We crossed through New Brunswick once we left PEI, and after 138 fun-filled days in Canadia, we entered Trump and Hillary land. [Interestingly, there seemed to be a lot more Trump / Pence signs on lawns…] We crossed into Calais (pronounced ‘Caless’) Maine and made our way to Bangor, which is pronounced like it’s spelled and is a way cooler name than Caless! We toured around Bangor and then stayed two nights at the very pleasant Paul Bunyan Campground near town. One day was essentially spent waiting out a torrential rainstorm, which was well timed as Mama Bear had picked up Papa Bear’s head cold and needed a day to rest.
Now with the sun back out, we drove down to Bar Harbor and toured around town. Bar Harbor is the quintessential New England seaside tourist town. And because there was a cruise ship in port, there were literally thousands of tourists crawling up and down the narrow streets.
Our only knock against Bar Harbor was getting a $50 ticket for parking on a street that didn’t allow RVs, even though there was no sign and the ticket had no listed RV-related infractions from the list of offenses so the officious jerk of a meter maid just drew an extra box on the bottom and wrote it in. Good luck collecting on that one Bar Harbor!
We drove over to nearby Acadia National Park (buying an annual National Park pass for 80 bucks) and did the scenic driving loop through the park with stops along the way to hike. We camped in the park and the brilliant colors of the fall foliage – all the way through Maine – were spectacular.
We also sampled some of the local beer – it tasted like a standard red ale which was a bit disappointing having expected at least a hint of ‘lobstah’…
The next day, we drove to Freeport and checked out the LL Bean flagship store. Freeport is actually something of an LL Bean Mecca, with several large stores, outdoor learning centers and facilities in town. [Note: we didn’t buy anything at the flagship as the prices were surprisingly a lot higher than back home.] However, Mama Bear made up for it down the road at the purse shop…
While Freeport is a small town that incorporates elements of an outlet mall (with a much nicer atmosphere), Portland Maine was really impressive. This Portland had a similar feel to the other one over in Oregon, and was terrific. We strolled up and down the busy streets and Mama Bear, now on a roll, picked up a trendy Sea Bag, made from sail cloth.
After finishing in Portland, we continued down the highway with a quick stop in Scarborough to see ‘Lenny’, the 1,700 lb chocolate moose. Papa Bear is keen to stop and see anything ‘big and weird’ but this was definitely a point of interest for Mama Bear.
As we drove along, we discovered that several state parks and private campgrounds had already closed for the season. We finally found one open just off the highway but after being told that a very crappy and shady site cost $75 plus tax (which we weren’t going to pay cause we’re ‘wicked smaht’) we carried on until finding a rustic campground on the ocean, a relative bargain for 33 bucks, a bargain for Maine anyway… The Bear enjoyed a walk on the beach over to the lobster shack.
We crossed through a section of Massachusetts into Rhode Island and after touring through some smaller towns, we found a much more reasonable nightly rate at a RI state park ($25 including electricity and water hookups). The next day we made our way along the coast to Mystic, Connecticut. The Bear, who loves pizza, was happy to pose in front of the pizzeria made famous by Julia Roberts. The pie was delicious.
We finished off this portion of our journey with a short but wonderful visit with our good friends Kim and Sasha in Westport, CT. What’s next? We’re heading inland – stay tuned…