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Welcome to Auburn, Lewiston & Points North

The twin cities of Lewiston and Auburn are at the southern end of the central Maine region and a gateway to the western mountains. The “Becoming American” series hosted by Museum L-A and other regional organizations is worth checking out. Gardiner is throwing its annual Oktberfest this month, with Swine and Stein on charming Main Street. Continuing north on the Turnpike, you will come to the state’s capital city of Augusta, situated along the Kennebec River. Explore the capitol building and its lifelike dioramas of Maine’s wildlife, including moose, deer, beavers and birds; browse the Maine State Museum or the Maine State Library; or get acquainted with Augusta’s role in the Revolutionary War at Old Fort Western.

 

1. Museum L-A’s ‘Becoming American’ Series

As local and national debates on immigration continue, a group of community partners in Lewiston and Auburn are working on a program that encourages conversation, celebration, and understanding. At each event in the series, there’s an hour-long film with a different story about immigration followed by a discussion moderated by Reza Jelali of University of Southern Maine and Andrew Baker of Bates College. Upcoming events include “Between Two World: Identity and Acculturation” (Oct. 10, Auburn Public Library, 49 Spring St.); “Help Wanted? Immigration and Work” (Oct. 16, Museum L-A, 35 Canal St., Lewiston) and “Family and Communication” (Oct. 24, YWCA of Central Maine, 130 East Avenue, Lewiston). Each of these events is free and from 6–8 p.m. (museumla.org)

2. Lewiston/Auburn Riverwalk

The Lewiston/Auburn Riverwalk begins behind Auburn’s Hilton Garden Inn and passes Festival Plaza, an outdoor performing arts space with colorful canopies during the summer months. The path meanders by the Androscoggin River and provides views of the Twin Cities, gardens, outdoor art and benches. (laitshappeninghere.com)

3. Lewiston Skate Park

Lewiston Skate Park. Photo by Gabe Souza/Portland Press Herald

Lewiston’s Kennedy Park (120 Park St.) has a 12,000-square-foot skate park designed by a nationally acclaimed design firm, Breaking Ground. The park includes in-ground concrete bowls, ramps, stairs, half-pipes and landscaping. Please protect your noggin.

4. Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary

Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary. Courtesy photo

The Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary, among the largest in New England, is a 372-acre wildlife preserve, “a forested oasis surrounded on three sides by urban and suburban development,” featuring walking trails, wildlife and guided nature walks. A great place for picnicking, hiking or birding, it’s located at 182 High Spring Road in Lewiston.(stantonbirdclub.org/thorncrag-sanctuary)

5. Gardiner Swine and Stein Oktoberfest

Enjoy local beer, good eats featuring local pork, unconventional games and a lineup of live music in an Octoberfest atmosphere outdoors on charming Main Street in Gardiner on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (207–582–3100; gardinermainstreet.org/events/swineandstein)

6. Mount Apatite Park

Mount Apatite Park is a 325-acre wooded park at 64 Mount Apatite Road in the western portion of Auburn. Rockhounds have known about this area for some 150 years, when the first discoveries of gem-quality tourmaline were found there. Today, amateurs may still search the mine tailings for apatite, tourmaline and quartz specimens (special rules apply). The park also has four miles of trails for non-motorized uses such as hiking and mountain biking. Park brochures, which include a trail map, rules and other information, are available at the Auburn Parks & Recreation Department office, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

7. Maine State House

Maine State House

The Maine State House, the state’s Capitol located at the corner Capitol and State Streets in Augusta, was built by Charles Bulfinch, America’s first native-born architect. The building is home to the Maine Legislative Chambers and the Office of the Governor, as well as displays of Maine battle flags and portraits of former governors. For a tour, call Maine State Museum: 2072872301. Tours are given on weekdays between 9 a.m. and noon and last 45 minutes to an hour. Admission is free, but visitors should be prepared to be screened.

8. The Maine State Museum

One of the nation’s oldest state-funded museums, the Maine State Museum at 230 State St., Augusta features collections and exhibits from pre-history, history and the natural sciences. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for seniors and children 6–18, and free for children 5 and under. The maximum charge for a family is $10. (mainestatemuseum.org)

9. Old Fort Western

Old Fort Western

The oldest surviving wooden fort in New England, Old Fort Western is located along the banks of the Kennebec River at 16 Cony St., Augusta. The 1754 fort was used as a staging point by Benedict Arnold for his assault on Quebec during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can tour the National Historic Landmark fort and a museum on the site, complete with period furnishings. (oldfortwestern.org)

10. Goods from the Woods

At a farmhouse celebration in Newcastle celebrate Oxbow Brewing Company beer, great food, music and art. Tickets include entrance to the party, a branded glass, your first beer and two special bottles of Oxbow beer to take home. This eighth annual shindig is at 274 Jones Woods Road, Newcastle on Saturday, Oct. 6, from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $50 on Eventbrite (search “Good from the Woods 2018”) and sure to sell out.