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Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

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Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

What is highway 1 like traffic, condition,scenery & accommdations from Calais, Ellsworth and Bangor. Driving this area the end of July. TY.

Central Maine
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1. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

Toolies -- Final word on pavement conditions will probably have to wait until the last of the winter frost comes out of the ground and everything settles into place for the summer. Last year there were a couple of fairly rough sections (still paved but not all that smooth) between Ellsworth and Calais. But most of the stretch from Ellsworth to Bangor has been rebuilt/repaved within the past five years, so conditions there should be good.

With the exception of a few climbing lanes on hills, you'll be driving on a two-lane highway (one lane in each direction, but no median between them). In some places the shoulders will be fairly wide and paved, In other areas, they'll be narrower and graveled.

Scenery will vary -- on the eastern end (nearest Calais) you'll get glimpses of salt water in the bays and tributaries of far eastern Maine. Then the roadway will turn inland, with more woods and fields along the roadway. And in spots, you'll be traveling beside blueberry fields on one or both sides of the road. Between Ellsworth and Bangor, it's going to be mostly wooded, with some agricultural uses (fields, maybe an apple orchard, etc). You'll also be passing through small villages and the commercial centers of slightly larger towns line Machias. The only spot where you may encouter truly commercial travel is a short section of four-lane business district as you pass through Ellsworth.,,,and as you come into Brewer, just across the river from Bangor.

Traffic between Calais and Ellsworth will be "light" by most standards -- volumes aren't all that large... It's even possible that, depending on the time of day, you may be the only car on the road that you can see at any given time. However, because it is a two-lane highway that also serves as "main street" for the small communities it passes through, you will experience periodic speed limit reductions (which are enforced) and will be subject to slow-downs by any slow-moving trucks/farm equipment/large recreation vehicles which may be heading your direction....not frequent but does happen.

Accommodations in Calais will be more limited than in Ellsworth or Bangor -- just not as many options to choose from. Ellsworth will have more choices, but will also be subject to filling up more quickly in July due to the proximity to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Bangor will have the greatest number of options, but also is a much larger commercial and business center than either of the other two. In July, I'd get my reservations made ahead of time for stays in any of the three....

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2. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

To add to what MOTG has mentioned....we drove last year from Calais to Ellsworth to Bangor along route 1. Like most folks, I think we expected to see those magnificant ocean or water views we all dream about. Didn't happen. Most of the drive was more inland, with little to see except for a lot of trees, and a few small towns. Once you got closer to Bar Harbor things perked up a bit but then you turn inland and head for Bangor.

If you are looking for a wonderful place to stay in Calais, we definitely recommend the Greystone B&B http://www.greystonecalaisme.com/ We stay there every time we pass through and in fact, already have our reservations made for July. Having said that, there is little to see and do in Calais. Restaurants are few and far between, and not much to do in the evenings. If you have your passport with you, you can always cross into St. Stephen New Brunswick and dine at the Bistro on the Boulevard bistroontheboulevardststephen.ca/index.html Very well recommended by the folks at the Greystone B&B.

We generally stay in Bangor at the Country in at the Mall. Not a 4 or 5 star place by any means, but clean, and convenients. Meets all our needs!

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3. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

KC is absolutely correct -- except for intermittent glimpses of bays and inlets, there are very few "ocean views" along Rt 1 from Calais to Ellsworth and on to Bangor. The "typical rocky coast of Maine" tends to be down at the end of peninsulas on local routes and roads, whereas US Rt 1 tends to cut across the inland end of the peninsula instead of following the shoreline down and back.

Depending on your reason(s) for asking about US Rt 1 to begin with, I might also suggest you look at getting from Calais to Bangor via ME Rt 9 instead. It travels through undeveloped (for the most part) Maine woodlands, with a few blueberry barrens thrown in here and there.... Changes in elevation provide some great medium-to-long-range viewscapes out over the forests. Rt 9 is definitely a more direct (both in terms of miles and time) route from Calais to Bangor, and therefore carries much of the through traffic between those points. With that in mind, the Maine Department of Transportation undertook an effort many years ago to improve highway alignments, ease hills and curves, and generally make Rt 9 better. For most of its length, it is now a wide two-lane (one each way) road with generous paved shoulders and numerous climbing/passing lanes on hills and a posted speed limit of 50-55 mph except where it passes through a few small towns/villages along the way. In general, it's a much easier, much more relaxing drive (for the driver) than Rt 1.... and it will save you at least an hour of travel time between Calais and Bangor.

May or may not be a realistic alternative depending upon why you were considering US Rt 1 in the first place -- just wanted to throw it out for your consideration.

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4. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

MOTG & KCNS, Good replies. TY. We prefer a quite more relaxing drive we like small towns not big cities. If you take 191 (Culter) or 187 (Jonesport) do you see the coast line. What are these small areas like. Rt 1 & 9 parall each other we are in no rush to get from point to point. Making a big loop and open to making changes as we go along our return route is a ?. From Bangor may head to Houlton and Edmundston or Skowhegan to Jackman. Our route includes Quebec - Gaspesie - NB - NS - Maine places new to us.

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5. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

Toolies -- there are no big cities in Maine compared to most other states -- Calais has a population of 3,000-4,000; Ellsworth about 7,000; Bangor is fair-sized at 31,000 but still has a small-town feel. Cutler and Jonesport both have populations of less than 2,000 people.

Rts 187 and 191 will give you some looks at the Maine coastline, but definitely not continuous coastal views by any means.... probably more fields and woodlands than water on either route.... Because of the nature of Maine's coastline, and the way coastal regions were settled, there is really nowhere on the Maine coast where you'll find mile-after-mile of coastal views...just doesn't exist here. That said, either loop you mention would make a nice rural-coastal-Maine drive...

After Bangor, Houlton-Edmundston or Skowhegan-Jackman would both give you a look at different sections of inland Maine.

Skowhegan-Jackman route essentially follows the Kennebec River for much of its route, with some interesting river views along the way. North of Skowhegan, the drive gets continuously more forested as you move into parts of the state where growing trees for lumber and paper industries is the major industry. Haven't been up that way in a while, but the last time I went, US 201 was a pretty good road all the way to the border.

Houlton-Edmundston route will take you through forestlands, with some views of potato farmlands as you get closer to Houlton. North of Houlton you'll get some nice views along the St John River Valley. If you go this way, I'd strongly recommend I-95 rather than US Rt 2 -- was up that way a year ago and several stretches of Rt 2 were not in good condition....tough on driver and vehicle. If you go this way, watch for a scenic turnout on I-95 just a ways north of the Medway exit -- worth a stop for a great view of Mt Katahdin, Maine's highest mountain in the middle-distance. Usually is a great photo-op.

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6. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

Your very helpful MOTG....7,000 is big for us :-) TY.

7. Re: Route from Calais to Ellsworth and Bangor

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