1. The Stunning Views
I’ve flown into both Boston and Portland airports numerous times when visiting Midcoast Maine, but my favorite time there was the six weeks last summer while renovating a small cottage. I spent a good amount of my time driving here and there to antique shops, or playing tour guide to friends and family who were in town for a visit. Route 1, which parallels the Atlantic Ocean from New Brunswick in Canada all the way down to the tip of Key West, Florida, offers one of the best road trip routes in the state of Maine. You not only get a gorgeous view of the ocean here and there, but it takes travelers through numerous Main Street USA and coastal harbor towns.
2. The Charming Towns
Each small city or town I visited offered its own unique personality. And the best part? They all seem to be pedestrian friendly, meaning visitors can park and walk around the main areas and even down to the harbors. There’s Freeport, Bar Harbor, Brunswick, Rockland, Camden, Lincolnville, and more.
3. The Shopping
You won’t find too many big name stores around coastal Maine. What you will find in abundance are roadside stands offering homegrown, organic, non GMO veggies and all natural cheeses and other yummies. In the towns, most shops are independently owned, offering one-off items and a more personalized shopping experience. For those traveling through Freeport, be sure to leave most of your day, if not a few days, for shopping at the home of L.L. Bean. In addition to the flagship store and campus, there’s an abundance of big name outlet stores. If you’re looking for affordable Maine souvenir’s, be sure to stop in at any Reny’s, a Maine-based chain of discount stores that’s been in the state for 65 years.
4. The Lobster Rolls
Unless you are allergic to shellfish, then enjoying Maine lobster is a must. As one who hails from Louisiana, we’re particular to delicious cuisine and I have to admit that I find steamed lobster to be a very large, bland crawfish. However, I do enjoy a good lobster roll and have taken a personal responsibility of sampling one of these delicacies at every lobster shack I come upon. The style of lobster roll you might enjoy is a personal choice, and I’ll admit that what one person claims to be the BEST lobster roll in the state of Maine isn’t necessarily the same lobster roll I find to be my favorite. Never fear, no matter where you find your lobster roll, chances are it’s probably delicious!
5. The Variety of Lodging
The culture of Maine is one of an independent society, with individuality being at the forefront. And this culture spills over into the lodging choices available. Yes, in the big cities the brand name hotels can be found, but for the most part it’s all about the intimate experience of a mom and pop motel, the luxury Bed and Breakfast, or the vacation home rental for an extended stay. During the summer season, finding a place to stay might prove to be a challenge, as this area is a popular destination for those seeking a natural and relaxing place to unwind.
6. The Weather
The winter in Maine is a sleepy time for hibernation and rest. But as soon as the snow melts, nature wakes up and the flowers begin to bloom again. The summer is mild in Maine, from this Louisiana native’s perspective, and I would have no problem spending the rest of my summertimes in that beautiful state. It’s perfect for hikes up to Mt. Battie or pulling a kayak out into the water. The weather is usually a fantastic climate for picnics and evenings sipping wine near a fire pit. And of course, there are the sailboats and morning coffee watching the sunrise.
One thing that surprised me during my first few visits to Maine, was the abundance of wineries in the area. I honestly had no idea, as this wasn’t something that’s been promoted on a tourism level, from what I’ve observed. Of course, I took it upon myself to sample the local wines and visit tasting rooms and wineries. My favorite? Hands down it is CellarDoor Winery, which is our go-to place for a casual afternoon rest after running errands around Camden.
8. The Casual Atmosphere
The towns around Coastal Maine have a relaxed and casual feel. There’s nothing formal, putting locals and visitors at ease, no matter the occasion.
9. The Energy
There’s something to be said for Stephen King’s stories, many of which are set in Maine. There’s a raw, wild energy in the Coastal area, of waves crashing along the rocky shores. It’s inspiring and daunting at the same time. The energy makes you look deep inside yourself, at the darkness and the light.
10. The Beehive
This is my husband’s special haven where I’m blessed to spend time relaxing and using as my home base when exploring the area of Coastal Maine. Of course, I’m a little biased about this place. This special location is set away from the towns and provides a quiet location to write and rejuvenate the spirit.
If you’d like to learn more about Maine and its Coastal Towns, check out The Maine Travel Maven – she’s not only a dear friend, but author of many guidebooks about Maine.