Fall 2016 Retreat

Experience Maritime Maine

October 2016 Retreat Summary

Facilitated by Linda Nelson, Maine Arts Commission

Retreat Goals

Experience Maritime Maine is at transition point to its next leadership and phase. The partners seek to use their appreciated learning to resolve questions about the group’s structure, sustainability, and future goals and projects.

Project Description

The purpose of this initiative is to develop a statewide project that documents, celebrates, coordinates and promotes Maine’s maritime heritage assets. This effort will highlight and brand Maine’s important cultural and natural resources to increase tourism, help support local economies and preserve traditional ways of life.


Participants identified the following key words that help to define/describe the Maine Maritime Experience:

Authentic Boatbuilding

Adventure Art

Heritage Romance

Transformational Salt air

Exhilarating Rocky

Bait-Diesel-Smelly Windy

Cacophony Active

Islands Lobster


Docks/Wharfs Whales

Sea Shanties Beaches

Gulf of Maine Sense of Wonder

Local People Discovery

Local Pride Ocean

Working Waterfront Traditions


Begin a group visioning exercise by identifying audacious goals for Experience Maritime Maine.

  • Create a deeper experience for the visitor
  • Effective community engagement in EMM that results in vibrant, adaptable, and sustainable working waterfronts/coastal communities
  • Protect the resource
  • Develop more partnerships
  • Try new things, diversify destinations
  • Encourage an experience that gets visitors off their phones
  • All Maine kids have knowledge of their rich maritime heritage
  • Build local pride
  • Encourage stewardship of the resources
  • Substantial state and national investment/recognition
  • Develop innovative marketing tools
  • Move visitors throughout the three EMM regions
  • Four staff positions: marketing, product development, communities, manager
  • Not foundation dependent
  • EMM Guidebook
  • Host annual conference
  • Identify and promote learning-based travel
  • Development of immersive experiences
  • Development of voluntourism opportunities/programs

Step III

Breakout groups were charged with creating draft statements beginning with In the next five-years Experience Maritime Maine will..

Statement 1

In the next five years, Experience Maritime Maine will be an internationally recognized organization that encourages collaborative stewardship and sustainability of Maine’s coastal heritage and promotes transformational connections to residents and visitors alike.

Statement 2

In five years, Experience Maritime Maine will be a sustainable council of experiential programs that promote the vibrant maritime communities and encourage visitors and local residents to gain a deeper understanding of our maritime heritage.

Statement 3

In five years, Experience Maritime Maine is a dedicated collaboration of partners that engages visitors, residents and communities in the protection and promotion of Maine’s natural and cultural maritime heritage through a variety of transformational experiences.

Step IV

Towards a sustainable organization, create a one-year work plan including action steps and roles.

The following steps were identified:

  • Develop itineraries for market segments
  • Marketing plan for Podcast
  • Updates to website
  • Community outreach
  • Submit grant applications
  • Create the sustainable collaborative council
  • Decide on structure and process moving forward
    • Rotation model
    • Organizational plan
    • Paid staff
    • Non profit status
    • Identify leadership
    • Continue to connect with larger stakeholder group
    • Clear roles for working group

Closing Notes:

The group shared a brief discussion concerning National Heritage Areas. A National Heritage Area is a common theme developed by partners for the purposes of marketing, promotion and protection. J. Kelly offered to help connect EMM with a colleague who might be available for one of our stakeholder meetings. This might be a good opportunity to learn about the model and structure.

There was not sufficient time to draft the 2017 timeline for work projects. It was determined and agreed upon that the next manager needs to be identified and in place by end of year.

Retreat Participants

Heather Anderson, Abbe Museum

Thierry Bonneville, Bonneville Consulting

Jeremy Gabrielson, Maine Coast Heritage Trust

Ralph Harvey, Midcoast Chamber Council Representative

Crystal Hitchings, Downeast Acadia Region and Bold Coast Scenic Byway

Jenna Howard, Maine’s Midcoast and Islands Region

John Kelly, National Park Service

Abbe Levin, Maine Office of Tourism

Liz Lodge, Penobscot Marine Museum

Meg Maiden, Maine Windjammer Association

Michael Maxim, Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce

Patricia Royall, Boothbay Region Chamber of Commerce

Natalie Springuel, Maine Sea Grant and Fisheries Trail

Theresa Torrent, Maine Coastal Program

Erin Quigly, Maine Island Trail Association



Maritime Maine

Thierry Bonneville, Web & Social Medias

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