The Maine fantasy I concocted began forming years ago, and like most of my fantasies, I have absolutely no idea from whence it sprung or why. But here you go:
I’m old and retired and happy. I live in a grey-shingled cottage on a craggy stretch of coastline in Maine. I’m sitting on my enormous porch overlooking crashing waves below — sitting, I should say, in an Adirondack chair. My porch also has a killer speaker system, and I’m listening to Wilco rock out (Summerteeth) as I sip a glass of wine (sauv blanc, I think). There’s a wool blanket to keep me warm as the sun sets over the sea. Life, in this fantasy, is good.
So, yeah, I had some expectations about Maine before I darted north up the coast.
My weeklong trip was to fulfill some bucket list travel dreams, eat a lotta lobstah rolls, and to attend the Kennebunkport Food and Wine Festival, writing about all of it.
As my week unfolded I experienced a scrolling list of amazing things: Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Portland’s dining scene, lobster boat trips, lobster rolls galore, that damn craggy coast I love so much, sun twinkling off bays and harbors.
Throughout my trip I met countless amazing locals, and I babbled incoherently to most of them about my Adirondack-fueled fantasy.
“Is it living up to your expectations?” I was asked repeatedly. Yes. Yes, it abso-freaking-lutely was.
As each day passed I fell deeper and deeper in love. There’s an admittedly cheesey slogan up there, “Maine. The way life should be.” And guess what?
This girl’s buying it.
Let the highlight reel commence with Part 1: Bar Harbor
Acadia National Park
If you can see Acadia with a guide, it’s highly recommended. The park is one of the prettiest on the East Coast and must-do activities include visiting the top of Cadillac Mountain and ogling the jawdropping views, hiking around Jordan Pond and snarfing the legendary popovers at the Jordan Pond House.
Downtown Bar Harbor
It was love at first sight. Bar Harbor, on a blindingly sunny, 70-degree summer day is just…the best. Windowshop in the quaint town center, chillax by the waterfront, grab cocktails at the Balance Rock Inn, eat farm-to-table goodness at Mache Bistro, and stay at the West Street Hotel because a) it’s gorgeous and b) you’ve just gotta swim in the rooftop infinity pool.
Make Like a Photog at the Bass Head Harbor Lighthouse
I have seen this image more times than I can count. I have written about Acadia and Maine repeatedly over the years for various outlets, and this — THIS — is always the image that pops up when sourcing photos of the park and coastline. I have longed to see this in person, to take my own damn picture. And guess what? I DID.
But wait! There’s more! Stay tuned for a closer look at Portland and the deliciously divine Kennebunkport Food & Wine Festival next week.