On the drive up
If you are driving up from Portland or Boston, you may want to check out the Outlet Stores in Freeport Maine, home base for LLBean.
You will see that taking I95 up to Bangor is generally the most direct route to our area, but there is also a more scenic drive by taking Route 3. Along Route 3, you may want to check out the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory, which is the tallest bridge observatory in the world. While there, you can also visit Fort Knox , a state park and state historic site.
A visit to the Schoodic Peninsula is a must…that’s where you are staying! It is only five minutes from the house, heading toward Winter Harbor and is actually a part of Acadia National Park. The sights are beautiful as you drive through and there is a parking area where you can get out and see some of the more spectacular rocks. Along the way, though, you will see small rock beach areas that you can climb. The hikes in Acadia are breathtaking. They are not so easy to identify but here’s a web site with some information, or you can ask a park ranger how to get to the one that best fits your ability as a hiker: http://www.acadianationalpark.com/trails/schoodic_peninsula.php When you first enter the loop road, there is a picnic area on the right, just before the road turns into a one way road. There is a pier and floating dock, and they have grills and picnic tables there. It’s a great place to go cook lobsters and relax.
When you exit Schoodic, you will be going through Birch Harbor. You will pass by the The Pickled Wrinkle Pub which is a great place to grab a sandwich and beer. It’s mostly a place where locals go so you will get a good dose of DownEast Maine. My personal favorite is their Chef’s Salad.
Continue south on to Winter Harbor and you will find art galleries, shops and restaurants. There is an old time 5&10 and a great library. JM Gerrish’s has great pastries, ice cream, breakfast and lunch. If you continue through Winter Harbor, you will find an area called Grindstone, which is the very high end homes and a golf course. It’s a nice drive through.
In Prospect Harbor, there are some things you’ll want to see. US Bells is right on 186, walking distance from the house. They make and sell bells. Really fascinating to watch on days they are pouring into molds. You can buy fresh eggs and farm goods at Darthia Farm just up 186 toward US1. At the corner of US1 and 186 (also known as West Bay Road) there is a fabulous antique shop. The library is charming.
If you continue on Corea Road, not staying right toward the Lighthouse, you will end up in a tiny harbor village called Corea. The road to Corea actually wraps around Sand Cove, which is where our house is. Looking across the cove, you are looking into this Village. Just before you get into the village, you will see an art gallery called Chapter 2. Definitely a must-stop. This is a co-op of many artists’ work. They also have used books in the garage out back. Take a drive through Corea and visit Cranberry Point. There are nice places to hike along here, too. There is a beautiful hike (more of a walk) to Youngs Point in Corea. When you get into Corea, take a left on Crowley Island Road. Follow this road until you reach the ocean…you will see a two story red house on your right. Park your car along the side of the road (on the left) and then walk the road…you will see signs for the beach…follow the trail which will take you out to a beautiful rock beach. At low tide, you can cross over to the small island. To the right when you come out on the beach, you can hike around until you see the picturesque Corea Harbor. A hidden gem!!!
Mount Desert Island and Acadia
The bulk of Acadia National Park is on Mount Desert Island (MDI). There are two ways to get there, by ferry out of Winter Harbor or driving (which takes about 35-45 minutes). I’m not an expert on this area but it’s worth a visit. Bar Harbor is the area where you will find lots of shopping and dining. There is a nightlife (by Maine standards). There is a self guided walking tour you can take through the town called Museum in the Streets, and I recommend it. It will take you along the Shore Path to see some of the original homes in the area. One of the stops is Bar Island, and during low tide, you can actually walk across to a little island that is otherwise inaccessible. Just be sure to get back before the tide comes in!
There is an airport in Bar Harbor and they offer both bi-plane and glider rides. I know people who have done both and they say it is an awesome experience. Most of the whale watching and Puffin trips leave out of Bar Harbor. Most of the time you will need reservations but be sure to ask about their cancellation policies.
Also in MDI, there are quaint towns like Southwest Harbor and Northeast Harbor. I don’t know much about them but they do have shopping, pretty views, etc.
The most impressive thing to do is visit Acadia National Park and go through the Park Loop road. You can drive or bike it. Within the park, there is a network of Carriage Roads that are not accessible to cars…only foot traffic, horse drawn carriage and bicycle. Very pretty and built by the Rockefellers, fascinating story. There is lots of hiking. Jordan Pond is a great place to eat, famous for their popovers. Echo Lake is a nice place to take a swim. If you don’t want to drive through the park, there is a free shuttle that will take you through. If these things interest you, you should calendar some time to spend there in Acadia.
Between Ellsworth and Gouldsboro, you will see a turn off for Tunk Lake. There is an area out there, west of US1 called Schoodic Mountain and Schoodic Beach. This is a great place to hike. You can google for more specifics. Back in this area, you will also run across a path called the Sunrise Trail that goes from Brewer nearly all the way to Canada. Not accessible to cars, people use this path for four wheelers, snowmobiles and bikes. http://www.maine.gov/doc/parks/programs/snowmobile/suntrail.html
In Hancock, there is a great restaurant (fine dining) called the Crocker House. I absolutely love this place.
Machias and other points north
Just south of Milbridge , you will find Pigeon Hill Road. If you take this road all the way out, you will find some great hiking trails, looking out over Petit Manan National Refuge and Lighthouse. Later in the summer, you can pick blueberries out there.
Heading up north, there is a beach in Machiasport, about an hour and fifteen minutes from us. It’s an amazing beach formation of small, smooth rocks. It’s a good place to take a picnic lunch. http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mgs/explore/marine/sites/jun00.htm
Our area is about 1.5 hours from the Canadian border. A nice day trip (long day!) is up to Campobello, you will need your passport to cross the border. During certain times of the year, you can get an excellent views of whales without having to go out on a Whale Watching trip. You can call the Visitor Centers up there to see if the whales are out and about. Quoddy Head State Park is a good visit and you can see the Lighthouse there. There is a small town called Eastport…good restaurants and quaint shops.
Maine has some of the best White Water Rafting you will find. We have done this several times, with different companies, on different rivers and loved it.
People often ask us about places to get food, including lobster and mussels.
There is a place right in the center of Prospect Harbor that sells lobster, right at the harbor. If they are out, you can continue on into Winter Harbor and you will see signs along the way where people sell them. There is also a place in Winter Harbor called DC Air that sells them. A little further into Winter Harbor, you can get lobsters at the Winter Harbor Lobster Coop. Dorr Lobster sells lobsters on Pigeon Hill Road, along with crab and other great seafood! You will find a lobster pot in the house. Here’s a recipe for your own lobster boil! http://www.dorrlobster.com/2015/02/perfectly-boiled-maine-lobster/
Local libraries have WIFI access if you need it (although I think you’ll have much better things to do!). The Dorcas Library in Prospect Harbor has WIFI which you can use in the driveway even when they are closed. There is a public library in Milbridge with WIFI ( https://www.maine.gov/msl/mainelibs/displaypub.shtml?id=41085 ) and you will find one in Winter Harbor as well as Ellsworth.
Festivals and events
Here’s a website listing festivals in the area: https://www.maine.info/apps/events/list-festivals.php
More links with some good info on goings on:
Milbridge Days (usually the last weekend in July)
Winter Harbor Lobster Festival is usually the second week of August. It’s pure Maine and lots of fun. http://www.acadia-schoodic.org/lobsterfestival.html
August – Winter Harbor Music Festival Our week-long Music Festival offers intrumentalists and singers a unique opportunity to study and perform together, as solo, chamber and choral musicians. More information is available at winterharbormusicfestival.com
And the Schoodic Arts Festival:
July – August Schoodic Arts for All Festival Gouldsboro and Winter Harbor www.schoodicartsforall.org – Two weeks of activities including a Silent Auction, Workshops, Evening performances, noon time performances, an Art Show and much much more. Follow link for details. Workshops: Music, Dance, Theater, Craft, Writing. Free noontime performances
Last but not least, one of the biggest festivals up there is the Machias Wild Blueberry Festival, usually around mid-August.
Things to do and places to go – links
Bar Harbor, accessible by car or ferry (which leaves out of Winter Harbor, just 5 minutes away) http://www.barharborinfo.com/
Winter Harbor http://www.acadiamagic.com/winter-harbor-maine.htm
Cat Ferry to Nova Scotia http://www.catferry.com/
Schoodic Peninsula http://www.acadiamagic.com/Schoodic.html MUST SEE!!!! There are some great hiking trails here.
Cadillac Mountain, Bar Harbor http://www.acadiamagic.com/CadillacMountain.html
White Water Rafting, about 2 1/2 hours away. Class 3,4, 5 rapids http://www.magicfalls.com/
Shopping in Ellsworth http://cityofellsworthme.org/
Whale watching http://www.barharborwhales.com/default.php You can also see whales at Campobello.
Brewery tours http://www.atlanticbrewing.com/
Winery tours http://www.bartlettwinery.com/
Kayaking http://www.seascapekayaking.com 207.963.5806
Hiking http://www.acadia.national-park.com/hike.htm and www.frenchmanbay.org and www.mainetrailfinder.com Look for Schoodic Mountain, awesome hike and beach nearby.
Schoodic Sculpture: http://www.schoodicsculpture.org/home.html
Darthia Farms: http://www.darthiafarm.com/
Jones Pond (lake), just off 195 on Recreation Road, about 1 mile from the house. Great swimming and boating.
There are some nice art galleries and shops in Winter Harbor, about five minutes away.
Chapter Two – Artist/local crafters gallery – close enough to bike to – www.chaptertwocorea.com
Freeport and Kittery are home to great outlet malls.
Campobello – A unique international memorial park established on the Island where Franklin Delano Roosevelt vacationed. Enjoy some great whale watching in July and August http://www.campobello.com
Crocker House Inn, Hancock, http://www.crockerhouse.com/ AMAZING!!!! My top pick.
Fisherman’s Inn, Winter Harbor http://www.fishermansinnmaine.com/
The Salt Box, Winter Harbor
Gaylan’s, Bar Harbor, fun happy hour!!
Jack Russell’s, Bar Harbor
Pickled Wrinkle Pub, Birch Harbor
Live Maine lobsters, Bar Island…they can ship them home for you, too! www.dorrlobster.com
Great breakfast at Chester Pikes Galley in Sullivan and Martha’s Diner in Ellsworth (try the blueberry pancakes)
Grocery Stores and Markets
* Mc’s Market, Birch Harbor
* IGA, Winter Harbor
* Darthia’s Farm, Prospect Harbor, 5 minutes away, great organic choices
* Hannafords, Ellsworth
* Walmart, Ellsworth
* IGA, Milbridge
* There are a few places that sell farm fresh eggs, look for signs
Grindstone Golf Course http://www.grindstonegolf.com/
Blink Bonnie, Sorrento
Kebo Valley http://www.kebovalleyclub.com/
Bar Harbor Golf Course: http://www.barharborgolfcourse.com/