Brewster House Bed & Breakfast (Freeport, Maine Coast)

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Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Plan Your Trip (Part 2)!

September 1, 2009 by Scott Gile

Portland Head LighthouseWe’re wrapping up our Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series with suggested itineraries, to help plan your trip to Maine.

Last time we proposed a wilderness itinerary, heading up through the wooded mountains and lakes of Maine. This time we’ll proceed north along the coastal route, and our final installment will give several optional side trips and extensions to find even more of the areas that make this state a true “Vacationland” (as it says on our car license plates).

Days 1 and 2: The Maine Beaches

Crossing the Piscataqua River from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Kittery on US-1 (we’re not going to be on the Interstates, except when necessary), you may catch sight of Whaleback Ledge lighthouse, in the mouth of the river, between the two states. Coming north (after the Kittery outlet shopping) you’ll reach Cape Neddick, home of Nubble Lighthouse, on an island known as “the Nubble”, just offshore. Spend the night in Kennebunkport, and enjoy the fine dining, Cape Porpoise (and Goat Island Lighthouse and Nunan’s Lobster Hut), the beach, Walker Point, and all the beautiful old homes along Route 35 between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport.

Days 3, 4 and 5: Freeport, Portland, and surrounding area

We’ll stay in Freeport for our next stop (OK, so we’re a bit prejudiced…). Not only are there nearly 200 shops, outlets and restaurants in Freeport, but it is also the home of L.L. Bean, and its several stores. Plan either a day, or parts of multiple days, for shopping. For one day, we’ll go to Portland, visiting Portland Head Lighthouse (commissioned by George Washington) and Cape Elizabeth (Two Lights) Lighthouse, and catching sight of Ram Island Ledge Lighthouse, Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse, and Portland Breakwater Lighthouse. Walk along Commercial Street in the Old Port, enjoying the eclectic shops, restaurants, and art galleries. The Longfellow House and Museum are also very interesting, as is the Portland Museum of Art.

Spend a couple of hours on one of Portland Schooner Co.’s antique schooners, touring Casco Bay, and possibly viewing some of the lighthouses from the water.

Another day will give time for a drive out Orrs Island and Bailey Island, north of Freeport, where you can drive to Land’s End over the world’s only cribstone bridge. Farther north on US-1 is Bath, whose Maritime Museum gives the rich heritage of shipbuilding in the region. Out the peninsula south of the Kennebec River (from Bath) is Popham Beach State Park and Civil War Fort Popham. On the other side of the river, driving out Georgetown Island, is Reid State Park, its rocks and beaches, and Five Islands, with its wonderful views and lobster shack.

Farther north on US-1 is Wiscassett, home of Red’s Eats, another famous lobster shack, and also home of numerous antique shops. A bit farther on is Boothbay Harbor, a wonderful working Maine harbor.

Pemaquid Point LighthouseReturning to US-1 and going north, exit at Damariscotta, noting the picture postcard view as you exit US-1, then pass through town, out the Pemaquid Peninsula, to visit Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, commissioned by John Adams. Returning, take Route 32 through New Harbor to Waldoboro, stopping for blueberry pie at Moody’s Diner. In Thomaston, don’t miss the Maine State Prison Store, where there are great buys on goods made by the prisoners. Turning off US-1 you can find your way to Port Clyde, and Marshall Point Lighthouse.

On the way back toward US-1, head for Owl’s Head, where you can visit the Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, and Owl’s Head Lighthouse, with its commanding views of Penobscot Bay. In nearby Rockland, visit the Farnsworth Art Museum, home to many Wyeth works.

Days 6, 7, 8: Camden, Mount Desert Island

After spending the evening in Camden (eat in one of the many fine restaurants there) with its shops, enjoy the views from the town park overlooking Camden harbor, or on the way out of town, visit Camden Hills State Park, where you climb up above the town for an even more impressive view. Later stop in Belfast for a quaint town with a beautiful harbor. Travel on the Mount Desert Island, staying in nearly any of the towns or villages there, including Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Southwest Harbor, Somesville, or Bass Harbor. Enjoy the magnificent views all around the island, but don’t miss a sunrise (or sunset for those who are not morning people) at the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. Enjoy tea and popovers at Jordan Pond.

Be sure to visit the Schoodic Peninsula, just north of Mount Desert Island (for that matter, also the Blue Hill Peninsula, just south of Mount Desert Island, as well). Its isolated beauty harkens back to a Maine of days gone by.

We’ll add a few extensions and side trips in our next (and final) post in this series. Get ready to make your plans to visit Maine!

Visit Maine Like A Mainer! Plan Your Trip!

August 25, 2009 by Scott Gile

Stream, Rangeley, MaineOur Visit Maine Like A Mainer! series will conclude with a series of posts containing suggestions to help you plan your trip to Maine.

In each of the preceding posts in this series, we have provided links to the State of Maine tourism site, as well as the Maine Tourism site, and the regional sites for the region discussed in the post. We have also provided selected links to some of the attractions in the regions. These all provide a good starting point for gathering information. Now let’s put it together in a trip.

Of course, your own interests will dictate whether you try to see a bit of each region of Maine, or whether you focus on particular areas, or just one area. In addition, the time you can allocate will also determine how much you can see. We’ll provide two sample itineraries by type of region, as well as samples of differing duration. You should be able to mix-‘n-match the parts you like and the time you have available. Since the largest number of our visitors come from the south, we’ll begin there. Of course, if you’re coming from the north or west, you can change the starting point and carry on from there.

We’ll begin this series-within-a-series with a wilderness trip plan.

Days 1 and 2: Rangeley, Maine

Moose, Rangeley, MaineArrive by road, either from Boston (about 5 hours), Manchester, NH (4.5 hours), Portland, Maine (3 hours). Canoe or kayak on Rangeley Lake, or any of the rivers and streams nearby. Drive out State Route 16 at dawn or dusk to see moose grazing along the road. Hike at Rangeley Lake State Park.

Days 3 and 4: Moosehead Lake, Maine

Drive to Moosehead Lake (about 5 or 5.5 hours). Enjoy the magnificent scenery, along the way. If you start by dawn, you may even see more moose.

Canoe or kayak on Moosehead Lake. Try fly fishing for trout. Hike, camp, canoe, and generally relax!

Days 5 and 6: Baxter State Park, Maine

Enjoy the drive (about 3-4 hours) and the views! If you’re up to it, climb Mount Katahdin, at almost a mile above sea level, Maine’s highest peak.

Days 7 and 8: Aroostook County, Maine

Drive south to Millinocket, then work your way to the tip of Maine, Aroostook County. Visit Caribou, Fort Kent, Presque Isle, and other small towns along the Canadian border.

Enjoy the trip! We’ll have another itinerary in our post next week.

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