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Portland, Camden, Bar Harbor - how many days each??

Portland, Camden, Bar Harbor - how many days each??

Jun 21st, 2009, 01:46 PM
  #1  
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Portland, Camden, Bar Harbor - how many days each??

My husband and I are traveling to Maine (first visit for us both) in September. We will be flying into Portland and out of Bangor and will be spending 5 nights. We are in our late 30s and my husband is a photographer, so we want to be able to see lots of the Maine coast and lighthouses.

Our current thought is to spend two nights in Portland to see Kennebunkport/Portland, two nights in Camden and then the final night in Bar Harbor. However, I'm thinking that we may be better served to stay only one night in Portland and two in Bar Harbor. We arrive in Portland around noon and depart Bangor at 3:00 on our last day. Do we need more than a full day and a half to see Kennebunkport/Portland and drive to Camden?

We are considering the following hotels and would welcome any experience anyone has with these: Portland - Pomegranate Inn; Camden - Harstone Inn; Bar Harbor - Bar Harbor Inn & Spa or the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel.

Thanks!
nctravelgirl is offline  
Jun 21st, 2009, 10:30 PM
  #2  
 
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Portland isn't my fav place along that route, but you would probably enjoy spending at least your first night depending on what time you fly in.

Take the Old Route US1 from Portland to Bar Harbour. Great spots to stop, hug the water routes. Ongonquit (probably spelled wrong), Booth Bay, Camden, etc. You should be fine for accommodations as long as you grab a place before 5pm. Bar Harbour, definitely two days. One to explore the water/town and another for the national park. We recently stayed at the Bar Harbour Inn. Great accommodations, wonderful staff.
Tanya is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 02:28 AM
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You might want to remain a little flexible depending on the weather. If its a bad day you might want to be in an area with indoor attractions - museum, etc. or be driving. Kennebunkport is about an hour south of Portland. Ogunquit, mentioned by Tanya, is 20 min further south. It is a nice town with a big sandy beach and the Marginal Way - a coastal walk, maybe a mile, with nice views for a photographer. You could do both in a day and back to Portland.

Portland is a nice small city with working waterfront, good museum, etc. A photographer might like to visit the Observatory where they used to watch for the ships to come in and put flags up for announcements. There are also two beautiful lighthouses in Cape Elizabeth that photographer's love-Portland Head and Two Lights. You could do Portland and Cape E the first day and then down to K'port/Ogunquit the second day if you decided on two nights here.

Its about 1 1/2 hours to Camden depending on traffic. I might just spend one night there and also see Rockland. Then its about 2 hours (?) to Bar Harbor. You'll find places to stop on the way and if you want to see lighthouses you'll have to get off Route 1. The Owl's Head light is quite nice. I just found www.lighthousefriends.com while looking for the name of that one.

Acadia is worth two days just to scratch the surface, and then you'll be back!
cindyj is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 05:04 AM
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Your route really depends on what you want to see. We prefer the mid-coast area. The southern coast such as Ogunquit and Kennebunk are nice but also crowded (except mid-week in many places). Try to get out on the water. See if the Maritime Museum in Bath has any lighthouse cruises that time of year. Owl's Head Light is a great recommendation. There are plenty of scenic areas around Boothbay. Keep in mind Camden is beautiful but very much a tourist town. If you want working boats/fishermen drive around the Harpswell area or any of the drives away from towns and out to the small coves. 5 days is not a lot of time. Check out Yankee Magazine's website for more ideas.
dfrostnh is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 12:04 PM
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Thanks for the comments/suggestions. cindyj - thanks for the lighthouse link - great information!

We've considered doing one night in Boothbay and one in Camden instead of the two in Camden. Sounds like that might be a better option?
nctravelgirl is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 01:24 PM
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I like Portland, its a charming smallish city -- 1 night there is fine. We've stayed 2 times at Morrill Mansion Inn --very nice little B&B and easy to walk into the main part of town. http://www.morrillmansion.com/

I like the mid coast and agree that Harpswell Island is a great area to explore. Camden, while lovely, is jammed with tourists so has never really appealed to me. Monhegan Island might be a nice place to explore. U can take the ferry from Port Clyde (a nice little town). Pemaquid is also very picturesque. U could easily spend your time in the mid coast region and find lots to photograph and enjoy. Every town has a charm of its own. If u do decide to go up to Bar Harbor which is beautiful, spend 2 nights. I think it will take u longer than 2 hurs to go from Camden to BH.
yestravel is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2009, 04:00 PM
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In September things won't be too crowded. Boothbay is a good choice, but I just don't think its worth heading down the peninsula when you've got so many great sights right along Route 1. Same with Harpswell. I love to bike down there, but I made my suggestions knowing that you had limited time.
cindyj is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:11 AM
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If you are in Camden on a weekend, expect the restaurants to be very busy. We tend to like the quieter, more rural areas which is why I suggested the Harpswell area for exploring. Cindyj makes a good point about limited time but I think it would be a shame to miss a quiet drive like the one out to Pemaquid Point or Harpswell. However, some people might think those country roads are boring. You won't find a lot of shops and fancy homes. We'll be making a day trip to Camden in a few weeks but we're staying in Wiscasset and also doing a day trip to Rockland/Owls Head. Our most favorite lobster shack is near Owls Head but it might close after labor day.
dfrostnh is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 03:17 AM
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All good suggestions. Don't miss Portland Head Light, and just south of Portland is Cape Elizabeth, check it out for Two Lights, great lobster in the rough on the rocky shore.
emalloy is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 04:49 AM
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Don't miss Olganquit! Lovely picturesque town with the best Lobster restaurant : BARNACLE BILLY'S!
kilimlady is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 05:03 AM
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dfrostnh - what is the name of the lobster shack near Owl's head? thanks
yestravel is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Hi yestravel, it's Waterman's Beach. Probably the smallest one we've been to. The first year we found it there was just the cook shack and some picnic tables next to the water. Later they added a covered porch in back. We prefer the picnic tables and being in the sun and breeze so we make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses. There is no other commercial activity on the road. Five Islands is probably a prettier setting but Waterman's is quieter. Not much on the menu besides lobster and pie! Well, maybe there is but our big decision each visit is how big a lobster to get.
dfrostnh is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2009, 08:42 AM
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dfrostnh, thanks, love that place. I think I may have first heard of it from u. Looking forward to a visit in August.
yestravel is offline  
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