Augusta/Kennebec offers rafting, snowmobiling, family fests at the capital

The heart of Maine is a wild place – if that’s what you’re looking for – with white water rafting, hikes in the deep woods, snowmobiling, and wonderful wildlife viewing and photography. The Augusta-Kennebeck region also is home to the state capital, so you can be assured of fining cultural and historic pleasures here, like the Maine State Museum’ Fort Western, the oldest wooden fort in New England; and lots of lodging for all tastes, lakefront resorts to sweet and intimate cottages.

Arboretum Welcomes You to Its Fine Trails

Viles Arboretum, also known as the Pine Tree Arboretum, at 153 Hospital Street in Augusta is open year-round, with delightful trails for walking biking, horseback riding, and, in winter cross-country skiing and snowshoeing (trails are well-groomed). The arboretum enjoys lots of community support and love. It has a marvelous Hosta garden and in warm weather, it hosts outdoor art exhibits and yoga classes. New programs and activities are on tap at almost any time. Get outdoors on these delightful trails! Phone: 207-621-0031

Play for Kids; Pleasure for Parents

Children’s Discovery Museum at 171 Capitol Street in Augusta provides hours upon hours of interesting play time for young kids. Exhibits are set up for great, unstructured games of pretend. There’s a grocery store, a bank, a real working theater with costumes and equipment for puppet shows, a tree house and nature areas, a music-making room, and a construction zone. At the Ocean Touch Tank, kids can starfish, watch the crabs eat or try to find the lobster or just watch them in their environment. Parents can relax or join in and play. Phone: 207-622-2209

Comedy, Music, Gravity Defiance: 15-Year-Old Johnson Hall's Got It

Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center presents a wide range of artist programs -- live music series, children’s events, outdoor performances in the park and more -- in the historic Johnson Hall Performing Arts building (1864) at 280 Water Street in downtown Gardiner. The Hall – Maine’s oldest opera hall -- celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2016, a sign that it knows and serves its audience. Coming in 2016 are shows of comedy, improve, blues, jazz, folk, rock ‘n’ roll, and the intriguingly named Avner the Eccentric…Exceptions to Gravity act. Phone: 207-582-7144.

If We Ain’t Got it, You Don’t Need It

Hussey’s General Store at 510 Ridge Road in Windsor claims “If We Ain’t Got it, You Don’t Need It.” With 30,000 square feet of retail space, this family-owned business has been selling essentials to Augusta-Kennebec communities since 1923. Essentials? By that, Hussey’s means groceries, clothing, new and used guns, fishing equipment, hardware, furniture, appliances, gifts, collectibles, wedding dresses, used books, tools, feed and grain, and so much more. This has to be one of the standards of the general store business, anywhere. You need anything? Come and challenge the Hussey’s tradition. Open daily. Phone: 207-445-2511.