This month’s family travel snap is going ‘unplugged’ as we talk to Gina Vercesi, founder of kidsunplugged.org. Her travel site encourages families to ditch their electronics in favour of each other and the world around them.
What’s the story behind this photo?
This image was captured on an uninhabited island in Maine’s Penobscot Bay during a four-night cruise aboard the historic schooner Isaac H. Evans – the ultimate unplugged adventure! We’d been delivered to Pond Island in the schooner’s small skiff and the ship’s cook was setting up for a sunset lobster bake on the beach. My girls were in their glory, skittering around collecting treasures. They were completely captivated.
As the sun cast its golden glow over the water, Captain Brenda pulled the red-hot lobsters from the pot and heaped them onto a bed of fresh seaweed. Their shells were soft enough to pull apart with our hands without the aid of crackers.
It was dark when we piled back into the skiff and, as the small motor churned up the seawater behind us, we were delighted to see the luminous sparkle of natural bioluminescence bubbling on the surface. It was magical.
According to my middle daughter, who is eleven going on thirty, ‘You can forget about everything else around you except for the beauty of the place.’ As for my little one: ‘This is the funnest place on earth! There’s so much to do here and there are so many cool rocks.’
Gina’s tips for travelling to the Maine Coast with kids
Maine’s rugged coast is an excellent place to get off the grid with kids. Along the hundred-or-so-mile stretch between Ogunquit and Camden, there are beaches, museums and nature centres, parks and hiking trails, and several picturesque towns worthy of a visit.
1) Late summer is pure, Down East magic – the days are longer, the water is warmer, the puffins are migrating and there are wild blueberries to pick. Visit in August to check out the famous Maine Lobster Festival (Rockland) or the Maine Windjammer Festival (Camden).
2) This is an area replete with history and nature: learn about puffins (Project Puffin Visitors Center, Rockland) and lighthouses (Maine Lighthouse Museum, also in Rockland) and then get some incredible views of Penobscot Bay with a short hike up the Mount Battie trail at Camden Hills State Park.
3) In the south, Ogunquit Beach is consistently rated one of the best in New England. Further north there are lots of opportunities to try out your sea legs on a puffin- or whale-watching cruise.
Where’s next on your family travel bucket list?
Lastly, complete the sentence:
When we shut the front door ready to go and travel as a family, we always….
…take our cameras, and have someone lined up to take care of our doggy!