So I have always had this mental list of things that I want to do and experience, and places that I want to go. Some of the things are big, some of them small, and some are just downright strange. I want to learn to box, I want to successfully make a batch of macaroons, I want to order a pizza and eat it under the stars while camping in Zion National Park… and on and on. Maine has always been on my list. Don’t ask me why, because there is no rhyme or reason what my little heart gravitates towards. It’s just always been there, sitting in the back of my mental list, waiting to be pulled out of the magic hat and put into action.
Kristen is my roommate from college. We met through a mutual friend, then bonded in a ridiculously boring religious theory class where we both had practically to glue our eyelids open to stay awake. Three years later… we graduated and went our separate ways, but we never really separated. You will find in life that true friends never really do.
Kristen and I had been planning a trip for awhile. We were actually mentally planning on going somewhere outside of the country, but we had to go to plan B when I found out that the free reward passes I had earned through work had to be booked a full month in advance. I can barely plan my life 30 minutes in advance, much less a month. It’s not always fun when your plans change last minute. But sometimes plan B can be just as good as plan A, if not better. And I am so used to rolling with plan B nowadays. I mean, who actually ever makes plan A work? If you are out there I want to meet you and shake your hand. You are the real MVP. In our case: plan B was Maine. Neither one of us knew too much about the northernmost state in New England, but we booked our tickets anyways and flew out the next day.
We landed in Portland, ME on Monday. We picked up our rental car, which was the best little Subaru hatchback ever. How many of you get little butterflies in your stomach when you see those cheesy Subaru commercials? Literally I die a little every time. I am pretty sure that our thick Kentucky accents were the key to our car rental upgrade. The rental car man said, “Yeah, I am going to upgrade you all, because you need to look like true Mainers,” then he handed us the key to a brand new Subaru Impreza, just off the lot. I am now totally sold on the whole, “love is out there, find it in a Subaru,” concept now, because I fell solidly in love with Maine driving around in that little car.
We started off in downtown our trip in downtown Portland the right way, with lobster. Maine is all about that lobster. About 90% of the USA’s lobster supply is caught off the coast of Maine. So basically, if you visit Maine without getting lobster do you even Maine??
There are many MANY things to do in Portland, Maine but we were only there for one day so we just hit the highlights. We drove to South Portland and went to the Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park. This is a must because it’s FREE, and you get to see amazing views of Maine’s rocky coastline, and one of the many stunning lighthouses that dots along it.
The next thing we did was drive to Orchard Beach. Maine has many beaches, and the weather is perfect in the Summer. It was a breezy, 68 to 70 degrees for our entire trip, but you should not swim in the water. I repeat. You SHOULD NOT SWIM in the water in Maine. Otherwise you are going to start quoting Titanic, “I’ll never let go Jack,” because you will freeze. There is only one nut head in the water in the photo below. Believe me there is a reason nobody else is in there.
The next day we piled into our Subaru and took Route 1, Maine’s scenic coastal route to our second and final destination of the trip, Bar Harbor. The drive to Bar Harbor on the coastal route is a little over three hours, but I guarantee it will take longer because there are so many cool towns along the way to stop in. We were told by our best friend the car rental guy that we needed to stop in Freeport and go to the LL Bean headquarters.
We did, and Freeport is awesome. It’s only about 30 minutes outside of Portland and was 100% just as cool and eclectic . There are a ton of unique restaurants and shops, and you can take nature outings at the LL Bean Headquarters. We ended up leaving after we did a little shopping and continued our drive up the coast. About two hours into our drive we were starving. I had pretty much made up in my mind that I didn’t care what restaurant we passed, the first one we passed we WOULD be stopping for lunch. The first restaurant that we ended up passing was in Belfast, ME. I thought said Hell Cat, which didn’t sound promising AT ALL, but at that point neither one of us cared because we were about to start munching on the rental car seats. I made a quick U turn and we pulled in. Upon closer examination it was actually called The Bell Cat, and it was hands down the best food I may have ever eaten. We actually drove out of the way on the way back just to eat there for breakfast. I am not sure I will ever be able to eat pancakes again without remembering The Bell Cat. It was heavenly. I may actually fly back sometime just to eat there it was THAT good.
The last few days of our trip we spent in Bar Harbor, Maine, a little town in the midst of Acadia National Park. Everything in and around Bar Harbor looks like it should be in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. There are flowers on every doorstep, ice cream shops on every corner, and everywhere you look there is something beautiful. I felt like I was in a never ending episode of the Gilmore Girls it was so quaint.
If you are in Bar Harbor, Maine you have to go to Acadia National Park. Hands down. It is one of the smallest national parks in the US, but I would bet one of the most scenic. You can drive through the park yourself for about 30 dollars a car, or you can take a guided tour from one of the tour companies in downtown Bar Harbor. Kristen and I ended up taking a bus tour, mainly because we were unsure of where to drive and wanted to get familiar with the park before we dove right in. The tours usually hit the biggest attractions, and you can avoid having to find parking which can be a real hassle in the park in the Summer.
You could easily spend an entire week exploring Acadia. Kristen and I only really got to spend one day there, but it was pretty much my favorite part of the trip. It’s pretty easy to love a place where you can get homemade ice cream 24/7 and see drop dead gorgeous views around every turn.
The very last day of our trip, we were just about ready to head back to our hotel, when Kristen told me we should try to go find this pond in Acadia. I had been talking about going to Jordan Pond all week, but it was starting to get late and I thought maybe we would start heading back instead. We decided to try to find it so I put the address into my GPS and we were off for one last adventure. We found the pond right as the sun was setting and it may be one of the coolest things I have seen. The photos don’t even do it a little bit of justice. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, the air smelled like pine trees and crisp apples, and the sky was filled with all the shades of oranges and pinks a girl could wish for. It was the perfect ending to a really fabulous trip.
I hope you enjoyed the photos! And I hope you start checking off your own mental bucket lists this week! P.S: If you ever want to have pizza under the stars in Zion National Park you know who to call;)