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8 Things to Do Along the Maine Coast

Taking the slow route from Bar Harbor (or “Bah Harbah” as the locals call it) down to Portland is a dreamy drive with plenty of interesting pit-stops along the way. If you’re planning a road trip to the northern Maine coast, here are eight spots and interesting diversions you won’t want to miss en route.

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Bar Harbour Inn view

Enjoy the beautiful oceanside view from the Bar Habour Inn and other activities along Maine Coast.

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Try the Lobster

If you are a lobster lover you won’t be disappointed. Before you even reach the coast you’ll see signs everywhere offering lobster for sale, in various guises. If you can wait until you get into Bar Harbor, the West Street Café offers plenty of local fare (including a delicious wild blueberry pie). For a more upscale menu that includes a to-die-for lobster pie, check out the Reading Room Restaurant at the Bar Harbor Inn. The “Bananas Foster” bread pudding is highly recommended as a treat to end your meal.

 

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Wake up Overlooking the Ocean

Stay at the Bar Harbor Inn which sits on the rocks jutting into the ocean. Most of the rooms face the ocean, and being able to sit on the balcony and watch the waves crashing is pure scenic bliss. Main Street, the main drag in Bar Harbor, is just at the end of the Inn’s driveway, so it’s an easy stroll to go for dinner or browse the cute stores in town. Be sure to stop in at Bill and Ben’s Chocolate Emporium, which is famous for their lobster ice cream. More conventional flavour options are available, too!

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Go Vintage Bargain Hunting

Along this stretch of coast there are antique stores and flea markets a plenty. The stores are huge, many are in big red barns and the antiques are stacked from floor to ceiling. Prices are very reasonable, though you might want to check with Canada customs about any duty you might need to pay if you’re bringing something back home. Check out the Maine Antique Dealers site for a listing of stores.

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Indulge Your Artistic Side

The small towns of Rockland and Rockport, which are just minutes away from each other, are full of galleries and artsy stores. In Rockland, you’ll find the Farnsworth Art Museum, which has a stellar collection of American art, ranging from historical pieces to contemporary and gorgeous sculpture gardens stocked with large-scale pieces.

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Hit the Outlets

Checking out the outlets is a must-do for the shopaholic! And with the Canadian dollar so strong, outlets in the US are a very attractive prospect. Be sure to stop off at Freeport, a pretty coastal village that you’ll hit 15 minutes before the turn-off to Portland. The town is chock full of stores and outlets that are not in Canada, including the massive L.L. Bean flagship store, a department store of everything you need for the outdoors.

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Sample the Local Vineyards

There are a couple of wineries along this route, and the Cellardoor Winery in Lincolnville is well worth a visit. Set in beautiful gardens, the winery has a vast store filled with local edible fare and crafts, as well as hundreds of bottles of made-on-site wine. Complimentary tastings are held daily, and there’s a terrace overlooking the vineyards where you can grab a bite to eat and sip your wine. And if beer is more your thing, the Atlantic Brewing Company in Bar Harbor offers tours and tastings.

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Luxuriate like a Celebrity

If you’ve got $1,600 US to spare, book a night at the Flume Cottage at the Samoset Resort in Rockland. Perched on the cliff tops and completely surrounded by water, the secluded Flume Cottage has played host to such A-list stars as John Travolta. If the Flume Cottage is a bit beyond your budget, more reasonably priced accommodations are also available at the resort, which has amenities such as tennis courts, swimming pools and a golf course.

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Wander Around the Old Port

8. Wander Around the Old Port

Once you reach Maine, there is no shortage of things to see and do, but be sure to make time for some café-hopping and people-watching at the Old Port. The rejuvenated industrial area is absolutely delightful, and is now home to great shops, hip boutiques, and fun cafés and restaurants including Sonny’s, a restaurant serving new world cuisine.

For more information on this area, visit the official site for the Maine Office of Tourism.