One of the goals we had when we started planning our RV lifestyle was to visit Maine, a state which we knew very little about. But this 35,000 square mile state with just over 1 million people and the highest rate of breweries per capita in the US had been on our radar for many years, for reasons I now fully understand. While there are not many people here, they have all mastered the art of hospitality. From the largest city of Portland at 66,000 people to the many small, yet big-hearted towns sprinkled throughout the state and along its rugged coastline, this state was a stranger to no-one. This is just a small part of our story of RV’ing through small town Maine.
There’s a slower pace of life here, not to say that people don’t work hard, Hard work is etched on the many faces of Maine, from the seamen, to the service workers, to the professionals, but they have also learned that hard work earns peace and the ability to offer their hearts to the world.
We saw this time and again RV’ing through Maine, whether we were crossing the street, ordering a drink, cracking open a lobster, hanging out at a campground. Strangers wave and say hi. They take their time to offer advice, give directions, or just lend a hand. People everywhere do this, I know; however, there’s just something about these small town Mainiacs that make it more special in Maine.
We didn’t have a goal once we got there. We didn’t do a lot of research or planning. In fact, we didn’t make one reservation the entire two weeks we were there. Granted, we arrived after Labor Day weekend, but still, everyone was accommodating, patient, kind, and just plain good people.
On Our Way: RV’ing Through Small Town Maine
After hearing so much about Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, it was decided we had to head in that general direction. We were coming from a great day of mountain biking in the White Mountains near Littleton, New Hampshire. After stopping at Schilling Beer Company’s new tasting room, where there was a vast array of great Belgian beers to choose from, we headed east into Maine, making the obligatory stop to capture the “Welcome to Maine” sign.
Thanks to Harvest Hosts, a membership site that offers free stays at farms, breweries, vineyards, all over the US, our first night in Maine was very memorable. We stayed at Boothby’s Orchard and Farm just west of Augusta. This 7th generation farm included a lovely apple orchard and vineyard, and our hosts were wonderful. We got there late, so they left the gate open for us. We parked on very level ground (very important for a comfortable night’s sleep in an RV) right next to the apple orchard. It was such a gorgeous night when we got there, that we took a blanket, some wine, and watched the stars for awhile (you could even see the Milky Way Galaxy, and I found O’rion’s belt – I think) before heading off to bed.
After wandering the orchard, picking apples, talking to the owners for a while and purchasing fresh beef and cheese, we were off to work out (blah) and take a shower (Yay!) at a nearby Planet Fitness in Augusta.
Cleaned and energized, we made our way to Bangor to get a bit closer to our destination, do some laundry (our bathroom was starting to smell like dirty laundry), and most importantly, visit Stephen King’s house. The laundry was laundry, nothing exciting there, and laundromats are really a dime a dozen, but if you are a Stephen King fan and happen to be traveling through Bangor, Maine, it’s worth a stop. You can even find directions on maps by typing in “Stephen King’s house”. While it was big, it wasn’t too ostentatious, but it was definitely his house, surrounded by a black metal fence with bats perched atop the entrance gateway. Apparently, he’s a pretty cool guy and will come out sometimes to say hey and take pictures with his crazed fans. He also has coffee most mornings at a local coffee shop. While we didn’t have coffee with him, it was cool to be a gawking fan, if only for a moment.
Now, cleaned, energized, and with clean clothes, no time for breweries here (our bellies were upset, but our pocketbooks were ecstatic), we headed off to our next home for the night, another Harvest Host and farm, Shalom Orchard Organic Farm and Winery, where again, we arrived late, and our hosts were very accommodating. After an eerie evening of a dark stroll around the farm and time to watch Castle Rock (Stephen King based story of course), we crawled into bed a bit spooked. Perfect for this time of year. The next day dawned bright and beautiful, and before heading out, we spent time with our host, a bit quirky, yet friendly and informative. we tasted their organic local fruit wines. Although a bit dry for our tastes, they have very distinct flavors and unique flavors. We did, however, love their fresh fruit jams, and purchased some mouth-watering, homemade blueberry jam and fresh chicken before heading to Bar Harbor.
Maine is connected by roads, of course, but those roads either have to go over water and make kick-ass bridges, or they have to go around the bays and inlets, and most of them go around. Small town Mainiacs love their narrow coastline roads. They force you to slow down and absorb the beauty. However, when RV’ing through Maine, these roads can be a bit nerve-racking, but they are doable, and well worth every minute of every view of Maine’s idyllic coastline.
Bar Harbor and Acadia RV Adventures
Thanks to some great searching on Ken’s part, we found a kick-ass parking spot just a few blocks from all the action in Bar Harbor, and seeing no signs for no overnight parking, we decided to test our luck and stayed there for two nights. The trick to doing this, is to not make yourself a pain. Don’t pull out all your camping gear, keep the slide outs in, and work in coffee shops, so you are not always in your RV. We met up with some friends, The Tiny Ark, we met on the road earlier in the year, and traveling like we do…no reservations, they parked right next to us. We had a great few days wandering Bar Harbor together.
Being so close to one of the most popular National Parks in the US, Acadia, we had to go for a hike. Wow! What a hike. We choose a short, yet steep one, Beehive Loop Trail. With metal steps, handholds, and narrow passageways with exposed views, this hike is not for the faint of heart. After taking the required summit pictures and enjoying the beauty of the vistas of Acadia and the Atlantic below us (if you visit in the fall, the leaves themselves will be enough to make the hike), we headed down to a secluded mountain lake and then off to the Atlantic Ocean where jellyfish, while mystical to watch, kept everyone on the sand and out of the water.
Maine is famous for its lobster, and lobster rolls are a must have, so we had one. It was good, but even in Maine, lobster is expensive if eaten at a restaurant. We asked a local where he ate when going out, and his response? “At home.” So, we did the same. We went to the local supermarket, Hannaford’s, bought some side dishes (I still don’t like to cook) and then went to the deli and ordered four lobsters from their live lobster tank. They then proceeded to steam our lobsters for us at $5.99 a pound. We packed everything up into our bags, walked down to the harbor and proceeded to have a full lobster dinner with friends on the beach for just under $10 a person! Score!
Beautiful days to be had, but we live in an RV to travel, and two nights in a parking lot, while free, do not offer the best nights’ sleep nor the scenery our eyes so desire in coastal Maine.
Moving On: More RV’ing Through Small Town Maine
With friends in tow, so nice to travel with others, we headed to Milbridge, Maine where we found a quaint city park, McClellan Park, for $10 a night and only about 200 feet from the coastline of forest breaking into the sea from our camping site where we worked, played, ate well, and hung around the fire under the canopy of shaded, cool trees.
The lobster dinner in Bar Harbor was so delectable that we had to do it again. Our camp host, Dennis, recommended a place down the road, which turned out to be the local fisherman’s house. You choose your lobster straight from the sea, they steam it in their house, and viola, a luxury meal better than any luxury meal I have ever had. This combined with great friends and travel mates, great views of the Atlantic and the starry night sky from atop our rocky perch, made for some truly unforgettable evenings.
We bid our friends farewell (they were heading north to Canada), and we headed towards the easternmost city in the US with the easternmost brewery in the US, go figure. It was bittersweet. Goodbyes always are, but the small town Mainiacs were not to be rid of us just yet. So keep your eyes open for more RV’ing through Maine adventures, where we come across a love story for the ages, epic brewery tours that end in a private tour of a distillery and more new friends made to last a lifetime.
Schilling Beer Company – Littleton, NH
Harvest Hosts Stays
- Boothby’s Orchard and Farm – west of Augusta, Maine
- Shalom Orchard Organic Farm and Winery – about 35 minutes from Bar Harbor, Maine
Stephen King’s House – Bangor, Maine (you know you want to see it)
Bar Harbor/Acadia – Maine
- Mt Desert Island Ice Cream on Firefly Lane
- Atlantic Brewing Company
- One Off Pub
- Hannaford Supermarket
- Hiking Acadia