10 Maine Adventures on My Bucket List for 2019

For the last few years I have been putting together an annual bucket list of things I want to do in Maine for the upcoming year. It’s a fun exercise that gets me thinking about the adventures that we want to have and the places we want to visit.

This past year was especially challenging and we actually got through only a couple of things on the list which does make me wonder if perhaps a bucket list is not the best approach but I’m going to give it one more shot.

Below is a list of ten things on my bucket list for the coming year. Many are ones we didn’t get to last year although I’ve added a few new ones into the mix. Here’s hoping we have better results this time around. Continue reading

Looking for free things to do? Here’s a monthly breakdown of free events in Maine for 2019.

A few years ago, my family and I did the Living Well Spending Zero challenge from Ruth Soukup. As part of the challenge, we spent minimal money for the entire month. No groceries, no entertainment, no take-out. We allowed ourselves a small amount of cash at the start of the month for minor necessities, and activities that had already been planned, but that was it. We ate through the food in our refrigerator and pantry, learned to ration our seltzer, and went to some free events like the Fork Food Lab grand opening.

Overall, we did a great job, or at least until the last day of the month when our cat came down with a UTI, and we had to do an emergency visit to the vet complete with x-rays, anesthesia, and multiple antibiotics, all of which negated most of our savings from our zero spend month. Still it was a fun, creative experiment and one we are about to embark on again.  Continue reading

Seven things that take a hiking trail from mediocre to amazing.

Summer was a little challenging but we’re finally getting back to our weekly hiking routine at least for the most part. Our favorite thing to do is take a road trip where we spend the day exploring a new area of Maine. We’ll find a fun place to hike that’s in the vicinity of a nearby craft brewery which is not difficult in Maine. We have a lot of them. We also find someplace new and fun to eat and maybe explore a few shops in the area. That last one is probably more me than my husband.

It’s always a great day, but in order to up our hiking frequency we need some trails that are closer to our house for those days where we don’t have the luxury of time.

One such trail that we went to recently was serviceable, but nothing special. It had a bit of a dead forest vibe with lots of downed trees and a random ravine in the middle although my husband did point out that the opening was the perfect size for a flying saucer to have landed so maybe it was a more interesting spot than we thought.

While not exceptionally pretty, it did get me thinking about what type of trails I enjoy most. We’ve been on some beautiful ones but had a few clunkers in there too. They can’t all be perfect.

Below are seven things that make a hiking trail more fun for me.

  1. Variety. I like trails that have different elements to them. A trail that passes through the forest and then opens onto an estuary, changing the landscape, is always a nice change of pace. Or, one that hugs the coastline before turning into the woods where you hike up to the top of a (small) mountain.
  2. Water. I love any trail that passes by water. Ocean trails are especially beautiful, and waterfalls are wonderful too. Honestly, I’ll even take a small stream. It’s not just the views. I find the sound of moving water soothing and it connects me to nature immediately.
  3. Challenging. I love trails that push and challenge us. That said, trails that are too strenuous for our level can take away from the fun. There’s a sweet spot. I’d say we hit it about 80% of the time.
  4. Well Marked. We’ve wandered off a few trails without realizing it which can be frustrating and, depending on where the trail is located, a little scary too. Fortunately, our missteps have been on trails where it was easy enough to recover but it wasn’t fun.
  5. Views. I like to be rewarded for my hard work so am always happiest when there are views some where along the hike. Getting to the top of a mountain always works although sometimes those hikes can push my skill level. Trails that have openings onto the coastline also never disappoint.
  6. Benches. While the strategic placement of benches along a trail generally offer picturesque spots for sitting and enjoying the views, I actually just think they look pretty and rarely use them for their intended purpose. I am especially fond of benches made from granite, rock or other natural elements.  I always have to stop and take a picture.
  7. Location. Especially on those hiking excursions where we are looking to make it a full day experience, having the trail close to other fun things to do is a definitely plus. Although, finding a few close to home with some of these other must have elements will be helpful too.

Do you like to hike? What do you think takes a trail from mediocre to amazing?

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Hiking Maine | Amazing Views at the top of the Maiden Cliff Trail in Camden

I’m just going to put this out there up front. This hike pushed my limits. I struggle when a hike has a lot of elevation to it and this mountain trail rises about 800 feet although the saving grace is that it’s not exceptionally long.

We went to Ireland a few years back and I spent a lot of time in the months leading up to our vacation running up and down the stairs in our house in ten minute intervals in preparation for climbing Skellig Michael. The remote island off the coast of Ireland has the remains of a monastery at the top but you have to climb around 600 steps to reach it. The more current claim to fame for the island is that some of the new Star Wars movies were filmed there. I made it to the top but it was rough. I haven’t improved much with my vertically inclined hikes.

Why do I keep doing them? Because the payoff when you reach the top is always amazing and our hike at the Maiden Cliff Trail in Camden reinforced this point. When you reach the end of the trail it opens up onto gorgeous views of Megunticook Lake down below.


As a testament to how amazing the views were after reaching the top of the Maiden Cliff Trail we continued on a little further along the Scenic Trail which meant more climbing. Overall, the hike was just under 2 miles but it felt longer. The trail is rated moderate on most sites. You have to navigate a lot of rocks, boulders and roots on the climb so be sure to wear appropriate hiking shoes. We hiked up on a warm September day but there was lots of shade on the way up although the top is fairly open to the sun so I recommend a hat.

A few things stand out about this hike. The first is that it’s extremely well marked which came in handy once we got to the top and away from the trees. The granite outcroppings are everywhere and it’s easy to get turned around but the blue trail markers painted onto the rocks kept us on track.

One of the focal points at the top of the trail is an enormous white cross that was erected in memory of a young girl from the late 1800s who died after falling off the cliff. Here is a link to an article that goes into more detail about the history of the trail.

Finally, it’s a busy trail. We passed a lot of other hikers on our way up and again on our way down. It’s an extremely popular trail.  The only tough part, at least for my ego, was seeing so many young kids maneuvering the trail with ease while I had to keep stopping to catch my breath.

After we returned from our trip to Ireland, my husband framed a picture of Skellig Michael for me. I get to look at it every day. Maybe I’ll have to start framing some pictures of my Maine hikes too to remind myself that sometimes the hikes that are the most challenging often lead to the best rewards.


things to know
Place Maiden Cliff Trail
Address Camden, Maine
Website Maiden Cliff Trail | AllTrails
Favorite ♥ Stunning Views

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Hiking Maine | Gilsland Farm Audubon Center in Falmouth

Hiking in Maine

So, summer got away from us a little bit. We were so focused on getting our girls ready to leave the nest, that there was little time left over for blogging. On the plus side, I now know all about VISA requirements for Sweden and how to vacuum seal a comforter so it will fit in a suitcase.

Even with all the chaos, we did find a little time here and there to fit in some summer adventures (more coming on those soon) and keep up with our weekly hikes (well, for the most part).

As we approached the drop off date to bring our youngest to college for her Freshman year, we headed out for a later afternoon hike and she decided to join us. Our girls aren’t big on hiking, so it was a nice to have her decide to come along with us for this one.

While we originally planned to hike Mackworth Island, the parking lot for this popular hiking destination is small and can fill up. Since it was already full, we had to rethink our hiking destination. In the end we took a lovely detour to the Audubon Center at Gilsland Farm. Both hiking spots are located in Falmouth, Maine.

The Audubon Center is a great family destination. While the Education Center located on the property was closed on a Sunday, the trails were open. We hiked a loop around the perimeter. The trail passed through open fields covered in sunny yellow flowers and into a few forested areas with observation blinds overlooking the Presumpscot River estuary.

The trails are not challenging and extremely family friendly. They’re designed to relax and spend some time. It was a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.


things to know
Place Gilsland Farm Audubon Center
Address 20 Gilsland Farm Road
Falmouth, Maine 04105
Website Audubon Center
Favorite ♥ Family Hike

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