For a state that is largely rugged coastline and inland wilderness, Maine has a long history. The first English settlement was in 1607, the same year as Jamestown in Virginia, but it did not survive the harsh winter and thus failed to count as a permanent settlement. Other settlements were established in the 1620s but the harsh climate and Indian attacks wiped out many of them. There was never a Colony of Maine as Massachusetts bought up most of the land claims and it was not until 1820 that Maine separated from Massachusetts. Modern Maine is famous for its coastline, its fall foliage and as the setting of many scary Stephen King novels. Does it deserve the scary image? It’s true that Maine can feel dismal when storms sweep in, but in fine weather the coastal scenery is beautiful and we have always found the people very friendly.
Fort House, Fort William Henry, Pemaquid
The threat to early settlers came not just from Indians but also from the French, who claimed much of the area. Three forts stood on this site to defend the Pemaquid settlement. Fort Charles was a wooden fort built in 1677 but destroyed in an attack in 1689. In 1692 a stone fort called Fort William Henry was built by the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In 1696 it too was destroyed by a combined French and Indian attack. In 1729 Fort Frederick was built on the ruins of Fort William Henry and it survived until it was decommissioned in 1759. Foundations remain and the western tower of Fort William Henry has been rebuilt. This picture shows Fort House, which was built as a farm house in the late 1700s. Click Tab 2 to see the reconstructed tower.
Mount Katahdin & Baxter State Park
The interior of Maine, particularly to the north, has some pretty wild terraine that can be very inhospitable in bad weather. The day this photograph was taken we had excellent weather, but the following few days were dismal. The way that this change of weather altered the look of the scenery was quite startling. The Appalachians end here at the summit of Mount Katahdin, which is 1,605 metres (5,268 feet) high. Set up in 1962, Baxter State Park aims to keep this area in its natural wild state.
Screw Auger Falls, Grafton Notch
Finally a trip inland, close to the border with New Hampshire and only around 65 kilometres (40 miles) as the crow flies from the border with Québec Province. Screw Auger Falls are found in Grafton Notch State Park in the Mahoosuc Range of the northern Appalachian Mountains. Here the Bear River has cut a tortuous and intricately sculpted gorge through a banded formation of granite rocks.
South Congregational Church, Kennebunkport
You will notice that we don’t cover any big cities in Maine. There are cities such as Bangor and Portland, but we have bypassed them in order to focus on Maine’s famed coast and fall foliage. Kennebunkport is a coastal town close to the mouth of the of the Mousam River in southern Maine. Its unusual name is shared with the town of Kennebunk, about 6 kilometres (4 miles) inland. The name Kennebunk comes from the Abenaki Indian language meaning ‘long cut bank’ and is thought to refer to a long bank behind Kennebunk Beach. Europeans first settled in the area in 1620s and it grew as a centre for timber, agriculture, fishing and shipbuilding although until 1760 the settlers faced regular conflict with Indian tribes. The South Congregational Church was built in 1824 and the exterior has changed little apart from the addition of the portico in 1912.
Click on Minimap to navigate
Nickels-Sortwell House, Wiscasset
Yet another historic coastal town. Wiscasset was first settled in 1663 but had to be abandoned during the French & Indian War. It was resettled in 1730. Situated on the tidal reach of the Sheepscot River, it became a centre for shipbuilding, fishing and timber. The town now has a population of around 3,600 people. The Nickels-Sortwell House was built in 1807 by ship owner and trader Captain William Nickels. It later became an hotel before being bought in the late 19th century by Alvin Sortwell as his summer home.
L L Bean store, Freeport
First settled around 1700, the village of Harraseeket was named after the river on which it stood. In 1789 it changed its name to Freeport. The town is now heaven for shopaholics, filled with boutiques, designer shops and outlet shops. The most famous shop in Freeport is the L L Bean store. Leon Leonwood Bean set up his first store in Freeport in 1912 selling shoes for hunting. Now a chain selling clothing and outdoor equipment, their Freeport store is open 24 hours a day every day of the year. There are no locks on the doors as the store is never closed. It is nice to know that if you need a canoe at 3am on Christmas day, you can buy one in Freeport.
We have more pages on Maine. Click below or on the Minimap: