travel

Bucket List Travels: Downeast Maine


Let’s be honest. When you think of an early springtime vacation you likely don’t think of Maine. Yet, in March of 2017, that is where we found ourselves venturing. We flew into Boston, Massachusetts and began our Roadtrip up Interstate 95. When I say up I mean all the way up through hours of open snowy fields, frozen lakes, and homes that look like they have been standing since the American Revolution. Welcome to Maine! We ended our journey on the small island of Eastport. Along the drive the wind had been so bone chilling that we avoided potty breaks, so we were quite happy to be welcomed by our lovely host and a warm home. It is always a special treat when we get to travel with friends. No tour guide can match it. 
When you come from Southern California, the idea of snow is an exotic thing. I didn’t fully understand how cold it can get and how much ice there is. Furthermore, I didn’t know how daunting it can be to bundle up a little one for a journey outside, even for a few moments in 16 degrees Fahrenheit. But, it was so very worth it. 

Eastport in March is blanketed in ice and very few businesses are open. We found Moose Island Bakery open early and offering everything from eclairs to pizza. The patio had a beautiful water view and the owner, Diane, was very friendly and helpful. For lunch we stopped at the New Friendly Restaurant in nearby Perry. For dinner, drinks, and even billiards the place to go is The Happy Crab. There may not be much of a selection of restaurants, but the food is very good. Every dish from the places we visited tasted home cooked. Just don’t expect to find a Starbuck’s style espresso or any other chain restaurant food (thank goodness).
Visiting Maine is all about the nature. Whether it is watching the sunset over Campbello Island (known to be former president Franklin D. Roosevelt’s summer residence), driving through the reserve to watch bald eagles feed their chicks, or standing on a snow covered sandy beach with ice covered cliffs in Acadia National Park, Maine is sure to wow. This part of Maine is not home to the wealthiest of populations, and you know the economy is not doing well when you see more than one large hotel shuttered with a for sale sign out front. Yet, it is hard not to be filled with wonder when you see farmhouses that have been standing since before the Civil War and land that is largely untouched. We were the only tourists at virtually all of the sights in the area, which is a benefit to traveling during offseason. But cell service can be shoddy so take care in your journey. 

We were not disappointed when we took a day trip to see the lighthouses in the area. We kept our eyes peeled for moose but had no luck. We crossed into Canada to see Roosevelt’s historic estate on Campbello Island. Take note that the grounds close early, if open at all in the winter time. We took the liberty of walking the grounds on our own. We then headed over to the lighthouse and found a bald eagle catching crabs in the low tide. What a gift! Then, we crossed back over to Lubec and visited the easternmost point in the USA marked by yet another lighthouse. The ocean in this part of the country is vibrantly seafoam green. It is clear, choppy and its crisp mist bites at your cheeks in the bitter cold. Snow sits on the rocks just above the water and the grey clouds in the periwinkle sky threatened snow. There were so many unforgettable sights in just one day’s journey. 

I am quite a fan of strolling through centuries old cemeteries. These were some of the most well preserved I’ve seen. Likely because they spend most of their time in freezing temperatures. The slate, intricately carved headstones adorned with the Angel of Death is a reminder of how our customs have changed so drastically. 

Go to Eastport, if only to pass through. Where else could you enjoy the same sunset on the water that the Roosevelt’s once did without a soul in sight? I hope you see some bald eagles!

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