Winter ain’t here yet! Pick the right last-gasp weekend getaway and you can still get out and play before the snow flies.
Hike into the Camden Hills
Do: Mount Battie, in Camden Hills State Park (above), gets all the traffic (foot and auto), but the midcoast’s most expansive views are 8 miles inland, on the far-less-frequented summit of 1,310-foot Ragged Mountain. You see not only island-dotted Penobscot Bay to the east, but also Grassy Pond and Mirror Lake to the south, Bald Mountain to the north, and on clear days, Mt. Washington and the White Mountains to the west. The best route, from Thorndike Brook trailhead, on Hope Street in Rockport, climbs quickly before following the long, scenic ridgeline to the summit.
Stay: After peak foliage season, Rockland’s stylish 250 Main Hotel (250 Main St.; 207-594-5994) chops as much as $190 off its room rates, and it’s an easy saunter to art museums, shops, restaurants, and the cool Art Deco Strand Theatre.
Eat: From happy hour to late in the evening, Ada’s Kitchen (449 Main St.; 207-593–7735) buzzes with convivial charm. The menu is Italian comfort food — fresh pastas and thin-crust pizzas — and there’s a large selection of inventive cocktails and mocktails, and Maine craft beers.
Fly Fish in Rangeley
Do: Fishing’s mostly closed in the state’s designated northern region, where you’re more likely to find native cold-water fish like trout than stocked warm-water species. But some lakes, ponds, and streams permit catch-and-release fishing through November, and die-hards around Rangeley don’t stop pond fishing until icicles hang off their rods. Try for brookies on Round Pond or Gull Pond — both just outside town, they’re on the deeper side and have been known to keep ice off until later November.
Stay: The historic Rangeley Inn & Tavern (2443 Main St.; 207-864-3341) takes a winter break starting November 17, but book a late-autumn weekend to save a good $30 or $40 over peak-season rates.
Eat: Last fall, the Portage Tap House (74 Carry Rd., Oquossoc; 207-864-9404) was just breaking ground on its rustic-mod building in Oquossoc, equal parts stainless steel and reclaimed barn wood. Except for a Thanksgiving-week break, it’s open for wood-fired pizzas, chophouse-style entrées, and craft beer from 20 taps.
Hit the Trails at Mt. A
Do: Maine’s southernmost hiking hill, 692-foot Mount Agamenticus is reliably the last place to bag a little peak each year without strapping on snowshoes. Views take in the Atlantic and miles of surrounding woodlands, where peak foliage comes late. For mountain bikers, late fall is arguably the best time to explore a trail network crisscrossing 40,000 acres of gentle forested hills.
Stay: Bostonians don’t flock to Maine beaches in November like they do in summer, so you can find deep discounts at the rare year-round Ogunquit B&B, like the Puffin Inn (433 Main St.; 207-646-5496), where rooms that run over $200 in summer start at $135 in November.
Eat: Ogunquit’s dining scene goes pretty dormant as October winds down, but M.C. Perkins Cove (111 Perkins Cove Rd.; 207-646-6263) sticks it out for locals. Great views, great burger, great wine list.
Pedal the Acadia Carriage Roads
Do: Until snowpack brings out the cross-country skiers, Mount Desert Island’s 57 miles of crushed-rock carriage roads, over stone bridges, past mountain outlooks, and through rust-tone woods, are wide open for two-wheelers. Late-season cyclists avoid the crowds (and entry fee). On November 2, Friends of Acadia hosts Take Pride in Acadia Day. Kudos to anyone who dismounts for the morning to help rake out drainage ditches and culverts, protecting the roads against coming freezes and thaws.
Stay: Once leaves fall, so too does Bar Harbor hotel stock, with most establishments throwing in the towel until summer. Not so the Inn on Mount Desert (68 Mount Desert St.; 207-288-8300), a new, well-tended business hotel in the body of a homey bed-and-breakfast, with room rates as low as $129, half the in-season price.
Eat: After a full day of whizzing through brisk air, a burger, a beer, and a seat at the bar in Atlantic Brewing Company’s lively downtown taproom (52 Cottage St.; 207-288-2326) is exactly the right combination.
Paddle Estes and the Mousam
Do: On much of Maine’s flat water, ice sets in early, but Estes Lake, a dammed-up stretch of the Mousam River, stayed open well into December last year, according to citizen reporting on the Lake Stewards of Maine website, a handy resource for picking late-fall outings. Paddlers can put in at the small bridge over Hay Brook, on Bernier Road, 1½ miles from the intersection with New Dam Road in Sanford. Float down the brook and bear left to head north, and you’ll find a scenic stretch of water with relatively little development and, most likely, nary another soul on it.
Stay: The comfy, simple rooms at the Kennebunk Inn (45 Main St., Kennebunk; 207-985-3351) usually make for affordable options in a pricey corner of Maine. In the off-season, they’re almost giveaways, starting at $79 per night.
Eat: The area has plenty of seafood options, but blazing logs in the stone fireplace and chef Rebecca Charles’s A+ chowder make Pearl Kennebunk Beach (27 Western Ave.; 207-204-0860) an especially inviting scene. Downstairs, cozy Spat Oyster Cellar has a smaller, gas fireplace.