Mt. Megunticook – Camden State Park

We’ve had a beautiful mild Fall this year and even into mid October we are still in shorts some days!   Crazy as we’ve had snow in October in years past.   I won’t complain though as I’m not a fan of the winter and in Maine it’s a very long season.  This year I’m hopefully it’s going to be shorter than usual!

For the first weekend in months we had a free day.  Kids soccer has taken up most of the Fall weekends.

We opted to take a drive up to Camden Maine for hike up Mt Megunticook.   We did this hike around 6 years ago and really enjoyed it.  I’d always wanted to go back and today we did.

The drive is just 1.5 hours from Freeport Maine.  Heading up the coast on US Route 1 to midcoast Maine.   The drive is scenic in places and being Fall, lots of lovely foliage to take in along the way.

Camden itself is beautiful.  Nestled in Penobscot Bay, it’s a wealthy midcoast town with a beautiful harbor and quaint main street.   A tourist destination but with it being somewhat off season not too busy and many of the beautiful shops still open.

We headed straight to Camden Hills State Park where trail access to Mt Megunticook is.   The park offers a wide array of amenities with many hikes.  Camping is still open and the park was busy!

Mt Megunticook has an elevation of 1385feet.  The highest elevation in the park.   It’s a 3.5 mile round trip and I’d say we spent around 3 hours on the walk.  Note the Camden Hills State Park website states the trail is 1 mile and takes an hour.  On the trail, it is marked as 1.8 miles….

It’s an easy/ moderate hike – rocky and rooty throughout.   Our ageing dog (9.5 Golden Retriever) managed it but he will certainly sleep well tonight 🙂

While we reached the summit, its not really necessary.  Just before the summit is ‘ocean lookout’  at 1300ft.  That’s the best place to stop, take in the view before you head back down.  Views of Camden town, the harbor and neighboring Mt Battie and the auto road to the top.

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The summit is a little further up but has no view.  We followed the same route up and down but the map does show some alternate paths to take if you want to change things up!

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After reaching the base car park, we headed into Camden town for a stroll and treats.  We stopped in at Camden Deli which I highly recommend!  The treats we delicious and great coffee!  We strolled to the harbor to see the sun setting.  So serene and pretty…

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After a lovely day, we got back on the road South….

Lights Aglow, Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay

Thought I’d share some festive photos of a recent trip to Maine Botanical Gardens to visit their Holiday Light display – Lights Aglow.

Maine Botanical Gardens are a stunning collection of gardens covering 270 acres of coastal land.  It is a relatively new addition to Maine, opening in 2007 and has become a very popular attraction to both locals and visitors.   We first visited in 2006 as it was under construction but didn’t actually visit properly until 2014.   We were blown away with the beauty of the gardens and promptly purchased an annual family pass.  We have visited every season and its worth it!  This is the first time we have made a Winter visit. Mostly in part to the Lights Aglow exhibit only opened last winter – while we were living in England.

So we headed to the Gardens for the light show we had heard a lot about.

If planning to attend, plan in advance.  Buy tickets online as it gets very crowded.  This year they seem to be doing a good job with crowd control.  Additionally, parking seemed straightforward even as we had opted not to take the shuttle bus.

Tickets are inexpensive.  $36 for a family of 5 (purchased in advance).   Great value in comparison to other events around the holiday period.

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Trying to stay warm!

The display boasts over 360,000 lights together with specially crafted fairy houses for the kids to view, a model railway display, warming stations with hot chocolate and some hot food trucks.  Additionally, there is a restaurant and gift shop.

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Lights Aglow

The lights were very impressive.   The event has many paths leading through parts of the gardens so you can see the lights from many vantage points.  While the lights were a plenty and very pretty, i think for my slightly older kids, it wasnt so exciting.   Plenty of little ones running about though having fun.   Additionally, we happened to have tickets for the first bitterly cold night of the season.   It was well be low the freezing mark and it certainly affected our visit…..It was just too cold to truly take it all in.  A shame really as we could have spent more time there getting a little more festive.

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Number of fairy houses on display

With the crowds this is attracting, the chances of getting a table in the restaurant were slim so we opted for food trucks and ate inside at a warming station.  As I said, it was cold so eating was a challenge as you really need to get indoors!

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Play areas also lit up

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Lights Aglow

Not to be overlooked on our evening out is the actual town of Boothbay Harbor.  In some respects, the lights in the town are more impressive that the ones at Lights Aglow.   Our drive in to Boothbay (from the South) was equally impressive.   We understand that this year, the town had a competition on for best lights (at home), with lights sold at cost to local folk encouraging them to particpate.  So for the few miles leading up to Boothbay and the town itself, there is a complete additional light show to be had.  This was huge fun as the lights were very inventive.  It was a christmassy version of Blackpool 🙂

So with that said, Lights Aglow was a good, low cost Festive experience.   As you need to book ahead to secure entry, its hard to work with the weather but my suggestion is to go before the cold really sets in.  Since then, temps have dropped to -23C of which would be miserable (and dangerous) to be out in.    Make sure you take time to head into the town too.  Even if it just to drive around and view the lights.  They are equally as good and make the town look beautiful.

I made the mistake of telling the kids we had some light up reindeer somewhere in the basement….they were aghast they had never seen them (they not been out for 10+ years).  We’ve since dragged them out and they sit on the porch…..they are not worth a drive by….but Boothbay is 🙂

Lights AGlow runs to Dec 31st Thurs-Sun only!  Enjoy!

 

Fall in Maine

So we are lucky to live in a beautiful part of the world.  New England is beautiful in places and its famed for its Fall season and its stunning foliage.

This year is a particularly good year and the colors are spectacular.  We’ve taken a number of walks and today we ventured up Bradbury Mountain Sate park to take in the view.  Hope you enjoy as much as we did!

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I used a little filter here to pop the color but not too far from the truth

 

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No filter.  The water tower you can see is actually where our home is situated.

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Splendid color – no filter!