Sunday, November 29, 2015

7 Maine Experiences You Can Gift this Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing, kicked off this week with turkey day and giving thanks.  With all the shopping talk going on this weekend; black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday; who isn't feeling a little overwhelmed about what to buy your 14 year old niece or get for your 39 year old brother.  Well, here's a list of 7 Maine experiences you can gift this holiday season for friends and family living in or visiting Maine in 2016.

1) State of Maine Park Pass
Maine is home to over 500,000 acres of both state and national parks.  When you buy a State of Maine Park pass, your gift gets your loved one the choice of 32 state parks for a picnic lunch, tackling an outdoor adventure or relaxing under an old oak tree.  Our State parks offer swimming in the ocean or a lake, hiking up a mountain or through the woods, biking along rail-trails or even camping at 12 of the state parks in Maine.  This is sure to be a great gift for young and old.

2) De-Stress Gift
Who are we kidding?  The holiday season is stressful.  Granted it's a time for giving, sharing, and caring, but it tends to be hectic.  Help your sister, who has her hands full with 3 toddlers, de-stress for an afternoon of pampering.  Anthony's Day Spa in Bangor is one of my favorites.  Whether she chooses a pedicure to relax those aching feet or a relaxation massage to unwind, you will definitely delight her with the attempt to make that busy mom feel at ease.

3) White Water Rafting for the entire family
Kennebec River Family Trip
Okay, so you will absolutely be the #1 uncle when you buy whitewater rafting gift certificates for your family this holiday.  Kennebec river rafting is Northeast Whitewater's #1 activity for anyone seeking adventure.  Tackle rapids like Big Mama and her Three Sisters and Magic Falls Rapid during on Maine's Kennebec rafting trip, then float down the river or experience the lower river on inflatable kayaks.  This Maine raft trip is a hit for all ages and abilities! Gift certificates are on sale now for a super low price, so why not give the gift of adventure to the most adventurous family members?!

Our raft guide, Stephanie at Muse.
4) Wine & Paint
Men, listen up.  This is your chance to really make your lady happy.  This is a great date night when you gift this Maine experience.  Portland and the Bangor area are leaders in the wine and sip movement here in Maine, but I'm sure it won't take long for more Maine communities to offer this fun, creative and whimsical experience in their own hometown.  Check out Muse in Portland or Generations Boutique & Art Studio in Brewer to buy gift certificates for this super unique holiday gift.

5) Isn't it grand... Canyon of Maine
You don't have to leave the great state of Maine to see the Grand Canyon of the East.  Travel to the Moosehead Lake area to join a guided waterfall hike with Northeast Whitewater.  Peak summer, expect the waterfalls to be warm enough to take a refreshing dip.  During the spring, the volume of whitewater tumbling over the ledges is worth every step in the woods.  Fall is spectacular with blazing colors ideal for say ... your niece that is really getting into photography to seek out an adventurous Maine day in the woods. 

6) Maine Beer Tour
You know one or two, okay maybe more than that, but we all have beer lovers in our lives, right?!  As Maine raft guides, WE are beer lovers, so yes we know a few first hand.  Beer tours are a fun way to meet other people, as well as the connoisseur of yeast and hops first hand.  The Portland Maine area has a couple of tour options where you leave the driving to the experts.  The Maine Brew Bus and Maine Beer Tours both offer comfortable rides to distilleries and breweries.  The Sea Dog Brewing Co. located on the Penobscot river waterfront in Bangor offers brewery tours daily and yummy food.

7) Canoeing with a Moose
Maine Bull Moose Canoe Tour
When in Maine, see a moose.  All ages will love this Maine experience gift.  Guided tours are offered daily from May - mid October in the Moosehead Lake area with Northeast Whitewater's Maine Moose Watching guides.  Guests will enjoy interpretative guiding on the ride to a remote Maine woods pond.  Big, wide and stable canoes are placed into the water and with the guides help, guests load for a leisurely paddle to explore the woods pond to see waterfowl, Maine foliage, birds, otter and the elusive Maine moose.  Round-trip this experiential Maine trip is 3.5-4 hours and wonderfully wild fun for everyone.

No need to stress on what to buy this holiday season.  Think adventure gifts, not junk and you'll be the #1 gift giver at the holiday party.  Happy Holidays!

Thoughtfully submitted by Jessica Hargreaves.

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