The town of Skowhegan, Maine, is located by the banks of the Kennebec River, once the heart of Maine’s logging industry, now a revitalized natural resource – the Kennebec is now a favorite for fishing and boating. This region is the gateway for Maine’s famous whitewater rafting with some class IV and V rapids. Skowhegan is also a nationally designated Main Street community, recognizing its dedication to restoring its historic downtown.
Things to Do in Skowhegan
There are numerous events in Skowhegan throughout the year like the country’s oldest state fair — the Skowhegan State Fair, featuring carnival rides, music, harness racing and a demolition derby. A new tradition is the annual Kneading Conference and Artisan Bread Fair held each summer by the Maine Grain Alliance as well as the annual RiverFest and the Skowhegan Craft Brew Festival with live music and plenty of local craft beers. For a bit of nostalgia, take in a flick at the Skowhegan Drive-In - one of the few remaining in Maine.
At Coburn Park, you can view the flower gardens and attend summer concerts, or go swimming, fishing or hiking in the nearby 320-acre Lake George Regional Park, which is open year-round. Park facilities include a public boat launch, playing fields and picnic areas. The park also hosts the Somerset SnowFest, with ice fishing, a box sled derby and a chili cook-off. You can also visit The Walking Bridge, which runs between the north side and south side of town, or The Swinging Bridge, which spans the south channel of the Kennebec River from Skowhegan Island to Alder Street.
For more intense fun outside, book a white-water rafting trip from local outfitters near Skowhegan who ride the Kennebec River’s Class III and IV rapids – or simply grab a tube and enjoy a lazy float on the calmer portions of the river.
While in Skowhegan, take in the Langlais Art Trail consisting of 21 sculptures by Bernard Langlais (1921-1977), the prolific artist known for his impressionistic folk-art style and oversized sculptures made from scrap wood and found objects.
Skowhegan is also known as the home of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress. You can learn more about her life and career at the Margaret Chase Smith Library.
Where to Stay in Skowhegan
There are several popular motels in Skowhegan, including the Towne Motel, Breezy Acres Motel, and the Pinewood Motel. In nearby communities, there are many charming inns and B&Bs and the nearby city of Waterville has several lodging options.
Restaurants in Skowhegan
You’re in for a treat! Gifford’s Famous Ice Cream is made in Skowhegan and there’s a stand open seasonally in town. Craft breweries are popular as well, with the Bigelow Brewing Co, Oak Pond Brewery and the Old Mill Pub, a full-service restaurant and bar perched on the banks of the Kennebec River. With perhaps the best name, The Bankery serves breakfast and lunch, as well as countless baked goods, all from a converted bank building. A true farm-to-table restaurant, The Miller’s Table at Maine Grains uses fresh flour from Maine Grain’s grist mill to create delicious pasta, pizza and other New England fare. And speaking of fresh, the weekly farmers’ market in the downtown area is one of the best in the state.