Historic Lewiston Maine, nearby to the Wolf Cove Inn – a lakeside bed and breakfast in Maine, is an old mill town with a storied past. There are many historic landmarks, walking trails, points of interest, terrific restaurants and even a mini-beer trail to explore. Read on for more information on enjoying a great day (or two or three) in Lewiston Maine.
Lewiston was incorporated in 1795 and today is Maine’s second largest city. The city grew rapidly in the 1800s with the build out of the textile industry in the Bates Mill complex. Many of the people coming to the area hailed from the Quebec region. Even today, Lewiston’s French influence remains strong. The city has the largest French speaking population in the United States.
Exploring Historic Lewiston Maine
Some fun facts about Lewiston:
- In 2017, Forbes Magazine named Lewiston in its “Top 25 Places To Retire”. Primary reasons included cost of living, access to healthcare and low crime rate.
- Lewiston is home to Bates College, one of the three “Maine Ivies” – the others being Bowdoin and Colby.
- In 1965, Lewiston hosted the Ali-Liston world heavy weight championship rematch. Massachusetts law enforcement feared a set up to force a rubber match if fought in Boston.
And now without further ado, here are some ideas on how to spend an enjoyable day or two exploring Lewiston.
Walking Tour of Historic Lewiston
The newest addition to the Lewiston tourism scene is the Franco Trail. Quebecer migration to Lewiston interweaves much of the city’s history. However, until late spring of 2019, nothing really told that Franco-American tale in an experiential way. However, that has changed with the unveiling of the Franco Trail. The trail consists of an approximately two hour walking tour that takes you to the historic sites and neighborhoods highlighting the French-Canadian influence in the area. There’s even an app for your phone that tells you your location on the trail and where to go from there. Printed maps are also available at Museum L-A, the Gendron Center and the Wolf Cove Inn.
Discover Maine Craft Beer
You can hit three craft breweries within walking distance of one another! Baxter Brewing Company (pictured above) has a great vibe in the pub. Bear Bones on Lisbon Street fits into the micro-brewery category. And one of Maine’s most establish craft beer brands, Gritty’s, has a brew pub a short walk across the Androscoggin River Bridge into Auburn. Read more about these three breweries (and more) in my Western Maine Breweries blog.
The Lewiston Maine Museum And Arts Scene
You’ll find much to enjoy and learn exploring the Lewiston Museum and Arts Scene. In total there are more than a dozen venues in the area.
To learn about the history of Lewiston, head over to Museum LA. There you’ll discover much about Lewiston including the major impact of the textile industry on the region.
The Public Theater is among the most well known venues in the Lewiston arts scene. In fact several recurring performers from the TV show ER (Nurse Lydia and Officer Al Grabarsky) made the Wolf Cove Inn their home while performing at the Public Theater.
The Bates College Museum of Art houses many permanent and temporary exhibits. Among the featured permanent exhibits you’ll find the art of Lewiston native Marsden Hartley. In addition the exhibits also feature works from the students of Bates College. Furthermore the nearby Olin Arts Center Concert Hall features performing arts for those who enjoy plays, concerts, dance and musicals.
Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary
The Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary covers 450 acres of nature conservation area. The sanctuary sits atop “The Crag” at 510 feet, the highest point in Lewiston. The Thorn family plot (hence Thorncrag) offers year round opportunities to explore nature. Spring, summer and fall offer hiking trails, picnic areas, bird watching and nature photography. In the winter you’ll find abundant opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding and skating.
Festivals & Events In Lewiston Maine
The calendar of Lewiston festivals and events offers quite the range of activities. Most notable are the Bates Dance Festival, the Great Falls Brewfest and the Lewiston Balloon Festival (pictured above). Finally, the major event of the year, the Dempsey Challenge, brings bike riders from around the country to raise money for the Dempsey Cancer Center. The challenge began with the passion of Patrick Dempsey, a Lewiston native son, who you may know as “McDreamy” from Grey’s Anatomy.
Riverwalk Along The Androscoggin
Enjoy the views of Auburn and Lewiston, and the Great Falls, from the Auburn Riverwalk. Access the Riverwalk in Lewiston from Veteran’s Park (pictured above) and take the Court Street Bridge across the river. As well, you may access the Riverwalk from Lewiston’s Simard-Payne Memorial Park via the pedestrian Trestle Bridge, pictured above the “Walking Tour” section of this post.
The Riverwalk on the Auburn side spans 1.6 miles from end to end. Add another 0.5 miles or so if accessing from Lewiston.
Dining In Lewiston
Lewiston sports a terrific dining scene in and around the Bates Mill Complex. Some of the more popular spots are highlighted on the Wolf Cove Inn Area Dining page. The blog includes Fishbones American Grill, Orchid (Asian Fusion) and DaVinci’s (Italian). In addition, other area restaurants of note include Boba (an Asian Bistro) and Sea40 (Japanese cuisine.)
Your Home Base For Exploring Lewiston Maine
The Wolf Cove Inn, a Maine bed and breakfast, is one of the finest lodging establishments in the region. It’s a great location from which to explore Lewiston and the surrounding area. Situated right on Tripp Lake in Poland, the Inn offers an abundance of activities and romance. Many rooms sport large spa tubs and fireplaces. Kayaks, canoes and the rowboat are complimentary for guest to use to explore Tripp Lake. In addition, take in the beautiful sunsets while enjoying s’mores by the fire pit. Furthermore, you’ll start every day off right with our wonderful Maine comfort breakfasts.