Maine Road Trip: Camden and Maiden’s Cliff

I’m back from Utah and I promise those posts are coming soon, but I have one more Maine post to share! On the way back from Acadia I stopped in Camden for a little hike and some lunch.

Maine Road Trip Camden Maiden's Cliff

The view from the Maiden’s Cliff hike is pretty spectacular. The hike itself is 2 miles round trip, and at the time I went it wasn’t heavily trafficked. After hiking uphill through the forest, I arrived at the cliff and took in the view. Definitely recommend this one!

Maine Road Trip Camden Maiden's Cliff

Maine Road Trip Camden Maiden's Cliff

How fun would it be to live on one of those little islands?

After the hike it was time for lunch (and my last lobster roll of the trip, sadly not the best). I took some time to explore the picturesque town of Camden as well, where fall was in full swing.

Maine Road Trip Camden

Maine Road Trip Camden
Maine Road Trip Camden

Maine Road Trip Camden

I ended the night with friends in New Hampshire, before heading back to New Jersey the next day. Thus ends my Maine blogs! Better late than never!

Previously:
Day 1 and 2: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain
Day 3: Acadia National Park
Day 4: Acadia National Park (Day 2)

Maine Road Trip: Acadia National Park (Day 2)

If you read the last Maine recap, you’ll recall my first day in Acadia National Park was cool and overcast. My second day was a complete 180 — an unseasonably warm 65 degrees, and not a cloud in the sky. Lucky that I had planned my first ever solo summit hike for this day, and not the day before!

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park

I started the day very early with a drive over to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, which is technically a part of Acadia National Park, though not within the section with the loop road (it’s about a half hour away). It was fun to get out and explore more of the area, where I took the above picture of a cool dock (I’m assuming the tide comes in very high and this dock would then serve a purpose?)

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

Good thing it was low tide. As you can see, this angle of Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse is only accessible during low tide. The lighthouse is built right on the edge of a cliff, so you pretty much need to be in the ocean to see it properly. Navigating the rocks was not an easy task, but luckily there were a few other people there who pointed me towards the best route.

Main Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
 
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse

(I have no idea how that dog managed to get out there with it’s owner, but I’m proud of him.)

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Bass Harbor

After the lighthouse I explored the area a little bit, taking a different route back. I found this idyllic little scene near a lobster hut (sadly closed for the season) (also it was barely breakfast time so it’s not like they would’ve been open anyway).

Maine Road Trip Somesville

The light was starting to get pretty harsh at this point as it approached 10am, but I had to get a stop in at the picturesque little bridge in Somesville before finally getting some breakfast.

Maine Road Trip Somesville

Maine Road Trip Somesville

Maine Road Trip Somesville

I forgot to mention in my last post, but Jordan’s is a MUST for breakfast in Bar Habor. I’m pretty sure I went every morning I was there. Treat yourself to the blueberry pancakes (made with wild Maine blueberries, of course) and you won’t be disappointed.

A note on solo dining: I know this is a lot of people’s biggest fear when traveling by themselves, because eating alone has this weird cultural stigma. But it really comes in handy at a place like Jordan’s, where most people are arriving in parties of 4 or more, but YOU dear solo traveler will be sat instantly as a party of one. Bring a book, and stop worrying about what other people think.

Full of delicious pancakes, it was time to conquer MY biggest solo traveler fear: hiking alone. (127 Hours was traumatizing.)

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

I had already decided to do the Gorham Mountain hike, because it was under 2 miles round trip with a great view from the summit. I was really lucky to get a parking spot in the small lot at the trailhead. The lot was packed, and yet I weirdly only saw a few groups on the hike itself.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain I had read that a lot of people make the mistake of stopping at the mountain’s false summit (this is actually where I ran into the most people), so I knew to keep following the cairns until I made it to the very top.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

While this was a pretty easy hike (for my skill level, at least), I was really proud of myself for getting over my fear of hiking alone. (For the record, I would probably only do moderately short hikes like this on my own. Too many variables to contend with on longer ones–especially in areas with no cell reception.)

By the way, in case you’re thinking of doing Gorham, the trail itself continues on past the summit to connect with the Bee Hive trail, which is a much more difficult hike. Just be aware of this, so you don’t accidentally continue on.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Gorham Mountain

After Gorham I wanted to go back to Jordan Pond and walk the loop trail. Full disclosure: it took way longer than I was expecting, and with having done Gorham earlier my legs started protesting long before I got back to my car. It’s not a terribly interesting trail, but you do get some cool views of The Bubbles, and the foliage was gorgeous. The warm weather really made this one worthwhile despite the pain.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond
 
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Sunset was shaping up to be a lovely one, so I knew I wanted to end my last day in Acadia back at Blue Hill. Since I still had some time, I drove to the Cadillac Mountain summit first to take in the easterly view.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

While I never managed to drag myself out of bed early enough to catch sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, I can imagine it’s beautiful. During the first half of the year, Cadillac Mountain is actually the first point in the US to see sunrise.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

With the sun setting and the wind picking up, it was getting pretty darn freezing up there. But I was determined to enjoy another sunset. I planted myself on Blue Hill with a book and 45 mins to go. By the time the sun started setting in earnest, I was an ice cube. But a happy ice cube, because look at that light!

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Cadillac Mountain

I had only one more stop on my schedule this day. Can you guess what it was?

Maine Road Trip Bar Harbor Lobster Company

That’s right, a lobster roll from Bar Harbor Lobster Company. Perfect end to an excellent day.

Previously:
Day 1 and 2: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain
Day 3: Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip: Acadia National Park

First full day in Acadia National Park! This day was pretty overcast, but it made for a great contrast to the incredible colors of the autumn foliage, so I didn’t mind one bit.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

As I mentioned in the last post, Acadia is super manageable. The park is set along a mostly one-way loop road, making it very easy to hit all the main stops. My first stop of the day was Jesup Path. It’s a short and flat hike, but I knew it involved a boardwalk through the woods so I was interested. I’m so glad I made the stop, because I was completely blown away by the scenery.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

The colors of the leaves were absolutely magical, and the cloudy day sent a gorgeous clean white light through the trees. As the hike was so unassuming, I actually had the area to myself for quite a while, making the experience even more special.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup PathMaine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

This jaunt down Jesup Path actually set me back for the day — I didn’t anticipate spending so long here! As you can see, it was well worth it.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jesup Path

After Jesup Path, it was on to the Ocean Path. This path actually runs parallel to the loop road so it’s not really necessary to walk the whole thing (there are parking areas along the way for the main stops.) I was feeling ambitious though, so I parked at the start of the trail at the Sand Beach parking lot.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

I’m really happy I decided to walk the path. Though granted, it once again took me way longer than expected as there were nice little scenic turnouts every now and then to take advantage of the ocean view.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

After an absurdly long time (due to all my scenic detours) I arrived at Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is a natural inlet, where the strong surf crashes against the rocks with a thunderous noise. The seas were pretty angry when I got there, but weren’t quite making that iconic sound that day.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

As you can see from the water washing over the pathway, visitors really had to time their steps perfectly to avoid a wash out! I wasn’t too interested in soaking wet feet, so I kept a safer distance.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Thunder Hole

I continued down the path some more with no real perception of time or distance (my phone battery had died from the cold temperatures almost immediately), simply enjoying the beauty of Acadia.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path
Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Ocean Path
At around 3 in the afternoon I got a little too hungry to continue, so I turned back for my car. But that was just fine, because I knew Jordan Pond House was still in my future. Jordan Pond House is the only place to eat within Acadia, making it quite the destination. My dad told me I absolutely had to have some popovers and lobster bisque, and I’d like to recommend the same to you. It was the perfect meal to warm me up after being out on the Ocean Path for hours. And the lobster bisque was BOMB.

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond House

(Yeah, I was too hungry and finished everything before taking a picture. Believe me, you’d do the same.) I decided to take a short walk down to Jordan Pond after my meal; the longer visit was planned for the next day. The two round mountains shrouded in fog are known as The Bubbles — not a hike I did this time, but one that I apparently did as a child. Good for me!

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

Maine Road Trip Acadia National Park Jordan Pond

I had planned to go up Cadillac Mountain again for sunset, but as you can see the fog was rolling in and there would have been no view. After some relaxation time at my hotel I drove back into Bar Harbor for dinner. I decided I’d make a normal human choice and not have my third lobster roll dinner in a roll, and I would like you to know I was FULL OF REGRET and did not enjoy my dinner as much as I could have. Let my mistake be a lesson: when you can have a lobster roll, always have a lobster roll.

Previously:
Day 1 and 2: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain

 

Maine Road Trip: Portland, Rockland, and Cadillac Mountain

So, yes, slight delay on the Maine road trip recap. Better late than never! This was a somewhat last-minute trip, stemming from nostalgic feelings for the annual autumn trips my family would take to Acadia National Park when I was a kid. (Incidentally, I have no actual memory of these trips, outside of the home videos we have documenting each year’s visit.) I picked a week in mid-October, hoping that I had timed it right for peak foliage (spoiler alert: I had.)

Maine Road Trip Portland Head Light

I drove up from New Jersey and spent the night in a nice little airbnb in Portland. Having been to both Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine in the same year, I have to say there are definitely similarities between the two. They’re both pretty low-key, newly-trendy cities — and I don’t mean that in a bad way — with great restaurants, shopping, and entertainment. But Portland, Maine has one thing Oregon doesn’t…lighthouses.

Maine Road Trip Portland Head Light
Maine Road Trip Portland Head Light

After dropping off my bags, I drove to Portland Head Light for sunset. Have you ever seen a more picturesque lighthouse? The sunset ended up being disappointing. Of course, this being the east coast means the sun was behind the lighthouse, but I was hoping for some interesting ambient light. Luckily the lighthouse is so good looking, it didn’t really matter.

Maine Road Trip Portland Head Light

Maine Road Trip Portland Head Light

After the lighthouse I had only one thing on my mind: a lobster roll. This may as well have been a lobster roll tour of Maine, that’s how many I had over the course of the trip. But MAN there is nothing better than a fresh lobster roll.

I ate at Portland Lobster Co.: decent roll, the filling was light and delicious, but it could’ve been a bit more substantial. I ate outside overlooking the water. 7/10.

Maine Road Trip Portland Lobster Co

I had planned to wake up for sunrise the next morning, but was feeling pretty drained (this will be a running theme for the rest of the trip…) Instead I got a “late” start at around 8am, at Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse. This one was pretty cool, situated at the end of a very long jetty. Definitely had to pay attention while walking out, as there were deep crevices between the rocks. I saw a couple of runners while I was out there — seriously impressive!

Maine Road Trip Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

Maine Road Trip Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse

From here it was time to start driving to my next destination, Acadia National Park, but not without a stop at Portland’s famous Holy Donut. It was a good thing I got an early start, as they often sell out! Their donuts are made with fresh Maine potatoes — I didn’t even know you could make donuts with potatoes. They definitely have a different texture than your typical cake donut, but were absolutely delicious. So delicious that I didn’t even get a picture of mine before finishing it. Oops! You’ll just have to take my word for it.

On the way up to Acadia I stopped in Rockland for lunch and ate at Main Street Markets, which was actually just a small organic grocer with a fresh juice and small plates bar. I had the simplest meal, and yet I’m still thinking about it — wheat bread with spicy mayo, hard boiled egg, and bacon. SO. GOOD.

Maine Road Trip Main Street Markets

Maine Road Trip Main Street Markets

Once again, I made it to my evening’s destination just in time for sunset. Just a note: if you plan to visit Acadia National Park, you’ll need a car tag to drive around the park. I arrived after the park offices were closed, but luckily I have an America the Beautiful National Park Pass, which is good for a year at all National Parks, so I didn’t need to purchase a park-specific one.

Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain is one of the gems of Acadia, and you can drive right to the summit. But I’ll let you in on a secret — you can’t see the sunset from the summit. Stop just before the top, at the pull off labeled “Blue Hill Overlook.” There’s not a ton of parking there, so try to get there with enough time. This one faces west, and it’s a truly stunning view. This spot holds a special place in my heart — my mom did a watercolor painting of me as a small child up here, and some of my grandmother’s ashes were spread here. I was unable to make the trip when my parents spread her ashes, so it was an emotional moment for me to be there alone, years after the fact.

Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain
Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain

Maine Road Trip Cadillac Mountain

Well and truly starving by the time the sun finally set, I called my parents for a dinner recommendation in Bar Harbor. Dad recommended Route 66, which was a combination of Johnny Rockets and the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant in Disney World. So in a word: perfect. Unabashedly cliché, I ordered the clam chowder and lobster roll combo (and, if I’m remembering correctly, a root beer float) and life was GOOD. 10/10.

Maine Road Trip Route 66 Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor pretty much clears out for the season at the end of October, and I was there for the last week or two that the shops would still be open. I stayed the next two nights at the Cromwell Harbor Motel, which is where I ended up after doing some gift shopping.