A few mornings in Maine

Since school doesn’t start until tomorrow around here, we decided to stretch the summer season a bit and do a Labor Day weekend trip to Maine.

Nothing ever goes perfectly, and this trip had its share of issues. For starters, we were supposed to leave Thursday morning, but Hurricane Ida caused massive flooding around here, closing many roads in addition to all the other devastation. So, not wishing to add to the problem by being on the roads, we elected to delay our start to Friday. Travel with a toddler is never easy — he was up in the “5s” every morning, except the morning he was up at 3:30 and stayed awake until 5:30 before crashing — and eating in restaurants with someone who will not sit in a seat is its own special brand of frustration. Plus, the drive each direction is about 11 hours! That is a lot of time in the car for a long weekend — especially one that was shorter than planned.

But in general we had a good time. We drove to Boston on Friday and spent the afternoon and the night with cousins. My daughter is the exact same age as one of their children, who she is particularly close to, and so we made the snap decision to give her the option to stay there for the rest of the weekend while the rest of us drove north. She was nervous but decided to go for it, and had a wonderful time — her first time away from us for multiple nights!

In Maine, we stayed in a fascinating house in Bar Harbor that seems to have been a converted school and, among other things, had a disco ball installed on one of the high ceilings. It was on a quiet street and yet very central, so we could just park there and walk to dinner each night — always lobster.

Oh my goodness we ate a lot of lobster. It started in Boston when we went to the Quincy market, and the three lobster-eating members of my family (me, husband, 11-year-old) all got lobster rolls. That night in Bar Harbor we ate at Stewman’s Lobster Pound on the water, which we wound up doing all three nights because they had less of a wait than other places and everyone could find stuff to eat. We also ate at a crazy little lobster shack called Charlotte’s (complete with a family of goats out back…) after our boat ride on Monday…during which we learned about lobster fishing and pulled in lobster traps and all that good stuff.

We did a few hikes in Acadia, including Jordan Pond (a good flat one for kids), and Gorham Mountain, which was also doable but felt satisfying to reach a summit. The baby did most of the hikes in the backpack but was determined to walk on his own for some of them. This slowed things a bit but he is very tough! We had tickets for the Cadillac Mountain summit on Sunday, which was nice but was also completely shrouded in clouds while we were there, so somewhat less of a view. We walked on Sand Beach for a while and saw Thunder Hole too. The scenery was very Maine — pines, rocks, ocean — with just a touch of fall color thrown in. Cool and crisp but not really yet cold. Lovely.

Tuesday we drove all the way back in one day, stopping to retrieve the 9-year-old en route. The toddler listened to a lot of Baby Shark, but we survived. I was so happy to reach the NJ Turnpike, because it meant we were on the home stretch…

It was a good end to the summer, which has been a long and full summer. Now we figure out the school year routine. Oh, and sell the house and move into the new one eventually. I’ll post my Fall Fun List soon!


9 thoughts on “A few mornings in Maine

  1. Maine is just…the best! Kennebunkport and Boothbay Harbor are a bit closer to the Philadelphia area drive-wise and have lots of nooks and crannies to explore (including several great nature trails). If you want to attempt the trip up there again, they may be areas to consider. Dunne’s ice cream and Fox’s lobster in York are a great stop once you cross the border into Maine and are around the corner from one another. Dunne’s has so many great flavors. I am ashamed to admit that I ordered 3 scoops due to my inability to decide which one I wanted…..

  2. I’m so glad you enjoyed Bar Harbor! My parents have lived there for nearly 20 years so we go up for 2 weeks every summer with our kids and it is a welcome escape from Maryland humidity. You probably had a better downtown experience than we did – the summer was FULL of crowds and it was hard to even just get around, so we spent most of our time in the park rather than town. I personally think the Cadillac views are mediocre (and even more annoying now that they have timed entry) and if you like hiking, you can get equivalent or better ones from other mountaintops! Hopefully you liked it enough to make a return trip sometime!

  3. I’m going to show my Britishness now but … 11 hours?!?! For a weekend?!? The capacity of Americans to drive long distances never fails to astound me 😁

    1. @Louise – theoretically we were leaving Thursday and coming back Tuesday, so it was four days. As it was we had 2.5 days in Maine, and an overnight with family, so not too bad!

  4. We just did a big Vermont/NH/Maine trip in August, too (right before school started for us)! We were in Acadia for 5 days of the trip and LOVED it. So gorgeous. Jordan Pond was our first hike in the park also. We had the best time. I’m curious though- was this a last minute trip? If so, I’m surprised you found such great lodging! I booked our lodging back in early March for mid-August and was having a bit of a hard time finding much available even then- though we ultimately did find a great place with ocean views outside of Bar Harbor. Did you get any “thunder” in Thunder Hole?? We went to the darn place FOUR times during our trip (high tide, low tide and everything in between) and it was calm as could be every time. Haha! Still just beautiful though. We had calm sunny weather our whole trip though, which probably explains it, and realistically I would choose that over big crashing waves in a storm or something anyway. 😉 Oh, and it sounds like you did Lulu’s Lobster Boat? We did that too! It was so great! Our guide was the best. The boys loved it.

    1. @Grateful Kae- we did hear some thunder, though only a few real booms. We too tried it multiple times to get the effect! We did Sail Acadia as our boat trip, but there seem to be a lot of small boat operators out there. It’s fun to see the coast from the water and the kids loved learning about lobster. I did book relatively last minute (August for September). The housing was a VRBO place with a four night minimum that happened to be available…

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