Maine stuff I shouldn't miss (with aging parents)

In July, I’m going to take a wooden boat course on a schooner out of Penobscot Bay. I’m so psyched! So, I know what to do for that part of the vacation.

Now, Dad says, hey, why don’t we come with you? Leave on Wednesday or Thursday, drop you off at the boat on Sunday, you come home alone. That leaves us with four nights to do the tourist things.

We’re probably flying into Portland and my boat is in Camden. None of us have ever been to Maine. Me and my mom are into walking and museums and everything, but my dad has several herniated discs in his back - if he has to walk, he ain’t doing it. I don’t want this to be another trip full of “Well I guess I should have stayed home!”, etc, even though he’s the one who wanted to go!

Dad’s into maritime history, boats, etc. I don’t know if I can get him to do a half-day windjammer cruise or anything - it depends on how he’s feeling, I guess. He’s up for museums and such if they have a wheelchair he can use. (He doesn’t generally use a wheelchair around town, but we really find it invaluable when we’re out of town and doing walking-heavy stuff. Thank you, Louvre! Thank you, Honolulu Aquarium! Thank you, Tivoli Gardens!)

We haven’t yet decided how much time to spend where - we’ll get a rental car in Portland, of course. Is there enough to do in Camden and surrounding areas that we can just go there? Spend a few nights in Portland? Anywhere close we ought to go? What’s can’t-miss?

Maine is beautiful especially in the summer. There are same nice beaches but don’t plan on swimming if you value warmth in any form. I went a very large beach in Maine once and was determined to go swimming. The initial shock of 53 degree water was bad enough but I forced myself to stay out for 5 minutes at which point I couldn’t feel my legs so I trudged back to shore. If you like lobster, you are all set. They sell it everywhere and they have these lobster houses that are like shacks that only open in the summer. The entire menu consists of boiled lobster and maybe some clams and corn of the cob if you are lucky. The waitress comes over and asks if you want 1 lb lobsters, 2 lb, or 3 lb and how many does each person need.

I hate lobster, and we’re getting a whole night o’ lobster on the boat thing, thanks. :slight_smile: And we’re from South Carolina, we don’t get in the water unless it’s at LEAST 86. I just can’t believe it’s only going to be in the 70’s when we go there!

Your dad will LOVE the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. Call ahead and see if they can provide a wheelchair.

You and your mom might really enjoy the Farnsworth Museum.

Acadia National Park is beautiful just to drive through.

When I visited my aunt and uncle in Thomaston, they took us on a driving tour of various lighthouses – very cool.

There are a number of maritime-related museums and attractions in Maine. See

You might also be interested in visiting Eagle Island, the home of Adm. Peary of North Pole fame:

The new Penobscot Narrows Bridge near Bucksport has a 400-foot observation tower with an elevator to the top.

If you like transportation museums, you’re in luck. In addition to the maritime museums above, there are a railroad museum in Alna (between Brunswick and Rockland) and another RR museum in Boothbay (east of Brunswick), a narrow-gauge railroad museum in Portland, an Auto museum in Wells (between Portland and Kittery), a trolley museum in Kennebunkport (not far from Wells), a car and plane museum in Owls Head (near Rockland), an airplane museum in Bangor and a general transportation museum also in Bangor.

I wouldn’t spend “a few nights” in Portland.

Spend a night in Portland. From there, drive up Route 1.

Freeport is where the LL Bean store is. A lot of people like that.

Maybe spend a night in Wiscasset or Boothbay. Boothbay Harbor is a nice little tourist town. We spent a lot of time there when I was in High School, so I have a warm spot for it.

There’s a nice lighthouse in Pemaquid Point if you’re into that.

Camden is all right, but you really want to make time to at least drive the loop around Acadia National Park. It would make no sense for you to be that close and not see it. Many consider it the best National Park in the country.

Camden has lots of places to visit that are easily accessible without extensive walking. Just a few miles south is Rockland. Check out the Maine Lighthouse Museum

Great place and parking is about 50 feet away. If your Dad is a maritime buff this will take most of a day. Not certain if they have wheel chairs available so call ahead, but they are 100% accessible.

Water temperature will be in the 40’s or mid 50’s, not the 70’s. That’s the ambient air temperature.

Acadia National Park is a beautiful place to visit and most of the Park and buildings are accessible by wheel chair.

The Atlantic Seashore Trolley Museum referred to previously is a mile from my home. Great place to visit but requires lots of walking to enjoy.

Enjoy your trip.

Is it possible, for convenience, to “base” in Camden and see things like Arcadia National Park?

Oh, and I meant my two temperature statements to be seperate - there’s no way in hell we’re poking toes in the water, and I can’t believe there are places on earth where July is in the 70’s. Even though I’ve been to Barrow in July and been issued a parka by the tour company, I still can’t internalize this concept.

Yeah, I live around and work in Portland and it’s nothing too incredible, but worth a day of scoping things out. The Portland Museum of Art is decent, and I love to walk around the Old Port (but obviously that’s out because of your dad’s back). If money’s not that big of a deal (or seasickness) I’d try eating out at DiMillo’s; it’s a really nice floating restaurant that I’ve always been a fan of.

There’s a list (with links) of 25 things to do in Portland and southern Maine here
A couple suggestions from the list:

  • If you’re into amusement parks there’s Funtown/Splashtown in Saco
  • Even if you don’t want to go swimming, the beaches are still nice to take a walk on (Old Orchard Beac/Saco area)
  • Harness Racing at Scarborough Downs

I would also second the idea of going to the outlets in Freeport; it’s good for shopping, and it’s also set up in a very visually appealing manner.

If you wake up in Camden, driving to Arcadia, seeing it, and driving back is easy.

In July, the average high temperature in Portland is 80. It regularly gets up over 80. You won’t find it hot or humid, but Mainers do. It cools off at night near the coast.

The ocean at the beach in Maine is low 60’s in July typically (if I recall). As kids, we could spend a long time in the Ocean. We typically stayed in until our lips turned blue. You should go in just for the experience. You get used it.

No, actually, I wouldn’t get used to it. I had to drop a swimming class in grad school because they keep that university pool cold and I couldn’t stop shaking.

What’s the name of the boat?

I was walking along the Boston waterfront yesterday and saw a couple large sailboats tied up. One of them did sail training and semester-at-sea type stuff (there was a sign on it), and it was from Maine.

It’s the Mary Day. My cousin did the wooden boat course a few years ago and she still can’t stop talking about it. I’m just scared I’m going to get all the way up in the rigging and suddenly realize that I’m a lot more scared of heights than I think I am. :wink: Anyway, the food is supposed to be awesome, so there’s that.

Wimps, all of you! I grew up in Maine and my mother would take us to Reid State Park at least twice a month during the summer time and by god, we’d swim until our lips turned blue and we LIKED IT!

I second the recommendation of driving up route 1. I love Boothbay Harbor for the quaint town aspect, and you can take boat tours (puffin/whale sightseeing) that will get your folks out on the ocean and would not require a lot of walking. It’s been years since I’ve been there, but it would be a good place to spend one night right on the water. Really yummy candy shop there, and a chance to go candlepin bowling, if for no other reason than to say you’ve done it since it is a sport limited almost solely to Maine and New Hampshire (I was a teenager before I really knew that candlepin was not the ‘norm’).

Freeport for shopping is something to consider too. It may not be as impressive as it once was, but I loved LL Bean’s store, and the fact that it was open 24 hours a day came in handy to keep a buddy and me occupied when our car broke down in the middle of the night there (we were in high school so no money for a hotel).

And I’m hoping someone can help me out since it’s been years since I’ve been there, but there is/was a restaurant on the coast and either attached to it or near it was a fairly large breaker/boardwalk type thing where you could walk out on it and be surrounded by water and surf. There were no stores or anything on the breaker, just the walkway itself. Man, if I could find that again on my next trip and walk out there, I’d be at peace.

Oh, this just popped in my head. I don’t know if it is still there, but on the Sunday Morning show, they had a piece where there was a Mona Lisa in Portland. Professionals were having a hard time determining if it was real (a first ‘draft’ portrait) or a fake, but it may be interesting to see, especially if you’ve been to the Louvre.

I saw two boats, and only got the name of one. Maybe the Mary Day was the other. (Or maybe there are a lot more 90-foot schooners sailing around the northeast than I realized.)

Understandable. I can’t stop talking about my sailing trip, I just try to spread it around so I don’t bore any one person too much.

Have a fantastic time. I was a little worried about going aloft, too; it turned out fine.

There are two seafood restaurants in Camp Ellis, ME (part of the City of Saco) that fit that description. One is Wormwoods, the other is Huots. They are both within 50 or 100 feet of a large granite breakwater that extends out about 1,000 feet into the Atlantic.

Borders the Saco River just South of Old Orchard Beach.

Ogunquit is a nice little town my wife and I just got back from Maine. Ogunquit is a little touristy, but drive up Rt 1 and some good stopping places are Pemiquid Point, and all of the cliffy areas north of freeport are very nice.

Maine is larger than you would think. Rt 1 from Portland north to penobscot Bay is FAR! I’d take 95 to Augusta then rt 3 into the Bay area and Bath. Plus you get to see the new Bridge over the Penobscot River, with a cool lookout tower on the top. Wheel chair accessable. Just opened last weekend I think.

If you go into Bangor, eat at the Muddy Rudder. Very Nice, Oh and for a nice Maine shopping experience try MARDENS :slight_smile: in Bangor.

I second the Muddy Rudder if you’re headed towards the Bangor area.

I hope I never have to drive to Bangor ever again… I used to date a girl at UMO and I used to drive up after work on Friday nights (2am, technically Saturday morning) and back Sunday night. The first time it’s scenic, the 30th time you’re fighting to keep awake.