Maine is the largest state in New England, and it is the most thinly populated. Vast forests cover much of northern Maine, which definitely lives up to its nickname, the Pine Tree State. But, it is the long, serrated coastline, the famous "stern and rock bound coast," that draws the most visitors.
The capital is Augusta, in the center of the state on the Kennebec River; but Maine's cultural and commercial center, chief port, and all around big city is Portland. This city observed its 360th anniversary in 1992. It now has a dramatic new art museum, a revitalized downtown, and an old waterfront that has been transformed into a lively, colorful shopping and dining district.
The coast of Maine is a yachtsman's dream, a visitor's delight, a continuing seascape of cliffs and rocks, crashing surf, long beaches, deep coves, scenic peninsulas, and salty villages graced by mansions of native sons who captained clipper ships around the world. Maine's maritime history is superbly presented at the Maritime Museum in Bath, still an active port and shipbuilding center.
There are a number of coastal resorts of great character and charm. Ogunquit, on the south coast, is a famous art colony, while nearby Kennebunkport has long been a retreat for artists, writers, and the well-to-do. Old Orchard Beach boasts one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in the Northeast, and it has a boardwalk that in summer is thronged with French-speaking vacationers from Quibec.
Camden is a handsome old town backed by hills and facing the sea, and it is the home port for a fleet of windjammers that sails the coast on one-week cruises. Bar Harbor and Acadia are the magnets that draw most visitors to Maine's northern coast, but places like Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, and Campobello Island are also well worth visiting. Maine islands have a special atmosphere of their own, and ferries connect many of them, such as beautiful little Monhegan?a lobster port and art colony?and the Calendar Islands of Portland's Casco Bay.
Inland lakes, ponds, and rivers draw summer visitors to old resorts like Bridgton, Bethel, Rangeley, and Greenville. In winter, skiers flock to resorts such as Sugarloaf, Saddleback, Big Squaw Mountain, and Sunday River.