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Recreation

Outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy an incredible diversity of activities. Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary is one of the largest in New England, and Mt. Apatite in Auburn has miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails, as well as active mining for Maine tourmaline. Lost Valley Ski Area is open year-round, offering one of the best ski schools in Maine, plus a cross-country ski touring center, night-time downhill skiing, as well as mountain biking and paintball in the off seasons. The Androscoggin River and Androscoggin Riverlands State Park is great for fishing, kayaking and canoeing, and there are dozens of lakes within a few miles that offer great similar opportunities. There is also the Homestead Trail along the river, the Downtown River Walk and literally dozens of great local hiking treks.

There is so much happening in Lewiston-Auburn that it can be a challenge deciding what to do! Call the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce for tips on events, dining or accommodations. The Chamber also has maps and visitors’ guides to help you plan your outing or trip. No matter what you do, by the time you leave our communities, you will agree that, It’s Happening Here!

The twin spires and central rose window of Maine’s only basilica, Sts. Peter & Paul Basilica, dominate the skyline of downtown Lewiston. Original construction of the church began in 1908 and that construction took 31 years to complete as millworkers scraped together enough money to build the magnificent structure.

Bates College Museum of Art is a two-story museum offering a diverse collection of exhibits featuring national and local artists.

The Atrium Art Gallery is located at the University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College at 51 Westminster Street in Lewiston. The gallery, which displays a variety of Maine and New England artists, is the atrium entryway to the school and was recently expanded to encompass the adjoining hallways in the college.

Gallery 5, located adjacent to Fuel Restaurant at 49 Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston, promotes art in all forms and offers a unique space to view contemporary Maine art.

Maine Art Glass Studio is located in a beautiful old church on Main Street in Lisbon Falls. In addition to a stunning collection of stained glass art, the studio also offers classes to area residents and visitors.

The Androscoggin Bank Colisée, located at 190 Birch Street in Lewiston, is the home of the Lewiston MAINEiacs, the only U.S. team in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (which produced NHL All-Star Sidney Crosby). The newly renovated facility also hosts indoor concerts and performances, circuses, auto shows and other headliner events.

Museum L/A documents and celebrates the economic, social and technological legacy of Lewiston-Auburn and its people. It has featured special exhibits on textile manufacturing, shoe making, brick making and the waves of immigration that built the twin cities. See the machinery that made the world famous Bates™ bedspreads and hear the stories of the men and women who built L/A.

Poland Spring Water’s extensive history is captured at a unique museum, Poland Spring Preservation Park. Located in an early 1900s, state-of-the-art bottling facility and springhouse, and constructed using Spanish architecture as its theme, the museum uses scientific displays and vintage memorabilia to offer a close-up look at one of Maine’s oldest industries.

Nearby, on the grounds of the Poland Spring Inn, is the Poland Spring Museum. The museum is housed in the Maine State Building that was originally built in 1893 for the Chicago World’s Fair, also known as the Columbian Exposition (celebrating the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus). All 44 states, dozens of countries and even companies sent buildings to the grounds to participate in the grand event. In total, there were almost 200 buildings on the grounds. The Maine State Building is one of only three buildings from the Fair that exist today.

The first new Maine state park in 25 years, the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park and its famous Homestead Trail encompass more than 2,500 acres along the Androscoggin River in Turner and Leeds. This unexpected wilderness, where loons, ducks and otter swim and deer and moose graze in the shallows, is just a few minutes north of downtown Lewiston and Auburn. The Androscoggin River is great for fishing, boating, kayaking and canoeing. The river is known for some of the best bass fishing in New England.

The Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore offers a variety of interactive programs for experiencing rural life as it truly was in 18th and 19th century Maine. Here, the visitor is an active participant in daily and seasonal farming and housework, and becomes involved in the social, political and educational activities of the times.

Lost Valley Ski Area is open year-round, offering one of the best ski schools in Maine, plus a cross-country ski touring center, day and night-time downhill skiing and snowboarding, as well as mountain biking and paintball in the off seasons.

Mt. Apatite Park in Auburn has miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails, as well as active mining for native minerals, including Maine tourmaline. The Mt. Apatite quarries were important producers of commercial feldspar in the early 1900s and played a prominent part in Maine's mining history. The complexity of the mineral assemblage at Mt. Apatite is matched by few other localities in Maine.

Thorncrag Bird Sanctuary is New England's largest bird sanctuary with guided nature walks on 11 different topics through its 310 acres of walking trails, wildlife preserve and ponds. Visitors also enjoy cross-country skiing, picnicking and snow-shoeing in Thorncrag.

A short drive from downtown Lewiston and Auburn, Range Ponds State Park welcomes visitors who enjoy the wide sandy beach as they swim, picnic and play. Most activity centers on the waterfront, which is easily accessible because of the smooth, surfaced promenade that parallels the pond for 1,000 feet immediately next to the beach.

Seven championship golf courses are located within 30 minutes of downtown. They include Martindale, Fox Ridge, Poland Spring, Point Sebago, Springbrook, Spring Meadows and Turner Highlands.

Lewiston-Auburn's Professional Theatre, The Public Theatre, is one of five equity theatres in Maine and boasts the lowest ticket prices for any equity theatre in the state with a top ticket price of only $18. Hiring the finest professional actors from New York City to Los Angeles, The Public Theatre presents a wide selection of first-rate, professional performances from October through May. The performances are staged in the renovated Ritz Theater on Maple Street.

L/A Community Little Theatre has been producing live entertainment in the area for 70 years. Performing in the old

Great Falls School auditorium , CLT has produced both full-blown Broadway musicals and intimate stage dramas.

Bates College’s Schaeffer Theatre, which is located at 305 College Street, hosts a regular schedule of performances, including major productions from the Department of Theater and Rhetoric, events during the nationally acclaimed Bates Dance Festival, recitals of the Bates Modern Dance Ensemble and performances by outside theatrical and musical groups and artists.

The internationally acclaimed Bates Dance Festival brings together an international community of choreographers, performers, educators and students to study, perform and create new work. Artists, students and audiences share their knowledge and inspiration through workshops, jams, discussions, informal showings and performances.

The Franco-American Heritage Center in the beautifully renovated St. Mary’s Church features a performance hall that seats more than 450 people and a beautiful reception area for banquets and private parties. Each year more than 100 performances are staged at the center, including modern music and dance, symphony, choral music, piano (on their new Steinway grand) and contemporary music.

The Great Falls Balloon Festival, held in the third week of August, was started in 1992 by a group of civic-minded individuals who saw a need for a community event that could become a symbol of the renaissance of the area. Located on the banks of the Androscoggin River, the festival quickly became a huge success, attracting crowds of approximately 100,000 people annually. The river, with its backdrop of the rocky Great Falls, provides a picturesque setting for the more than 40 balloons that visit annually — including some very special themed balloons.

The Moxie Festival, held the second week in July in downtown Lisbon Falls, brings 25,000 visitors from all over the northeast to celebrate the uniqueness of the soft drink Moxie — and its roots in Lisbon, Maine.

In October 2010, 4,200 cyclists, runners and walkers participated in the second annual Dempsey Challenge. It raised more than $1.1 million and attracted thousands to the Lewiston/Auburn area, whether they were taking part in the events or if they just wanted to catch a glimpse of local area native Patrick Dempsey — currently “Dr. McDreamy” on TV’s Grey’s Anatomy — or any of the professional cycling greats, such as Chris Horner, Levi Leipheimer and Kevin Livingston, who were actively involved throughout the weekend. The Dempsey Challenge has grown tremendously and has become a signature annual event in October.

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