April 20 – April 23 2018
How I Got There
I merged a work trip to Boston for Cloud Foundry Summit into a Tralev trip. For those of you paying attention, yes I went from SFO -> ATL -> BOS in the same week. It was amazing. I rented a car on Friday evening and drove from Boston to Augusta.
Cape Air does have flights from Boston to Augusta on tiny Cessna airplanes. The problem is that it arrived after the rental car office in Augusta closes. Although Lyft claims that the entire state of Maine is a service area I decided not to try my luck and drove instead.
Where I Stayed
Augusta is a tiny town with a population under 20,000 people. It is not exactly a tourist destination and there no hotels downtown. The only hotels in the city are a few miles north near the highway. I stayed at the Fairfield Inn and Suites.
What I Did
I arrived Friday evening as it was beginning to rain. After checking into the hotel and dropping my bags off, I ventured to the downtown riverfront area and had a slab of baby back ribs at Riverfront BBQ. This put me into a food coma so I fell asleep shortly after dinner.
I woke up bright and early (without an alarm) which was a scary thought since I needed to be back to Pacific time the following week for work. I went back downtown and had breakfast at Downtown Diner. Afterwards I went to the Maine history museum. This was definitely the highlight of my trip. The museum happened to be free on this day, so I got to see three floors of Maine history at no cost.
I wandered around the riverfront and took a bunch of photos. Augusta has a “museum in the street” series where the posted placards describing the historic significance of various places around town. Naturally I stopped and read each of these.
In the evening I went to see a local production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee in Monmouth. I’ve seen this show in the past, and love it. This rendition was no exception. I was surprised to find a beautiful old theatre, quite literally in the middle of no where.
On Sunday I had breakfast at Downtown Diner again. It was much busier this time around, but the food was just as good. I also enjoyed sitting at the counter and listening to the banter in the kitchen. It reminded me of my own time working as a short order cook when I was 15. I wandered around some more and took photos most of the day. I had dinner at Otto’s on the River. This is likely the best restaurant in a 50 mile radius. A real hidden Gem in this sleepy town.
On Monday I woke up too early, packed up and drove back to Boston for my flight home to San Francisco.
What Was The Fuss
There is probably a much better time to go to Augusta than early spring. Many attractions were closed for the season (opening after Memorial Day). At one point Augusta was the center of the publishing industry in the Northeast. These days it is a sleepy small town living in the shadows of the two larger cities of Maine (Portland and Bangor).
I regret not having enough time to venture out to the coast. What I saw in central Maine was beautiful and vast countryside. But it is likely that everyone else who visits Maine spends their time along the coast.
This was the smallest Capital that I have been to so far. But like all of the others it has its own charm, personality, and pace of life that is interesting in its own right. If I lived in Boston, Augusta would be high on my list of places to escape to from the bustle of the city on the weekends.