Please note that this is not an itinerary submitted by an actual family. This day was inspired by theJuly 2014 issue of Condé Nast Traveler Magazine and further enhanced by one of our travel experts. It serves as a recommendation for a family of children with ages 4 through late teens, based on knowledge of the city. Factors such as time, cost and distance have been considered to make this a great day to get a sense of the city and keep the children and teens interested and engaged.
This idyllic spot in Casco Bay features some of the best trails around. Enjoy a scenic walking path around the 100-acre island and take in sweeping panoramas of the entire bay. The island can be reached by a ½ mile causeway from Falmouth. The island features visitor parking for cars and bikes, however it is limited so come early in the day for your best shot. The path that runs around the island is gravel so wear comfortable shoes as you enjoy diverse vistas including woods, meadows, and cliffs, as well as both bay and ocean water views. There are beaches scattered throughout for a swim, some fishing or a family picnic. There is a play area for children featuring the chance to build “Fairy Houses” as an activity young children will really appreciate. Older children may enjoy the spooky Pet Cemetery which is rumored to have inspired Stephen King. There is no food, drink or shopping on the island but it is a perfect spot for relaxing and taking life at a different pace.
Beautiful Chebeague Island is the largest in Casco Bay and houses approximately 360 people year round as well as over 1500 summer residents. A short drive to Portland will get you started on a series of ferries to this staple of Maine tourism. It features a 9-hole golf course, numerous quaint locales for lunch and a cozy inn right on the island. Perhaps the best way to see it is to visit the local “Bike Man” just a few miles from the ferry dock (there is a taxi on the island). He doesn’t have a website, he doesn’t have a review but he doesn’t charge either. Free bicycles to borrow (provided he is around to wave you off) are one of the best ways to see the island and take everything down a peg. Cross over the Cousins Island bridge to get fantastic views of the bay and surrounding islands. Take in the rustic 19th century cottages that dot the island and come to appreciate the place the Native Americans named “Island of many springs.” Please note that this activity may not be suitable for younger kids. The “Bike Man” himself is lax about age restrictions but availability of certain sized bikes is not guaranteed for such a small organization.
Address:233 Ellsworth Rd, Blue Hill, ME 04614
Hours: 8AM – 11PM except Thursday August 28th which is 4:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Getting There: About 2 ½ Hours North of Casco Bay on ME-3 East.
Admission: Adults are $9 and children under $12 free. Admission includes all stage shows. Mechanical rides are free under 12 and over 12 are $1 per ride per person. Be sure to check the website for specials. The first day features dollar admission and there is also a 5 dollar friday and a 3 dollar senior day.
Running August 28 – September 1 the Blue Hill Fair features some of the best Maine has to offer. Billed as a “Down to Earth” county fair it is a favorite of locals and destination for out of state residents featuring entertainment, exhibits, attractions and of course, great food. Here you’ll see farmers featuring everything from pumpkins to cows, handicrafts like handmade doilies or quilts and artisan delights like authentic honey. Daily events feature contests, animal shows, acrobatics and live music. Children will be delighted and amazed while adults will enjoy the cozy, down home atmosphere of an event called “quintessentially Maine.” Check their schedule for a full list of events. Enjoy the local flavor and the whimsy of an event that boasts a “rare invisible ape” and a day on which visitors can “ride millions of dollars worth of rides with the purchase of an $20.00 Wristband. “ Take a break from the ordinary and just enjoy yourselves! If all that wasn’t enough, the whole family is sure to appreciate the fact that this fair inspired the classic “Charlotte’s Web.”