May 31, 2012

Listen, do you want to know a secret?

Some of Maine's best summer spots aren't necessarily the best known. Luckily, we're willing to share the ones we know.

From staff reports

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Birch Point State Park is a little harder to find – and therefore a lot less crowded than many beaches in Maine in the summer months.

Courtesy photo

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All of the chef's ingredients, including meat, are harvested fresh from Maine farms. There are usually three to five menu items to choose from -- a chicken option, a seafood option and a vegetarian option -- all in the $18 to $20 range. Children are welcome here, and can choose healthy, well-balanced dishes from Williams' kids' menu.

A couple of things to remember: Williams only serves water and iced tea, so if you want wine with dinner, it's BYOB. And The Well only accepts cash.

The Well at Jordan's Farm. 21 Wells Road, Cape Elizabeth. 831-9350; wix.com/jordansfarm/thewell#!

OUTDOOR THEATER

Something that has been around for four years ought not still qualify as a secret. But there's also no question that more people need to know about the free Shakespeare at Portland's Deering Oaks offered by Fenix Theatre Company.

For its fifth season, Fenix will present "Macbeth." Should be bloody good. Under the direction of producing artistic director Rob Cameron, Fenix has carved a niche with its irreverence, wit and attention to detail. These shows are sharp, well-paced and thoroughly entertaining. It's fun to bring a blanket or chair and plan a picnic around a relaxing evening of theater presented in the natural amphitheater of the park.

Fenix Theatre Company's "Macbeth." 7 p.m. Wednesdays to Saturdays, July 19 to Aug. 11, at Deering Oaks Park, Portland. Admission is free, with donations accepted. fenixtheatre.com

ICE CREAM & MINI-GOLF

Regardless of where you stand on the golf spectrum, you have to admit an old-fashioned round of mini-golf defines summer fun as much as baseball, beach days and ice cream. In Saco, there's a place where two of these summer dreams can be enjoyed simultaneously. Martel's Ice Cream and Mini-Golf has handmade ice cream to die for, and the course is a traditional one with well groomed landscaping and waterways.

Farther north near Sebago Lake is the Maine-themed Steamboat Landing in Naples. Mini-golf holes include a New England covered bridge, historic Fort Western, a scenic lighthouse and a Maine black bear. You'll wind your way through wooded gardens and hear the sound of running water as it makes its way through the Grist Mill at the 10th hole.

Martel's Ice Cream and Mini-Golf. 757 Portland Road, Saco. 283-1775. Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. $7 for adults; $5 for children.

Steamboat Landing, Route 114, Naples. 693-6782; steamboatlandingminigolf.com. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. $6 per person; $2 to replay.

LIVE MUSIC

Maine has no shortage of large scale-music venues. But if you're looking for something a bit more intimate, we've got just the alley for you to slink down.

At the end of it you'll find The Oak & The Ax, a long, skinny room with low lighting and zero pretense. Since October 2010, it's had a busy schedule of live music with bands from Brooklyn, Boston and a lot farther than that who come to play.

The Oak & The Ax is an all-ages venue; however, it does serve beer, wine and hand-infused sake cocktails, along with some light food offerings like vegetarian sausage sliders.

The Oak and the Ax. 140 Main St., Suite 107, (back alley), Biddeford. theoakandtheax.blogspot.com

MODERATE HIKE

Blueberry Mountain, located in the Caribou-Speckled Mountain Wilderness north of Fryeburg, is aptly named, with an abundance of blueberries to eat on the way to the summit. This 4.5-mile hike is a bit of a challenge with its 1,150-foot elevation gain, but doable for adults (and kids who like to hike) with an average fitness level. The blueberry-eating stops, panoramic summit view of surrounding mountains, and the amazingly deep, clear waters of Rattlesnake Pool to cool off in are well worth the effort to climb this mountain.

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Additional Photos

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Chef Jason Williams' mobile kitchen, The Well in Cape Elizabeth, opens for the season on Friday.

Avery Yale Kamila/Staff Writer

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Rattlesnake Pool is on a trail spur off the Stone House Trail on Blueberry Mountain. The water is incredibly clear and deep.

Wendy Almeida/Staff Writer

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The Oak and The Ax in Biddeford is a great place to listen to live music.

Bryan Bruchman photo



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