Once you’ve explored the beautiful surroundings of our cozy Wolf Cove Inn in Poland, Maine, it’s time to go a bit further afield and discover what the rest of Maine offers. Spend the day at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, ME. This colorful and aromatic haven is top on our list of things to do.
What began as a grassroots effort to tame a rocky coastal forest set on nearly a mile of tidal saltwater frontage in Boothbay, has evolved into a world-class destination encompassing more than 300 acres. Thanks to the efforts and vision of a dedicated group of locals, the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden ranks among the best botanical destinations in the country and remains the pride of its founders.
It’s no wonder then, that a day trip to visit the gardens is a worthwhile endeavor in itself. Combine that with a scenic drive down one of Maine’s iconic peninsulas and a late lunch/early dinner at one of our favorite seafood restaurants, and you have the makings of a spectacular adventure. Just follow our recommended itinerary for an authentic Maine experience you won’t soon forget. Trust us.
Start the Day with Breakfast at the Inn
First on your list for the day is breakfast at the Inn, which we serve from 8:00 to 9:30am. Of course, if you want to get a jump on the day, you can always get coffee and baked goods starting at 7:00am. But who would want to miss our homemade sweet or savory entrees once you smell the bacon sizzling in the oven? It’s farm-to-table freshness here every day. Choose your dining time, grab a window seat, and savor the moment. The stillness that settles over the lake makes for a beautiful Maine morning.
Drive to Coastal Botanical Gardens
The drive to Boothbay takes approximately 1-½ hours. We recommend skipping the highway and taking a leisurely route through rural Maine. Eventually you’ll hook up with (in Brunswick) the scenic coastal route via Route 1 through lovely Wiscasset. Then it’s a straight shot down Route 27 into Boothbay.
Tour the Gardens
The Coastal Maine Botanical Garden is open daily May 1 to mid-October, from 9:00am to 5:00pm. Billed as a “people’s garden”, you have your choice of wandering at your own pace or joining one the tours. Trained docents and garden staff take the lead in this educational tour opportunity. A diverse collection of specialty gardens vie for your attention as you stroll through the natural landscape. Don’t miss the Butterfly House or native bee exhibit. And make sure to stroll through the Garden of the Five Senses and the whimsical Children’s Garden. Plan to spend some time at the Landing on the Back River too. This quiet respite overlooking a working waterfront is delightful.
Giant Trolls Hiding in Plain Sight
New to the gardens, Danish artist Thomas Danbo’s mammoth recycled-wood sculptures, known as the Guardians of the Seeds, Hide amongst the rugged landscape enticing visitors to uncover their true meanings and purpose. Meet Roskva, guardian of the trunks; Lilja, protector of flower scents; Birk, keeper of the roots; and impish Gro and Soren.
Scenic Drive to Harpswell Maine
After a day well-spent admiring gorgeous flower gardens, epic sculptures, and forest bathing at the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden, a scenic drive to Harpswell Maine seems like an ideal way to unwind from sensory overload. Head back up Route 27 to Route 1 then through Brunswick to Route 123. Follow the long and winding route through stunning back roads Maine scenery en route to our favorite destination for a seaside dining experience. At just over an hour, your drive will end at the water’s edge where you’ll find unparalleled views of Casco Bay and offshore islands.
Late Lunch or Early Dinner at the Dolphin Marina and Restaurant
The Dolphin Marina and Restaurant, a multi-level dining room with unending views, specializes in the freshest of Maine seafood. Through a wall of windows, you’ll look out to Eagle Island, Halfway Rock Lighthouse, and the towers of Lands End at nearby Bailey’s Island. Open April through November, this popular dining spot is the place to be. Sample steamed lobster, fish chowder, or succulent sea scallops.
Return to Wolf Cove Inn for Sunset
Once fully sated from your ocean-view dining experience, head back to the Inn for a nightcap by the water. As dusk settles over the lake, let the cry of the loons soothe you. Sit back and relax by the fire pit with a glass of wine or frosty craft-brewed beer. Sunsets here are spectacular and the perfect ending to a wonderful day exploring Maine’s back roads and coastal gardens.
You may have heard the Maine expression “you can’t get there from here.” It’s typical Maine humor. But the truth is, you can get to the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens from the Wolf Cove Inn in an easy day trip. And we highly recommend that you do.