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State o’ Maine

 
 
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 03:59 pm
I always wanted to go to Maine, for some reason. Can't exactly say why, except that it's kind of out of the way, that I've never made it there and that I've kind of this image in my head that probably stems from a good mixture of Steven King movies and John Irving novels which seems to be appealing to me. In a strange kind of way.

So, I'll be in the States for some time, so I thought "Why not go to Maine, enjoy the Indian Summer for a bit?"

Now, I've travelled across New England during October. Seems to be a good time to go. Loved it. The trees? Fantastic. You don't get these kinds of colours over here, you know. Marvellous.


So apparently, and without doing too much of the planning, I'm now going to Maine for an extended weekend. Flying into Portland. Getting a car. Splendid.



Sooo....

What do I do? Where do I go? What are the best places?


Help?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 4,287 • Replies: 44
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:04 pm
I bet Farmerman will have some opinions..
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:10 pm
Oh yes, farmerman.... I remember him posting about, I think, a lake with a funny-sounding name.... Meddybemps, maybe? Isn't that way up at the Canadian border?

And what's there to do and see in the area around Portland? Something? Nothing?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:14 pm
The further north you go, the less populated the state will be. At the same time, the more conifers you'll find in the forests, but you'll still have the the brilliant fall colors. The Sweetiepie Girl and I once visited a friend who lived on the edges of the Acadia Forest--and it was beautiful country. This was north of Bar Harbor, in the Frenchman's Bay Area. Go to Mount Desert Island, it's well worth the trip. Unfortunately, the Sweetiepie Girl fell off Maine while we were there, but we caught her and no real harm was done. Maine appears to be slippery in places.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:30 pm
Ah. Good point about the trees.

Well, as I'm coming from a region where all the trees simply agree to go green->yellow->brown->kaplunk in a matter of days without showing off too much (that'd be indecent), I'll most likely be wowed anyways.

Bar Harbor has been mentioned. A quick look at Google seems to tell me that Bar Harbor is on Mount Desert Island? Marvellous!


So, apparently I'll be taking that car, and I'll be staying in <takes> Rockland for a night. Or two? Possibly. Is Mount Desert Island a day trip from there? And there seem to be lots of connections to the even smaller islands... Is that something to do?


And what do you do once you're there?
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:32 pm
There are a million (ok, maybe 300,000) little places all along Rt.1 from Portland all the way up to Bar Harbor. Once you get east of Bar Harbor things start getting a little more ummm.. spacious ( Razz ) until you get to Machias. Personally, I love the Rockland/Camden/Belfast stretch of coastline.

Depending on exactly when you'll be there in Oct there are different areas to head for to watch foliage. The far north should be peaking teh 1st week. The "Lake region" north of Portland should be at about peak the 2nd week of October and along the coast could be anywhere through the rest of the month depending on the weather.

And ummm.. Not to throw a kink in your plans but hunting season for Bear and Ruffed Grouse opens October 1st and Moose season is the week of Oct 7th. If you plan on going into any wooded areas I'd suggest you wear blaze orage. Wink
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:38 pm
btw, I don't know what your interests are but I'm going to take the opportuinuity to plug a place that I love to visit when I'm up that way.

If you like old hand tools you should go!

http://www.jonesport-wood.com/
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:38 pm
old europe wrote:
And what do you do once you're there?


Try not to fall off. The Sweetiepie Girl was just minding her own business, drinking a soda pop, when BAM . . . she fell off. We caught her, though.

You can just wander around and goof on the trees and the tourists. Anywhere in Maine is a daytrip from anywhere else, if you get up early enough. Fishin's got it right, just get on Route 1 and head north. The places i was thinking of are about an hour beyond Bar Harbor, and as Fishin' pointed out, the population gets sparse pretty quickly thereafter.
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:47 pm
Ah. Great info, fishin, thanks!

Well, I'll be there theee <consulting notes> first weekend in October! Marvellous! Sounds like excellent planning I managed to do there....


Rockland/Camden/Belfast area sounds perfect. So I guess I'll be staying in Rockland for a bit, going up to Mount Desert Island, too.... Great!


Does it actually make sense to go up any farther (north or east) than Bar Harbor? Is it just lots of driving through really scary forests (which I'd probably kinda enjoy, too....), maybe too much for a mere extended weekend? Or is there something I absolutely have to see?
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:52 pm
Setanta wrote:
Try not to fall off. The Sweetiepie Girl was just minding her own business, drinking a soda pop, when BAM . . . she fell off. We caught her, though.


Uhm. Okay. Thank you! I'll totally keep that in mind.

<scratches head>

<takes notes>


Setanta wrote:
You can just wander around and goof on the trees and the tourists. Anywhere in Maine is a daytrip from anywhere else, if you get up early enough. Fishin's got it right, just get on Route 1 and head north. The places i was thinking of are about an hour beyond Bar Harbor, and as Fishin' pointed out, the population gets sparse pretty quickly thereafter.


Hm. You know, people sometimes scare me when they tell me about how everything's just a daytrip from everything else. Hello? I'm, like, European! Here, everything's just like 5 minutes from everything else....


So. Is the sparseness of population something you people would recommend? Like, anything to see or do? Maybe even just the aforementioned sparseness?

What's y'all's expert opinion? Go to Bar Harbor and enjoy that? Go further up Maine?
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 04:56 pm
I don't know Maine, but I know California redwood forests..
if you like music, take some cd's from home, as the car radio will go in and out. Nothing like some strong music in the car when traversing, in my case, hundreds of forest miles. Also nothing like silence either, that's good too.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:02 pm
Here are some links that may help you out:

Belfast Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.belfastmaine.org/
(Check the "Visiting Belfast?" section!)

This is the whole "Discovery Coast" but a lot of stuff on Rockland.
http://www.therealmaine.com/

Up by Bar Harbor is also the Seal Cove Auto Museum.
http://www.sealcoveautomuseum.org/
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:04 pm
Ah! Excellent point. Would've never occurred to me.

<takes more notes>

<makes little x's for really important things>


But yes, silence can be wonderful....
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old europe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:10 pm
fishin wrote:
Here are some links that may help you out:

Belfast Chamber of Commerce:
http://www.belfastmaine.org/
(Check the "Visiting Belfast?" section!)

This is the whole "Discovery Coast" but a lot of stuff on Rockland.
http://www.therealmaine.com/

Up by Bar Harbor is also the Seal Cove Auto Museum.
http://www.sealcoveautomuseum.org/



Oh wow! That's really, really awesome! So much useful info!

Thanks a lot!
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:11 pm
All along the coast it is just dotted with small towns - most of them seperated by 10-15 miles of woods. There are houses intermixed in those woods along the main roads. There are some unpopulated hills that you'll see from Rt.1 but you won't be in the middle of no-where along that route.

If you want forest you'll need to go inland 10 or 15 miles and if you want to really get lost head north for 3 hours and you'll have 7+ million acres (That's roughly 28,400 sq km) of nothing but woods without a paved road to be found.

Expect things to be... s l o w. That's one of the nice things about Maine. No hustle/bustle of a major urban area. People take their time.
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aidan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:18 pm
I lived in Searsport- so I have a soft spot for the Rockland/Camden/Belfast area too- and it is beautiful if you travel inland a bit from there too. I particularly loved the stretch of road (I can't remember the number of it now- maybe route 7?) that led from Belfast over toward Unity- rolling farmland, orchards, pastures and beautiful foliage in the autumn.

I personally like the drive up the coast heading north of Brewer (which is where you'd head east to go to Mt. Desert Island).
It goes through tiny little towns like Sullivan- all the way up through Machias, etc. and I think it's as breathtaking and at the same time, much less touristy that Bar Harbor, although Acadia is definitely worth seeing for sure.

I like the coast down around Portland too. Damariscotta is one of my favorite towns- again- very picturesque but not quite as touristy as Camden. Although right outside of Camden you can hike up Mt. Mcginiticook which offers a really stunning view of the harbor and the town, so that's a plus as far as Camden goes in my book.

Moosehead Lake (way up around Greenville) is incredibly beautiful in the fall. You can take floatplane trips (planes that take off and land on the lake) and that's a really neat way to get a panoramic view of the foliage. Greenville would be about three hours out of Portland though. Maybe too much driving for a weekend- unless it was one of those trips that you'd just decided to drive so you could see as much as you could see. If you want to see lakes and not drive so far- Belgrade Lakes- south of Augusta and maybe an hour out of Portland- is a beautiful area too. Not quite as wild and wooded as Greenville and Moosehead- but there's a pretty little Shaker Village on the road north of Portland - I think it's called Poland Springs (if it's not called that- it's right around there if you look on a map).

I think Portland is a pretty city in itself. There are some great restaurants/bars (kind of pub-like actually) along the waterfront that are pretty good.

For Stephen King's Maine- you gotta go through Bangor and/or Orland. I think those two towns and the road between them are much more indicative of the "real", more gritty Maine that native Mainers revere. They think of places like Bar Harbor and Camden as "pseudo-Maine" where only "people from away" and/or "summer people" (people who couldn't make it through a Maine winter live). Castine is a pretty little coastal town down in that area. There's also Blue Hill- which is lovely...
so many places you could go and see. It just depends on if you're into crowds and touristy spots- or if you'd like to experience the space and isolation that Maine can offer. It's a huge landmass with not much more than a million people- there's no other place like it- at least in the US.

I hope you enjoy your trip. You picked the perfect time to go. Of everyplace I've lived or been in September or October- Maine is my very favorite that time of year. You'll see apple trees by the ocean under incredibly blue skies. I hope you love it.
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jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 27 Sep, 2007 05:47 pm
If you go North, I got three words for you: Baxter.State.Park.
But it's far North, so it's probably too much for this visit. But it's worthwhile to keep in mind for a later date:
http://macannamac.com/images/map.jpg

Top of Mt. Katahdin, highest mountain in Maine and the Northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail:
http://mouser.org/log/images/2005/katahdin.jpg
Katahdin as seen from Chimney Pond (a lot of folks use this as a base camp): http://www.naturalbornhikers.com/Katahdin/katahdin%20chimney%20pond.jpg
Try not to hit any of these: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/horst.prillinger/blog/p3/moose-1.jpg
Try to make a dinner of one of these: http://shop.legalseafoods.com/images/images/LobsterNChowder.jpg
This is actually a birding map, but it's pretty good: http://www.mainebirding.net/inc/05birdmemap.gif
I used to go to summer camp in Bingham, which is South of Baxter State Park and North of Bangor. Never saw a clearer sky. Bring binoculars and hope for a clear night. At least in Bingham, you could see the Milky Way and a boatload of stars.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2007 12:25 pm
old europe wrote:
So. Is the sparseness of population something you people would recommend?


Uhm . . . not necessarily. When you drive for more than ten minutes without seeing anyone else, and the first person you meet asks you: "You ain't from around here, are ya?"--you've gone too far.
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Roberta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Sep, 2007 12:56 pm
I spent two summer vacations sailing off the coast of Maine on a three masted schooner out of Rockland. We anchored at night and explored the land in the morning. Bar Harbor, worth visiting. Acadia National Park, wonderful. Lots of small, sparsely populated towns, also wonderful.

Enjoy the lobster!
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ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 4 Nov, 2007 10:22 am
I'm wondering how the leaf-peeping went ...
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