Maine Coast and Maritimes Road Trip: The Plan

Jun 7, 2011 by

This is not a photo of me, nor of my car. But damn, I wish it was!

Here it is–the plan.  It only took me a week to put together, which I think is rather impressive.  Though when I say ‘only a week’, you should know that I did use the better part of every spare moment of that week–at least 6 hours the first day and 6 hours the last day, with at least ten hours during the week–so a little more than a full 24 hour period.

But it was a daunting task.  We went to the book store on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend and purchased four guide books. One week later–this past Sunday–I made the last of the lodging reservations. In that 26-or-so hours I learned everything I could about Maine, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Every town, every national, state, or provincial park, every city small and large. I even checked out festival schedules. Did you know that U2 is playing in Moncton, New Brunswick on July 31st? I do.

With all of the information that I quickly accumulated I formulated a plan that I hope will be relaxing. Our plan is as follows:

We will be driving directly from our home in PA to Ogunquit, Maine. Why Ogunquit? Because it is the closest cute town in Maine. We will be staying at my first ever Bed and Breakfast, the Yardarm Village Inn for two nights, giving us one full day to check out Ogunquit. There’s really not much to do in Ogunquit, which is the other reason I picked it. I thought it would be a relaxing start to the trip.

Upon leaving Ogunquit, we plan to spend a day on the road. Kennebunkport is en route to our next destination, and I’d really like to stop there and sightsee for a few hours. Sometime before dinner we plan to arrive at our next destination–Boothbay Harbor.

I picked lodging for this trip based on many things–location first, price second but still important, private bath required. I did not pick lodging based on cute name–though most places we will be staying have cute names. Our motel in Boothbay Harbor does not. We will be staying at Cap’n Fish’s Waterfront Inn. I’m not kidding–though it is more motel than inn. I liked it because it is just outside of the busy part of town, with great views, proximity to restaurants, and they even offer boat charters for scenic cruises.

After two nights in Boothbay, we’re on the road again, this time passing through Bath and Camden for some sightseeing. Our final destination–Bar Harbor.

We chose Bar Harbor for the same reason that everyone else chooses Bar Harbor–proximity to both the trails of Acadia National Park and the creature comforts–restaurants and bars–of the town itself. We will be staying in yet another B&B, The Hearthside Bed and Breakfast.

Because we want to do some hiking, I felt Bar Harbor deserved three nights, giving us two full days to enjoy the area. The ‘plan’ for those two days looks something like this: wake up, have breakfast, go hiking, come back to B&B, shower, walk to town, eat, sleep. Seems pretty laid back to me! After Bar Harbor, we assume we will have had our fill of coastal Maine so it’s off to Canada we shall go!

Because we will be hitting New Brunswick on the way back, this leg of the trip presented some problems. I had no desire to see St. John–it looks industrial and ugly–but my husband had no desire to drive directly from Bar Harbor to our next stop, Halifax, Nova Scotia. To be fair, it is really far. So we found a cute little town in the middle–about a four hour drive from both Bar Harbor and Halifax–that is supposedly a scenic 45 minute drive outside of St. John: St. Martins (apparently they like their saints in New Brunswick–we also considered St. Andrew and St. Stephen!) We’re only stopping here for one night for a stay at Salmon River B&B (we’re going to be eating a lot of breakfast on this trip!) This inn has a restaurant–we imagine we will want dinner after driving from Bar Harbor–and is within walking distance to the not-exactly-famous Bay of Fundy Sea Caves. Low tide is at 7:15 that night, so I’m not sure how that will work out with dinner and all, but I’m sure that the innkeepers will help us figure that out.

So what do you think? Am I overscheduling so far? At this point, one week has elapsed.

Next stop–Halifax. This is a husband-selected stop. He saw something about a Beer Lovers tour of Halifax in our one guide book and read a bit about the Citadel in the middle of the city and he was sold. So we shall be spending three nights and two full days in Halifax, staying in the Lord Nelson Hotel which, if a bit run down, looks typical-grand-hotel-esque, and is fantastically located a block or so from the Citadel and across the street from the public gardens.  It is the only ‘real’ hotel of the entire trip.

While my husband is planning on overdosing on history and beer on this portion of the trip, I plan to find some non-shellfish, non-dipped-in-butter dining options. Perhaps something Thai. You know, because coconut milk is so much healthier than butter.

We originally planned three full days for Halifax, thinking one day would involve a day trip to the southern part of Nova Scotia, but instead we decided to devote more days to the northern part of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island. If you’ve not ever heard of Cape Breton Island or The Cabot Trail, google image search it now. Or I guess I could put in a photo or two…

There. Did that help you understand why we’re spending four nights here? That would be the actual road we (I) will be driving upon.  Wow.

We were going to be camping on Cape Breton–you know, to save money–but then I decided that the campground I picked was WAY too far away from the area we wanted to actually be in (like two and a half hours away–it looked smaller on the map in my guidebook, ok?) So I ended up finding ‘alternative lodging’.  I swear this has nothing to do with my reluctance to camp.  Promise. 

Night one will be spent in a little motel in Cheticamp after slowly driving from Halifax, stopping whenever we feel like it.  After checking out of the little motel there (it’s called Albert’s Motel and is so small it doesn’t even have a real website–imagine!) we will make our way around the top part of Cape Breton, again stopping wherever we can to get out, hike, take photos–whatever.  There’s a place along the way that my husband read has ‘the best whale watching ever’, so he’s kind of obsessed about doing a whale watch.  We end the day in Wreck Cove, 20 minutes ouside of Ingonish where we will stay for three nights in a cottage at Maven Gypsy B&B and Cottages.  I’m super excited about this part of the trip–and I have absolutely no solid plans other than ‘drive until we see somewhere pretty with a pull over area and stop’.

You’d think at this point we’d be tired of being on the road, and you’d be right. But there’s no way that I’m driving this far north (and east) and not stopping at this next location. And so, after Nova Scotia, we drive to Prince Edward Island where we will spend five nights in a cottage-like motel room at The Bay Vista Motel, complete with kitchen, deck, and grill, relaxing and immersing ourselves in all things…Anne of Green Gables.

Yes, that’s right, I’m one of those people.

We will likely also spend at least one full day at the beach, if that makes you feel any better. But the real reason we’re going to PEI is because I love all things Anne, and I don’t care who knows it. I want to wear a long white dress and walk on sand dunes with my friend Diana.

I’ll be content with a short white dress (which I already own), dunes, and my husband. Because I don’t have a friend named Diana.

We chose to spend five nights here because we know that we will need some permanence at this point. Up until this point, we will not have spent more than three nights in any one location. We are staying on PEI for five nights so that we can build up our stamina for the back home trip–which we are also dragging out considerably as the idea of driving the 16 hours from PEI back to PA does not appeal to us.

After PEI, it’s national park time again! This time we will be staying in New Brunswick, at Fundy National Park.  While we have reservations at a campground, I’m betting this will change by sometime later today (I have a reservation request in to Fundy Highlands Inn and Chalets–they rent out little shed-like cottages for not very much money.)  Since we won’t be camping on Cape Breton, it seems silly to drag along a whole bunch of camping crap just for one three-day stay–right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.  Again, this has absolutely nothing to do with my reluctance to wake up in the middle of the night and hike to an outhouse.  I swear.  It also has nothing whatsoever to do with my concern about mosquitoes, sweaty tents, or my dislike of baked beans cooked in a fire.  Cross my heart.

The plan for this leg includes romping about in the crazy tides and doing yet more hiking (I figure worst case scenario, this trip will be great exercise!) We are here for three more days before making the long drive to our final stop–Portland.

Portland is the only stop on this whole trip that I’m not super excited about–and I’ve reserved the right to cancel our lodging–at yet another B&B, The Inn at Park Spring– and change it to somewhere in a small town we pass through that I like.  I don’t mean to sound so negative about Portland, but there’s just nothing there that grabs me and says ‘you must visit here’, other than the fact that my husband is saying ‘we must visit there’.  Oh–and the fact that it supposedly has a great restaurant scene.  And I found a trolley tour for foodies.  That does seem like fun.  But I still reserve the right to change our final destination plans.  The crazy thing about this trip is that if we do pass through a town in Maine that we like on our way up, we still have three weeks to change our lodging for the back home stop.

This is going to be a long trip.  Hell–this is a long post, and I’m just writing about the trip!

But that’s ok, and here’s why: the point of this trip–other than seeing lots of lighthouses and eating lots of lobster–is for my husband and I to spend some qualitly time together. Because, you see, three weeks after we return home, I’m leaving again.

But more on that in my next post!

So–what do you think? I’d love feedback on our plan. Will things go wrong? Absolutely. Will it rain, will I be eaten alive by bugs, will traffic suck? I’m sure. But I’m going into this knowing these things, expecting them, even. That has to help–right?

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10 Comments

  1. Toni

    I think you may have nearly reached planning nirvanna. Not too much, but enough detail to allow you to feel secure. Built in flexibility. Much better than last year’s second-by-second lists and ocd notebooks. I agree with you about camping- someday when we both have time, I’ll share some of my experiences from childhood – including the trip from hell (13 relatives in 2 dodge motor homes covering from Atlanta to Washington state and back… included a tornado in Oaklahoma, engine fires in death valley, brakes not working going down the mts as we left Yosemitie Nt’l park at night on July 4, etc.) Camping is NOT fun in my book. I vacation to GET AWAY from laundy, most cooking, induldge in some hedonistic things like great baths/showers, luxerious beds, great food cooked by others, etc. Not to clean beach sand out of my clothes, cook over a fire or on unreliable coleman stoves, sleep on rocks, schelp laundry half a mile, etc.
    I think this trip will be great- and should give you some good ideas for the book (though camping migh be a plus for that… (only good thing I could come up with for camping).

    • elbodans

      wow–that DOES seem like the trip from hell! you could have stopped at ’13 relatives’! ha!

      i’m glad you think i’ve found a balance. i hope it is true! we actually plan to stop at tourist info centers to get maps and hike ideas–and/or ask the innkeepers at the various places we will be staying. that’s REALLY laid back for me (but you knew that already!)

  2. Oooooh, Aaaaah- That sounds like a great trip! My husband and I did a trip like that from Seattle, around the northwest coast of Washington State, down to Oregon and back around to Seattle. It was wonderful! We only stayed a few nights at one place. I had done research ahead of time and had an idea of the things to do and places to stay we let each day unfold as it happened. It was really relaxing and kind of magical. We hiked, drank wine, and even went fishing one day. We cooked our catch on a campfire in a local national park on tinfoil one night and ate at gourmet restaurants another. We stayed in small hotels and it was wonderful. Your plan is a great one if you ask me!!

  3. elbodans

    Heather…I’m so glad to hear that a trip like this CAN be relaxing. Your trip sounds FANTASTIC! I hope to hike AND drink wine…though I don’t know about the fishing. I was thinking more like ‘buy lobsters from a boat somewhere’…but then I thought about having to COOK live lobsters and, well…we’ll see how that turns out! Used-to-be-a-vegetarian me is a bit squeamish about cooking animals that still look like animals!

    Thanks for the approval–it really makes me feel like maybe we had a good idea…this year, anyway!

  4. Vanessa Jubis

    Yay, you’re headed to my city, I hope you enjoy it.
    A few things to note – you are correct about St. John, not a lot going on there, but I think it is a good spot to end a long day, Halifax is not too far away after that!
    Halifax – You’re staying at the Lord Nelson, which is in a perfect spot, I used to live right next door! Because you are staying for multiple nights, there is a better chance you will get a nicer room! I figure I will recommend some spots for you to see, eat and drink. Halifax is very walkable, if a bit hilly. I don’t own a car, so I speak from experience. From the Lord Nelson, you can walk to most of the main sites, including downtown easily, but I will note some places where you might prefer taking your vehicle.

    See/eat/drink
    If you are in Halifax on a Saturday, my absolute favorite thing to do is to head down to the Halifax Farmers Market http://halifaxfarmersmarket.com/. It is inside, so no worries about weather, and there is tons of parking. It is a busy, bustling market, full of vendors, you can do some souvenir shopping, pick up some treats for the day, and have an awesome breakfast! There are all kinds of options: crepes, oysters for $1 a pop, waffles, Chinese food, pastries etc. Also in the same area is Garrison Brewery, http://www.garrisonbrewing.com/ one of our more popular local brewers. You can sample their beers for about $2 a pop, and they have a cool “make your own six-pack” deal, where you can choose the 6 bottles of beer you want from their different selections. Their raspberry wheat and amber ales are two of my favorites. The Pier 21 museum is also in the same area if you feel like a museum visit.

    See- If it’s a nice day, I highly recommend taking a half day (at the most) trip out to Peggy’s Cove. It’s a beautiful, rustic spot about 45 min outside of Halifax, with a gorgeous lighthouse, and crazy rocks that you can spend tons of time wandering on and around (just avoid the dark wet rocks, every year someone slips and falls into the water, and the surf is intense and rough, don’t swim there). Avoid the restaurant there (tourist trap with bad food ) except for a bathroom pit stop.

    Eat – you mentioned you are a fan of Thai food, my favorite spot for Thai is Chabaa Thai, about a 5-7 min walk from your hotel. The food is fresh and the prices are very reasonable.

    Other good spots to eat a fancier dinner without breaking the bank and also getting a taste of local food is Fid Resto http://fidresto.ca/ and Chives http://www.chives.ca/ both are in walking distance, although Fid is closer. Both feature great chefs and get most of their products from local producers.

    I would also recommend staying away from The Five Fisherman, really touristy and expensive, and not very good. Also stay away from most of the restaurants on the waterfront. That being said, The Heart and Thistle pub is a good spot to sit on the patio, and grab a drink, and the prices are decent. Also on the boardwalk the take-out spot. The Battered fish is good for your fried seafood fix and reasonably priced.

    If you are a brunch fan, I recommend Jane’s on the Commons or the Coastal Café (I recommend driving to these spots) Neither spot takes reservations though, so be prepared to go early or wait for a bit in line.

    Spots I would recommend to grab a drink and get a taste of local flare are The Old Triangle and the Lower Deck, both are pubs that often play fun maritime music and are popular with locals and visitors alike. The Old Triangle has good pub food as well. The Old Stag in the old Brewery market is good too, and has a beautiful rooftop deck.

    Henry House is my favorite drinking spot in Halifax. 3 levels, a pub downstairs, a restaurant on the main flood (though both spots serve the same food) a beautiful deck, and on Thurs, Friday and Saturday nights has a swankier upstairs with lots of retro and fancy cocktails and martinis, some even feature dry ice.

    Argyle street is always a happening spot, and there are lots of bars to suit your needs. The Loose Canon is a Scottish bar with lots of Scotch on tap. The Bitter End is a higher end Martini Bar, Durty Nellys is a fun, fairly new Irish bar, most of the bar was made in Ireland and then shipped over. The Economy Shoe Shop had a beautiful atmosphere, but I don’t recommend the food, just drinks. The Carlton is nice as well.

    Very close to your hotel is Onyx, a high end restaurant that’s fairly fancy (for Halifax), although pricey, they have a good deal on Tuesday nights when their martinis are on sale for 6 and 7 dollars.

    If you want some more ideas and/or ideas of your own that you want my opinion on, I’m happy to help!

    • elbodans

      Vanessa…do you realize that you just wrote an almost perfect list of things for us to check out? Like…quoting you…”spots to eat a fancier dinner without breaking the bank and also getting a taste of local food…” That is EXACTLY what we will be looking for, and now we know where to find it! Honestly, I’m floored. That is so much amazing info. My ‘Doers and Dreamers’ book arrived today and I couldn’tw ait to look through it–I also requested the Halifax specific guide–but for our Halifax stay, you’ve pretty much covered it. We will DEFINITELY check out the Garrison Brewery–if I’d asked you one question, it would have been ‘where can I take my husband for good local beer’. You answered that in multiple ways. Seriously–THANK YOU! You even gave me a Thai restaurant recommendation–you have no idea how happy that makes me!!!!

      You also win the award for longest comment ever! Ha!

      Oh–and our Halifax dates are: evening of Monday, August 1st through morning of Thursday, August 4th.

  5. Amy

    Just found this blog from Passporters…. a much richer description of your trip than I had seen on some other site (can’t remember the name now – no narrative, just locations). We live in Deer Isle, Maine (just below Mt. Desert). I first posted these comments in a PM on Passporter, but that’s unwieldy, so I’ll post them here instead… excuse the length! Also, Vanessa, I’m saving your post for my own use… we hope to visit Halifax sometime soon.

    Here are my thoughts for the Maine portion of your trip.

    1) Portland. When you go to Portland on your way back, don’t miss Standard Baking Co – great bakery, affiliated with arguably the best restaurant in Portland – Fore Street – http://www.forestreet.biz

    2) Trip up the coast: Be prepared for traffic. Creeping, crawling, mind-numbing traffic. You are coming in August, right? Just be prepared. If you get to Freeport and decide it’s just not worth it… cut over to 295/95, head to Augusta, then take 3 back east towards Bucksport/Ellsworth. You’ll still hit Belfast, but you’ll miss Camden and Boothbay Harbor. At least bypass all of this on your way back to Portland… head through Augusta instead.

    3) L.L. Bean. It’s kind of fun to visit the flagship store – huge – and usually something going on in the summer. This is in Freeport, along with a kazillion outlet stores.

    4) Camden. Adorable seaside town (but lots of traffic in August — faster for us to go by boat and skip the traffic). Try Boynton and MacKay on main street for an interesting take on a diner. Great handcrafted doughnuts, fun and tasty sandwiches, burritos, salads, and blue plate style dishes. Zoot coffee is great for coffee and a scone. Stonewall Kitchen for gifts to take home for your mom or friends.

    5) Belfast. I’ve heard Bay Wraps is good for sandwiches and that there is no great option for coffee. My best bet for food is Young’s lobster pound. Walk through the little town, visit The Green Store (cool solar things, recycled flip-flop door mats, and composting toilets among other environmentally friendly products), then hop back in the car and cross the bridge on your way to Ellsworth. Just over the bridge follow the sign for Young’s Lobster Pound. Just a little ways on the right. Down a dirt road and then you are on the other side of the river from where you just were in town. No frills, but great fresh lobster, good chowder, and picnic tables on deck overlooking the harbor.

    6) Are you going to head straight up through Ellsworth, or take 15 to Blue Hill? Next time, schedule an overnight to Deer Isle if you can…. I’ll send you a sample itinerary just so you can see what you are missing. We are off the beaten path, but come August, we think that’s a very good thing. If you stop through Blue Hill, consider hitting MERI (Marine Environmental Research Institute) right on Main Street for your educational travel book. Great little outfit… interesting research projects, summer programs for kids, and a touch tank open to the public. And if you do stop there, let me know – my office is practically next door – Healthy Peninsula – stop in to say hello. Good food options in Blue Hill include the Blue Hill Hearth (grab and go sandwiches, great bread and cookies, pizza pockets), the Blue Hill Food Coop, or the Fishnet (classic Maine take-out). I’d avoid C. Shells.

    7) Speaking of Take-Outs…. Do not even think about eating from a fast food chain while in Maine. Almost anywhere you go there will be a locally owned and operated “Take-Out”. Lobster rolls, Fried Clams, Haddock Burgers (usually a huge piece of fried haddock on a bun with tartar or mayo), and ice cream. They always have burgers and fries as well – and many make great milkshakes. A few I know well: Bagaduce Lunch in Brooksville (a little out of your way though) The Bayview in Penobscot (not necessarily out of your way), Fishnet in Blue Hill (depends how you head to Ellsworth from Bucksport), Jordan’s (after you hit MDI, on your way to Canada, just outside Ellsworth).

    8) Ellsworth: Unfortunately, Ellsworth is unavoidable if you are going to MDI. Be prepared for traffic again. If you are stuck here and looking for food, a few good options:
    Cleonice – great Mediterranean, locally sourced veggies and meat – right on Main Street
    John Edwards Market – perfect stop for a grab and go sandwich, loaf of bread for the road, and a bottle of wine. It’s a healthy co-op type store… but truly excellent sandwiches and good wine.
    Martha’s Diner – classic Maine diner… shares a parking lot with Reny’s – excellent omelets ( I love the fresh spinach and feta), standard breakfast fare, good sandwiches, closes at 2:00 p.m.
    Finelli’s Pizza – Only place to go if you are craving a slice of NY style pizza – everywhere else is thick and doughy. I love the Bianca and the Pesto/tomato.

    Only shopping worth stopping for in Ellsworth is the L.L. Bean factory outlet… but don’t expect super duper deals in the summer.

    9) MDI – Bar Harbor is touristy and crowded, but I do agree with your “stay somewhere you can walk to dinner” philosophy. I avoid Bar Harbor, so have no good dining recommendations, but I’m sure there are plenty of good restaurants. Try the Shore Path (1 mile, starts at the town pier) for an sunset walk before dinner.

    Acadia National Park is spectacular. Stop in at the info booth for trail guides and a map. Jordon Pond has 3 trails ranging in length and ability, and you can stop at the Jordan Pond House for tea and popovers, or lunch afterward. Don’t miss the drive up to Cadillac Mountain if the day is clear.

    Downeast/Canada…. Campobello Island might be worth a stop given your book project. FDR had a house there that is preserved as a museum. It’s technically in Canada, but you get there from Machias, Maine. I haven’t been, but it is on my “to-do” list.

    Get out on the water if at all possible – either in Canada or Maine. Can’t wait to hear about PEI… would love to take my girls up there.

    So much for my short message!! I got going and couldn’t stop. Let me know if you want any further info. I’m frequently in Ellsworth for work and would be happy to pick up some travel guides, trail maps, etc (they cover MDI as well) at the Chamber and mail them to you.

    Amy (deerislemom on Passporter boards)

    • elbodans

      Amy…thank you SO MUCH. Though you should know that comment #2 almost made me cancel the entire trip! I’m not a fan of traffic. Though we’re planning on sticking to 95 as much as possible…though I guess that isn’t true, as we’d also like to stop along the way. So…maybe that ‘stop along the way’ plan will change. I’m trying to stay flexible! It’s VERY hard for me (see all previous insane planning posts!)

      Thank you SO MUCH for the food suggestions–they will come along with us on our travels and I will report back (here) as to where we stopped. Having a local viewpoint is so important. I really cannot thank you enough. In reply to all of your suggestions (in the order they were made)…

      1. Will check out Standard Baking Co AND associated restaurant.
      2. Have already expressed my concern about this–though we WILL be bypassing all of it on our way back down (which is in August–the ‘up’ leg of the trip is in July) as we are driving directly from Fundy National Park in NB to Portland. But still–I printed out the entire post and will have it with me on my trip (plus now that it is on here, I can easily access it via my iPhone. God bless technology!)
      3. Is it wrong that I have zero interest in shopping? I mean, I like walking around and looking at little shops in cities and towns…but anything with the word ‘flagship’ or ‘outlet’ in the title is totally off of my travel radar. So that’s good, right? Avoiding L.L. Bean will avoid traffic…right? Man, I hope so!
      4. You had me at ‘handcrafted doughnuts’! And you have NO IDEA how awesome it is that you can ‘bypass traffic by taking a boat’. Please pause for a moment to thank the gods for that ability.
      5. Thank you thank you for the awesome directions to good lobster. Really. Thank you. I will devote an entire post to the lobster I will eat there. Seriously.
      6. We are not going to Blue Hill, though my husband REALLY wanted to. While we are taking a month to do this whole trip we are still working with some semblance of time constraints–and it just wasn’t possible this trip. Maybe next year? Really–if we enjoy this trip, it is actually something we could do every year. No airfare required!
      7. Don’t worry–we don’t even eat at fast food places at home. The only thing fast food restaurants are good for are the free (usually) clean restrooms! And I LOVE LOBSTER ROLL. Thus far, the best one I’ve had has been from a church hall on Martha’s Vineyard.
      8. Again with the traffic! Aaack! I actually googled ‘Maine coast traffic’ and couldn’t even find photos. I’m just hoping it will be less bad than the Capitol beltway at 5:00 on a Friday. It HAS TO be less bad than that–right? Please tell me I’m right! Either way–I am sure we will make good use of your amazing restaurant suggestions. Thanks!
      9. I’m so glad to hear that you also recommend Jordan Pond House. I read about it in a guide book and thought ‘well that’s near a hike we want to do so…’
      10. I think you stopped numbering at this point (understandably so!) so…Thanks so much again! Seriously. You rock!

  6. Amy

    The traffic is not as bad as the beltway… it’s just slow… Count on 5 hours driving time from Portland to Ellsworth on the coastal route, whereas via Augusta and 95 would just take you 3 hours. And it’s not as stressful as city traffic. Bring a good audio book (I recommend Cutting for Stone), roll down the windows, and enjoy the sea breeze and the views.

    I hate shopping too! Bypass Freeport if shopping is not your thing. Many, many people spend HOURS there browsing the outlet stores. You are in Maine! Eat lobster, find a beach, go for a hike.

    Skipping Blue Hill is not a bad idea, esp. if you are hitting Camden and Belfast. They are both cuter and larger. If you enjoy your trip this summer, the thing to do is come up next year to the Blue Hill Peninsula region and rent a house/cottage for a week – Brooklin, Brooksville, Castine, Deer Isle, Stonington… any of those with a water view will be amazing. Wake up and make blueberry pancakes, day trips to Acadia or Castine, take the mail boat to Isle au Haut, hike on local land preserves, visit the farmers market, explore the tide pools on a beach, eat your fill of lobster, mussels, and crab. The way life should be.

    • elbodans

      Wow–that DOES sound like the way life should be! Especially on a Friday morning as I get ready to go to work…sigh…

      And thanks–I feel MUCH better about the traffic! And worse case scenario, we take 95 more than we thought we would. But I can deal with slow moving and a bit longer–after all, it IS a road trip. A couple of summers ago I drove to Richmond from here (north of Philadelphia) on ONLY back roads. It took FOREVER, but it was beautiful, and I passed through countless cute little towns.

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