Gorgeous corner of the US with stunning landscapes and genuine, warm people who truly have to hibernate through the winter.
We spent a wonderful day in Portland, ME as the city was just starting the shake off the salt dust from the winter. T-shirt weather followed us up from Rhode Island for the first time of the season and as we wandered into stores, we seemed to scare shop owners who had grown accustomed to seeing Santa and the Abominable Snowman rather than two lost southerners. Our first priority was to find some lobster. Much to our chagrin, the lobster season really doesn’t pick up until later in spring and early summer so we were far ahead but still able to find some expensive, high priced lobster rolls and some fresh fish n’ chips. We remembered to take a picture after wolfing down 90% of the meal.
Portland is a really neat water town that has integrated the sea with the city in a way many places cannot. The cobblestone roads lead right down to docks stacked high with lobster traps and the nautical theme saturates the stores and restaurants for an immersive old world, frontier port experience.
We learned about two seasons unique to the area; mud season and bug season. Melting snowpack saturates the ground and air so water just pools waiting for its turn to evaporate. During this season, parking in the grass means that your vehicle may sink a couple inches into the earth overnight. The mud on my truck helped us to fit in a bit better in Maine and Canada and not look like such wide-eyed greenhorns. We saw the first signs of bug season where the black flies and mosquitoes come out in force. Black flies bite chunks from you and breed in fast moving water while mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. During the winter, folks forget that bugs exist but as soon as the weather warms up, much like the residents emerging from hibernation, the bugs bloom and there’s no escape.
We spent a day in Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, Maine. This idyllic island reminded me of a sea version of Yellowstone with little towns and outposts mixed into the expansive park. Beautiful vacation homes pepper the island and add to the grandeur and opulence of the natures scenes. You have it all on this small island with roaring oceans, stone and sand beaches, sharp mountain tops, and land locked glacial lakes. We picked one of the toughest trails in the park which flirts on the edge of requiring a harness and rock climbing rope and the adventure and scenery was the highlight of our trip. Since we were so early in the tourist season, the park was free and largely empty. We ran into a few folks on the trail but most were locals taking advantage of the early warm weather to fry their pasty skin. At the top of the mountain, we were reminded that Maine has in fact legalized weed as a band of college kids enjoyed the view from within a cloud of smoke. The group made their descent with only one stumble and scraped knee. After the hike, we hit up the other major sites of the parks and had some epic picnics on mountain tops and in secluded harbors.
We rounded out our day with a southern-style cookout with the family friends we were staying with and their neighbors to celebrate the arrival of spring. Couldn’t have asked for better weather, food, or people! Maine is definitely a place to vacation to when you have a chance and need some.
My wife and I quit our jobs, sold our belongings and are hitting the road for nearly 2 years. We're blogging about our adventures, lessons learned, ideas, and recommendations. Take a gander at the content, leave a comment, or reach out to us to meet up on the road!