Skowhegan, Maine Vacation Guide
The Norridgewock tribe of Abenaki Indians lived in present-day Skowhegan until 1724, when their village was destroyed during a skirmish with white settlers. English colonists settled the land in 1773 as part of the town of Canaan; Skowhegan was incorporated as a separate village in 1823. The Skowhegan area was important to Maine’s agricultural, paper, lumber, and shoe-making industries in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Skowhegan, Madison, and surrounding towns are popular tourist destinations for their cultural history and unique local attractions.
Attractions and Places of Interest
Skowhegan was the home of Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the first female United States Senator. Visit the Margaret Chase Smith Library for the opportunity to view the senator’s personal effects, learn more about her contributions to politics and women’s rights, and view historical pieces from her time.
Skowhegan features two historic bridges that are popular with visitors. The Swinging Bridge is a wire footbridge that crosses the South Channel of the Kennebec River. Although the bridge was damaged by a flood in 1987, it was restored by town residents. The Skowhegan Walking Bridge is a former railroad bridge passing through the town. It provides spectacular views of the Kennebec River as well as Skowhegan’s charming homes.
Another popular entertainment option is the Lakewood Theater and Restaurant. This institution is one of the nation’s oldest summer theaters, with over 100 seasons of performances. The beautiful theater hosts a variety of plays, drawing high-quality talent from across the nation. Come for dinner and a show at this classic Maine theater.
Recent years have brought closures to drive-in theaters across the nation, but the Skowhegan Drive-in Theater remains a popular choice among residents and visitors alike. The theater shows hit films throughout the summer months for a relatively low fee. Bring the whole family to this classic form of entertainment.
Skowhegan is famous for hosting the United States’ oldest continually run agricultural fair. Each year, the Skowhegan State Fair draws hundreds of visitors for its agricultural demonstrations, carnival rides, live musical entertainment, demolition derby, and harness racing. The fair is typically held in early August.
After taking in Skowhegan’s downtown area with historic buildings, a walk in Coburn Park provides some solitude. This park was founded in 1885 and is over 12 acres large. Volunteers maintain the park, planting trees, shrubs, and flowers. Several walking paths lead to the banks of the beautiful Kennebec River. In the summer, live music concerts are often held in Coburn Park.
Another popular recreational area is Lake George Regional Park. This 320-acre park is open year-round to the public. Co-managed by Skowhegan and Canaan, the park provides opportunities for swimming, fishing, picnicking, hiking, boating, and playing sports.
Golf enthusiasts will enjoy the Lakewood Golf Course, located just outside Skowhegan. This course, built in the early 1920s, is an 18-hole par 72 course. Its surrounding white pine stands and spectacular mountain views provide an amazing golfing experience.
Lodging and Dining
Skowhegan offers a variety of lodging options. Several motels operate in the greater Skowhegan area as well as charming bed-and-breakfasts. Lodges, cabin rentals, and vacation homes are other accommodations options.
The Heritage House is a popular restaurant in Skowhegan. Winner of the 2002 People’s Choice Lobster Competition, it serves high-quality Maine cuisine at reasonable prices. Other dining options in town include pubs, family-owned restaurants, pizzerias, and ice cream parlors.
Madison, a town of 4,500 people, is located just northwest of Skowhegan. One of Madison’s claims to fame is its moniker, “The Tomato Capital of New England.” In a two year period, Backyard Farms grew over 40 million pounds of tomatoes using a state-of-the-art greenhouse that maximizes the growing season. Madison continues to supply the entire country with high-quality tomatoes.
When visiting Madison, stop by Old Point Monument. This monument commemorates the site where English troops massacred the Norridgewock Indians, wiping out the last remaining members of the tribe. Reverend Father Sebastian Rasle, who served the Native American tribe and was killed during the massacre, is also honored on the monument.
Each August, the Madison community comes together to celebrate Madison-Anson Days. This four day festival includes a festive parade, live music, chili cook-off, craft fair, food, sporting competitions, and fireworks.
Other Towns in the Area
The towns of Anson, Athens, Canaan, Embden, Mercer, Cornville, Smithfield, and Solon are also found in the Skowhegan area. Several of these towns are located along Route 201, the Old Canada Road Scenic Byway. Notable attractions include the Athens Academy, a building designed in the Greek Revival style that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the Solon Congregational Church, known for its classic New England architecture.
Skowhegan Area Directories
Visit the following directories to find lodging, dining, attractions, shops, services and recreational activities in the Skowhegan, Maine area.
- Athens Maine
- Canaan Maine
- Cornville Maine
- Embden Maine
- Madison Maine
- Mercer Maine
- Skowhegan Maine
- Smithfield Maine
- Solon Maine