James Place Inn Bed and Breakfast
Maine’s Art Museum Trail 21 Jul 2015, 12:05 pm
Maine’s Art Museum Trail? Not what one usually thinks about when considering Maine however, the Pine Tree State (as Maine is often known) may well have attracted more artists than any other state except New York.Work by Rockwell Kent
As of this year, the Maine Art Museum Trail is comprised of a circuit of eight museums. Most well known are likely Portland Museum of Art, where one can sign up to tour Winslow Homer’s studio located on Prout’s Neck and the Farnsworth Museum, home of the work of Andrew Wyeth and including works from his son and grandson. There are many other works of art to view, however. Here is a brief summary that may inspire you to take a few days and enjoy the Maine Art Museum Trail.Winslow Homer “Weatherbeaten”
The Ogunquit Museum depicts members of the artist’s colony that sprouted in the area in the early 1900s, showcasing a selection of traditional landscapes by Hamilton Easter Field, among others. There are also a number of sculptures, most notably several by Louise Nevelson.
Bates College in Lewiston is home to a fine, albeit small, museum and houses a gallery of photos of Hartley prior to his death in 1943. One of the more interesting photos shows Hartley sitting on the beach in Cannes and holding a document in his hands.
Colby College has a museum housing 8,000 objects of art, spanning art in America from the colonial days to the present. The art on display is of very high quality and includes names such as James Abbott McNeil Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Georgia O’Keeffe, and others. The galleries are beautifully hung, arranged chronologically and thematically.
The University of Maine museum in Orono focuses on contemporary art. The museum currently has four exhibits in place, one a permanent collection by Estes, Wyeth, Abbott, Katz and Marin.
The Monhegan Museum is a bit of an outlier, placing historical photographs and artifacts with paintings by artists who worked there into what was once the lighthouse keeper’s home. The assistant keeper’s house is currently showcasing Lamar Dodd, an academic from the state of Georgia who experimented with numerous genres however, never hit big fame.
Bowdoin is the opposite of Monhegan. Founded in 1813, it is one of the country’s oldest art museums and aims to be encyclopedic. One of the masterpieces housed here is a portrait by Gilbert Stuart of Thomas Jefferson and was commissioned by one of the college’s founders, James Bowdoin III. This museum is a hidden gem and not to be missed, sitting just 15 minutes from Freeport and James Place Inn.
Maine Foodie Tours 6 Jul 2015, 11:23 am
Maine has really hit it big on that national food scene in the past few years, and with good reason. With so much fresh seafood, amazing locally grown beef, and an abundance of fresh produce, there has never been a better time to partake in one of the many food tours offered in Portland, just twenty minutes from Freeport and James Place Inn.
The Maine Foodie Tours, www.mainefoodietours.com, offers seven different tours ranging in price from $49/person to $145/person. The tours include the favorite Portland-Old Port Culinary Walking Tour ($55/person and lasting three hours) to a Portland-Happy 2-Hour Tour. This tour lets you enjoy craft concoctions and delicious appetizers, all while leisurely walking a path through the streets of the charming Old Port while you hear stories of life as it was back in the 1800’s up until the present day. As you sip cocktails, you’ll learn how Mainers smuggled in and made rum, so much so, that we needed prohibition way before the rest of the country (or so some thought). While enjoying additional cocktails, you will hear the location of speakeasies which popped up all over town during prohibition, the story of our own “rum riot” and some tales of naughty sailors and where they had their fun when they came to port. Over craft brewed beers in the first brew pub since prohibition ended you’ll hear just how the Old Port area evolved to become a mecca for craft brewing. And finally, you’ll learn of our current culinary and bar scene at one of the area’s newest establishments. This tour is educational, tasty and definitely a happy two hours! Sounds like great fun!
If lobster is your thing, you might want to check out the Portland-Old Port Lunchtime Lobster Crawl. You will visit 4 locations to enjoy all the fixings of a lobster bake made with a few twists, from smoked mussels to New England clam chowder, a tasty lobster roll to lobster mac and cheese, all topped off with a (secret) Maine desert! Friendly tour guides will tell you all about lives of Maine lobsters, from the history of the industry to the life they live in the ocean, while you enjoy the tastes uniquely prepared for you.
Each of the seven tours is unique, fun and something you will truly remember from your Maine vacation. Just one of the many things available to you within an easy 20 minute drive of James Place Inn. We are perfectly situated to be your “vacation outpost” to explore and experience all that Maine has to offer. Our next day off, Robin and I are hoping to try the “Portland-Cookin With Friends” ourselves!
#1 Motorcycle Cruise and More 24 Jun 2015, 6:32 am
#1 Motorcycle cruise for all of you motorcycle enthusiasts: Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail was voted #1 by USA Today readers and there is a great way to see Maine and Nova Scotia while saving some of the driving: Nova Star Ferry.
A June 2014 poll by USA Today readers selected the 10 best places to go cruising on a motorcycle and Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia earned top honors. This ride can seem a bit daunting as it takes a full day’s ride over and then another full day when you are ready. Well, not any more. The Nova Star leaves out of Portland, Maine and cruises, overnight, to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, saving 715 miles of ride time. If you are looking for a great scenic ride, here is one Robin recommends.Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia
Clearly, you can start your ride anywhere. We think that starting in Maine is a pretty great choice. Some great rides to enjoy either before or after your Nova Scotia leg include Route 1 up the coast, and Highway 201, also known as Benedict Arnold Highway. While we found it odd that someone thought to name a road after one of our most infamous traitors, Arnold would have been proud of this ride. For some 52 miles from the town of Moose River to Solon, the route cuts through thick spruce and fur like Paul Bunyan. The road looks like a big, black slice through the wilderness.
The Kennebec River and scores of streams and ponds flank the Benedict Arnold, which will feel like a personal paradise for riders who like an impromptu summer dip. Just watch out for the moose, and maybe an occasional bear or Bigfoot. A few miles north of Moose River is the Canadian border. Beyond the 30-minute customs stop, the road turns to rolling farmland. You can clear customers and keep going or head back to James Place Inn for some rest and relaxation.
Leaving from James Place Inn after a good night’s rest is one of Robin’s all-time favorite rides, Kancamagus Highway. You will leave Freeport and head to the White Mountains on the Maine & New Hampshire border. New Hampshire’s White Mountains are some of the prettiest 34 miles you’ll ever ride, lying between Lincoln and going east to Conway.Kancamagus Foliage
The gorgeous curves of Kancamagus Mountain follow the Swift River. Not only is this one of the world’s great fall foliage destinations, but an unforgettable summer escape for motorcyclists. The Kancamagus stretches across old Indian hunting paths, logging roads and dense forest.
Visit Clark’s Trading Post near Lincoln, which is not only an eclectic shop but a museum. Other attractions include the Conway Scenic Railroad and Loon Mountain. Enjoy your day and head back to James Place Inn for a good night’s rest and a great breakfast in the morning, before heading out to catch Nova Star Ferry.
You will say good-bye to James Place Inn and Freeport, for now, before going to Portland to catch the ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The ferry departs from Portland in the evening and arrives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in the morning. Cabins are available for the overnight (much like a hotel) as are assigned seats that recline. Once landing in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia your next riding adventure awaits. Hugging the coast of Cape Breton, the Cabot Trail offers 187 miles of stunning mountain and sea vistas, fishing villages and delightfully twisty pavement. Off the bike, the island offers a rich Celtic heritage (complete with foot-tapping tunes) and an excellent series of hiking trails to explore. Take in the sites of Prince Edward Island (PEI), Nova Scotia, and the Bay of Fundy. Head back into Maine to revisit favorite spots from before, or reverse this trip and start in Portland to pick up the ferry to Yarmouth, dropping into Maine and James Place Inn as you outpost. No matter which way you choose to do it, this is sure to be a trip you’ll remember.
“Two Centuries of Freeport Shoemaking” at Freeport Historical Society 8 Jun 2015, 12:48 pm
While many know that Freeport, Maine is home to L.L. Bean, few are aware that Freeport was once home of a bustling shoemaking industry. Opening May 14, 2015 at Freeport Historical Society is a fascinating exhibit, and look into Freeport’s past: “Cobblers to Capitalists: Two Centuries of Freeport Shoemaking.”
Shoemaking was an important industry in Freeport for more than a hundred years beginning with the Davis brothers’ factory on Beech Hill Road in 1872, and ending with the final pair of shoes manufactured in town by Eastland Shoe in 2001. The exhibit will describe the history of shoemaking in Freeport, from the early itinerant cobblers who constructed custom-made shoes at people’s homesteads in the late 18th century, to the late 19th century assembly-line production characterized by a number of people making different shoe parts. Photographs, a number of shoes, early Bean boots, cobblers’ benches, hand tools, sewing machines, and other items related to the shoe industry will be highlighted.Porters Landing
The steam-powered mechanization that began in Freeport Village in the 1880s led to the building of a number of large factories operated primarily by the Davis Brothers, the Cushings, H. P. Dennison, A.W. Shaw, and Cumberland Shoe, and later Lenox, Freeport Shoe, Small-Abbott, E.E. Taylor, Free-Moc, and Eastland Shoe. The railroad that went through the village beginning in 1849, as well as the shipping ports at Porter’s Landing and South Freeport, enabled major development of the shoe industry in Freeport since products could easily be transported to other locations. Over the course of 100 years about 30 different companies, both locally-based and from Portland and Boston, made shoes in Freeport.
The exhibit will run May 15 2015 – Jan 15, 2016. A donation of $3 to support the work of Freeport Historical Society is suggested.
Maine Vacation – It’s All Waiting For You 28 May 2015, 1:57 pm
Your Maine vacation is waiting for you. Wondering what to do on your vacation to Maine, perhaps how to keep the kids entertained and your spouse/significant other happy? No matter what it is you are looking for, it is all here waiting for you.
- Enjoy hitting the beach? Check. There are about six within a 30-45 minute drive that you can choose from.
- Are you a “Foodie?” Check. Throughout Maine, you will find some of the hottest restaurants around, including several James Beard Award Winners.
- Looking for Lighthouses? Check. Maine has 65 Lighthouses for your viewing pleasure. We have a great lighthouse map waiting for you.
- Do you enjoy “Brew Tours?” Check. Portland offers several, and the Brew Bus to take you around so that you don’t have to drive.
- Always wanted to sail aboard a Windjammer? Check. There are a number in the area to choose from. We like “Schooner Alert” out of Bailey’s Island.
- Whale watching or Puffin tours? Check. Boothbay Harbor offers several great ones. The Puffins are great fun to watch!
- Summer concerts or theater? Check. Throughout Maine you will find some of the best summer theater around as well as a list of concerts that offers music for every taste.
- Hiking? Kayaking? Bicycling? Check, check, check. With so many state parks to choose from, not to mention ocean and lakes, the possibilities for hiking, kayaking and bicycling are endless. We have three great parks within ten minutes of Freeport.
- Looking for a ferry boat ride to a local island? Maybe this had not crossed you mind, but check! The ferry to Peak’s Island is only a twenty minute ride, leaving Portland. Enjoy the views and then prepare to walk Peak’s Island, check out the local history (they were involved in WWII), and catch the amazing views Cliffside, straight out to the ocean. One of my favorite views anywhere!
- Botanical Gardens? Check. Rated #2 in the country the Botanical Gardens are located 45 minutes from Freeport and offer fun for the entire family. The Children’s Garden is for everyone.
- Museums? Check. The Maine Maritime Museum and the Portland Museum of Art are both worth a visit.
- Looking to do nothing at all? Check. The hammock in the yard of the inn has hosted many a guest to a good nap.
You get the idea here. Make Maine your vacation destination and start at James Place Inn in Freeport. We will gladly help you plan your days, make suggestions, and make reservations for you, if you like. Now all you have to do is back your bags.
LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School Adds Adventure 20 May 2015, 5:55 am
LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School (ODS) Adds Adventure To Your Stay. Not familiar with the many adventures awaiting you through LL Bean’s ODS? Everything from clay shooting to kayaking to bird watching awaits you.
The ODS has a variety of events and offers something for everyone, from the novice to the most experienced. If it is your first time trying kayaking, standup paddle boarding, fly fish casting, clay shooting, or archery, be sure to check out the ODS desk at the LL Bean flagship store when you visit Freeport. There you will find helpful people to answer questions and all sorts of information regarding the ODS experience. Best part: not only is there something for everyone, it is also just $25/person. That includes all equipment and instruction for your 2-3 hour experience. The instructors are top notch and love what they do. Having done a number of these myself, the instructors are part of the experience and what makes it so fun.
Recently added to the ODS family are Kids’ Camps and Teen Adventures. If you are traveling to Maine this summer and want your child/teen to experience something of the Maine outdoors (and not their cell phone or computer), explore one of these opportunities for them. They are day adventures and you can sign your kid up for a week or even multiple weeks. They will come back full of stories about their action-packed adventures, the people they met and the new things they learned. Your child over 12 years of age? The Teen Adventures are for them. They can experience a day kayaking trip or an overnight kayak/camping experience. There is no better way to explore the outdoors, build confidence in your child, and learn new skills than one of these adventures.
For you Birders out there, the LL Bean ODS bird watching trips and tours are a must. The Maine Coast is on the migratory path of many birds and renowned ornithologist Dr. Jeff Wells leads these tours and knows where to find the best views for the birds moving through Maine. There is also an option to day-trip to Monhegan Island for some amazing bird watching among some spectacular views. These trips do fill up fast, so be sure to register beforehand.
There are many more outdoor opportunities, including biking, fly fishing courses, hiking…check out their site for more information. Once you schedule your adventure, be sure to call James Place Inn and book your stay with us. We will start your day with a full gourmet breakfast to send you on your way, and the cookie jar and tea will be waiting to greet you upon your return. We want to hear all about your experience, so please be ready to share your story! Make your plans now and let us know if we can help. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Top 10 Spring Activities in Freeport, Maine 11 May 2015, 11:19 am
Spring has finally arrived and there is so much to do in and around Freeport, Maine. Here are our Top 10 favorite springtime activities to enjoy:
- Winslow Park – this is Freeport’s hidden gem. It is our town park, sitting on a beautiful peninsula overlooking Casco Bay. I love to walk here any time of year but spring is truly my favorite. The birds are singing, everything is turning green, and the air has that fresh spring smell. Less than ten minutes from James Place Inn, this is a must to enjoy an hour or two outdoor.
- Wolfe’s Neck Farm and Wolfe’s Neck State Park – growing up on a farm, lambs always signaled the arrival of spring. Visit the lambs, calves, dwarf goats and other animals at the farm, picturesquely situated overlooking Casco Bay. Walk the paths or take your bike for a nice ride. Put in your kayak at one of the landings. Walk further down the road to Wolfe’s Neck State Park and enjoy the views and the birds. Great place to view the migratory birds here.
- Toots Ice Cream: nothing signals the arrival of spring and warmer weather like ice cream and “Toots” is the best! Located on a farm in Yarmouth, Toots Ice Cream is worth the 15 minute drive. It is homemade on site and the flavors change daily. I love “Grandma’s PB Fudge.” Toots gets its name from the caboose car where the shop is located. Once served, enjoy strolling the farm or sit and relax in the gazebo, enjoying a cool breeze.
- Bike Riding – bike paths are plentiful throughout the area and the roads are bike friendly. Enjoy a casual ride to the town docks in South Freeport or work up a sweat on one of the routes we have mapped out for you. Careful, it is hilly around here!
- Popham Beach – sun worshiper or not, this is a beach not to be missed. One of the most beautiful I have seen anywhere. Enough said.
- Schooner Excursion – get out on the water and enjoy the salt spray and the views. Our favorite is “Schooner Alert,” leaving out of Bailey Island. This is a family owned and operated business. You will enjoy the drive there, your time on the water with amazing views, and the owners.
- Lighthouses – a trip to Maine is not complete without a few lighthouse visits. Portland, twenty minutes south, has three to enjoy, including Portland Head located in the beautiful Fort Williams Park. Head north and walk the breakwater out to Rockland’s scenic lighthouse.
- Lobster Shack – another spring tradition…the first lobster roll of the season! Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster is our favorite and affords beautiful views of Casco Bay, looking over to Wolfe’s Neck. Delish!
- Shopping Freeport – new stores have arrived, some, such as British Goods, have moved into larger locations, and old favorites are still here. Enjoy a day strolling the streets, enjoying a bite at one of our many restaurants, and seeing what is new.
- Sea Dogs Baseball – if it is baseball season, it must be spring! Enjoy a local game of the Portland Sea Dogs. Playing on Hadlock Field in Portland, this is the perfect way to while away a spring afternoon or evening. Take in one of Portland’s many great dining spots before or after the game.
Things To Do In Freeport: Summer Activities 28 Apr 2015, 4:07 pm
Freeport and the surrounding area offer so much to do, especially during the summer season. This summer looks to be no exception.
One of the best things offerings is summer theater. Maine State Music Theatre is just up the road in Brunswick and the line up for this season is one of the best yet. The 57th season kicks off with a heartwarming, upbeat comedy, The Full Monty. This show has had 10 Tony Award nominations. In this show, a group of unemployed steelworkers, low on both cash and prospects, decides to present a strip act at a local clubs after seeing their wives enthusiasm for a touring company of Chippendales. This is an audience favor, full of humor, affection, and toe-tapping melodies. You don’t want to miss this!
‘Sister Act’ will have you jumping to your feet as you enjoy this feel-amazing musical comedy. When disco dive Deloris Van Cartier witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found: a convent! What ensues is an engaging story of friendship and heart. You will leave with a smile on your face.
With 76 trombones and 110 cornets, it is a classic favorite: Music Man. The six-time Tony Award winning musical comedy will entertain and delight you, just as it has audiences for over fifty years. Come enjoy this comedy and the amazing dance sequences. This is theatre at its best.
Closing out the season is ‘Young Frankenstein,’ a hilarious comedy musical by Mel Brooks. The grandson of the famous Victor Frankenstein inherits his family’s estate in Transylvania and with the help of a hunch-backed side kick and a leggy lab assistant, he finds himself in the mad scientist shoes of his ancestor. This musical is scientifically proven, monstrously good entertainment that will send you out the door laughing and singing.
2015 Show Schedule:
The Full Monty: June 3-20
Sister Act: June 24-July11
The Music Man: July 15-August 1
Young Frankenstein: August 5-22
Being just ten minutes from Brunswick, Freeport is the perfect location for your plans to include catching one of these great shows while visiting Maine. Make it part of your summer vacation plans. You will have a smile on your face as you enjoy some of the best summer theatre around.
L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series & Events 21 Apr 2015, 9:39 am
L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series and Events are lining up and look to be great fun for the entire family. Check out the list and prepare to enjoy!
June 5-7: L.L. Bean PaddleSports Weekend
July 4: L.L. Bean Summer Concert TBA (stay tuned as this one firms up) at 7:30pm
July 4: Fireworks follow the concert
July 11: KidsFest
July 25: L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series: Dawes (American folk-rock band) at 7:30pm
August 1: L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series: Roseanne Cash (singer/songwriter and oldest daughter of Johnny Cash) at 7:30pm
August 15: L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series: Trombone Shorty at 7:30pm
August 22: L.L. Bean Dog Days of Summer
August 29: L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series: Lake Street Dive (one of my favorite bands – awesome)! at 7:30pm
September 5: L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series: Andy Grammer – “keep Your Head Up” and be sure to be here for this one!
So much great entertainment, all Free and all happening in Freeport, Maine this summer, thanks to Freeport’s own L.L. Bean. Making plans for your summer vacation? Set your sites on Freeport and stay at James Place Inn. Located just one block from L.L. Bean campus and all the action.
Spring Arriving to Freeport, Maine 15 Apr 2015, 11:37 am
Spring has finally arrived here in Freeport, Maine. After the long harsh winter, I think we are all ready to welcome it and enjoy being outdoors in the sun. Despite receiving a few inches of snow just one week ago, the past four days have produced temperatures in the 60’s and all of our snow is gone! We have had a slow melt and little rain, resulting in essentially no mud season. If you have been wanting to make a visit, spring is an ideal time to be in Freeport.Wolfe’s Neck Farm
The warm sun invites you to enjoy a walk about the town, perusing the shops and enjoying a bite to eat. Take the opportunity to update your spring and summer wardrobe with our more than 120 shops to choose from. Once you have had enough shopping (or if you are not a shopper), enjoy a nice walk at one of the surrounding parks. Choose from our town Winslow Park (one of my favorite spots as the views of Casco Bay are spectacular), Wolfe’s Neck State Park, or Bradbury Mountain. All offer great views, all of them different. If you visit Wolfe’s Neck State Park, be sure to stop by Wolfe’s Neck Farm to visit the newly arrived lambs. Having grown up on a farm, the arrival of the new baby lambs always reminds me of spring. They are so cute and fun to watch.
If you are in search of a new bicycle, the L.L. Bean bicycle weekend is coming up. Hundreds of bikes are available to choose from and take for a short test spin. There are often sales to accompany this promotion, so check out their web site. Also, take the opportunity to check out the Outdoor Discovery School. Perhaps your Freeport weekend is a good time to try fly fish casting (their pond is finally thawed) or stand up paddle boarding. Whatever you choose, it is sure to be fun and offer new adventures, plus it gets you moving outdoors and enjoying this beautiful spring weather. Whatever your reason, plan to spend a weekend in Freeport and your stay with us here at James Place Inn, a great way to herald in spring!Wolfe’s Neck State Park Winslow Park