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Maine family trip ideas and Itinerary suggestions for West coasters

Maine family trip ideas and Itinerary suggestions for West coasters

Old Aug 24th, 2009, 05:59 PM
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Maine family trip ideas and Itinerary suggestions for West coasters

My family will be traveling to Maine via Boston in early Sept. Actually we arrive the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. We'll be on the red eye from SFO and we have a friend's place to stay in Arlington for the weekend. But we are most anxious to get to Maine, although feeling a little guilty about skipping Boston. We are planning on leaving Boston and heading up the coast to Maine on Sunday or Monday,.

My family is my husband and I, both early 40s and our son who is 4 1/2 going on 15. We live in the mountains so of course love to hike and the outdoors, fishing, beaches and tide pools. My husband loves history and food. Actually we are both foodies and winos We are looking forward to a lot of delicious seafood, especially lobster and oysters. We usually make a concerted effort to avoid the touristy areas and discover the real feel for a place. We love to get and stay off the beaten path.

We have from Sunday until the following Saturday (when we have a wedding in Damariscotta ) to play -- definitely want to go as far North as Bar Harbor/Acadia and spend a few days or more there.

My thought was to stop somewhere on the way up to Bar Harbor from Boston -- Boothbay? And then continue on to Bar Harbor, spend 2 or 3 nights, then head back South in time for the wedding.

Any suggestions on my timing, things to see or do, restaurants or kid friendly lodging are appreciated! We have never been to Maine and my husband has never been East of Chicago!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 03:34 AM
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Boothbay is one of the most popular tourist towns in Maine although it might be quieter in Sept. Although it is right on Rt 1, I would recommend Glenmoor by the Sea just north of Camden (might be Lincolnville) as most kid friendly. There is a choice of accomodations. Recommend a mini suite type of unit with living area seperate from sleeping area. It is set back from the road with plenty of lawn. There are cottages further in so they offer a variety of accomodations from motel type units to cottages. The Camden area is not off the beaten path, either but do the drive (or hike) up Mt Battie for a fantastic view overlooking Camden Harbor. Bring bag chairs, picnic, and binnoculars.
About 45 minutes south, Sea Basket in Wiscasset is a great casual family restaurant highly rated on Chowhound. I would pass on the crab roll (thought mine was bland) but fried seafood is great. Keep in mind that some of the lobster shack places are only open weekends after Labor Day so be careful about scheduling steamed lobsters by the ocean. On the way to Bar Harbor, right on Rt 1 in Stockton Springs (south of Ellsworth) is Just Barb's. Another good, casual family place.
About 14 miles off the beaten path (Rt 1) from Brunswick ME (lovely college town) you can head down the peninsula to Harpswell. Very rural. A the tip is the Dolphin Marina. You might not notice the restaurant at first but it's right on the water. Nice, casual place known for lobster stew served with blueberry muffin except I ordered the lobster quesadillas which I wouldn't recommend. Earlier this summer we had lunch there and noticed a wildlife perserve/nature area marked on the tourist map. The teenage waitress said there was nothing there but we wanted a quiet place to sit with books and binnoculars. The road in was a little hard to find and it's not maintained very well but it was exactly what we wanted, an isolated little beach area with a few families and a few guys fishing. A place where a 4 1/2 yo could play and wade. Sorry, we don't have the tourist map anymore but from all our wanderings around Maine we know there are other places like that that most people don't bother to hunt up.
What you need to know about Maine is that south of Portland you'll find some beautiful sandy beaches but in the mid-coast and north the beaches are mostly rocky. You'll probably want wading shoes on the rocky beaches. There's a picnic and beach area near Owls Head Light, too. Short, easy walk/hike to the lighthouse, different trail to the beach. This is near Rockland ME. A day trip to Monhegan Island would be nice. We took a picnic. Long boat ride but the trails along the cliffs are beautiful. Bring picnic gear, at least an insulated bag etc.
Check schedule for Maine agricultural fairs to see if one will be taking place near your travels. You will be too early for the organic farmers Common Ground Fair in Unity but you might luck out on something else. Go early in the day. Check out 4-H projects and animal shows, watch the kids grooming their sheep. We used to like to watch the 4-H dog obedient class. Ideal would be youngest 4-H working steers (oxen) because it is amazing how well some kids train their animals (There's a beginners obstacle course at an event I like.)
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 05:09 AM
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You are choosing a nice time to come to Maine. Alot of tourists will be gone, especially during the week. One stop worth considering, just 1 hour north of Boston along 95, is York. It is just over the border from NH. Long Sands Beach is one your son would love. York is quite historic as well. There's a few decent seafood restaurants along Rte. 1A as well. As a reference, you will still have a good 2-hr drive to Boothbay from York.
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 11:17 AM
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dfrostnh knows that Maine area! We've been to the very spots he speaks of and they sound like just what you're looking for -- not big tourist traps at all!

My only comment would be to check the weather and perhaps FOG if you go to Monhegan, lest you miss out on expected sights.

I suspect I may not be the only one here to have also picked up on your passing "we have a wedding in Damariscotta to play". A group or band? In any event, THAT is a lovely place, too. (If you stay there, the Tipsy Butler B&B was charming a year or two ago and I suspect it may be still.)

We just got back from an anniversary week at a cottage on the Kennebec River, south of Bath, right on the water.

Enjoy the gig and the wedding, and the Maine coast, too!
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 12:00 PM
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From your post I can't tell if you've already decided you're definitly skipping Boston. If you're waffling, I'd encourage you to spend a little time there. Even just a day to do the Freedom Trail (not that that will take all day). There's no city like it on the West Coast, but there's an awful lot of spectacular coastline here (on the West Coast I mean).
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Old Aug 25th, 2009, 01:11 PM
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Thank you dfrostnh, thank you everyone! These are such great suggestions! We are really excited for our trip....RetiredVermonter, no we are not musicians but have to attend a wedding there as guests! They have hired an Irish band, I've heard, so I'll let you know how they are! The trip to Maine was basically planned around attending the wedding. Can't come all the way to Maine and not see the sights. So we'll make a week of it.

Christy1, I think we'll recover from our red eye flight in Boston and stay an extra night to see the sights. The Freedom Trail is a great idea! We'll have Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday in Boston -- any other suggestions?
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