September 16, 2014

Experience Oktoberfest at the Edge of Acadia National Park

Many of Maine’s top breweries will participate in the Acadia Oktoberfest Oct. 10 and 11 in Southwest Harbor on Mt. Desert Island.

The island is home to one of the nation’s most popular and beautiful parks, Acadia National Park, which is about a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the Newcastle Inn.

The popular Oktoberfest event is a fund-raiser for the Southwest Harbor & Tremont Chamber of Commerce. It is held at the Smuggler’s Den Campground and will include plenty of food, music, arts and crafts.

Among the brewers at Oktoberfest will be Allagash Brewing Co. of Portland; Atlantic Brewing Co. of Bar Harbor; Sebago Brewing Co., which operates a brewery in Gorham and four brewpubs around the state; and Baxter Brewing Co. of Lewiston. Other participating breweries are listed on the Acadia Oktoberfest website.

The beer tasting and most other events are on Saturday, Oct. 11, between noon and 6 p.m. Several local restaurants will be providing food, and Russell & Jeff Rock & Reggae and The Peterson Project will perform music on Saturday.

The Oktoberfest kicks off with a wine and cheese from 4 to 7 p.m.  Friday, Oct. 10. The wine and cheese tasting costs $15 a person or $27 a couple. Admission on Saturday is $30 a person, which includes a souvenir beer glass and 10 drink tickets. A limited admission, without the glass and drink tickets, is $10 a person. Food and craft vendors can only accept cash.

Check the availability of a room and schedule your Newcastle Inn stay during Oktoberfest.

September 15, 2014

Witness Maine’s Fall Foliage

Life in Maine begins to slow down in late September and October, but that’s when Mother Nature starts to get busy with her paintbrush. That’s when our lush forests begin to turn to spectacular hues of gold, orange and red.

The peak week for fall colors here in Midcoast Maine is typically the second week in October. We invite you to spend a few days at Newcastle Inn in mid-October to enjoy the beauty of the area. In addition to the fireplace in the sitting room, many guest rooms have a fireplace or stove to cozy up to.

Enjoying the fall colors doesn’t have to be a leisurely pursuit. Midcoast Maine boasts many wonderful hiking trails to enjoy in the fall. Visitors can also enjoy visiting our local museums and art galleries and the nearby Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.

Our state government offers a comprehensive website to track fall foliage around Maine. It’s updated regularly, and there are many links to information about where to visit, where to hike and where to go see some of the most spectacular fall colors.

And, of course, when you plan your stay at the Newcastle Inn, we’ll be happy to fill you in on interesting events and locations with great vistas. Check the availability of a room and schedule your stay.

Fair Shares Appreciation of Maine’s Rural Lifestyle

Travelers love to visit Maine during the late summer and fall when our towns are celebrating the bounty of the land with all sorts of festivals and fairs. One of our favorites is the Common Ground Country Fair, an annual celebration of rural living.

The fair, sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, is held the third weekend after Labor Day at the association’s fairgrounds near Unity. The 2014 version of the fair is scheduled Sept. 19-21. The fair is part county fair, part farm show, part environmental expo and part craft show.

The fairgrounds are about 50 miles north of Newcastle Inn. The 70 minute trip takes you through beautiful rolling hills and farmlands.

Every year, the fair hosts hundreds of talks and demonstrations on topics ranging from cooking, crafting and energy efficiency to raising livestock and environmentally friendly lifestyles. These presentations are crucial to the educational mission of the fair. The fair provides an avenue for a broad range of topics relevant to rural living, education, health and wellness, sustainability, public policy and the arts.

As with any fair, there is plenty of music and food, including a farmers market devoted to selling Maine-grown food. Maine products and services also are featured in the Marketplace section of the fair.  When you attend the fair you can also learn about folk arts, herbs, composting and recycling, and health and healing.
The fair also features a variety of events and athletic endeavors, including a 5K foot race and the annual Harry S Truman Games, which includes manure pitching and horseshoe pitching.

Common Ground Fair tickets are available in advance online or at the gate. The association encourages people to use alternative transportation  to get to the fairgrounds. Options include the GoMaine Rideshare program and shuttle trains run by the Belfast and Moosehead Lake Railroad.

Check the availability of a room and schedule your stay at Newcastle Inn.

September 3, 2014

Pemaquid Oyster Festival Celebrates Half Shells and History

Oysters have been a food source and part of the local economy along the Damariscotta River for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The river’s deep, cold saltwater is ideal for growing the shelled delicacies.

Midcoast Maine celebrates the humble oyster each year during the Pemaquid Oyster Festival on the last Sunday of September. The 2014 festival will be held from noon to dusk September 28 at the Schooner Landing Restaurant and Marina in Damariscotta. The restaurant is right on the riverbank.

The festival is just one of many fall events to entice travelers to Maine, and Newcastle Inn is less than a mile from the restaurant and currently has rooms available.

The Damariscotta River produces some of the tastiest oysters in the northeastern U.S., and some call the region the oyster industry’s version of some of best wine-producing areas in France. Pemaquid and Glidden Point oysters are among the most well-known oysters grown here.

Rowan Jacobsen, author of The Oyster Guide, offers this description:

“Maine oysters grow slowly. While southern oysters can reach market size in a year or less, a Maine oyster needs three years minimum. A four-year-old, cold-water Maine oyster has a glorious depth of texture and flavor, a deep cup, and a beautiful green-and-white shell, sometimes edged with purple, that can be remarkably tough and hard-bitten, like Down Easters themselves.

“The Damariscotta River estuary, midway up the Maine coast, has been ground zero for oyster lovers for thousands of years. High up the estuary sits the Glidden Midden, an enormous hill of oyster shells dating back more than 2,000 years. The mound is thirty feet high, runs along the river for 150 feet, and contains some oyster shells a foot long.”

The Pemaquid Oyster Festival is a fundraiser for the Edward A. Myers Marine Conservation Fund. Myers was a pioneer in aquaculture in the Damariscotta river and other areas. The fund continues his vision of maintaining sustainable, working waterfronts as well as protecting the river environment. Along with Schooner Landing, the Pemaquid Oyster Co. is one of the sponsors of the festival.

Naturally, the festival includes plenty of fresh, local oysters, but there are other items on the menu for folks who haven’t acquired a taste for oysters. The festival also includes music and educational information about the marine environment and the oyster business.

The oyster festival is just one of many things to do and see in Maine during a fall vacation or a weekend trip. Late September is a great time to take in our fall foliage. Let the Newcastle Inn be your base for your next trip to Midcoast Maine.

August 26, 2014

Damariscotta Pumpkinfest: From Projectiles to Pies

No list of things to do in Maine is complete without including the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, which occurs yearly on Columbus Day Weekend. The festival includes some unusual activities that make this event the Great Pumpkin of pumpkin festivals.

Of course there’s the usual parade, pumpkin dessert and pie-eating contest, music, street food and games for the youngsters. But there aren’t many (any?) pumpkin festivals that include pumpkins being shot from a cannon, pumpkins dropped from 180-foot high crane onto junked cars, and boat races featuring watercraft made from, uh, pumpkins.

The official dates for this year’s Pumpkinfest and Regatta are Oct. 10-13, so why not plan a visit and stay at the Newcastle Inn? We’re nearly booked for the weekend already. If you get your fill of pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins and pumpkin cheesecake, you’ll be able to explore Midcoast Maine as fall colors cover our trees and forests.

The unofficial beginning of Pumpkinfest occurs the weekend before when pumpkin growers from all over come to town for the weigh-off. The bragging rights for the biggest pumpkins are great, but there are cash prizes totaling $10,000, too. With all of those huge pumpkins in town, the only thing to do is display them in front of our local businesses during the festival weekend. Festival-goers will be able to feast their eyes on all sorts of pumpkins decorated and painted by local artists.

There are many other events to keep visitors busy and entertained. Youngsters may enjoy a pumpkin hunt (think Easter eggs, only orange and a little larger). There’s a pumpkin derby to determine the fastest pumpkin on four wheels. You can catch a ride on the “Pumpkin Express” train between Brunswick and Rockland or participate in the YMCA Zombie Run on Saturday, Oct. 11.

The featured musical performer during Pumpkinfest will be The Peterson Project, and there will be appearances by the Horseshoe Crabs and the Wicked Blues Band. For complete details on all of the Pumpkinfest activities, visit the event website,

August 18, 2014

Celebrate Maine Life at Boothbay Harbor Fest

Mainers refuse to let the summer season end without throwing a party, and the seaside town of Boothbay Harbor hosts a great one starting Labor Day weekend and lasting 10 days.

The Boothbay Harbor Fest is a celebration of Maine food, Maine music and Maine spirit that includes an art show, a harbor crawl, a golf tournament, a chili and chowder challenge and a fashion show. All of action takes place about 15 miles south of the Newcastle Inn.
The fun starts Friday evening with the “Harbor Crawl” through the village shopping and restaurant district. Local shops will offer crawlers light snacks and beverages and maybe some discounts. A fireworks show follows the crawl.

The annual Chili & Chowder Challenge runs Friday evening through 10 p.m. Sunday. If you arrive at each of the 12 participating restaurants at the right time and with a ticket, you’ll get to taste their best offerings of chili and chowder.

The restaurant fun continues Monday through Friday with Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants will offer three-course dinner meals for $25 plus tax and gratuities.

Other events include the Art @ The Park art show on Saturday, a fishing fashion show Saturday, a 5K and half marathon race Sunday and a golf tournament Monday. The weekend will be full of live music featuring about 30 bands. There’s even a coloring contest for youngsters.

The full details and schedule for events is available on the Harbor Fest website,

August 12, 2014

Bristol Road Galleries - One Name, Four Artists

Just a 3-minute drive from Newcastle Inn are  The Bristol Road Galleries, a group of four galleries along Bristol Road in Damariscotta.
 As you drive south on Bristol Road from Damariscotta your first stop is Kefauver Studio & Gallery. Will Kefauver returned to oil paintings after many years as an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, and executive. His works depict the different moods and feelings of the landscapes and also his love for the rugged landscapes of Maine and New England. You can find Will either giving lessons to teens and adults in his studio or outdoors, where he gets most of his inspiration. Here are some of Will's paintings.
Just a short walk from Kefauver Studio & Gallery, you will find Jan Kilburn’s Gallery. Her watercolors and oil paintings depict the common and simple atmospheres of the seacoasts, villages, and gardens of Maine and New Hampshire. Her main joy is to paint within the environment, but she also offers lessons at her studio. Her use of bright colors brings these scenes to life with simple strokes of a brush to canvas.
The SinclairGallery, run by Marnie Sinclair, is across the street from the Jan Kilburn Gallery. Her main focus is in sculpture, but nowadays she is working to figure out the different sides to kinetic sculpture. Kinetic sculpture is a form of sculpture art that is a figure that moves naturally or with the help of a motor or the observer moving around the piece. Either the sculpture moves with help of the elements or it moves with the different perspectives of the piece itself. Marnie’s work is greatly influenced by her concern for the environment..
The last stop after The Sinclair Gallery is the Kathleen Horst Gallery. Kathleen, a watercolorist, focuses on landscapes and homes that are either Victorian mansions or seaside cottages. Since retiring as a high school teacher, Kathleen has had a lot of time to work on her watercolors. Using the inspiration of historical architecture as well as using vibrant colors, she can bring excitement and a dramatic feeling to scenes.
The Bristol Road Galleries bring a different variety of art from four very talented artists. These artists team together to not only share their artwork, but to bring inspiration to other potential artists and young people by offering classes. There are many events happening within the galleries all summer. For a list, visit
The hours varyfor the Bristol Road galleries, but the best times to plan visiting all of them are between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.