My reasons for always wanting to visit Maine are a bit strange, and in hindsight, not actually very representative – The Perfect Storm (spoiler alert incoming if you haven’t seen it), a good but miserable movie about Mainian/Maininitian?? fisherman who die in a massive hurricane in the Atlantic, and Stephen King horror stories set in Maine. Bit weird, but I was really attracted to the idea of the dramatic Atlantic weather, wave-battered fisherman boats and salty, sea-debris encrusted buoys. And the lobsters. Some of Maine was like that, but a lot of the more touristy towns were much more curated and traditionally pretty than I’d imagined. Kennebunkport in particular was a really quaint tiny town on a small, pretty harbour with tea-shops and perfectly manicured houses and gardens. Plus the weather was amazing; we even got to eat outside by the harbour a few times.
Camden was slightly less touristy. We spent the day there walking around the harbour with the sound of the boats’ clanking fishing ropes, and the evening playing pool in a very local pub. Some of my favourite places were more off-route – like when we went looking for Perry’s lobster shack in Surry near Bar Harbor. The shack sits right on top of Union River bay, which is so protected it looks like an enormous beautiful lake. You eat on picnic tables on a pier in the middle of the water. I even got to talk to a fisherman with bright yellow fishing overalls and a very long beard, which made me happy.
Bar Harbor is famous as it’s the entry-town to Acadia National park. This and White Mountain national forest were top of my list as I’ve always wanted to see the leaf-fall in the East Coast and they are both amazing spots for it. I hope the pictures do it justice.
Sleeping: Whenever I travel to the US I love to stay in motels. My favourite in Maine was the Eden Village motel, which has tiny stand-alone cottages as well as the classic, by-the-road style rooms. It even had a pink, neon motel sign. At White Mountain national forest we stayed at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Vermont, which I came across in my bible – 1,000 places to see before you die. The inn is in a town of about 50 people, and is so quaint that every afternoon they serve tea and cookies by the fireplace in their cosy main room. We also had the best dinner of the trip at their restaurant.
Eating: Any lobster shack! The most famous one we went to was the Clam shack in Kennebunkport. It doesn’t have the best view and is a bit pricier than other ones we went to as it’s recently become really popular, but the lobster roll is amazing. There is a debate over whether rolls are better Maine style – cold with mayo, or New England style – warm with butter (really). The clam shack resolves this intractable dilemma by having both butter and mayo in their signature roll. I didn’t really notice the temperature as it lasted in my mouth about 5 seconds.