Camden gets third place in best foliage poll

Posted Oct. 15, 2011, at 12:27 p.m.

We all know we live in a pretty special part of the world, but every once in a while it’s nice to get someone else to confirm that for us. Yet another feather in our cap came along recently when the Camden Hills region was named the third best foliage spot in New England, up from sixth in 2010, according to a poll conducted on http://www.YankeeFoliage.com, Yankee Magazine’s fall foliage website. In the opinion of the voters, our region has everything a visitor is looking for — color intensity against the backdrop of the rocky coast, scenic drives, hikes and a host of outdoor recreation — adding to that world class dining, lodging, shopping and cultural venues that make communities of the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay definite not-to-miss fall favorites. The voting took place from mid-August to Sept. 28, just in time to fire up the leaf-peepers.

It is all the more interesting when you consider a major reason the first Europeans chose to settle in Maine was the abundance of trees to cut down, be it for masts or ships, bulk lumber or fuel, or myriad other uses.

The shift from treating trees as a commodity to promoting them as a value-added backdrop for people’s vacations has been a complex journey, one that has enabled Maine to build a robust, small-business-centered tourism industry that even with this year’s economic wobbles has seen year-on-year growth that has outpaced broader state and national economies.

Tourism is economic development, and the way we do it in these parts its also sustainable, scalable and complementary to other traditional industries such as lobstering, home building, arts and creativity.

It never pays to rest on one’s laurels, however. To that end, the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber and the other chambers that make up the Midcoast Chamber Council, or MC3, will host on Nov. 1 the Maine Office of Tourism as it visits the region and give an overview of their efforts on behalf of the industry and how businesses can take advantage of the state’s marketing, data and tools for free.

The Nov. 1 presentation will take place 9-11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Skidompha Public Library in Damariscotta. Light refreshments will be provided by Rising Tide Community Market of Damariscotta. Admission to the event is free to members of any of the midcoast region’s chambers of commerce.

The event’s seminars will provide local business owners with practical advice and information they can use immediately, including Maine Office of Tourism resources and services for Maine businesses; how to add events and businesses to the VisitMaine.com website; MOT partners site resources; midcoast regional information on visitors and residents and how it can enhance marketing efforts; and tips and tricks for using Google Analytics, online surveys, email marketing, and online advertising to market a business. Attendees will walk away with a wealth of knowledge on cutting-edge marketing and advertising techniques, and of the Maine Office of Tourism’s many resources for local businesses.

For more information about this event, contact MC3 President Carolyn Farkas-Noe at vicepresident@midcoastmaine.com or 725-8797, ext. 4.

Dan Bookham is executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce that combines the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville and Rockland-Thomaston Area Chambers of Commerce. Contact him at 236-4404 or dbookham@camdenme.org.

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