- by Carol Standish
In the second edition of Hot Showers! - Maine Coast Lodgings for Kayakers and Sailors (Audenreed Press, 240pp, $18.95) author Lee Bumsted has made a great guide even better. A thorough update and expanded coverage-all the way to Eastport make this book indispensible to the small boat traveler with a now and then pentient for the creature comforts only available on land.
Although the guide is designed especially for travellers by water it is equally useful to boaters who trailer their boats hither and yon. As in the first edition, Hot Showers is divided into seven coastal regions, starting in the south with Casco Bay. An overview of each region acquaints the traveler of attractions and recreational facilities on shore and off shore. Larger towns like Portland offer museums, parks, ethnic restaurants, shops and galleries. Off shore information includes island populations and facilities, land marks and buildings open to the public (like the Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum on Eagle Island in Casco Bay), management policies such as fire permits, pets and bug and poison ivy warnings. A list of launch ramps with overnight parking, public moorings and slips completes each regional overview.
Lists of coastal lodgings and campgrounds, chosen for their accessibility to and from the water is separately compiled for each section. Listings include building style and history, guest capacity, ambience, rates, meal availability, business season, tolerance of pets and children, surrounding recreational opportunities, land transportation options, the boating backgrounds of the owners of the facility (when available) and phone numbers. Especially helpful this time around is the inclusion of web site adresses which most businesses now have.
The seven large sections of the guide, Casco Bay, Rivers and Boothbay Harbor, Muscongus Bay, West Penobscot Bay, Eastern Penobscot and Blue Hill Bays, Mount Desert Island and Down East are all subdivided into smaller, more geographically cohesive areas where lovely days and nights could be spent exploring sheltered waters and relaxing on cool seaside porches without covering many miles.
In an appendix the author (a seasoned kayaker, herself) maps out suggested routes for inn to inn paddles or sails. Mileage, difficulty of passage and particular cautions are described for each leg of the journey from one comfy sleep-over spot to another. You will only have to camp on the beach or your bunk if you want to. This type of unique trip design is a great compromise if you're traveling companion isn't sure of his/her devotion to the great outdoors or the bold Atlantic. Even if you're an old hand, the ubiquitous Maine coast fog bank or summer downpour could persuade you of the efficacy of hot shower and a night under a fluffy feather bed.
Other appendices include public transportation, emergency numbers, wheel chair accessible accomodations-a rare and invaluable list-and chart excerpts which precisely locate each lodging or campground listed in the guide. Best of all, the information is as current as can be. The guide is hot off the press this summer. Don't leave home without it if you're headed for the Maine coast by any means.