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Northeast Coast to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor

My husband and I are celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary and plan to revisit and upgrade our honeymoon trip through the Northeast coast up to Bar Harbor Maine and Acadia National Park including Martha's Vineyard. We have a Sprinter Van for camping but would also like to stay in a few nice hotels along the way..... enjoying good seafood and exploring the highlights. We are up for hiking and biking as well as some sightseeing and interesting local theater. We welcome hearing your experience and suggestions.
Thank you!

Posted by
885 posts

We thoroughly enjoyed the Captain Swift Inn which is located in Camden, Maine. It is one of our favorite B&Bs, and there are a variety of rooms to choose from for a stay. Everything about it was five star! Camden Hills State Park offers some beautiful hikes. You may also enjoy the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. They may have instituted a reservation system since we were there. The Travelin Lobster outside of Bar Harbor had excellent lobster. It's super casual, and patrons are advised that they close when they run out of seafood that has been caught. (their hours are usually posted on their Facebook page) I absolutely would NOT recommend the Primrose Inn which is in Bar Harbor. Rooms are nothing like they describe on the website, and IMO it was very overpriced for the service, food and room that we experienced.

Posted by
273 posts

Highly recommend The Clam Shack in Kennebunkport for lobster rolls and clam strips. Even tide in Portland, Maine is a perfect nice dinner out. Becky’s for breakfast in Portland is worth the wait.
Absolutely try to catch a play at the old Oqunquit Theater. I saw Sallie Strothers there last fall playing in Tootsie at a fraction of NYC prices.

Posted by
1076 posts

This is our neck of the woods. We live in New Brunswick and travel to New England several times a year.

Bear in mind that Martha's Vineyard is quite a ways from Down East Maine (a full day drive, either going through or around Boston). Martha's Vineyard was, for us, a disappointment as a day trip from Cape Cod. Too much driving around, too little to see. It might be better if you stay there. You didn't mention Boston or Cape Cod. We love both of those, but if those are not on your list, a diversion to Martha's Vineyard doesn't really seem to fit,

The good stuff is in Maine:

I think another poster told you about the Ogunquit Playhouse. It punches way above its weight for the quality of shows. Some Broadway shows even start here as they are workshopping the show.

Kennebunkport is a fantastic stop enroute. You've heard about the Clam Shack, which is famous but underwhelming for us. We prefer Allison's in Kennebunkport for the best clam chowder in the world. Also do the drive out to the Bush Compound; its a beautiful coastal drive even if you don't care about the Bushes.

Freeport is another great stop. LL Bean is one of the coolest stores you'll ever see. Nearby Brunswick has Bowdoin College, a beautiful little college town.

Bar Harbor is fantastic. Do the drive (or bike, if you are up for it) all the way around the National Park.

Posted by
222 posts

When you go to Acadia, try to go to the Schoodic portion of the park. You get there by turning on Route 1 in Ellsworth instead of Route 3 to Mt Desert Island. It’s a beautiful part of the park and usually much less crowded. I take so many pictures when I go because every turn is more scenic than the last. It’s a great day trip from Bar Harbor or anywhere else on the island. You will probably want to bring a picnic lunch because there are fewer eating options in that area although there are a few places after you complete the one way loop.

Posted by
267 posts

Red's Eats and/or Sprague's Lobster in Wiscasset, Maine on Hwy 1. They are on opposite sides of the road. Catch Sprague's going north and Red's returning south. Sprague's is cash only; don't remember about Red's.

Posted by
3263 posts

I'm not sure if you have specific locations along the way you visited on your honeymoon, but it is unclear where you started at that time. So, I will go rogue here. I would start my honeymoon in Newport, RI, then head to the ferry out of New Bedford to Martha's Vineyard (and I must confess I am a Mass. person who has never made it to MV, oddly). Return to the mainland maybe via Falmouth ferry, visit Plymouth, then head up to Cape Ann, to the island part of Gloucester and Rockport. Leave Massachusetts and go to Portsmouth, NH to Strawberry Banke, head up to Kennebunkport, ME with a quick stop in Ogunquit and maybe a look-see of Cape Porpoise. Then, I like Portland, ME and the islands in Casco Bay (maybe take a day trip to one?). Then continue up the coast and stop when you wish. Camden used to be a great place, but it is pure tourist now, unfortunately, but still you might find it fun. Then head up the coast to Mt Desert Island, stopping along the way as you will. So you start in one of my favorite places, Newport, and end in another of my favorite places, Mt Desert Island. LOL. You didn't say how long you had for this trip. There is so much to see along the way, I'm not sure how to add the bits and pieces for you and not write a book. If you decide to stop in any of these places, feel free to ask me questions about what I might know/recommend.

Posted by
1 posts

Use to be able to rent a houseboat from Robinhood Marine Center in Georgetown Maine. I did that once and it was a cool experience with seals swimming around.

I personally think Arcadia is extremely overrated. I have lived in Maine most my life all but a few short lived moves outside of here. Portland has good eats. Cogdons on the way up to Maine is a great breakfast spot. In Portland “The Sinful Kitchen” is great breakfast.

The best of Maine is all the interior. Augusta State museum is really cool. In summer Katahdin is cool hike. Wilson Stream is nice, or rent a camp on any good swimming lake like moosehead lake. My favorite area is White Mountains bordering Maine and NH so both states. Then again I prefer tourist continue to go to lame Arcadia and stay off my trails.

I personally also prefer people stay in hotels. Look we have a devastating housing shortage here that is heart breaking and we really need the airbnbs for families.

Also don’t drive 75 up our routes like 302, 1, and route 2. Many of us live off these routes and it creates unsafe situations for us pulling out of our streets. We have families and tourist are making places like 302 unsafe. I see deadly crashes every year. I worry for my family that is elderly and inexperienced drivers around these tourist corridors.

There is a lot more to Maine than Arcadia. I actually don’t know the hotels too well. I mean I am local so I have friends all over the state. Also they do a good job at Maine Coastal Botanical Garden so that is nice to see.

Have fun and enjoy our state. Just be respectful and if you are good to locals and respectful they will be good to you. Enjoy

Posted by
4159 posts

Certainly , no argument from me about everything already posted - BUT - you don't say where on the New England coast marks the start of your trip . There is a great deal starting roughly east of New Haven CT that warrants time . Mystic CT and its seaport museum is a highlight . just east of Mystic , off RT1 , is Stonington Borough , a small fishing village with a large history . Its one of the prettiest ,such places ion the coast . ( Ive been spending time there for nearly thirty years , and unlike alot of coastal towns , it remains quiet and devoid of tourists . About an hour up the coast from there lies Newport RI and there is a great deal there to consume your time ( do some research before you go , it will save me a lot of typing ) several days there would be a good idea . Before crossing into Maine , just north of Boston lies Massachusetts other , less popular Cape - Cape Ann . Full of historic sites and charm , and arguably the best whole belly fried clams in New England . Stretched out along RT 133 in Essex , Woodman's , Farnham's , and my favorite - Essex Seafood will do wonders for your waistline and cardiac health ( well , you only live once ) A particularly good museum is in Gloucester MA , The Cape Ann Museum , with its wonderful collections of art and local history . From Cape Ann proceeding north to Maine , spend a few hours in Newburyport MA , just before crossing the Merrimack River into New Hampshire before the start of Maine . As was said above , I would skip Martha's Vineyard on this trip . A few websites to look at - https://mysticseaport.org/ ,https://www.onlyinyourstate.com/connecticut/tiny-beach-town-ct/ ,https://www.discovernewport.org/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Ann , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodman%27s_of_Essex , https://www.capeannmuseum.org/

Posted by
4159 posts

An apology , I failed to read more closely , and Wray has brought a number of the spots on Cape Ann previously . Sorry for the repetition ,but Cape Ann has long been a destination for me , another favorite !