Our first stop during the “Maine” Event was in Mystic Seaport, Connecticut. It was a charming town with a quintessential New England marina, streets lined with cedar shake houses, the aquarium, the famous Mystic Pizza, and the best French bakery ever! Each display case was a kaleidoscope of colors, each delicacy a work of art. I may have gone through the line twice before leaving Mystic, and left with a box full of goodies for the road.
Our next stop was Portland, Maine. If you have ever been to Portland, you will understand what I mean when I say it is impossible to find mediocre food there. Every meal we had was exceptional. Not to mention the views. You just can’t beat that ocean view. The other thing all visitors to Portland soon recognize is the number of breweries! Portland boasts the most breweries per capita in the entire country at 25 with a population of just 70,000. We didn’t hit all 25, but we certainly did our best to try.
The most impressive thing about Portland, however, is the way they have painstakingly worked to preserve their historic buildings. In 1990, the City of Portland adopted a historic preservation ordinance for the purpose of recognizing and preserving their historic architecture. Their passion and hard work was evident as we traveled the city’s streets admiring the abundance of preserved historic buildings.
We then took a ride on the Portland Ferry into Casco Bay with stops at Little Diamond Island, Great Diamon Island, and Diamond Cove. Not only were the views impressive, but it was also interesting to realize what it must be like to live on these islands accessible only by boat. Try to imagine getting building supplies, groceries, or as we noted, a large purple velvet couch, delivered to the dock for you to cart on home.
Our next stop on the way out of Portland was enough to set the heart of this lover of picture worthy things aflutter, the Portland Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse is located on
Cape Elizabeth and holds the distinction of being the most photographed lighthouse in America. It doesn’t take long to see why. As soon as our car turned the corner and it came into view, I was in complete awe. I could not open my door fast enough to jump out and begin snapping pics. The best views are to the right and left of the lighthouse where the backdrop of the rocky ledges makes for a breathtaking view. To be honest it was hard for me to leave this site. I just couldn’t get enough of it. I took a million pictures but just couldn’t seem to capture its splendidness. It was, however, time to go, Acadia National Park was calling.
Along the way there was just one more stop before Acadia and Bar Harbor. What would a trip to Maine be without the obligatory stop in Freeport to have your picture taken with the giant L.L. Bean boot? At this point our heads are on a swivel as we try to take in the water views to our left and right. Suddenly it all made sense. No wonder those who visit here invariably cannot wait to return. It was almost too much for my nature loving brain to process, and it just got better from there.
Our rental was situated on Gouldsboro Bay just north of Acadia with perfect tree and boulder lined views of the water. Each morning we woke at 5 a.m. to get a front row seat to the most spectacular sunrise show we had ever witnessed. Once our reverie was broken, it was off to explore once again, this time Bar Harbor and Acadia. Where does one begin to explain the Acadia experience? Cadillac Mountain, Thunder Hole, Sand Beach, Otter Point, the Beehive, the mountains meeting the ocean, rocky cliffs, boulders, and the list goes on. I can only say it was something akin to a spiritual experience. There truly are no words. You must experience it to believe it.
Since coming home, I have talked with several people who have voiced their long-time desire to visit Maine but have never set aside the time to go. My advice to you if you have considered this trip is, please, please do it! I guarantee you will not regret it. It will be a trip to be remembered for the rest of your life. You, too, will become a Maineiac!
Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director, Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce