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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: November 23, 2015

Get out (and not shop) on Black Friday: Wake up early for an outdoor adventure

Written by: Shannon Bryan
Hiking in Evans Notch. Press Herald file photo

Hiking in Evans Notch. Press Herald file photo

Set your alarms for the early hours this Black Friday! Don’t miss out on the sunrise over the Atlantic/a nearby lake/the shrubs in your backyard! Take advantage of mind-blowing bargains at Maine’s state parks (day use fees as low as $2-$5)! Explore any community trail and get a days supply of authentic Maine-made fresh air FREE!

Okay, maybe we’ve gone a little over the top with the exclamation points, but it’s not a bad thing to get as excited about going OUTSIDE as some people do about shopping. Gift buying is a part of the season, we get it, but this year, we’re taking a nod from outdoor/sporting goods retailer REI. The company announced earlier this month that REI stores won’t be open on Black Friday. Instead, they’re encouraging would-be shoppers to #OptOutside. We think that’s a great idea.

You’re welcome to get out any way you’d like, but to give you a few ideas, we’ve rounded up some stellar outdoor mini adventures that won’t break the bank and will help you use a day off for the best reason possible: living your life. (Find more fall adventures: MaineToday.com/FallAdventures)

On the summit of Blueberry Mountain. Wendy Almeida photo

On the summit of Blueberry Mountain. Wendy Almeida photo

Evans Notch, White Mountains (Maine)

About 20 miles north of Fryeburg on the Maine side of the White Mountains National Forest, Evans Notch offers some amazing mountain views. Blueberry Mountain, in particular, is a great hike that offers a moderate challenge and you can visit Rattlesnake Pool. (It’s too cold for a dip in November…heck, that water is too cold for a dip in the summer! But it’s still a neat spot to loiter around.) On the way there, make a pit stop at Jockey Cap Country Store in Fryeburg (116 Bridgton Road) for trail snacks (tip: They have some incredible baked goods).
Read more: Blueberry Mountain, baked treats & a dip in Rattlesnake Pool

Wells Reserve. Heather Steeves photo

Wells Reserve. Heather Steeves photo

Wells Reserve, Wells

You will find just about every Maine landscape nestled in the Wells Reserve. This two-mile hike will get you to all the sights in a loop: From the farm, take the Cart Path toward the Laird-Norton Trail, which has a deck path through high, green bushes in the summer. The trail winds through the estuary, where open ocean splashes against sand bars, which protect marsh lands. Who knows what wildlife you might spot. And after your walk, treat yourself to the best doughnut of your life at Congdon’s (1090 Post Road, Wells).
Wells Reserve, 342 Laudholm Farm Road, Wells. Open 7 a.m. to sunset. Admission: $5 adults, $1 ages 6-16, free under 6. www.wellsreserve.org
Read more: Maine’s most diverse hike, plus a killer doughnut in Wells

Reid State Park. Heather Steeves photo

Reid State Park. Heather Steeves photo

Reid State Park, Georgetown

Reid State Park has sandy beaches with birds nesting in the dunes, a lagoon, forests and views of nearby lighthouses and lichen-covered islands. The park alone is worth the 55-minute drive from Portland — heck, the drive is worth the drive. About half of the car ride is down Georgetown Island, which is wooded and offers peeks of the rivers and bay. Before or after, stop in at Winnegance Restaurant & Bakery in Bath (36 High Street) for some homemade haddock chowder or a slice of “applicious butterscotch cake.”
Reid State Park, 375 Seguinland Road, Georgetown. Open 9 a.m. to sunset. Admission $4.50 adult Maine residents. www.maine.gov/reid
Read more: Bath and Reid State Park make for a serene off-season trip: Here’s where to eat, shop and play (cheap)

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