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NEW HAMPSHIRE/MAINE COAST

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Aug 25th, 2012, 06:52 AM
  #1
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NEW HAMPSHIRE/MAINE COAST

HOPING TO TAKE A ROAD TRIP THE WEEK AFTER LABOR DAY TO EXPLORE THE NH, SOUTHERN MAINE COAST. WHERE TO STAY, PORTSMOUTH, NH, KITTERY, ME, OR ONE OF THE BEACH TOWNS ON THE COAST OF ME. OR DOES IT MATTER MUCH. WE AREN'T GOING FOR BEACH TIME, JUST TO EXPLORE THE TOWNS IN THE AREA, PROBABLY UP TO PORTLAND.

ANY SUGGESTIONS FOR ACCOMMODATIONS IS VERY APPRECIATED.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 10:56 AM
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There aren't really any beach towns north of Portland, Me. The water is too cold, even at Popham.

The beaches of NH are excellent, but sort of tacky.

Old Orchard Beach has a reputation for being tacky, Ogunquit for being upscale. Couldn't tell you whether these are true.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 01:19 PM
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Both NH and Maine have a beautiful coastline, however Maine has a lot more. Portsmouth is a small historic city, with lots of good places to eat, and is great for just walking around. For small 'beachy' towns, York, Ogunquit, Wells and Kennebunkport are the best. Each has their own vibe: York is family oriented, with an old timey feel, a scenic lighthouse and lots of nice beach. Ogunquit has perhaps the most gorgeous stretch beach, and the beautiful Marginal Way footpath along the ocean. It's also more upscale with art galleries and pricey restaurants. Wells is basically about the beach - not much else but motels and restaurants. Kennebunkport is somewhat like Ogunquit, with a very charming village and some good beaches. It's hard to recommend someplace to stay, as there are everything from mom & pop motels, large upscale resort type motels, and lots of b&b's. From any one of these towns it's easy to drive from Portsmouth up to Portland in a short amount time.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 02:08 PM
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What's your budget per night and how many nights do you have? Are you looking for small town browsing or places more geared to dining/ shopping/ nightspots etc?
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Aug 26th, 2012, 06:01 PM
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What we are looking forward to doing it just meandering around and taking drives/day trips to soak up the local atmosphere. Not looking for lots of shopping or nightlife. We'd like to spend our days checking out different areas, evenings relaxing over a good (seafood) dinner. Then going back to a comfortable place to relax for the evening after dinner (guess we're kind of boring). I've been pointed in the direction of Ogunquit, Kennebunkport and Old Orchard Beach, but a few people told me to say away from OOB as it is not a very desirable area to walk around in. I'm getting so confused! I'd like to keep it to not more than $200 a night, but CLEAN is very important to me. Many of the B & B's I've called are well over $300 a night. Any input is SO appreciated...thank you.
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Aug 26th, 2012, 07:46 PM
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OOB is kinda honky tonky and after Labor Day attracts a lot of "weekly motel" tenants so I would avoid. Fontenay Terrace Motel, Turbats Creek Lodge and Green Heron Inn in Kennebunkport might be in your price range. I'd also check Terrace By The Sea and Admiral's Inn in Ogunquit.

From either of these towns you can take 30 min trips down to Portsmouth New Hampshire for lunch and tax-free shopping....30 minutes in the other direction and you can visit Old Port Portland or maybe Cape Elizabeth and Two Lighthouse Park. I would also take a drive out route 109 through Sanford and on to the Lake Lovell area which is a nice afternoon and lovely in September.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 02:48 AM
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What we don't like about southern Maine is the amount of traffic. Recently we stayed at a condo in Wells because we wanted kitchen facilities and went up to Portland for the food tour. I think Portland has more variety in restaurants. For a weekend, we spent a lot of time in the car. This was third w/e in Sept.

If you prefer the Wells/Ogunquit area, we stayed at the Dunes in Ogunquit which offers a variety of accommodations. Despite being on Rt 1, they are way back from the road with spacious lawns and little cottages scattered around. Each had it's own pair of Adirondack chairs so it was pleasant to enjoy the evening and walk around. Our unit was a one bedroom with separate LR. Tiny rooms but more comfortable than a standard motel room. We went in June a couple of years ago so it was off season rates. Something like the Anchorage within walking distance of the Marginal Way would be nice.

If you are going for 7 days, consider splitting your week between two areas. If you spent a few days in Portland you could also make a day trip north to Rockland. Keep in mind lobster shacks are usually weekends only after Labor Day if you want the picnic table on the water type of place.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 03:55 AM
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tracy2cents gives good advice. There is nothing very far apart in that part of the world, and her suggestions for daytrips from K'port are good.
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Aug 27th, 2012, 11:51 AM
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On neither this or you other post do you say how many nights this trip is. You also seem to be planning on staying in one location. I think the Maine coast leads itself to working your way up and staying in a few different places rather than day tripping.

Coming from NJ I might spend the first night in Portsmouth NH - the city itself is nice and from there you can explore the entire NH coast (all 17 miles of it).

Day 2 drive the coastal route through York, Ogunquit and Kennebunkkport up to Portland. On the highway it's only a one hour drive, so even if you hug the coast and stop a lot it's still a very easy day. Portland itself has lots to offer, especially restaurants.

Day 3 explore the mid coast region - Boothbay Harbour, drive out the peninsulas, drive up to Camden/Rockland area. Not counting the detours it's only about 100 miles so easily explored in a day. Lots to do in Camden.

If you only have about 4 days then that's as far as I'd go. For the drive back you can take the fastest highway route (diagonally through Mass and CT) or a more leisurely route across NH and VT and then south.

If you have six days I'd go all the way up to Acadia - it's only 75 miles from Camden but takes close to two hours. Lots of people spend a whole week up there but you can have an enjoyable time with only 1-2 days.

Unless you are only talking about a long weekend then I would certainly go further than Portland, that's where the really rugged coast is. The southern coast worth seeing, I love that area, but a lot of it (like Wells, Orchard Beach) won't look that different from the Jersey shore.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 05:58 PM
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Isabel, good point, I didn't say how many days, which would help. I'm planning on leaving NJ on Sunday, 9/16 and leaving wherever we end up on Friday, 9/21. So...let's say we'll arrive in Portsmouth Sunday, early to mid afternoon, check out that area for the rest of the day and evening, check out on Monday and head to ? for ? nights and from there to ? for the last two nights. I'm thinking maybe head up to Portland for ? nights. I'd really love to see the Camden area, however that seems to be about 2 hours from Portland, so 4 hours round trip would be a drag. Maybe we should go to Portsmouth, then the next day drive up to Camden for 2 nights, and then go down to Portland for the last two nights? My hub HATES long drives, so...I'm trying to see a lot w/o spending most of the day driving. I've been to Acadia, so think Camden is as far north as I'll go this trip.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 03:25 AM
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There's a difference between straight driving and exploring but the exploring part takes longer. Between Portland and Camden you could explore. Drive out to Pemaquid Point to see the lighthouse. Stop in Rockland for the Farnsworth Museum or the easy hike to Owls Head light. Visit the winery. Continue up Rt 1 to Camden. It would definitely take all day. That much driving is tiring but you aren't going to sit in one place all day unless you're on a beach. Wiscasset has a quaint downtown area if you want to browse a few shops. Rockland has some interesting shops.
Keep in mind I95/I295 is pretty boring. Faster than Rt 1 though.
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