Adventures in Maine
Neil Wiley

It isn’t in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but the Maine coast is a great place to explore, photograph, and enjoy regional foods. I didn’t bring you any food, but I can share my experiences.

Our first stop was Portsmouth, New Hampshire, on the border of Maine. This seacoast town dates back to the 1630s. We stayed on historic, narrow, and curved Bow Street in the Ale House Inn, an old brick brewery with ten modern rooms. It was a short walk to the tiny upstairs Wellington Room where I enjoyed fresh scallops while viewing the busy harbor.

The next morning I devoured apple-cinnamon-granola pancakes at Colby’s before a cruise around the harbor. We saw submarines at the naval shipyard, lighthouses, Fort Constitution, and a continuing parade of sailboats, yachts, and giant freighters. (We missed the “Strawbery Banke” Museum, where you can experience restored and furnished buildings from 1695 through the 1950s.)

We drove up Highway 1 past York, Ogunquit, Kennebunkport, the sandy beaches of Old Orchard, and Portland to the shopping mecca of Freeport, the home of L.L. Bean and a hundred outlet stores. It sounded like a bad idea for a man who hates shopping, but making my favorite shopper happier made me happier. And I ended up buying more stuff than she did. I had my first lobster roll on the front porch of the Jameson Tavern. It was only wonderful. We stayed at a tiny four-couple B&B, the Nicholson Inn, where we shared a pleasant breakfast with the other three couples. All were from Canada.

Our Nicholson Inn host Alden Grant recommended the “best point of land on the Maine coast.” We drove to that point on Route 130 from Damariscotta to Bristol to see the picturesque Permaquid lighthouse. We liked it enough to stay at nearby New Harbor, where we took a cruise to see the same lighthouse at sunset. We also had supper at take-a-number Shaw’s Fish and Lobster Wharf Restaurant with amazingly good fish.

Our final destination was my sister’s summer house on Crowley Island, not far from Acadia National Park. It was a quiet place overlooking a small bay, complete with some tiny islands. We hiked the beaches, looking for sand dollars, sea glass, special rocks, and shells. We played card games, ate lobster fresh from the nearby lobster co-op, and laughed with my sister, brother-in-law, niece, and two wonderful great-nieces.

We toured the local sights, including art galleries, silent auctions, and funky antique stores where we stocked up with old books and CDs. We visited both sections of Acadia National Park with stops at Thunder Hole, the top of Cadillac Mountain, and the Jordan Pond House where I enjoyed the best popovers and ice cream I ever tasted. Then we drove to Bar Harbor to eat more shellfish on the sundeck of Fish House Grill at Harbor Place.

In Maine, we lived on seafood. Why eat another steak when you can have fresh lobster, crab, and scallops? We ate lots of wild blueberries. They were available at roadside stands along almost every highway.

Although I took hundreds of pictures, my favorite mementos of Maine are a painted rock from my great-niece Alex, a 1920s Touring® card game discovered in a little antique store, and some shells Marlene found on the beach. They will remind me of happy days in Maine.