Coastal Maine is the sure place to go for a hefty dose of nostalgic Americana. The Brunswick Hotel & Tavern has travel ideas to please guests, whether you’re bound to stay in Brunswick, where you can see more than 20,000 objects of decorative art, paintings, sculptures, and works on paper at The Bowdoin College Museum of Art, or you’re looking for Maine day trip ideas, like a self-guided tour in nearby Topsham to the historical location of an underground tunnel.
If you happen to crave more time spent on the roads less traveled, The Brunswick Hotel & Tavern has Maine road trip ideas in store for you that are not so far away, but have enough offshore islands, Victorian fishing villages, and meandering drives along the narrow peninsulas, to suit anyone’s fancy.
The Bowdoin College Museum of Art
The holdings of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art range in scope from the art of antiquity to that of the present day. Its collections of Decorative Arts, Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper are among the most comprehensive of any college museum in the country, and continue to grow through purchase, gift, and bequest.
Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum
At Bowdoin College in Brunswick, the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum is a collection of Arctic secrets. (Did you know caribou hair is hollow?) The place was named for two alumni explorers, the more famous of whom, Robert Edwin Peary, became the first man to reach the North Pole, in 1909.
Androscoggin Bicycle and Pedestrian Path
You can follow the Androscoggin Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, which offers riverside views along a paved, marked trail. The Bike Path is a 2.6 mile 14 foot wide paved bicycle/pedestrian path along the Androscoggin River. The path offers scenic overlooks of the Androscoggin River while providing a pedestrian and bicycle connection between in town Brunswick and the Cook’s Corner area. The path can also be accessed from Topsham via bicycle/pedestrian lanes over the Merrymeeting Bridge.
Crystal Spring Farm
The farm is located on Pleasant Hill Rd at the corner of Woodside Road in Brunswick. At Crystal Spring Farm in Brunswick, you can walk along a 2.5-mile path past sheep-filled meadows.
The Best Self Guided Tours Maine
Topsham, Maine Historical Walking Tour
Originally published in 1995 and updated in 1997 by Topsham’s Historic District Commission, this walking tour shows visitors some of the most unique architecture in town and introduces them to the homes of some of the region’s most notable individuals.
DeLorme (navigation technology) Headquarters in Yarmouth
DeLorme’s lobby houses the world’s largest rotating globe–130 feet around, over 41 feet high. At one-millionth scale, the massive globe has all the world’s topographical information, but leaves out political borders. It is Earth as the astronauts see it.
Desert of Maine
A kitschy 40-acre plot of miniature sand dunes. The site formed in the 1880s when over-farming depleted the soil covering a glacial sand deposit. Along with the striking dunes, the Desert of Maine complex has a train to cart you around, plastic camels for photo-ops, and a nature trail through a pine forest.
Freeport, Maine, the Home of L.L. Bean
The town is one of the nation’s most popular outlet shopping villages, with more than 150 stores. And it all started in 1917 when avid outdoorsman Leon Leonwood Bean opened his shop, now a 140,000-square-foot flagship.
Squire Tarbox Inn
A 1763 farmhouse turned B&B, is so secluded that to find it you may have to stop at least once to consult a map. Owned by Roni De Pietro, a retired flight attendant, who can show you around the building and up an outdoor staircase to your room. Rough wooden beams line the ceilings, and there is a lovely view over gardens sloping to a meadow with a pond. Squire Tarbox is as well known for its meals as its rooms. Roni’s Swiss husband, Mario, is a veteran of top New York kitchens including The Four Seasons restaurant and prepares delicacies like chicken curry soup, grilled salmon, and potato-crusted haddock with a side of glazed carrots from the inn’s organic garden.
The Town of Bath
You could say that the town of Bath is in the shipbuilding industry; nearly half of the employees at Bath Iron Works are from the greater Bath area. And during the past 117 years, BIW has built more than 400 big boats, from tugs to missile destroyers. Down the road from BIW, the defunct Percy & Small Shipyard has been turned into the Maine Maritime Museum, with an intriguing mix of seafaring lore and shipbuilding secrets. An exhibit on lobstermen listed some common superstitions: They will not paint their boats blue, wear black, turn baskets or barrels upside down, or say the word “pig” while on board.
There’s a real land’s-end feel to the protruding finger of granite, which is eroded in the most gorgeous way. An 1827 lighthouse at the top of the outcropping is the same one pictured on the back of Maine’s state quarters.
Maine State Prison Showroom
You read that right, the Maine State Prison Showroom near Rockland, is stocked with woodwork made by inmates from the state pen up the road in Warren. Prices are low: oak bookcases for $139, intricate ship models from $55. I’m still kicking myself for not buying a Maine State Prison birdhouse resembling a jail, with little bars on the windows. It might not be for the faint of heart, however, to browse a store staffed by convicts (plus a guard).
Farnsworth Art Museum
Located in downtown Rockland holds the work of 19th-century American painters, including Thomas Eakins and the Wyeth clan. Andrew Wyeth’s father, N.C., started the family’s habit of summering in Maine in the 1930s in nearby Port Clyde.
From Rockland, you can board the ferry 75-minute ride to Vinalhaven Island. In the center of the island, the Tidewater Motel is built right on top of a fast, narrow, tidal channel. Select guest rooms open onto a small deck over the water. From the window, you can look at the harbor, flecked with dozens of white boats.
Giant old Victorians line the streets, a little river spills over a waterfall into the harbor, and fun shops fill brick buildings along Chestnut, Main, and Elm Streets.