Swim in Vinalhaven’s Quarries
Vinalhaven had some of the state’s most productive granite quarries in the 1800s. These days, a few of them are swimming holes, as popular with visitors as with locals. The easiest to reach is Lawson Quarry Pond, where you’re likely to find kiddos jumping off the surrounding granite ledges. It’s just over a mile from the ferry dock, an easy walk or bike ride if you don’t bring your car to the island, but the Vinalhaven Taxi (207-720-0056) can also get you to any of the island’s quarries in a pinch. ► Off North Haven Rd., a ½-mile north of High St. Ferry schedule and fare details at maine.gov/mdot/ferry/vinalhaven.
We need to see your hair wet.
Go Candlepin Bowling
In February, New England–reared author Elizabeth McCracken landed Bowlaway, a novel about candlepin bowling, on the New York Times bestseller list. Last year, new owners gave a welcome refresh to candlepin bowling alleys in Hodgdon (Seiders Hill-Top Lanes) and Brunswick (now Bolos Kitchen, Cantina and Candlepin, a fusion of small-ball bowling, Tex-Mex cuisine, and craft cocktails). Is our regional alternative to tenpin enjoying, as they say, a cultural moment? Rolling a handheld ball at the straight, narrow pins is certainly more challenging; as McCracken pointed out in a recent paean to the sport in Slate, no one has ever rolled a perfect game of candlepin. Plenty of Mainers argue it’s more fun. Go see for yourself some rainy day this summer. ► Find the lanes nearest you at mainecandlepinbowling.com.
We’d love to see you rolling a strike, but we’ll settle for a shot from in front of the lanes, so long as we can see the sign.
Discover L.L.Bean’s Discovery Park (and More)
A visit to L.L.Bean’s Freeport campus is a kid-pleaser any time of year, thanks in no small part to the Flagship store’s trout ponds, wildlife displays, knot-tying demos, and other outdoorsy attractions. Things get even more fun when the season-long Summer in the Park celebration kicks off July 4, with family-friendly concerts, food trucks, games, and movie nights in Discovery Park, plus other fests and events, including the sweet, charity-focused Camp Sunshine Watermelon Festival on August 10. This summer is also your chance to gear up for family fun outdoors, with four distinct stores — open 24/7, 365 days a year — offering everything from tents, backpacks, and bikes to fly rods and picnic supplies. ► 95 Main St., Freeport. 877-755-2326. llbean.com/freeport
Duck away from Discovery Park to grab a snapshot with L.L.Bean’s iconic giant Bean Boot, just outside the entrance to the Flagship store (and find a regular-size pair for yourself inside).
Make Animal Friends at Crestholm Farm
Upon arrival, Crestholm Farm seems a bit weirdly situated, across the street from the sprawling Oxford Casino and right next door to a big old chain hotel. But the roadside farm stand is a lovely little pastoral outpost along busy Route 26 through the Oxford Hills, with gorgeous veggies, maple syrup, fresh eggs, jams, an ice cream shop, and, best of all, a free petting zoo. Meet llamas, goats, ducks, chickens, bunnies, and pigs (and if you want to make friends, come bearing a handful of animal feed). ► 167 Main St., Oxford. crestholmfarm.com
Pose with your favorite animal pal. The animals emerge for the season around mid-June.
Oooh and Aaah at OOB
A fireworks display on Thursday nights is an old enough Old Orchard Beach tradition that nobody seems quite sure when or why it started. Longtime employees of the Palace Playland amusement park, which sponsors the show, say the weekly fireworks go back several decades, anyway, and were likely a ruse to bring more traffic to the beach and pier on quiet Thursday nights. It worked! These days, summer Thursdays are as hopping as any other crazy evening at OOB. ► The last week in June through August. The weather-dependent show starts at 9:45 p.m. Downtown Old Orchard Beach, near the pier and Palace Playland. 207-934-2001.
The buildings on the pier can block your view, so better to try this one from the beach. We want to see those fireworks.