Welcome to the ninth and final installment of the Maid Goes to Maine. If you’ve been keeping track, you are no doubt thinking “it’s about damn time!” Other obligations have forced me to draw out this saga way longer than I intended. We could have walked to Maine and back in the time it has taken me to tell you about it. Anyway, we are at last at the end of the journey.
Before leaving Bar Harbor, we took some time for a stroll on the Shore Path. Starting downtown, it winds for about a mile alongside Frenchman Bay.
It was a nice way to end our time in the town of Bar Harbor. Even though it is a popular tourist destination, Bar Harbor has not succumbed to the type of touristy kitsch that many cities have. It is blessedly free of places like Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Hard Rock Café, outlet malls, and the like. There’s nothing wrong with those places, per se, but they have, in my opinion, robbed many interesting destinations of their uniqueness and charm. Besides a Subway sandwich shop, we didn’t even see any fast food restaurants. And let’s face it Subways are everywhere! On one of our trips out west we saw so many, even in remote desert locations, that we joked that there was probably one at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Anyway, while the lack of such ubiquitous tourist attractions might disappoint some people, especially those trying to keep the kiddos entertained, Mr. Maid and I were glad they had not invaded this part of Maine.
It was time to pack up and head home. Instead of heading straight for the highway that would take us back to Portland and the Jetport, we took a leisurely drive around the southwestern half of the island known by locals as the “Quiet Side.” This part of the island is indeed quieter. The towns are smaller than Bar Harbor and not as busy. There are more campgrounds than large hotels; more locals than tourists.
We drove around Somes Sound and through the quaint towns of Somesville, Southwest Harbor, Manset, and Seawall where we enjoyed views of the Cranberry Isles.
From there it was around the southernmost tip of the island to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. This lighthouse was small, but the way it perches on the craggy coast made it one of our favorites.
From Bass Harbor, we headed back north and eventually off the island. If you’re lucky enough to know someone who has lived where you are traveling, by all means pay attention. My friend and former coworker Jill is from Maine and is as passionate about her pizza memories as I am. We share a disdain for the provel cheese used by St. Louisans on their sorry excuse for pizza. She insisted that while in her old stomping grounds we go to a place called Pat’s Pizza. Since there was one conveniently located on our way in the town of Ellsworth, we were more than happy to give it a try. Jill was not lying – it was delicious!
Bellies full, we hopped on I95 back toward Freeport where we’d spend our last night in Maine. Our route bypassed Bangor and I wanted to drive into the town so I could see Stephen King’s house. He’s been a favorite of mine forever and I wanted to see his fence, adorned with spider webs and bats. Who wouldn’t?! Mr. Maid was in no mood to indulge my stalking fandom, so we passed on by. I’ll catch you next time Mr. King.
Since we were no longer new to the Bed &Breakfast scene, we spent our last night at The Candlebay Inn in Freeport, a lovely little B&B right in town. The next day it was on to the Portland Jetport. There I had the best airport (I mean jetport) meal I’ve ever had. Linda Bean’s Lobster Café is part of a restaurant group owned by the granddaughter of Leon Leonwood Bean, who put the “L.L.” in L.L. Bean. I had the most incredible lobster roll that I had the entire trip. Add a Bloody Mary to ward off any annoying conversations we might overhear on the trip home and I was ready to go.
We had a fabulous time in Maine and hope to go back some day. It was a bit depressing to go back to the land of cornfields, 95% humidity, bad pizza, and limited seafood choices, but it’s always good to get home to friends, family, and your own bed.
And now, time to start planning our next trip! Thanks for reading!
Here are some links to the rest of the series:
Part 1: Airplanes and Eye Rolls
Part 2: Not that Portland, the other Portland
Part 4: Going Up (Coast) to Get (Down) East
Part 6: Getting Loopy at Acadia NP
Part 7: Lobsters, Cadillacs, and Walking on Water
Part 8: The Battle of the Bubbles