Summer Road Trip to Maine: A Traveler's Diamond in the Rough
Photo- Pixabay The maine coast
The Pine Tree State, Vacationland, whatever you want to call it is New England's diamond in the rough.
Very close to New Hampshire in regards to population, at approximately 1,300,000 people, Maine covers 33,000 square miles. New Hampshire packs all of its people into a scant 9,300 square miles.
For the curious, the biggest geographically is Alaska at more than 656,000 square miles. But you're not really driving out to Alaska this summer.
So what is there to do in Maine? A ton, and a lot of it is outside.
Maine is home to Baxter State Park, Cadillac Mountain, coves and bays galore. There is more land to hike, bike and fish than you could possibly do in a lifetime. Ocean adventure awaits in the form of a windjammer cruise. Towns, townships and features with oddball names like Massachusetts Gore and fantastic history, like the story behind the the largest man-made lake in the state.
But a whole lot of nothing isn’t for everyone, who may want a whole lot of … something. Downeast is where it’s at.
Cruising up the Maine Turnpike, a route relatively close to the coast puts you where the ratio of black flies to people is weighted more toward the people. It gets you within striking distance to the ocean beaches, rocky shore, restaurants and classic summer destinations.
Photo- Pixabay Acadia National Park in Maine
The ferris wheel beckons at Old Orchard Beach. Nubble Light and Marginal Way are quick hits from New Hampshire. The town of Portland alone has as much small-city draw as the north woods. It is a weekend destination with almost no end and it’s less than two hours from Concord.
Been there, done that?
If you’re going to Maine, you’ll have to dress the part. L.L. Bean, the outdoor mecca with roots as deep as Lovell’s champion American chestnut is open 24/7. If you need merino wool socks or a waxed cotton shotgun case at 2 a.m., you want to be able to get them.
While in Freeport, head to the nearby Desert of Maine. Spoiler alert, it’s not really a desert.
Where else can you boast that in the course of one summer you’ve been to Belfast, Belgrade, China, Limerick, Mexico and Norway? If you head to Maine you can. All by car.
Let’s cut to the chase. You want lobster and you want moose.
The Skowhegan Moose Festival runs June 8-10. It is several days of North Country fun, including wild game and craft brew pairings (wild mushroom moose meatballs!) and the International Invitational Moose Calling Contest.
If you still have energy, further into Maine is a hike rich with history. Head out to investigate the site of a cold war-era bomber crash.
In 1963, a B-52 was practicing low-level flying designed to help crews avoid Russian radar. While the plane was maneuvering at a low altitude, part of the plane peeled off, forcing the crew to bail out. But that low altitude made things extra tricky. Several of the crew died in the subsequent crash. The rescue stories are harrowing. Debris remains. Visitors to the site are expected to show respect.
Photo- Best of Portland, Maine/Facebook/Benjamin Williamson Photography
Time to chill out. In style. Pick the one closest to where you finish your Maine road trip adventuring for a little recuperating:
It’s big, bold and right next door. New England’s largest state is calling, and it sounds like a moose.