The holiday season in Midcoast Maine is much like many other places in the Northeast, except, well, it’s Maine, and there are a few holiday quirks.
Most notable is the lobster trap Christmas tree erected in nearby Rockland on Thanksgiving weekend. Volunteers assemble lobster traps specially made for the tree and pile them 35 feet high. Some 450 feet of lighted garland wraps around the “tree,” which is adorned with a glowing lobster on top.
If you travel to Midcoast Maine during the holiday season, you’re just as likely to see Santa Claus arriving aboard boat as a fire truck or a sleigh. If you’d like to spend a December vacation or long weekend in Midcoast Maine, here are some of the things we do to get into the holiday spirit.
Friday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 1, the town of Rockland kicks off its Festival of Lights with the lighting of the previously mentioned lobster trap tree and Santa’s arrival aboard a U.S. Coast Guard boat. The weekend also features a holiday house of beautifully decorated private homes and inns. There’s a craft show, too, at the local Elks Lodge. During the Light Parade on Saturday night, you can vote for your favorite float with canned goods, which are then donated to needy families.
That same weekend, the Twin Villages of Newcastle and Damariscotta, welcome Santa with a Main Street parade on Friday. The holiday celebrations continue Dec. 5, 6 and 7 as the towns in Rockport, Camden and Lincolnville will feature a tree-lighting ceremony, a parade and browsing plenty of local shops. Oh, and Santa is expected to come to town, too, this time in a lobster boat.
On December 6, Santa will visit the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, which is about 18 miles south Newcastle Inn. This time, Santa will arrive by helicopter. The 12:15 p.m. visit is part of a series of visits to lighthouses and Coast Guard stations from Maine to New York. The visits are run by Friends of Flying Santa in Stoneham, Mass, and the visit to Pemaquid Point is sponsored by the Bristol Parks Commission and Bristol Fire and Rescue.
A little farther to the south, the folks in Freeport hold the annual Sparkle Celebration. This December 6-7 weekend event features horse-drawn carriage rides, a parade, a musical holiday light show and Freeport’s Famous Talking Christmas Tree. On Saturday, you can also enjoy the Worldwide Tuba Concert. Did we mention Freeport is the home of L.L. Bean?
A little closer to home, Boothbay Harbor celebrates its Harbor Lights Festival on Saturday, December 6 and Sunday, December. 7. Along with a holiday craft show, there’s a parade and a tree-lighting ceremony. And Santa arrives with Mrs. Claus … wait for it … by boat. A little later in December, the Damariscotta area hosts two fun events. During the Wrap It Up Street Festival on December 18, downtown merchants will be selling last-minute gifts with free gift-wrapping. You’ll encounter strolling musicians, and there will be lots of holiday treats. On December 20, you can experience a Victorian Christmas at the Wiscasset, Waterville& Farmington Railway Museum. There will be train rides, horse-drawn sleigh and wagon rides. Santa will be there, too.
So, if you need a extra shot of holiday spirit, travel to Midcoast Maine in December. Visit the Newcastle Inn online to reserve a room.