After Labor Day

Posted Sept. 07, 2008, at 7:55 p.m.

The Labor Day weekend is an end and a beginning. For many summer folks, it is time to leave for jobs and school. One might get a sense that Maine is closing down for the year.

For the rest of us — and for the visitors who have experienced the beauty of fall and can stay a while longer — it is the start of a lovely season that lacks the noise and traffic of summer and offers plenty to do in the crisp, cool weeks that lie ahead.

Acadia National Park’s trails and carriage roads await hikers and bikers. The Park Loop Road and the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, with its views of Mt. Washington and Mt. Katahdin, will be open for a while yet. And when those routes close, the section along the shore past the Thunder Hole will stay open — and be plowed and sanded through the winter.

Another part of the park, Schoodic Point, is still wild and remote, although plans are afoot for an eco-resort development with hotels, houses and bright lights on much of the peninsula. The road to the point is just past Winter Harbor, where you can stop for a lobster or a cup of thin and tasty Down East chowder.

The 32nd annual Common Ground Country Fair in Unity opens Sept. 19 for three days of exhibitions and demonstrations of organic farming and sustainable living, plus plenty of Maine-made crafts and food. No pets are allowed, but they may be dropped off at places like the Canine Country Club and Pussy’s Port O’Call in Northport.

The Moosehead Lake Region offers camping, hiking and white-water rafting. In winter there will be plenty of opportunity for skiing, snowmobiling and dog sled racing.

At Baxter State Park, the site of Maine’s tallest mountain, Mt. Katahdin, one can camp in tents, leantos and cabins until Oct. 15. Be sure to call for a reservation. Winter camping opens Dec. 1 and lasts until March 31. Information on Maine’s other parks can be found on the Internet.

And if shopping is your game, merchants offer after-season sales now that the high spenders have left.

So take advantage of Maine’s wonderful “off season.” It is a secret we all share as our summer friends are leaving. We can have Maine all to ourselves.

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