Road Trip to Maine
I always wanted to take a road trip to Maine. This is my chance to visit all of its great places. But not in the winter. I am not a glutton for punishment.
Maine has 351, 385 square miles. The population is a bit more than 1.3 million people. That comes to less than 40 people per square mile. Quite a difference from the average of 85 people per square mile in all of the United States. Let’s start in Yarmouth, Maine.
Stop by the company headquarters of DeLorme to see Eartha. It is the world’s largest rotation globe which is housed in a 3 story atrium in the company’s headquarters. It weighs almost 6000 pounds and has a diameter of 41 feet. 1.5 inches. Rotating on an axis like tour earth, it is detailed with visible cities & roadways.
The company is, of course, a mapmaker. In 2016 the company was purchased by Garmin. Included in the sale was a provision that Eartha would remain open for the public to view. You can visit the globe during the regular company business hours from 8:30 to 5. The address is 2 DeLorme Drive, Yarmouth, ME.
When you are in Boothbay Harbor be sure to stop by Brown’s Wharf Motel and Restaurant just to see the mascot on display. It is a lobster fisherman and that alone does not sound exciting. However, this one is 25 feet tall. It is worth a detour to visit the mascot
Drive through Kennebunkport in Maine. It is a small coastal town that has been the vacation home to many a president. Hidden Pond is a resort located in Kennebunkport. Stay a day or two and feel like a president! If it is good enough for Barbara to make arrangements there for George’s 90 birthday bash, it is good enough for me.
Or perhaps stop by The Boathouse in Kennebunkport and enjoy some lobster. The choices are endless. If you get to see the boats come in late in the afternoon, even better!
The Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, generally known as the Appalachian Trail or simply the A.T., ends or begins in Maine, depending upon your point of view. The point in Maine where the trail begins or ends, depending on your view, is Mount Katahdin in Millinocket. It is also the highest point in the state. The trail passes through 13 states from Georgia to Maine. It is a challenge to hike the trail from end to end but many do. Not for me, I am happy just to spend one day on the trail. The hazards are not worth the bragging rights.
Maine is known for their lighthouses. They are so numerous due to the whale trade with Europe as well as the fishing industry and transatlantic trade in the 1800’s through the 1900’s. Maine has no large important ports but the lighthouses still exist. There are about 66 in total. If you want to see where they are located visit Maine lighthouses. You can see the lighthouses still standing but many only from a distance. If the lighthouse is in use today do not plan on climbing to the tower as all are not open to the public. Some can, however, be rented for a night or two. The following are just a very few of the ones available. To see them all, plan your road trip carefully.
Cape Neddick Light is located in York, Maine and is known as Nubble Light. It is located on Cape Neddick near the York River and York Harbor. It was a beacon for ships beginning in 1879 and is still in use today.
About 3 miles west of Kennebunkport is Cape Porpoise Harbor. It is the home to Goat Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse has stood since 1833 and is still a working lighthouse. It is amazing that so many of them are still in use. Most, if not all, have been upgraded so the lighthouse keepers do not have to continually climb the stairs to keep the light burning.
Bass Harbor Head Light is another active lighthouse. Even though you can not visit the lighthouse, the grounds are open to the public. Eagle Island Lighthouse is in Deer Isle and is still in use today. Pumpkin Island Lighthouse on Little Deer Isle is privately owned but not open for visitors. Deere Island Thorofare Lighthouse is owned by the US Coast Guard and is still a working lighthouse to aid in navigation.
Isle au Haut Lighthouse has a different story. It is maintained by the town as is also an active lighthouse. The innkeeper’s house is privately owned and the rooms can be rented. Burnt Coat Harbor Light is similar. It is an active lighthouse but the town of Swan Island rents the keeper’s house in the summer months.
Bangor and Bar Harbor
Bangor, Maine is the home to the Cole Land Transportation Museum. It took years for Galen Cole to assemble the land transportation vehicles for his museum. Nevertheless, it opened to the public in 1989. The museum closes in November for the winter months.
Bangor is also the home of Stephen King. A stop I do not want to miss is driving by Stephen Kings’s house. It is as eccentric as I imagine he must be. Who could think up those stories? The novel Thinner still haunts me.
Acadia National Park is located near Bar Harbor and consists of a very large island, Mount Desert Island, as well as many smaller islands surrounding it. The park encompasses a very diverse landscape. It includes mountains, an ocean shoreline, woodlands, and lakes. It is the oldest designated national park area east of the Mississippi River. This is your opportunity to visit an area that has been minimally disturbed by our race. It is hard to believe that our ancestors survived such a rugged yet beautiful environment
Now on to Portland and the Portland Observatory. It is a historic maritime signal station. The site is on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. Surprisingly, the observatory is a mere 200 years old. It is the last standing maritime signal tower in the United States. From the top of the tower, there are spectacular views of Portland’s harbor. The tower is not to be confused with lighthouses. At the tower, you can learn about the history of the tower and the importance of the sea to the state of Maine.
Now that you have all of the facts it is time to figure out why Maine has such an allure. Food can have a lot to do with it. Start with a clambake in Maine. Cabbage Island in Boothbay Harbour is a five and a half acre island south of Wall Point in Linekin Bay and is known for clambakes!
Take the boat to the Island but stay for the clambake. The island was famous for its clambakes beginning in the 1950’s. Now the tradition has returned and it is not to be missed. Everyone is welcome but be sure to call for reservations. You can dig your own clams and have your own clambake but I think I will just hop on the boat and enjoy what nature has to offer. That is as long as I am only doing the eating.
Just what Maine is known for! The lobster season starts in July and lasts through September. Those are definitely the best months to visit. There are so many great lobster shacks. You should try to visit every one of them. They are located in Kennebunkport, South Thomaston, Georgetown, New Harbor, Harpswell Neck, South Freeport, Ogunquit, Naples, Kittery, Cape Elizabeth, Bernard, MDI, Bailey Island, Brooksville, and Eastport to name a mere 17. There are more, you only need to find them.
In Kennebunkport, a local favorite is the Clam Shack. The broiled lobster dinners are not to be missed. You would swear the meal is prepared by a renowned chef.
The first weekend of August is the time to visit the city of Rockland. Oh, did I tell you they hold the lobster festival just at that time? The promise is for fresh, local lobster dinners, nationally renowned entertainers, cooking contests, carnival rides, Maine craftsmen, and artists. Oh, what a grand time.
Top off your road trip to Maine with ice cream. The Thompson Ice House has an annual ice cream social in July. The ice cream is churned from the ice they harvest in their very own pond. My grandfather told us how he used to carry blocks of ice to many residences before refrigerators. Of course, that was in the south and not in Maine. I am glad those times are past but I will enjoy the ice cream. Who could resist?
Maine appears to be an exciting place to visit. I am ready to taste all it has to offer. From clams to lobsters to ice cream. Count me in. And I will bring a friend.
If you decide to go on a road trip to Maine, a bed and breakfast is a great choice. Maine has so many varied locations to stay and to visit. You will not want to leave, at least not until the weather turns cold. Visit Guide For Seniors to find out many other great road trips. Find the time to visit every state in our nation. It is an adventure.