Length: About 300 miles.
Lodging: Reservations required during summer; many facilities close during winter.
Nearby attractions: L.L. Bean, Inc., retail store, Freeport. Penobscot Marine Park, Searsport.
Further information: Maine Office of Tourism, 109 Sewal St., State House Station 59, Augusta, ME 04333; tel. 888-956-2463, www.visitmaine.com.
Rocky, rugged, and interrupted by few sandy beaches, Maine’s craggy midcoast is the legacy of long-gone glaciers. During the ice age, the earth’s crust here buckled under the unimaginable weight of the ice cap that once covered the region. When the ice melted, the sea rushed in, transforming valleys into coves and inlets, leaving its mountain ridges exposed as headlands and islands.
Fragrant mixed forests still march right down to seaside in some places, just as they did when Algonquian Indians were the sole inhabitants of this convoluted coast. But elsewhere the scenic grandeur is accented by quaint fishing villages, lonely lighthouses, and vacationers’ waterside retreats.
The story of Brunswick began in the 1600s, when explorers from Europe recognized its potential as a center for the fur trade and for lumbering. Mills were eventually built to harness the power of the Androscoggin River, and by the late 1700s the town had grown so prosperous that Bowdoin College, the first in Maine, was founded there. Summer music festivals are held on the idyllic, tree-lined campus, and the college’s art museum displays works by Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and other famous painters. Brunswick also functions as the commercial hub of this region, whose population mushrooms in summer. Explore the town and you will find a traditional village green, Federal-style mansions, seafood restaurants, and an array of antique shops and artists’ studios.
2. Bailey Island
Just east of Brunswick, Rte. 24 exits the sometimes traffic-choked Rte. 1 for small towns and natural splendors along a 16-mile run to Bailey Island. Among the cottages it passes is Pearl House, once the summer retreat of famous author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Slow down at the Cribstone Bridge, a 1,200-foot span linking Orrs and Bailey islands, to notice its unusual construction. Massive granite blocks are arranged in a honeycomb pattern, with gaps that allow the tides and the runoff from spring thaws to rush through without causing damage.
From the docks at Bailey Island, sportfishing excursions depart in search of bluefin tuna, some of which weigh 500 pounds or more. At the island’s far tip, a small beach nestles among granite boulders.
Located near the mouth of the Kennebec River, Bath has long been a boat-building center. Visit the Maine Maritime Museum to learn about the industry. More evidence of the city’s prosperous maritime past can be seen along Washington Street, where wealthy merchants and captains built their fine mansions.
Lying just before the Carleton Bridge is the sprawling Bath Iron Works, where ships continue to be built. (Traffic can be heavy here, particularly when the shipbuilders get off work in the afternoon.) While in Bath, stop by the revitalized business district, taking special note of the 19th-century storefronts, brick sidewalks, and lampposts along Front Street.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.