Quick Escape: Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, MaineA mere hour north of Portland, you reach the town of Boothbay Harbor, which sits at the end of one of the many peninsulas that dangle down from mid-coast Maine. In early July, Lisa and I headed out with our son Jake to Boothbay Harbor for the day. We started with an early morning cruise to see puffins at nearby Eastern Egg Rock, the southernmost nesting ground for puffins on the Maine coast. Even if we didn’t spot one puffin, the cruise would have been worth the money. The Atlantic waters were serene and the rugged shoreline was dotted with lighthouses. We spotted seals and porpoises enroute while we listened to a wonderful naturalist discuss the intriguing history of puffins being reintroduced to Eastern Egg Rock almost 50 years ago. Soon we were watching the small plump birds and their distinctive bright orange beaks flying to and from the island practically skimming the surface of the ocean waters. They were joined by other seabirds like the black guillemots.

Afterwards, we had lunch of lobsters and steamers just outside of town at Robinson’s Wharf on a large dock overlooking the harbor in Southport. Then it was on to my favorite stop in the region, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, that we put on practically every itinerary we design to the Maine coast. It’s not just the enchanting Butterfly Garden, whimsical Children’s Garden, and the sniff, touch, and taste Garden of the Senses that make this place so special. No, they really upped the ante by recently adding 5 mega-sized trolls created by Danish artist Thomas Dambo. You meander on pine-needle strewn trails along rivers and deep in the forest to find these massive sculptures hidden brilliantly in the brush. Guaranteed to captivate all ages!

We topped off the day with pints of Dinner at Maine Beer Company in Freeport, voted the best beer in the state by Beer Advocate, and a memorable dinner of tapas back in Portland at Chaval. That’s what we call a Dream Day!

If you’re looking for a Quick Escape to Boothbay Harbor or a Dream Day Itinerary to New England, let ActiveTravels be your guide.