October 21, 2014

Enjoy Park and Museum at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse


The iconic Pemaquid Point Lighthouse  draws more than 100,000 visitors a year to climb the light tower, visit the Fisherman’s Museum and explore the rocky, Maine shore.

The original lighthouse at Pemaquid Point, which juts into the Atlantic Ocean between Muscongus and Johns bays, was commissioned during the presidency of John Quincy Adams and began operating in 1827. The first version was poorly constructed, however, and was rebuilt in 1835. A new keepers house was added in 1857, and at the same time, the government added a new Fresnel lamp, which can be seen for 14 nautical miles.

The Town of Bristol bought the seven-acre park surrounding the lighthouse in 1940 and still operates the park today. The American Lighthouse Foundation operates the light tower. The first floor of the keepers house is the Fisherman’s Museum, which displays artifacts donated by the people of Bristol to chronicle the area’s maritime history.

There is a learning center at the park along with Pemaquid Gallery of Artists, which houses work by local artists.

The Park facilities are open to the public  from early May through the end of October, and there is a small entrance fee. At other times, the park property remains open to the public year-round for sightseeing.

The image of the lighthouse is well known to anyone who has ever looked at the Maine State Quarter, minted in 2003. With that coin, the lighthouse became the first to be featured on any U.S. currency.

A visit to the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is just one of the many Maine places of interest that you can visit during a vacation at the Newcastle Inn. The lighthouse is just 15 miles south of the inn, and it can be enjoyed during any season, depending on the weather. The inn is centrally located in Midcoast Maine and is an ideal place to stay while exploring the area. Make your Newcastle Inn reservation soon.

October 14, 2014

Start Planning Now to Enjoy Thanksgiving in Maine

Ah, Thanksgiving. Even with all of the holiday’s positive attributes, it’s a time when it seems as though half of all Americans are clogging airports and highways on their way to visit the other half.

A little bit of planning can overcome travel-related stress on a Thanksgiving trip to Midcoast Maine. If you’re planning a holiday weekend at  Newcastle Inn, it’s likely you’re hoping to find serenity along with a Turkey dinner.

Highways and airports are busier during Thanksgiving weekend than any other time of year, so your first step is planning your travel dates. Travel industry experts suggest you avoid traveling the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday following the holiday. Instead, they suggest leaving Monday or Tuesday, if possible, and scheduling your return Thursday evening or Friday.

Once you’ve decided on dates, check with the Newcastle Inn about reserving one of the comfortable suites in our Maine Bed and Breakfast. We’ll make sure that once you’re here, you’ll be able to relax.

If you’re traveling here by air, plan to pack light. Traveling with just carry-on luggage can save you time in lines and save money by avoiding baggage fees. If you absolutely need to have more than you can carry onto your flight, thinking about shipping your baggage to the inn ahead of time. At the very least, it will save time and headaches and the airport.

Whether you’re traveling by air or car, plan some extra time. Flight delays are not only common, but likely, on Thanksgiving weekend. If you can’t get a direct flight, make sure you leave plenty of time to catch connections in case of delays. Highway traffic will be heavier than normal, too, and late November weather in Maine can be unpredictable at best.

When you make your reservation, make sure to ask about local restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner. We will be happy to help you make your reservation.

Once you’re here, you’ll be able to relax in warm luxury and keep some good company with other holiday travelers.

October 7, 2014

Great Maine Apple Day Celebrates Ancient Fruit

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 Our enjoyment of apples hasn’t changed over the centuries. Apples were the favorite fruits of ancient Greeks and Romans, and today the nutritious, low-calorie treat is celebrated with it’s own day, Great Maine Apple Day.

The day is sponsored by the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association, Fedco,  a co-op for garden supplies and seeds, and the University of Maine CooperativeExtension. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 25 at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity.

This celebration of all things apple includes cooking demonstrations, workshops, tastings of heirloom apples unique to Maine, and plenty of apple-related foods to purchase.

The apple festival is among the many things to do in Maine during a late October trip. You can make a reservation at the Newcastle Inn and enjoy the views on the 50-minute drive to Unity.

Maine orchards grow more than 100 varieties of apples, but most focus on 20 or 30 different species, including popular varieties such as Cortland, Empire, Gala, Honeycrisp, McIntosh and Northern Spy. The Maine State Pomological Society has a list of the most common apple varieties in Maine. McIntosh is the most popular apple grown in New England.

Most of the state’s 84 orchards are clustered in the eastern part of Maine from the state’s southern tip to Bangor. That state produces about a million bushels of apples annually. Four of the state’s orchards are organic-only.

Visitors to Great Maine Apple Day also will be able to tour the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association new “heritage” orchard, which is being created to protect the state’s unique apple and pear varieties. The association hopes to grow varieties from every county in the state.

Finally, we can’t write about applies without including some apple recipes. From apple crisp to an apple-squash soup, you’ll find something you love among these ideas from the pomological society.

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.