Friday, May 15, 2009

Shoulder Season in Maine

In tourism lingo, the "Shoulder Season" is the travel season between high and low seasons. Typically it is April, May and September, October. This is when transportation and lodging is not as highly priced as summer and only a little higher than winter. It is a great time to travel because fewer tourists travel during this period, yet weather in most places is fine.

In Maine this means seasonal businesses are open (restaurants, parks, preserves, and shops) yet the crush of visitors has not yet inundated the state. Cruise ships have yet to dock in our scenic ports and attractions do not yet have parking lots full of tour buses.

Case in point is demonstrated by my walk last Sunday with a friend through the Crescent Beach State Park outside Portland. Though the parking lot is still closed, visitors can park along the entrance and walk in to an unspoiled (and lightly used) beach. If one turns off the main access road a nicely graded path leads through towering pines that sway and whisper if the wind is blowing. After a short stroll the path breaks out into a large green meadow lined with berry bushes and soon the Atlantic can be seen before coming to the meadows edge and one of Maine's famous rocky coastline scenes. Walking along the coast one sees summer houses across the inlet and lobster buoys in the bay. Reaching Crescent Beach affords the opportunity to comb the sandy beach for shells and remnants of sea life that has washed up from the last storm. From the beach one returns to the parked car via the access road feeling invigorated and appreciative of not encountering scads of beach goers. The whole walk takes less than an hour and is worth every minute.

Maine's largest industry is tourism and of course the height of the season is during the fall foliage in late October. Last year no less than 48 cruise ships docked in Portland alone unleashing up to 3,000 tourists at a time on the town and surrounding area. Buses transport them all over the area and even up to the L.L. Bean factory store in Freeport.

Come early and avoid the crowds!

1 comment:

  1. Hello Daniel. I'm back from Chicago, jet-lagged and foot-sore. Still, I loved the description of Crescent Beach and am envious of your lovely walk. I'll send you an e-mail w/details of the Chicago adventure - we had a great time. Love, Irene