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Planning a Trip to Maine

Dundee, Michigan
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Planning a Trip to Maine

We live in Michigan and have been talking about possibly visiting Maine next year by way of Vermont and New Hampshire. I have no idea what places would be good places to see in Maine, or what there is to do there, and I don't know anyone who has ever been there. Where do I begin planning this trip? We would like to go when the weather is the most temperate, but if Maine is anything like Michigan, then the prices are highest during the peak summer season when the weather is warmest. We enjoy history, and are not into partying in clubs or the theater, we just like to visit a place and see the highlights, learn some of the local history, hit the favorite restaurants, and relax. Shopping is okay, but not something that we really consider recreational.

Any suggestions? As I said, we don't even know where to begin. What ciites/villages are most popular with tourists? I imagine that places like Bar Harbor are probably prohibitively expensive. We are not wealthy travelers, and often buy our hotel rooms on Hotwire or Priceline so that we can get 3 or 4 star accommodations on a budget.

Thanks in advance. : )

Tokyo, Japan
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1. Re: Planning a Trip to Maine

Bar Harbor can be expensive in season (after Memorial day through Labor day), but Maine can be beautiful along the coast in the summer season. You could also stay near Bar Harbor in Ellsworth for example. Coming up the coast from Belfast is nice if you can afford the time.

Peaks-Kenny park in Dover-Foxcroft is a nice place to camp or just pop by to swim or canoe and enjoy the mountains in the distance from the water. You could possibly stop by there on your way from/to New Hampshire.

New Hampshire and Vermont also have some nice scenic towns to drive through on your way, Waterbury and Stowe are my favorites in Vermont, though I also like the mountains near Bennington.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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2. Re: Planning a Trip to Maine

Bar Harbor is by no means prohibitively expensive. It is not some luxury spa town. Bar Harbor is simply the gateway to Acadia National Park, providing tourist amenities to the families of all income levels who come here to hike, bike, kayak, and just take in the quiet beauty of the mountains and ocean.

It is possible, for example, to book a guest room in a bed and breakfast, right in the village of Bar Harbor, within walking distance to everything, including a full breakfast each morning and cookies and tea in the afternoon, for about $120. Look around at www.sleepbarharbor.com for a wide choice of Bed and Breakfasts.

You can book a motel room in an older, clean, conveniently-located motel, like the Edenbrook, for around a $100 in July and August and $75 in September or early October, which is a lovely time to visit Acadia.

The two areas of Maine that are most popular with tourists are the beach towns, south of Portland, like York, Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, and Old Orchard Beach and then the Acadia region.

From what you say you enjoy I think you would like Acadia and also north and east from here along the Downeast Coast, visiting towns like Machias, Lubec, Eastport, and Campobello Island, which is in Canada across a very short bridge from Lubec, Maine. The Roosevelt home there is open to tour.

As for weather, September is still a beautiful time of year to vacation in Maine. It is a bit warmer here at that time of year than in Michigan because the ocean waters keep the area warmer. Days are usually in the 70s and the nights can dip down into the 50s.

Dundee, Michigan
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3. Re: Planning a Trip to Maine

Thanks to both of you for your helpful replies!

I guess I was under the impression that Bar Harbor is a playground for the rich, sort of like Martha's Vineyard. Shows I need to do my homework, lol.

The best time for our family to vacation is usually in late May/early June. Aside from Memorial Day, which I'm sure is probably very busy, how is the weather in Maine during that time? It's okay if it's a bit cooler, say in the low 60s during the day. We are used to vacationing in the South and wouldn't necessarily mind a cooler, long pants type of vacation for a change.

I'm going to definitely look into the Acadia region. We love to hike and enjoy national parks.

Thanks again!

Edited: 15 July 2012, 21:26
Bar Harbor, Maine
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4. Re: Planning a Trip to Maine

Well, that's another odd, not-well-known thing about vacationing in Maine: June is pretty dead up here. The traditional tourist season doesn't really start until July 4th. The difference this year between June 30th and July 5th was stunning. There seemed to be twice as many people out and about on July 5th as there had been just a week earlier.

That can make June a good time to travel here. It definitely isn't all that cold -- highs in the 60s very definitely, although the lows can dip down into the 40s. That same ocean that keeps us warmer than Michigan (I grew up in Wisconsin) in October, makes it cooler in June. Spring seems to come to Maine about three weeks later than it comes to the Upper Midwest. Our lilacs bloom in mid-June rather than in May.

Atlhough the temperatures are great for hiking and only the early mornings require a jacket, it does tend to be our rainy season. And we do have black flies. But rain, of course, is a real hit and miss thing from year to year and week to week. And the black flies tend to stick near clean, running water, and get blown away and discouraged by ocean breezes. If you pick your hikes, you don't need to be bothered by black flies.

There was a time that Bar Harbor was a playground for the rich. But that was 100 years ago. The wealthy still have summer homes on the island. But they now have to share it with the rest of us!

Edited: 15 July 2012, 22:36
5. Re: Planning a Trip to Maine

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