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Four Days - 1st Week of October?

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Four Days - 1st Week of October?

I apologize ahead of time for the broad question! My husband and I just spontaneously bought tickets to Manchester for a 4-day weekend (Oct 4-7) this fall, and now I'm feeling a little stressed because I'm not even sure where to start! We've always talked about visiting Maine, but are not very familiar with the areas. I'd love to take the time to really research things, but I'm afraid that we've picked a popular time of year and places are going to book quickly (if they aren't already booked). Any rough intinerary suggestions would be VERY MUCH appreciated! Our only *must sees* would be a coastal drive, and anything that can only be seen in Maine. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with us!

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1. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

I guess I should offer a little more information on things that we would enjoy to help narrow things down a little! We're not into very touristy areas, and would prefer to see the quiet, beautiful places that the locals most appreciate. We love water views of any kind, and would probably prefer something like an upscale lodge with fantastic views over a quaint B&B. We'll also have our toddler with us, so I realize that we might be limited in some of our choices. I was thinking that we could perhaps drive up the coast as far as Camden or so - but, for the trip back to Manchester, would you suggest driving inland or sticking to the sights of the coast again? I really do appreciate your help - this site is such an invaluable tool for travelers!

Maine
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2. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

Hi ChesapeakeBee,

First, you're in for a real treat visiting Maine in early October as I think September and October are the most beautiful time of year.

Since you only have a 4 day weekend and part of it will be spent driving to Manchester NH's airport, I think it would be a good idea to stay at either just one or two places and explore from there.

I'll try to describe the different areas of Maine and then you can take it from there.

The southern coast has most of the sandy beaches and is more developed than the rest of the coast, though very pretty. If driving from NH you could get on route 1 and 1A which run along the coast. York Harbor is a very pretty upscale coastal town with lovely old antique homes, winding roads, beaches and the Cliff Walk. The Nubble Light is just north of York Harbor and well worth the short, scenic drive.

Next comes the Ogunquit area, a lovely small beach town with gorgeous beach, lots of restaurants, galleries, shops, and the Marginal Way (similar to the Cliff Walk in York).

Kennebunkport is the next resort town and worth a breeze through.

From Kennebunkport you can drive to the Old Port in the city of Portland. This is Maine's 'hip' little city with a salty, maritime flavor, lots of bars, cafe's, shops, galleries, restaurants and the wonderful Portland Museum of Fine Art. From here you could take one of the mailboats on a cruise of Casco Bay where you'll see more of the rocky coast. Also, not to be missed is Portland Headlight in Cape Elizabeth, just south of the city.

From Portland, Freeport, home to LL Beans is the next bustling town. Lots of designer discount stores, restaurants, etc all located in a village like setting and in antique homes. Downtown Freeport is very walkable, so park your car and stroll.

North of Freeport, down two separate peninsula's are the lovely beaches of Popham and Reid State Park, well worth the 20 minute drive off of route 1 near Brunswick and Bath. Here is where you start to see what some might consider 'the real Maine' without the zillions of shops, restaurants, etc. There are places to dine in either area but its limited and rustic for the most part. Both beaches are beautiful and even the drives down to them are too. This is where you'll see lots of evergreens, rocky coast, islands, pretty little coves and harbors, lobster shacks and rustic Maine.

Wiscasset and the Boothbay Harbor peninsula are next. Lots to see and explore here. Of course I'm biased since this is where I live. There's all the Boothbay Region Land Trust trails (many of which lead to beautiful views of the ocean, rivers, coves, rocky little beaches, etc), the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, tons of tourboats that will take you on trips anywhere from a short inner harbor cruise, to Monhegan Island, Pemaquid Light and Bath IronWorks. Add beautiful scenery out at Ocean Pt or Southport Island, a zillion art galleries, shops and restaurants and you could spend weeks (even months as there are a huge amount of summer visitors who have cottages here and stay all summer).

Further north and downeast along route 1 are the towns of Damariscotta, Pemaquid Light (which is down a peninsula off of route 1 and not to be missed), Rockland, Rockport and Camden (very pretty!). Within the Rockland/Camden area are lovely drives down the St. George peninsula to Tenant's Harbor, Port Clyde, Owls Head and Marshall Pt. Lighthouse.

In the towns of Rockland and Camden, there is plenty to do and see. In Rockland there's the Farnsworth Art Museum, home to permanant Wyeth exhibits and Maine related art. The Strand Theatre which hosts movies, lectures, opera, plays, etc. There's also the Lighthouse Museum, Rockland Light (which you can walk out to on an almost mile long very safe and wide jetty), and many great shops and restaurants. Rockland is quickly turning into a mecca for artists, musicians, etc.

Camden is picture postcard pretty with the mountains meeting the sea. You can drive or hike up to the top of Mt. Battie and enjoy breathtaking views of Penobscot Bay, islands, open ocean to the east and mountains, farms and lakes to the west and of course small towns w/lots of church steeples, etc. Downtown Camden has many upscale shops, restaurants, etc.

I won't take you any further downeast since that would be alot of driving and almost not 'doable' w/just 4 days, unless you drove straight there on route 95 (Maine Turnpike) and didn't visit other towns along the coast.

Check out the various sites for more info:

www.visitmaine.com

www.therealmaine.com

www.camdenme.org

www.boothbayharbor.com

www.bbrlt.org

mainegardens.org

www.ogunquit.org

www.yorkme.org

One more suggestion. See if you can borrow or purchase a copy of Christina Tree's "Maine: An Explorer's Guide". This is my favorite travel guide for Maine and its never steered me wrong as far as recommendations on what to see and do, restaurants, and accomodations.

Good luck planning your trip and let us know what you decide to do and then report back!

cozyharbor

P.S. The drive from York to Camden on route 1 would take you roughly about 3 hours or so if you didn't make any stops.

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3. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

Thanks so much for that detailed starting point! I've been looking into things all day, and I have one question: If this is possibly our only visit to Maine, do you think we'll regret not visiting Acadia? We really love gorgeous scenery...will we see similar sites along the way, or are the Acadia views like none other? Thanks!

Maine
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4. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

ChesapeakeBee,

Geez, I don't know what to tell you re: Acadia. Its beautiful there. No doubt about it. But so is the rest of the coast. Consequently it all really depends on what you're into. I would think if you're heavy into hiking and kayaking, then Acadia would be the way to go as there's plenty of that to last you a lifetime.

If you haven't already, check all the websites I mentioned, read all the different posts on the Maine forum by various people and get a copy of the guidebook I recommended and any others that appeal to you. That may help you decide.

However, if you do decide to spend the entire time in Acadia Nat'l Park, make sure you get to the Schoodic Peninsula. And just don't drive the 'loop'... visit the nearby towns and villages. I think the Schoodic peninsula is one of the most beautiful and breathtaking places in Maine and really epitomizes the rocky coast, crashing waves and tall evergreen scenery you read and hear about.

Good luck with wherever you decide to go :).

cozyharbor

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5. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

Cozyharbor - thanks so much for the detail. We are also planning on visiting Maine the last week of Sept/Oct. The town of Camden sounds like a place I would love to see. I have to check out the websites you recommend - but wondered if you knew if there was anyplace we could take a cooking class? We are going on our honeymoon that week and I have it in my head I want to take a cooking class along the way. We plan on stopping in Maine on our way to and from Nova Scotia. If you know of any place that gives cooking classes I would love that information. thanks!

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6. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

My husband was so into all of the Maine info that I've been compiling, that he decided to take off work for a week to stretch our trip a little longer! I'm so excited about this - now we'll definitely try to include Acadia in our plans.

Another question for anyone out there: Are there any good concentrated areas to visit orchards/farms/wineries?

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7. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

Mamalou 3190,

How strange - I just read your question about cooking classes about 10 minutes ago, then I moved onto another response I received about an inn to check out. While I was looking at that inn's website, I noticed that they do cooking classes! Check www.lucerneinn.com, and look under the "Dining" tab. Sounds like fun!

Maine
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8. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

Hi Again CB,

Regarding your question about cooking classes: if you check w/the local Chamber sites I gave or call their number's they might be able to steer you in the right direction.

If you decide to stay in the Camden area, I'd highly recommend the Youngtown Inn, 5 minutes from downtown Camden though it feels a million miles away. It sits on a beautiful piece of land, is only a few minutes from a local winery, has an excellent restaurant and is chef owned and operated. Check out their site www.youngtowninn.com.

If you decide to stay in the Acadia/Bar Harbor area I'd recommend the Bar Harbor Inn. Though it is located in downtown Bar Harbor, the property is very nice, on the water and so well landscaped that you feel like you're away from the hustle and bustle. They also have a great restaurant. Google their website for more info.

Hopefully, the Bar Harbor/Acadia Nat'l Park expert will pop in and help guide you if you decide to spend some time there.

I listed the above accomodations since I assume that if you're interested in cooking classes, you like great food and nice dining options and both of these places offer just that :).

Good luck.

cozyharbor

9. Re: Four Days - 1st Week of October?

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