Rangeley, Maine

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband and I visited friends in the small town of Rangeley, Maine. Before we made the drive to Rangeley, we started our tour of Maine in Portland. We picked up some friends at the airport and then grabbed drinks and snacks at The Thirsty Pig, where we were greeted by happy hour and an extensive sausage selection.

Happy hour at The Thirty Pig
Happy hour at The Thirty Pig

Afterwards, we piled into the car to make the 2.5 hour drive to lakes region of Maine. We stayed with friends in the village of Oquossoc, just a ten minute drive from the town of Rangeley. Both town and village are on beautiful Rangeley Lake and are a great base for exploring the region. While in Oquossoc, we visited a few bars in town, including the Four Seasons. It was a casual, laid back place with friendly bartenders and great deals. We had high hopes of checking out Moose Alley, the local bowling alley in Rangeley, but we never made it. We’ll have to go there next time as we heard good things about the friendly staff and great food.

The beauty of Lake Rangeley
The beauty of Lake Rangeley

While in Rangeley, we were introduced to the owners of the Farmhouse Inn. They have  hostel-like accommodations for hikers trekking the Appalachian Trail as well as private rooms with kitchen facilities. The entire property is so lovingly built and maintained by the owners. They are remodeling the existing structure and building new structures with reclaimed materials when possible. For photos and more information, please check out their Facebook page. Though we did not stay there, I cannot express how impressed I was with the projects they are working on and their warm hospitality during our visit.

We also enjoyed the outdoors as much as we could and took in all of the natural beauty Maine has to offer. We hiked up Bald Mountain (worth the climb). We also hiked Cascade Falls (also locally called The Cascades) and crossed paths with a young moose! Both locations are part of a local land trust and therefore are free of charge.

We had to slowly walk by this young moose to continue on the trail while also keeping an eye out for the mother moose.
We had to slowly walk by this young moose to continue on the trail while also keeping an eye out for the mother moose.

We also took a boat tour on Rangeley Lake with Kevin Sinnett, Captain of the Oquossoc Lady (rangeleylakecruises.com). Lounging on the boat while taking in all the beauty was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Mr. Sinnett also offers a few private suites right on the lake. Check out the website or you can use Airbnb.com to book a suite. When we visit Rangeley again, I know we have lots of options of where to stay to enjoy this awe inspiring part of Maine.

The view from the boat.
The view from the boat.
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Rangeley, Maine

Eastern Canada

I recently took a roadtrip with girlfriends to Canada. We flew into Bangor, Maine then drove through Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. We were there in late May which is just before the high season. So we were able to save some money on hotel rates but this also meant that some businesses which cater to tourism were not yet open.

While I was not generally impressed with St. John in New Brunswick, I really enjoyed my time at Rockwood Park just outside of St. John. We went horseback riding in the park. It was $30 CAD per person for a one hour ride and was worth every penny. Our guide Mike was a wealth of information on Canada and kindly answered all of our questions about the horses.
 
Halifax was a great stop over for a few days but is definitely not as budget friendly as I was hoping. If on a tight budget, I would recommend skipping the Citadel. While it’s interesting, its not amazing. I would, however, recommend strolling through the Public Gardens. There is a little cafe there called Sugagh. It has great snacks and delicious ice cream for about $2.50 CAD per scoop. The cafe also has local coffee and chocolates. For affordable breakfast in Halifax, just do a google search. There seems to be a lot of places to grab eggs, hash browns, and a coffee for around $4-8 CAN. And, there is always Tim Horton’s. For a delicious, though not incredibly cheap, check out the Wooden Monkey for great organic food. Entrees range between $11 CAD and $20 CAD.
 
We also made the drive to Prince Edward Island (also known as PEI). I loved it for the outdoors and the breathtaking scenery. My friends loved it for the Anne of Green Gables museums. Charlottetown seems big and touristy compared to the small towns we saw while driving around the island. Here is one thing we didn’t know before going. There is a toll to get off the island of $44 CAD. There is a ferry you can take but with a few people and a car the cost is about the same. Still, I would recommend that if you are going to go to PEI, make sure it’s worth the time and money to be there. While the groceries and gasoline on the island seems to be cheaper than the mainland, nothing is close-by to anything else which means a lot of driving and a lot of gas going in the tank. We wandered the countryside and the parks and it looked like there were cabin rentals everywhere. We went another route and booked a place to stay on www.airbnb.com. It’s a site were people rent out their spare bedroom or entire apartment. We rented this lovely little cottage with a view of a lake for about $100 a night.

Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Eastern Canada. And If I were to give only one piece of advice it would be this; If you are driving in from the U.S., purchase alcohol (and fill up the tank while you are at it) before you cross the border. Each person can take one bottle of liquor or two bottles of wine without penalty. It will save you a lot of money.

Eastern Canada