Friday, April 14, 2017

US 1: Coastal Maine

Welcome to the fifth and final post of our US 1 series!  We're covering the roughly 300 mile stretch along the coast of Maine today.

For me, the drive through coastal Maine was one of the highlights of US 1.  It was our first time visiting the state, and it just seemed so charming - that being said, I have no desire to visit the place in the middle of February.  A few cold days in May were enough for us!

Drivers on US 1 cross Memorial Bridge over the Piscataqua River to enter Kittery, Maine from New Hampshire.

Kennebunk & Kennebunkport

From Kennebunk, a 5-mile detour down Maine Hwy. 35 to Goochs Beach in Kennebunkport reveals a shocking number of surfers out on a blustery afternoon.  

I bundled up in flannel and a vest for our first cold May Maine day.

I know they're wearing wet suits, but this was just crazy to us.

Not everyone was crazy enough to be in the water.  
This father, child, and two huge dogs stayed on dry land.

Back in Kennebunk, drive through the streets off the main road to find cute little houses like these.

I'm not sure about the purple front door, but the matching Little Free Library caught my eye.

Interesting fact:  This version of the colonial American flag is nicknamed the Cowpens flag 
after for a major Revolutionary War battle that took place not far from where we grew up!

If you arrive in Portland at mealtime, you're in luck.  There are a ton of options in the downtown area.  We were in between meals so took ourselves on a quick car tour through town before heading out to Portland Head Light, which is technically located in Cape Elizabeth.  The self-guided tour through the museum (which is contained within the old keepers' quarters) informs visitors about the history of the city of Portland, the history of the method of using whale oil in lighthouses prior to the introduction of electricity, and the Fresnel lens that ultimately replaced whale oil. 

I braved the wind and rain - and lots of puddles - to find this view of the lighthouse.

A ship crashed into this rock on Christmas Eve in 1886.

Listen to the roar of the ocean and see the light in action.

The town of Freeport is pretty much a quaint outlet mall.  At first glance, it seems to be a town full of historic buildings, but a closer look reveals the presence of chain shops and clothing retailers housed within those historic buildings.

Abercrombie and Fitch used to be the library

I'm kind of regretting that we didn't go inside this McDonald's just to see what it looked like.

I was so excited to taste a Whoopie pie, but after trying a variety of flavors at a few different shops, 
I was disappointed to find out they didn't taste quite like I expected.

The behemoth L.L. Bean flagship store stands out like a sore thumb among the small historic buildings of Freeport.  

We stopped for a look around the store before leaving town.  I bought a warm sweater to add to the too-few cold-weather clothes I had packed.

I was pretty fascinated by the half dome protruding into the aquarium 
allowing store visitors to 'go inside' and visit with the fishes. 
Warning:  it's pretty hard for even a small adult to squeeze through the opening.


From Virginia to Maine, we traveled for two weeks through gross weather, hoping the sun would reappear one day.  We were finally rewarded when blue skies broke through the clouds and a double rainbow appeared at the Rockland Breakwater Light.  

This is a longer walk than it looks.  The 'walk' is more of a cautious hop from rock to rock.

We made it about halfway out the breakwater in the rain before turning back.  A few minutes later, blue skies began to shine and we realized that a rainbow was forming behind us.

We followed the rainbow toward our next stop.

Bar Harbor
The tiny town of Bar Harbor is located on Mount Desert Island, which is also home to Acadia National Park.

We drove through town straight to the Park, which could fill a post of its own, but I'll let the pictures do the talking:

The innkeeper told us the formation on the shore of Jordan Pond is called 'the bubbles'

The bubbles again!

I'm smiling, but it was SO COLD and very windy on top of Cadillac Mountain.  
Notice the layers!

Looking back toward Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain

A closer look at town
You can't leave Maine without having lobster, so we chose Geddy's for our meal here.

Nick enjoyed his lobster meal, and we devoured the blueberry pie that came with it in no time.  Geddy's made the cut when we chose our favorite restaurants in America.

I'm not a big fan of shellfish, so I kept my head down while he ate.  I made quick work of coloring the placemat and enjoyed a juicy burger - surprising for a seafood place! 


The Easternmost lighthouse in the US is located in Lubec, Maine, the Easternmost town in the US.   

West Quoddy Head Light hadn't opened to visitors for the season yet when we passed through, so we walked around and enjoyed the view for a few minutes before moving on.

My favorite light house.  I love the red and white stripes.   

I mentioned last week that Calais is pronounced like 'callus' by the locals - a fact that quite surprised me.  We parted ways with US 1 here after driving toward the border as far as we could before turning around.

This mural that welcomes visitors entering from Canada was among the last things we saw on US 1. 

We headed West on Maine Hwy. 9 toward Bangor instead of continuing North to Fort Kent and the end of US 1.

Our journey on US 1 began nearly seven years ago on our first road trip together, and we still have to travel the final 200 miles of it between Calais and Fort Kent, ME along the Canadian border before we can say we've traveled the entire highway.  Hopefully there will be a sixth post about that stretch of road one day!  

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  1. I just love Maine and would love to explore it more. Kennebunkport was one of my favorite areas, it is just so charming! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    1. We never got out in Kennebunkport, but it looked like a great town to spend a few days in. Maybe one day, we'll go back! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. This has to be one of the most beautiful coastal routes in the United States. It has a lot of the things I like: a National Park, cute towns, lighthouses and good food. What a place! Would like to visit one day. #TheWeeklyPostcard

    1. It really does check all the boxes! It's a really unique coast, too. So different from the others we've visited.

  3. Maine looks soooo adorable! Now I can see why my husband wants to do a trip there one day!! Loving that adorable house with the purple door and matching book mailbox! So cute! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard! (

    1. It's not a bad place to spend a few days, that's for sure!!

  4. Gorgeous! What a great road trip you were on. Thanks for linking up this week! #wkendtravelinspiration

  5. Looks cold! I interviewed in Freeport once in the was pretty bleak, but Maine in the summer is so much fun!

    1. I believe it!! We plan to go back for a few days this summer; I'm interested to see what it's like in the middle of August!

  6. Brrr! Main looks really cold, but very atmospheric. I'd love to see it. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  7. Maine looks like a very cute state. I really like the picturesque lighthouses. I do like the way they hid those outlet stores in historic buildings. Hubby says you picked the right state for lobster. I recalls road trips to Woodman's to get lobster (he used to live in Massachusetts so it seems like a long drive to me).

    1. IT really is. I wanted to stop into those shops to see if the insides felt as quaint as the outsides, but as this was a ROAD trip, we had to move on. Glad to hear from someone who knows that we found the right place to try the lobster!

  8. Kennebunkport is one of those places that I've always heard of, but never actually visited! One of these days!

    1. That was me, too. It seemed like a fun place to stay for a while!

  9. I love the photos, especially the lighthouses.

  10. What a great coastal route! I´ve never been to any of these cities but I definitely should! The views from Cadillac Mountain are stunning! And the red&white lighthouse looks lovely!

    1. It's such a unique road to drive if you ever get the chance! Definitely worth the trip to see the adorable light house.

  11. Maine Lobster! That's good enough for me ;-)

    1. :-) Food is also one of my favorite parts of travel!

  12. Such a lovely trip. And Lobsters! Yum! The rainbow looks beautiful. Acadia National Park looks really amazing. We would love to visit.

    1. Hope you're able to. So many beautiful places to see in this world!

  13. This really seems like a great place for a road trip! Excellent post!

  14. Amazing road trip! I'm so jealous. We had intended to go to Maine this summer but didn't quite have enough vacation hours from work to make that trip work. Alas! We will have to hold off for another year or two for that particular vacation. At least, I could briefly travel there vicariously through this article. :)

    1. Boo for having to wait for vacation time! You will love it when you get there! Glad you were able to 'visit' in the meantime.