Cheap Dates is a new series dedicated to scrounging the most amount of fun out of the Midcoast on the fewest dollars.
Peak leaf peeping season is happening right now, now, now! Seriously. After this week, if you haven't skipped work to go on a long drive on $4/gallon, listening to a scratched Ween CD on the stereo, your only chance to catch the local color again will be on the pages of this month's Yankee Magazine that you'll probably get around to reading in March.
Because multi-tasking is the secret ingredient to a successful Cheap Date, combine wine with the outdoors and take along your bestie or love nugget. Maine has a burgeoning wine trail and believe me, all of them are worth the drive, but one of the best places in the Midcoast to sample wine while overlooking a panorama of flaming trees is Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville. Get all bundled up and sit out on the back deck overlooking the withering grapevines and Levenseller Mountain. Or take a walk all around the five-and-a-half acre property on a moody October day and make a friendly wager over which causes the leaves to change: cooler temperatures or a season of heavy rains? Loser of the bet has to make out with a tree like Molly Shannon in Superstar.
Unlike in Napa Valley, most Maine wine tasting rooms offer tastings for free. You can't get a classier Cheap Date than this, so get to it! (Cellardoor Winery is open Monday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org