Looking for someplace to ring in the New Year? We’ve compiled a few of the state’s must-experience, new, or most intriguing spots to toast the town — or the mountaintop — as you celebrate the end of 2013 and welcome a new year.
The best views of Portland are waiting for you at the newly renovated Top of the East. The cocktail lounge crowning the Westin Portland Harborview springs back to life after being dormant for decades. For this anticipated night of nights, not just anyone is allowed in the jewel-like space. You gotta stay to play. New Year’s Eve packages are $299 for a standard room, champagne, chocolates and access to one of the most stunning vistas in New England. Green tea and honey mojitos are the signature drink and can be enjoyed with a trio of mini lobster rolls for your last meal of 2013. Top of the East is located at 157 High St. in Portland. For information, call 775-5411 or visit westin.com/harborview
Grace under fire
High ceilings, stained glass windows and an open kitchen on the altar. Give praise for Grace restaurant in Portland, where New Year’s Eve is a sacrament in style and taste. Chef Peter Sueltenfuss plates a special menu in the church-turned-food-emporium that is sure to impress. At 10 p.m. diners polish off their pheasants and a DJ rolls in for a dance party. A champagne toast at midnight caps the heavenly night. Cover charge is $10. Grace is located at 15 Chestnut St. in Portland. For information, visit restaurantgrace.com.
New year on high
The climb to the top of Cadillac Mountain can be long and cold. But at 7 a.m. on Jan. 1, when the first day of 2014 dawns, a group of sturdy souls will be making the pilgrimage. To join, park off Route 233 at the entrance to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Don your warmest gear and a headlamp. The 9-mile round trip excursion on the summit road has a mighty payoff: panoramic views of the Cranberry Islands, Bar Harbor and the vast Atlantic at sunrise. For information, visit nps.gov.
Fire on the mountain
Ski all day, party all night. Not a bad way to ring in 2014. On the way to Sugarloaf, most people slip by Mt. Abram in Greenwood. But on New Year’s Eve, carve a turn here. Fireworks take over the sky and upbeat band Stream Reggae lays down the fat beats to keep you moving and grooving into the wee small hours. This unpretentious mountain knows how to have a good time. Fireworks at 9 p.m., music at 10 p.m. The mountain is located at 308 Howe Hill Road in Greenwood. For more details, visit mtabram.com.
Party in the stacks
Bangor Public Library is home to two New Year’s Eve events this year. At 6 p.m. an inflatable star theater, face painting, karaoke and crafts keep kids entertained, followed by an event hosted by the Bangor Daily News. Bangor’s first New Year’s Eve Gala is a formal affair that kicks off at 8 p.m. The event features a variety of drinks, hors d’oeuvres, a midnight champagne toast and live music from The Waiters — a band that delivers a tight, polished and energetic sound — and musicians from the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. There will be a professional photographer, Ruth Clark of Bright Lights Dark Room, to take pictures of you and your date or friends. A silent auction will be held to benefit the Bangor Public Library, as well. Gala guests can take a trolley to West Market Square to see the ball drop in person, or watch a live broadcast right at the library. All gala attendees must be 21 or older. Tickets are $50. For information about the event at the library on Harlow Street, visit bdnmainenyegala.com.
Chemical free fun in Belfast Bay
From jazz bands to bluegrass to poetry slams to curling, the artsy midcoast hub is toasting the new year with good, clean fun. New Year’s Eve by the Bay in Belfast is a “chem-free” way to dive into festivities without the cursed hangover on New Year’s Day. Families are invited to dance under the stars at the Boathouse, peruse galleries and shops and dine at alcohol-free establishments. Live sea shanties, folk and Celtic music will fill the air. Dancers lead a spirited procession to the bonfire by the bay at midnight. Tickets are $18 and $5 for kids. For information, visit nybb.org.