Need help with Maine itinerary

Old Jan 21st, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Need help with Maine itinerary

Hello All!

My husband and I are planning a 12/13 day trip to Maine the last two weeks in September 2007. We are from the west coast and in our late 40's. Last year we went to New England (fall foliage - Vermont and New Hampshire) for the first time and loved it so much that we decided to explore Maine. Flying in and out of different airports is not a concern for us. We enjoy American, local & maritime history, some antiquing, quaint villages, lighthouses, light hiking and meandering along country roads. Would like to mostly do the coast but I've seen other posts here for inland Maine as well (Moosehead Lake)& Bethel. I get sea sick so unfornately harbor tours or island hopping are not an option unless in calm bay (may be tolerated.

We need help in trying to figure out how long to stay in each area - we typically like to base ourselves 2/3 days at an Inn or B & B. We don't need to see everything and like a more leisurly pace. We also only go on one vacation a year so we enjoying staying at more upscale B & B's, Inn's and like to enjoy a great memorable meal or two!

Thought we'd fly into Manchester NH, would arrive late and stay near airport first night We'd like to start out in York and go all the way up to Campobello Island. Stopping at Ogunquit, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Bath (Maritime Museum),Camden and Bar Harbor (Acadia). Castine, Boothbay Harbor, Wiscasset and Blue Hill has some reviews on this post for being lovely area's to explore.

We do plan on spending at least two/three full days to explore Acadia Nat'l. Park. We are also aware that getting off of Hwy 1 could take hours to explore various towns.

I guess I'd like to know if some towns are more overated than others and should be skipped. Should we spend a whole day in Portland? Also, are there any small towns worth visting more inland off the coast. Can the coast and Moosehead Lake be done in 12/13 days? Also, are there great area's to explore past Bar Harbor along coast.

Any recommendations on our itinerary would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you have any suggestions on great places to stay and dine - that would be lovely too!
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Old Jan 21st, 2007, 11:11 PM
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I think the lake areas are very nice in September. I'd vote for driving to Alton Bay, New Hampshire when you arrive at Manchester. Spend a couple of nights at the Bayside Inn there, and then head up the coast. (Sebago Lake, Maine would be another nice spot...stay at the lake instead of in Portland and take a day trip to Portland.)
Moosehead is beautiful, but more "wilderness cabin" than "upscale B&B".

Old Orchard Beach is worth a walk on the long beautiful sand (stop south of OOB, in Ocean Park)...but not an overnight. Continue on to Inn By the Sea in Cape Elizabeth instead.
Glenmoor By the Sea is a favorite in Camden, and Welch House Inn in Boothbay.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:57 AM
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In Bar Harbor check out Bar Harbor inn.Great place with fireplace.You can book a two or three day special package including lodging, great whale watching excursion and a lobster meal.Acadia is wonderful but also visit Bass Harbor lighthouse. The region around Rangeley lakes is nice too.Paul
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 04:18 AM
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If You haven't visited Portsmouth NH I would add that to your list. Kittery Maine is just over the bridge. Strawbery Banke is a beautiful historical area plus Portsmouth has some great restaurants. We typically spend a week in an area of Maine so 12/13 days is great. From Wiscasset, for example, it's easy to explore Boothbay (nice easy hike at nearby Maine Coast Gardens on Barter Island), Bath and even Camden/Rockport as day trips. For example, on a day trip from Wiscasset we visited Owls Head Transportation Museum during a 50s weekend, easy short hike to Owls Head Light, late lunch at Waterman's Beach (lobster at a picnic table next to the water). You might list what you'd like to see then pick a central location so you can stay several days in one spot. I also like Glenmoor by the Sea which is just north of Camden. One of my all time favorite things to do in late September is visit the Common Ground Fair sponsored by the organic farmers association. Not at all like your usual agricultural fair. Beautiful handicrafts and all organic/natural foods. No midway. It's held in Unity but an easy day trip from Camden. For a different transportation museum we also liked the Cole Transportation Museum in Bangor which puts you inland. This museum deals more with trains, logging and work vehicles. If there is a demonstration day at Leonard's Mills, they have a great restored saw mill. Again, this is more about Maine's logging history rather than maritime. Maine's coast is divided into areas. Our favorite is the mid-coast area I've just described. We usually travel up Rt 95 and get off onto Rt 1 in Brunswick. For us, Ogunquit and the Kennebunks are too crowded and we can get there as day trips.
BTW since you plan to fly into MHT, if you north to Concord and take Rt 393/Rt 4 over to Portsmouth you will pass thru Antique Alley in Northwood. Rt 101 is the quickest way to the coast from MHT but it's a boring divided highway. You could easily make the hour trip into a half day adventure. Spend the night in Portsmouth etc. The further north you go along Maine's coast, the more quiet it gets. North of Camden the towns are smaller and less devoted to tourism until you get to Bar Harbor. We've traveled all the way to Canada but it gets sparse. I think we took the inland route one way, thru mostly blueberry barrens, and coastal route coming back.
Somehow, we haven't managed to visit much of inland Maine except to cross thru headed for the coast. It doesn't take many miles inland to get very quiet with mostly farmland, trees. On one trip down from Canada we traveled all the way from Fort Kent to Presque Isle before we found a place to spend the night. Lots and lots of trees! But I think there are lots of wonderful places we just haven't discovered yet. I think most of your time can be spent on the coast with a couple of days reserved for an inland visit as long as you know where you're going. There is so much on the coast that you can wander and find lots of things but inland is much more sparsely populated.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 05:54 AM
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When you get to Acadia, try to get over to the Schoodic Pennisula portion of the park. Its about a 45 minute drive and well worth it. Very remote and beautiful, far fewer visitors than the Mt. Desert part of the park. A few nice restaurants and shops to explore also.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 06:12 AM
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You absolutely MUST eat the Seafood Chowder at Gilbert's Chowder House in Portland in the Old Port area on the water. It is a very casual place, and the Super Seafood Chowder (that is the seafood chowder with double the seafood--it has clams, lobster, scallops and Maine shrimp in it) is so delicious. You can get it in a sourdough bread bowl or without. I am a flight attendant and my friend and I would bid Portland layovers just to eat that chowder! Portland is one of my favorite smaller cities. The Old Port is charming with cobblestone streets and fun little shops and great restaurants. Have fun. Maine is so beautiful!
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 09:00 AM
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I'm not sure how important the fall foliage is to you but keep in mind that the coastal areas do not have the best. Inland the trees will be much prettier.

Keep in mind some attractions along the coast will be closed.

Maybe you can combine the coast and inland travel.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 11:53 AM
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Bar Harbor is one of the most beautiful towns in Maine - definitely stay there. There are some wonderful restaurants but avoid the overpriced tourist traps on the waterfront. Lobster is cheaper up the road at Rupernunnis. We had the most incredible ice cream at a place called Mt. Desert Island Ice Cream - it is a charming, flower bedecked tiny shop with pure homemade, delectable & unique ice cream flavors. A gorgeous woman from the Philadelphia region owns it, named Linda Parker - she is a world traveler and fascinating to talk to. Don't be afraid to try her "fearless flavors" like Mt. Cadillac Stout with Fudge or the Chocolate Wasabi; they're all so good and they do have mainstream flavors, such as my personal favorite, coconut which is the best I've ever had. My husband and I would skip desserts at restaurants and head back to this friendly little place. I was so impressed (and addicted) to this ice cream that I brought some home, packed carefully for the 10 hour drive!

Regarding hotels, there are so many cute B&B's and the Holiday Inn up there is actually lovely and well priced. Go up to Cadillac Mountain for sunset or sunrise; it is breathtaking! You can pay the park fee and do the Acadia Loop drive through the park, minutes from Bar Harbor. Do a hike, rent bikes and visit Jordan Pond - a lovely Martha Stewart rave - you could spend a week in Bar Harbor and still wish you stayed longer. Enjoy! It's one of our favorite spots in this country.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2007, 01:11 PM
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Last time we were in Maine we stayed in the York area. A worthwhile stop there would be the Cape Neddick Lighthouse. It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Maine. It is on many calendars. I would also make Ogunquit a must see stop. There are many beautiful B&B's and motels which have views overlooking the ocean. It is also famous for the marginal way it's a paved walkway along the ocean you can climb out on the rocks sit and watch the waves crash.The walkway goes from Ogunquit to Perkins Cove. Perkins Cove is very picturesque. Perkins Cove has very unique shops and great restaurants overlooking the water. I would definately make it a stop on your trip. Another great lighthouse is Cape Elizabeth and the Portland light. I would suggest you spend more time along than the coast than inland the coast has so many scenic areas. Another suggestion if you are going up as far as Campobello Island would be to do a moose tour which would be up in that area. I forgot to mention when in the Camden area you also have to go up to the top of Mount Battie for a spectacular view of camden and the harbor. If you are travelling along route 1 from Portland to Bar Harbour another interesting stop in the prison store in Thomaston. Prisoners hand make crafts most are wooden crafts.I have brought many beautiful and unique items there.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 06:51 PM
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Tracy2Cents, tovarich, clueless dfrostnh, bennnie, skpscubapuppies, skp and mmouse52!

Thanks so much to all of you for your input. Great ideas and recommendations for everthing including the lighthouses. Now I just have to really figure and map everything out within the next two/three weeks. Please keep checking the "Maine" section of this forum as I may have more questions. One innkeeper recommended that I get a book called "Maine: An Explorer's Guide" which I'm going to get from Amazon. I also used the Delorme' "Gazetter" for Vermont and New Hampshire so I may try to find a used Maine mapbook from Amazon as well. We realize that we may miss the peak foliage color but that will be ok for this trip.

Will look into some of the Inn's and B& B's posted and thank you "skp" for the seafood chowder recommendation.

"Dfrostnh" - thanks for the thorough run-down. We will think about adding NH Portsmouth to the agenda (we love historical). All of the museums (Logging in Bangor) especially sounds very interesting. Also, the antique Alley and Fair!

"Scubapuppies" Already had Jordan Pond on the list - thanks for adding that and the ice cream.

"mmouse52" - thanks for your suggestion on "The Marginal Way" and Moose tours.

Paul & Bennnie - thanks also for the Acadia suggestions - we've read so much about this beautiful Natl. Park and can't wait to see and experience it.

Thanks! Marlena
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Old Jan 23rd, 2007, 09:24 PM
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I have to second Tracy on Old Orchard Beach...perhaps worth a walk, but not worthy of an overnight. One poster stated that Kennebunk and Ogunquit are crowded, and that is true...but I have only found it that way during July and August. They are beautiful areas, particulary Perkins Cove and the Marginal Way. I live on Cape Cod and I still make an annual trip up there!
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Old Jan 25th, 2007, 11:33 AM
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I agree with Tracy about the inland lakes, especially Sebago. The foliage on Sebago is absolutely spectacular that time of year, and the place to spend a few days is Migis Lodge. Its not the least expensive place by any means, but it's all inclusive (3 meals and facilities), their cottages are quite luxurious and the food is exquisite. Family-owned, very friendly staff. I've been there with my family during the summer and was fortunate enough to go again for a wedding, its really an amazing spot. I would also recommend going to the Fryeburg Fair. Its Maine's largest and is usually happening during the height of the foliage season, a great reason to make an inland trip.
The coast isn't as good for foliage, but its still always beautiful. Portland is a great city, definitely worth a day or two. Camden/Rockport area is gorgeous, have only spent a little time there. The Inn at Ocean's Edge is a great spot just north of Camden (owned by the same folks as Migis Lodge I believe), well located relative to all the places you said you wanted to go.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 03:05 PM
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I've read all the messages about Portland & the Maine coast with interest.We are planning on being there the second week in October.We'll stay about 3 nights in Portland and then a B&B or hotel on a beach till we get the train or bus to Boston.As we won't have a car,where would be the best place to stay?I like the sound of Ogunquit and York.Will things still be open in October? We are a senior couple from Scotland if that makes any difference!!What will the weather be like in October?
Any help much appreciated.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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Since you say you enjoy maritime history, you should plan to visit the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. I was there last summer, and thought it was very interesting and well done. Here's their website for more info:
http://www.bathmaine.com/
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Old May 4th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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Topping for Marlena..
We are doing the same thing in September..
Great advice from all the posters!
 
Old May 5th, 2007, 06:21 AM
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hi marlena, you are getting some very good suggestions. i live in central maine so will offer ideas about my area.
first of all, is it possible to find a like priced ticket into either bangor or portland. both very small but excellent airports.
i love the whole maine coast once you get north of brunswick. the thing is you will find the history, antiquing, quaintness, etc in virtually every town. every lighthouse i've been to was an excellent adventure. translation - whereever you choose you will love.
re acadia. bar harbor is nice but seriously touristy. i've stayed at the bar harbor inn and it is indeed lovely. however, i recently took a sunday drive on mount desert island to the southwest harbor side. it is so much more peaceful and might be an alternative to bar harbor lodging.
you absolutely must drive over to schoodic point. it is spectacular.
re greenville/moosehead. i have to disagree about with tracey about moosehead/greenville "wilderness cabins". check out the following: www.greenvilleinn.com and www.lodgeatmooseheadlake.com - this place has the coolest rooms! and both have outstanding view of lake and mountains. also look at www.pleasantstinn.com and www.birches.com - birches is more 'rustic'.
fryeburg fair is first week in oct. a truely wonderful maine experience and worth it if you can alter your dates. (do you recall the movie 'state fair'? - it's a lot like that.) common ground is 9/21/22/23 this year and is another unique and entertaining way to spend part of a day.
if you want to do fryeburg start looking for a place to stay nearby today!! this is probably the most attended event in the state. if it's available stay at www.centerlovellinn.com in nearby lovell. a very nice b&b with fabulous dining room. you would be 5 mins from kezar lake which national geographic voted one of most beautiful lakes in US a few years back, with it's views of the white mountains for background.
for bethel look at the www.bethelinn.com this is a wonderful place in a pretty area but i don't know of much summer activity besides rafting in the area.
lastly, when you drive through maine try to avoid I95 as much as possible and rte 2 which is the main east-west road. good roads, but so crowded and you won't see real maine. we are a very well signed state and the back/country roads are easy to follow. once you choose your route i will be glad to suggest specific roads for you.
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Old May 5th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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I'm jumping in here-- hope that's ok. Several posters have mentioned that they know the Bar Harbor Inn. We're planning on staying there, but I've been wondering whether to book a lodge room or a room in the main inn. (I've headed this question under my own name, but no one has responded.) I like the idea of having a fireplace (end of May/early June), but quiet and privacy are paramount to us. I have the feeling (could be mistaken) that the lodge accommodations somehow might be more quiet. Would love feedback. And have much appreciated the great in-put on this post. Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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hi poss, sorry i didn't see your other post. the 2 sections are fairly close together. i doubt you would notice a big difference in noise, especially this time of year. i stayed in the lodge but mainly because i took my dog and she was not allowed in the main hotel. as you must enter the main inn rooms through the lobby this might affect your sense of privacy. each lodge room has private entrance from the outdoors. for the most privacy request 2nd floor room at far end of lodge. on the other hand since you are going before the season gets going and the rooms in the main inn are nicer and have those fireplaces i think i would go for an inn room.
be sure to take a stroll along the path going away from the town/hotel. passes a few of the "cottages".
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Old May 6th, 2007, 06:17 AM
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Thanks so much for your reply, Virginia. I hadn't know that the lodge part of the inn was pet friendly. Ouch! I have extreme cat allergies. I wish that places that accepted pets would make that known to potential bookers. But no doubt the responsibility is mine also-- to ask. By the way, I'd been told that the most private/quiet part of the lodge would be those 3 rooms on the third floor. But I guess the point is moot now. I suppose it'd be a mistake for me to book anything in the lodge. I really appreciate your getting back to me.
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Old May 6th, 2007, 09:41 AM
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Update: just spoke with the BH Inn. They assure me that the lodge hasn't accepted pets in at least three years. (I think the Newport Buidling does?) There's a "loft suite" available for the nights we'll be there. I think we may decide to book that if I can swallow the much higher rate. Would certainly be nice to have a fireplace and little sitting area in addition to the bedroom (which I think is quite small in that type room).
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