Maine has a reputation for being one of the most beautiful and rugged states along the northeast coast of the U.S. and while that's true, there's so much more to this destination besides wild blueberries and hiking trails. Acadia National Park is a major point of interest for those seeking to enjoy nature but with so much history to explore, and state landmarks to seek out, travelers could easily fill up a week's worth of vacation time without leaving the state. Some of the more off-the-beaten-trail activities can often be some of the most fun and interesting, and Maine has no shortage of those.
From museums to historic villages and nature preserves that aren't likely to be as crowded as the parks, there's plenty to plan for a future trip.
Seashore Trolly Museum
We'll admit it, a museum dedicated solely to trollies doesn't sound like it would be something to cross off our bucket lists but hear us out on this one. The Seashore Trolly Museum is in Kennebunkport, and it's also the oldest transportation museum in the entire world... which makes it pretty worthy of a visit.
The museum is home to 250 exhibits alone and is also listed on the National History Registry, and includes transportation vehicles that are local as well as those from around the world. We promise that you'll be leaving here with a renewed appreciation (and knowledge of) for trollies.
Asticou Azalea Garden
Mount Desert Island is a beautiful part of Maine and it's also where visitors can find the Asitcou Azalea Garden. It's not far from Acadia National Park so if that is your ultimate destination, this can easily be figured into the schedule.
The garden goes on for 2.3 acres and is home to a pond as well as all manner of azalea bushes. These are in bloom between May and June, but visitors can also appreciate Japanese irises, smoke bushes, and water lilies during August. In the fall, this area is equally stunning with an array of autumn colors.
For those who appreciate history, the Hamilton House is a must-visit. This mansion was built in 1788 and is a fine example of Georgian architecture, and the 50 acres of land that it sits on are nothing to shake a stick at, either.
The grounds are just as enchanting as the house itself, and it's now open as a museum. Visitors are free to explore the interior and spend time roaming the grounds which give views of the Salmon Falls River.
Fort Knox and Penobscot Narrows Observatory
According to vacationidea.com, Fort Knox is one of the most significant locations that can be found along the east coast of New England. Its historical significance alone is enough to plan a trip there and the views of the Penobscot River aren't bad, either.
The fort itself is home to period-accurate cannons that were actually used in battle and the land dates back to 1844. The architecture of the fort remains untouched and serves as a viewfinder into America's past.
Lovers of literature will appreciate this one; the Wadsworth-Longfellow House can be found in Portland and also holds the title of being the longest-standing building in the area. The Maine Historical Society operates the museum inside and it has been carefully kept up to maintain all of its historical charms.
The house itself dates back to 1786 and was the first of its kind to use only bricks in its construction and the family of Henry Wadsworth-Longfellow owned the home until it was given to the Maine Historical Society.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
What makes the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village so incredible is the fact that it's the last remaining, active Shaker community in the world. The village itself is home to 1,800 acres of farmland and was first established in 1783.
Of the 17 buildings that remain today, each one is historic in its own right, with construction dates ranging from the 1780s all the way up to the 1950s. The property itself is a historic landmark and only four Shakers remain, and those visiting can get a glimpse into their history and see original artifacts while learning about the traditional Shaker way of life.
Also located on Mount Desert Island is the Kisma Preserve, which is home to animals who are currently being rehabilitated.
Each one has a story and a reason for why it was removed, whether it be through illegal ownership or for the good of the animal itself, and the animals being rehabilitated and treated will vary from week to week as they're released. This means that during any given day, visitors have a chance to see local - or exotic - animals, depending on what the resues have looked like that month.