Eco-Touring the Maine Coast

From the lobster industry to preserving its pristine shores, Maine takes conservation and sustainability to heart. Dedication from businesses all over the state has encapsulated the “pine tree state” as a stunning retreat.

Higgins Beach Inn

History is treasured in Maine; businesses look to preserve current buildings rather than build something new and modern. Higgins Beach Inn has existed for over a century and its recent renovation only added modern conveniences like private bathrooms. The feel, inspired by owners before, is still there and the repurposing of gorgeous structures has rooted such a deep vein of character. The ocean is mere steps from the inn, so you can ditch the car for the duration of your stay. Shade, the onsite restaurant, offers breakfast and other local dishes.

Photo by Karyn Wofford

Coastal Maine Kayaking

Although only operating in warmer months, Coastal Maine Kayaking takes tourists on a scenic route through the Kennebunks, which partly cannot be accessed by boats, which prevents pollution. Areas that couldn’t otherwise be seen up close can be reached by paddling out in a kayak and the tour guides keep it interesting with facts, history and wildlife sightings.

Bar Harbor Inn

Repurposing in action again, the heart of the Bar Harbor Inn existed before World War I. The inn served the military during World War II, as a Red Cross base after a massive fire in the harbor, and now hosts guests from all over the globe. Enjoy a local cheese plate while watching the sunset; there’s no better view of Frenchman’s Bay than from a Bar Harbor Inn balcony.

Photo by Karyn Wofford

Lulu Lobster Boat

Lulu is an actual Lobster Boat manned by two crew members who give visitors a glimpse into the world of lobstering. Sustainability is the core of the industry: Locals know a healthy supply of lobsters depend on following rules to keep the population flourishing. The guide talks about those rules, including sizes that can legally be caught, why you can’t keep certain ones, while also giving a little information on anatomy. It’s a fun way to educate the family about sustainable lobstering, while serving up some cool views of islands and lighthouses.

Bob’s Clam Hut

Bob’s Clam Hut started out as a backyard stand in the 50s, but is now a Maine tradition, still in its original location along Route 1. The ingredients have always been simple and now Bob’s is working to remove waste from landfills by opting for reusable baskets and plates in addition to compostable cutlery. Keeping it straightforward and focusing on ways to reduce waste makes this quaint clam hut a great depiction of the area’s efforts.

Photo by Karyn Wofford

Mount Desert Oceanarium

Possibly one of the coolest surprises in Maine is this oceanarium and lobster hatchery. It’s a small business run by a long-time crew who are wholeheartedly dedicated to informing others and preserving marine life. The marsh walk, hatchery demonstration and discovery tank are a few of the hands-on tactics used to teach tourists about local ecology and marine biology. When people understand their environment, they understand the importance of preserving it.

The Nonantum Resort

The Nonantum is one of those places that just feels magical the moment you arrive. Perhaps it’s the fairy village in the front garden, or maybe it’s because all the lush greenery, flowers and herbs are organic and tended to daily. Green cleaning products are always used; water and energy are conserved through specific fixtures; and food is sourced from local farms, as well as the ocean, of course! Soaps and shampoos left behind by guests are donated to Clean the World, an organization that recycles hotel toiletries and delivers them to countries in desperate need.

Photo by Karyn Wofford

Hope Orchards

Apple picking is essential when visiting Maine in the autumn, and Hope Orchards is a local business growing a variation, while also offering apple butter, maple syrup and other natural treats. Eating an apple on-site is encouraged to find what you like. If an apple you don’t want should fall, they only ask that you place it in the wooden bins to be used for something else.

250 Maine Hotel

When the 250 Maine Hotel didn’t become the luxury apartment building it was intended to be, the new owners reimagined and proposed the highest building in Rockport as an eco-conscious, artsy boutique hotel. Compost, recycle, conserve are appropriate mottos that are evident through the building. Each room is refreshingly unique, and the rooftop deck has a spectacular view of the harbor.

Photo by Karyn Wofford

Acadia National Park

Pure, mountainous, seaside beauty; that’s how I’d describe this breathtaking park that melds two distinct landscapes together. Natives and tourists alike have a deep respect for the area that houses a pond that serves as drinking water. Jordan Pond’s water can be tasted at the Pond House, a farmhouse that has operated as a restaurant since the 1800s. Popovers and lobster stew are items that have been on the menu since the beginning and a bike ride up the Carriage Roads will take you right to it. It’s awesome to work up an appetite, eat great food, then bike back to your starting point. But if you’re wondering, you can drive there if you’d like.

Maine promises mountain hikes, crashing waves, wildlife and lush landscapes, all because citizens are committed to keeping it that way. By being a “green” tourist, you also support their efforts.

Karyn Wofford is a type 1 diabetic, EMT and Certified Wellness Specialist. For years she has educated herself on wellness and natural, wholesome living. Karyn’s goal is to help people be the healthiest they can be while living fun, happy lives.

Published on Oct 24, 2017

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