In honor of me having achieved my goal of visiting all 50 US States, each day for the next 50 days, I will post a picture of somewhere I have visited in each state and write a paragraph or two about my experience. There is so much to see in every one of them, so I am just selecting one of my best memories.
Vast, thick forest teeming with moose, black bears, and wolves. Misty islets and harbors with lighthouses so beautiful you think your eyes became a postcard, a myriad of lobster and fishing boats teeming with Neptune’s bounty. Home of one of my favorite authors Stephen King and the backdrop on several of his novels. That’s how I envisioned Maine to be before visiting. And now having visited, I found I wasn’t that far off, in fact, that is pretty much spot on. Just with a lot more beer.
Occupying the extreme upper northeast corner of the continental United States and the only one to border just one other state, any visit to Maine is a deliberate one. But the remote state’s location serves it well. Sure there are tourists, but on my visit, even in the height of summer, the crowds seemed comparatively small. The coast is dotted with enough secluded harbors you can find solace easily. One of my favorite things to do in Maine was walking the piers and listening to the seagull’s chatter. Feeling the cool sea breeze and smelling the salty air. Being a midwesterner and having never become jaded by the ocean, I feel most alive when I have the privilege of returning back to the shore. I call it my “Vitamin Sea” as it has a spiritually nutritive value for me.
One of the best excursions in Maine I can recommend is getting off I-95 and driving on US Route 1. This highway winds its way in and around the coast. The interstate runs a few miles inland and misses these sights. Make sure you visit Camden Hills State Park featuring Mount Battie which is over 5,000 feet in altitude and has a commanding view of Penobscot Bay. Midstate is dotted with quaint fishing villages such as Rockport. Every few miles you’ll feel like stopping to get pictures because your family and friends just won’t get just how stunning this place is. You may find a 20-mile journey may end up taking a couple hours just because of how much there is to see.
April through October is also a great time for whale watching. Humpback, Finback and Pilot whales feed off the coast and breach for air creating massive waves. Excursions winnow through the winding harbors to the feeding banks. I didn’t get a chance to see the whales here, but I did in Alaska and seeing a whale jumping out of the water will stun even the most world-weary traveler.
The Jewel in Maines coastal crown would be bar harbor and Arcadia National Park. Featuring Cadilac Mountain the highest peak on America’s east coast, the park has bluffs, rocky coves and countless islands in its harbor. Hiking trails abound and offer secretive vistas you will never see by car. In a single day, you can spot moose, whales, peregrine falcons, seals, and foxes. Mount Desert Island is almost all hiking and horseback paths are almost entirely vehicle free.
For an “inlander” such as myself, Maine’s harbors and beaches are maritime Heaven. When you come to Maine try to have as much as an open-ended schedule as possible. This bewitching siren will seduce you and you’ll most likely stay much longer than you planned. I know I did.