A little secret from Maine-ers themselves, Maine during the autumn months is unrivaled. Sure, those who are born and raised there are quick to tell you that their home is quite superb, perhaps the most superb, but from everyone I came across, they said it with humbled appreciation. And like most people I know, I absolutely adore fall. So it made sense that on a rainy New York Monday, I made arrangements for a solo road trip up the coast of Maine. And as I write this, I am sitting in a coffee shop (spectacled ax. Amazing!) in downtown Portland sipping coffee, looking out the window, and reliving these past 4 gloriously beautiful days.
Here is what I was looking for – a quiet, retreat-like trip with beautiful views, friendly people, and amazing seafood. And here is what I got - a quiet, retreat-like trip with beautiful views, friendly people, and amazing seafood. Plus a stumbling upon wild blueberry fields, stunning mirrored lakes, hugs from enthusiastic labs, and roads lined by wild berry, farm, and lobster stands and lighthouses for days.
One sunset I found myself alone on the jagged Atlantic coast line perched on top of some massive boulders descending down into the water and extending out to my right and left as far as the eye can see. Oh, and there was a historic lighthouse working and commanding the Atlantic’s attention above me. No matter how far I travel or how remote my travel becomes, I always find myself in awe during these moments when I am alone. Of the billions that fill this planet, how is it that I am the only one to occupy this sliver of land! Seriously baffles me, secretly love it.
Route 1 is an expansive highway that guides you up the coast. Route 1 also has many roads and smaller highways shooting off of it and those are super fun to get lost in. They lead me to even more stunning scenery!
From Portland to Bar Harbor.
If you begin your travels here, I suggest you wake up early and have coffee at Spectacled Ax and grab yourself a little baked good from Public House Market. Sooooo cute. Both of those! Spend the morning strolling the town and Old Port.
Of course, you’ve got to make your way over to the most photographed lighthouse in the world (that’s a fact, I did not make that up!) in Cape Elizabeth. Portland Head Light.
I spent the afternoon wandering all over Cape Elizabeth. For lunch, I would head over to the Lobster Shack! (http://lobstershacktwolights.com) Amazing panoramic views, no fuss great food and down to earth friendly staff.
Two Light State Park
If you have time, take a ferry out to one of the islands!
Damariscotta & Pemaquid Point Light
On my way up from Portland, I stopped and strolled through this town and then made my way down to the lighthouse for some glorious views and coastal boulder hopping. To make my way back up to Route 1, I took this long, winding road Route 32 which I can say encompassed my absolute favorite moments of driving.
It carries you through the coast line and then weaves you in and out of the forests. I recommend getting yourself momentarily lost within the curves of this road. You won’t regret it.
Camden / Belfast / Northport
I stayed in this area for two nights because it’s a quiet, beautiful slice of heaven and was right in the middle of my road trip coastal stops. I actually stayed on a farm in Northport right across the street from a wild blueberry field. These fields are literally everywhere in this area!! You will also have so many bed and breakfast options should that be what you fancy.
Start and end each day with a meal on the water in Camden or Belfast :)
Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Bar Harbor is a perfect example of the quintessential New England town. Absolutely beautiful with local shops that line its roads. Fall foliage for days. Harbor walks. Crisp clean air.
And of course, you can’t do a trip to Bar Harbor without making Acadia National Park a priority. At least in my opinion :) You could easily spend days there exploring and going well beyond the ever popular ‘park loop road.’ Take your time with this road stopping off and hiking down into park. Masses of people watch the sunset from Cadillac Mountain but I chose to find a quiet, more secluded spot. I found that with Bass Harbor Head Light.
Café This Way – In Bar Harbor. I got a yummy breakfast burrito and enjoyed watching the mix of visitors & locals ebb and flow throughout the morning.
Stewman’s Lobster Pound – right on the harbor!
So all in all, if you like quaint towns, friendly hello’s, and seafood without pretension, pack a weekender bag and hop in the car.