Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Maine Lakes & Mountains

Few places offer so many ways to enjoy the seasons as does Maine’s Lakes & Mountains Region. Mother Nature displays her artistic side in fall, painting the countryside with brilliant reds, oranges and yellows, using the deep greens of Maine’s towering evergreens as a counterpoint. Autumn’s pleasures are many: Country fairs, antiques and artisans’ shops, apple orchards, covered bridges. Have lunch at a general store, take a brisk hike or a leisurely paddle, and then wile away the evening by the fire at a country inn or a lakeside cabin.
When snow blankets the region, skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing and ice skating become the outdoor pursuits of choice. At Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, alpine skiers and snowboarders enjoy the only above tree line skiing in the East. Sunday River, in Bethel, sprawls across seven peaks. In Rangeley, Saddleback Mountain shares its ridgeline with the Appalachian Trail, providing a remote wilderness experience. Hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails lace the region. Cross-country skiers and snow-shores have their own back-country trails as well as modern centers with maintained trails.
When spring arrives, so do the fishermen. The crystal-clear lake waters are home to legendary brook trout and landlocked salmon. Then there are those lazy days of summer, perfect for sailing, canoeing, hiking and bicycling. Nine-mile-long Rangeley Lake is the centerpiece for 112 smaller lakes and ponds that feed into it, including beautiful Flagstaff Lake, the state’s fourth largest. Sebago, Maine’s second-largest lake, with waters so pure that it provides drinking water for the city of Portland, is popular with water sports enthusiasts and justly famous among anglers for its landlocked salmon. Long Lake is prized for its majestic White Mountain views. Rivers and stream delight paddlers as well as fisherman. The swollen Carrabassett challenges kayakers and canoeists in the spring while the peaceful Saco is a summer family favorite.
Outdoor recreation may be the region’s calling card, but there’s much more to do and discover here. Visit the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Community and Museum in New Gloucester, the only Shaker village still functioning as a religious community. Immerse yourself in 19th century rural life at the Norlands Living History Center in Livermore. Learn about America’s first international diva at the historic Deertrees Theatre and Cultural Center in Harrison or view the works of Marsden Hartley, Lewiston’s most famous artist, at the Bates College Museum of Art.

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