8 Events You Won’t Want to Miss in Maine This Season

Maine’s beauty often silences first time visitors. Serene beaches, snow-covered mountains, sweet smelling forests, all things Maine greet winter quests.

Maine is so much more than lobster and fall foliage—although you can’t go wrong on them alone. There’s so much to do in the coming month, you must check out these eight events before the summer tourists crowd in.

Maine

You won’t want to miss:

  1. L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights Celebration runs through December 31st. You can walk through a forest of 600 sparkling trees, visit with reindeer and Santa, or wonder at the model train display. Everything winds up with a spectacular firework show on New Year’s Eve.
  2. Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park greets you at the end of a short drive from a location like the Fairfield Inn & Suites Brunswick Freeport. A winter tour or hike through marshes, parks, hemlock stands, and rocky beaches can be invigorating and educational. Even in winter, it’s a great adventure for birdwatchers.
  3. Lucky Catch Cruises invites you to be a Maine Lobsterman/woman for the day. 90-minute tours of Casco Bay provide a hands-on lobstering experience while you cruise among lighthouses, historic forts, and the bay’s Seal Rocks.
  4. Bowdoin College hosts its annual International Music Festival in February. The prestigious college’s 2018 program hosts The Ying Quartet. The college invites students and the public to memorable musical performances by visiting artists and students as well as 90 plus free lectures, masterclasses, concerts, and more.
  5. Cold River Distillery makes multiple award-winning gins and vodkas. Gluten-free and distilled from Maine potatoes, samples are poured on visits to the distillery.
  6. Waterville is home to The Colby College Museum of Modern Art. This little college has a top-flight collection of American art from the early 18th-century forward. Well-displayed throughout the glass pavilion, the collection is unrivalled for its size and quality.
  7. Wine Wise and Sommelier Erica Archer host walking wine tours in Portland. Tours are scheduled on weekends days and evenings. Educational and entertaining, you’ll learn about the best tastes in Portland.
  8. Thousands come every season just to shop on Freeport’s quaint downtown streets or local outlet malls. People shop for candies, antiques, furniture, and, of course, clothing in this home to L.L. Bean.

And, there’s more to do before you leave —

If this is a romantic getaway, Azure has a first-rate wine cellar and a menu heavy with lobster and steak dishes with an Italian twist. It it’s a family trip, Silly’s loves hosting kids in its crazy, quirky atmosphere and silly menu.

There’s a Longfellow literary festival through February, and tours of historic homes. There’s winter skiing, too, and brisk walks on the beaches. Farmers’ Markets and boutiques dot Brunswick’s Main Street, and ice skating and hot chocolate end many a day for locals and tourists alike.

Marriott’s Fairfield Inn & Suites offers advantage in its central location, complimentary hot and cold breakfast, and fitness center. It helps you start and end your day in comfort while you spend the day chasing events you won’t want to miss in Maine.

How to Tell Your Kids What to Expect on Their First Camping Trip

Camping can be an amazing way to spend a family vacation, with plenty of ways to spend time together without all the distractions of TV and the internet, along with a chance to be active and teach kids about nature.

Camping
Photo credits: Martin Thomas – https://flic.kr/p/cCtjMN

Why You Need to Talk About the Camping Trip in Advance

If you have decided to take your child camping for the first time, then he or she is probably very excited at the idea of doing something really new to them. However, they may also be a bit apprehensive in some ways too. Kids – especially younger children – can become a little anxious when taken outside of their usual routine.

This means it is a good idea to talk to your son or daughter about what they should expect the trip to be like, so they can mentally prepare for differences in how they will do every day things they usually have a routine for like eating, sleeping and getting washed and dressed.

Your child might also have some unfounded fears picked up from camping they have seen on TV, perhaps involving wild animals or even ghosts and monsters, and it is naturally best to find out that they have these and ease their worries before you go!

Show Them the Tent

You can get some fantastic tents for family use in all kinds of terrain and weather, and sites like myfamilytent.com can help you find the right kind for your needs if you aren’t already all that experienced with camping yourself, or with what you need for the destination you have chosen.

Once you have a tent, it is always a good idea to put it up once in your garden or even indoors to get yourself used to doing it and check there are no pieces missing. This can be a great opportunity to talk to your child and let them explore the tent. Show them the other equipment too, such as the mat and bag they will be using for sleeping, and any lights or other things you have bought.

Explain About Eating and Showering at Your Chosen Campsite

Kids can be somewhat fussy about food and about their hygiene routines, and obviously these are things that are different when you are camping. Depending on where you are going, from a campsite packed with amenities to a place in the wilderness, your plans for how you will all take care of eating and keeping clean and dry will vary, but the important thing is to tell your child what it is going to be like so they know what to expect.

Some kids are more adventurous and may not be anxious about the idea of their first camping trip at all, however even they can benefit from having a good idea of what the trip will be like so they aren’t getting excited about the wrong things. Kids can have wild imaginations and may think they’ll be off hunting bears or exploring a jungle when actually you were just planning on camp fire stories and a nice hike!

Considering a Move to Southeast Asia

southeast asia

It’s common for people to stay in the same location for their whole lives. They’ll grow up in their family home and stay within a close vicinity to their family and childhood friends for the rest of their lives. Occasionally people will go to uni for a few years or perhaps take to travelling the world for a year or so, but they will usually return to their hometown at the end of the day. Who can blame them? After all, home is where the heart is and it’s always beneficial to stick with what you know. But for some of us, wanderlust strikes. Wanderlust is the urge to experience new places, to see new sights and immerse yourself in a completely new atmosphere or environment. So, if this describes you, you may be itching to get away. A place to keep in mind? Southeast Asia. Southeast Asia is a continent generally associated with temporary travel: the gap year student, the businessman and the casual tourist all spring to mind when the area is mentioned. It consists of many countries, all entirely unique. So why not experience them to their utmost by moving there? Here are a few pieces of information about some of our favourites.

Singapore

Singapore offers so much, not only to the short-term tourist but to the individuals who decide to plan their life out in this great location. Officially known as the Republic of Singapore and casually referred to as “Lion City”, this sovereign city-state is ideal for individuals who are a little more habituated to city life. It lies one degree north of the equator (so you can expect majoritively warm weather) and its main territory consists of one main island accompanied by sixty-two smaller islets. It is rich in arts and culture, so you are guaranteed to be kept entertained if you’re the cultural type. The city puts on award-winning performances at world-class venues, showcasing the region’s multicultural heritage with traditional song and dance performed in Chinese, Malay and Indian. There are plenty of local and international masterpieces located in astounding galleries and museums. If you have a touch of art about you yourself, there are almost always small workshops taking place with professional artisans and crafters. If you’re a foodie, then your luck is in! There are Michelin star restaurants alongside local cuisine. Try out Nasi Lemak, Laksa, Kaya Toast, Hokkien Mee and Rojak.

Making the Move

So, if this all sounds great to you, here’s a quick guide to making the big move overseas. First, you should be aware of the cost of living in the area. It is now ranked the tenth most expensive city for expats to move to. Within Asia, it falls just below Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, and Beijing.Your largest expense is likely to be rent. But you can minimise this by engaging with resale hdb. Make use of HDB map services and register for resale seminars to learn more about resale policies and procedures. If you already have a job lined up before you move to Singapore, you will need to submit an Employment Pass (EP) application. Your employer should be able to help you to complete this.

southeast asia

The Philippines

The appeal of the Philippines is pretty clear. Consisting of over 7000 islands, it is home to a vast array of stunning landscapes. Crystal clear waters and powder sand beaches really do have a special allure to them. Just take a look at Hinatuan Enchanted River, Bohol’s Chocolate Hills and Asik-Asik Falls. There’s much more to this place than the landscape alone, though. Entertainment is incorporated into the Philippines’ beauty. San Pablo City has encompassed this perhaps at its best with its Waterfalls Restaurant. The country is also steeped in culture. You can spend long days exploring the Ruins in Talalay, visiting the Timbac Mummies in Kabayan and taking a look around the Abandoned Puerto Azul in Ternate.

Making the Move

You can stay in the Philippines for up to thirty days without a valid visa, however, if you’re planning on moving permanently, you will need to contact a Philippine Embassy or a Borough of Immigration to apply for a visa. You will need a local driving licence or an international driving licence if you wish to drive near your new home, which can be obtained from the Philippines’ Land Transportation Office (or LTO). It must be noted that purchasing property in the Philippines can be complicated, as disputes often arise over property titles and ownership, so make sure that you seek legal guidance from a certified lawyer before you commit to any property. This includes signing contracts or putting down deposits. You should also be aware that the quality of health care varies across the region and practices, clinics, surgeries or hospitals may not be up to the standards that you are used to.

Vietnam

If you’re looking for a break from the relative mayhem of inner city life, why not consider retreating to the Vietnamese countryside. Now, Vietnam isn’t often the first place to spring to mind when thinking of a place to move to. It is often associated with the poor and historical wars and an undesirable economy. However, don’t let these stereotypes fool you. Nowadays, Vietnam is expanding and its tragic past is slowly but surely being pushed aside with more positive imagery and an acknowledgement of its beautiful countryside and stunning beaches. The weather is tropical in the South and Monsoonal in the North, so choose an exact location carefully. As the area is still establishing itself as a wonderful potential home, you can seize the opportunity now to make the most of its low cost of living. You can move to this destination without excessive expenditure. There’s something to meet any accommodation needs. From apartments in upmarket cities to small homes in the suburbs. There are some quirks that you may need to get used to, however. First: the main language of this country is, unsurprisingly Vietnamese, so if you have no knowledge of the land’s native tongue, you may want to start learning. English is rapidly rising in popularity as the country’s second language though, so you should be able to get on fine as you learn once you move. A second issue is the pollution. In certain areas, you will find people wearing face masks to avoid the inhalation of fumes.

Making the Move

You will need to obtain a Vietnam Visa before attempting to make the big move there. Once you arrive, you will have to make your presence known to the local police, so make sure to do this as soon as possible. If you are planning on working for more than three months upon arrival, you’re going to have to apply for a work permit and a work visa too. Remember to apply for a Vietnamese licence if you plan to drive too.

These are just a few of the stunning locations that could prove to be a perfect home in Southeast Asia. If these places haven’t already taken your fancy, take a look around all of the countries in the area to get a better idea of where might suit you best. Do your research and give yourself plenty of time to plan the move. This isn’t the kind of thing that you can do last minute. Once you’re settled into a new, stunning home, you will realise that all of your work and effort will be well worth it.

Essential Travel Tips for St Martin

St Martin is split between St Martin (French) and St Maarten (Dutch) offering an eclectic combination of European and Caribbean cultures. Dream vacations don’t always go to plan so follow these tips to make sure your vacation to the Friendly Island is perfect.

St Martin

Get an Awesome Place to Stay:

What could be better than waking up and seeing the ocean from your bedroom window? Tourists have the choice between luxury St Martin vacation home rentals and resorts. Do your homework and choose a nice place to stay with an even better view. If this is a dream vacation, make sure you stay somewhere perfect.

Rent a Car:

When arriving at the airport, get yourself a car. Driving is the fastest and most convenient way of seeing the island on your own terms. Several companies will try to give you extra things, but you don’t need anything apart from the vehicle itself. The roads are relatively clear and driving is a pleasure on both parts of St Martin. Clear road signs and efficient maps help tourists get around without any problems.

Avoiding Theft:

Compared to other destinations in the Caribbean, St Martins is a safe island. But this doesn’t stop opportunistic thieves from operating on unsuspecting tourists. Car theft isn’t unheard of along the beach, which can lead to a miserable experience. And then there are the extra fees you may need to pay at the rental company to repair the damage. The solution is easy. Don’t leave anything inside the car and keep the windows down on a clear day. Potential thieves won’t even look twice at the car as you’re showing that nothing valuable is inside.

Avoid the Tourists:

St Martin has always been a typical stop on cruise ships around the Caribbean. Vast numbers of liners and ships pull up in Philipsburg, the capital of Dutch St Maarten, and hordes of passengers disembark. Front Street and the Boardwalk are their first calling point, which makes it very crowded during the daytime. This area is worth visiting to enjoy the sites and duty-free shopping. But, don’t spend too much time here as there are other much better places. And it’s advisable to avoid the area after nightfall when a few dodgy characters come out.

Explore Both Sides of the Island:

The Dutch Side attracts visitors looking for a touristy experience. St Martin on the French Side has a more natural, laid-back atmosphere. Visitors can freely pass between the two administrative regions without needing to show their passport or face other bureaucratic complications. And both have something different and unique to offer tourists. The island itself is small (87km2) making it easy to get around. Take advantage and explore the island. However, the signs are in different languages and calling someone from one side to the other is actually an international call!

Spending Money:

Tourists tend to rely on their credit cards more often when they take a vacation. St Martin is no different. However, it’s not uncommon to encounter problems with the card machine in shops and restaurants for one reason or another. If you’re carrying a limited amount of cash, it’s advisable to check with the restaurant before you order to make sure your credit card will work. Another point worth mentioning is that some of the receipts may have the entire card’s number rather than blanking sections out. Make sure you check before throwing it away.

Tipping Etiquette:

Check your receipts carefully after ordering a meal as some will include an additional 15% tax or service charge. Some places add this whereas others don’t. Unsuspecting tourists who don’t check their bills end up paying the service fee and an additional tip. St Martin is an expensive island to visit and leaving an extra can equal 30% of the total cost of the bill. It’s entirely up to you and more research is needed on your behalf. But, wouldn’t you rather spend the extra money taking a day trip to Prickly Peak or renting snorkelling equipment?

Drinking Water:

The tap water is safe to drink in St Martin. Locals drink from the tap and many tourists do too. Bottled water is expensive on the island, especially when you’re eating at a restaurant. If you ask for water, specify that you want tap water (free of charge) rather than a small bottle that costs several dollars. The feeling of paying for something, albeit at a low cost, when you can get it for free isn’t ideal for a perfect vacation.

Take a Day Trip to One of the Islands:

St Martin is surrounded by a number of smaller islands, which make for a good day trip. Some have an active infrastructure for tourists whereas others are completely unpopulated and have quiet, secluded beaches. Popular trips are to Saba, St Barths, and Prickly Pear. The first two have a number of restaurants, bars, and lodging whereas Prickly Pear is completely uninhabited. Activities on the islands include snorkelling in the reefs, sunbathing, and water sports.

If you want to travel a little further afield, take the ferry and visit Anguilla. This British Overseas Territory offers a different vibe and experience to St Martin. Regular ferries depart every day between Marigot and Anguilla every 20 minutes or so from 7.30 am until 7 pm. Remember to bring your passport.

Trip of a Lifetime:

St Martin makes for a great and diverse travel destination, but unsuspecting tourists can get caught out. Follow our tips and avoid the mishaps to make sure your perfect vacation stays perfect.

Places to Travel in Your Senior Years

places to visit

When you reach the age when you no longer have to worry about promotions, paychecks, and kids, it is time for you to dedicate your time to yourself. And is there a better way to do so than travelling? However, before deciding on the destination, take into consideration the following health tips if you want to enjoy your trip fully. Make sure you avoid prolonged periods of standing and sitting, wear compression stockings, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol, caffeine and tight-fitting clothes, and equip yourself with dietary supplements, such as vitamins C and E.

Australia

Even though it is the leader among most remote countries in the world, ironically, Australia is one of the most popular tourist destinations. And if you haven’t been there, now is a perfect time. First of all, Australia is the home to many beautiful natural landscapes, such as the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the biggest reef systems with the most diverse marine life in the entire world, as well as the unique iron 8-kilometer-long Uluru rock, and 50 000-km-long coastline with breathtaking beaches and lush jungles. Besides nature, Australia offers an unforgettable tourist experience with various luxury retirement communities and hotels, amazing cities, lifetime supplies of wine, and, of course – Aussies everywhere.

Greece

A home to democracy and western civilization, as well as the richest history that goes thousands of years back, Greece is a place you have to see. Filled with countless archaeological sites and museums, it will provide you with a great insight into the ancient culture. The weather is sunny and warm from April all the way to October, which is great if you love to enjoy the sea and beaches.

Make sure you spend at least three days in Athens, where you have it all – great food, friendly locals and ancient ruins.

Portugal

Portugal is a country that is going to delight you, even though it is often overlooked. Travelling around it is super easy and quick. For example, it takes only 2,5 hours to get from Lisbon to Porto by train. Besides amazing cities, Portugal has some incredibly charming villages, castles, and cathedrals, as well as 1800-kilometer-long coastline and Douro Valley which is famous for high-quality wine. Also, make sure you don’t miss a national folk music performance aka Fado performance at A Capella in Coimbra.

When it comes to food, note that food portions are large and surprisingly affordable. Unless you haven’t eaten in days, always opt for a half portion or ‘meia dose’. Make sure you have a taste of their finest egg tart called ‘pastel de nata’ at Pastéis de Belém near Lisbon.

Argentina

Argentina is a huge country where you can hardly manage to see everything even if you spend a few months there. You can go hiking around countless lakes, climb the mountains, see penguins, ride a boat to a glacier, enjoy the scenery of the biggest waterfalls in the world, visit various museums, churches and, of course – go shopping. There are always some kind of live dance performances on the streets, different shows and opportunities for taking dance lessons – who says older generations cannot work it?

Since the country is huge, it can be quite expensive, so there are some hacks that can help you save some cash: take the night buses instead of expensive flights since they are comfortable, safe, and affordable, or spend your time only in one region. If you are aiming towards seeing some mind-blowing landscapes, opt for Patagonia, Lake district and Iguazu falls, and if you are more of an escape-the-crowd type of person, visit the cities, such as Cordoba and Salta. Note that summer in Argentina lasts from December to March, which makes it a great winter destination for all the Northern tourists.

Mexico

If you are travelling solo, opt for the Pacific coast and places such as Oaxaca and Guanajuato because they are a bit more authentic than those on the Caribbean coast. Speaking of authenticity, Mexico City has also started to reinvent itself into a culture capital with a great food scene. Also, it is also pleasant to walk around and explore.

Mexico is quite colorful, sunny and affordable at the same time. Besides that, it is home to various indigenous groups and their unique customs, handicrafts, foods and archaeological sites such as Maya, Aztec, and Zapotec, as well as the friendliest locals you will ever see.

Japan

This clean and safe country is different than any other in the world. It is the only place where taxi drivers are wearing white gloves and where you can order meals from a display of plastic food dishes. And don’t worry, it doesn’t matter if you don’t speak Japanese – you will have no trouble finding your way around.

Hotels in Japan usually charge per person rather than per room – which is great if you want to travel solo. Also, add their delicious food and their politeness, as well as respect for the elders, and you have a winner. It is needless to say, but make sure you don’t miss Tokyo and Kyoto.

How do you like these suggestions? Where did you choose to go? Feel free to comment below.
We hope you’ll have a wonderful trip – Bon voyage!