Boston and what else? Maine?

Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:06 PM
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Sorry, but I'm also a New England dum-dum. Obviously, Camden, Belfast, and Kennebunkport are towns along the Maine coast. Are Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard towns or "areas"? If the latter, are there specific towns within the area that are more quaint/charming than others? I remember being in Kennebunkport 30 years ago and it was beautiful -- are the others like that? Are they quaint/charming? Do they have more than boats?
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:07 PM
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The Camden/Rockland area has many of the best
restaurants on the coast so you'll like that.

Belfast is only a half hour or less north of Camden.

About a twenty minutes north of that is Searsport and
the neat little Maritime Museum that is a nice way to
spend a couple of hours learning about Maine's seafaring

As far as a stopping place on ther return I'd probably
try Portsmouth NH. It is also on the coast but is a
larger town. It is across the river from Kennebunkport
Maine. Make sure to visit the Strawberry Banke area
of Portsmouth to see many origial structures from the
late 1600s and early 1700s. Make sure to drive down
the coast road from Portsmouth to Hampton Beach before
returning to I 95 and Boston. You'll pass many amazing
mansions along the way.

Also, on the way north, you'll be tempted to take Rt 1
from the Maine border on north...don't do it! It will be a
slow drive and you really don't see the coast much. Locals
avoid Rt.1 during the summer when the 'flatlanders' are
overrunning the state. Ypu'll see why.

Stay on the highway until at least Brunswick before cutting over to Rt 1.

Order a DeLormes Maine Gazetteer that will provide great
maps and loads of information on attractions you might be
interested in. Have a wonderful'll be there
at the harvest time of wild Maine Blueberries so look for
those. Sweet corn will be at it's peak as well and you
won't find anything like that in California. You've picked
the best time to visit Maine IMO. My family is from Maine
since the 1650s (one of the first 100 families into the colony)
so, I've spent a lot of time visiting over the years.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:16 PM
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with all due respect sf - please look at a map Nantucket and Marthas Vineyard are islands.
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Old Jul 17th, 2009, 02:36 PM
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Well, that's what I thought gyppielou, but they were being bandied about in the same sentences as the others, which is why I asked. And now that I know that, it still doesn't help me pick a quaint/charming town, since I have no idea which ones are and which ones aren't.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 03:50 AM
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Another option is to drive south to Newport, Rhode Island. It's a lovely town with lots to see, e.g. the Newport mansion tours, the waterfront, etc.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 04:11 AM
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Drive the short distance up to Cape Ann, stay in Rockport (charming) for the night, explore Bearskin Neck and its little shops, go out to Halibut point state park, then go up to Portsmouth, NH and visit Strawberry Banke, then up to Oqunquit or Kennybunkport in Maine. If you want something different you can take a ferry from Boston to Provincetown on Cape Cod and do a day trip without renting a car. Take a taxi or rent a bike to go out to the National Seashore.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 09:20 AM
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I like the term "regular folk"! One minor correction, Kittery, the outlet mall mecca, is the town across the bridge from Portsmouth. If you want a really in depth look at a Boston neighborhood, check out the tours offered by Michelle Topor. I have done both the North End (Boston's Italian section) and recently, Chinatown. Loved them both.
We prefer the mid-coast area of Maine. The auto road to the top of Mt Battie is usually one of our favorite things to do. We'll take bag chairs, binnoculars, books and a picnic to spend a quite hour or two. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland features Maine artists. You can take a boat ride out to Monhegan Island for some easy hiking along the cliffs. Check out the cruises offered by the Maritime Museum in Bath. We like to stay in Wiscasset because we like to go north to Camden/Rockport/Rockland and south to Bath and Brunswick. There are several lobster shacks but many are open weekends only after Labor Day. However, there are plenty of seafood restaurants. Boothbay Harbor is a busy place and close to Wiscassett. We like to explore used bookstores, have a free wine tasting at Cellar Door Winery, and find quiet spots. We have visited Maine over the 4th of July holiday and not had a problem with traffic but we avoid places like downtown Camden and Boothbay when they're at their busiest. DH likes the Owls Head Transportation Museum, they frequently have more things going on on weekends, plus there's a nice walk out to the Owls Head Light.
Portsmouth and Strawbery Banke is an excellent suggestion. Take Rt 1B thru New Castle to see some very old homes plus some fancy new ones. The coastal route thru Rye is where those private mansions are located. Get the local newspapers to find out what is going on. We followed signs to a benefit lobster dinner last Saturday - $17 for lobster, steamed mussels, ear of corn, bag of chips, cole slaw and a drink. Sat at long tables under a tent. Someone had set up a touch tank of sea creatures to show the children. I think many of the adults were just as fascinated.
I would go right to Maine for the Labor Day weekend so you can visit a lobster shack. There also is more going on on the weekends. If you go to downtown Boothbay it will probably be mobbed but there are plenty of roads people don't explore that have some great places (i.e. Pemaquid Point Lighthouse).
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 09:41 AM
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I agree with those who said Camden is beautiful and if you do decide to stay there (2 days would be plenty) I recommend the Inn at Sunrise Point. It's a lovely inn that's just outside Camden.
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Old Jul 21st, 2009, 04:28 PM
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Thanks everyone.

We've run into a scheduling conflict and it doesn't look like we will be able to be there over Labor Day weekend. We are now looking to fly into Boston on Saturday, 9/12 and leaving Boston on Monday, 9/21. We were thinking of traveling to Camden or vicinity from Sunday Sept. 13 to Wednesday September 16. Is it really critical that we spend the weekend there rather than mid-week? Will everything (including crab shacks) really be shut down?

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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 02:01 AM
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No, Camden will be open. It's a very popular weekend destination. We have visited the third weekend in Sept. There are a couple of restaurants north of Camden in Lincolnville that are popular that are still open. joesource just posted a great review of lobster roll places under Utahtea's thread.
Downtown Camden restaurants tend to be more upscale and more expensive. Even in Sept they were crowded. We've stayed at Glenmoor-by-the-Sea just north of town. It offers a range of accommodations from motel to mini-suite type units with their own decks. It's right on Rt 1 but seemed quiet enough. It's the small, unheated true shacks that shut down when summer help goes back to school and water lines can freeze. Most are open weekends only after Labor Day and then close after Columbus Day. If in doubt, call ahead and make reservations if they take them. It looks like the light house cruises out of the Maritime Museum in Bath (about an hour south of Camden) are still being offered weekdays in September. You'll probably find other cruising opportunities. Weather in September can be wonderful.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 11:00 AM
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Hi WJ1 - have lived on the North East coast all my life - last 25 years outside of Boston. Boston is a great city to explore without a car - you can do the Freedom Trail if you are into history- see if you can stay in the Rowes Wharf or Copley Place area - When you come, the leaves will not be changing here yet. Chinatown is fun to visit, it is pretty small (I am originally from NYC) THE Museum of FIne Arts is world class, as is the Peabody Essex up in Salem (forget the witch stuff- very hokey). Just had the best lobster roll ever in Wisscasset at Sprague- outside on the dock. We are staying in Camden on our way back down (on a road trip Boston to Cape Breton NS and back coastally). We are not "Cape" people and I am not into visitn every lighthouse there is-, and I haven't been to CA coast, but I am sure it is different (most of our beaches in New ENgland are racky as opposed to sandy). You could go fishing out of Rockport. I would be glad to answer any specifics that I can - you really can't go wrong driving up Rt 1 slong the Maine coast - lots of cute towns and seafood.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2009, 02:52 PM
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One major difference between Kennebunkport & Camden is that Kennebunkport is more of a 'beach' town, Camden is more of a 'harbor' town. Camden is more scenic for sure, but Kennebunkport is also quite nice (the Bush estate is here), and if you like to take long walks on the beach, the Kennebunkport - Ogunquit area is the place to go.
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Old Jul 29th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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I think I just lost my lengthy reply/request/compliment so I'll begin again! As my DH & I are also heading to Boston and Maine from So Cal soon (Aug 7), I was so overjoyed with all the info all the posters sent to wj1 that I had to express my thanks! We've never been to the East Coast either so we are really looking forward to some great food, friendly folks and picture ops! Something very different from Orange County, California! I think I've got our 3 nights in Boston all planned; it was the drive from Boston to Bangor along the coast that I was still unsure about; not anymore! I cannot thank you enough! We are boarding an expedition ship in Castine that is owned by a friend for 7 days of exploring that coastline. I really hope to spot a puffin! Then we'll be picking up a car in Bangor to drive to Quebec City for 4 nights of another kind of adventure! Do any of you have any experience driving to Quebec City? I probably need to get on another Forum for that...
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