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Maine Road Trip Help

Hey, there. My wife and I are about to celebrate our first anniversary with a road trip from NYC to Maine. We're mainly interested in lobster rolls, but anything fresh and delicious would be great. Thing is, we don't know the first thing about New England . . .can anyone suggest a route or a specific city to make our trip-HQ? Thanks in advance.

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  1. Would love to offer suggestions. Knowing how many days this trip is will help map out a route and destinations both chowish and sightseeing worthy. Also what type of budget do you have in mind?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Noreaster

      Cool, thank you! We don't have a definite schedule yet, but we've got from July 4th to July 8th to play with. The fourth will be nutty for driving I'm sure so I'd say Thursday the 5th would be a leaving day and getting back either the seventh or the eighth.

      I've been researching some and have found a plethora of great sounding places . . .when I get more details I'll post it for critiques!

      1. re: JoeRice

        That's not a lot of time. I'd head right up the coast to Damariscotta and use it as a home base. It's less touristy at that point and you wouldn't want to go much further on such a short time line. The peninsula is beautiful: Pemaquid Light, Pemaquid Beach, Round Pond lobster, Round Top Ice Cream. Here's a recent thread on the chow spots:
        And please try a crab roll.

    2. Hi JoeRice..
      Husband and I are doing a road trip to Maine in September and I just made reservations for anniversary at the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport..
      I am doing the coast route from Boston on up..
      I can't wait to eat my first Lobster roll..
      Please post again after your trip..
      Have a blast and happy anniversary!

      1. Trip should be nice, from NYC take rt 95 into Conn. and Follow it untill It merges with Rt.495 At that point you will be almost into N.H. Stay on Rt 95 and follow it into N.H. and they it will take you across the bridge into Maine. You can take Rt. 1 at that point into Kittery and all the outlet stores or you can stay on 95 For a short distance and get off at the last exit before the toll, and the start of the Maine tpke. You will get off in York and turn left at the light on Rt.1 and that will take you Into Ogunquit and points north. You will find most places prices are going to be a little higher over the 4th holiday.So be warned. From the 5th on you will find them back to normal. There are plenty of places to stay and eat in the Ogunquit area as well as many in wells and into Kennybunkport and even farther north. If you like sports bars there is a good one on Rt.1 in Ogunquit called Vinny's east coast bar and grill. Great food and fair priced drinks. I will see if I can tack on a web site that will help with places in the Ogunquit area http://www.ogunquit.org/ and this one http://www.meadowmere.com/public/ There is a real nice restaurant that is right near The Meadowere that is call Johnathans If you stay in that area it might be nice for a Anniversary diner . Any way hope this helps. As im not sure how far north you want to go. Good luck . PS. my wife and I will be in Ogunquit on July 9th thru the 11.

        1. Some local observations. A bumper sticker: The real Maine starts east of Ellsworth (Also if it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?). South of Augusta is called Little Boston. I-95 is called The Volvo Line (Volvos south, pick up trucks north) Enough said, the Ellsworth area(the crossroads of downeast Maine) also makes a good base for exploration. Within 1/2 hr drive: Acadia National Park, Washington County, the Blue Hill Peninsula, the Scoodic Penisula, the Bangor area. The beautiful mid coast 1 hr. Run away from any place that sells old lobster traps and buoys.
          Have a great time!

          1. Hi Joe, Congrats on the anniversary and the roadtrip! I may be biased because that's where we spend all my childhood summers, but for me nothing beats Bar Harbor. You can get your fill of tourist kitsch and New England charm in town, but also head out into Acadia park for some hiking (and popovers at Jordan Pond House). Lots of good lobster pounds in the area - we like Abel's - and heck, even lobster ice cream at Ben & Bill's! If you're into that sort of thing...

            [PS. I lived a floor above a Joe Rice my first year at NYU... would you be the same?]

            1 Reply
            1. re: Raedia

              I almost agree, but Bar Harbor in the summer is a tourist trap; I work there. The quiet side(backside), Southwest Harbor might be better. In the ten years we lived in SWH, we went into Bar Harbor in July and August twice.

            2. We just returned from a trip to Maine. One suggestion....take RT.1 north out of Portland which goes through Yarmouth and Freeport (L.L. Bean) and go into So. Freeport. Excellent outdoor restaurant on the dock....great lobster, chowder etc.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Ahmie

                You're talking about Harraseeket Lunch, which is great.

                I don't know how long you're taking for your road trip, but Portland is 5 1/2 hrs from NYC on a good day. Acadia is at least four hours drive north of Portland. There are a few very good stops along the way. See threads for Worcester (avoid I-84 thru CT at all costs -- take the Merritt/ Wilburforce to Hartford), Hartford, Portsmouth, Kennebunk, Portland, Brunswick. The only stretch of Rte 1 I'm fond of is between Bath and Wiscasset, where you'll pass Moody's, the Sea Basket, and the Montsweag flea market.

                1. re: Ahmie

                  It is too bad you will miss July 4th in Maine. Bath has a wonderful parade, craft fair and midway. Last year the church ladies were selling pie by the slice, more than a dozen varieties. If you are in the Brunswick area, the farmers market (Fridays, I think) is wonderful. You can buy wonderful baked goods etc. You can pick up a guide to the farmers markets at the visitors center on Rt 95. I loved the Damariscotta area too. So far our favorite place for steamed lobster is Waterman's Beach not far from Owl's Head Light in Rockland. Probably one of the smallest places right on the water (wear a hat and sunglasses!). Mid-coast is a wonderful area to explore. In early July you can still get rhubarb pie! Don't miss the Cellar Door Winery in Lincolnville (just north of Camden) for a tasting and purchase of a celabratory bottle (or three). I highly recommend the top of Mt Battie in Camden (take the auto road) for a picnic. Bring your binnoculars (and bag chairs) to enjoy the view overlooking Camden harbor. If you've picked up some fresh biscuits and strawberries at a farmers market, all you have to do is buy some whipped cream to make your own shortcake. Pemaquid Point is also a nice place for a picnic. Pack an insulated lunch bag etc so you can do picnics although are usual trip is to find a great place for a lobster lunch while out exploring. Even if you take a break from driving to enjoy the scenery it's nice to have a thermos of iced tea and some fresh cookies. We camped in Damariscotta a few years ago and there was a lady on the road to Pemaquid who sold baked goods on her front lawn. Don't know if she still does that but that's one of the things to watch for when you are driving around.

                2. I definately second the suggestion for the White Barn Inn - fabulous dining and Kennibunkport is a great area. http://www.whitebarninn.com/

                  If you are in the Portland area (great dining and lots to do and see), make sure you take the ferry out to Peaks Island ($3.95 and only 15 min ride) - there's a wonderfull Inn too if you want to stay out there but definately dine at the Cockeyed Gull (if not for a fabulous dinner overlooking Portland skyline, at least a wonderful lunch) - it's just a short walk up from the ferry drop off.

                  1. Hi, If you're talking road-trip you may want to make a stop in Portsmouth NH for an overnight. It's right on the Maine border near Kittery and it's a great town. Very new england feel with excellent restaurants. I read somewhere recently that there are more good restaurants in Portsmouth than there are in the whole city of Chicago. Pretty impressive. I grew up in RI and Newport is a nice town to road trip through. If you're coming from NYC, you may be looking to relax and enjoy the quietness of Maine. It's beautiful, but i'd stay southern maine as it's going to be a crowded vacation week.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: snl1129

                      Gee, local legends are funny. I read somewhere that Portland, Me, the original one, is just second to San Francisco in restaurants per capita. Try Portland! Check ou the listings for restaurants for the 2 cities and compare. Longfellow knew best.

                    2. We have a summer house in Ogunquit and have been up most of June. This is a pretty town with lots of good eats including the towns south of Og.- Kittery and York, and north- Kennebunkport and Portland. MC Perkins Cove in Perkins Cove in Ogunquit has wonderful views and great food- open at 11 am through dinner. Great for lunch or dinner. For a lobster, stop at Barnicle Billy's in Perkins Cove- where you order at the counter and they call your #- great steamers, lobster etc. Rum punch not to be missed. In Kittery there is a very nice restaurant called Anneke Jans. No view but great food and drinks. In Kittery in the area of the shopping malls, have a couple of hot dogs from Flo's ( in the Kittery Trading Post parking lot) with their famous hot sauce. Or for fried clams and other fried foods, Bob's Clam Hut.
                      In Kennebunkport, Hurricane is a wonderful restaurant that has all kinds of choices. Great oyster selection and a wonderful baked stuffed lobster.
                      Lots of threads on this board about Portland.
                      If you are going further north, find Five Islands on the map- great place for lobsters, crabs, etc. and a wonderful view.
                      Whatever you do, hope you enjoy our beautiful state.

                      1. I just moved to Maine 3 weeks ago from NYC... email me for the best directions for the fastest route jmforesterataoldotcom

                        I personally like mid-coast Maine the best from the Damarascotta area in the south to north past Camden. Which is why I moved to the Rockland area. For food this is nirvana. Portland has an amazing bar/restaurant scene, but you need to get up here to start to see the real Maine. Lots of great restaurants and farms with amazing produce and meats.