Category Sponsor: Down East
A stop-by-stop road map to everything the Pine Tree State has to offer when the sun is shining, the ocean is warm(-ish), the festivals are plentiful, and the dining is al fresco. Join us on the hunt for the best Maine summer ever.
35. Enjoy the View at the Jockey Cap Mountain Guide
Ever hiked to the summit of a mountain and found yourself wondering, “What’s that peak over there? And what’s that one over there?” Then the short hike to the top of 600-foot Jockey Cap in Fryeburg is the excursion for you. It’s less than a ⅓-mile to the summit, where a squat columnar monument to polar explorer and Mainer Robert E. Peary serves as a 360-degree rangefinder to everything on the vast horizon, with intricate copper features that line up to identify the surrounding lakes, ponds, and White Mountain peaks. Find the trailhead on the north side of Route 302, a ½-mile east of Main St.
Selfie: Get the Peary monument and, if there’s room, your favorite White Mountain summit in the background.
36. Tour the Solar System in Aroostook County
The scale model of our solar system stretching across 40 miles of Route 1, from Presque Isle to Houlton, is the brainchild of UMaine–Presque Isle geography professor Kevin McCartney. He’s no astronomer, but he has a passion for informal education and community-building projects, and his cosmic brainchild became a reality in 2003, after some 700 County residents volunteered to help build and place the planets — each is 1/93,000,000th its actual size. The largest installation, of course, is the sun, located at Folsom Hall on the UMPI campus. The outermost, Pluto, is just a 1-inch wooden ball housed at the Houlton Information Center. pages.umpi.edu/nmms/solar
Selfie: You have 9 planets and one yellow dwarf star to choose from — pick your favorite and orbit it.
37. Ascend the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory
From 420 feet above the Penobscot River, you can easily see Cadillac Mountain and even Katahdin on a clear day — the observatory offers one of the state’s most spectacular views. Even during middling visibility, the minute-long ride aboard the “fastest elevator in Maine” yields a panoramic view out floor-to-ceiling windows of the river and surroundings (and looking down is cool too). $4–$8. 207-469-6553.
Selfie: Get a shot from up top or standing at the lookout off Route 1 on the bridge’s Prospect side, the best place to snap a selfie with the obelisk behind you (and you can pretend to lean on it, Pisa style).
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38. Stand By Your (Very Big) Man
Maine is rich in roadside oddities — in particular, statues depicting gargantuan, industrious men. Among these giants is Bangor’s Paul Bunyan (519 Main St.), reputed to be the country’s tallest statue of the legendary lumberman. Freeport has its Big Freeport Indian, installed in 1969 in front of Casco Bay Trading Post (now Winter People Clothing Company, 125 Rte. 1). In Augusta, you’ll find the 21-foot-tall, big-headed, big-bellied, big-armed Big Boyz Worker next to the former Big Boyz Cycle Shop (685 Riverside Dr.). Eastport’s very beardy, 12-foot Big Fisherman (51 Water St.) is a relative youngster, created in 2001 for a quirky TV reality show called Murder in Small Town X. Shall we go on?
Selfie: Cozy up to any one of these big weirdos. Get shots next to all four, and you have earned our respect.
39. Come Visit Us at Roxmont
Huh? How can Down East sponsor a category in its own scavenger hunt? Look, it’s our magazine, and we make the rules. Besides, we toil each day inside a midcoast landmark of no small repute, a gray-shingled 114-year-old “summer cottage” known as Roxmont, built by Gilded Age West Virginia lumber baron Frank O. Havener. You can already visit us anytime you like — our first floor is a bookstore with regular public hours — but this summer, we’re also hosting a Good Things From Maine pop-up market, full of Maine-made goods curated by our editors, and inviting readers to join us here in Rockport on a handful of Fridays for free outdoor mingles, with food trucks, lawn games, music, and more. 680 Commercial St. 207-594-9544. Details and a schedule of Friday events at downeast.com/foodtrucks
Selfie: Stop by Roxmont during one of our events or regular business hours, nab any Down East staffer, and have him or her pose with you. We’ll be glad to meet you!
40. Run, Forrest, Run — to Marshall Point Light
If you’ve seen Forrest Gump, you might recognize this lighthouse, a simple white turret at the end of a wooden runway — it’s where Forrest concludes his cross-country run. Whether you’re into history, the ’90s filmography of Gary Sinise (or that other fellow), or just striking seascapes, this 159-year-old tower is worth a run to Port Clyde. Or, you know, a drive — the road to the tip of the St. George Peninsula is gorgeous. Marshall Point Rd. 207-372-6450.
Selfie: Park your car, then run to the point and down the runway, where you can pose with your trainers at the edge of the sea.