Here is our very very long trip review, link to pictures at the end. I hope it is helpful for some! We visited Portland, Bar Harbor, Camden, and Ogunquit. It was our first visit to Maine and we will definitely be back!
One of the best decisions we made was to go before the peak season began, we saved so much money and didn't have to deal with crowds. We were in Maine from the 16th-24th of June. We saved money on food by staying at B&Bs that served very hearty breakfasts. We took snacks with us (granola bars and homemade trail mix) and skipped lunch all but twice. Restaurants start serving dinner early and we got some great early bird specials by eating between 5 and 6 (plus we never had to make reservations). We got fantastic rooms at nice B&Bs/Inns for under $150 a night, the only place we battled crowds was in Ogunquit our last weekend and they really weren't that bad.
We found the Fodor's Maine Coast book helpful for our planning and while on our trip. We didn't really use the lodging or restaurant reviews (trip advisor was best for that) but the book had some handy maps of the towns and good lists of the attractions and history of each place we visited and drove past. Also bought a "hiking Acadia" book can't remember the name that was helpful in planning our hikes. We are AAA members so that got us discounts at at least one place we stayed, can't remember which. We used their website for directions that turned out about 95% accurate plus they mailed us a free map that came in very handy. We booked our lodging 6 months in advance and confirmed about 6 weeks out that they still had our reservations. No problems there.
The weather was so fantastic, 70s and low 80s every day, only one partially rainy day and that was no big deal. If and when we go back we will go in late June or maybe in the fall but I hear the crowds are getting worse then. Many times we felt like we had Maine all to ourselves, it was so weird but so wonderful at the same time. Only bumped into families with screaming kids a couple of times our whole trip, it was paradise, as a honeymoon should be :)
Portland: Drove from D.C. to Portland in one day, took about 10 hours (we left at 6 am)
We stayed at the Pinecrest Inn about 15 minutes outside of Portland in the town of Gorham. It was a nice location and much more affordable than B&Bs and Inns directly in Portland. Our room was beautifully decorated and the family running the inn was so nice. Matt cooked up wonderful breakfasts! Only a couple of complaints, the mattress was extremely firm which made it difficult for us to sleep comfortably. Our room was also at the front of the Inn so we heard cars driving by, but turning on the A/C blocked most of that. The bathroom was also very small but that wasn't a big deal since we were only there for 2 nights. Overall we would stay there again, we'd just choose a different room.
Ate at Sebago Brewing Company in Gorham our first night, a short walk from our inn. Very good food! DH had the wild mushroom ravioli and I had the haddock new england. It was my first haddock and it was delicious! DH also had one of their brews and it was very tasty. They have a location in Portland as well. We would definitely eat there again.
We spent one full day in Portland. First thing was the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth, just south of Portland. So picturesque. We got there early and no one else was around so we got great pictures without people milling around the lighthouse. We then drove into Portland and paid to park in a garage on Fore St. Got tickets for the 11:30 tour boat with Eagle Island Tours for $14 each. We were worried it would be cheesy but it was actually very enjoyable. The tour boat captain gave us great information and was entertaining. He knew his stuff. We road past several civil war forts, lots of lighthouses, and other interesting spots. He got us close to the Portland Head Light from the water and gave us plenty of time to take pictures (this time lots of people milling around the lighthouse so the pictures are not as good). The tour was 90 minutes long and we got a lot out of it, sadly we didn't see any seals!
Spent the afternoon at the Freeport outlets, about a 30 minute drive from Portland. My husband could only take so much of that so we went back to the B&B for a bit and rested before we ate dinner at Fore St. Took us forever to find the place because we didn't have the address. It's at the end of the road just past Pearl St. There is construction that threw us off and the sign for the restaurant is hard to see. The food was amazing. DH had the scallops, I had the butlers steak. We shared sides of grilled & chilled asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes. The service was wonderful and we really enjoyed our dining experience. We don't splurge often so $75 on a meal felt like a lot to us but we were glad we did it (that was without drinks, appetizers, and dessert, you could easily spend over $100 with all those extras). Probably the best restaurant/meal we had on the trip but it's hard to compare when they were all so good!
Had soft serve ice cream cones at a little side of the road place near Gorham that was very popular! Don't know the name but man we ate a lot of ice cream!
We liked Portland but we are not city people so more than 1 day there would have been too much. We were so anxious for our next stop!
Bar Harbor: About a 3 hour drive from Portland, we went up 95 to Bangor and then over to Bar Harbor.
We arrived before we could check in so we went directly to Acadia and got our park pass. It was only $10 since it was not peak season yet. We drove the loop road and stopped several times for pictures. Walked down to Sand Beach and got some great photos and experienced first hand how frigid that water is! After we drove the loops we checked in at The Manor House Inn.
It is a beautiful Inn with several cottages to choose from. We stayed in the Acadia Cottage behind the main house. It was built in 2000 and my only complaint is that the wall between our bedroom and the neighbors bathroom was too thin. We tried to keep the A/C or tv on when we were in the room so we didn't have to hear too much. But the man next door our first night must have had something his stomach didn't like for dinner because we heard him puking several times. Fortunately they left the next day and we didn't hear much from the next couple. Our room was large, the bed was comfortable, and the bathroom had a very big 2 person jacuzzi tub. Only 4 rooms in the cottage and there was a nice common room and a great big front porch for us to enjoy. The breakfasts were served buffet style and we could eat it wherever we wanted. They have beautiful porches and gardens, so many places to sit and enjoy breakfast. We ate in the garden the first morning and on the front porch of the main house the next 2 so we could watch the people go by. Even saw a woman walking a pug one morning, and I love pugs! Again the location was just perfect, less than 5 minutes to Main St. Parking at the Inn was a little iffy when they had no vacancies, but we got by and managed to back out of the drive without doing any damage!
Ate at Geddys our first night and the food was mediocre as best. My husband had the island special: clam chowder, lobster, and blueberry pie. Chowder tasted like it was from a can, the lobster tasted about like any lobster I guess, we much prefer other types of seafood, and the blueberry pie did not taste homemade. I had the Italian pizza and it was really not good at all. I ate a couple of slices and my husband who will eat anything finished the leftovers off later that night. Our meal at Geddys was our only really disappointing meal the whole trip. The food was edible just not that impressive and like I said, very mediocre. It kind of reminded me of Joe's Crab Shack.
After dinner we drove up Cadillac to watch the sunset. We got there early so we could walk around and explore and take lots of pictures, then we found a rock away from the groups of other sunset watchers and had our own private and quiet view of the sunset. It was so beautiful, a great start to our stay in Bar Harbor.
First full day in Bar Harbor we ate breakfast, walked around Main St. then did a 3 hour sea kayaking tours with Aquaterra Adventures. It was $45 each. They supplied water shoes, a jacket, and all the gear. There were only 6 people in our group. We kayaked from noon-3. My husband loved it, I didn't enjoy it quite so much. We didn't see much wildlife (we saw what might have been a porpoise but not sure) and I was just flat out scared most of the time. My husband was in charge of steering the kayak and I didn't like the feeling of not being in control and having no idea where we were going! The views from the water were pretty and I'm glad we did it in retrospect but I was so glad when it was over. The guide said that in his 10 years only 2 kayaks have ever capsized but even that didn't help me calm down. He was a great guide and we were happy with the experience, I'm just a wimp and spent much more time stressing about what might possibly happen than enjoying what was actually happening.
After getting cleaned up we had an early dinner at Poor Boys Gourmet at the recommendation of our kayak guide (plus he gave us a coupon!) We got there early so we saved money on their early bird special. DH had baked haddock and I had a huge grilled chicken caeser salad. The food came out very fast, we barely had enough time to eat our bread! We sat on the patio and the breeze felt so nice. DH had a lighthouse ale and I had their home brewed root beer. We heard their desserts were fantastic so we had the blueberry pie with shortbread crust. Everything was so so good. With tip our meal was less than $40 and it was just delicious. I would eat there over and over again if I could.
Played mini golf at Pirates Cove down the road. What a great course! Very well maintained and challenging at times. We did both courses and won a free game that we never ended up having time to play but it never expires so we will be back! Best part was the balls float so my husband was able to retrieve my ball from the water features whenever I overshot!
Second full day in Bar Harbor: After another great breakfast we went back to Acadia for some hiking. We hiked South and North Bubbles, probably took less than 2 hours to do both. As our hiking guide said the hike was "strenuous but short with a great pay off". Fantastic views from the top of both. We saw Bubbles Rock and Jordan Pond. After our hike we drove to Jordan Pond House for popovers and lemonade. Afterwards we drove over to Somes Sound to see the fjord. It had clouded up by then and gotten quite foggy so we didn't do any more hiking.
Did a bit more shopping in Bar Harbor (got some nice personalized ornaments at a Christmas store) and had another early dinner at McKays Public House. We had the crab cakes as an appetizer, they were delicious and worth the minor allergic reaction I had! DH had the McKays salad and I had a cheeseburger. Their bread was delicious. Another fantastic meal that did not break the bank since we both ordered off the pub menu. Another place I would definitely visit again and again. Since the restaurant is literally a house the rooms were small and pretty quiet, it had a nice atmosphere.
Camden: About 90 minutes from Bar Harbor if I remember correctly.
Stayed at the Belmont Inn, just a short walk from Main St. The owner, Bruce, was very kind and let us check in early since we got to town early and weren't really sure what to do and where to go. He showed gave us a tour of their beautiful inn and garden, and then gave us tips on what to do while we were there. We knew we wanted to do a schooner ride but he recommended a specific one and gave us maps and tips on other things to do in the area. So glad he did! We took the scenic drive he recommended, past Lily Pond and the funny striped cows. We went out on the rocks off the road near Rockport and got some great views of the water. We went up to Mt. Battie ($3 a person for a day pass I believe) and the views of Camden were just incredible. So incredible we went back that night at sunset again.
We reserved our spot on the Schooner Surprise for a 4:30 tour. Did some shopping in downtown Camden before the tour. It is such a quaint and relaxing town. I'd go back in a second. Captain Jack and his wife Barb led our tour on the Schooner Surprise and it turned out it was only us and one other couple for the tour! It was so nice not to be packed on the boat. They were funny and had lots of info on the area to share as we road out of the harbor and over towards a lighthouse. We even saw some sailboats doing their Thursday evening spinnaker races. It was a very fun trip, only $30 each (they did not take credit cards).
Had dinner at Cappys Chowder House after our schooner ride. Very very good chowder and I loved the biscuits as well. My husband had a salmon sandwich called "Jo's Health Watch" with a salad.
Breakfast at the Belmont Inn was to die for. Probably the best of our entire trip. Honestly we liked every place we stayed/visited but I will venture to say that our one day in Camden was one of the best. I just loved every single thing about it. I felt so relaxed and that community is so friendly. It really feel like everyone knows each other. If you go to Camden please stay at the Belmont. It's off the main road so it's quiet, the owners are just the nicest most helpful people you'll ever meet, and the breakfast and evening snack were so good. Could not have asked for more. I can't wait to go back.
Ogunquit: About a 2 hour drive from Camden.
Again we got in early and it was starting to look stormy plus there was a lot of traffic so we called and were able to check in early. We stayed at the Gazebo Inn. Loved our room, we had an extremely comfortable king size bed plus a newly remodeled bathroom with jacuzzi tub. It was room #5 and had a second door out to the pool area. Scott showed us around and pointed us to all the maps/menus/info about Ogunquit we could ever need to figure out the details of our stay. We spent the first afternoon in our room since it was raining. We ordered pizza from Julie's and they deliver to the Gazebo Inn for free. Very tasty pizza! We watched a movie (they have a huge collection you can choose from) and then went down to the beach when it cleared up. It's about a 10-15 minute walk to the footbridge towards the north end of the beach. We walked down to the other end and grabbed a sandwich and chips from the Village Market to eat back on the beach. We were kind of tired of restaurants at that point.
The next day was our last day of vacation and our only full day in Ogunquit. After a great breakfast we walked to the beach and layed out for a couple of hours (no burn though, we wore spf 50 the whole trip!) The beach got a bit more crowded as the day wore on but just at the two ends, the middle was almost empty. It was a bit cloudy and windy so we got up and walked down the beach and then down the Marginal Way. Very beautiful walk, but at low tide it smelled like rotten eggs! Very gross. We think it was the tide pools. We worked up an appetite from all that walking and had lunch at Oarweeds in Perkins Cove. We got there at a great time and had first pick at seats so we chose and inside table with a great view from our window. I had a really good bacon cheeseburger and my husband had a tasty crab sandwich. It was a bit noisy as more families arrived but overall it was a great dining experience. Under $20 for the two of us to eat.
We spent the afternoon in the pool and hot tub at the Gazebo Inn and then relaxed for awhile until we went to dinner. We walked down the road a bit (less than 5 minutes) and had dinner at Angelina's Italian Restaurant. No reservations were necessary since we got there early but if we had been much later we may have had to wait. The servers were great, but the host/manager was totally hovering over them the whole time. That kind of made me nervous and made me angry on their behalf. He was constantly whistling at them and snapping at them like dogs. He would come over while they were taking orders/answering questions and take over if he didn't think they were doing it up to his standards. I really thought they were doing fine on their own (the tables were close together so we heard pretty much everything going on around us) but he just had to micromanage them all. Okay, *end vent*
The food was really good despite the slight craziness going on with the servers/manager situation. We both had a very good glass of pinot that the waiter recommended for us. The bread was tasty and our entrees were excellent. My husband had a seafood pasta that was a special that evening, and I had the rollantini di pollo, a fantastic chicken breast stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella with mashed potatoes and green beans on the side. Huge dishes so we took home leftovers. We splurged on dessert since we were celebrating our 1 year anniversary that evening. DH had a ricotta cheesecake and I had a chocolate raspberry torte. Both were delicious. Our server had a lot of tables to manage so it took a long time for us to get our dessert and our check and all of that but we didn't mind lingering over dinner. The restaurant was nicely decorated and the accordion player was very good! We would go back for the food but that host/manager whoever he was messed with the vibe of the restaurant with his bossy style.
And that's our trip! It was 9 days total and we enjoyed pretty much every second of it. I can't wait to go back to Maine and revisit some of the same places. On a return trip we would probably cut out Portland and Ogunquit and just do Bar Harbor and Camden, mostly because we felt like we saw and did all we cared to do in Portland and Ogunquit on our first trip. Traffic on our way back was brutal and it took 12 hours to get from Ogunquit to D.C. It was basically backed up from NY through Delaware. Jersey was the worst. I hate that you can't pump your own gas there and all the service areas had terrible food and were so crowded. We were glad to be home but I woke up this morning and definitely found myself missing Maine! Here is a collection of some of our favorite pictures from our trip.