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Where to go.. help!

NY, NY
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Where to go.. help!

My husband and I have about 4 to 5 days in late August, early September. We've always wanted "to do" Maine, and I think this might be just be the time. We'll be driving up from NYC, love, love, love seafood, coast, water, nature, all that good stuff. Any suggestions about where to go would be great, every place looks more interesting than the one before. And I will be about in my second trimester and I'm fairly active, if that helps.

So Maine connoisseur's, please help us.. thank you!!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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1. Re: Where to go.. help!

Everyone has their own opinion on what is the "best" place to visit in Maine. If it were me, I'd head straight to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. It has it all -- lots of publicly-accessible, rugged coast line, good choice of lodging and dining, hiking for all abilities, kayaking, biking, whale watching, and boat tours.

Of course, it is a further three hour drive from the Portland area. Lots of folk go to the beach towns south of Portland: York, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, Old Orchard. But those places are really busy in late August and there isn't as much to do nor is there a national park, with all the hiking and biking.

In the end, you have to make up your own mind.

Southern Maine
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2. Re: Where to go.. help!

"and there isn't as much to do" in those places? That's not accurate. They're popular and busy for a reason. (As is Bar Harbor.)

apples99: You said that "every place looks more interesting than the one before." What places have you looked at and liked? That would help us narrow it down for you. Maine is huge and has a wide variety of all the things you list on your list of likes.

Central Maine
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3. Re: Where to go.. help!

There can be "more to do" in southern Maine or in Bar Harbor/Acadia..... it all depends on what you "like" to do... In my experience as a life-long Mainer, they're two very different places....depends on what you like to do and whether or not you're willing to drive a bit further to get there...

Bear in mind that you'll spend the better part of a day just getting from NYC to Maine (about six hours from NYC to Portland) and most of another day getting home, depending on your exact route....and traffic....

NY, NY
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4. Re: Where to go.. help!

Thank you, everyone. I was looking at Bar Harbor, Boothbay Harbor, Portland and Oguiquit. The few people I spoke to keep pushing towards Bar Harbor.. but then again its 6 hours. I'm sure we can barely scratch the surface with just 4 days.. so my options are limited.

Central Maine
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5. Re: Where to go.. help!

Hard to make a recommendation among the four destinations you list without knowing a bit more about what you hope to do or see while you're here....

Bar Harbor -- fair-sized coastal village with nice walkable downtown that includes shops, restaurants etc..... cruises.... and it's biggest selling point -- access to Acadia National Park for great hiking, sightseeing, Ocean Drivce, carriage trails, etc....

Boothbay Harbor -- also a small-to-fair-sized coastal village with interesting downtown shops and restaurants.... great for boat-watching.... numerous cruises available... great Botanical Gardens nearby.... Ocean Point area offers unbeatable sunsets....

Ogunquit -- great village area but with far more traffic than Boothbay or Bar Harbor because US Rt 1 runs through the middle of downtown.... some cruises.... nice path along the coastal area... closest of the four to real sand beaches (beaches around more northern destinations tend to be more of the tiny pebbles, crushed shells variety). Ogunquit Playhouse attracts nationally-known performers...

Portland -- definitely the most urban of the four destinatios.... Numerous shops/botiques/etc in the restored Old Port District.... Huge "foodie" town that's getting a national reputation for great restaurants.... Not as many cruise opportunities as Bar Harbor or Boothbay, but an interesting chance to get out to a coastal island aboard the Casco Bay Lines ferry fleet.... Portland Head Light lighthouse a short drive away.... .

Hope this helps narrow things down a bit -- but, we really could be of greater help if you could tell us a bit more about what you hope to see or do while youj're here....

Mid Coast Maine...
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6. Re: Where to go.. help!

As an ex-NYer, my suggest for you to go where the crowds are not.....you get enough of that at home. Granted, August is probably the busiest month in Maine, so every place will have an increased population, but I think that Bar Harbor and Ogunquit would be the busiest. If you want to experience Acadia, go to the quiet side of the island. I'd also skip Portland. Although I absolutely love it, it's a city, and you get enough of "city stuff" at home. Instead, get out and spend time in some of the smaller coastal towns and villages. Sit back, relax and just enjoy your beautiful surroundings and enjoy the cooler temperatures (than NYC in August).

Better yet, if you can wait until early September, do. In my opinion that's the very best month to visit as the crowds are gone and the weather is absolutely glorious. Right before and after Labor Day weekend is pretty quiet too.

One option might be to research some of the many festivals that take place in Maine during the season. Somthing may spark your interest and help you in chosing what area to explore.

As far as seafood.....no matter where you end up, you won't be disappointed with the availability and quality.

NY, NY
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7. Re: Where to go.. help!

Mainer, so much detail.. thank you. The do part.. just want relax a little, and do some activities.. I'm just being cautious with the using the word activities because I'll be well into my second trimester during that period, so not sure how much I can handle at that point. So easy to moderate hike, I can do.. and some sailing would be nice. And, eating, course :)

Sailorgirl, do you have any recommendations for the smaller costal towns? I think we would do Acadia, and which side would be considered the quieter side. I'm all for quiet and sanity.. :)

Hudson Valley
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8. Re: Where to go.. help!

On our first trip to Maine (which I was coincidentally close to 7 months pregnant) we visited Baxter State Park, Acadia, and the coastal area north of Acadia. Loved all these areas. For your trip, I would say Acadia or the area north of there. We love Acadia, but it can be really crowded. There is a lot to do there and if you spend more time on the quiet side of the island, you can get away from the crowds a little (or get up early). Tons of great hikes and things to do there.

Outside of Acadia, we hiked the Bold Coast on the Cutler Preserve and thought it was as beautiful as Acadia and we only saw a handful of people all day. We camped at Cobscook Bay, which was beautiful. We visited Lubec and thought the area was wonderful. Very relaxing and peaceful. We sat and watched the boats and seals in the small harbor and had some tasty scallops at a small inn overlooking the water. In this area you can also visit the West Quoddy light house and there are walking trails around there. We didn't have a chance to visit, but you're also not far from Campobello Island, which is supposed to be nice. Although driving to Lubec from NYC will be quite a haul, so might be too far for this trip.

I have pictures posted if you want to see what these areas look like:

http://www.pbase.com/pudgy_groundhog/coast

If you look at a map of Mt. Desert Island the busiest part is Bar Harbor and the eastern side of the mountain. Southwest Harbor, Seal Cove, etc. on the Western side are more quiet. Some of the main attractions in Acadia like Sand Beach, Thunder Hole, Otter Cliffs, Gorham Mtn, the Beehive, Precipice Trail, etc are all really popular and parking is difficult unless you go early in the morning. You can also ride the shuttle bus to visit these areas. Hikes on the other side can be busy, but sometimes not as crowded (Acadia Mtn, Sargent Mtn, etc). It's definitely worthwhile to visit those popular spots - maybe plan a day to do so. Just go early for parking or ride the shuttle bus. I have trips posted from our most recent trip to Acadia last year:

www.pbase.com/pudgy_groundhog/maine2010

btw, we live in POK and it takes us closer to 8 hours to get to Bar Harbor (counting for traffic, stops), so I would plan on longer than 6 hours from NYC.

Whatever you decide, you'll have a wonderful time. I love Maine. :)

Central Maine
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9. Re: Where to go.. help!

Thanks for the clarification -- I'd look closer at:

Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor for smaller, "quieter" towns with good access to Acadia.... or, a ways away but close enough for an Acadia day trip (or two): Blue Hill, Deer Isle/Stonington, Belfast... all would offer some level of activities without being as hectic as Bar Harbor or Boothbay.....

Mid Coast Maine...
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10. Re: Where to go.. help!

Apples, I think the previous 2 posts have given lots of great suggestions. After you do a bit of research, let us know if you have further questions and where you ultimately decide to go.

And, on your way thru the mid-coast area, would you mind dropping off some Chinese food or a pizza for me?