We need your help!

Let me start at the beginning, so you know why I need your help …

When I arrived at this chamber of commerce in 2016, after being the Skowhegan Area Chamber executive director for over nine years, I found this chamber created a guest guide called the Allure of the Coast. Some of you may remember it — it was very popular, and with a name that sounds like a straight-to-television Lifetime movie, I can see why it would be memorable.

Besides the title, my biggest issue with the Allure of the Coast — and with many chamber guides to this day — is that there is a lack of precise information. A lot of travel guides are very vague.

Don’t get me wrong; I understand it. Being a chamber of commerce, our goal is to promote all businesses equally and not show favoritism to one over another. If your guide gets too specific, it may appear to some people that you’re playing favorites. Still, I knew there had to be a way.

For example, the Allure of the Coast had a Food & Drink page that was basically:


“If you like food and drink, we have lots of food and drink. We have the freshest seafood, Maine beers, and you haven’t had a lobster roll until you’ve had one here. If you’re more of a land-lover, we have chicken, steak, ham and other great dishes. What about breakfast? Yeah, we’ve got breakfast. And dessert? Mmmmhmmm,  desserts are on the menu …”

Do you see that? It kind of wastes an entire page telling tourists the very obvious fact that “Yes, we have food here.” There was also a Four Seasons page. Do you know what you got from that page? Spring is wonderful. Summer is warm and wonderful. Fall is pretty and wonderful. Winter is cold annnnnd, you guessed it, wonderful.

I want to make it clear that the Allure of the Coast had great local business ads, a very useful business directory, great profiles on the communities in the region and solid photography. However, I wanted to remove the generic content and replace it with better, useable information. With this content overhaul, we wanted to overhaul the brand, too.

Thus, in 2018, we produced our very first “Eat Play Stay – the Companion Guide to Bath, Brunswick and Midcoast Maine.” The name was chosen because it has present tense verbs that tell you where you can eat, play and stay. Also, we coined the phrase “companion guide” because we wanted this to be a publication people brought with them to refer to on their journey.

We took out the vague pages and replaced them with specific content. The FAQ page came directly from asking the staffs at both the Bath Regional Information Center and the Brunswick Train Station Information Center what questions they get most frequently from visitors. Thus, we included “Where’s the best place to get a lobster?”, “Where can we ride a bike?” and several other questions.

We also created a beloved mileage/time chart, in which we selected several locations within and outside of our region and listed both the mileage and, specifically, what the estimated travel time would be to get there. This chart takes into account the summer traffic delays. For example, the Wiscasset bridge can delay someone who is traveling from Bath to Boothbay Harbor. A map may say it’s 25 miles, and the tourist may think they can get there midday in 30-35 minutes — ha! When you’re trip-planning, knowing the estimated travel time can be more important than the actual distance.


I bring all of this up for two reasons: The first is because we’re putting the finishing touches on the 2023 Eat Play Stay guide, which will be out by Memorial Day (yes, ads are still available for local businesses but closing next week). Secondly, though, we need your help for one of our biggest content sections (see, you knew I’d pay off that introduction).

Very trickily, we discovered how we can list some more specific content. In 2018, and every edition since, we have published three top 10 lists. The top 10 lists are cultivated from your responses to three different survey posts that we put on our Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber Facebook page. We started on Monday with “What is your favorite place to go for a walk or a hike?”

This is similar to a question from our last Eat Play Stay edition in 2021 (we did not do a 2022 guide due to printing costs and the amount of remaining 2021 guides we had). In that previous edition, we had asked about favorite walking trails; we adapted this year’s question as some people expressed interest in hikes as well.

From the responses we get between now and 9 a.m. March 27, we’ll build a top 10 list in the guide of the best places to go for a walk or a hike in our region, with a few sentences about each. We count every comment as a vote, and we also count the likes a comment gets as a vote. By giving all businesses an opportunity to be promoted in these top 10 lists, we’re being fair to all. We’re not picking the favorites — our local citizens are.

As I write this on Monday evening, my team has not decided what the Tuesday and Wednesday top 10 questions will be, but by the time you read this column, they should all be posted. Please give us your thoughts and promote the places you love the most. We encourage you to share these questions with friends and families, as the more engagement we get, the better.

Everybody likes a little “inside information from the locals” when they travel. So, help us out if you get a chance and promote some of the things you like best in our region. We all have favorites, so tell the world about yours.

Cory King is executive director of the Bath-Brunswick Regional Chamber of Commerce.

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