Even a year ago going to Maine seemed one of those distant plans that you never have time to fulfill. Now our trip is already starting to feel like something we have obviously done in the past, and done a while back because the recollection of that experience is surely fading. Nonetheless, it was a mere month ago that we came back from our week-long journey to New England, and Maine in particular.
Our reconnaissance of Maine began in Kittery, right after crossing the bridge from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. We promptly reached Kittery Point and went on to Fort McClary, where we made our first stop.
The sun was beaming high in the sky, so without much delay we set off to our next destination, trying to use the fortunate weather to our advantage. The next stop then followed at Cape Neddick Lighthouse in York.
The place was sweet, and the breeze was lovely; and we were beginning to understand why Maine is a vacation state in summer. At such northern latitudes the temperatures are a lot milder, and the winds are a lot cooler than they are on the rest of the Atlantic coast. That can be summarized as the perfect summer weather.
Understandably, we did not see many swimmers :)
Simply because Maine is in such high regard among vacationers, the majority of the coastal amusements are nothing more than tourist traps, a bunch of trinket stores and pseudo trendy seafood restaurants. One such place was Perkins Cove: overcrowded, tight in parking space, and not very scenic.
I do not know why I become so fascinated by lighthouses when we make our travel plans. I guess there is something romantic or perhaps artistic about them. Or maybe they just make good pictures. Whatever the case, if there are some lighthouses on the way, we always stop at a few. Cape Elizabeth was a double win for that matter, since the lighthouses were arguably the place’s main attractions, and since two of those were built only a few hundred feet apart.
You do not realize how many Americans love sailing, and the kind of money they spend on their yachts, until you stumble on a marina like the one we saw in Rockland.
It is hard to say whether people in Maine enjoy being at sea so much, or it just gives them a nice satisfactory feeling to be sipping down a cold Merlot at some port diner while watching their sixty-foot yawl gracefully rocking on the waves. Be it the latter, I do not blame them at all.
Before the night drew on and we were forced to stall till next morning, we managed to see yet one more place. Camden was also a port town with respectable-size marina that, according to some traveler’s note, could be photographed well from the second floor of Camden Public Library. Because this promise did not hold, I switched to outdoor photography and was only able to capture a few pretty boats and well-attended homes in the neighborhood.
Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park might be the most visited national park in America, undoubtedly owing to Maine’s marvelous summer-time weather. Another reason for high traffic is the sheer size of the park. Although it is probably a nice vacation site to the elderly or anyone who does not want to bother with much walking or crawling through primitive jungles (like it has been the case in other parks), we did not find it all that fascinating. There is however a few dozen pretty open views around the place.
The park is great for hiking and cycling, but may quickly annoy car passengers with repetitive scenery unless the driver is inventive about the routes (which is also a challenge because of all the one-ways).
Having seen Bangor, we remained clueless how such a gray dull place could ever become so significant in Maine’s culture and tradition; how so many famous and prominent people could get to spend their years in this northern backwater town. But as it stands today, Bangor is probably the most used proper noun in all of Maine; at least it appeared so while looking at various brands and company names we read on the road signs and billboards.
For us the sole purpose of going to Bangor was to see the residence of Stephen King (the red house below), a person who I thought could certainly afford a nicer location. Besides, we had no intention of following the coastline all the way to Canada, so we needed loop back inland.
By taking pictures of King’s and King neighbor’s houses I believe we have captured the best of Bangor. To prove my point I also took a photo of a major street which we followed to Mount Hope Cemetery. That cemetery served as a setting for many scenes of the Pet Sematary movie, a screen adaptation of the horror master’s eponymous work.
We saved the capital for the last, and rightly so, because state capitals are rarely an exciting find. But they are often quiet and underpopulated, and we figured that a moment of outdoor rest would not hurt. Another thing that all capitals have in common is a Capitol building, and that was in fact all that we were going to see in Augusta.
Considering how much restoration is being done to various historic and administrative buildings across the country, it is almost a rarity to find one not covered in scaffolding these days. And that was the high note that marked the end of our acquaintance with Maine.
The map of out travels through Maine is below.