If you’re looking for a place to relax and unwind, consider heading over to the Lakes Region of Maine. Just 45 minutes north of the state’s coastal city of Portland lies Poland, an idyllic backcountry town full of colonial history, serene shorelines, and walkable woodlands. Here are the 13 most fun and relaxing things to do while in Poland, Maine.
Visit Historic Sites
Poland Spring Preservation Park
The area surrounding the Maine State Building and the All Souls Chapel is a network of trails that lead through some of the most important historic sites in the entire state. Dive into the history of Poland, Maine and follow along old logging roads as they wind from one museum (like the Poland Spring Museum) to other interesting spots. The area is operated and maintained by the Poland Spring Preservation Society, and they have all kinds of information regarding events and exhibits.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village
Established back in 1783, the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is the last standing and functioning Shaker community in the entire world. The Shakers are a devoutly religious people who believe in the merits of self-sufficiency. Today you can tour the Sabbathday village and see some of its important buildings and landmarks. We highly recommend seeing the Shaker museum which is open from May through October, Monday through Saturday, with guided tours of original Shaker room furnishings from the late 1700s into the 20th century. During Open Farm Days (one in July and one in October), there is a blacksmith, traditional crafts demonstrations, and barns are open for tours. Sabbathday Lake Shaker village is technically located in New Gloucester on the border with Poland, but it’s just a short drive out of town.
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Range Ponds State Park
As Poland finds itself in the Lakes Region of Maine, you should definitely make your way to one of their defining lakes. The Range Ponds State Park is a great place to spend an afternoon where you can swim, walk, have a picnic, or just soak up some sun. Fishing is also a popular activity as you’ll be able to catch various species of trout and bass. During the winter months, consider cross-country skiing on the Old Camp Trail.
Heart of Poland Conservation Area
Outside of Poland’s Main Street is one of the quickest and most convenient escapes to nature the town offers. Heart of Poland Conservation is a hilly network of trails that will have you panting in no time. Here, you’ll find thick woodlands, quarries, caves, and a good amount of wildlife. Pets are allowed also, so feel free to bring your furry friend. If you’re traveling with your pup in mind, here’s Pet-Friendly Maine: Our Favorite Locations.
Bragdon Hill Conservation Area
Another great option to get outdoors is the Bragdon Hill Conservation Area. This is a newly-established zone where you’ll find about two miles of trails that wind through interesting features like the town’s largest Hemlock tree, huge boulders, and old stone walls that crisscross throughout the property.
Rent a Boat on Trip Lake
There are tons of different boating outfitters located all around the perimeter of Poland’s Tripp Lake. Depending on the season, renting a boat can be an excellent way to get some fresh air (and the prices aren’t terrible compared to other places in the United States).
Go Shopping and Antiquing
The Poland House
The Poland community is big on antiques, so if you’re more of an urbanite and city dweller, take some time exploring the town’s fascination with centuries-old goods. The Poland House is a quirky spot right in town that many people discover by chance. Here you’ll find everything from candles to old wooden goods and replica toy cars.
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Mayhan’s Antiques and More
Mayhan’s is another spot in town that specializes more generally in wooden goods like furniture, but they also have some unique finds like vintage arcade games, popcorn machines, and movie projector screens.
Summit Springs Golf Course
Poland, Maine knows its way around a golf course or two. Come springtime every year, people from all around the state flock to the town for its pristine greens. Summit Springs is definitely one of the best in the area. Dating back to 1899, it’s only a 9-hole course that can be completed in under a few hours. Fall is also a great time to golf, and nearby you’ll find the Best Places to See Maine Fall Foliage.
Fairlawn Golf and Country Club
The next best option is the Fairlawn Golf and Country Club. Tucked away in a peaceful wooded setting, the course is one thing, but the clubhouse, the patio, and the bar and grille are all worthy of their own recognition. It’s a proper 18-hole championship course in case you’re in the mood for a full day on the greens.
Best Restaurants in Town
Tripp Lake Pizzeria
You can’t go wrong with a no-frills pizza place that knows how to serve up a delicious pie. Tripp Lake Pizzeria usually has some cheap specials and a line of draughts that will convince you to stick around after your meal.
When in Maine’s Lakes Region, you have to dive into the seafood. Cyndi’s offers delicious fried and baked seafood, lobster, clam chowders, soups, sandwiches, and all kinds of other New England gems. Order the Seared Haddock Sandwich with Cyndi’s secret seasoning.
Black Bear Cafe
Post meal, mosey over to the Black Bear Cafe. A pub paying tribute to its Irish roots, you’ll find quenching beers, comfort food, and live music most nights of the week.