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Portland to Acadia - how long for stops along the way?

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Jun 24th, 2013, 07:49 AM
  #1
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Portland to Acadia - how long for stops along the way?

We plan on arriving in Portland midday sometime in mid September (dates still TBD). We'll have 6 - 8 days to travel to Acadia and take in all the area has to offer. Our interests are hiking, biking, good (but simple) food/drink, nature sightseeing, etc. We don't mind spending a BIT of time in touristy locations if there is more to offer other than souvenir shops but prefer to visit out-of-the way/less people kind of places. Our big dilemma is calculating how much time to spend where. We'll probably stay the first night in Portland and then spend nights in a couple other locations that can serve as home base for day trips. Thinking of maybe a stopover in Camden area and then plan on three nights in Acadia area. We've been sifting through many posts but still don't have a good plan! Any suggestions for these "first time to Maine" Floridians?
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Jun 24th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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It sounds like you tend towards the same interests as me...I have very little interest in shopping or even wandering through shops--I want to spend my Maine time outside!

I like to spend a couple of days in Portland--a great little food city--but spend the rest of my time in Acadia...mostly hiking.

If you would like another stop, I's suggest Stonington. It's REALLY tiny and feels authentic Maime fishing village. It's other plus it that it is the base for the mailboat to Isle au Haut, a really quiet part of Acadia.

~Liz
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Jun 24th, 2013, 11:45 AM
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We liked the conservation areas around the Harpswells (east of Brunswick). Basically, easy hikes. Nice lobster/seafood place in Cundy Harbor but might be weekends only in September. If you google Harpswells, you should be able to find a list of the hikes. Note that one lovely secluded beach has a very rough road into it. We were in a pickup truck with good clearance. You might not want to take a compact rental car there. Other places, parking was fine.

The view from Mt Battie in Camden is worth it whether you hike or drive the auto road. Take a picnic lunch and binnoculars. You can skip the shopping.

Get a list of farmers markets from the State Dept of Agriculture. I think you'll also find one in the info centers. We liked the markets in Brunswick and Bath. Rockland was pretty good, too. A chance to get some local cheese, yogurt, maybe fresh berries, breads, etc.

Portland is definitely worth an overnight. It's considered one of the foodiest towns in the US. If you have an afternoon flight home you might consider the morning mailboat run or the night before, a lighthouse cruise.
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Jun 24th, 2013, 12:03 PM
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http://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/wildlifepark/

Just north of Portland, there is a wildlife park that is worth a few hours if you have the time. Lots of Maine wildlife there. Closest I have ever been to a black bear and a Moose.
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Jun 24th, 2013, 12:12 PM
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Since you are interested in biking then be sure to take the ferry over to the Schoodic Peninsula in Acadia NP (least visited, most remote section) and ride the loop road. Acadia proper has tons of great carriage trails for bike riding.For more more biking routes check out exploremaine.org.

If you are interested in museums then make a stop in Rockport to visit the Farnsworth Art Museum, it's collection of Andrew Wyeth's paintings it is a gem. Also very interesting is the Penobscot Marine Museum campus in Searspoint.

Have fun, and please, have a lobster roll or three for me.
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Jun 24th, 2013, 01:21 PM
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Lots of great input! I'm adding your suggestions to our travel notes. Stonington sounds interesting - will have to make a point of visiting. Good point about the vehicle - will make sure to book an SUV. Bears and moose - would love seeing this wildlife (will be a cool change from dolphins and seagulls!). Can't wait to bike the loop via ferry. And lobster rolls . . . we plan on consuming LOTS of lobster in many different forms! We've never had lobster rolls so we look forward to that new experience. Thanks!
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Jun 25th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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I wouldn't spend the money to rent an SUV for the whole trip just to get into one or two places. Nothing else on your list requires one at that time of year.
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Jun 25th, 2013, 04:56 PM
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The hike up Mt. Battie is nice. The trail we did is called the Mt. Battie Trail and it leaves from a residential neighborhood...not the main parking area and gatehouse. Put Megunticook St in Camden in your GPS and drive to the end of the road. Rock scrambles, but my 3 and 4 years olds were able to do it with very minimal help.

If you aren't afraid of heights, do the Beehive Trail in Acadia. I was too afraid to try it with kids....some day.

Please have breakfast at Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 04:33 AM
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More great input from Fodorites! O.k., reconsidering the SUV (wouldn't mind cruising in style and comfort - it IS a 30 year anniversary trip after all!). Great tip about Mt. Battie Trail access - LOVE little tidbits of "secret" info! Adding all to the ever-growing travel notes.

Still not sure how much time to set aside for locations though. We prefer to book rooms in advance so we're trying to determine how many nights we need in Acadia (where?). Booking flights tonight for mid-September travel (8-9 nights total) and will then begin laying out details of trip. Any advice?

Thanks!
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Jun 26th, 2013, 05:14 AM
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Acadia - personally, I'd stay in Bar Harbor. Lots of dining and shopping options and only a quick drive to get away from it all. For nice hotel, I'd pick the Bar Harbor Inn. Great location, on the water, quick walk to dining and shopping. For cheap motel I'd pick the Highbrook Motel. Walkable to downtown, but about 3/4 miles. This place is VERY clean but no frills. For B&B I'd pick either the Primrose Inn or the Saltair Inn. Just depends on what you are looking for. For chains, avoid the Days Inn. The Holiday Inn looked fine from the outside.
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Jun 26th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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There are quite a few old-fashioned "motor courts" on Rt 3 right outside Bar Harbor, in addtion to hotels and B&Bs in Bar Harbor. You need to tell us what types of accommodations you like, how many people, and how much you want to pay to get suggestions.

~Liz
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Jun 26th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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We appreciate the hotel advice! The two of us prefer quaint accommodations in a quieter location. We aren't interested in chain hotels, and have budgeted up to ~$250/night . We're hoping to find a place that gives us access (driving is fine) to nature-oriented day trips. Shopping is not high on our list of activities so a "mid-town" location is not important. We're planning on ~5 nights in the Acadia area - too much or too little?
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Jun 26th, 2013, 04:02 PM
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Anyplace on Mount Desert Island will work fine. I prefer near Bar Harbor because it makes finding a place for dinner easier/closer. Others prefer the other, quieter side of the island.

No hotel ideas--I stay in a dog-friendly cabin-type place on Rt. 3.

~Liz
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