Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter Events in Midcoast Maine

Snowboarding at Camden Snow Bowl

Mid-coast Maine does not have the "severe" weather that many people think of when they consider heading Downeast December thru March. Coastal influences tend to keep temperatures in the 30s-40s. Yes, it snows and some years there can be as much as 10 feet of snow and some years not. A wide range of amazing activities are available in winter for those who wish to fly (into Bangor, Portland, or close-by Rockland) or drive to the region (by car or Concord Bus from Boston).

Upcoming Events not to miss:

32nd Annual Festival of Lights Craft Fair - Rockland Saturday, November 26 - 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. The admission charge is $3.00 per person, no charge for children under 12. There will be artisans & craftspeople selling Maine made crafts & gifts that have been reviewed for the highest quality.

Rockport, Camden, Lincolnville, December 2-4 pm: the 25th Annual Christmas by the Sea!
Fireworks over the Harbor! Frozen 5k road race to benefit ALS research, Tree lightings in at the Cellardoor Winery Villa in Rockport, Harbor Park in Camden, and on Lincolnville Beach, all with Santa, Christmas parade, beach bonfire and caroling, great food and great deals on shopping.

Holiday Art Show and Sale at High Mountain Hall - Camden
December 16, 2011 - 5:00-9:00pm - D ecember 17, 2011 - 10:00 am - 4:00pm
With works by
Antonia Munroe-painting
Austin Smith-porcelain
Jacob Bond Hessler-photography
Julie O'Rourde-textiles
Laura Balombini-mixed media
Patty Bolz-jewelry

US National Toboggan Championships - Camden Ski Bowl
February 10, 2012 - 10:00am - February 12, 2012 - 4:00pmPeople come from near and far for this event - enter as an individual or group and have fun!

The 25th Annual Camden Conference - February 17-19, 2012  "The U.S. in a 21st Century World: Do We Have What It Takes?" (link)
Join movers and shakers from all over the country in this event that brings in top speakers.
General winter things to do.....
Ski, snowboard, snowshoe/hike, snowmobile, ice skate, explore shops, antiquing, fine and casual dining, cooking classes, museums, galleries, spa, theater, concerts, and more!
Travel Recommendations if you are heading to the Rockland-Rockport-Camden-Lincolnville-Belfast MIDCOAST region:

1. Book your hotel/B&B reservations early as limited facilities are open in Winter along the mid-coast.
2. Specials during the week are often amazing - such as stay two nights get one night free at The Lord Camden Inn.
3. Plan where to have dinner and expect to eat early. Make reservations! Always have a bag of goodies for in your hotel room "just in case".
4. If driving, be sure to have a blanket, working flashlight, water, reflective marker, shovel. Check your car's antifreeze level, battery, and tires. If planning to go to Northern Maine to ski areas like Sugarloaf, consider it will be much colder there than along the mid-coast. Prepare your vehicle and passengers. Always watch for deer and moose along and on the roadways at dusk, night, and dawn... even during the day a moose can be smack in the middle of the road.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cooking Classes in Midcoast Maine

There are four wonderful options in the mid-coast area for those who wish to combine travel with culinary interests. Stay at a cottage property, inn, or B&B and enjoy the options:

1. Bay Leaf Cottages & Bistro -
Cook Chinese homestyle dishes, German holiday fare, and learn all about seafood preparationsl
June thru August open-enrollment cooking classes by reservation.

2. Cellardoor Winery - www.mainewine.come
Cooking classes and wine pairings at the winery.

3. Hartstone Inn -
Cooking Classes by house chef.

4. Salt Water Farm cooking school - wide range of themes and classes.
Variety of techniques by chef AnneMarie or chef-instructors are brought in to teach cllas.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Just a Few More Days Leaf Peepers!

Fall is showing it's hot and cold side this weekend as leaf peepers head our way for Columbus Day Weekend. They are coming from all over - we have bookings from Italy to the western parts of the US. Join us as we wind down our 2011 season and get ready for winter. We'll be closing in just a week with most of our units closed from Monday October 10th thru to May 1st. As always, we will be taking reservations throughout the winter and spring months for your 2012 stay at Bay Leaf Cottages. Contact us by phone 207-505-0458, email:, and online reservations For those seeking wedding reservations/bookings, plan ahead and give us a call!

I'll be blogging on and off - don't miss our summer 2012 cooking class dinners - Seafood galore!
Keep checking in!

Thanks Yankee Magazine!

Camden Named 3rd Best Foliage Town in New England in Yankee Magazine's Online Poll

Camden has been named the 3rd best foliage town in New England, up from 6th in 2010, according to a poll conducted on, Yankee Magazine's fall foliage Web site. A seaside town located in the "jewel" of Maine's mid-coast has everything a visitor is looking for, color intensity against the backdrop of the rocky coast, scenic drives, hikes and a whole host of outdoor recreation-adding to that world class dining, lodging, shopping and cultural venues that make Camden and the communities of the Camden Hills definite not-to-miss fall favorites. The voting took place from mid-August and ended on September 28.

"This area brings together the best Maine has to offer, with an explosion of color and activities to delight all visitors, we are proud to continue to be a fall favorite," said Dan Bookham, Executive Director of the Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce serving the mid-coast area including Camden, Rockport and Rockland. "Families and visitors come from all over to enjoy the unhurried life that is quintessential Maine-hiking, schooner sails, taking in a museum or wine-, cheese- or chocolate- making-rest assured there is plenty to occupy one's time."

To qualify for consideration, tourism professionals, along with some of Yankee Magazine's writers and editors, came together to determine the Top 25 Foliage Towns in New England. Towns were then scored on a scale from 0 to 5 in 14 areas that make up the perfect fall foliage travel destination: color intensity, scenery, vistas, nearby water, scenic drives, hikes, culture, farmers' markets and farm stands, orchards, covered bridges, state or local parks, the quality and variety of shops to browse, tourism amenities such as hotels and restaurants.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rainy Weekend in Mid-coast Maine

Rain Rain Go Away!
We have no less than 9 wonderful weekend events in the mid-coast and it's raining moose and lobsters! The weekend's weather forecast is not good. The movie theaters are going to be full for sure. Head to the Northport Music Theater tonight for good old-fashioned musical theater!

If you have your raingear ready don't miss...Vinfest at Cellardoor Winery
Savage Oaks Winery Fall Festival
Apple Picking and Cidar Making at Hope Orchards
Corn Maze, Cidar and Apples at Beth's Produce
Lincolnville Fall Festival and Parade on Rt. 1
Antique classic car show in downtown Camden
Harbor Arts Juried Arts & Crafts Show in downtown Camden
Camden International Film Festival in Camden & Rockland
Belfast is having a parade today as well

Want to stay dry??Film Festival and Movies
Farnsworth Museum in Rockland
Owl's Head Transportation Museum
Penobscot Marine Museum in Searport
Reny's the Maine 5 & 10 experience
LLBean Outlet store in Ellsworth
Hollywood Slots in Bangor
Dining on seafood or hanging out in coffee shops, wine-tasting, and more!

Good rainy day hangout options (most with WIFI):
Dots in Lincolnville
Market Basket in Camden
Zoots in Camden
Boyton & McKay in Camden
American Baking Co in Rockland
Chase's Daily in Belfast
Lots of cafes/restaurants in Rockland, Camden, Lincolnville Beach, and Belfast

Friday, September 9, 2011

Leaf Peeping Activities in Mid-Coast Maine

This time of year - Fall and Leaf Peeping is really special in Maine. There's so much to see and do normally but there's so much that's unique to Fall...

1. Arts and Artisan's Tour in Lincolnville/Camden/Hope - this weekend (Sept 9-11) - ride around mid-coast Maine and stop at the galleries and workshops of accomplished artisans of the region. Everything from goldsmiths to pottery, fine art to metalworking.

2. Common Ground Fair in Unity - September 21-25 - get the 60s-70s vibe as you rub elbows with sustainable farmers, eco-friendly power, organic agriculture, artisans, home cooks, canning, unique products, and music/fun galore.

3. Vinfest in Lincolnville at Cellardoor Winery (Sept 30-Oct 1) - get in touch with your inner grape - which one speaks to you. Try 6 samples from a menu of about 20 wines made on-site. All are amazing and there are some unique blends thanks to local blueberries. Gourmet dinner, activities for the family, tastings for the adults, demonstrations/tours - all with a gorgeous fall view.

4. October 1st & 2nd in Lincolnville for our Fall Festival - brings the local parade and activities galore for family and friends. Don't miss the farmer's and artisan's market at the Whales Tooth Pub.

5. Camden International Film Festival (Sept 29-Oct 1st) - Showcasing documentaries from throughout the globe -screenings at various cinemas in the region - Lincolnville, Rockland, Rockport and Camden.

6. Carol Sebold Harbor Arts (Juried) Arts and Crafts Show - October 1-2 in the Camden Harbor. Don't miss this eclectic mix of established and emerging artists.

Don't miss area farmer stands and apple orchards. Pop into the many antique shops.

And there's always a place to stay right here at Bay Leaf Cottages & Bistro  Book soon!

After the Storm

Irene left her mark with downed trees and this large split tree which will need to come down so it won't crash into large structures on the next storm - and surely there will be another in our future. The big casualty was the playground. We will reorder and redo the kids playground once the tree is removed. We also lost some poplar trees behind the cabins. Root systems aren't deep here so trees just fall over versus breaking like our 100'+ tree did - rotted in the core somehow. Given we had to take a large dead piece off of it last season, this came as no surprise.
Readying for the leap peeping season, raking leaves already from the butternut tree. Mowing the grass that has really grown up with all the rain makes for a good Friday.
Tell everyone Maine is open for business. It seems people are fearing that the news about Irene and the problems/devastation in Vermont will keep people away from Maine. Come our way - we'll be here!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Calm before the Storm

It's the calm before the storm - Irene is on her way! We're put away all the chairs, covered the motel windows, removed the plants, and brought the extra water, food, and candles into the house. We're ready for the storm - as ready as we can be. Of course by the time it reaches us the winds will only be 65-70 mph but they can still bring down trees, power lines, and cause havoc. We have no guests at present - everyone heading "home" where ever that might be.
Some neighbors may come stay with us as they fear being isolated in their homes with downed power lines. I reminded them we'll also be without power if they are without power but they are welcome to ride the storm out here if they wish. Being more "open" I suppose is appealing to those living in the woods. However, we have some mighty big trees on the property - who knows what's going to happen. Luckily we had everything pruned last year and most of the dead limbs are long gone. No power means no water so we'll be filling the tub up tonight so we can "flush" the toilet as needed. This is where having guests during a storm is problematic and this is why all of our signage is down. My only fear is that we'll lose the tops of our new lights. Aren't they pretty with the leaves? (If it would only right itself - hmmm). More after the storm! No lobster dinners tonight!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

#1 on Trip Advisor for Top 5 Special Offers (world-wide)

Yes, it's true! Bay Leaf's special offer on Trip Advisor (2 nights = 2 lobsters) ranked #1 in the top 5 special offers viewed online by travelers! Well - take us up on it - stay two weekday nights and get two lobsters (cooked or uncooked). Coupon (required) available on Trip Advisor!
Or, go to the New England Inns and Resorts Association and see our special offer there: Stay two nights get one free (when you stay M-T-W or T-W-TH).

And if those aren't enough incentives.... try these Labor Day Weekend Specials on NEIRA for Bay Leaf Cottages:

Family Reunion Special - book 3 nights in a cottage for your family and get a motel room for the grandparents for three nights absolutely free! Continental breakfast included daily for all.

Stay 3 nights Receive $50 Gas Special (TH-F-S, F-S-S, or S-S-M) in either a cottage or motel room and receive a $50 Visa Travel Card to pay for your gas.

Dog Friendly Considerations

What does "Dog Friendly" mean to a lodging establishment? and You?
Yes, for resort properties welcoming travelers with their dogs, being "Dog Friendly" can mean an increase in clients and revenue. For those traveling with pet allergies, it can be a nightmare. Many establishments will designate a small portion of their rooms/cottages for those traveling with their dogs. A real "Dog Friendly" establishment will have the majority of rooms/cottages for clients with canines and fewer rooms/cottages for those who have allergies. By checking the property's website, you can determine a lot about the true "friendliness" of the lodging facility and management.
  1. How many rooms/cottages/units are designated as "Dog Friendly" as compared to the total available?
  2. Do you find the style and size of the rooms/cottages needed for you and/or your family?
  3. What are the nightly pet fees? - typical rates range from $10-$25 per night but can go as high as $150-250 in deposit fees.
  4. How far in advance does this property book up? check on high season availability early.
  5. Are there a minimum number of nights required during high season versus off-season?
  6. Are the grounds suitable for walking your dog and playing with your dog?
  7. Is there a dog-run or suitable place your dog can stay if you need to leave the property - say for a dinner or a wedding? Is the run shaded or does it have a dog house or a water source?
  8. Is there a clean dog crate that can accommodate your dog? Can it be used in the room or on the premises in a designated location?
  9. Is there someone available to walk the dog, feed or provide water for the dog? If so, what is the cost for such services? Like babysitting, guests should expect to pay for such help.
  10. What dog-friendly activities are nearby? - hiking trails, beaches, dog parks, etc.
  11. What human-friendly activities are nearby that will be suitable for a pet to accompany you? Will they allow dog entry to shops/museums/restaurants, for example, or will there be a place for your dog to be on a leash, etc.??
  12. Is the place clean and free of debris that could harm your pet?
  13. Are suitable "pet friendly" chemicals used by the housekeeping staff and yard maintenance?
  14. Will your dog be welcomed as part of the "family" by staff and management - is there a dog living there?
  15. Will dog food and treats be available on-site should there be a need (you ran out, stores are closed, there aren't any stores around selling dog food, etc.)?
  16. Is there a suitable Veterinarian and emergency care facility nearby in case of need?
  17. Are there wild animals in the vicinity that you should be aware of?

What property owners think about but may/may not ask you... this should be your pre-travel check-list:

  1. Is your dog registered in your community? (wearing a color with dog tags or micro-chipped)
  2. How old is your dog - puppies chew and bark and generally aren't as welcome as well-behaved older dogs. However, older dogs may have incontinence issues that should be planned for.
  3. How big is your dog as compared to the space you wish to book for you or your family?
  4. Does your breed of dog have a "bad reputation"? Lodging owners/managers will be concerned about liability issues in terms of how your dog might interact with others staying at the resort. Consider that the "media" has made owning a pit bull "negative" as compared to a cockier spaniel.
  5. Does your dog shed excessively and could this shedding create an added cleaning fee? Should you have your dog groomed before your trip to reduce this possibility?
  6. Is your dog free of fleas, ticks and other parasites?
  7. Has your dog had all of the major vaccinations (to protect others staying on-site and their pets) - Rabies, Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Corona, Bordetella, Lyme, etc.?
  8. Do you have issues of worms or other parasites under control?
  9. Do you regularly use flea control with your dog? (topical or oral)
  10. Do you regularly wash/groom your dog?
  11. Has your dog been spayed or neutered?
  12. How many dogs are you traveling with?
  13. Do you understand that dogs will not be allowed to stay in the room/cottage unattended?
  14. Will you walk your dog on a leash and pick up any excrement (pooper scoop)?
  15. Will you use the "doggie cover" provided (for bed or sofa) so that your dog's hair doesn't get all over the linens or that wet paws don't soil bedspreads, cushions, pillows?
  16. Will you bring bowls for food for your dog instead of using those dishes for humans in the kitchenettes?
  17. Will you bring doggie toys?
  18. Will you ask for suitable towels from housekeeping to use with your dog (in case of rain, beach play, etc.)?

While the above list may seem exhaustive, it reminds us as pet owners that, just like ourselves, there are welcome visitors and unwelcome ones. When pet owners take the responsibility of having a healthy pet, resort owners are happy to welcome such dogs to their premises and into their rooms.

Bay Leaf Cottages & Bistro welcomes your dog to stay along with you and your family in our pet-friendly cottages and motel rooms.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Dog Lover's Guide to Midcoast Maine

For daytrips or weekend escapes, Mid-coast Maine offers a great combination of off-highway scenic routes, country roads, destinations worth stopping for - including delicious food. From May thru October, a wide variety of festivals and events make return visits very attractive. Attractions will bring you closer to Maine culture, the arts, great musiv, and the great outdoors. Bring your dog!
Bay Leaf Cottages and Motel welcomes travelers with their well-behaved dogs. Ginger, our 11-year old cocker spaniel, greets visitors and gives each of her new pals a welcome "doggie bag" complete with dog blanket, water bowl and mat, bones, poopie bags, and coupons for pet-friendly businesses in the area.
Our park-like setting makes bringing your dog alone fun. Nearby dog parks and beaches, pet shops, and hiking trails provides your pet with options. We offer an on-site outdoor shaded kennel with dog house and water feeder.
7 motel rooms (with water views) and 8 cottages (some with kitchens, some with water views) are designated "dog friendly". Be sure to book in advance, especially for weekends in July-August.
Ginger will be here until mid-October - we'll close around the 17th.
Questions? email
What makes the Mid-Coast of Maine a destination for people who traavel with their dogs?
  • dog friendly lodging
  • dog-friendly businesses (ability to dine outside, shops that allow pets, shops that cater to pets)
  • dog parks
  • dog beaches
  • unique dog walking and hiking routes
  • training programs, events, fairs
  • support services (veterinarians, kennels, grooming, training)

Dog friendly businesses in the Lincolnville Beach area (for those staying at Bay Leaf Cottages):

  • Critter Outfitter (Camden)
  • The Fertile Mind Bookstore (Belfast)
  • Friends of Belfast Park (Belfast)
  • Human Society of Knox County (Rockland)
  • Loyal Biscuit Co. (Rockland)
  • The Maine Dog (Camden)
  • Mr. Paperback (Belfast)
  • Owl and Turtle Bookshop (Camden)
  • Perry Greene Kennel and Outfitters (Waldoboro)
  • The Readin gCorner (Rockland)
  • The Seagull Shop (Pemaquid)
  • Sherman's Books (Camden)
  • Yankee Clipper (Rockport)
  • Zoots Coffee Shop (Camden)