Culture

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

This postcard-perfect hamlet is home to rocky shores, sandy beaches and a world class race hosted by Olympic medalist Joan Benoit Samuelson.

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

RACE. . .

For one day each year, this little New England town becomes a true runners’ haven. The Beach to Beacon 10k (beach2beacon.org), founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson in 1998, brings over 6,000 runners to the streets of Cape Elizabeth on the first Saturday in August. Olympic superstars and fun-runners alike race together in an event so popular it sells out in less then six minutes. The course starts at Crescent Beach and weaves through wide country roads and along beautiful marshland before ending at Portland Head Light, the oldest lighthouse in the nation.

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

SHOP. . .

Buy local, and visit Fiddleheads Flowers & Vintage Chic Gifts (fiddleheadflorist.com) to pamper yourself with a finisher’s bouquet. If you’re in the market for some new running duds, bike over the Casco Bay Bridge into Portland, Cape Elizabeth’s sister city. Maine Running Company (mainerunning.com), located downtown, is the go-to specialty shop for run-loving locals. The store offers shoe-fit assistance, as well as training groups specifically targeted to runners preparing for Beach to Beacon.

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

RUN. . .

This costal village also boasts a surprising number of forest trails. Robinson Woods (capelandtrust.org) provides an escape from the beachgoers with 87 acres of protected land. Red oaks, pine trees and hemlock groves shade the sun along a three-mile loop through the woods. The packed dirt trail is perfect for running, and you may catch glimpses of deer and porcupine, or the ducks that come to the isolated pools to rear their young. If you’d like some company on your jaunt, connect with the Maine Track Club (mainetrackclub.com), which hosts group fun runs every week.

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

EAT. . .

What better way to get your post-race protein fix than with a freshly-caught crustacean? Summer in Maine is synonymous with lobster rolls, and you can find some of the best buns in the state at The Lobster Shack in Two Lights State Park (lobstershacktwolights.com). This seafood joint has been around for 43 years for a reason—clams, shrimp, lobster and crabs are hauled in from a nearby dock every single morning. The only thing more beautiful than a takeaway tray full of seafood is the majestic ocean view you’ll enjoy as you tuck into your al fresco lunch.

Travel Spotlight: Cape Elizabeth, Maine

SLEEP. . .

One of the best hotels in the nation happens to be a stone’s throw from Beach to Beacon’s starting line. Inn by the Sea (innbythesea.com) combines the charm of a bed and breakfast with the luxury of a boutique hotel. Choose from a variety of rooms featuring gas-burning replaces to ease the post-race chills and a jet tub to soothe tired muscles. For an authentic Maynard experience that’s easier on the wallet, rent a cottage for the weekend. Check homeaway.com for deals.