound for the vacationer, especially in the Portland area. If something about Maine makes you want to stay beyond a vacation, relocate where you feel most comfortable. LGBT rights and history are enhanced and preserved here. The University of Southern Main has an LGBT history collection and a center for gender diversity. Although it took years to gain marriage rights, moving from domestic partnerships to a marriage law in 2009 that was subsequently repealed, to the 2012 vote that sealed the deal, Maine can be the perfect place to call home.

 

Northern Maine

Aroostook

Aroostook lives up to its “Crown of Maine” nickname: it is the northernmost county in Maine, indeed in New England, and sits atop the rest of Maine like a crown. The region is bordered by Quebec to the north and west, New Brunswick to the east, and the Maine Highlands region to the south “The County,” as Mainers call the area, is larger than the area of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined, but far less populous, with only 11.1 people per square mile, as of the 2010 census. At the region’s furthest points on the St. John’s River, the Acadian influence can be heard in the French spoken there.
Aroostook is mostly forest, broken by farmland (potatoes are the principal crop), and a few cities and towns, and a number of unincorporated townships. Presque Isle is the largest city, at approximately 9,600 people. For the visitor, Aroostook offers the rugged outdoors. Lakes, rivers, and wilderness afford great fishing, hunting, hiking, and backwoods camping. It is no secret that winter is long here, but that’s precisely the time to bring out the snowmobile.
The LGBT community should be aware that many residents here are somewhat socially conservative, and were reluctant to legalize same-sex marriage, with two-thirds of the county voting against it in 2012.

Maine Highlands

The Maine Highlands consists of five separate regions located in central Maine. Bangor is the area’s largest city, with distinctive architecture dating back to the time of wealthy lumber barons, and a commitment to art, music, and culture. The city’s central location allows for easy access to the rest of the Maine Highlands, and points north and east. The Katahdin area includes the most northern leg of the Appalachian Trail ending in Baxter State Park at Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine. Hunting in the Maine Highlands is at its best in the Lincoln Lakes Region.  Moosehead Lake defines the region by its size, the largest lake in Maine, with a history that mixes vacation destination with a logging past. Lakes are prevalent in the Sebasticook Valley, lending the area to recreation and water-based activities, such as fishing and kayaking.

 

Southern Maine

South Coast

The South Coast of Maine is often labeled the “Gateway to Maine,” as the region is often a visitor’s first impression of the state. Stretches of beach and postcard views of seaside towns are here, of course, but the South Coast of Maine is more than a charming photo op.   Beginning in Kittery, with New Hampshire to the west almost in the town’s back yard, shopping outlets await those who want more than a passing souvenir. From Kittery, a trip up the coast takes the visitor to York Beach and Cape Neddick with its iconic “Nubble Lighthouse”, to Wells for a day at the beach or a fishing trip, to the boardwalk and amusement rides at Old Orchard Beach. Freeport is an outlet shopper’s paradise. And finally, Ogunquit, with its seaside, relaxed atmosphere that welcomes the LGBT community to feel at home. Restaurants, conservation areas, and antique shops add to the spectrum of life in the South Coast of Maine.

Mid-Coast

The Mid Coast region is a blend of maritime history and staggeringly beautiful coastline. Fishing, farming, and boatbuilding have long been the lifeblood of the Mid Coast’s economy. Visitors can find the essence of the region in museums, on a scenic railroad tour, a drive up Route 1 along Maine’s coastline, hiking nature trails inland from the coast, and don’t forget to dive into the seafood at many restaurants and clam shacks along the way. Ferries transport visitors off the coast to one of the region’s many islands, each with its own claim to fame, from wildflowers to ghosts.

Eastern Maine

Downeast and Acadia

The Downeast and Acadia region curves into the Atlantic, and includes the easternmost point in United States. Aroostook County and New Brunswick surround the area, beckoning the visitor north; but Downeast and Acadia has so much to offer that anyone could get lost here and stay.
Penobscot Narrows Bridge, with its graceful cables, is a beautiful introduction to the region. Hiking along trails in Blue Hill Peninsula affords views of the rocky coastline and Acadia. Another bridge takes the visitor to Deer Isle, with its rich maritime history, where writers and artists find inspiration.
Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island draws vacationers with its numerous mountains, four lakes, and dramatic coastline shaped by glaciers. Thunder Hole is a not-to-be-missed tidal cavern that spews water 40 feet into the air. Then take a break from glacial beauty and visit Bar Harbor for its shops and restaurants.
Washington County is the most northerly region, with coastline on the Bay of Fundy. The experience of the dramatic tidal ebb and flow is worth the trip. A wildlife refuge and acres of wilderness and wild blueberry barrens invites nature lovers, hikers and kayakers to enjoy themselves in peaceful surroundings

 

Western Maine

Lakes and Mountains

Away from the coastline, the Lakes and Mountain region is its own unique version of Maine. The area is sandwiched between New Hampshire to west, Canada to the north, and Greater Portland to the south. The region takes pride in the fact that it is truly a four-season destination. Ski areas and snowmobile trails get the visitor outside, away from the cozy fireplace of a local inn, although time in front of the fireplace is wonderful in itself. Summer is the other side of the seasonal coin. The many lakes and ponds are perfect for boating, swimming, canoeing. Camping in this region offers more amenities than it might have in more northern areas. For hikers, the Appalachian Trail passes through the area, and the northern end of the White Mountains National Forest is here. Fall foliage makes for spectacular photographs, especially when you stumble upon one of Maine’s covered bridges as a focal point.

Kennebec Valley

Kennebec Valley is a thin slice of Maine running from Kennebec County, which includes Augusta, Maine’s capital, in the south, north to the Canadian border. The Lakes and Mountains region is to the west. The Kennebec Valley is home to many lakes and rivers, some with opportunities for whitewater rafting. Jackman, a town in the north of the region, is part of the Maine forests and also within the Moose River Valley. More wilderness than the Lakes and Mountains region, the Kennebec Valley is a prime location for outdoor adventures in all seasons. Snowmobiling is a popular activity here, as is winter camping. Fishing, hunting and whitewater rafting, round out the warmer seasons.

 

Metro

Portland and Casco Bay

Portland is Maine’s largest city, but a city small enough to feel like a hometown. The city is built directly on Casco Bay, creating a beautiful skyline as a backdrop for a harbor skimmed with sailboats. Schooner tours of Casco Bay, lighthouses, and lobster dinners are within easy distance.  Art museums and a children’s museum can occupy the visitor on a rainy day. Food festivals, concerts, art galleries, seafood cooked by acclaimed chefs, and a planetarium reflect the versatile energy of the city. Much of what is here can be enjoyed by walking or biking to destinations.
LGBT community is strong here, with organizations promoting equality and pride events. Portland has been named the “Third Gayest City in America,” with the LGBT community warmly welcomed here and subsequently welcoming to newcomers. Business networking organizations assist the LGBT business community. The Old Port area and the Arts District celebrate the LGBT lifestyle. The Old Port has a spirited nightlife and draws tourists for the unconventional shops. The Arts District consists of galleries, museums, and studios. Ogunquit is under an hour away. Greater Portland, which consists of towns in the South Coast of Maine, is definitely an ideal vacation spot, but even better, a place to live.