Where It’s At ... Midcoast Escape Rooms

Posted:  Wednesday, October 10, 2018 - 7:30am

Story Location:
281 Main Street
Damariscotta  Maine  04543
United States

As I write this the Pink Panther theme song is still running through my head. Why? Because I’m still trying to figure out where it all went wrong. It should have been a simple heist.

I mean, we were able to disarm this newfangled security system over to the Fine Art Museum of Damariscotta where the royal family of Newcastle’s (who’da thunk it? Royalty. In Newcastle, not even New Castle across the pond … Maine ... but I digress). Anyhow, some of the royals’ priceless jewels – worth millions, I might add – all that ice … were right there, right there in a display case.

There was just one problem. No. Make that two problems: We couldn’t figure out how to open the case – or escape the blasted museum room the jewels were in. Why? Because we made one fatal mistake: We forgot about the hidden alarm that sealed the doors to the room. A backup security system. What the hey, right? We knew we had only 60 minutes before the security guards made their way back to the room with the jewels. There were six of us – who wouldn’t think we had it in the bag? There was Sarah Morley, Kipp Wright, Kathy Frizzell, Susan Johns, Gina Hamilton – and me.

Because get this: There were puzzles and clues so instead of being all stealth-like and just cracking a safe we had to unravel clues, hell, we had to look for the clues! Seriously! And all I kept thinking was “What would The Phantom do?” The Phantom, a.k.a. David Niven from the first Pink Panther movie – remember? Puzzles, codes, keys … meanwhile, tick-tock …

And no. I’m not writing this from a cell block … because it was all a game. A delightful game courtesy of Midcoast Escape Rooms in Damariscotta.

We all had a great time, and yes, we realize we probably got outta there with the least amount of time left (1 minute, 8 seconds) ...

“At the outset, I thought we wouldn't need our hosts to give us the added clues they said they could provide,” Susan said. “As the final moments ticked down, I was glad to have the added clues and even looked at the screen to see if there were more. It was even fun doing that. The whole event was fun. It was like being inside a game of "Clue!"

And it was! We were just ourselves not Professor Plum, Miss Scarlett, Colonel Mustard, Mrs. Peacock, Mrs. White and Mr. Green and there was definitely no Mr. Boddy! Well, not in the museum heist room, anyway … There are three other escape rooms - the pirate ship, the bait room, and to be completed at the end of this month … Cleopatra’s Tomb! 

Longtime friends, now co-owners, Bronwen Hanna  and Martha Manchester, have a real hit on their hands. Just check out the Facebook page for Midcoast Escape Rooms - 5 stars all the way. The clues, puzzles, codes and whatnot will be changed every few months to keep things fresh - and rooms will change as time goes on ... talk about a creative business adventure! And how satisfying to know you’ve created spaces where people have fun being challenged and can make like Miss Marple and Sherlock Holmes …

“It was really fun! I had never done this before,” Kathy said. “It was a big eye opener, gotta think outside the box! Working together... and playing together!!!”

We were all talking about the team-building Boothbay Register/Wiscasset Newspaper outing Oct. 3 after the weekly Thursday morning editorial meeting when Gina was heard to say that it was an awful lot of fun, but that there needed to be more math. Math. I thinks she’s nuts – I love her dearly, but more math? Really? Just shoot me now … because the experience was so much fun Sarah announced we should all go once every quarter for more team-building fun. What if one of the other rooms does have more math puzzles? Thank goodness you’ll be there Gina!

Oh, and speaking of Sarah … she pointed out (while laughing) that the meaning of Sarah is "princess” so how appropriate it was for her to see a large jeweled tiara first thing … then added, “Those who know me best know that I LOVE games,” Sarah said. “I normally choose games that don't require much thinking, but after going into the escape room I was surprised that I was able to figure out some of the puzzles … I would like to admit that had I been alone in the room when the last puzzle appeared....well let’sjust say, I would still be there! Absolutely had a blast and can't wait to do it again!”

And now that I think about it, we actually had three problems … Kipp had his own strategy it seems going in … “Uhh-ohh, I may have screwed up the escape because I hacked a couple clues … It was a lot of fun and great team event.” 

It was the best team event ever, and in the final two minutes it was Kathy who called out the correct combination of numbers to Kipp who finally unlocked the door … just 1 minute and 8 seconds away from, well, you know, we probably are the only team – so far – that took almost the whole hour! So no, we weren’t exactly The Phantom … or the fastest team ever to enter a Midcoast Escape Room … but for us, it was a mind-boggling gas! 

Check it out for yourselves. Midcoast Escape Rooms is located at 281 Main St. in Damariscotta, just beyond the church. Make reservations – $20 per person – by phone – 315-0772 or online: https://midcoastescaperooms.com/