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Behind the Scenes on a Country Walkers Adventure with Melanie 3
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Behind the Scenes on a Country Walkers Adventure with Melanie

 

Have you ever wondered how a Country Walkers adventure comes to life? We asked Country Walkers tour developer Melanie to talk us through the creation of the new Maine: Portland, Camden & Acadia National Park Self-Guided Walking Adventure.

What makes Maine the perfect destination for a Self-Guided Walking tour?

At Country Walkers, we’re always talking about new destinations. Everyone on the team is so well-traveled—we have a running list of amazing places we’re interested in developing. This particular tour came about because of the unusual circumstances of this year. We wanted to offer an adventure somewhere we felt was very safe and easily accessible to guests. We decided to develop this tour as a self-drive vacation, which adds an extra layer of safety and control. Maine would be a natural choice during any year, though—it’s just such an iconic, beautiful destination that’s almost tailor-made for walking and hiking. 

Creating a tour is a big job—what are some of the first steps you take?

I pull out the maps! It really begins with exhaustive research done from home base. One of the other things I do right away is reach out to our local guides and partners in the area. Since we offer a Guided Walking tour in this area as well, we already had these invaluable resources who know the area so well. Through research and local connections, I found two wonderful locally-owned inns that I just knew we had to include. The tour began to evolve from there.

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Behind the Scenes on a Country Walkers Adventure with Melanie 6
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On our Self-Guided adventures, guests are provided with extremely detailed route notes. How do you find these routes and create these essential guides?

After I’ve done a ton of research at home, I head out on what we call a research and development trip. Before I leave, I map out all of the walks I want to try using a GPS system. It’s usually a lot of walks. Then I show up and try them all! I end up walking all day. I really need to try every route so I can narrow it down to the absolute best options. If you’re planning a walking trip on your own, you could end up taking some less-than-stellar hikes. When you take a Country Walkers tour, we’ve already weeded all those out for you! I write down all of the detailed route notes as I go, making sure to gather all the essential information and note highlights and landmarks.

Country Walkers Adventures feature authentic, locally-owned hotels and memorable local meals—how do you go about finding these?

We’re lucky with the self-guided tours in that we can use smaller accommodations. These little, locally-owned places have such friendly innkeepers who are happy to share their local knowledge and make recommendations. I was lucky to find those two spectacular inns, with the help of our local resources, early in the process of designing this tour. The inn in Camden is owned by an award-winning chef, so including a meal there was a natural choice. And our innkeeper in Bar Harbor was so accommodating—he answered about a million of my questions and pointed me towards some great local spots. I do a lot of taste testing on my research and development trips. For this tour, that meant a lot of lobster rolls! We always include a variety of recommendations for meals that aren’t included on tour, so I turn to our local experts for advice. Our local guides and the innkeepers I met were extremely valuable resources and helped me find some amazing places. 

Learn more about our Maine: Portland, Camden & Acadia National Park Self-Guided Walking Adventure.

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