5 Kentucky Destinations Where You Can Do More Than One Outdoor Sport in a Day

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During some vacations you just want to relax. But, on others you might like to spend some of the time challenging yourself and packing as much as possible into a day. Maybe you dream of tying into a rope and climbing to new heights to check out the forest you just traversed. Or, you might want to paddle down a the river that you saw while mountain biking.

If you’re interested in a multi-sport day of adventure, you’ll find plenty of options in the wilds of Kentucky. From the depths of dark caves to high rocky outcrops, you can enjoy a wide range of landscapes and activities during a Kentucky day. To help you plan your next heart-pumping journey, we’ve highlighted a few of the best places to do multiple outdoor activities in a day.

1. Red River Gorge Geological Area

Begin your day on the Red River, floating through the heart of Kentucky’s rugged wilderness. As you explore the 8-mile lower section of this National Wild and Scenic River, you’ll pass sandstone cliffs that rise from the forest and encounter deep green foliage that dips into the water. It’s an otherworldly place with beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife. To launch this portion of your multi-sport day, head to Red River Adventure to rent a canoe or kayak and arrange shuttle services. If you have your own boat, you can arrange for Red River Adventure to pick you up at the take-out.

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The high-quality rock climbing in the gorge attracts people from all over the world.

Tina Karle

When you’ve finished floating, get up close and personal with the rock walls you just passed and scale the red sandstone cliffs and giant amphitheaters hidden in the heart of the forest. The high-quality rock climbing in the gorge attracts people from all over the world, and your ascent will provide a bird’s-eye view of the dense forest and the intricate network of cliffs. Southeast Mountain Guides offers guided rock climbing and rappelling, and no experience is necessary. Kentucky Rock and Adventure Guides also offers guided rock climbing as well as classes where you’ll learn climbing basics like knot-tying, belaying, and equipment use.

2. Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Flanking the Land Between the Lakes peninsula, Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley form a kayaker’s dream, with endless coves, wetlands, and more than 300 miles of shoreline to explore. For your first adventure of the day, kayak the Ginger Bay Water Trail or any of the many scenic water trails in the area. As you glide past forested shores, bluffs and rocky outcroppings, keep an eye out for bald eagles.

You can rent a canoe, kayak, or fishing boat at the Lake Barkley State Resort Park Marina. Also, the Energy Lake Marina rents canoes, and you can rent a canoe or kayak from the Woodlands Nature Station at Land Between the Lakes. Situated between Honker and Hematite lakes, the Nature Station offers plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities and the chance to kayak away from some of the bigger motorized watercraft of Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. The Nature Station also offers affordable guided tours with a park naturalist. Head out on the sunset tour or the eagle-watching kayak tour for lots of chances to see wildlife.

You can rent a luxury pontoon boat or fishing boat from Green Turtle Bay Resort, beginning at $75 for a half-day on the water. Buzzard Rock Marina, Big Bear Marina, and Shawnee Bay Marina all rent pontoon boats, paddleboats and jon boats, starting as low as $47 a day.

After a peaceful morning, turn it up a notch and mountain bike through the lush forest of Land Between the Lakes. The Canal Loop Trail is the most popular and scenic mountain biking path, traversing 11 miles of singletrack in a large loop, with multiple opportunities for viewing the lakes. There are three different connectors from the main loop, so you can cut it short if it's too long, or just do a 1-mile loop.

The Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail is 11 miles one-way, and the first 2.5 miles are paved, with gentle grades and great lake views, making it a good option for families or beginners. For those who want more of a challenge, continue for the next 8.5 miles of ridges and hills through the hardwood forest.

If you don't have a bike, rent one from Wood-N-Wave Bicycle, a family-owned rental shop that's conveniently located at the northern entrance to Land Between the Lakes.

3. Big South Fork National Recreation Area

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If you want to hike to a waterfall, try Yahoo arch, accessed from the Yahoo Falls Scenic Area.

Tim Adams

Launch your day with a ride among Big South Fork’s sandstone bluffs, pausing occasionally at rock outcrops to enjoy beautiful views of the river below. The mountain biking in Big South Fork is on the rugged side, and it’s a choose-your-own-adventure of sorts. You’ll find rides anywhere from just a few miles long all the way to quad-busting 35-mile loops. A favorite ride is to the John Muir Overlook, beginning at Peter’s Mountain Trailhead. You’ll ride past rock outcroppings with panoramic views of the forest plunging into the Big South Fork River Gorge—a truly memorable sight. From the overlook, turn around to complete the shorter ride, or keep going to continue the whole 35-mile loop.

After an adrenaline-filled ride, relax in the afternoon with an awe-inspiring hike to the sandstone rock arches of Big South Fork. As you stroll through the forest, you’ll get glimpses of these unique formations that seem to rise out of the forest unexpectedly. Some arches are so high and large that they were once used for wagon roads. Check out Wagon Arch, or if you want to hike to a waterfall, try Yahoo arch, accessed from the Yahoo Falls Scenic Area. Another good destination is Split Bow Arch, a high, thin formation that is accessed by a scenic half-mile hike from the Bear Creek Overlook.

4. Cave Run Lake

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Find miles and miles of trails at Cave Run Lake.

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Get your heart rate going with a run on the woodland trails at Cave Run Lake, where a network of trails allows you to complete a loop of almost any distance or difficulty. You can hug the lake on the the 2.5-mile Twin Knobs Shoreline Trail, or ascend the 1.5-mile Knob Overlook Trail to enjoy lofty views. For a more rugged adventure, make your way to the backcountry Sheltowee Trace Trail, Kentucky’s longest trail where you can explore miles and miles of narrow, steep, wooded ridges and quiet creeks.

After your run, grab a paddleboard or kayak, or even rent a pontoon boat, and head out to enjoy a sunny afternoon on the water. Cave Run Lake is large, with 8,000 acres and plenty of shoreline to paddle, and there are lots of places to relax and fish. Bring your rod and cast a line for trout, catfish, bass, walleye, or even the elusive muskie. See if you can break the record for the largest Muskie caught in Kentucky, which weighed almost 50 pounds.

5. Carter Caves State Resort Park

Begin the day at Carter Caves State Resort Park, winding through narrow, subterranean passageways and exploring caverns with fantastic geologic formations. Depending on how ambitious and daring your are, you can choose from a variety of cave excursions.

The 75-minute Cascade Tour is the longest and most difficult, covering three-quarters of a mile of rolling terrain and stairs. It's worth it, though, to see the underground 30-foot-tall waterfall and the unique cave formations.

X-Cave is rated as moderate, as it’s 45 minutes long and only a quarter of a mile. But, there are lots of stair steps, narrow passages, and places where you have to stoop. It's unique in that it takes you through two vertical passages that form the shape of an "X," with lots of stalactites and other cave features.

Saltpetre Cave is 60 minutes long, and is fairly easy, covering only about a half-mile of flat terrain. Along the way you’ll learn about the fascinating history of saltpetre, one of Kentucky's first industries, and a vital ingredient in the gunpowder used during the War of 1812.

After your underground adventure, explore the surface. Carter Caves State Resort Park has a variety of wooded trails, many with interesting geologic features. The Natural Bridge Trail and the Raven Bridge Trail both feature sandstone arches, and the Natural Bridge Arch is so large that it even supports a paved road. Check out three of the main sandstone arches in the park by hiking the 3.5-mile Three Bridges Trail.

Written by Jacqui Levy for RootsRated Media in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.

Featured image provided by Laurel F

What Your Post-Adventure Kentucky Craft Brew Says About You

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The craft-beer scene is booming in Kentucky, with dozens of breweries throughout the state offering a great variety of drinks, from fruit-flavored porters to ales that are aged in barrels. The terrain of the beer scene is as varied as Kentucky’s landscape, and you’re certain to find a brew that suits you perfectly.

They say there are certain “personality types” among craft beer lovers. Your choice in beer could indicate you’re a “geek” or “gourmand,” a happy-go-lucky person, or even a deep-thinker. With that in mind, we’ve highlighted some of Kentucky’s iconic craft beers and the types of people that gravitate toward them. Check ‘em out—do any of these brews match your personality?

Sprockets

Ever since Mike Myers created “Sprockets,” the mock-German TV show on “Saturday Night Live,” America’s view of German culture hasn’t been the same. Gravely Brewing Co. in Louisville created a pilsner beer of the same name, and it won silver in the 2018 World Beer Cup German Pilsner category. If you want to taste the beer in its full, silver-medal glory, you have to wait for the 7-minute pour, which brings out the flavor in more exciting ways.

If Sprockets is your post-adventure beverage, you’re a person who knows good beer. You’ve been to Oktoberfest in Germany and own the craftsman-made lederhosen to prove it. You know all the German beer-drinking songs, and have to sing “Ein Prosit” at least once an hour while drinking. Your collection of steins requires its own room in your home, and you speak fluent German, or at least enough to order the best beer in Munich. You like to tell your friends, “Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!”

Cold Hard Truth

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In 1937, the Ohio River flooded, causing devastation throughout the state, including Paducah. When the flood covered the Coca-Cola bottling plant owned by Luther Carson, he said that if he ever reached dry ground he’d rebuild his plant. And he did in 1939. Now, that plant is the site of Paducah’s first craft brewery, Dry Ground Brewing Company.

If Cold Hard Truth, a “wee heavy” Scotch ale, is your post-adventure brew, you are a person who doesn’t like to fool around. You don’t sugar-coat your words to save anyone’s feelings. Yes, the tattoo hurt. Yes, skydiving might kill you, but it’s totally worth it. No, that hairstyle is not flattering on you. You’ve traveled the world but never once set foot in a “tourist trap,” preferring to get your experiences more authentically, like sleeping on a roof in Morocco, camping in the Black Forest or couch-surfing in Nepal.

Falls City Classic Pilsner

Falls City was founded in 1905 as one of Louisville’s classic, iconic beer brands and it operated until it was shuttered in 1978. In the late 1990s, a Pittsburgh company revived the brand, but then shut it down in 2007. Then, in 2010 Falls City Beer was brought back to life once again, and a taproom opened recently in Louisville’s Nulu neighborhood.

If you’re drinking a Classic Pilsner, you’re a person with classic tastes. You want high-quality beer, but you don’t need anything too fancy—just something that goes down smooth and easy. While you appreciate a small-batch brewery, you’re not a hipster. If you sport a trucker’s cap and bushy beard, it’s because you actually drive a rig and don’t have time to shave. After a great day of fishing, you get together with friends, pour some cold ones and crank up the classic rock.

Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter

Housed in a building that was once a bakery, West Sixth Brewing offers delicious beer and serves it with a slice of social consciousness. Founded in 2012, the company focuses on environmental sustainability and lends support to nonprofits organizations.

Pay it Forward Cocoa Porter is made with organic, fair-trade cacao nibs. For every six-pack of Pay it Forward, 50 cents is donated to a Kentucky charity. So, drinking this beer is actually paying it forward. If your post-adventure brew is the Pay it Forward, you’re a socially conscious person who wants to help others and protect the planet. You shop with reusable bags and prefer to buy food from the farmer’s market. You recycle everything possible and proudly wear used clothing. When you travel, you avoid tourist traps, get off the beaten path, and spend a portion of your trip volunteering to help a local community. When you gather with friends over beers you discuss the merits of moving your house off the grid or downsizing to a tiny home.

76 Falls

Jarfly is the Appalachian term for the cicada, a chirping bug heard all summer long in Kentucky’s hills and valleys. Jarfly Brewing Co. opened in a location that was once a long-time furniture store in Somerset, and brought the building back to life, similar to the way the cicada hides in the ground for 13 or 17 years before bursting forth.

76 Falls, a blonde ale, is named for a Lake Cumberland waterfall that’s popular among boaters and swimmers. If this creamy brew is your post-adventure drink, you likely love the water and all the fun it offers. You like to swim, boat, water-ski, wakeboard, drive a waverunner, snorkel, kayak, canoe, sail, stand-up paddleboard, play water polo and maybe even do some synchronized swimming. Your cannonball has won first place for highest splash in multiple contests. You almost always have a waterproof video camera attached to your person, and your friends can’t remember what your hair looks like when it’s dry.

Written by Lisa Hornung for RootsRated Media in partnership with Kentucky Tourism.

Featured image provided by Drew Farwell

10 Unique Places to Stay in the Southern Finger Lakes Region

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The landscape of New York’s Southern Finger Lakes region is anything but ordinary. The region’s gently rolling blue hills, shimmering lakes, wildlife-rich forests, and endearing towns offer a whole range of accommodation options, with something for every type of traveler—from off-the-grid adventurers to farm-to-table foodies to artistically inclined culture vultures. Break the mold and plan a getaway at one of these unique accommodation options in the Southern Finger Lakes region surrounding Corning, N.Y.

1. Black Sheep Inn & Spa

Located just outside Hammondsport and within walking distance of Keuka Lake, the Black Sheep Inn & Spa is a truly singular escape. The historic, octagonal-shaped structure is done in an Italian stucco style and offers five uniquely appointed guest rooms, along with plenty of cushy perks, including locally sourced farm-to-table breakfasts, special packages for beer and wine lovers, and an on-site spa offering Swedish, deep-tissue, and hot-stone massages. For the artistically inclined, innkeepers Debbie Meritsky and Marc Rotman create art with creatively repurposed materials at the property’s F.L.A.V.O.R Studio & Gallery.

2. Taylor Farm B & B

Wildlife lovers will adore the bucolic Taylor Farm B & B, located just west of Keuka Lake. Book a room in the homey bed & breakfast or rent the Carriage House featuring two sleeping lofts and master bedroom spread over 1,200 feet (including a massive balcony). The 315-acre farm also features scenic walking trails, providing guests the opportunity to encounter area white-tailed deer, beavers, and pileated woodpeckers.

3. Pleasant Valley Inn

There is plenty to entice traveling foodies in the Finger Lakes, including the Victorian-inspired Pleasant Valley Inn. At the chef-owned inn located just outside Hammondsport in the aptly named Pleasant Valley, guests can take advantage of the daily continental breakfast served al fresco and indulge in gourmet meals at the inn’s in-house restaurant, which even offers homemade ice cream (it’s freshly churned every single day!). The elegantly yet cozy inn also has an on-site pub, the perfect place to linger for a nightcap after a scrumptious dinner.

4. The Gaffer Inn

Check out the cultural offerings of the Southern Finger Lakes at the Gaffer Inn, located on Market Street in the bustling center of Corning’s historic Gaffer District, a hub for arts and entertainment. The stylishly appointed inn offers four spacious guests rooms, convenient to iconic cultural attractions like the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rockwell Museum, which highlights the work of American artists. The trendy inn sits directly above Burgers and Beer of Corning, a character-infused eatery serving classic comfort food and offering 30 different beers on tap.

5. Button’s Creekside Farm B&B

Bask in the charm of the Southern Finger Lakes at Button’s Creekside Farm and B&B, just outside the town of Cohocton. The historic farmhouse dates back to the middle of the 19th century and offers four homey guests rooms, each decorated with tasteful antiques. Relax on the front porch with a riveting book, tuck into heaping, homemade breakfasts (including juice made from local concord grapes), or help out with farm chores, which involves meeting resident lambs and kittens. The bed & breakfast also offers unique packages for guests, including pottery experiences with local artisans and culinary experiences that include a visit to Healing Spirits Herb Farm and Education Center located just down the road.

6. Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort

Located just south of Keuka Lake, the Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort has something for everyone. Outdoor lovers can pitch a tent at one of the resort’s campsites, while visitors craving a few more creature comforts can opt for a cabin, cottage, or loft-filled lodge. The resort also has a handful of options for larger groups, including the Bunk House, which sleeps 18 and offers summertime perks like a spacious firepit for s’mores and a sizeable gas grill. Large groups can rent the historic Lehman House, which dates back to the 1850s but now features modern conveniences like a spacious kitchen and family room. It can accommodate up to 12 guests.

7. Stony Brook State Park

The rustic cabins and family-friendly campsites at Stony Brook State Park provide the ideal base camp for waterfall hikes, sun-soaked picnics, and refreshing dips in the park’s stream-filled natural pool. Take advantage of the easy trail access offered by the park’s leafy campsites, or cozy-up in the one of the dog-friendly cabins (which sleep four), ideal for family getaways. In addition to the trio of waterfalls, natural pool, and woodland trails, Stony Brook State Park also features tennis courts, ball fields, and a playground for young campers.

8. Birdseye State Forest

For the ultimately camping experience, head to Birdseye Hollow State Forest, and spend a night beside the lily-pad covered waters of Sanford Lake. For campers already equipped with gear, the state forest offers shady campsites tucked among the towering pines bordering Sanford Lake, ideal for a weekend of bass fishing or kayaking. Besides Sanford Lake, the state forest has plenty of other outdoor offerings, including a portion of the Finger Lakes Trail, a 558-mile footpath meandering across west-central New York from Allegany State Park eastward to the Catskill Forest Preserve.

9. 18 Vine Inn & Carriage House

History buffs can plan the ultimate getaway at 18 Vine Inn & Carriage House in Hammondsport, part of a 19th-century property once belonging to the country’s first champagne producer, Jules Mason. The historic bed & breakfast offers six uniquely decorated rooms, each named for notable historical figures, tucked away on a property adorned with restful gardens and a pool. Guests can also rent quarters in the adjacent Carriage House, including the two bed Coachman’s Quarters or smaller Coach Suite. Large families can even rent the entire Carriage House, which comfortably fits seven.

10. McCarthy Hill State Forest

Craving a little trail time and a night in the backcountry? Head for the McCarthy Hills State Forest, just outside the town of Addison. Primitive camping is allowed throughout the 794-acre state forest (free of charge), and backpackers can easily craft overnight or multi-day hiking loop on the interconnected trail network, showcasing seclude ponds, woodlands, and wildflower-sprinkled meadows. Visitors can also explore the trail system at adjacent Pinnacle State Park, or hop on the Crystal Hills Trail, a 50-mile long offshoot of the regional Finger Lakes Trail.

Need a few more ideas of what to do on your next trip to the Fingers Lakes? Download our free experience guide here.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County CVB.

Featured image provided by Andy Arthur

A Quick & Dirty Guide to the Biking Scene Near Philpott Lake

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Philpott Lake has long-drawn fishermen and boaters from around the region to spend an afternoon on the tranquil water. But the area has also become a hub for cyclists, who’ve discovered that the forested trails and quiet roads are another great way to explore this scenic section of Southwest Virginia.

“It really has any kind of riding that you want to do—and it’s just a beautiful place to explore,” says Tommy Smith, president of the Henry County Bike Club. “You escape onto the trails and it’s really like you have left civilization.”

Jamison Mill Park

You’ll find a wide variety of opportunities to get outside on a bike, whether you prefer knobby tires, skinny ones, or you’re just looking to cruise around with the family. On Philpott Lake’s northeastern side in Franklin County, Jamison Mill Park offers more than four miles of trails for hiking and biking made up of three interconnected loops. There’s no fee for day use in the area, and visitors wanting to spend the night can stay in one of nine campsites by the lake.

Fairy Stone State Park

On the Patrick County side of Philpott in Fairy Stone State Park, the Little Mountain Falls Trail System has about 12 miles of biking trails ranging from moderate to difficult. These ratings mostly depend on your fitness level, as some steeper trails listed as difficult such as the Mountain View Trail are actually paved. Before you set out on your journey, check out the Trail Guide for a map and other relevant park and trail information.

Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop

Located just northwest of Philpott Lake, the Sweet Mountain Laurel Loop centers around the Blue Ridge Parkway, and road cyclists will find lots to love on this designed route that highlights some of the most beautiful scenery in the region. About 12 miles of road are designated as part of the loop, but you can easily string together a 20 to 30 mile ride in the region. Review the map to see several points of interest along the way, including the Mabry Mill and Buffalo Mountain Natural Area Preserve.

I.C. DeHart Park

A 20-minute drive from the lake will take you to the I. C. DeHart Park. Home to the annual Bootlegger’s Blitz (the Virginia State Championship bike race for the past two years and part of the 2018 Virginia Off Road Series), the park has 16 miles of high-quality mountain bike trails to test your technical skills and stamina. The park is named after Isaac DeHart, whose mill on Widgeon Creek was a fixture in the area for years. DeHart also ran a (legal) distillery and shipped his alcohol around the country. When he passed away, his widow donated the land to what was at the time known as the County of Patrick.

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The Little Mountain Falls Trail System has about 12 miles of biking trails, with plenty of singletrack.

Virginia State Parks

Horsepasture Price Road

About a half an hour south of Philpott near Martinsville off Horsepasture Price Road, the Mountain Laurel Trail System is rapidly becoming a staple for mountain bikers of all skill levels. With help from local trail builders and volunteers, landowner Bob Norris has created more than 10 miles of singletrack that is open to the public on his own 100 acres. In addition, there are talks with other owners whose property is adjacent to the land to expand the trail system even further. Mountain Laurel has something for everyone, and it was deliberately designed to provide accessible options for beginners while still keeping things fun for more advanced riders. If you’re looking to meet new riding partners, Henry County Bike Club meets at the trails every Sunday at 2 p.m.

Blue Ridge Parkway

More interested in hitting the road? Both Franklin and Patrick counties (on the east and west sides of Philpott, respectively) are bordered by the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway may be known as “America’s Favorite Drive,” but any avid road cyclist will tell you it’s up there on the riding list, too.

“We’re lucky to have that one in our backyard,” said Smith, the Henry Bike Club president.

Spectacular views at regular overlooks help distract you from the great workout you’re getting on all the climbs, and the majority of the parkway south of Roanoke maintains an elevation above 2,500 feet, contributing to cooler air and pleasant breezes during your ride.

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Locals love riding the Blue Ridge Parkway, and with views like this, who could blame them?

Lisa Panero

Martinsville

For more casual rides near Philpott, consider heading to Martinsville to ride the Dick and Willie Passage Rail Trail, 4.5-mile paved trail on the site of the former Danville and Western Railroad. The trail is being expanded and will soon more than double to 10 miles. The Henry County Bike Club meets at Liberty Street for a Ride and Dine every Friday morning around 11, riding the length of the trail and then stopping in for lunch at one of the local eateries.

If you want to get off the pavement but you’re not quite ready for narrow singletrack trails, check out the Fieldale Walking Trail (bikes are welcome) just outside of Martinsville. This 2.4-mile doubletrack trail runs along the Smith River and is flat and open, meaning it’s perfect for beginning mountain bikers who want to get out in nature and enjoy scenic river views while getting more comfortable on a bike.

Where to Get a Bike

Itching to ride a bike but don’t have your own? The Martinsville-Henry County YMCA Bike Barn Program provides loaner bikes and helmets at the Doyle Street trailhead. (Call the YMCA at 276-634-6427 to request a bike.) The Bike Barn is open seven days a week from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Best of all, it’s free, so there’s no excuse not to get out and enjoy a bike ride.

There’s no shortage of fun things to do around Philpott Lake, but if you’re visiting the area, spending time on two wheels is a worthwhile part of any itinerary.

Written by Michael Welch for RootsRated Media in partnership with Patrick County.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

How to Have an Uncommon Health and Wellness Getaway in Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

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With glistening glacial lakes, vast expanses of pristine forest, bountiful family farms, and charming towns, the Southern Finger Lakes region of New York is the ideal place for a one-of-a-kind health and wellness getaway. In the Southern Finger Lakes region, it’s easy to combine fresh air and exercise with fresh farm-to-table cuisine for serious relaxation. Slow down and spend a weekend soaking up the restorative serenity of this scenic region of the state.

Peaceful Paddling

No visit to the Finger Lakes is complete without some time on the water. Spend a morning gliding over the crystal water of Keuka Lake on a stand-up paddleboard in the company of ducks, loons, and grebes with a rental from Keuka Watersports in Hammondsport. The sinuous, Y-shaped lake stretches for nearly 20 miles, and for newbie paddlers still mastering the art of balance, there are plenty of sheltered nooks and crannies to explore.

If you prefer moving water, trade the quiet waters of Keuka Lake for the Chemung River. Formed by the Cohocton and Tioga rivers just outside Corning, the Chemung River flows eastward eventually meeting the Susquehanna. Once a vital trade artery, today the river offers plenty of picturesque paddling. On the Paddle the Palisades tour offered by Southern Tier Kayaking, kayakers float past rolling hills, woodlands, and the namesake Palisades on the 6-mile trip between Corning and Elmira. Experienced paddlers can explore even more of the waterway along the Chemung River Trail, which forms part of the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, a massive conglomeration of regional water-trails covering the eastern United States.

Trail Time

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Spencer Crest Nature Center offers a peaceful place for the whole family to explore.

Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The vast forests and rolling foothills of the Southern Finger Lakes are laced with scenic trails that are perfect for a hike, run, or leisurely stroll. Trail runners love the leafy footpaths through the Spencer Crest Nature Center, just outside Corning. The 7-mile trail network moseys through tranquil woodlands surrounding a cattail-edged pond. Rather cover a few more miles? Head to the Erwin Wildlife Management Area, just west of Corning. Runners can tackle more than 16 miles of trails rambling through forests filled with maple, oak, and hemlock.

If you’re not a runner, don’t worry—head to Stony Brook State Park, just south of Dansville, and explore one of the stunning, glacier-sculpted gorges. On the park’s appropriately named Gorge Trail, hikers are treated to views of three stunning waterfalls. The trail ends at the park’s stream-fed swimming pool, perfect for a refreshing, post-hike dip.

Take to Two Wheels

Cyclists have almost unlimited options on the quiet country routes and scenic byways covering the Southern Finger Lakes region. Roll past nationally renowned wineries, historic towns, and the clear waters of Keuka Lake on the 36-mile Hammondsport Circle Tour. Or try the shorter Savona-Sonora-Sanford Lake Loop. The 9.2-mile circuit includes a ride through the Birdseye Hollow State Forest, taking cyclists past the idyllic picnic spots perched beside Sanford Lake.

Eat Well

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Check out the Corning Farmers’ Market for seasonal fruits and other local foods.

Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

The family farms dotting the tumbling foothills of the Southern Finger Lakes region are known for their seasonal yields, producing everything from sweet summer berries to crisp, autumn apples to delicious, artisan-crafted cheeses.

Round out the health and wellness weekend with some nutritious, locally sourced fare, and pick up provisions at one of the thriving farmers markets scattered throughout the region. The Corning Farmer’s Market takes place in Riverfront Centennial Park, in the heart of the historic Gaffer District, on Thursdays from June 7-October 25. You’ll find local delicacies including seasonal produce, wildflower honey, fruit preserves, and naturally raised meats. In Hammondsport, the farmers market occurs twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday) beside Keuka Lake from June through October.

After a session at the farmers market, delve further into the local agriculture scene with an insightful visit to Healing Spirit Herb Farm and Education Center in the cozy hamlet of Wallace. The 30-acre family farm specializes in producing medicinal herbs, crafting a wide array of products, including everything from tinctures and salves to healthful teas. The location also regularly offers hands-on educational opportunities for visitors, hosting events like farm walks, classes, and informative seminars.

Enrichment for Body and Mind

Recharge mind and body—and meet some adorable four-legged locals—with a Goat Yoga session at the ZiegenVine Homestead in Savona. During the 45-minute session, held in the middle of a grassy meadow, curious members of the homestead’s goat herd make the rounds to mingle with practicing guests. Tranquility-seeking visitors can also get centered at Keuka Peaceful Roots in Hammondsport, just a few blocks from Keuka Lake. Aside from yoga, the studio also offers Pilates classes, rejuvenating massages, and Reiki.

Get Pampered

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Take a local yoga class with baby goats for a fun way to get your practice in while on vacation.

Allison Lavine

After spending your day hiking, biking, and paddling, schedule some well-earned pampering at one of the region’s restorative spas. In Corning, the Four Feathers Massage & Wellness Center offers a range of massage options, including chair massage sessions as short as 5 minutes, and extensive therapeutic massages stretching for an hour and a half. Also in Corning, A Touch of Tranquility also has a buffet of health and wellness treatments, including custom-massages, body scrubs, exfoliating wraps, and even private yoga sessions. For a whole weekend of pampering, book a stay at the historic Black Sheep Inn & Spa, offering an array of rejuvenating treatments, including deep tissue, hot stone, and Swedish massages. There’s no better way to recover from a weekend exploring the natural beauty of the region.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Steuben County CVB.

Featured image provided by Corning and the Southern Finger Lakes

Your Complete Guide to the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia

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Ask almost any thru-hiker, and they’ll tell you, the 170 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia are among the highlights of the trip. From the leafy banks of Whitetop Laurel Creek to the cloud-nestled high country of Mount Rogers to the ridgelines above Burkes Garden, Southwest Virginia is home to some of the most memorable portions of the legendary 2,190 mile footpath. Beyond the scenery, the region is also renowned for celebrating the culture of thru-hiking, famed for welcoming towns and kindly trail angels.

Overview

The Appalachian Trail saunters into Southwest Virginia from the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee, crossing the state line just about four miles south of the town of Damascus. After moseying directly through the heart of the trekker-friendly town, the trail meanders into the into the 200,000 acre Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, part of the massive Jefferson National Forest. Once within the confines of the Jefferson National Forest, the footpath traipses through the lake-anchored Beartree Recreation Area, before entering the high country of Mount Rogers, the realm of panoramic bald peaks, montane forests, and pony-trod meadows.

In the high country, the trail skirts Virginia’s loftiest peak, 5,729 foot Mount Rogers, before snaking through a corner of Grayson Highlands State Park. After descending from the high country, the trail continues through the Jefferson National Forest, veering just seven miles from the hiker-friendly town of Marion. About 35 miles beyond Marion, the trail treats hikers to a bird’s-eye view of pastoral Burke’s Garden—Virginia’s loftiest valley and largest historic district—courtesy of the vantage point provided at Chestnut Knob. Just before meandering out of Southwest Virginia, the trail climbs Pearis Mountain to one of the footpath’s most iconic viewpoints, the rock outcrop dubbed Angel’s Rest, before descending to the New River, one of the oldest waterways on Earth.

You don’t have to be a thru-hiker to enjoy the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia. Choose a scenic section for a day hike, or play a multi-day backpacking trip in the region. Here are just a few of the highlights to explore.

Abingdon and Damascus

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The Appalachian Trail Days is celebrated in Southwest Virginia every spring.

Waldo Jaquith

After the Appalachian Trail crosses into Southwest Virginia from Tennessee, one of the first stops is Damascus. Located 465 miles from the trail’s southern terminus, the town is an alluring haven for weary thru-hikers, with plenty of creature comforts, including places to load up on maps and repair or replace battered gear, like Sundog Outfitter and Mt. Rogers Outfitters.

Just twenty minutes northwest of Damascus is its sister city of Abingdon, which is an excellent base camp for anyone exploring the region. The two cities are connected by the Virginia Creeper Trail, another spectacular option for hiking, running and cycling. (Take a shuttle to the trail’s start at Whitetop Station and enjoy a mostly downhill ride all the way back to Abingdon.) Take advantage of Abingdon’s restaurants, many of which focus on locally produced products, like Jack’s 128 Pecan. After a day on the trail, a craft brew from the Wolf Hills Brewing Co. is a treat not to be missed.

In the spring, the Appalachian Trail Days festival features a rollicking, weekend-long celebration of the iconic footpath, featuring live music, tasty food, and vendor demos.

Mount Rogers High Country

A mishmash of airy Appalachian balds, highland spruce-fir forests, and mountain meadows nibbled by wild ponies, the high country of Mount Rogers is like no place else on the entire East Coast. Fortunately for thru-hikers, the Appalachian Trail offers one of the most spectacular routes through the vista-laden highlands. Besides the wandering ponies, the stunning upland realm supports a unique array of fauna, including Northern flying squirrels, pygmy salamanders, and high-elevation birds not encountered elsewhere in the state.

In the high country, the Appalachian Trail leads trekkers through the pristine Lewis Fork Wilderness and the trout-stream-braided Little Wilson Creek Wilderness, while also rambling past aesthetic gems like "The Scales," a vast alpine pasture that once functioned as a cattle-weighing station, and the braided cascades of Comers Creek Falls, a photo-worthy picnic stop.

Buzzard Rock on Whitetop Mountain

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Buzzard Rock features brilliant colors during the fall.

Virginia State Parks

Crowning a quintessential Appalachian bald, the panoramic crag on Whitetop Mountain dubbed Buzzard Rock is the fourth highest point in the entire state. Perched at 5,095 feet, the stack of rocks offers views of the ridgelines of Iron Mountain, the forest-shrouded summit of Mount Rogers, and weather-permitting, even 5,837 foot Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina.

Grayson Highlands State Park

Located in the heart of the Mount Rogers high country, Grayson Highlands State Park is a luxury-laden pitstop for thru-hikers, replete with perks like hot showers, fire-ring studded campsites, and a seasonal Country Store, perfect for grabbing treats for the trail. The park is also home to nearly 100 wild ponies, introduced to the park nearly a half-century ago to graze the highland balds and thwart reforestation. While the herd freely roams the park and adjacent Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the sturdy ponies are regularly found grazing the upland meadows of Wilburn Ridge. Besides wild ponies and trailside amenities, boulder-strewn Grayson Highlands State Park is also a hotspot for climbers, loaded with more nearly 1,000 problems to tackle.

Partnership Shelter

One of the most-buzzed about shelters on the Appalachian Trail, the spacious Partnership Shelter has a reputation that precedes it—especially as a place hikers can order pizza on the trail, from the nearby town of Marion. Offering running water, and even a shower, the sturdy shelter is also a popular spot for socializing, especially following Appalachian Trail Days in the spring, when northbound thru-hikers pass the log-hewn lean-to on the path to Katahdin.

Burke’s Garden Overlook

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Burke’s Garden remains a bucolic time-capsule—and one of the state’s most unique historic districts.

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One of the best places to catch a glimpse of the stunning geological anomaly dubbed Burke’s Garden is from the Appalachian Trail, along Chestnut Knob above Walker Gap (marked by the Chestnut Knob shelter, at 4,409 feet). Nicknamed God’s Thumbprint, the high-elevation valley – sitting at 3,200 feet – is completely encircled by Garden Mountain, and was famously the top choice location for George Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate. Today, verdant Burke’s Garden remains a bucolic time-capsule, and one of the state’s most unique historic districts.

Practical Information

The Mount Rogers Appalachian Trail Club is tasked with managing about 60 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia, beginning at the Tennessee border, and including section in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, the Jefferson National Forest, and Grayson Highlands State Park. The group is an invaluable source of information on the trail, and leads regular recreational hikes in the high country of Mount Rogers.

Maintained by the Southwest Virginia Citizen Science Initiative, the website High Lonesome Trails also provides detailed information on several regional sections of the Appalachian Trail and other hikes in Southwest Virginia.

For thru-hikers or day hikers, detailed maps of the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia include National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated Map of the Mount Rogers High Country (which includes Grayson Highlands State Park), and the pair of maps available from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, covering the Appalachian Trail in Southwest Virginia from the Tennessee border to the New River. So learn more and take advantage of one of the state’s most impressive outdoor resources.

Written by Malee Baker Oot for RootsRated Media in partnership with Abingdon.

Featured image provided by Virginia State Parks

5 Things Parents Should Know Before Choosing a Summer Camp

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Looking for a cure for the winter blues? Start making plans for the summer. Having something fun to look forward to — such as days off and family trips — can make those dreary days more bearable. One thing you'll want to add to your summer planning list is finding a great summer camp or two for your kids.

Even before leaves start appearing on the trees, many organizations begin announcing dates and enrollment for summer camp sessions. Get a jump start on the process with this guide to choosing an enriching summer activity, where your child will also have a blast.

First, know the best places to look

You may not be aware of the number of great summer day camps taking place around your community. Start with college campuses, parks and recreation departments, local school districts and churches. Be sure to tune in to nonprofits, like performing arts centers, museums and your local animal shelter or zoo. Finally, ask the other adults in your child's life for the inside scoop. The art teacher, soccer coach and scout leader may be in the know about the best camps in town.

Look for the immersive experience

When you think about it, "camp" is an odd word choice. But look at what sleep-away camp means to kids, and it makes sense. Yes, it's fun to sleep in a cabin and spend all day sailing, swimming and climbing. What's key is that these kids are immersed in a new reality that's different from the usual home and school routines. So when a local organization bills an activity a "camp," they promise an experience that lets your kid jump in and become a part of something. When choosing the right camp, look for that quality. Is there a clear theme or topic? Will kids be active and involved? Or is the "camp" just made up of a series of talks led by adults?

Make sure your child is on board

Consider your child's interests and how camp can make them stronger. Your play-acting child with a flair for drama will probably thrive and bloom at theater camp. However, if camp is a strategy to help them improve at something they struggle with, make sure the program is designed for these kids, or you're setting them up for a session of misery. After all, you wouldn't send your sports-loathing child to, say, a high-intensity wrestling camp, to make them more athletic.

Don't forget the fun factor

What makes camp truly memorable is having fun, so make sure the camp you're looking at takes fun seriously. For example, Blake Furlow, CEO of Bricks 4 Kidz, says kids keep coming back to their camps partly because these sessions bring building with LEGO Bricks to the next level of fun and exciting. But watching their enjoyment unfold during the camp is also massively rewarding. "Seeing the kids light up, get excited and make new connections during a Bricks 4 Kidz class is a heart-warming experience," Furlow says.

Consider longevity

When looking at various programs, a good question to ask is how long the camp has been around. New summer camp themes and programs can sound exciting and fresh, but it takes a few rounds to work out the kinks with any new organization. Choosing well-established programs with experienced leaders is one way to ensure that your child will get that worthwhile and fun experience with a new activity.

If you're looking for a camp experience from a trusted provider that fosters learning in STEM subjects, look for a Bricks 4 Kidz franchise in your community. Bricks 4 Kidz is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing fun and enrichment for kids in schools and communities across the United States and beyond! At these camps, kids get to use LEGO Bricks along with specialized LEGO Technic pieces like gears, axles and electric motors to build unique and exciting models to help kids explore engineering and architecture — while having a blast doing it. To discover camps taking place in your area, visit Bricks4Kidz.com.

Written by Brandpoint for The Healthy Moms Magazine.

Featured image provided by Jonathan Petersson

A Guide to Keeping Last-Minute Travel Affordable

Keeping Last-Minute Travel Affordable

“Variety’s the very spice of life, that gives it all its flavour,” so wrote William Cowper in his 1785 poem, The Task, thus giving way to a phrase that would affix itself firmly to the modern lexicon. Of course he was wrong, for spontaneity is the true spice of life. That flavoursome fix of dropping all your conventions and winging it. Just Do It, as Dan Wieden’s iconic slogan goes.

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Little can evoke the power of spontaneity like last minute travel. The finger on the map, the need for some sunshine to splash on your bones, or the want to ski the season’s last snowfall, whatever the motivation, taking momentary leave of the mental shackles that tie you to planned travel is a liberating experience. For regular travellers or once-a-year holidaymakers, the effects are the same: excitement and invigoration, a return to the primal essence that gives travel its desirability.

When all is said and done, you will only regret the things you didn’t do in life, with a last minute trip to a new or well tried-and-tested destination, there’s little can go wrong. Universally considered a cheap way to travel, the expenses of last minute excursions can soon mount—it is worth keeping these top tips in mind to make your last minute holiday as affordable as it is exhilarating …

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Be flexible with your dates: an ideal situation for digital nomads and no-ties freelancers, should your schedule allow, you can save a ton of money by being flexible with your travel dates. When booking flights or hotels, days and weeks can vary greatly in price. Do your research in comparing both online before diving in at the deep end and making your booking. For obvious reasons, it’s often pricier to fly on a Friday and return on a Monday, so look into travelling mid-week instead, as it could save you some serious spending cash.

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Go hand luggage only: You’ll often find with flights that the headline price seems reasonable, but soon be frustrated by the deluge of optional extras offered to you on the following screens. Before you know it, you’ll have paid out extra money just to be sitting with your travel buddy, enjoying an in-flight meal with extra leg room and luggage in the hold. Cut down on these extra costs by bringing your own snacks and taking only a cabin-sized bag on board. It may mean you have to cut down your holiday wardrobe, but it’s definitely worth it when you save a healthy chunk of cash that can be used on upping the design desirability stakes of your hotel instead. (And why not just take a book and enjoy a few hours apart from the travel companion you’ll be stuck to like glue for the coming days or weeks?)

Avoid staying in the city centre: Naturally, you won’t want to be too far from city attractions, but you also might want to avoid the epicentre of hustle and bustle too. If you’re heading to a city such as London, you’ll find the nightly rate increases astronomically for a hotel in Covent Garden, but look a little further afield in vibrant areas such as Stratford, Peckham, or Walthamstow, and you’re sure to find a more reasonable price per night. You’ll also be able to enjoy your travel experience like a local, so make sure you allow time to do your homework on the city’s emerging neighbourhoods. It’s always worth checking out different London hotel deals on a comparison website to weigh up your options and find accommodation that suits your needs and budget, searching with a map can help you pinpoint neighbourhoods that deliver on both style and savings.

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Save on foreign currency: It might be tempting to tap and use your credit or debit card whilst you’re away, but you will need to bear in mind the fees associated with using your cards abroad. You’ll likely be charged for cash withdrawals on top of a commission fee for each purchase. Instead, think about seeking out the best currency deal and get your holiday money before you head off. You also want to avoid changing up your currency at the airport too, as the commission can be eye-wateringly high, meaning you won’t get as much bang for your buck. Savvy regular travellers might also want to consider signing up for a borderless bank account like N26, which can make travel purchases as cheap as those in your home country.

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Eat like a local: It goes without saying, the best spots to eat and drink whilst you’re abroad are wherever the locals are in abundance. Avoid the tourist traps and restaurants in popular areas, instead aiming to discover the backstreets and hidden gems that will astound your wallet as much as your stomach. If your hotel lays out a breakfast spread, make the most of it. Eat enough to see you through until the late afternoon, a hearty late lunch should mean you’re only forking out for one main meal a day, and you’ll be able to take advantage of cheaper lunchtime rates and special menu deals.

However you go about your last minute travels, it’s always worth remembering that pairing that intoxicating spontaneity with a few hours of research and a helping of common sense will ensure your experience is as rich in affordability as it is in much-needed stimulation.

Written by Amelie Jones for We Heart.

Featured image provided by We Heart

Weston Ski Track – Cross Country Skiing

Weston Ski Track

Intro

Weston Ski Track has great cross-country skiing for the whole family and beginners. Weston Ski Track offers a variety of trails. It has 9.3 miles of natural-snow trails, weather permitting, and 1.3 miles of trails in the snowmaking area. Here you will find four different tracks with various trail where you can enjoy, practice, and even take lessons on cross-country skiing without having to travel far from Boston. You won’t want to miss out on all the fun this place has to offer!

What Makes It Great

Weston Ski Track offers 1.5 miles of trails for a great cross-country skiing adventure in their snowmaking area. However, the trails expand to 9.3 miles of fun in their natural-snow trails with a good snow fall and with the help of their master groomers. When the entire ski area is open, there are four tracks in total. These tracks include John Hart Track, Red Tail Track, Coyote Track, and Fox Track. Each track is filled with different trails that loop and connect with one another. While on the tracks you can enjoy not only the fantastic activity of cross-country skiing, but also the beauty of the Charles River.

The track offers both adult and kid lessons. Adult lessons are 75 minutes classical or skate-skiing. During a classical lesson you will learn the basics of motions, turning, and negotiating small hills. During skate-skiing lessons you will learn the basics of weight transfer, edging, and V1 timing. There are also 75 minute kid lessons for age 6-10 where they will be introduced to the fun gliding on snow. Lessons are offered most weekends and holidays. Reservations recommended for the 10:30 am and 11:30 am lessons. Private lessons for children and adults are available as well. Weston Ski Track truly offers it all!

Who is Going to Love It

Families and friends will absolutely love cross-country skiing at Weston Ski Track. Skiers have four tracks to choose from and the various trail within them. The terrain in these tracks are fairly easy-moderate. Adding to the fun, the adult and kid lessons continue to make this place extremely beginner and family friendly. Or, if you want to learn in a more private setting, you can enjoy the private lessons offered by Weston Ski Track. There is truly something for everyone her and a lot to love about this place!

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Boston, Take the Mass Pike to exit 15. Stay left after the tollbooth. At the end of the ramp, turn left onto Park Road, following a sign for Route 16. Weston Ski Track is a quarter mile down the road on the left.

Hours are Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm, Friday 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 6 pm. Parking is free, however, lessons and trail passes are $33 for adults, $29 for children ages 13-16, and $20 for children ages 11-12.

 

Written by Danielle LeBlanc for RootsRated.

Featured image provided by Elizabeth Lloyd

Introducing the Beautiful, Barely Inhabited Island Off the Coast of Maine That You Need to Have on Your Travel Radar

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Though it sits just 10 miles off the mainland, Monhegan Island—whose name comes from an Algonquian word that means "out-to-sea island"—feels light years away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. The island was once known as a prime fishing destination for the native Abenaki tribe, and today this 4.5-square-mile rocky retreat is home to around 75 people (give or take). It’s even smaller neighbor, Manana Island, isn’t inhabited at all. Monhegans’s tiny village is home to a fish market and a few shops, inns, and restaurants, but this isn’t a tourist trap by any means.

Monhegan keeps it simple and gives you a chance to slow down: no chain stores, not even a bank—but plenty of inspiring views. Get ready to fall in love with Monhegan Island’s New England charm and rugged good looks.

Historically, Monhegan had long been a prime fishing destination.
Historically, Monhegan had long been a prime fishing destination.

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How to Get There

Ready to make your way to Monhegan? The island is accessible only by boat, and you can catch a ride from one of three ports: Boothbay Harbor, New Harbor, and Port Clyde. Since cars aren’t allowed on the island, there are no car ferries, but parking is available at all three ports. The Monhegan Boat Line departs from the charming village of Port Clyde and runs trips to and from the island at least once a day (more during the busy season from the end of May through the beginning of October) for $38 per adult round trip. The Hardy Boat Ferry to Monhegan departs from New Harbor and takes under an hour. Daytrippers rejoice, this boat gives you five hours to explore the island before returning back to the mainland, plus pets can join for $5! Several outfitters also offer all-day cruises, circumnavigating the island or exploring nearby bays, at an additional cost.

The island is accessible only by boat, so make sure to book your ferry through Monhegan Boat Line.
The island is accessible only by boat, so make sure to book your ferry through Monhegan Boat Line.

Timothy Valentine

What to Do on Monhegan Island

If you want to learn more about the history of the island, make the Monhegan Museum of Art and History your first stop. You’ll find it in the Monhegan Light Station, and the museum features an annual art exhibit, artifacts from both the Native Americans and the settlers that later lived there, and information about the historical building that houses it all.

Monhegan is known for being home to a thriving artists’ colony. Drawing creative types from the far reaches of the globe, it’s been a major destination since the mid-19th century. Big names in American art, like George Bellows and Edward Hopper, were among the hundreds who have painted the island’s rocky cliffs and omnipresent seagulls. Local art is on display at several galleries in the village, including the Crow’s Nest Studio and the well-known Lupine Gallery.

There’s certainly a lot to see on Monhegan Island, but there’s plenty to keep you active, too. Monhegan Associates, Inc. maintains a 350-acre land trust on the island, which is home to 12 miles of hiking trails. Many of the trails on the island match its rugged terrain: narrow and rocky, often wet, with plenty of tree roots, sheer drops, and the occasional poison ivy—this tiny island packs a wallop in the adventure department.

These sea cliffs belong on a postcard, but stay back to avoid strong currents and fierce undertow.
These sea cliffs belong on a postcard, but stay back to avoid strong currents and fierce undertow.

Timothy Valentine

Grab a picnic for your pack at The Novelty or L. Brackett & Son. Take the Whitehead Trail (#7) for panoramic view of the headlands (stay out of the water here—tidal currents and undertow make for dangerous conditions). The strenuous Cliff Trail (#1) requires a longer time commitment, but its spectacular views are well worth the trouble. The Gull Trail (#5) is a great opportunity to see the postcard-worthy headlands from sea level. Several shops on the island sell detailed trail maps, with proceeds supporting trail maintenance and invasive species control within the preserve.

Sea kayaking is also a popular activity around Monhegan Island, but, like everything else here, it’s on the adventurous side. Surprise ocean swells frequently come in, sometimes capsizing boats, and it can be tough to land on or swim to. If you’re an experienced paddler but didn’t bring your kayak, don’t worry—you can rent one from Monhegan Kayak Rentals.

Monhegan Brewing Company is a great place to relax after a hike at Lobster Cove.
Monhegan Brewing Company is a great place to relax after a hike at Lobster Cove.

Monhegan Brewery

When you’re ready for a break, head to the village to experience the slow, pleasant pace of island life. Check out several quaint shops, including The Barnacle, which sits right on the wharf. Head to the Monhegan Museum of Art & History, which features special exhibits during the summer months, or relax with a beer at the Monhegan Brewing Company, just shy of Lobster Cove (where you can explore a shipwreck among the rocky shoreline). Whatever you do, don’t miss out on views of the Monhegan Island Light, the second-highest lighthouse in Maine, which has a light beam range of 20 nautical miles. There’s also a museum in the lighthouse keeper’s home that’s open for most of the summer.

Where to Stay

There are about a dozen places to stay on the island, ranging from quaint inns to seaside rental cottages. Keep in mind that rates vary by season. Plan your trip for a shoulder or off-season to get the most bang for your buck.

Written by Emma Walker for RootsRated in partnership with Maine's Midcoast & Islands.

Featured image provided by Navin75