The Maine Event
August 10, 2012 10:25 AM   Subscribe

Looking for travel suggestions for Downeast Maine (far northern coast) for our trip this week. Bonus points for any must see short detours to take on our long road trip from Boston Logan to the northern coast and back? We are traveling with 3 year old Mini Murrey.

We are getting out of the oven that is Austin, Texas and staying on Cape Split, Maine near Addison from Sunday through Friday(north of Bar Harbor, south of Machiasport). We can't do any heavy duty hikes and are looking of mellow outings to take with Mini Murrey. Are there any cool towns to explore or lighthouses to see? Great restaurants?

We are also driving two days to and from Boston Logan. We won't be in a big rush so any cool detour recommendations or casual seafood restaurants to hit for lunch would be most welcome!

We are open to just about anything so long as it is not too arduous for Mini Murrey. I am also taking our passports in case a day trip to Canada is warranted!
posted by murrey to Travel & Transportation around Bangor, ME (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I lived there, the lobster pound in Lincolnville was really good; the internets tell me it is still there!

And Maine is lousy with lighthouses, but I still think that the one at Owl's Head is among the niftiest.
posted by rtha at 10:33 AM on August 10, 2012

My favourite ice cream is Big Daddy's in Wells. (I recommend Kahlua brownie or raspberry chip.)

The Marginal Way in Ogunquit (just south of Wells) is a nice, easy walk with fun rocks to climb on that are good for kids. Nice place to get rid of energy.
posted by jeather at 10:50 AM on August 10, 2012

Boothbay Harbor is a nice place for walking around, and has a cute little aquarium with a touch tank (you can pet a friendly shark!) that would be just right for Mini Murrey.

Portland has a really nice Children's museum.

York Beach has a zoo, a playground right on the water, and isn't too far from the pretty lighthouse at Cape Neddick.
posted by mneekadon at 11:07 AM on August 10, 2012

Check out the Nubble Lighthouse in York. Also, if you're hungry, the Stonewall Kitchen has some really delicious (if pricey) stuff.
posted by xingcat at 11:08 AM on August 10, 2012

Ellsworth has a few good restaurants and it's the last good-sized town you'll hit heading towards Addison. Stock up on groceries there if possible. Milbridge has a smaller Hannaford market which is also good and the Four Corners Market will probably be your local market during your stay. Prices and general availability of items are better in Ellsworth.
We've enjoyed the Union River Lobster Pot, Jordan's and Finelli's Pizza, and Pat's Pizza over the years. Never been to Cleonice, but it's supposedly very good. There's a fairly new Irish style pub (can't remeber the name). These are in Ellsworth.
Seafood is widely available and usually good and reasonably priced (but not always!)
It's been several years since I lived in the area and two since my last visit so my info might be out of date. Artisanal bakery in Steuben? Really?
posted by pentagoet at 11:40 AM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, Chester Pike's Galley in Schoodic has great breakfast/brunch! It's across from the veterinary hospital, but no pets were involved in the making of the sausage.
posted by pentagoet at 11:41 AM on August 10, 2012

Boothbay Harbor also has the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens - a great place and has lots of cool kid-friendly activities (eg the Children's Garden, treehouses, and build-your-own "fairy houses" in the woods). Also Boothbay Railway Village if your kiddo likes Thomas the Tank Engine

In Eastport - which may be farther than you want to go - there's Raye's Mustard Mill, where you can tour the oldest traditional mustard-making facillity in the US. It's from the late 19th century and used to serve the thriving fish-packing industry there, but now makes fancy mustards. It's still run by the same family (disclaimer: they are distant relatives of mine); it's a modest but interesting thing. Eastport is beautiful and somewhat run-down, a perfect example of the history of this area - very rich at the turn of the last century, but then the fishing industry collapsed.

Also in downeast, there is awesome blueberry picking. Machias definitely has this.

The towns all the way up the coast are interesting - all the way along Rte 1, there's a charm bracelet of nice little towns with reasonable tourist infrastructure, mini-golf, diners, canoe rentals, etc. Camden is gorgeous; Damariscotta is small and sweet, Wiscasset has the famous Red's Eats lobster sandwich place - you can't miss this because the crowds spill out across the roadway all day long; Brunswick is hopping (Sea Dog brewpub is a perennial favorite); Bath has the amazing ironworks which you'll see from the bridge and a great yard shop (Halcyon) downtown; ...these places are all the midcoast area, which has a good density of stuff - once you get up to downeast, things are a bit thinner on the ground.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:08 PM on August 10, 2012

My sister has lived on Islesboro since the early 1970s -- the ferry docks adjacent to the Linconville Lobster Pound -- so I've got pretty familiar with the Midcoast area over the years.

Travel advice: Stay on I-95 as long as possible. US-1, the coast road, is scenic, but also heavily travelled in season. It's a two-lane that goes right through all the towns and so do all the big rig trucks, monster motor homes, and boats on trailers. Each of these towns has its share of tourists (which you will soon be one of) jaywalking and such. Brunswick is the usual split, but depending on your goals, you can split later.

Seconding LobsterMitten that the crowding thins out significantly after Lincolnville, Belfast, Searsport. . . as US-1 moves away from the coast.

Here are some midcoast Maine links:

Lobster Pound, Lincolnville Beach on US-1.

Cappy's Chowder House, Camden. Lobster rolls. Lobster omelettes for breakfast. Don't be embarassed, you're tourists, go for it.

Camden: Underneath the Peyton Place locations and the touristy veneer, Camden is a real town that has at least one of everything a town should have. But there's also touristy things to do.

Cellardoor Winery, Lincolnville. Wine tasting and more. Try the Clary Hill blueberry wine. For real. Try it.

Climb (by car) Mt. Battie at Camden Hills State Park for a grand view of Penobscot Bay.

Whatever you do, don't miss the Jordan Pond House (inside Acadia)! Tea and popovers. Genteel. The trail around Jordan Pond is nice, but I can't recommend it for folks with a three year old.

Fog: The first time I took Mrs. H up to Acadia, the first day was so foggy the only thing you could see from the top of Cadillac Mountain was Cadillac Mountain. You could hear -- but not see -- the water from the top of the Sand Beach at midday. That is a thick fog. There was a whole busful of Asian tourist for whom that was going to be their only experience of the park, as their bus moved on to the next destination in the morning.

Here's hoping your experience is richer.
posted by Herodios at 1:04 PM on August 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Along with all the other excellent suggestions... if you're going that far North you can visit..

Fort Knox:

Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory:\

Several other roadside attractions:
posted by dknott123 at 5:54 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

The world's largest globe at the Delorme company headquarters in Yarmouth

My daughter really enjoyed seeing this when she was little*, and it's right off the exit. You can also go up the street to the LL Bean mothership and even do archery or kayaking if you like.

Until she got mad when she found out it was not, in fact, filled with those little chocolate globes they sell at the gift shop as I might have mentioned.
posted by mikepop at 7:38 PM on August 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

One interesting thing in the Addison area itself is the Downeast Salmon Federation’s resource center, run by my friend Dwayne. Very nice people, doing good work, in a scenic location. Also sized nicely for a visit with a 3-year-old; you could drop by and see what they're up to.

Most of the lighthouses in that area are offshore, and hard to see, but about 50 miles away is one of Maine’s best, at West Quoddy Head. And if you want to dip into Canada, keep going a few more miles and visit Roosevelt Campobello International Park (just past the Mulholland Point light). Those who warned you about driving U.S. 1 are correct, but that far down east it’s not nearly as bad as it is between, say, Brunswick and Ellsworth.

If you can stay an extra day or two, the biggest yearly event in that area, the Machias Blueberry Festival, takes place next Saturday and Sunday. Fun for all ages, from 1 to 101.

p.s. If you do get to Bar Harbor, and need a place to decompress with the kid, or otherwise escape the crowds, memail me. And yes, what Herodios said, it has been extremely foggy around here the last few days.
posted by LeLiLo at 8:13 PM on August 10, 2012

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