Ten days in Maine…

By Caitlin Kelly

Sunrise from our bedroom window
Sunrise from our bedroom window

If you’ve never been to Maine, go!

As the furthest northeastern state in the U.S. with only a few regional airports, it’s probably not high on the list of Europeans or Canadians on their first-ever visit to the U.S. but it’s so well worth it, even with the hours and hours of driving on winding country roads that its coastal geography requires — getting almost anywhere can take 30 to 45 minutes, even if it’s only 10 miles or so.

But such gorgeous landscapes.

We’ve been staying in a tiny town called Brooklin, home to Wooden Boat magazine, to several boat-builders, including the grandson of legendary American writer E.B. White, and to Franklin Roosevelt, the American President’s great grandson.

We were last up here about six years ago, visiting our New York friend who owns a rambling 19th century farmhouse here. I love, and am so grateful for, the privilege of settling into an easy and relaxed week of bare feet, a lit woodstove on a rainy evening, nights of total silence, the cold, clean ocean a quick bike ride away.

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The kind of place I can leave my bike outside unlocked while I get a library card and take out a few thrillers.

We cook and eat and sleep in and read and play gin rummy. We dry our clothes on a long clothesline. We eat dinner on a long screened-in porch (mosquitoes!)

Dinner on the verandah
Dinner on the verandah

Turned out our friend’s next-door neighbor knew my father, visiting from Canada, 30 years ago in small-town Nova Scotia. The world can feel very small!

We’ve also eaten some terrific meals, like very good Mexican food at El El Frijoles, (a Spanish pun on the legendary Maine retailer L.L. Bean), and burgers at Tasha’s a roadside restaurant just past it on Route 15.

Brooklin has a beautiful small library, a general store, a few shops and…that’s it. It’s on the Blue Hill peninsula, a mix — fairly typical of coastal Maine, at least mid-coast — of wealthy second (third and fourth) homeowners from as far south as Virgina and Florida and locals working as lobstermen, clammers and running local businesses.

A bushel of freshly-gathered clams
A bushel of freshly-gathered clams

Blue Hill is a town where you can buy a $300 sweater or $8/pound tomatoes — or just sit and stare at the harbor.

It’s hard not to develop severe house lust here — one enormous, 8-bedroom Victorian home for $239,000 (not cheap but oh this house!) and a pale mauve Customs House on the ocean’s edge for $300,000. Why, remind me, did I choose such a poorly-paid field?

The sky here goes on forever, with views of distant hills, islands and inlets. The closest major city, Portland, is 2.5 hours southwest. The backroads are lined with potters, weavers and artists.

We’ve played golf several times at the local club, founded in 1928; several tee boxes had miniature lighthouses as markers. One misty afternoon we heard a low, moaning sound as we played — a foghorn.

As we were about to turn into the club driveway, we spotted a red fox who gazed back at us.

Seagulls fly overhead, the sun gleaming through their feathers.

Thick yellow-green beds of seaweed line the shore, weathered granite covered with shattered lavender mussel shells dropped from on high.

Rough, boulder-studded fields bristle with blueberries, a Maine specialty — with 44,000 acres of them under cultivation.

I love its timelessness.

Have you been here yet?

A jug of cool water sitting on a table down a nearby road on a hot afternoon
A jug of cool water sitting on a table down a nearby road on a hot afternoon

37 thoughts on “Ten days in Maine…

  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Maine. You’ve made it sound like quite a dream. After living overseas for three years, my husband and I are planning an epic American road trip once our daughter is old enough to appreciate it and this will surely be on our list. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like you had a wonderful time. Hope the rest of your summer is just as pleasant!

    1. It really varies from the southernmost tip (very touristy) to the northeast — not at all. I have only spent time in coastal Maine but there is a lot to see…this might be my 5th or 6th trip, so far. I think you’d really enjoy it. I’d suggest making a week, though, as the driving is slow and there is a lot to see.

      Thanks!

  2. I would certainly like to visit Maine someday. It’s the home of Stephen King, and many fans would like to track down his home and take a picture in front of it. Not to mention a pretty countryside, I’d love to see that.

  3. Perfect timing! I’m heading to Maine in September. I’ll be visiting Acadia National Park. I’m primarily going for the Night Sky Festival, but I’m also planning to do some hiking and kayaking.

  4. Pingback: [BLOG] Some Monday links | A Bit More Detail

    1. You will love it, I’m sure! It’s really a place to sloooooow down. You cannot drive fast and there are so many places to just sit still and enjoy the beauty and silence.

      Do you have an itinerary planned?

      1. We’re going from Asheville to Portland for a few days, then to Bar Harbor/Acadia N.P. with a side trip to Bangor for the obligatory selfie in front of Stephen King’s gate, then a couple days in Gettysburg and back home. I’m really looking forward to it.

      2. Asheville, NC?! That is a VERY long drive (you’re driving?) Portland is so much fun. Great restaurants and bars. Bar Harbor is a madhouse, crammed with tourists, but Acadia is gorgeous indeed.

        Sounds like a great trip. Enjoy!!!

      3. Ok we’re back. Everything was great except the interstate driving ( mostly NH and CT). Watch for a thorough account in my upcoming blog post. There’s a lot to tell.

      1. I hope you liked the post! I follow a couple of blogs written by authors who live/have lived in New England, and Back Road Journal is one of them. The blog author, Karen, kindly gave me permission to use some of her photos in my post.

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