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Be a tourist in your own backyard

Jennifer Hazard, author of The Maine Play Book, has some suggestions

PORTLAND, Maine —

The Maine Play Book: A Four-Season Guide to Family Fun and Adventure is chock full of ideas of things can enjoy right in our own state. Author Jennifer Hazard joins us with some suggestions that are family-oriented and easily accessible. 

First, she suggests traveling to a 'new-to-you' place with your family. Coming up with a list of Maine places your family has always wanted to visit is one of the best ways to feel inspired during what’s been a challenging time for us all. Following nature preserves, conservation trusts and parks online is a great way to discover places like these. It’s the perfect time to become a tourist in your home state.

Here are some ideas:

Florida Lake, Freeport, located on the Freeport/Durham line, is a 167-acre nature preserve offers two peaceful walks — a one-mile loop and a three-mile loop. You’ll stroll through boardwalk paths shaded by pines and then find yourself near to the lake. Just be sure to wear your boots after a rain. 

Big Falls Preserve, New Gloucester is a lovely spot, but you’ll want to go at off times to social distance (mornings during the week, preferably). It's a 40-acre preserve that begins at a dirt road and then takes you into the woods where you’ll walk along a path with waterfalls. It's a 1.5 mile loop. 

Cliff Trail, Harpswell is a stunning trail with water views. The main loop is just a little over two miles but be prepared for a steep climb. Kids will love walking over bridges and streams. You’ll reach 150-foot cliffs overlooking Long Reach. For little ones, there is a fairy house building area just after you reach the cliffs. Like Big Falls, this is a popular spot, so be sure to get there early in the day. 

Jen highlighted the Sheepscot General Store in Whitefield in “The Maine Play Book” for strawberry picking at the farm next door (Uncas Farms). Right now, you can order a picnic pack at the store for breakfast, lunch or dinner (Sundays only) and picnic in the fields or at the picnic tables around the farm. 

Sunflower Farm in Cumberland is widely known for their adorable kids (baby goats). If you order treats from their farm store—cheeses, goats’ milk fudge, caramels and more—you can get a snuggle in at pick up. Follow their Facebook page for announcements regarding ordering times/pick up. 

Jen also says, "You don't have to go far to have fun!!"  Have a campfire in the backyard.  To spice things up, we’re thinking of ordering from Colored Flames, a Lebanon-Maine based company that sells special colorant packages that turns flames in your fire to purples, blues, teals, and greens.

Try tie-dye at home! Jen ordered shirts and a small tie-dye kit from Dharma Trading Company, a Petaluma, CA, a company that’s been making dyes since 1969! This was such a fun project and especially great with my older kids (12 and 14). And finally, try a new kitchen gadget, from ice cream makers to air fryers and pasta makers, this is a fun way to try new foods at home. 

You can learn more about Jennifer and The Maine Play Book here

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