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Maine Trip Report – Family Road Trip (Portland/Bangor/Acadia) Maine Trip Report – Portland/Bangor/Acadia

Hope this is helpful to others considering a trip up to Maine. Keep in Mind we travelled with a large family with kids ranging from baby to teens

Portland Area
•   Portland head light – Lighthouse and Fort Williams Park: picturesque lighthouse with small museum. [$1-2/pp]. Also a park with some A short visit was nice but no entry into the light house itself. Reinforced concrete batteries from the Fort, Also there walking paths, playground and small beach area.
•   Peaks Island: a 10 minute ferry ride from Portland to the island [$3-7/pp]. On the island there is golf-cart rentals [$25per hr, carries 4 people, reservations recommended & Mike’s gold cart rentals] and bike rentals. The golf-carts are lots of fun. It takes about 35 minutes to go around the perimeter of the island on the Golf Cart.
•   Groupon: We got a groupon for an indoor trampoline park in Portland (Get Air). (I often find groupon’s for interesting activities at my trip destinations). Also the Portland sea dogs is the minor league baseball team in Portland and tickets start at less than $10/pp. There was also a groupon for that. (I think that’s about the price of medium soda at a Yankee game).
•   Yarmouth Maine - Eartha- A huge rotating globe that’s 3 stories high in the Garmin offices. Entrance is free. An interesting but short stop along the highway.
Hotel – “Fairfield Maine Mall” – Met expectations. Clean, and friendly service. (25,000 Marriott points/night)


Freeport:
•   L.L Bean outlet store has a few different buildings. The elaborate store is a big tourist stop. In addition to equipment from clothing and tents, to rifles, motorized bikes, kayaks, stand-up-paddle-boards, they have a lot of cool displays (fish tank and pond, animals on display in the stores, were cool. They also have “discovery courses” starting at $25/pp a short distance from the store (e.g. kayaking, SUP, archery etc). Reservations recommended.


Rockland Maine
•   Maine Light house Museum - Interesting museum about lighthouses with a focus on the evolving technology from how the lenses work, to the use of Lyle canons to help evacuate ships offshore (using zip-lines). Mostly self-guided. $8/pp (no charge for children under 12).
•   Also in Rockland- Rockland Breakwater Light – mile walk out to light house – on granite stone.

Other interesting attractions north of Portland (listed from South to North) – (Options which we never made it to, due to scheduling, or pursuing other options)
•   Bath Maine - Maine Maritime Museum
•   Freeport - Desert of Maine
•   Brunswick Maine  - Slot car Junction
•   Camden – Camden Hills State Park - Mount Battie Trail
•   Prospect Maine  - Fort Knox & Observatory


Bangor: Base location for Acadia National Park
•   1 hour from Acadia National park. City has an Orthodox shul. The current Rabbi is from Chabad. There is rarely a minyan during the week. See Shul (Beth Abraham Orthodox Synagogue) website and Chabad of Bangor website for details on kosher/jewish life in Bangor.
•   Bangor Hotel – Stayed at Marriott/residence inn. (25,000 pts per night). Terrific experience (worth more than its rank as a category 5). Brand new hotel (built or fully renovated in 2015). Spacious fresh suites. Nice Lobby. Staff were helpful with accommodating Shabbos needs. Pool and hot tub were nice and often empty during the week. (30 minute walk from shul). Highly recommend
•   Cedar Winds Stable – Charleston Maine – Horseback riding. $35/pp for a 1 hour trail ride. Lots of fun. Their target customer is first time riders (40 minutes northwest of Bangor). Reservation required. Highly recommend.
•   Cole Land Transportation Museum. Bangor – Mostly self-directed. Some in my group enjoyed. Others not so much. $7/pp over 18. Free entrance for those under 19. Stopped for about 1.5 hours.

Acadia national park: Spent 3 days there. $25 for entrance pass for parking. (Make sure to set GPS to part entrance Hulls Cove, or you may end up at a random spot in the center of this large national park).
•   There are many dozens of hiking and biking trails in the park. Hiking trails range from easy to extreme. There is also a scenic route to drive through the park to see some of the highlights (Sand beach, Thunder hole, Cadillac Mountain). Park gets busy in the summer so you may have to wait to find a parking spot in some of the many parking lots throughout the park. The park has free busses which come about every 30 minutes (varies by time of day) but those can occasionally be full too. Rangers near park entrance provide lots of information (Hulls Cove). Recommend getting the detailed trail map for $5, to help find and navigate well marked trails.
•   We did 4 hikes (choices based on internet search and ranger recommendations, for our group), each was about 1.5-2 hours (with children ages 4 through teens. baby was carried in backpack carrier). They were all great for our group.  (1) Great head trail, (2) Gorham mountain trail, (3) North bubble and south bubble peaks, (4) Jordan pond walk – flat but 3 miles.
•   We (teens + adult) also biked around Jordan lake on the “Carriage roads” (~8.5 miles). The Bike trail was more challenging than anticipated as the carriage roads are somewhat hilly and made of crushed gravel (more friction). Seems like we spent a fair amount of time walking bikes up hills. Some people online suggest taking the route counterclockwise is easier. Perhaps that was part of our mistake.
•   Some in our group also spent some time playing in sand at Sand Beach. Water is ice-cold in Maine. The nice side of that, is that the weather was perfect in the low 70’s most summer days.
•   Right next to Acadia park is the village Bar Harbor – Touristy little town. Nice place to stroll. We tried but did not find a park to make a barbeque there. You can rent bikes for use in the Acadia there. Mostly motels, restaurants, café’s and shops etc..
•   Bar Island - From Bar Harbor there is an Island you can walk to the island on dry sand (<0.5 miles from shore) during low tide. During high tide the sand is covered. We checked it out in low and high tide but did not walk over. Times change daily. Check website for low-tide and high tide schedule.

Misc.
•   We stopped at Six-Flags New England (Massachusetts) to break up the ~8 hour drive from the Tristate area. (we are season’s pass holders this year)
•   We stayed at the Residence inn of West Springfield (15,000 Marriott points). We were pretty disappointed with the hotel. It fell materially short of expectation for the Residence Inn brand.

September 04, 2016, 12:49:05 AM
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