The third most popular attraction in the state of Maine, after Acadia National Park and the J. Crew Outlet, isn't an amusement park, a national park or a super store. It's a garden, but a garden so well-curated and creatively designed it comes off more like a museum of horticulture. Formal gardens alternate with woodland trails which give way to gardens specifically designed to be experienced with all five senses. Included in the latter are plants that with unusually pleasing fragrances and textures as well as those that can be tasted!
I visited the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay and found the experience to be a delightfully zen, surprisingly intellectual activity (I learned a lot, thanks to the great little plaques next to the plants). When I left several hours after I arrived I felt as refreshed as if I'd taken a great pilates class.
This year, I hope to take my kids to experience their newly opened Children's Garden. It promises to be as innovative as the rest of the facility, with areas where the little ones can plant and tend flowers and other plants; as well as go through a maze, watch insect eating plants trap their prey, climb on whimsical sculptures and into a tree house, explore a recreated native American village and borrow books to read among the roses.