Vote now in the survey.

Summer school is now in session.

There’s so much to do during a Maine summer — so many places to go, things to see and treats to eat — that you really need to study up before summer comes.

You need to know what you want to see, and do, and eat beforehand. If you don’t, the summer will be gone before you chomp your first fried clam or down your first Maine-made summer ale.

Lucky for you, the new Audience Readers’ Poll is here to help.

For 24 years, the Readers’ Poll has been a resource to Mainers looking to find food and fun wherever it may be. This year, we’ve revamped the poll to focus it squarely on summer fun.

Here’s how it works: The poll asks Mainers to vote for Maine’s best outdoor dining, ice cream shop, beaches, swimming hole, fishing spot, etc. Then we print the results on June 6 so folks can use them as a guide all summer long.

Other summer-focused categories we added this year include: best trail for walking, hiking, or biking; best historic site; best art gallery; best summer festival; and best place for family entertainment.

On the issue of beaches, this year we broke that up into three categories: best beach on the southern coast; best beach in the Casco Bay region; and best beach in the midcoast region. That way, the poll results are more likely to offer people recommendations for beaches close to them, and also give more ideas for different kinds of beach experiences. You’re more likely, for instance, to find beaches with amusements on the southern coast, and more likely to find seclusion in the midcoast.

To add summer-focused categories, we took some other categories out. But to compensate for some of those changes, we’ve kept broad categories — like best restaurant — which can cover the territory of some of our former categories. So if you have a favorite diner, burger joint, seafood place or any other type of eatery, you can vote for it under the heading of either best dine-in restaurant or best take-out restaurant. Or best outdoor dining.

When filling out your ballots, please remember the results will be a resource for fellow Mainers. So please be as specific as possible by using the exact name and location of the place you vote for. And remember this is a Maine poll, so we’re looking for local places and businesses — places that are unique to Maine.

Remember, by voting ,you’re not only helping to create a summer guide to Maine, you’re giving recognition to some of your favorite eateries, fun spots and natural attractions.

The results of the poll will be published in the Audience section of the Maine Sunday Telegram.

You can vote starting right now. You can vote online or by filling out and mailing in the ballot from the newspaper. To be counted, your ballot must be received at the newspaper by 5 p.m. May 21. Mailed ballots need to come one per envelope and must be original copies– no photocopies. 

Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at:

[email protected]