Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Welcome to Fall in New England!

Bountiful pumpkin harvest. Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism

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With all due respect to the holiday season, we often feel that fall in New England "is the most wonderful time of the year." Ambiance in New England is at its best with a cool, crisp feel in the air, apple picking, town and city fairs and harvests, scenic mountain and ocean Sunday drives, including, of course, leaves turning brilliant colors.

At our Weekly New England Travel and Vacation blog, please check in often to find out about what's going on in the New England fall. We also encourage you to check out our flagship site, VisitingNewEngland.com and its Fall Vacations page as well as blogs Buy Local Shop Local New England, The Great New England Photo Travel Tour and The Thrifty New England Traveler ("Travel More, Spend Less!") to get tips and suggestions on how to make your trips to New England in the fall special and fun to the max!

To kick off things, we recently received information from our good New England neighbors at VisitMaine.com on some "pumpkin" events that will get you in the fall spirit in Maine:

MAINE - It's a banner year for pumpkin growers in Maine. Plenty of summer sunshine helped pumpkin patches explode with colorful gourds. That means more pumpkin pie and added fun at these annual pumpkin celebrations.

Bountiful pumpkin harvest. Photo Credit: Maine Office Tourism

The 8th annual Punkinfiddle festival happens Sept. 25 at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve. Punkinfiddle is a National Estuaries Day Celebration featuring traditional crafts, pumpkin decorating, lively fiddle music, old-fashioned games, an estuary scavenger hunt, farm animals and face painting. Please call 207-646-1555 for more information.

See the many uses for giant pumpkins at the 4th annual Damariscotta Pumpkinfest Regatta happening Oct. 3-11. Join the crowd on the banks of the Damariscotta River to watch the giant pumpkin paddleboat race and motorized pumpkinboat regatta. View the carved and painted pumpkins displayed on Main Street, and see the winner of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth weigh-off contest in the festival parade.

Before taking a walk through a haunted house, try a walk through a pumpkin house at the Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival at L.L. Bean in Freeport on Oct. 30. There will be live music, games for children, pumpkin sculptures, pumpkin pie and a tower of more than a thousand lit jack-o-lanterns.

Saco's Main Street becomes a pedestrian way for the annual Pumpkin Harvest Festival happening Oct. 16. The day will include live music, games for children, pumpkin carving and a jack-o-lantern walk.

Oceanside Food Festivals
The small village of Blue Hill packs a big culinary punch during the Foliage, Food and Wine Festival taking place Oct. 14-17. Don't miss the wine dinners at local restaurants, an artisan chocolate making class, traditional lobster bake, and the Taste of the Peninsula event showcasing the best of local chefs and food producers.

Expect more choices of wine, beer, spirits and Maine-made foods at this year's Harvest on the Harbor happening Oct. 21-23 on the Portland waterfront. From The Ultimate Seafood Splash to the Grand Tasting on the Harbor, or a tasting and demonstration event with four Maine James Beard award-winning chefs, there's plenty to please foodies of all types.

For more information about Maine's summer and fall events, go to www.visitmaine.com.

But wait, there's more...

Squeezing Another Spirit from Potatoes
Maine Distilleries, the maker of Cold River Vodka, is once again using local potatoes and water to craft a new spirit: Cold River Gin. The 100 percent Maine potato gin is infused with seven traditional botanicals and water from the Cold River aquifer in the foothills of western Maine. The gin is gluten-free and has no sugar added.

A New Train on Downeast Tracks
The Downeast Scenic Railroad is now offering train rides on the historic Calais Branch Line departing from downtown Ellsworth. The 10-mile trip to Ellsworth Falls and Washington Junction takes about 90 minutes and happens on Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 17. Travelers ride in a restored passenger coach, open air car, or a 1918 Reading caboose with views from its cupola.

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