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Portland to BH - stops along the way

Palm Beach FL
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Portland to BH - stops along the way

Hubby has planned for us to fly into Portland at noon Aug 14 and out of Bangor early Aug 17. Flight was booked before realizing driving US1 isn’t a scenic drive through quaint towns. I want to make sure we get to experience Bar Harbor as much as possible and avoid spending the following couple of days leaving BH but since we’ve never been to Maine Hubby feels like we should “see as much as we can.”

Planning to stop at the Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory but beyond that I need some help. Which quaint little towns would we be able to get a little taste – just driving through and/or walking, maybe stopping for ice cream or an early dinner but still getting to our BH b&b at a normal hour.

I want to avoid spending our whole vacation in the car so I need this drive up to pacify his wanderlust. I want to soak a place in and really enjoy it while he wants to hurry through and see as many places as possible.

Central Maine
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for Maine
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1. Re: Portland to BH - stops along the way

I'd suggest a slight twist on your plans (if I understand them correctly). After you land in Portland, I'd get your rental car and head north on I-295 to Harraseeket Lunch and Lobster, literally on the harbor, in South Freeport... an introduction to Maine seafood and Maine waterfront all in one. (You can Google them for menu and driving directions). But after lunch, I'd get "back on the road" and save some time by taking I-295 north to where it joins I-95 in Gardiner; then I-95 north to Exit 113 in Augusta, where you can pick up Rt 3 east to Belfast; Rt 3 joins US RT 1 in Belfast and they run together to Ellsworth, passing the Penobscot Narrows Observatory en route. You'll also get some nice glimpses of Penobscot Bay between Belfast and Searsport. My point is that by the time you get your car, get lunch in Freeport, stop at the Observatory, and get from there to Bar Harbor, iyou'll have used up the afternoon. Do a quick check-in at your accommodations and ask your innkeeper for a dining recommendation in somewhere like Northeast or Southwest Harbor for your small-Maine-town visit. Get to bed fairly early after your day of travel and you'll be ready to start the next day refreshed and ready to see-the-sights.

Or, if you really want to do the Rt 1 drive anyway, you could still have lunch in Freeport, and head up Rt 1 from there, For quick stops along the way, I'd consider places like Bath, Wiscasset, Damariscotta or Camden....on your way with no wasted time driving doan-and-back to peninsula locations. Of those choices, my personal favorite would be Camden, including a brief visit to the Camden Harbor waterfront -- nice little waterfall at the head of the harbor.

Palm Beach FL
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2. Re: Portland to BH - stops along the way

Wow, thanks!!! This is very helpful! :)

New Jersey
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3. Re: Portland to BH - stops along the way

If you enjoy books, be sure to stop at the Big Chicken Barn (which is exactly what it used to be) on Rtes 1/3 between Bucksport and Orland. It's a fun way to spend a few hours. The first floor is all antiques, but we stop for the amazing selection of used books (well over 10K in the inventory). In Ellsworth, Rooster Brothers makes a GREAT cup of coffee you can enjoy while browsing/shopping in the housewares stores upstairs (third floor for great bargains). And as previously noted, Camden is a great stopover: a lovely coastal town with a pretty harbor and beautiful waterfront park, along with a walkable downtown shopping district.

4. Re: Portland to BH - stops along the way

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