An Inside Look Into the Thriving Arts & Culture of The Maine Highlands
The Maine Highlands is a place where you can climb mountains, trek deep into the wilderness, and paddle wild rivers and lakes. But it’s also a place where you can stroll through modern art museums, sip locally brewed beer, soak in the sounds of a symphony, and investigate Maine’s storied past.
While people often view The Maine Highlands as an outdoor lover’s playground, the area also offers rich cultural experiences for people who love the arts, music, food, and history. If you’ve never delved into the culture of this area of Maine, you might be surprised at all that you’ll find. There’s a lot to see, so we’ve highlighted some of the places and experiences that should be on your travel itinerary.
Explore the Arts
Maine is known for its contemporary art scene, and travelers in The Maine Highlands will find a variety of museums and art exhibits. On every first Friday in summer, the Bangor Arts Collaborative hosts the Art Walk, where local artists, woodworkers, printmakers, and musicians of all stripes come to showcase their talents.
The University of Maine Museum of Art in downtown Bangor is open to the public every day of the week and is home to more than 4,000 works of contemporary and modern art, including works by Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper, and Pablo Picasso. It often showcases local Maine artists from the past and present, like Winslow Homer and Andrew Wyeth.
As you make your way around the small towns of The Maine Highlands region, head to the Gallery on the Lake in Greenville. Set on the shores of stunning Moosehead Lake, this art gallery often hosts special events like craft fairs, cider tastings, and live music.
With dramatic landscapes and impressive wildlife, Maine’s backcountry has inspired talented photographers to capture inspiring images of nature. At the Moose Prints Gallery in Millinocket, animals almost seem to come to life as you stroll among life-sized photographs of moose and other wild creatures. At the gallery, you can view and purchase fine art photographs of iconic animals indigenous to The Maine Highlands as well as area mountains, forests, streams, and lakes.
If you love the theater, your itinerary should include a performance by the Penobscot Theatre Company at the Bangor Opera House. Built in 1920 with elements of Art Deco and Egyptian Revival design, the Opera House provides a fantastic backdrop to see a performance. Throughout the year you can see wide range of contemporary and classic productions, from the family-friendly “Elf” to the 1960s thriller “Wait Until Dark.”
In downtown Dover-Foxcroft, be sure to visit the historic Center Theatre, which dates back to 1939. It was renovated in the 1990s and in 2006 became the home of the Centre Theatre for Performing Arts, which hosts plays, ballet performances, and kid-friendly programs, such as the Death on Deck Pirate Dinner Theatre. The Centre Theatre also carries the major films you’ll find at any multiplex.