Maine: Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Boothbay Harbor Whale & Puffin Cruise

They say you should write about what you know, and there are always adventures to be taken around home! We just happen to live in Vacationland! And I love Boothbay Harbor! Every year for the kids birthday we do an adventure. Madison turned 9 in April, but she loves the water, so we postponed her birthday adventure until we could take on the great Atlantic Ocean! One of her favorite things are Penguins. Well we don’t have those, but we do have Puffin’s. So on a whale and puffin adventure we went!

8:00 am 1st stop, donuts! When you’re off on an adventure, you should always start it with donuts!

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From Auburn it’s about 1.5 hours to Boothbay Harbor. Since it’s a long drive I opted to get a little exercise in on this trip as well. One of my all-time favorite places in Maine happens to also be in Boothbay Harbor!

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9:30 am – Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens! If you love flowers, nature, and Maine – this is the place! I have a membership and seeing the gardens through all the seasons is magical, but this time of year it is a riot of color and the kids area is whimsy and fun. We checked out the fairy houses, the bears den, the greenhouse, the story house, the coloring shed, and the little lake! Then we ventured down the trail to the waterfall and moss garden and then around the middle of the gardens to see the beautiful sculptures. If we had more time, we may have ventured further, but little legs can only go so far, and we needed to have lunch before we ventured on to our “real” trip of the day.

11:30 am – Lunch. We opted to have lunch at the gardens. Call me lazy, but it’s easy and the food is good. I had lobster! When you are this close to the coast, the lobster is good everywhere you go. But they also have “land” options for those who are a little less adventurous!

12:30 pm Stop 4 – batteries! Oops, Madison’s camera needed new batteries and thankfully they are the kind you can grab at the grocery store! We took the brief break to lather on the sunscreen which we promptly got all over the side of my car. So when I got home at 8:30 at night, my car got a bath! Thank goodness for long summer days and it still being light outside!

1:00 pm – Parking and finding our “ride”! We parked along the harbor, in hind sight I probably would have found somewhere farther away to park. $20 for the day and I think we may have taken the last spot in the lot. Sometimes convenience is worth the money though. And this time, it was good we did. We get all the way on the boat and Maddie realizes she left her camera in the car! LOL, kids…sometimes you just have to laugh. So we hurried back to the car, collected the camera and back on the boat we went.

1:30pm – departure! Don’t be late for the boat, they certainly don’t wait around! We sat on top in the open air and watched as the harbor slowly slid by. Islands and lighthouses, if you haven’t seen the Maine coast, a harbor cruise is just beautiful! But we were here for the puffins and whales! After a long cruise out into the Atlantic, we finally make it to the area where the whales have been having out! We saw a pair of humpback whales which showed off for us! (see youtube video below, but don’t judge me on my video…I’m still a beginner! )

4:00 pm – By 4 we were headed to Easter Egg Rock to check out the puffins. Take binoculars and a zoom lens because these little guys are tiny! Adorable, but tiny. Because you can’t get overly close to the island with a big boat, the puffins appear quite small. They fly in and out from the island and you still get to see them. But deciphering them from the other birds hanging out around the island can be more challenging. Next time, maybe I’ll have an even bigger lens to capture these beautiful creatures. Or I’ll see if I can’t get in with the scientists!

5:00pm – Headed back to the harbor. The ride back always seems so much shorter than the ride there. We were back in the harbor by 5:30 and headed back to the car! Since Madison doesn’t like seafood we headed out towards home in search of dinner. Although I am certain that there are turf options at all the local restaurants which serve some of the best seafood around!

6:30: Dinner at Taste of Maine. Boothbay Harbor is off of Route 1, so there are plenty of places to stop on route 1. We picked Taste of Maine because it’s easy to get to and it’s a fun family owned business that’s been there since the 70’s. I had seafood again and Madison had chicken tenders and fries. They have something for everyone including live music! After our bellies were full, we headed home completing our 12 hour day trip full of fun and adventure!

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Until the next adventure! ~ Emily

Big shout out to CAP’n Fish! What an amazing adventure! 

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