Trail to Table

Beach and boating season may be over until next year, but autumn in Maine, when the sun is bright and the air is crisp, is the ideal season for a hike. These easy-to-moderate hikes are all near good places for lunch—a just reward for getting out there and hitting the trail. Don’t forget to bring a water bottle and wear blaze orange during hunting season.

At the tip of Bailey Island, Cook’s Lobster and Ale House offers Maine coastal fare that’s as memorable as the sweeping Casco Bay views.

Long Reach Preserve + Cook’s Lobster and Ale House | Harpswell + Bailey Island

Hike: A moderate, two-mile hike, Long Reach Preserve passes through dreamy, peat-filled wetlands and over dramatic granite ridges carpeted in dark-green moss. The largest protected area in Harpswell, Long Reach Preserve includes both fresh and salt water marsh, as well as 2,400 feet of frontage on Long Reach, an estuary of Casco Bay.

Eat: From the trailhead parking lot, it’s a scenic, less-than-15-minute drive to the end of the peninsula and over the world’s only cribstone bridge to Bailey Island and Cook’s Lobster and Ale House, where the food is as noteworthy as the view. Standouts include the lobster stew, crab cakes, and Cribstone Red Ale battered fish and chips.

Jamies Pond + The Liberal Cup | Hallowell

Hike: Picturesque Jamies Pond, also known as Jimmies Pond, once provided water for Hallowell, so its shoreline is undeveloped. The six-mile trail network meanders along and out from the pond’s west side, through forests carpeted in pine needles, with water access offered at several points.

Eat: Like the pubs that are the heart of villages throughout England, the Liberal Cup is a favorite hub for locals, yet welcomes visitors with open arms—and free-flowing beer taps. The fish tacos and grilled Reuben are both first-rate choices, as is the burger, and the English-style ales are all brewed on premise.

Dodge Point + King Eider’s Pub | Damariscotta

Hike: The Dodge Point Public Reserved Land covers 500 acres and has a network of four trails that take hikers along old farm roads past stonewalls and an ice pond along the Damariscotta River. The most popular of these, the Shore Trail, leads to a pebbly beach; the Ravine Trail is steeper and quieter, offering the possibility of viewing wildlife.

Eat: In the heart of downtown Damariscotta, King Eider’s Pub is a lively, friendly spot with three levels and an outdoor patio. On the cozy first floor, the bar offers a large selection of bourbon and scotch, as well as beers brewed from Maine, England and Ireland. Damariscotta River oysters are a specialty, as are burgers, sandwiches, and classic pub fare.

Bald Mountain Trail + Portage Tap House | Oquossoc

Hike: Between Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic lakes, Bald Mountain Trail is just over two miles round trip and passes through mature forest before gradually increasing in difficulty as you reach the granite summit. An observation tower offers panoramic views of Saddleback and Elephant mountains, Height of Land, and Mount Washington. Part of the Maine Birding Trail, Bald Mountain is also a prime spot for seeing moose. Eat: A recent addition to the Rangeley region, the Portage Tap House in Oquossoc sports chandeliers made of canoes and a gleaming copper, wood-fired pizza oven. Lunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, and includes sandwich specials, as well as 20 local beers on tap.

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