Don’t Miss The Great Maine Outdoor Weekend!

Labor Day weekend, I forded Sourdahunk Stream on the east side of Baxter Park with my 5-year-old grandson Vishal Mellor on my back. Then I placed him on the ground and we hiked a few hundreds yards to one of my favorite pools, hoping to catch some native brook trout.

Because he hasn’t yet learned to cast flies, I did the casting, then handed the fly rod to Vishal. He immediately began reeling, hooked the fish, and hauled them in, as we both whooped it up.

There are no sweeter words than, “I’ve got another one Grampy!”

I took the hooks out of the trout, handed them to Vishal, and he carefully released them back into the stream. We caught 24 trout in an hour and a half of the most fun you can have with a grandchild.

Trout number 21 was a whopper. As soon as Vishal released the fish, I made another cast, only to hear him exuberantly exclaim, “We’re both very happy!” Boy, he got that right!

You can make another child happy – and yourself – by participating in the Great Maine Outdoor Weekend, scheduled for September 28, 29 and 30.

This year’s event was organized by a team of folks from LL Bean, Maine’s Bureau of Parks and Lands, Appalachian Mountain Club, Maine Coast Heritage Trust, Maine Recreation and Park Association, and WinterKids.

This is a weekend where organizations and businesses all across Maine offer free or low cost introductory level activities that get you outside. The Winter Weekend was held in early March. The Summer/Fall weekend will be even bigger and better.

Check out the amazing list of outdoor events on the group’s website, You can search by location or activity.

I’ll bet the Harvest Moon Celebration at Beech Nut would be an evening you’d never forget. At the top of Beech Hill Preserve in Rockport, one of my favorite birding spots, sits a stone sod-rooffed hut, with a stunning view of the ocean. On the 29th, this event includes a fire, story telling, a night picnic, and a telescope pointed at the moon. Wow!

If you are really ambitious and want an amazing outdoor adventure, the Fort to Fort Kennebec River History & Wildlife paddling event from 9 am to 4 pm on the 29th, in a kayak or canoe from Winslow’s Fort Halifax to Augusta’s Old Fort Western. Call Rex Turner at 287-4920 for that adventure.

A wonderful family event including face painting, story telling, a scavenger hunt, swimming, kayaking, trail tours, and even healthy snacks is planned from 1 to 4 pm on the 30th at Lake George Regional Park in Skowhegan. And you might enjoy the leisurely hike up Winthrop’s Mt. Pisgah scheduled by the Kennebec Land Trust from 1 pm to 3 pm on the 30th.

Maybe you’ll want to head for the coast, or the inland mountains. There’s an event for everyone and everyone should attend at least one event. Come on! Get your kid or the kid inside you outdoors!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.