Maine surpassed our expectations and left us wanting to return, visions of “summering” in the area dancing through our heads. You could easily spend weeks exploring the charming coastal towns between Portland and Bar Harbor, or you could rent a cottage and enjoy a quieter pace of life. And an abundance of fresh lobster and blueberries will make any foodie swoon. But if you only have a few days to visit—we had five—here’s a quick guide of my absolute must dos:
IN THREE WORDS: Rugged seaside escape
WHERE TO EAT: Salt & Honey in Kennebunkport for breakfast, Five Islands Lobster Co. in Georgetown for lobster rolls with an off-the-beaten-track view, Red’s Eats in Wiscasset for the biggest and the best lobster rolls, Thurston’s Lobster Pound in Bernard for the best whole lobster, Salt Water Farm in Rockport for an inspired Sunday brunch, Side Street Café in Bar Harbor for lunch (get the lobster Cobb salad), CJ’s Big Dipper in Bar Harbor for blueberry ice cream or soft serve, Havana/Parrilla in Bar Harbor for Cuban-inspired food, Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland for the freshest and most creative oysters, Fore Street in Portland for farm-to-table fine dining, Duckfat for crispy Belgian fries with tasty aioli
WHAT TO DO: Visit the famous Portland Light lighthouse. Rent a car and drive up the coast, stopping for lobster rolls along the way. Spend some time in Acadia National Park, exploring Sand Beach, hiking trails, and heading to the top of Cadillac Mountain for sunrise. Take the Lulu Lobster Boat tour—Captain John is an entertaining and ridiculously knowledgeable fisherman, who will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about lobster fishing. The view of the harbor from the sea is not to be missed.
HOW TO GET AROUND: By car
WHAT TO BRING HOME: Blueberry syrup, L.L. Bean tote bag
WHAT TO PACK: Striped tees, shorts, jeans, boat shoes. Think casual, classic east coast style.
WHEN TO GO: Late July or early August—a great time weather-wise and not too crowded. Try the fall for the changing foliage.