Maine Fall harvest festivals and hiking trails beckon

Pumpkin bowling in Waterville.
Photo Courtesy of Maine Office of Tourism
Pumpkin bowling in Waterville.
Posted Sept. 22, 2011, at 4:55 p.m.

Looking for something to do this fall?

Maine’s fall harvest festivals celebrate the signature crops of the season with baking competitions, hay rides, and fun events like pumpkin bowling or a howling contest.

The Lubec Harvest Howl happens Oct. 8 with a street fair with craft and food vendors, hay rides, activities for children, a pumpkin decorating and carving contest, live music, a public breakfast, and pumpkin pie eating and howling contests.

Fall Festival at Wolfe’s Neck Farm in Freeport takes place Oct. 15. There will be hay climbing, horse team demonstrations, pumpkin decorating and seed saving demonstrations, along with hay rides to the pumpkin patch, live music and hot food.

Pumpkins become bowling balls at the Waterville Harvest Fest happening Oct. 15-16 in the city’s downtown. Scarecrow making, candy apple making, pony rides, apple pie and dessert baking contests, and activities for children are also planned.

Local apples get the spotlight during Great Maine Apple Day Oct. 23 at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity. Tour the Maine Heritage Orchard to see rare native Maine apples, take an apple wine or cider making class, bring an apple pie for the contest, watch cider pressing, or have your mystery backyard apples identified.

Fall Hiking Trails

Generations of families have made the short trek up Bald Mountain in Oquossoc during fall. Two moderate trails lead to the mountain’s open granite summit and lookout tower with views of other small mountains, Rangeley and Mooselookmeguntic Lakes, and surrounding ponds.

Mt. Megunticook (1,385 feet) is the second highest peak on the Atlantic seaboard behind Cadillac Mountain. Megunticook is within Camden Hills State Park in Camden. The one mile trail rises 1,000 vertical feet with some steep sections, but a view of all of Penobscot Bay and its islands is the reward on a clear day.

Aroostook County’s Hedgehog Mountain stands along the Fish River Scenic Byway (Route 11) on the way to Fort Kent. The 1,600-foot peak has views of fall foliage lining the Fish River Chain of Lakes and the backside of Mt. Katahdin.

What’s New & Unique?

Biking the Rails — Can’t decide whether to see Maine’s fall colors from a train or a bicycle? How about a rail bike excursion along the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railway? Rail bikes are four-wheeled open air cars with two or four seats that ride on a railroad with pedal power. Pedals are at the front and the cars have space for storing a camera or snacks. Excursions happen on the restored railway between the central Maine towns of Knox and Thorndike, taking riders through a spruce forest, past ponds, swamp and rolling fields. Railway staff lead the roughly three hour trips which take place through October and must be scheduled by appointment.

A Walk to Die For — Bangor, the setting for multiple Stephen King novels, has strangely never hosted a public stroll for the living dead. That will change Oct. 29 when the first Bangor Zombie Walk sets off from the city’s Paul Bunyan statute. Made-up zombies of all ages are welcome for the two hour walk and social event that ends in the downtown.

For more information about Maine’s fall events and activities, go to www.visitmaine.com.

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