Maine!  Eustis – Bucksport – York Harbor

bucksport-maineMaine is marvelous! From mountain peaks to rocky coastlines, there are miles and miles of natural beauty plus lots of lobsters, lighthouses, and wild Maine blueberries (August is the harvest month; boy did we time that right)! It’s a big state, way bigger than I perceived for sure. We had almost three weeks there and only saw a fraction of it. But oh, that fraction was the best! And being there gave us close access to Canada again, so we took a whirlwind four-day trip through three more provinces.

For any readers who wonder why so much of our trip is whirlwind-style (when we are supposed to be retired!), here’s the deal…we have to be back in St. Augustine, Florida at the end of October for a state park directors conference. Tom committed (happily) to the event planning committee over a year ago and we will both volunteer at the conference. Again, this is a fun reason for us to go home to Florida. We’ll be working alongside our park service peeps and we’ll be showing off Florida State Parks to the park system directors of numerous other states. We are really looking forward to it, plus it puts us back in Florida for the fall/winter months, always a good move!

We probably bit off more to see and do these four and a half months than we should have, hence the whirlwind, but you know how it goes…we knew we wanted to go to Michigan, and then Canada is right next door…and then you drive on to Maine and if you go to Maine you must go to Acadia National Park, and if you’re that far, you’re just a couple hours from New Brunswick and then another couple to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island…! 🙂 We don’t regret going and seeing any of these locales, just that we had so little time in them.

We entered Maine from Quebec and stayed 20 miles from the border in the High Peaks region (Sugarloaf Mountain is one of them), at Cathedral Pines Campground on the Flagstaff River. Can you picture it? The peaks of the tall red pines form a cathedral around the sites, just beautiful. We did not have our first lobster here, but we did have our first campfire, finally! Our plan to hike a fraction of the Appalachian Trail got rained out, so we got some projects done and enjoyed the campground which we don’t do enough! It’s always great chatting with other campers, and even better when they want to know about SeeMyAmerica. 🙂

This is moose country and we have a quest to see one in the wild. But so far, we’ve only seen them on the road signs every quarter-mile and on postcards. The quest continues! This is also porcupine and beaver country which account for most of the roadkill we pass (aww!). How different from the raccoons and armadillos in Florida (no aww).

Our next stop was in Bucksport at Balsam Cove Campground for two weeks, our longest stay yet, yay! We picked Bucksport for its proximity–close to our cousins Mike & Kathy in Penobscot and also to Acadia and Canada. It’s across the Penobscot River from a cool 19th century fort, Fort Knox, at the foot of the Narrows Bridge, one of only three innovative cable-stayed bridges in the country. One of the bridge towers has a glassed-in observation deck 420 feet up for 360o spectacular views of the mountains all around. We were there on a clear blue sky day, just perfect!

We had our first lobster meal in Bucksport and it was just one of many, all delicious and some exceedingly so! But the highlights of our time were family related. We got to meet up with our sister-in-law and nephew in Camden, as they were visiting her family a little further down the coast. We had a superb seafood lunch at Waterfront restaurant, shopped on Main Street, got ice cream and trekked around Mt. Battie in Camden Hills State Park for more sweeping views of the harbor, ocean and surrounding islands. Then, with cousins Mike & Kathy, the best tour guides EVER, we saw ALL of Acadia and the surrounding harbor towns, dozens of them! Around every corner is another picturesque cove with lobster boats and trap markers, plus motorboats and sailboats of all shapes and sizes. We saw seagulls swimming like ducks which seemed so odd! In Florida, they are either flying or standing near you hoping for a morsel of whatever you’ve got in your hand. 😉 The view from the top of Cadillac Mountain is literally second to none—it’s the highest peak on the US Atlantic coast! We hiked, ate more seafood and local ice cream and drank local brews—all fabulous! A specialty at Acadia’s Jordan Pond House Restaurant is popovers! They even offer a popover ice cream sundae which, of course, Tom ordered. 🙂 Does anybody remember when I was a popover girl at Patricia Murphy’s Restaurant on the Intracoastal in Fort Lauderdale? I think I was 15, my first real job. We were very popular with our baskets of fresh popovers served tableside. 😉

In the historic harbor town of Castine, we happened upon another sunset cruise! Tom has a special affinity for sailing, and I love it, too. It’s such a great way to see the coastline, lighthouses, and of course, a sunrise or sunset. With our BYO wine and best-ever lobster rolls from Dudley’s Refresher, we boarded Guildive, a beautifully maintained 1934 56’ schooner. We joined two other couples and enjoyed a delightful sail in perfect winds. A few seals popped up along our route which was another novelty for us! In Florida, we always get excited when the dolphin surface. Now if we could just see a moose on shore!

On our last day with Mike & Kathy, we cruised around a few more harbor towns near them (yes, there are more!) and got to stop at their property which they are prepping for construction. It was so fun to dream with them and visualize where and what they will build, and to know that they will be living there the next time we visit!

We spent our final two days in southernmost Maine at Libby’s Oceanside Camp, directly on the ocean in York Harbor. How I love to just sit and gaze at the ocean! We didn’t even have to leave our RV, but of course we did. We took long walks and got up before dawn to catch a spectacular sunrise.

On the way to Libby’s, we had our first minor RV casualty that turned into a great lost & found story! I, as navigator, suggested that we get off the interstate and drive down US1 along the coast. This was a bad call time-wise, as it was stop & go traffic for an hour. However, shortly after we turned onto US1, I heard a metal on metal noise that I couldn’t explain to Tom. At the next traffic light, another motorist let us know that she saw something shiny fall off our rig! Tom wasn’t keen on turning back, but I said I was sure I could find whatever it was, although I thought that it might have been run over in the meantime.

We had to drive several blocks before we could even find a spot to pull off and assess the loss. On our second walk around the rig, I spotted what we lost. It was a metal wheel hub cover, not a flat hubcap, but a chrome dome/cylinder that fits over the wheel axle hub. We headed back, retracing our steps, and sure enough, Tom spotted it at the curb! He pulled over and I hopped out to cross the street and retrieve it; it had not been run over! As I walked back to the RV, I spotted another shiny object that turned out to be the bolt that connected the hub to the wheel! The two pieces were about a block apart, yet we found them! Had we stayed on the interstate, we never would have known that we lost them, or been able to retrieve them. A happy ending to our miles in Maine, but we’re still looking for a moose! 🙂

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