Spending The Day in L-A
Suggestions for spending time in L-A
- Take the Riverwalk: Virtually any season except the snowiest or iciest months of winter is a great time to walk this lovely trail that capitalizes on the beauty of the revitalized Androscoggin River. This path begins behind the Hilton Garden Inn. It passes Festival Plaza (an outdoor performing arts space with colorful canopies during the summer months) and continues to the old Railroad trestle where it connects with Simard-Payne Memorial Park (formally Railroad Park) in Lewiston.
- Hike Thorncrag Nature Sanctuary in Lewiston. Any season goes for this gem, home to the Stanton Bird Club and a number of walking, hiking, and cross country ski paths. Wooded trails, a stream, and peace and quiet in a bustling city. Who can ask for more?
- Eat lunch at …. A number of great eateries offer lunch choices for any palette. Gritty’s (on the corner of Court and Main streets) serves great pub food any time of day … and the beer, well, it’s always 1 o’clock somewhere. Marcos’ (at the Raceway Business Park on Main Street in Lewiston) has a great lunch buffet and a charming Italian setting. Davincis (at the Bates Mill Complex in Lewiston) hosts a dynamite pizza buffet on weekdays, with a huge selection of Italian dishes. Feel like a gourmet sandwich on fresh-baked bread with desserts a la Paris? Try The Bread Shack at 1056 Center Street in Auburn. Another deli favorite is Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli at the Auburn Mall or Marche in downtown Lewiston. If big portions are your style, you’ll like the cozy atmosphere at Naral’s Experience Arabia (in downtown Auburn) or Niky’s (in downtown Lewiston). On a budget? No problem: there’s the infamous Simones Hot Dog Stand where all the politicians go when they’re in town (99 Chestnut Street), Roy’s Allsteak Hamburgers (5 Washington Street in Auburn), and Val’s Root Beer (an old-fashioned root beer and hamburger drive-in, open in the summer, 925 Sabattus Street in Lewiston.) Want a steak, or any other part of a cow? If so, steer over to Mac’s Grill, 1052 Minot Avenue.
- Visit Sts. Peter and Paul Basilica. This is a must-see. It’s difficult to tour outside of regular Church services because the doors are often locked, but it’s worth the time to arrange a visit. Call the rectory at (207) 777-1200 to find out if it’s at all possible to get a peek inside this gothic masterpiece, with a rose window replica from the Chartres Cathedral and one of the most magnificent organs in New England. It recently underwent both interior and exterior renovations, and the marble inside is newly polished. Even if you can only walk around the premises, it’s well worth the time.
- Visit Museum L-A. Located at the Bates Mill Complex, this fascinating collection of textile and industrial equipment, photos, and other paraphernalia is a fascinating and fitting tribute to an era that helped shape our country. One of the country’s premiere textile mills, the Bates Mill operated for decades and played a critical role in the area’s history (Benjamin Bates is the namesake of both the Bates Mill and Bates College.) Makers of heirloom bedspreads that were prized as wedding gifts and known nationwide, the Bates Mill in its heyday was the area’s largest employer. The city’s geographic make-up is largely a result of accommodating workers who lived, shopped, and played nearby. You’ll want to call before you visit the museum, since it’s only open on select days and times. For more information about Museum L-A, please click here.
- Attend a theater production/play/concert… When it comes to the performing arts, there’s so much to do most nights of the week that it’s hard to list them all. With venues and organizations such as The Public Theatre, Community Little Theatre, Bates College, the Franco-American Heritage Center, the Androscoggin Bank Colisee, She Dosen’t Like Guthrie’s, and both public libraries, not to mention coffee houses and clubs, arts events abound. That’s why you’ll want to check elsewhere on this site for the particulars, or visit laarts.org.
- Take in some history. If you like history, there’s plenty of it in L-A. In fact, take a walk through downtown Lewiston-Auburn, and look up beyond the street level. Notice the architecture, the gorgeous columns, stone work, brick work, and detail. A few examples: the District Court Building on downtown Lisbon Street, formerly a music hall; Auburn’s Carnegie-era Public Library, a very stately building that recently underwent an expansion; Lewiston City Hall, with its clock tower (and working mechanized clock inside that’s worth a gander); and the Auburn City Hall, which recently experienced an expansion.
- A night out. For a wonderful meal that feels like you’ve stepped into a cozy but chic Chicago restaurant, you must try Fuel, L-A’s culinary sensation that is guaranteed to impress just about anyone. Rivaling any restaurant in southern Maine, Fuel describes itself as “French Country food, with some American twists.” If you want to splurge on a culinary experience, try dinner and cocktails at Fishbones, a fresh seafood restaurant in renovated mill space at the Bates Mill Complex. There’s always a fresh creation on the menu, along with standard seafood and even some landlubbers’ stand-bys. Italian, anyone? There’s also the aforementioned Davinci’s Restaurant, Marco’s, and Espo’s (see item 3. above), which are all great for dinner, too.
- If time allows: Like all cities, there are some attractions that are uniquely L-A. If you like antiques and curios, stop by Orphan Annie’s on Court Street in Auburn, where there are often seasonal items of interest as well. The Bates College Museum of Art always has an intriguing exhibit on display (like “Cryptozoology,” an art exhibit showcasing mythological creatures) as well as an impressive collection of works by Charles Hewitt, Paul Cezanne, and, most notably, a number of originals by native son Marsden Hartley.
- Seasonal only. Care for mini-golf? Then try Taber’s (Lake Shore Drive in Auburn), near beautiful Lake Auburn, open during the summer. If the snow’s flying, try skiing at Lost Valley in Auburn, where several Olympic athletes have learned to ski, including Julie Parisien. Lost Valley also has great bike trails and paintball gaming, as well. There’s always a round of golf at several area golf courses, including Martindale Country Club and the challenging Fox Ridge Golf Club, both in Auburn.