For my final day in Maine I chose to wander south on US Rt. 1 along the coast, sampling the various towns from Penobscot Bay to the New Hampshire state line. I started in Camden, which one local resident described as “the jewel in Midcoast Maine’s crown.” It is a lovely village, with the requisite picturesque church steeples, sailboats, and a waterfall that cascades down a rock outcropping in the center of town before emptying into the harbor. Its streets are lined with perfectly manicured shops and brick-laid sidewalks lead to alleys and nooks with more shops and restaurants.
It was a scene I saw repeated numerous times throughout the day and, frankly, all the towns began to look and feel alike. Camden may be the crown jewel, but it simply cannot compete with the beauty I saw in Acadia National Park, and so the charming coastal towns of Maine were not as much of an attraction as might be expected.
There were, however, a few standouts. On several occasions I swung off Rt. 1 and wandered into the backwaters, where tourism has has less of an impact. Here I found the smaller communities of the Boothbay Harbor region, all of which are still traditional fishing villages.
The town of Rockport, located a short distance from the coast, is unique for its downtown of historic red-brick buildings, and Freeport is famous for its outlet stores, most especially LL Bean, which originated here.
My final stop was at Kennebunkport, perhaps best known as the town where President George Bush (the elder) has a summer home. I was told where to find his home and drove out to the ocean to see if I could spot it, but the oceanfront was crowded with one enormous mansion after another and I didn’t see one that has a sign proclaiming it as the home of a president. The town itself is ritzy and glitzy, as befits its reputation as a place of splendor and wealth, but again, it didn’t much interest me; I am much more drawn to natural beauty than artificial attractions like shopping.
Goodbye, for now Maine. I will definitely be back. You are too beautiful to leave forever.