Life on the Road – June Part 2: Maine

Sunset over the harbour in Portland, ME

Leaving the Appalachians behind, we drove out to the coast again and into our final state in our US leg of the trip – Maine. Our first stop was the little city of Portland, and we just happened to arrive in town on the same weekend as the city’s last Old Port Festival, coming to an end after running 45 consecutive years. The old town portion was buzzing with locals, tourists, food stands, vendors, and performers a plenty. We spent a morning enjoying the festival and sampling some superb donuts before finding a coffee shop to hole up in and get some work done for the afternoon. We spent our evening having a portside picnic dinner before heading off to one of the local breweries. Portland is a little odd in that all of the breweries close at 9, even on the weekends. What gives? We had time for a couple quick samples and to grab some cans to go before the brewery was closing its doors; too bad, because their patio was awesome.

Late afternoon up on top of Cadillac Mountain – the highest point in the park!

After a quick resupply in town we headed up the coastal highway on our way to Acadia National Park. We arrived in the park in time to catch the sunset from the peak of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in the park, which also has road access right to the very top. After photos and dinner we went back out of the park to the nearby town of Ellesworth, where we’d be staying in the Walmart parking lot. Most national parks in the US have an adjoining national forest, where finding free and legal camping is easy, but Acadia has no such forest nearby. Our only options were pricey national park campgrounds, or good old Wally-World. We’d stayed in a few Walmart lots already coming up the eastern states – while not glamorous, they’ll do in a pinch, and they proved to be safe and popular turn-ins for the RV and trucking crowd.

Sunset from the west side of Cadillac Mountain.

Our plan for Acadia was to knock off as many hikes as possible, including some via-ferrata climbs (trails with anchors, catwalks, or climbing aides anchored in the rock to allow unroped climbing) up the granite bluffs. Unfortunately for us, the weather during our time there refused to cooperate. We spent a couple days hanging out in the van admiring the coastal gloom as torrential rain and wind buffeted the van – these days made us really glad we’d prioritized inside living space in our van design. We were comfy and cozy all day. One upside of the atrocious weather was that it prompted us to do a bit more exploring in the town of Ellesworth. On a super rainy Monday night we decided to check out a little place called Fogtown Brewing, tucked in the basement of an old house at the end of a small residential street. We expected it to be dead based on the day of the week, but when we walked in we found a small cohort enjoying good beer and a guitar and fiddle duet playing some classic sea shanties. We had a superb evening socializing with the locals, stomping feet to the music, and sampling the excellent beer on tap!

1 – Stormy afternoons on the East Coast, 2&3 – Cozy rainy days in Ferris, 4- Walmart parking lot friends that make Ferris look tiny!!

Exploring Acadia National Park – so much to see: lakes and oceans and granite mountains and even some granite chairs!

Followed the recommendations of our bartender to the top of Sargent mountain – beauty views and no crowds!

Near the end of our week at Acadia the weather finally cleared enough for some hikes. We managed to do one of the park’s via-ferrata climbs up the beehive, and did a hike up Sergeant Mountain that the barkeeper had recommended. His recommendation was not misplaced, a beautiful climb through the woods rewarded us with a refreshing mountain lake swim and superb summit views. Here we decided to end Maine, and the US leg of our trip, on a high point and a high note. It was time to go home, Oh Canada!

The pink granite was unreal!

Last night in Maine lobster dinner!

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