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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm going to a party on Long Island July 30, and from there i'm heading to Maine. I know a bunch of you recently took trips up that way. What were your favorite stops, in Maine and along the way there?

EDIT: I DECIDED TO GO TO ASSATEAGUE ISLAND NATIONAL SEASHORE CAMPGROUND INSTEAD. Since my dream is camping on the beach and all the summer months are booked or insanely overpriced, I'll save the $300 on gas and visit the island where horses run wild. I'll do Maine another time.
 

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I'm going to a party on Long Island July 30, and from there i'm heading to Maine. I know a bunch of you recently took trips up that way. What were your favorite stops, in Maine and along the way there?
from a touristy/photographer perspective (my last trip was pre covid, in the fall to Acadia keep in mind no van yet, did sleep in the back of a Subaru at Cabelas to catch sunrise cause if you like sunrises, photography etc… Cape Elizabeth area has several a must see ( sunrise is best). Portland headlight is just photogenic set in a really nice public park. Cape Neddick ( aka Nubble) is good for sunset. i followed the light houses up the coast. there’s a large parking lot and everyone comes for lobster rolls at the foxs shack ( it’s a restaurant but a literal shed/shack in the parking lot) for dinner and then waits. . take highway 1 near all the nice scenic stuff but 95 if you have to be somewhere fast and want to avoid the beach parking congestion in York, Ogunquit etc. if you don’t like people and outlet shopping skip Kittery it’s like macys at Christmas. My absolute favorite thing was sunrise at cadillac mtn in Acadia but they have a timed reservation system now and i wouldn’t drive a giant van up it, it’s steep, winding and quite the hike in the dark if you don’t drive up. the road is windy narrow, bicyclists without lights or reflectors and if the top is full turning around was deadly. The most ‘Maine’ experience was a restaurant near bass harbor, Thurston house, the boats come in right off the ocean, they take the lobsters out of the traps, sort them into tanks and you pick, you’re watching the whole process ( except the cooking). It was really neat, if you’ve only seen lobster on a plate or at the grocery store it’s eye opening how much dedication and work and equipment and danger on the ocean is really involved. The two things i didn’t make it to was a big botanical garden along the coast don’t recall the name but i bet this time of year it’s phenomenal. or out to one of the islands by boat cruise/whale watching because it was fall and there was a gale warning that cancelled it. if you are headed as far as Acadia, you can’t not drive the loop road, Sand beach was awesome even if it’s too cold to get in the water ( i did it anyway in Sept/Oct). and the hike around Jordan pond was nice, your dog would be ok on that i think, there are a few boardwalks but not rough terrain. skip thunderhole(overrated) and there are a few hikes where the pull off area/ parking lot is not suitable for any large vehicles, i had trouble in my car because people parked like idiots. Bar harbor was cute/quaint, also lots of nightlife , but if a cruise ship or say 8 ( including the worlds 2nd largest) of them dock when you are there, it’s miserable, the cruise ships pre book excursions ahead and you can’t get a dinner reservation or hotel or reserve a cruise, sailing etc. miserable. i thought i picked an off week before columbus day when kids should be in school . nope.
 

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Get off Mt Dessert Isle and stay at Lamoine State Park opposite Bah Habaah on Frenchmen’s Bay. A laid back place to camp. We’ve been going there since 1976. Maine, the way it used to be begins down-east of Ellsworth. Go see.

For the other side of Maine- Freeport. Remember, if it’s not Christmas, Bean’s is open- 24/7.
 

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Brunswick, Camden - Camden Hills SP, Rangely - Rangely SP, Greenville on Moosehead Lake - Lily Bay SP, Skowhegan - The Bankery - bakery in an old Bank.

Best Maine book - "We Took to the Woods" by Louise Dickinson Rich
 
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Acadia is great but a bit overly loved. One thing to note is there is a HUGE dog park on Mt Desert Island. It is sort of Rockefeller/Acadia lands. It is fun.

If you like to hike and don't mind crowds there are many good trails in the park. There are several via ferrata type routes. I have done Beehive and Precipice. The west side of the island sees much less tourism and can be nice and quiet.

Schoodic Peninsula is also nice and now part of the park. There is a nice campground over there.

My friend tells me about the Gold Coast which is a little further north I think. She goes backpacking and camping there.

A mail boat trip out to Isle Au Haut is well worth it even if you just go for a day to walk some of the trails. I camped there last summer and still dream of it.
 

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About 6 years ago K & C drove the entire Maine coastline up to Lubec and the Bay of Fundy. Traveled and lived out of our Chevy Express window van. We hugged the coast so drove through all the small towns, cities. Lots of slow speeds and starts and stops. Sounds good BUT this was the only trip where I really got tired of driving. Did a lot of sight-seeing and hiking along the way. It was a different world then (pre-covid) and we could free-float travel without reservations. One thing that stuck out was how little public land, state parks and such, there was with camping. We relied heavily on private camping.

I had a handheld GPS with tide charts that was great for timing visits to the coastline. Visit an area at the low tide and you will have a vista of mud.

One of favorite experiences was the "Bean Supper". The people in the northeast were known for their frugal-ness. Beans are a staple menu item. When we were there we found several churches did Saturday evening Bean Suppers. Found these advertised in local papers. Churches in different communities took turns having these dinners which featured (of course) beans. Different kinds of beans prepared in every way imaginable. And delicious. Everyone sat at long tables and big bowls were passed up and down and you helped yourself. And cornbread! The folks all knew each other and we were "outsiders". But I guess that made us more interesting as everyone wanted to talk about our travels. I imagine the virus has altered this tradition now? ---KenA
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
from a touristy/photographer perspective (my last trip was pre covid, in the fall to Acadia keep in mind no van yet, did sleep in the back of a Subaru at Cabelas to catch sunrise cause if you like sunrises, photography etc… Cape Elizabeth area has several a must see ( sunrise is best). Portland headlight is just photogenic set in a really nice public park. Cape Neddick ( aka Nubble) is good for sunset. i followed the light houses up the coast. there’s a large parking lot and everyone comes for lobster rolls at the foxs shack ( it’s a restaurant but a literal shed/shack in the parking lot) for dinner and then waits. . take highway 1 near all the nice scenic stuff but 95 if you have to be somewhere fast and want to avoid the beach parking congestion in York, Ogunquit etc. if you don’t like people and outlet shopping skip Kittery it’s like macys at Christmas. My absolute favorite thing was sunrise at cadillac mtn in Acadia but they have a timed reservation system now and i wouldn’t drive a giant van up it, it’s steep, winding and quite the hike in the dark if you don’t drive up. the road is windy narrow, bicyclists without lights or reflectors and if the top is full turning around was deadly. The most ‘Maine’ experience was a restaurant near bass harbor, Thurston house, the boats come in right off the ocean, they take the lobsters out of the traps, sort them into tanks and you pick, you’re watching the whole process ( except the cooking). It was really neat, if you’ve only seen lobster on a plate or at the grocery store it’s eye opening how much dedication and work and equipment and danger on the ocean is really involved. The two things i didn’t make it to was a big botanical garden along the coast don’t recall the name but i bet this time of year it’s phenomenal. or out to one of the islands by boat cruise/whale watching because it was fall and there was a gale warning that cancelled it. if you are headed as far as Acadia, you can’t not drive the loop road, Sand beach was awesome even if it’s too cold to get in the water ( i did it anyway in Sept/Oct). and the hike around Jordan pond was nice, your dog would be ok on that i think, there are a few boardwalks but not rough terrain. skip thunderhole(overrated) and there are a few hikes where the pull off area/ parking lot is not suitable for any large vehicles, i had trouble in my car because people parked like idiots. Bar harbor was cute/quaint, also lots of nightlife , but if a cruise ship or say 8 ( including the worlds 2nd largest) of them dock when you are there, it’s miserable, the cruise ships pre book excursions ahead and you can’t get a dinner reservation or hotel or reserve a cruise, sailing etc. miserable. i thought i picked an off week before columbus day when kids should be in school . nope.
THANK YOU!!! What an amazing tour. Definitely skipping the gardens (no dogs) . Love the idea of following the light houses. and the lobsters are a must see. I'm more beach girl than mountain girl, so I might skip Acadia.
 

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THANK YOU!!! What an amazing tour. Definitely skipping the gardens (no dogs) . Love the idea of following the light houses. and the lobsters are a must see. I'm more beach girl than mountain girl, so I might skip Acadia.
if you like beaches, on the way up hug the sea coast from northern mass to new hampshire, the water there would be warmer( hampton beach and the one i csnt recall on the massachusetts side of the border near it are beach centric, but ogunquit is ‘the’ beach town, york has some nice public beaches too, further up the coast gets rockier.

 

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Acadia right now is going to be mobbed, and if you want to see Cadillac Mountain you will need a reservation. If you end up there Beal's Lobster was my fav for lobster rolls. Ocean Path is a nice walk, as is Jordan Pond.

As much as I love going to Acadia, the drive from Portland is roughly 3.5 hours and it's just extremely mundane of a drive. Even along 1 or 3, it's just really rough if you've already been driving a haul.

In Portland Tandem Coffee, Cheese Louise, The Museum, tons of great spots

Just one HUGE caveat you need to be mindful of: The north east is filled with 'parkways' and many of them have strict height and weight restrictions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So much information. Thank you everyone, I'm still digesting it all. So far, I'm going to focus on lighthouses, beaches, lobsters and probably not go much north of Portland. My dream would be to stop at places where you can park and look out at the ocean, but I don't think that exists. I really don't want to go to crowded tourist spots, especially if finding places to stay is tough. I hate that so many parkway roads prohibit vans. I think I must have broke the law when aI whet to Connecticut through NY. If there's too many on. this trip, I'll change my destination to Virginia beach/cape hateras area and go in sept.
 

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So much information. Thank you everyone, I'm still digesting it all. So far, I'm going to focus on lighthouses, beaches, lobsters and probably not go much north of Portland. My dream would be to stop at places where you can park and look out at the ocean, but I don't think that exists. I really don't want to go to crowded tourist spots, especially if finding places to stay is tough. I hate that so many parkway roads prohibit vans. I think I must have broke the law when aI whet to Connecticut through NY. If there's too many on. this trip, I'll change my destination to Virginia beach/cape hateras area and go in sept.
From Long Island you can just hop on 95 and avoid all the parkways. The parkway's become more a headache if you're coming from NJ or western NY and needing to cut through CT. They don't prohibit vans, they prohibit commercial vehicles and RVs. I def saw plenty of high roof Sprinters and Transits on the Merrit and Sawmill parkway; I even saw a few Winnebago models on it. Your ultimate issue if you roll the dice will be the height. I saw bridges with max height of 12 and some with max of 9.

As for parking/camping, there's def spots to do this just gotta do some looking. There's a campground in Freeport (~25-30 north of Portland) called Wolfe's Neck that has a campground on the water.
 

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Every New England state but NH it’s legal (so I’m told) So much for "Live Free or Die"🤭🙀
 

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From Long Island you can just hop on 95 and avoid all the parkways. The parkway's become more a headache if you're coming from NJ or western NY and needing to cut through CT. They don't prohibit vans, they prohibit commercial vehicles and RVs. I def saw plenty of high roof Sprinters and Transits on the Merritt and Sawmill parkway; I even saw a few Winnebago models on it. Your ultimate issue if you roll the dice will be the height. I saw bridges with max height of 12 and some with max of 9.
In CT the Merritt Pkwy & Wilbur Cross Pkwy are not a big issue and the bridges are high enough. They prohibit commercial vehicles and vehicles over 7500 pounds and 8'... no mention of RVs on the signs. You should be OK... I use the parkways, as do many other vans.

In NY, anything with "parkway" in it's name is specifically called out as "no trucks" - only passenger cars. They allow some NY pickup trucks to get passenger plates and use the parkways, but no trucks, vans, or anything commercial is allowed. They do not recognize CT combination plates (for RVs) a passenger plate so they are a no-go. The bridges on some NY parkways are very low... I'd stay off NY "parkways" if your plates do no say passenger and/or if the size limits apply.

Depending on where you are on LI, you may choose to take the Port Jefferson - Bridgeport ferry to I-95 in CT. That is not cheap, but cuts out hours of driving through some pretty congested NY areas near NYC. They take vans... probably about $80, you'd can call them to get the details. With the price of gas, that may not be too bad... BeaR is OK !

Home - The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company
 
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