Vacationing in Maine
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Thread: Vacationing in Maine

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    Vacationing in Maine

    Sweetie and I are needing a vacation. The Gulf Coast of Florida is our usual "go to place", but thinking of doing something different for this trip. Neither of us have ever been to Maine, so we're thinking about heading up there.

    I thought I'd ask for suggestions of where to go / what to do since I know we have some Maine residents here on the forum. I'd really like to experience some of the more "off the beaten path" things that Maine has to offer. Love quaint villages, SEAFOOD, some shopping (but probably flying - so not wanting to mess with getting antiques, etc. home), sightseeing. I wouldn't mind doing something like taking a sightseeing flight in a floatplane. Prefer smaller hotels (or even a B-n-B) to a big luxury hotel.

    Is June going to be too cold up there for her Puerto Rican blood?

    Is it better to fly into Portland or Bangor?

    Is there anything / any place that should be avoided?

    Looking forward to having y'all plan my vacation for me!
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    We go up to Maine every summer. June will still be "chilly". We usually go up in August. But where you go matters too. The coast tends to remain chilly longer than farther inland. Ocean effect winds and all that stuff.

    We prefer the mid-coast region and usually try to stay in Boothbay Harbor. You can fly into Portland, rent a car and be there within an hour of so (Unless you try to do it on a Saturday morning). Lots of shopping all the way from Freeport to Belfast. Freeport has a whole outlet mall. It's on the coast so there are lobster shacks in pretty much every town. The larger towns along that trip all have community theaters and whatnot but there usually isn't a lot of "exciting" night life outside of Portland if you're looking for that sort of thing.

    Portland is easier to get flights in/out of but if you are heading up north, Bangor would knock several hours off any drive.
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    Oscar Leroy's Avatar
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    I'm not from Maine, but have been a few times. In my opinion you need to go to Acadia National Park and the Bar Harbor area. Just gorgeous, lots to see.

    If you go to Portland, there is a good lobster place down by the water, Portland Lobster Co. that we have eaten at a couple of times, but that's assuming you like lobster and that it hasn't gone downhill since we were last there.

    Most of my time in Maine has been spent close to the ocean, travelling through on my way to Canada, so I have no input on things that are farther inland.

    After thinking about it, I need to go back soon!
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    We rented a house in Maine last fall. We loved it, the house was right on the water. We were maybe a 45 minute drive north of Acadia near a small town called Stueben. The coast line is very broken with lots in Islands, inlets etc so it makes for some great scenery. My wife is really into house rentals and spends hours picking out the perfect house, there is a lot to choose from but we reserved ours probably 10 months ahead of time but you can also find some last minute deals.

    Acadia is great and we also went up the cost almost all the way to Canada and hiked in a couple of parks along the way. Not that Florida isn't great but the coast of Maine is totally different and you will probably like it. By the way, the locals don't pronounce the R's in Bar Harbor, so it sounds like Ba Haba. Bar Harbor is kind of part of Acadia area so its not out of the way.

    We flew into Portland, there were a lot more choices on flights than Bangor but it would have been closer to fly into Bangor for us. Be prepared to do some driving. I said the house we stayed at was a 45 minute drive from Acadia, but if you could have drove in a straight line it would have been 15 minutes. Takes longer because of all the broken coast line.

    I also would say the locals seemed very nice and tolerated the tourists well.

    I added a pic from our trip.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_0321[1].JPG
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    Maine is a beautiful area to visit. As others have said, "Bar Harbor" and the coast area are great to visit. One of the times we were at Kennebunkport, Marine 1 was at the Walker pointe Bush Compound as well as a bunch of Secret Service, etc......Quite the place the Bush's have on the peninsula.

    We had to wait through two different Moose / car fatality accidents on the highways. So keep your eye's wide open as a collision with one of them is far worse than hitting a deer......

    Also, since Mrs. Bear is a shopping and retail professional (it was what she did when we met) she had to visit LL bean and other retail institutions. Now one of her favorite to buy from is this one (but it's not in Maine, but nearby in Vermont in two locations) You can order online and they have a great selection of "Old Time Candy" which Mrs. Bear is a candy afficinado which hardly seems fair as she is 5'9" and 130 pounds and lives on Mt. Dew and candy and cookies.........

    The above stores are in Vermont, but driving in New England isn't like driving in Michigan, you can cover much of New England in the same time it takes one to drive from our location to the N.W. Michigan state line, in fact, I can drive to Atlanta, Georgia in the same time it takes me to drive to the border with Wisconsin in the N.W. upper Peninsula.....which is about 600 miles. Heck, 600 miles in New England gets you through about 6 or 7 states.....

    That raises an interesting option for you. If you don't end up going to Maine, Fly or drive up to Petoskey, Charlevoix, Traverse City and Mackinac area of Michigan, it's beautiful year around and we are great people. Well, most are then there are a few of the rest of us.....I am not trying to poach your vacation plans from Maine, but if you want alternatives......

    check out what an airport looks like in the Northern Lower Peninsula and this tells you which airlines fly in and out. It's in Pellston, which is central between the Michigan towns I listed above....

    Pellston Regional Airport Serving Northern Michigan Emmet County

    Northwest Michigan | Michigan

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    Oscar Leroy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SulleyBear View Post
    We had to wait through two different Moose / car fatality accidents on the highways. So keep your eye's wide open as a collision with one of them is far worse than hitting a deer......
    This is a good point to keep in mind. And you can't rely on eye shine because they are so tall...

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    And their dark fur doesn't reflect light very well either. Most headlights will shine under their bellies, so you might see a leg or two, that's it. They are usually trying to get out in the open when the bugs are bad or during rut season (fall).

    It sounds like you would like to stay near the coast, so I would suggest starting here. It's good advice to stay away from Rt 1 during the summer. It is very slow going. I guess it depends how much time you have to spend here. As others have said, Portland is a nice area for shopping. The Old Port is quaint for shopping and has great food and microbreweries. Freeport is another small town with LLBean and other outlets. Again, it will be busy but nice if you don't need to rush.

    Damrascotta is another quaint town and you can continue to Pemaquid point light house from there. Camden/Rockport as well as Boothbay Harbor are beautiful areas. Don't be afraid to take a ride on some of the backroads, like Ocean point in the Boothbay region.

    Further north you go the more rugged the coast gets. Bar Harbor/Acadia is a great area too, but again, lots of people go during the summer so be prepared. Cadillac Mt is beautiful at sunrise.

    Unless you have a lot of time, I would suggest going to one area and spending time there. It would take a lot to hit all these areas.

    There are tons of areas inland too. Carrabassett Valley, Mt. Katadin, Allagash Wilderness waterway, gulf hagas etc, etc. The Maine Northwoods is vast and remote. Just depends how much time you have and what you are interested in.

    Best of luck! You will enjoy it no matter where you decide, I'm sure.

    I haven't flown for awhile, but normally it is cheaper and better flights out of Portland than Bangor. But it might be worth it if you decide to go downeast Maine.

    Lastly, to clarify the pronounciations, we remove the "r" from towns like Bar Harbor,e tc and add the "r" to towns that end in A, like Augusta. So it's Baa Haabaa, or Auguster.


    You may consider taking a ride to one or two of the many islands just off the coast too. Peaks Island in Portland is interesting. Monhegan is a little longer trip but a beautiful artsy community and quaint. Just to suggest a few.
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    We vacationed in Maine about 12 years ago and loved it. We stayed here...

    Near Acadia National Park Lakeside Cedar Cabins

    The cabins were quaint. Nothing fancy but had electricity, running water, and a small kitchen. Perfect for us at the time with 2 small boys (now adults). We visited Bar Harbor (about 45 minutes away if I remember correctly), bought lobster from fisherman right off the docks and took them back to the cabin to cook with the supplied lobster pots, and spent a day at Acadia National Park. Our biggest mistake was not spending more time at Acadia National Park. Such a beautiful place. I'm sure we went to more places but my memory isn't what it used to be. All I can say is that my wife and I will be back. Just loved it there. Oh yeah...we went in mid-late July. I remember this because it was the week of my wife's birthday. The weather was nice during the day but got a bit chilly at night. Be sure to bring a variety of clothing.
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  17. Top | #9

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    The other posters from away have given you good insight into different areas of Maine, from Freeport to the Bold Coast of Washinton County that has a lot to offer.

    I live in Aroostook County, and unfortunately we have very little in the way of what you stated you were looking for in a vacation. However, in mid-July, we celebrate the Maine Potato Blossom in Fort Fairfield. Thousands of acres of potato fields in blossom. Few things prettier, and we take it for granted for the most part. We have several festivals celebrating our Acadian and Swedish heritages. Fantastic weather and nice people, but no LL Bean.

    I have no doubt but that you will find the vacation you are looking for in Maine. Enjoy.

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    Camden/rockport is much more of a picturesque harbor then bar harbor as nice as it is. Itís not so high end but still very respectable and a short drive from Acadia.

    Good seafood is everywhere along the coast. Itís not hard to dine on things that were happily swimming around that morning.

    In General June starts with a 30/70 chance of being summer like, and ends at 70/30. July 4th throughout the 3rd week in August is the hot weather if it doesnít rain, with rain it can be 60 for a high.

    The climate has 3 zones across the coast. The southern zone that ends south of Portland. Portland to Camden, Camden to Canada. They warm up in that order, and the ocean gets colder as you pass the kennebec and Penobscot bays. I have no interest in swimming anytime east of the Penobscot.

    From Camden on is much more rustic with pockets of poverty, but still retains the coastal village feel and general welcome. There are also isolated gems off the beaten path.

    Portland is best to fly into, or Manchester nh if you choose a southern coast area. You can go though nice foothill villages.

    Bar harbor is heavy on antique shops, Camden and the other villages are more craft like. Portland oldport is along those lines, but outside there itís franchises and chain stores like everywhere else. There are some very nice ferry tours on casco bay lines. The boats are nothing special, but the islands are.

    For a float plane tour, I know a commercially licensed pilot looking for a plane 1/2 way between Portland and bar harbor. Other then that Naples and Greenville are the only places offering them that I know of offhand and they are 1 and 2 hours from the coast. Iím sure there are other options. There are also several land based airports up and down the coast and islands.
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