Maine– We ventured into Maine in late June and spent several weeks crossing the interior over to Bar Harbor and then cruisin’ our way down the coast. Not only did we get to see Stephen King’s home, an impressively large Paul Bunyan statue, many picturesque coastal lighthouses, the larger than life L.L. Bean boot, and Acadia National Park, but we also had the pleasure of spending the 4th of July holiday in Bar Harbor, which has become one of the highlights of our road life experience. So much so, that we featured in a separate piece here. With no shortage of things to see and do, and more than we could possibly cover in a few short weeks, we loved the diverse scenery in Maine, and of course, the lobster! Throughout our time, here are a few things that stood out about Maine along the way:
Maine’s coast is obviously a popular spot, and this became apparent when we scouted for and priced out campgrounds along this portion of Maine. We were unpleasantly surprised at how expensive private campgrounds were along the coast. Many campgrounds commanded a going rate of $65 or more, a night, which we refused to pay. It definitely took some hunting and flexibility in terms of location to find campgrounds with amenities (Wi-Fi, laundry, etc…) that ran under $50 per night. The high cost was a shock to us, as we hadn’t expected Maine to be such an expensive camping destination. We speculated that perhaps this is because campgrounds in Maine do not stay open year-round and have to make up for it by charging a lot more during their short season…?
“Soft shell” lobster
I had heard of “soft shell” crab before, but never “soft shell” lobster. We learned by talking to a lobster fisherman, that “soft shell” lobster was a term that referred to a lobster that was growing into a larger shell. He conveyed that the reason we probably had not heard of it before, was that they cannot ship these lobsters long distances because they don’t normally survive, so unless you live in an area with lobster fishing, you wouldn’t encounter them. What we discovered was how much we loved soft shell lobsters because you don’t need any special tools to crack the shells- hands do the trick! The lobster meat, to us, was sweeter and more tender. The only downside is the lobster has not yet grown into the shell, so there is less meat than you expect. The “size” of these lobsters is not representative of the actual meat inside.
LOTS of mosquitos and warnings of ticks
Mosquitos are everywhere, but they are especially bad in Maine during the summer. Ticks warnings became a frequent occurrence and began to make me feel paranoid about walking about uncovered. Checking for ticks became a nightly routine of “you check my back, and I’ll check yours!” Fortunately, neither of us picked-up any ticks, but after the mosquitos were done with us, we looked like we had the chicken pox.
Maine is the blueberry capital of the country, so blueberry pancakes and pie were a given, but “Whoopie Pie” was an unexpected fascination. Having never heard the term used as a reference to food before, Cay chuckled at this new reference to “whoopie”, and I laughed when trying to explain that this was really a thing. Shops dedicated to whoopie pies were a frequent occurrence and this was a common dessert on most restaurant menus. Who doesn’t love a new iteration of “cookies n cream”?!?
I was beyond ecstatic when I spotted my first porcupine. I have never seen one in the wild before and certainly did not expect to stumble across one grazing in someone’s front yard. I was instantly struck by how large it was, much larger than I would have expected. Unafraid of my presence, I was able to watch it from a distance and had time to grab my camera. A few days later, while hiking in the woods, I came across a sign indicating that porcupines were in the area, confirming that what I had seen was not a fluke, but a native encounter.
Not a “West Coast” drive
When we plotted out our Maine tour, we knew we wanted to finish by doing the coast and admiring as many of the seaside towns and lighthouses along the way as we could. With visions of coasting down a winding seaside highway, with endless vistas and pull over points, we headed for Maine. What we didn’t know was that this type of seamless seaside roadway doesn’t exist in Maine. Having previously driven the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in the West Coast, we ignorantly assumed that there would be an equivalent in the East, especially in Maine, which was famous for its seaside towns and lighthouses. This was our mistake in failing to do more research ahead of time. While there are some coastal roads in various towns, there isn’t anything like the PCH- at least, not yet!