Late afternoon, we arrive at Freeport, Maine. It's the home of
L.L. Bean, and it's quite easy to get lost in this massive flagship retail store, but well worth the visit. You might be familiar with their colourful catalog.
Later, as we near Tewksbury, Maine, we encounter a blinding rain storm. It pounds so hard I am not sure where the shoulder of the road is. The radio advises us to seek immediate shelter due to an impending
tornado. The rain slows down, and we are lucky to find a small Motel 6 just off the highway to ride out the storm. The tornado never does strike ground, but we have yet another story for our memory bank.
The next day we settle into our room at the Glen Cove Inn and Suites in
Rockport with reservations before we arrive, and that's good because it's full for the evening. On the first night, from our balcony, with cool drinks in our hands, we watch a spectacular sunset as it disappears into the Penobscot Bay. Sleep is easy after that.
For the next four days we set out to explore the magic of this area and its pristine natural beauty. There are several small villages and towns within a half hour drive.
Just before we arrive in Rockland, we stumble upon a Tim Horton's and Cold Stone Creamery. Stacey Mackenzie and Michael Vissers, owners of the store are both from Nova Scotia. Stacey tells me, "Tim Hortons are just about as popular here as they are in Canada." One big difference is stores are painted in East Coast colours.
Downtown Rockland offers unique shops and boutiques, fine dining and a superb art gallery. We enjoy our visit to the
Farnsworth Art Museum. At noon we share a fresh
lobster sandwich at the Rockland Café, a local hangout. What's a trip to Maine without lobster? We head back to our cozy inn where we spend the rest of the day at the pool.
Next, we head to the seaside town of
Camden, one of our favourite places to visit. The harbour, filled with all kinds of different water craft, the shaded streets, white clapboard churches and flower gardens all contribute to the town's tranquil atmosphere. We linger for the evening and watch the sun flirt with the horizon.
Belfast is another highlight. It was formerly a prosperous shipbuilding centre. Restored early Victorian homes built by the ship merchants are lovely to look at. It is now a cultural centre with artists, writers, craftspeople and a quaint downtown near the harbour.
On the way to Belfast we stop at two places. Lincolnville Beach which is one of the few beaches in this part of Maine and also blink-of-the-eye Northport established in 1796. The highlight was a mill with a lovely waterfall.
This part of the world is peppered with small towns that hug the Atlantic Ocean.
Marvelous, magical Maine was one of our most pleasant adventures ever, made easier thanks to the
CAA Trip Tik book that outlines roads that took us to our destination. This is a wonderful service; just allow a month before your trip to allow them time to prepare your route.
George Bailey contributes to Sun Media's 43 paid-circulation newspapers across Canada as well as numerous magazines. George has appeared on CNN, Good Morning America, Canada AM, the Discovery Channel, and Live with Regis and Cathy Lee. He has published five books on Niagara Falls.
In 1912, Leon Leonwood Bean opened a store in the basement of his brother's apparel shop at Freeport Corner, selling the "Bean Boot" (or Maine Hunting Shoe). This store, L. L. Bean, became so popular that in 1951 it started remaining open 24 hours a day. Its retail and mail order catalog facilities expanded into Freeport's principal business, and a worldwide company with annual sales of over a billion dollars.