Some of our favorite things are found in Maine:stately lighthouses perched on rugged coastlines, crashing waves on rocky outcroppings blueberry muffins to die for and fresh lobsters right out of the water.We don’t usually enjoy the muffins and lobsters together but they are two excellent reasons to travel to Maine.
The first time we went to Maine was in 2004 we fell in love with the quaint villages with their white houses, and charming harbors. We loved Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park and it was our first taste of lobsters fresh from the lobstermen.This was the year we traveled up through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. On one of our trips to Maine, we crossed into Canada at Sault Ste Marie,Michigan and dropped down into Maine after visiting Montreal and Quebec.We took a Fall Leaf Peeping tour through the Northeast, with Caravan Tours, that was a busy on-the-bus, off-the-bus experience.That was totally different for us, but we really enjoyed it.Our most recent trip in 2016 was one of our favorite over all trips.We enjoyed so many unusual places on the way to Maineand of course the lobsters were waiting for us.
On a 110 degree day this summer Monty started looking at coastal Bed and Breakfasts in Maine.One lovely old home caught his eye and the next thing we knew we’d reserved three nights at the Mooring B&B in Georgetown, Maine.
Usually when we prepare for a trip we know it is time to leave when the motorhome is full and the house looks empty.We diligently check things off our four page prep list to make sure we have everything we need for an extended trip.RV travel is labor intensive.
This trip required a different mind set. I folded and re-folded clothes and Monty carefully squashed each piece into submission as we stuffed one carry-on bag with everything the two of us would need for six days.We actually checked the carry on, figuring even between the two of us it would be a struggle getting it into the overhead. We loaded a back pack with jackets and we were all set.
Do planes always leave at 6:00 a.m.?Actually getting up at 2:30 a.m. wasn’t that bad since we were laying awake waiting for the alarm to go off anyway.I have to say, the flights both directions with connections in Atlanta went off like clockwork.Everyone involved gets five stars when the survey arrives and I’m sure it will.
We flew into Portland, the largest city in Maine with population of 66,000 hardy souls. (last winter temps dropped to -42) We haven’t spent any time in this city so we booked a city tour.Portland is a sea port city,in fact two of the couples on this tour were from a cruise ship docked for the day. Old Port is the oldest section of Portland with cobblestone streets lined with buildings from the early 1800’s.The young man giving the tour was born in Portland, as was his father and grandfather. Naturally the tour took on a more personal feel than some city tours.We had to laugh when we passed his elementary school and he pointed out the slide he cut his head on in third grade.We are happy to share that his grandma and grandpa’s house is still standing and looks well cared for.
We stopped at Fort Williams Park, an old Army Fort (1872-1964) complete with battlement keys and cannons.The park is the home of Maine’s oldest lighthouse, the Portland Head Light.The Light sitsabove a spectacular shore line of jagged rocks and crashing waves in Cape Elizabeth just to the south of Portland.
It just happens Cape Elizabeth was our dinner destination for our first of several lobster dinners.Lobster in Maine is best served from a lobster shack.Usually a weathered old building set right on the pier, where the lobstermen bring their catch right up to the dock at the shack.These places typically serve lobster, steamed clams, cole slaw, and/or corn on the cob.That is the extent of the menu.We bring our own wine, goblets, extra napkins, salt and pepper and we are ready for fine dining at a picnic table on the dock. Two Lights in Cape Elizabeth was a bit more up scale, but still rustic.They had about twenty picnic tables over looking the craggy coastline.Indoor dining earned it the upscale rating.
The hurricane, Dorian, was busy churning up the sea off shore and created spectacular waves crashing on the rocks.Locals, as well as tourists, were looking for a comfy rock to sit on and enjoy the show.The ocean showing its fury is both exciting and scary.It seemed each wave was more impressive than the last one, we were happy to join the folks applauding God.
We drove up to, our home for the next three days and fell in love with the B&B.The grounds are beautiful grass with both hydrangea bushes still in bloom and hydrangea trees lining the driveway.One of the hardwood trees was already displaying a vibrant red.This lovely old home was originally owned by businessman, Walter Reid, the current owners great grandfather; the same gentleman that Reid State Park is named after.The park, with an inviting beach and hiking trails is just a mile down the road. Croquet and other lawn games are available at the B&B.Each room has a canvas tote bag with beach towels, for a trip to the beach at the park.
My favorite room in the house was the sun room with huge windows looking out across the yard to the ocean.I loved the wicker furniture with colorful stripped cushions and the stacks of books with Maine in every title.Outside the sun room is a spacious deck with rocking chairs and umbrella shaded tables.
We chose the Lighthouse room for our stay and it was absolutely perfect. We loved the sitting area looking out the second floor windows with the same view as the sun room. We enjoyed sharing deliciousbreakfasts with other guests from Florida, New Hampshire, and Denver.
In the morning we begin our nostalgia tour, first we crossed the bridge at Wiscasset and returned to Boothbay Harbor where we stayed three years ago.On that trip we had a great spot in the only RV park around and noticed when we drove by ‘our’ spot was vacant.Could they have been expecting us?Boothbay is a delightful collection of shops and restaurants, the residential part of town is filled with white houses, some grand and some tiny.
We had dinner, lobster of course, at Five Islands Lobster Shack in Georgetown.This was our go-to hangout in 2016 and we loved the return trip.The next day we took time to check out a couple of lighthouses, The Owls Nest is a small, picturesque lighthouse that suddenly appears at the end of a nice walk through the forest.ThePermaquid Point has a classic lighthouse that is a popular stop for tourists.Visitors climb up the narrow spiral staircase to get a nice view of the coastline. The lighthouse keepers house is now a museum, we enjoyed the old codger who was the docent.He told us about his August visit to Phoenix a few years ago. We invited him to come back in January when he would appreciate it. We stopped in the little village of Thomaston for, you guessed it, lobster.
We drove up the coast through the charming towns of Camden, and Rockland, where we took a sail boat tour one year. We checked out the Megunticook RV park where we stayed that visit. We reminisced about the picture perfect outcropping where we sat in the Adirondack chairs to watched the sail boats.A perfect happy hour spot.
Our last lobster night was in Belfast, at Young’s Lobster Pound. This is a delightful spot on the harbor, it was a perfect sunny day, we enjoyed the sunshine and chatting with some ‘regulars’ there.
We loved the B&B, but it was time to make our way back to Portland.We wanted to see the Maine Maritime Museum so we stopped in the “The City of Ships”, Bath, Maine.Founded in 1962, the museum sits on a beautiful 20-acre campus on the banks of the Kennebec River. The main building has memorable art work and replicas of various kinds of ships, stories of ship wrecks and everything nautical.
A dapper gentleman with an amazing handlebar mustache and jaunty straw hat, led our guided tour. He told us all about the Percy and Small ship yard that was originally housed on the spot where the museum now sits. Many of the original buildings are part of the museum. Percy & Small is the only intact shipyard in the country which built large wooden sailing vessels. The giant schooners built there include the six-master Wyoming, the largest wooden vessel in the country. In the large outdoor area is a sculpture depicting the 450 foot long Wyoming.The prow is massive, the masts are so tall they couldn’t be accurately portrayed because they would need lights to warn small planes.So the masts are depicted with flagpoles that are not quite as tall as the masts of the ship but certainly impressive.
There was a stop in the blacksmith building where some of the original tools are on display.Mural size pictures depicted some of the ship building process.It fascinates me to see pictures of life over the last century, the people were small compared to people of today. We are amazed at the ingenuity of the workman.It’s not like they had YouTube videos with step by step instructions on how to built schooners. They were able to built these huge ships, even in the winter when the temperatures were well below freezing with snow on the ground.
We went into the rope making building and we were surprised at the tiny threads that were bound together to make a rope about four inches in diameter .In an article featuring the rope maker from the Bath Times in 1883, the rope maker had spun over 64,000,000 fathoms of thread and walked ten miles every day – half of it backwards to do it.This museum visit was reminiscent of the shipyard we visited in Mystic, Connecticut with Caravan Tours.
A few observations:
Polite drivers abound in Maine, not only do driversadhere to the posted speed limit, they are mindful of drivers attempting to join the traffic flow and without fail allow them to merge.The zipper flow of traffic seems to be a way of life here. If the light turns yellow you can count on the cars to stop.Pedestrians have the right of way here and traffic always stops for anyone even thinking about crossing the street. Between the three of us, Monty, me and Siri we were usually in the correct lane, and managed to find the lobsters every time.
People in airports walk all willy nilly, it confuses me that people don’t walk to the right, the herd just flows like water. Monty and I managed to dodge chic women wearing stilettos and carrying tiny dogs in big purses, small children eating hot dogs and teenagers walking while glued to their phone screens completely oblivious to the crowd.It was a challenge, but great people watching.
We weren’t sure if the sign for the Newport Redemption Center was for a church or a recycling facility.
Traveling in the Northeast reminds me of the sign on the mirror ‘objects are closer than they appear to be.’Everything is a long way from Tucson but back east you can drive through, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut all in one day.
Two lobsters plus two side dishes at our favorite lobster shack was about $30 for the two of us. So Monty’s claim that fresh lobsters in Maine are cheap is true. I did gently remind him that with the B & B + hotel + airfare + rental car those lobsters ran about $500 a piece. He didn’t bat an eye! I love that guy!
Nothing makes us happier than a road trip, but Maine via Delta Airlines was pretty nice.