6 Super Bonuses to a Fall Foliage Cruise with Maine Windjammer Association


Maine’s Midcoast, and the entire Penobscot Bay region glows in the harvest hues of Mother Nature’s fall colors from mid-September through October.  From the water, the Maine Windjammer Association captains watch as color sets in and the reds, yellows and oranges of the hillsides bathe the entire region in fall foliage vistas.  Add in a fabulous fall sunset and you can only imagine the beauty of fall cruising along the coast of Maine.  Each month has it’s draws, but for many of us, fall it the best time of the year for a cruise with the Maine Windjammer Association fleet – America’s largest working windjammer fleet.  For those not quite sure, here are five reasons to book your fall cruise this year.

Fall fleet events are among the favorites

September is ushered in with the Camden Windjammer Festival, annually celebrated on the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day.  With Labor Day early this year, this festival tops off the summer on August 30th and 31st.  Technically still summer, we like to consider this the prelude to fall as the entire fleet gathers in Camden Harbor to take part in the festival.  It starts with the traditional afternoon parade into the Harbor on Friday, August 30th as Captain Jim Sharp of the Sail, Power & Steam Museum in Rockland and nautical historian, regales the audience with stories of the majestic windjammers as they enter the harbor.  Bid on dinner aboard one of the windjammers or purchase raffle tickets for a fabulous swag bag filled with great gear.  Friday night is topped off with the Schooner Talent Show featuring captains, crew and guests, and then fireworks over Camden Harbor.  In addition to a full schedule of festival events, tour windjammers at the docks on Saturday afternoon during the windjammer Open House.

Then, just a few days later, the Maine Windjammer Festival finishes out the season at the WoodenBoat Sail-In on September 10, 2019.  The whole fleet gathers, with a few additional windjammers, at WoodenBoat School for the annual end of the summer mussel feed. We cook delicious freshly-caught mussels over a wood fire on shore, compliments of Maine Shellfish Co, a wonderful partner.  Enjoy freshly squeezed apple cider, cheese and crackers and sweet mussels with drawn butter as you scan the horizon filled with historic windjammers.  The Flash in the Pans Steel Drum Band adds the perfect element of entertainment.  Dancing encouraged!

There’s still availability for last minute planners

In our last blog post, we outlined info on September availability on Maine Windjammer Association cruises.  At that time, there was still availability on just about every boat for fall cruises.  While availability changes daily, and not every cruise mentioned may still have openings, it’s worth asking.  You don’t have to assume that there’s no room on the boat because you wait to make your plans.  The early bird may get the best choice of cabins, but the last minute planner can still find cabins available. Call your favorite windjammer directly or check the cruise search tool to find out about cruises for individual boats.

Best sleeping weather

We’re partial, we know, but we think there’s just about nothing better than sleeping on a boat.  Whether you choose to enjoy a cozy bunk or to sleep on deck with the stars and moon to light your night, that gentle rocking of the boat will put  you to sleep quickly.  Add in a fabulous day, pulling lines on deck or exploring islands and taking in the ideal September temps, then add a full stomach from a great dinner, and it’s no wonder you sleep well on a windjammer.  September and October offer cooler nights and days too.  You’ll enjoy snuggling under the covers, perhaps with a good book.  We challenge you to get through more than a few pages before you nod off, snug as a bug in a rug…so they say.  And that’s another reason….no bugs in September.

From music to mocktails and lighthouses in-between – great fall themed cruises

Whether you seek a where-the-wind-takes us or a themed cruise, you’ll find it in September within the Maine Windjammer Association fleet.  From a lighthouse cruise on the Schooner Mary Day to learning the art of bar craft on Schooner Ladona to the Wine Dine & Chocolate cruise on the Stephen Taber, and music cruises galore in the Victory Chimes, you’ll find just the right cruise in September.  Some like a more structured cruise while others love the idea of getting up in the morning and the captain deciding where the boat will go that day. Some cruises include a little of both elements!  From structured to unstructured and from help-the -crew to relax-with-a-book and take in the foliage views, you’ll be treated to a great cruise in September.

Harvest cuisine

From apple pies to squash dishes and hearty roasts, you’ll enjoy fresh fall fare on your September and October cruises.  Our talented chefs scour the markets for the freshest produce, meats and offerings, and you can be assured that feasts aboard your September and October cruises will be delicious.  From soups enjoyed on deck as you cruise at 10+ knots down Penobscot Bay in a fresh fall breeze to Pumpkin Pie for dessert, your fall feasts will be among the greatest memories you bring home from your windjammer cruise.

Maine’s brilliant fall foliage

There are few sights more beautiful than seeing the changing fall colors in the hills as they slope to the sea.  Mother Nature’s harvest hues paint a patina of color that will mesmerize the mind when seen from the water.  There are not many ways to capture this view than from the deck of a windjammer.  For those who yearn to experience the sight of New England’s fall foliage, seeing it from the deck of a windjammer simply can’t be beat.  The longer you go into October, the more brilliant the colors get.  What day will the leaves turn? We’d be rich if we knew the answer to that question.  Fall colors depend on a number of factors including summer temps, rainfall, changing daylight hours and more.  However, generally by late September, the leaves will start to turn and by mid-October, the colors will be approaching peak.  The later in September or early October you cruise, the better the fall colors!

Learn more about the Maine Windjammer Association, America’s largest working windjammer fleet, by visiting

Photo credit: Fred LeBlanc

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