» Barbecue in Maine? A-yuh. Spring Creek Bar-B-Q is open Thursday through Sunday and any other time the porch light is on. Even hikers from the South endorse the wood-fired pork ribs. (207) 997-7025
» Dig into Shaw’s 4×4 breakfast: four each of bacon, eggs, pancakes, and sausage.
» Stop in at nearby Breakneck Ridge Farm and grab a boneless venison leg steak for the first night on the trail. The maple syrup is worth its pack weight, too. www.breakneckridgefarm.com
» Shaw’s hosts hikers: $20 a bunk, $30 private digs. www.shawslodging.com
» Lake Shore House has bunks ($25) and private rooms (starting at $35). www.lakeshore-house.com
Top dayhike with the worst nickname Four-hundred-foot-deep Gulf Hagas is known hereabouts–we cringe to report–as the Grand Canyon of Maine. The 9-mile loop includes old-growth white pines, waterfalls, and tempting swimming holes.
Sweetest post-hike investment Maine native Linda McLaughlin operates Trail Magic Massage Therapy in the big green building across from the General Store. The part-time nurse soothes aching muscles by appointment. (207) 997-3320
Best way to rest your feet Lake Shore House rents canoes and kayaks for $25 a day. Cruise 525-acre Lake Hebron past white birches and sugar maples and, of course, listen for loons.
Best place to get your Mayberry on The Monson General Store, a one-stop shopping relic, is the place to encounter the Yankee version of Andy and Barney while stocking up for the trail.
At Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville, 14 miles by car. www.maineoutfitter.com