July 10 – 16, 2020Vol. 22, No. 5

Augusta: Maine's Awesome Capitol

In the bicentennial year and every year a visit to Maine's capital is a living history experience. Much from the state's exploration, settlement and statehood is presented and preserved in the three historic focal points of the scenic City of Augusta.

Go to the capitol complex and discover the inspiring State House, the spacious Capitol Park, the governor's mansion (the Blaine House), and the Maine State Museum, Archives and Library.

If the State House is open be sure to tour. Go to the second floor, to the Hall of Flags with its giant pillars and mosaic floor that took Italian artisans a year and a half to inset. Go to the third floor and visit the Senate and House chambers, stand under the dome and go out on the porch to gaze across Capitol Park toward the Kennebec River. There are many important paintings and statues throughout the State House and grounds including four must-see dioramas by artist Klir Beck that portray common wildlife and seasons of Maine.

Visit the impressive Maine State Museum to take in the range of the state's agricultural, seafaring and industrial development, displays of lifestyles in Maine and educational exhibits on Maine products, produce and creativity. Visit the Blaine House, full of Maine antiques and political memorabilia, to discover where dignitaries meet and the governor lives.

*Note: At this writing, the Blaine House and State House are closed to the public dur Due to COVID-19. Click the links above for updates.*

Experience downtown Augusta with a visit to historic Water Street, the signposts of the Museum of the Streets and the parks and trails along the Kennebec River, where the tide turns.

Water Street is rich — an architect's dream — in carefully preserved original storefronts and modern day restaurants and watering holes. A stroll along Water Street, up one side and down the other is the best way to observe the incredible architecture of granite door frames, brick designs and carefully restored upper floors that make this a unique place to live. At the north end of downtown are some of the few preserved former mill worker row houses in New England; at the south end is the start of a popular rail trail.

Across the Kennebec standing guard over it all as it has since 1754 is Old Fort Western — an opportunity to walk through fascinating pre- bicentennial history or look back at Water Street where the friendly restaurants and watering holes are waiting.

In the bicentennial year and every year, a visit to Maine's capital is a living history experience.