Maine has a very long history dating back thousands of years measured from the earliest human settlement. It reached statehood in 1820, becoming the 23rd state on March 15. Sounds strange, but our state was part of the Missouri Compromise. It was also part of Massachusetts.

Maine is famous for its sandy beaches on the southern coastline and rugged rocky coastline on northeast shores.
A couple of our foods also bring fame – we’re the country’s leading producer of lobsters and blueberries. Be sure to enjoy both during the summer.

Located in the northeastern region of the country, Maine is the 12th smallest state by area, covering just 35,385 square miles, and the 9th least populous of all states. Our state is the only one in the country that borders only one other state – New Hampshire to the West. Our northern border is Canada.

We are Vacationland
Maine has some of the most beautiful natural preserves with landscapes that reach the Atlantic Ocean, an abundance of rivers, lakes and mountains that seem to touch the sky – with Mount Katahdin the highest.

Maine is called Vacationland because it has everything a vacationer could want. From hiking to biking, golfing to canoeing or kayaking. You’ll find streams, rivers, trails and ocean inlets that meander near the southern coastlines of Maine to the rugged mountains and lakes in the Kathadin region and beyond.

Visitors by the thousands from away and locals flock to the coastal region from Kittery to the Bar Harbor area and all the way to Lubec, the most Eastern part of Maine. Uncrowded beaches and state parks are great for swimming, camping, fishing, boating or just relaxing among some of Maine’s tall pine woodlands.

There are more than 100 natural preserves including foot trails to local, state and national parks throughout the state. Day-hiking trails in the northern and western mountains appeal to some while others will want to tackle the Appalachian Trail. Choose light canoe trips or challenging white water rafting. No endurance is needed to spend quality time with family and friends at the states’ many campgrounds.

Traveling along the coastline, on Mount Desert Island, you can enjoy all that Acadia National Park has to offer. Drive around the Loop road with scenic stops to take photographs. If you are brave enough to plunge into ice water, take a swim at Sand Beach. Check out the dramatic Thunder Hole and Cadillac Cliffs. Stop by Jordan Pond to sit on the lawn enjoying tea and popovers. Drive up Cadillac Mountain where the vistas of Northeast Harbor and other islands are worth the trip.

Lighthouses
Maine has 57 active lighthouses, along with another 10 inactive, mostly along the state’s rockbound coastal areas They reach from the borders of New Hampshire and Maine, beginning with Whaleback Light and Fort Constitution Light that protects both coasts’ all the way up to Whitlocks Mill Light on the bank of the St. Croix River in Calais. For lighthouse enthusiasts, there are Lighthouse museums in Bath and Rockland. The Coast Guard hosts an Open Lighthouse Day each year, this year it’s Sept. 8. For details, visit www.lighthousefoundation.org/maine-open-lighthouse-day.

Way up North
In the northern part of the state is Moosehead Lake, the largest mountain lake in Eastern United States, 40 miles long and 10 miles wide. Other lakes of note in northern Maine include Lobster, Seboomook, Chesuncook and Ragged lakes, surrounded by natural forestlands. This region includes Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Indian Reservations.

Traveling in the less-populated part of the state up North, is an adventure. Roads begin to narrow and soon become dirt roads with gate crossings that logging companies operate. This is private paper company territory and truckers have the right of way. Travelers should use caution and when a logging truck approaches, pull over to the right and stop until the truck passes. Then, wait a bit to let the dust settle before proceeding. Also, be sure to watch for moose and deer because they are plentiful in this region.

Explore our mountains
It’s a pleasant drive to the western mountains of Maine traveling along Route 16 to the height of land overlooking the beautiful Rangeley Lakes region. In downtown Rangeley, enjoy sitting around the shore of Rangeley Lake or hike up Saddleback Mountain for pristine views of the lake.

The skier’s paradise of Sugarloaf Mountain and Carrabassett Valley in western Maine doesn’t lie dormant through the summer months. There is fly fishing in the Carrabassett River, fat biking on or off-road, biking along roads that surround the valley, hiking portions of the Appalachian trail, canoeing or kayaking Flagstaff Lake, hiking the Maine Huts and Trails and Bigelow Mountain, Sugarloaf, Mountain, or Mt. Abram. No boredom here.

Trails and Huts
There are more than 70 state and national parks, nature preserves and recreational areas throughout the state. If you’re looking for hiking trails, you’ll find more than 60 throughout the state for day hiking and backpacking.
Maine Huts and Trails offers great family treks throughout the backwoods of Carrabassett Valley. Hikers and bikers can visit several huts along the way where they can spend the night or just stop by for a great lunch while exploring the trail system. For additional information, log onto mainehuts.org/discover/trails/trail-map

Quarry Road recreation
The Waterville area has a neat place for summer events: Quarry Road Trails, located off North Street. The popular area offers year-round recreation for all ages, including hiking, biking, canoeing and kayaking as well as and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Junior Dirt Riders hit the trails from 6 to 7:30 p.m. “Catch a Smile” is a great opportunity for young cyclists of all abilities to make friends and build their skills,” said Jamie Dexter, of the Central Maine Cycling Club – Junior Dirt Riders.

Dexter said that those attending need their own mountain bike and helmets are mandatory. “Parents are also encouraged to join in on the ride,” Dexter said.
The summer race series returns on Tuesday nights from June 12 through August 21, rain or shine. The goal is to create a fun, family-friendly series that will provide a summer of great experiences for runners in the Greater Waterville area.

Each week, participants will compete on different courses of varying lengths from 3K to 8K, utilizing the full extent of the Quarry Road Trail System.
Along with the featured race, each week there is also a free Kid’s Fun Run for children, ages 12 and under, according to Patrick Guerette. He can be reached at the Alfond Youth Center, 873-0684 ext. 203.

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