Monday, September 19, 2011

Seafood Festival, Hampton Beach, NH


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Labeled as "One of the Top 100 Events in North America" the Hampton Beach Seafood Festival just had their 22nd annual event. This three day festival marks the transition of moving into fall and signals the end of the summer.

The festival started as a means of promoting Hampton’s local restaurants and allowed you the opportunity to taste some of the local seafood specialties. Entrance fees are only five dollars per person per day and parking is free.

2011-09-10 Hampton Seafood Festival 004Of the several highlights of the festival we most enjoyed the Culinary Chef Demonstrations where we got to watch some of the local chefs prepare their signature dishes.

We also got to listen to some golden oldies played by a couple of bands called the Soulmate and the B Street Bombers. Lots of folks enjoyed the music and a bit of dancing. Another fun event was to watch was the all-you-can-eat lobster roll competition which exemplifies America’s fascination with gluttony… the winner consumed 14 lobster rolls in ten minutes!

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Scattered throughout the festival were Arts & Crafts vendors promoting locally made products and hawking cheap bulk goods.

The local restaurants sell all kinds of delectable treats so you can try out the various seafood products. Prices for the seafood are very reasonable with whole grilled lobsters being sold for $10 each and if that was too much lobster you can just get claws for a buck each.

It is a fun to spend some time exploring the festival at Hampton Beach and partake in the food and entertainment along with the other 25,000 plus people in attendance. The evening culminates with a spectacular fireworks display.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Windjammer Festival, Camden, ME…

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The three day Windjammer Festival is a community-led celebration of Camden, Maine’s maritime heritage and living traditions. Camden Harbor  030The first day of festivities had the arrival of the windjammers along with a Maritime Heritage Fair with booths and displays of maritime history, traditions and skills. The first day ended at dark with the sky full of pyrotechnics as fireworks lit up the sky.

Saturday’s festival highlights  were the Lobster Crate Race and the Schooner Open House in Camden Harbor. The Lobster Crate Race is an event where lobster traps are strapped together end to end in the sea and children get the opportunity to run across them as fast as they can without falling into the water. Lots of fun was had by all watching these kids try their best to beat their rivals. A few even made it across several times without falling in the cold North Sea waters of Camden Harbor.

2011-09-03 Camden Windjammer Festival 011The Schooner open house was held on both Saturday and Sunday as festival goers were allowed the opportunity to board the schooners and windjammers. Once on board you could tour and explore the ships to better get a feel for what it is like to journey on these vessels. There are some really nice ships here that have been restored and are now active commercial cruise liners of sorts. They take 3-6 day sailing tours of coastal Maine. Pricing varies but seemed to be about $150 per day per person and the sleeping quarters are near as luxurious as the less than $100 per day price of commercial cruises on lines such as Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Celebrity.

Other Sunday highlights were the Sea Dog Show, the Build-a-Boat race (where contestants built a boat and tried to race to the finish without sinking – not all were successful), and the Boat Parade. The Boat Parade marked the end of the three day festival and what fun it is as the boats sail by one at a time while the harbor master tells details about each one of them. Great fun at this festival – Don’t miss it!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mount Megunticook Hike, Camden ME…

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Camden Hill SP Mount Megunticook 009There are over 30 miles of trails in Camden Hills State Park and one that shouldn’t be missed is the hike to the top of Mount Megunticook

Mount Battie are the top three hikes in the immediate area of Camden.

At 1,380 feet, Mount Megunticook is the highest mountain in the park and the second highest coastal mountain along the Atlantic. The tallest coastal peak in Maine can be found in Acadia National Park. This hike is only about 2.5 miles and covers just over 1200 of elevation.

Camden Hill SP Mount Megunticook 003The hike up Mount Megunticook starts from the RV campground. This trail is rated by the state of Maine as a 2 on a scale of 1-3. I have hiked a lot of trails and would have to say this trial was fairly difficult. Not only is it pretty steep since you will be hiking up nearly 1200 feet of elevation in the first mile but the trial itself is mostly rocky.The rocks are mostly all rounded and not angular making placing your footing all the more critical.


After taking about an hour on a relentless climb winding our way up through woodlands one mile to the summit of Mount Megunticook the trail becomes a series of plateaus until you reach the Ocean View Lookout at 1300'. The Ocean View Lookout at Mount Megunticook provides a really beautiful panoramic view of Penobscot Bay including Camden's picturesque harbor filled with all the windjammers and lobster boats. It makes this ragged 2.5 mile worth the trip.

There is an alternative to hiking this trail for those with health issues as the road up to the top of Mount Battie a has similar view to the one you see at Mount Megunticook with a whole lot less effort…