Not Too Late to Make Memories on Maine’s Wild Side

Hear ye, procrastinators! Excellent adventures in Maine still await those who haven’t finished making summer plans for 2003.

Maine Audubon reminds the millions of East Coast residents within a convenient day’s drive of the Pine Tree State that affordable vacation opportunities for adults, kids, seniors and families still exist in July and August at the famed Audubon Camp at Hog Island, where Audubon has been connecting people with nature since 1936.

This could be you arriving at Hog Island.

On this 330-acre spruce-forested island in midcoast Maine near Damariscotta, you can sharpen your birding skills with some of America’s leading ornithologists, marvel at the profuse marine life of Muscongus Bay, hike the cliff-side paths and fern fields once traversed by Rachel Carson and Roger Tory Peterson, and cruise amid colonial bird rookeries to see Atlantic puffins and striking roseate terns.

And you’ll enjoy your Maine island sojourn at reasonable rates, which, during the peak summer season, are just one reminder that you’re a world away from the mainland. Visitors to Hog Island find an ideal environment in which to reconnect with family, children and friends. Leave “real life” at the mainland dock, and mark time solely by the rhythm of the tide and the simple cadence of the camp bell.

Audubon offers affordable, island-based, wildlife-centered programs and camps led by recognized naturalists and ornithologists — just a morning’s drive from Boston

“Hog Island creates lifetime memories,” said Seth Benz, director of the Audubon Camp in Maine. “Nowhere else can you experience the splendors of Maine’s geography and wildlife combined with the caliber of our natural history instruction. You’ll learn with interesting people, partake of the cuisine of our acclaimed chef Janii Laberge, and enjoy comfortable, rustic accommodations where the sounds of waves and seabirds replace the noise of television and cell phones.”

Select opportunities remain to enjoy the magic and solitude of Hog Island this summer:

  • Girl Scouts ages 14 and older can enjoy a week of island hopping, kayaking and birding, while working on their “Interest Project Patch” program, under the leadership of Girl Scout and Audubon staff (July 13-19, $500)
  • A few chances remain for boys and girls ages 10-13 to explore the wonders of geology, ecology and wetlands at Audubon’s fun and entertaining youth camps (July 23-August 1 and August 4-13, $995)
  • Parents and children ages 5-11 can share a wholesome summer experience in family camp, where nature crafts, boat cruises and campfire sing-alongs will rekindle memories of summer camp from days gone by (August 16-21, $600)
  • Couples and friends who vacation together will get a dramatic introduction to the Maine coast and its wildlife when Hog Island’s “Naturalizing by Kayak” session departs in late August for a five-day outing especially geared for tandem kayakers. You’ll be paddling with experienced Maine sea kayak guides and naturalists (August 27-31, $750)
  • Elderhostelers take note: Hog Island’s active and engaging four-day program for persons age 55 and above is a blend of wildlife ecology and outdoor pursuits topped off by a traditional “lobstah dinnah.” (August 27-31, $685. For reservations, call Elderhostel at (877) 426-8056).

Toll-free registration information is available from Maine Audubon at (888) 325-5261. Registration information also is available at www.maineaudubon.org. For a taste of the Hog Island experience, visit the “Friends of Hog Island” Web site at www.fohi.org.