About Vacationing in Maine
Our first trip to Maine was eight years ago. We rented a Winnebago and with our great dane explored every nook and cranny of the coast. It was one of the best vacations we ever had. Never had a plan, never had a reservation and never stayed in a campground. Met the nicest people along the way! This led us to our first real estate purchase and, a couple of moves later, we now reside part-time in York Harbor.
Here are few experiences in our travels we thought we might highlight. Once you’ve crossed the Piscataqua Bridge on I-95 you know you’re in Maine when pass by the sign reading “Maine – the way life should be!” You can smell the salt water as you drive by small tidal inlets. Get off at the first exit marked Kittery and have the greatest of shopping opportunities: the outlets…Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Timberland just to name a few. If you are the outdoor type the Kittery Trading Post has everything you would ever need or want!
Keep going north on Route 1 and you’ll come to one of the earliest historic villages in southern Maine – York. There are seven historic properties owned by the York Historical Society who sponsor tours throughout the summer months. Don’t miss the beaches, Long Sands and Short Sands, and the famous arcade. Just around the corner, a stone’s throw off “the Nubble peninsula,” sits one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country – the Nubble Lighthouse and, from a distance you’ll see the Isle of Shoals and Boon Island. Don’t forget your ice cream at Brown’s.
Further up Route 1 discover more great beaches in Ogunquit and Wells, great dining in Ogunquit and shopping for antiques to your hearts content along Antique Row. Take a right on Route 9 to the Kennebunk’s. Kennebunkport is the place to go if you’re in the mood for whale watching. There’s the village green literally surrounded by old sea captains’ homes, many of which have been converted to delightful B & B’S. Captains Jeffords Inn is our favorite. There are just so many interesting boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. The river fills with recreational boating and is still an active harbor for lobstermen. You can kayak or canoe or take a scenic boat ride around the George Bush Compound. The area is a buzz of activity. There is really lots to do here!
Up the coast to Portland and the Casco Bay area visit downtown Portland’s Old Port which has more than plenty going on. Cruise ships in and out, boutiques to shop, galleries to browse, and many restaurants, nightclubs, and dancing! Jump on the ferry and cruise to the islands and lighthouses of Casco Bay. Join in on the Old Port Festival June 5th ï¿½ so much to offer for young and old. Casco Bay, if you are a sailor or a boater, is one of the most beautiful areas of coastal Maine. Stop at Yarmouth and visit The Maine Cottage Furniture Store for loads of ideas for your next dream cottage! Freeport is the home of L.L. Bean and there are outlets galore, so plan a lot of time or stay for a visit at the Harassackett Inn.
The Mid Coast is our personal favorite. First, stop at Reds in Wiscasset for their world-famous lobster rolls. Go to Boothbay Harbor for a true Maine experience. Don’t miss the lobster-boat races on the waterfront June 18th. In Newcastle there’s a great “house and garden tour” in the river road area July 7th and 8th sponsored by the Miles Memorial Hospital League, tickets 207-563-8791. Day trips are available to kayak and canoe in the Damariscotta River and John’s Bay. One of the most beautiful sandy beaches in this area is Pemaquid Beach. Stop at the Lighthouse and art gallery while you’re there!
Artist take note – get on the ferry from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island, home of the famous Wythes. Hike around the island, have lunch in a quaint café, and just take in the many galleries. More than likely, your return on the ferry just might reward you with sightings of whales, puffins, seals, and porpoises. This area is truly one of the most scenic. There are clusters of islands, so many lighthouses, and plenty of wildlife! Stop at the Samoset in Rockport and play a round of golf at their 18-hole champion golf course, or hop on a Windjammer cruise and do absolutely nothing! August 3rd to the 7th is Rockland’s 58th annual Maine Lobster Festival. Count on plenty of steamed lobsters, waterfront activities, and maritime displays. Don’t miss this!
Bar Harbor is one of the most beautiful places to visit whether it be hiking or camping. Acadia National Park encompasses 47,000 acres of lakes, ponds and ocean shoreline. Contact Coastal Kayaking Tours and Acadia Bike shop and take in the scenery, wildlife and gardens.
Hop on the high speed catamaran for a 3 hour trip from Bar Harbor to Nova Scotia or take a cruise on Island Cruises and they’ll guide you through the offshore islands, including the beautiful Blue Hill Bay area. Lots to do in the Bar Harbor area – great restaurants, inns, and shopping!
Primarily we took you through the most scenic coastal areas of Maine. But Maine offers much more. Visit Moosehead Lake (the largest in the North East) and the mile-high Mount Katahdin or whitewater raft on the Pennobscot and Kennebec Rivers. There is enjoyment for all to be had in this great state.
The opportunities are endless!