Maine coastal 10 days - early July

Old Apr 17th, 2022, 03:51 PM
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Maine coastal 10 days - early July

Husband and I (50') aiming for 10 days to 2 weeks flying into Bangor and starting on the Mount Desert Island/Acadia National Park end, and working our way towards Boston. Very initial plan is as follows:

3 nights - Claremont (?) on MDI, Acadia National Park (my birthday)

2-3 nights Camden/Rockland area

2-3 nights Brunswick/Bath area

3-4 nights Kennebunkport/Ogunquit area

2 nights in Boston

We are planning to fly in to Bangor, rent car, and work our way down. Amazingly I am finding cars.

Desires? relax, see the views, eat good food, explore mainly in the car, some on foot but not hiking necessarily.

Not interested in shopping, city life, REALLY would rather have less moves/ more nights in one place than I show above!! Don't mind driving.

First trying to establish a basic timeline and structure, then will get more into specifics.

Thanks, first vacation of consequence in quite some time!!
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Old Apr 18th, 2022, 01:41 AM
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Southern Maine can be a day trip for us so we tend not to do overnights. Keep in mind that south of Portland is very busy but has more sandy beaches. Unless there is something you really want to do in Kport area I would skip except for maybe stopping for lunch on way to Boston.
I leave MDI area for others to recommend since we usually spend most time in mid Coast area. Camden is a busy but beautiful town. You can skip the crowds and take the auto road to top of Mt Battie for wonderful views. Take snacks, binoculars and bag chairs although one time we were surprised by the number of vehicles in early June but,it was a Model T club so it was fun to see. I like Farnsworth Art Museum but dh prefers Owls Head car museum. If you want to do that, see if they have special events planned i
on the weekend. You might have a chance to see antique air planes flying. Rockland is a busy city but we jave stayed in an air b&b on the water on a dirt road near St George. The best lobster shack is McLoons but we also like Claws which is on busy Rt 1 overlooking Rockland Harbor. It's a casual eat on the porch type of place but a varied menu. There's also a,winery you can visit.
Early July is busy but if you like festivals we enjoy Bath Heritage Days over July 4. Claim a good spot with your bag chairs for parade watching by getting there early. You can shop in Remy's before the parade. Light house cruises with Maritime Museum are fun, We have also stayed next door in Brunswick which is a college town. There's a good seafood place on Rt 1 just north of town and we love to explore Harpswell area with several great lobster places. You can spend all day and more. Download the Harpswell guide to conservation area. There are some easy hikes. There's one spot we like to sit with a shady area and small beach. This area will not be crowded even in busy July whereas Kport area will be congested.
i think on our last visit we split week between Rockport area and Brunswick,
Maine coastal gardens near Boothbay are wonderful but the bridge between road to Boothbay and Wiscasset will be jammed with traffic on Friday afternoons. We usually only go to Boothbay area in June or to go early to park and take boat to Monhegan Island. Brunswick has a wonderful farmers market on Fridays. Consider getting local yogurt and fresh strawberries. Make sure you pack some simple picnic supplies. Sitting to enjoy a view is enchanced with a thermos of iced tea and local snacks. There's a great deli north of Rockland in Rockport. Nice park area in Rockport harbor. You might luck out to watch kids having sailing lessons in little boats.

Best place for lunch on way to Boston is Bite Into ME food truck parked in Fort Williams Park. Enjoy a lonster roll sitting in your bag chairs with view of Casco Bay.
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Old Apr 18th, 2022, 07:13 AM
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Is Bangor the best (cheapest) choice to fly into? Is there a big drop fee to leave the car in Boston? There are several Downeaster trains per day from Boston North station that go as far as Portland. The Amtrak station in Freeport ME is within walking distance of the LL Bean flagship store.
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Old Apr 18th, 2022, 12:35 PM
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Bangor works, Im sure I could find a cheaper flight into boston and train it, but am flying on miles and it works. amazingly the car is cheaper to pick up in Bangor and return in boston, cheaper than same city return, who knows!! but I will take it! I thing most do this trip the other way around, but we need to end in boston. I do plan to visit that LL Bean store!
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Old Apr 18th, 2022, 12:38 PM
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Great tips. Just have booked the flight to Bangor...not sure how long we will want to stay. 12 days seems decadent. and yes, the Bath July 4th sounds great. I have made notes of all these places. you suggest staying in the towns as listed, or can I condense some of this, rather drive a bit to explore a new area, than pack up the bags every other night. thanks,
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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 01:11 AM
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Yea, condensing is possible by doing some long drives. If you have time and interest, the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor focuses on work vehicles instead of classic cars, Leonard's Mills logging museum might be more interesting if something is going on like ax chopping competitions. Glimpse of the logging industry instead of all coastal. Lombard log haulers were trackless steam engines and some jave been restored.
make a list of things to do then plot mileage with google maps. Route 1 starting in Brunswick is a nice drive. Beware that I95 is very boring.
Have done long weekend with friends in the Ogunquit area but hard to find lots to do. We usually go playhouse one night, Stonewall Kitchen cooking school another night. Last time it was up to Freeport. There was a historic walk we ended up not doing. But we've visited that area more than once. MDI fans will have to check in. We don't bike or hike so haven't visited in a long time. Our son and his family visited recently and didn't like the crowds. But a friend and her family like to camp their and maube do some kayaking.

the Harpswell area east of Brunswick/Bath can take more than a day to explore and is more rural than Ogunquit area.

Bath's parade is traditional. The other option for July 4th is the irreverent political parade in Round Pond. No marching bands. Plenty of sarcasm and marching units like lawn chair drill team. Our daily drives always include a lobster shack. We like the used book sale during Bath's Heritage Days. On rt 1 south of Ellsworth is Chicken Barn Antiques and Used books. You can also do visits to lighthouses.

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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 05:38 AM
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I visit the mid coast several times a year & agree with dfrostnh's great advice.

A few more cents....

I find the drives from one peninsula to another very tiresome... consider staying out closer to one of the tips for a few days to just enjoy being near the sea, and cut down on the day trip driving. The stretch of Rt1 through Wiscasset is especially painful any time after 11am and is best avoided.

You could stay in Harpswell area / Bailey island, or Boothbay area, A day trip from BBH to Monhegan island is a great escape, or simply taking a harbor sail, or rent kayaks to paddle around the harbor, or nearby inlets. In early July the water will be a bit cold for swimming... Some will say the water is always too cold for swimming.....If you get a day in the 90s I know of some sheltered coves where the top 3" of the water will warm up to maybe 70... The trick is keeping all of your body above the top 3" of water...

The question about "best" lobster roll or lobster dinner frequently comes up. In my opinion the "best" is the one that is right nearby, and little to no wait... Lobster is an easy meal to prepare, so just about anywhere can do steamed lobster right.. or wrong, if it' gets cold and soggy before they serve it... My particular favorite lobster roll is at Shannon's unshelled in BBH, for the reasons I stated above... Personally I prefer chilled lobster meat over a steamed lobster, so another option is to just buy some cooked lobster meat at a market and dip it in butter yourself.....Be prepared for sticker shock for anything lobster related.

I also find Freeport to be a big waste of my time.. It's basically turned into one large outlet mall, with a lot of vacancies. Except for the several large LL Bean stores there are no different stores or prices than you'd find at any outlet mall. As for LL Bean, the selection is great and it's fun to browse if you're into outdoor gear, but there really aren't any deals to be had.

Reny's on the other hand - stores all over Maine, is a bargain hunters paradise....

If you like oysters, then Damariscotta is worth a stop. Humans have been harvesting oysters there for thousands of years, and you won't find any better anywhere. My favorite place is the Shuck Station. The river sampler plate gives you a good taste of different oysters harvested at different points along the river - with different brinieness... Outside seating, a dozen or 2 oysters with a cold beer... I love it.

I agree that the 4th of July parade in Round Pond is a hoot. It helps to have a place to set up your chairs - we visit friends when we go there so I can't tell you where you'd park/sit....You could stop by Pemaquid lighthouse while in the area. Speaking of lighthouses, the walk out to the lighthouse in Rockland is interesting...it's about a 1/2 mile walk out a breakwater to get there.

enjoy.

Last edited by J62; Apr 19th, 2022 at 05:41 AM.
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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 06:35 AM
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I second J62's advice to head down a few peninsulas. The one between Damariscotta and Pemaquid point is a little jewel. The lobster pound Shaw's in New Harbor serves up the usual fare, but has a patio overlooking the harbor, which is 90% lobster boat filled. From there you can take the Hardy boat to Monhegan, or on a puffin watch. Round Pond is a little up the road. The lighthouse is dramatic. The Anchor restaurant in Round Pond may be your only chance to eat a vegetable other than cole slaw or fried onion!

https://www.shaws-wharf.com

https://hardyboat.com

https://www.theanchorrestaurant.com

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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Fra_Diavolo View Post
I second J62's advice to head down a few peninsulas. The one between Damariscotta and Pemaquid point is a little jewel. The lobster pound Shaw's in New Harbor serves up the usual fare, but has a patio overlooking the harbor, which is 90% lobster boat filled. From there you can take the Hardy boat to Monhegan, or on a puffin watch. Round Pond is a little up the road. The lighthouse is dramatic. The Anchor restaurant in Round Pond may be your only chance to eat a vegetable other than cole slaw or fried onion!

https://www.shaws-wharf.com

https://hardyboat.com

https://www.theanchorrestaurant.com

and that "other vegetable" would be a half ear of steamed corn...
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Old Apr 19th, 2022, 06:37 AM
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If you have some extra time going into Boston, you could visit Robert Frost's farm in SE New Hampshire. There is an American version of Stonehenge in that area too.
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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 01:54 AM
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Don't whoopie pies count as a vegetable?
i'm sure rhubarb pie does.

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Old Apr 20th, 2022, 03:50 AM
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If you decide you have more time than you need in Maine consider adding in a day in Portsmouth NH and/or a day or two on the north shore (of Boston) - Gloucester, Rockport, Salem, Newburyport, etc. These places are easy to do before ending in Boston.
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Old May 15th, 2022, 06:51 AM
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Thanks all, so far we are staying at the Claremont MDI/Acadia/Bar Harbor for 4 nights

4 nights at friends home near Jefferson/Camden

6 more nights....Bath??? Portland??? Kennebunkport??? realize I don't care about the beaches - won't be swimming....thinking I am more interested in lobster, scenery, quaint towns etc. Just trying to decide where best to spend these last 6 nights. not Boston, been there and will be back...coastal Maine.

thanks, k
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Old May 16th, 2022, 12:18 AM
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Kport is big tourist area. Portland is a nice small city with wonderful restaurants. We've enjoyed mailboat cruise to Casco Bay islands. Friend said we would enjoy Peaks Island but we've never gotten off to look around. I think youcan do a golf cart tour.
Bath is a favorite place. Although we aren't big on Museums the Maritime Museum has wonderful cruise to see light houses. Ig blue collar town for ship building but still quaint. You can visit downtown Remy's dept store. To the south is Brunswick which is a college town with a great farmers market on Fridays, we stayed in an air B&b last visit so we coukd explore Harpswell area again. Good lobster places. Very rural.
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Old May 17th, 2022, 04:02 PM
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The Claremont is a great old hotel with an interesting history, just know that it is a 15 mile drive to all the restaurants/shops in Bar Harbor. Very close to Beal's Lobster Pier though, and a short drive to Peter Trouts Tavern.

Old Port Portland hotels are running 650 a night and up in early July, if you can still find availability. Portland is a harbor and a busy city though, maybe not the quaint that you are looking for. I don't care for Bath except for maybe a day trip. Could make it an overnighter if you're interested in Popham Beach State Park nearby for some sandy beach time.

If I had 6 nights to fill after Camden/Rockport I would probably look at 2 nights Boothbay Harbor if there is any availability there. Then you could easily fill 4 nights in Kennebunkport . It's touristy & hectic but mostly because of it's small size and the layout of the town, it just doesn't handle traffic very well. But I thin
k it's a great place to visit if you have a few days to get to know the area. You can visit Cape Porpoise, Kennebunk and the Rachel Carson Preserve on one day, get an early start (before parking lots fill up) on another day to enjoy Ogunquit and York/Nubble Light, maybe a show at the Ogunquit Playhouse that evening. Another day for a change of scenery you could drive out to through the Sebago Lakes region, or the Shapleigh/Lake Lovell area, or into Old Port Portland for the day along with a drive out to Two Lights Park on the Cape. And of course one full day for Kennebunkport itself, Goose rocks Beach, Arundel Wharf etc.
Mabel's House, formerly The Edgewater Inn, has availability in early July, but like lots of places in Maine it is "no cancellation/no refunds". Kennebunkport Motor Lodge is a quiet, well kept place in a nice setting about 10-12 minutes walk into the touristy areas of town, or 10 mins in the other direction to the beach. They have 72-hr before arrival cancellation policy so you could book while you continue to decide on your itinerary. One things for sure, if you're traveling to Maiine in July you have to make some real decisions very very soon. Good choice if you like "off the beaten path" but it is rustic/retro.

Edit: Mabel's House/ Edgewater Inn is 'no cancellation" on booking.com but 15-days-in-advance if you book directly on their website. Nice spot if you want to be right in the hub of the village with the shops and restaurants just down the street.
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Old May 17th, 2022, 04:05 PM
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Admiral Peary the Arctic explorer has a cool Island home off the coast of Harpswell which is a State park. https://www.pearyeagleisland.org
Joshua Chamberlain a teacher turned Civil War hero at Battle of Little Round Top at Gettysburg has a home/museum in Brunswick worth touring.
At Bowdowin College in Brunswick is a museum with the items that Admiral Peary and his assistant MacMillan brought back from their Arctic explorations over 100 years ago.
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Old Jun 4th, 2022, 01:02 PM
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great input all.

I think I have (finally) booked the stays.

4 nights at the Claremont/LDI
4 nights w friends near Camden
3 nights Booth Bay Harbor
5 nights Lyman (inland from Kennebunkport)

Truth is, we are fine not staying in the busy hub-bub of Bar Harbor, or southern beaches (worn places with kids/sand unless$$$). So just saying. We like to have a nice home, explore some around there on foot, but enjoy the rural area too.

Reservations!!! Know I need to have a reservation for a few drives, such as Cadillac Summit Road? Mount Battie at Camden Hill State Park?? Mailboat cruise to Casco Bay Islands??? Boat to Monhegan Island?? What else state/national park-wise do I need to reserve in advance. Haven't begun to look at restaurant reservations, but we don't need fine dining every night, just good food. I am sure I will make a few reservations for restaurants though if you have any casual favorites.
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Old Jun 4th, 2022, 01:17 PM
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love this, planned a day just as you said above!! thanks,
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Old Jun 4th, 2022, 11:41 PM
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It may be too far from Lyman but my favorite Maine breakfast is Merriland Farm in Wells ME. It is very popular so reservations are needed. It is away from Rt 1 so feels more relaxing.

if you go to Monhegan take a picnic lunch to enjoy sitting on the rocks looking out to see. Somewhere along a hiking trail.

We generally do casual family type restaurants which don't take reservations and are very popular so we try to go at an off time. Ken's in Scarborough is an example.
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