Local sites and events to check out this summer
The semester is wrapping up and the sun is finally making an appearance on the Hill. All anyone can talk about is his or her plans for the fast-approaching summer vacation.
If you are staying in the beautiful state of Maine this summer and you haven’t yet figured out what to do with yourself on time off from a summer job or internship, read on for a few of the Mules’ favorite Maine destinations.
If you’re staying on campus, the summer months are a perfect time to get to know the Waterville area a little better. Hop on a bike and head down to the Hume Center located just seven miles off campus to dive off its docks, swim in the gorgeous Messalonskee Lake, or sunbathe to your heart’s content. Stop by the Riverside Farm Market in neighboring Oakland on your way back for some delicious gelato or go on Sunday for brunch and live gipsy jazz music.
The annual Maine International Film Festival starts on June 15 at the Railroad Square Cinema in downtown Waterville and it features ten days of award-winning and independent international films. If you have some extra time on your hands, volunteer for the festival (and receive free movie tickets while you’re at it).
Make sure to also keep your eyes peeled for the Maine Student Film and Video Festival taking place here at the College on July 23, featuring the works of Maine residents under the age of 19.
The Waterville Intown Arts Fest on July 23 is one of the state’s oldest art shows and takes place outdoors on Main Street. This is a perfect time to take a casual stroll and a chance to see some local art.
If you’re looking to get some fresh air and to make the most of the beautiful Maine scenery, check out Speckled Mountain, Crocker Mountain and the Messalonskee Stream Trails, which are close to campus. French Mountain in nearby Rome (Maine) is an easy hike, has gorgeous views and offers strawberry and wild blueberry picking starting in late April.
If you’re interested in venturing further off campus, Maine Huts and Trails, a new hut-to-hut hiking system which, when completed, will stretch nearly 200 miles across mid-Maine has beautiful hiking, running and biking trails. The huts offer an overnight stay option (which can be reserved beforehand) and access throughout the day to a lunch or a cup of coffee.
You can also head to Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park for some great hiking. While you’re there, stop by the Jordan Pond House for delicious popovers and freshly squeezed lemonade.
Camden Hills is also worth a visit for its gorgeous views and small town charm: watch the tourists and the schooners in the harbor or stop by Stone Soup Books, a second-hand bookstore on Main Street to spend some time browsing and picking out summer reads for the beach.
Popham, Scarborough, Higgins and Old Orchard are all popular beaches in the summer and the sandy stretches of Reid State Park are just an hour away from Colby.
For some more cultural excursions, head up to the University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor, the Farnsworth in Rockland, the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport or the Portland Museum of Art.
The Bangor Art Walks are a great way to experience downtown Bangor, a short 45-minutes north of campus, and discover the city’s many art treasures. There are two scheduled for this summer: June 24 and August 12.
Portland’s First Friday Art Walk (every first Friday of the month) is the perfect opportunity to tour the city’s many galleries and to experience the hip, diverse Portland crowd in action. Check out Local Sprouts on Congress Street for delicious local and organic dishes and if you’re lucky, a band performance or two.
Sports fans should also make sure to catch a Seadogs baseball game while in Portland. Tickets are relatively cheap (under $10) and it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon.
A little closer to the Hill, the town of Freeport, outlet shopping mecca and home to the L.L. Bean flagship store, is a great place to indulge in some retail therapy. Stop for lunch at the Harraskeet Lunch and Lobster, right on the water in the Freeport Harbor, for fresh lobster and views of the harbor in action. Or stick around in the evening for free live music and star gazing during the L.L. Bean concert series, which features various independent bands and solo artists.
If you really want to soak up some Maine spirit, make sure to look up the state fairs that take place in most small towns during the summer. Belgrade is the place to be on the Fourth of July for its small town charm, a great parade and fireworks over the lake.
The Skowhegan State Fair in August is great for live music, watching harness racing and betting on horses with friends.
The annual Yarmouth Clam Festival, starting on July 16, is a favorite event among Mainers and involves clam shucking contests, horse and wagon rides, trolley tours of the historic town, blueberry pancake breakfasts, a bike race and a ‘Diaper Derby’ (for toddlers), fireworks and countless musical performances.
Hopefully the beautiful outdoors and the countless fairs and events in Maine will keep you occupied these summer months. The summer is the perfect opportunity to get off the Hill and explore the local attractions, sights, sounds and events taking place in Maine; all of this can be done without the stress of coming back to campus for class. And if you’re really at a loss for activity ideas or if you run out of them by summer’s end, you can always climb Mount Katahdin.