One of the main reasons we are taking a gap year is to travel to places we have never been before. We could have decided to backpack in Europe and go to all the countries we haven’t visited yet, but instead we choose to focus on the United States. Let’s face it, after studying abroad I’ve already seen more of Europe than I have of my own country!
In order to track our progress we decided to set a goal to travel to every state in the U.S., except Hawaii and Alaska (sorry guys, maybe next year!). With each trip we take we try to plan stops in new states. Two weeks ago, we checked Vermont off our list. After coming back home for my brother’s wedding, we are ready to hit the road again.
This time we have our sights set on checking off Maine! Our plan is to spend most of the trip in Acadia National Park, before stopping in Portland and Boston on the way home. We’ve wanted to take a trip to Acadia National Park for some time, but we haven’t been able to take one until now.
WATCHING THE WEATHER
Our original plan was to leave today (September 29) and spend the night in Boston to rest, before driving to Acadia the following morning. We’d then spend 4-5 days in Acadia, 2-3 days in Portland, and finally stop in Boston once again for 2-3 days. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t want to cooperate with us, as it is supposed to rain most of those days.
First, we tried adjusting the order of destinations to try and maximize our chances of good weather, but as it turns out it will be raining in most of New England those dates. Next, we thought pushing the trip back a few days would allow us to catch some better weather towards the end of the trip.
In the end, we decided to both change the order of destinations and push the trip back. Doing so means we will catch some sunshine in Acadia (according to the latest weather reports that is…).
First Stop: Boston (October 1 – October 2)
Second Stop: Acadia National Park (October 3 – October 8)
Third Stop: Portland (October 9 – October 11)
SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON
Including Boston as a stop on our trip to Acadia National Park is an easy decision because we both have family in the area. My brother and sister-in law, Chris and Rebecca, live just outside the city in Beverly, MA. And Leslie’s uncle Doug and his family live outside the city as well.
We will stay with my brother for two nights to break up the drive (while also taking up two of the rainy days outside of Acadia). Depending on how the weather shakes out, we might head into the city on Friday for a few hours. On Saturday morning we would drive the rest of the way to Acadia National Park in Mount Desert, ME.
The drive from West Chester to Boston is 346 miles
ACADIA NATIONAL PARK
We expect to arrive in Acadia around noon on Saturday, as we have rented a cabin for Saturday and Sunday. We are not sure where we will stay Monday-Thursday, but we hope to camp a few nights (weather permitting of course). We have also talked to some local Couchsurfing hosts about staying with them.
Using both word of mouth & our own research, we have compiled a list of things we must do & see:
Cadillac Mountain – This mountaintop is the first point of the United States to touch the rising sun and is not only the tallest mountain in the park, but also on the eastern seaboard.
Thunder Hole – An inlet in the rocks where waves crash up to as high as 40 feet tall, creating a loud echoing roar!
Bar Harbor – A quaint seaside town with cute shops and delicious, fresh seafood.
Thurston’s Lobster Pound – A restaurant located in Bernard on the “Quiet Side” of the island.
The drive from Boston to Acadia is 282 miles
PAUSE IN PORTLAND
Unless the weather or an incomplete to-do list keeps us from leaving Acadia, we plan on arriving in Portland on Friday. We may drive scenic route 1 to get there. Our friend from Penn State, Marykate, lives in the city and we have plans to meet up. We are unsure where we will stay at this point, but we have reached out to people on Couchsurfing. We expect to leave Portland on Sunday to drive home.
There are a ton of fun things located in downtown Portland within walking distance from one another:
Space Gallery – a nonprofit contemporary visual & performing art space. We enjoy walking through local galleries, checking out what they have to offer.
Portland Flea For All – is a vintage, antique and artisan market located in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. Luckily we’ll be in Portland just in time for this weekend-only event!
International Cryptozoology Museum – is another rain-friendly activity. Why wouldn’t you want to check out the world’s only cryptozoology museum?!? (Cryptozoology – the search for and study of animals whose existence or survival is disputed or unsubstantiated, such as the Loch Ness monster and the yeti)
Fort Williams Park – Picture-perfect spot home to the Portland Head Light, the oldest of Maine’s 52 functioning lighthouses.
The drive from Acadia to Portland is 149 miles
Have you taken a trip to Acadia National Park before? What about Maine in general? If so, tell us about your stay in the comment section below!