From Cape Ann to Mt. Desert Island: A New England Road Trip

Sometimes the best trips are those with no itinerary and no plans, just a few days to explore and to delight in the surprises that await around every bend in the road. That was the case with a trip my husband and I took up the New England coast one August.

Our flight into Boston's Logan International Airport was delayed, and we drove to Cape Ann in the dark during a rainstorm. The only thing on the schedule was our return flight home several days later. Our destination was Acadia National Park in Maine. With just a road map and a beat-up AAA guidebook to show us the way, we took a couple of days to meander up the New England coast on Highway 1. If there was a Route 1A spur, we took it. If we reached a dead end on a barrier island, we turned around. We explored lighthouses, kitschy beach towns, and hidden coves.

Here is a chronicle of our journey in photos.


The journey begins

Source
Source

We awake to see the sun rising over the Atlantic from our room at the Captain's House Inn. The twin lighthouses on Thacher Island have been guiding ships past the dangerous rock mass since 1771. The 45-foot towers were first American lighthouses built to serve solely as a warning to ships and not to mark a harbor entrance.



Exploring Rockport

Source

Our journey up the New England coast begins in Rockport, Massachusetts. The patchwork of shops and lobster shacks lining the weathered streets captures the town's various incarnations as fishing village, granite shipper and art colony.


Source

Known as Motif No. 1, this lobster shack in the middle of the Rockport Harbor is one of the most painted and photographed buildings in the world.



The New Hampshire coast and Hampton Beach

Source
Source

The day turns hot as we head north. Surfers ride the waves along the New Hampshire Coast.


Source

Families enjoying one last weekend at the shore before school starts call it a day in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, as the sun sets behind them. As the beach empties, the arcades, soda shops and souvenir stands along the boardwalk buzz with tourists.



The coast of Maine

Source

The Nubble Lighthouse sits just off Cape Neddick, Maine, and has guided ships since 1879. The island's nickname "Savage Rock" belies its postcard-perfect setting.


Source

The seven-mile stretch of sand in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, invites us to kick off our shoes and wade into the surf as we enjoy an ice cream cone from a shop on the boardwalk.



Boothbay Harbor

Source
Source

We pull into Boothbay Harbor just as the sun is setting. We are fortunate to find a room on the water with incredible views of the harbor and village.



Exploring Maine lighthouses

Source
Source

A springer spaniel named Spot is buried at the base of Owl's Head Light. Local legend has it that during a terrible storm, with the foghorn broken and the light unable to pierce the dense fog, Spot's loud barking enabled a mail boat to steer clear of the jagged cliffs.


Source

At the southwest point of Mt. Desert Island, the Bass Harbor Lighthouse has guarded the entrance to Bass Harbor and Blue Hill Bay since 1858.



Incredible Acadia National Park

Source

The Precipice Trail's strenuous climb nearly 1,000 feet up the sheer granite face of Champlain Mountain is not for the faint of heart.


Source

After a challenging hike, oven-fresh popovers and fresh-squeezed lemonade are a welcome treat at Jordan Pond House.


Source

The summit of Cadillac Mountain, the highest peak in Acadia and on the United States Atlantic coast, offers views of Bar Harbor and the Porcupine Islands below.



Beautiful Bar Harbor

Source

Many of the giant mansions built along the shore in Bar Harbor as summer "cottages" for wealthy Bostonians and New Yorkers have been converted to guesthouses, like the Moseley Cottage Inn, built in 1884, where we stayed for three nights.


Source

Low tide exposes a sandbar linking Bar Harbor with Bar Island for three hours at a time.


Source

Low tide arrived at sunset, allowing me to capture this photo from the middle of Frenchman Bay.



Our journey along the New England coast

show route and directions
A markerRockport, Massachusetts -
Rockport, MA, USA
[get directions]

B markerHampton Beach, New Hampshire -
Hampton Beach, Hampton, NH 03842, USA
[get directions]

C markerCape Neddick, Maine -
Cape Neddick, ME, USA
[get directions]

D markerOld Orchard Beach, Maine -
Old Orchard Beach, ME, USA
[get directions]

E markerBoothbay Harbor, Maine -
Boothbay Harbor, ME, USA
[get directions]

F markerOwl's Head, Maine -
Owls Head, ME, USA
[get directions]

G markerBass Harbor, Maine -
Bass Harbor, Tremont, ME 04679, USA
[get directions]

H markerAcadia National Park -
Acadia National Park, 109 Cottage St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609-1442, USA
[get directions]

I markerBar Harbor, Maine -
Bar Harbor, ME, USA
[get directions]

More by this Author


Comments 61 comments

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I absolutely love this part of the U.S.A. and have visited many of the same places that you did on your trip. Beautiful pictures!

Voted up, awesome and beautiful,oh and useful too.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Susan! It was my first trip north of Boston and I can't wait to go back. There's so much more to explore.


rambansal profile image

rambansal 5 years ago from India

nice photos and narration.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the read and comment, rambansal.


jenubouka 5 years ago

These photos are amazing! They belong in a gallery, I almost was beginning to think they from another continent.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, jenubouka! It's such a beautiful place, it makes taking photos so easy.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Deborah what a wonderful job you did on this hub! I am keeping in my favorites for a possible visit to this area in the future. I especially love the lighthouses. Thanks for sharing. Voted up!

Thelma


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Thelma. I love the lighthouses, too. It fascinates me how people lived at such desolate locations.


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

I have always been interested in the life of lightkeepers. I have written a hub that you might find interesting about spending your vacation working at a lighthouse. I hope to do that someday.


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden

Wonderful photos! It is so interesting to see how it looks and I enjoyed to travel with the aid of your hub. Thanks for sharing your journey along this beautiful coast. You have done a great hub, voted up, awesome and beautiful!

Tina


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 5 years ago from Iowa Author

Thelma, I'll check out your hub now. Thanks for the recommendation.

Tina, thanks for the comments and votes up. Glad you enjoyed it!


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Gorgeous photos! I always enjoy visiting the East Coast.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 5 years ago from USA

Good visual illustration of your trip. I've always loved lighthouses...my favorite image was the memorial to Spot the Lighthouse dog. Good job!


Eiddwen profile image

Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

What an amamzing hub ;thank you for sharing .

One for me to bookmark into my' Armchair Travelling'slot.

Take care and enjoy your weekend.

Eddy.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks so much, Eddy. I'm glad you enjoyed it! You have a great weekend, too.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

Thank you Deb for the virtual trip! Your pictures were amazing...I was literally there! Looking forward to our next trip:)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Sunshine. So glad you enjoyed the trip up the coast!


KimberlyLake profile image

KimberlyLake 4 years ago from California

Nice pics! Voted up and shared


Curiad profile image

Curiad 4 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

Beautiful Deb, One of my favorite places in that area is Bath, Me.

Thank you for the vacation!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, KimberlyLake and Curiad. We drove through Bath but didn't spend any time there. Will make a point to stop next time!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

How lovely to wake up to the sun rising over the Atlantic....

Fabulous photos, thank you for the virtual visit!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Movie Master. A compliment from you on my photos means a lot!


Pannonica profile image

Pannonica 4 years ago

Deborah this hub is just too depressing!! Only joking - I spent time around the same area a few years back and these gorgeous photographs have brought back some wonderful memories for me. I hope sometime to return to the area again, one of the most picturesque places on earth. Many thanks for posting this hub.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Pannonica. I would love to go back again, especially to Acadia. There's a whole lot more there I'd like to explore.


bankscottage profile image

bankscottage 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

Nice photo tour of the Maine Coast. We have a camp not far from Acadia and we used to live in Bangor. ANP is one of my favorite places to go in the world. Portland Head Lighthouse is photographed more often, but I love Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse. I have a similar picture of the lighthouse only mine has the morning fog in it.

No trip to ANP is complete without popovers.

I love the hike to Bar Island with kids. The day before you show them high tide and tell them, tomorrow, we are going to walk right over there. They think they will walk on water. No pictures of a lobster pound?

Check out my hubs on Maine (2 so far, but more to come) if you would like to relive your trip or make plans to go back.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for the comment, bankcottage. It let me relive my trip just a little bit. : ) I will check out your Maine hubs. It's such a wonderful place to visit. I'm envious that you have a camp there!


Sandy Frost profile image

Sandy Frost 4 years ago from India

What a beautiful and marvelous captures! Photos are so amazing that I think how would be a visit there. Surely, it would be memorable for whole of the life.

Hats off to this hub. Beautiful and voted up.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Sandy. It's a beautiful area and so much to do, too. Thanks for the comment and vote up.


luv2hike profile image

luv2hike 4 years ago

Wow, what a beautiful hub!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for reading and commenting, luv2hike!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

What gorgeous photographs of some of the most picturesque places on the east coast! I love Maine, and I love the pieces of it you've shared here. You're last photograph of the sunset on Frenchman Bay makes me want to get out my paints! Thanks for sharing this. Voted up, beautiful and shared!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

What a lovely chronicle. You took us along the coast with you in those amazing photos...so typical of that part of the country, homey, inviting and in many cases, very rich!

Voted up, awesome, and interesting!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Stephanie! Everywhere we turned was another beautiful scene. I can see how so many artists colonies formed along the coast with all that inspiration. I wish I could paint, but my talent is lacking there so I stick with photos.


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 4 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

What a marvelous tour! The pictures are just awesome. I almost felt as though I were right there with you. Up, beautiful, awesome, and all that!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, tillsontitan. I'd love to get back there again someday. It was a wonderful vacation and the best part was not having a firm itinerary so we could meander.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Sally's Trove. I appreciate the comment and votes. Glad you enjoyed the armchair tour!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Wow - the Precipice Trail looks terrifying! Great photos Deb and it looks like a wonderful trip. I didn't know anything about this part of the USA (though I have been to Boston and Cape Cod) and it definitely looks like a place I would enjoy visiting.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Jools. Yes, it was pretty terrifying. We started out taking jokey pictures on the trail looking like we were scared, but pretty soon it was no longer a joking matter! You really need to get to Maine someday. It's an incredibly beautiful part of the world.


mythicalstorm273 profile image

mythicalstorm273 4 years ago

Stunning pictures! I love traveling and trying out all of the new things and I found this inspiring! I really enjoyed looking through the vacation through the pictures like that. Awesome job telling about some of the sights as well!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thank you, mythicalstorm! I hope I've inspired you to visit some of these places yourself. Thanks for stopping by to read and comment.


Fennelseed profile image

Fennelseed 4 years ago from Australia

Your adventure sounds and looks amazing, what a wonderful place to explore. I love the colour, both by man's hand, as in the bright buildings, and natures colours. The sunset over Boothbay Harbour is just stunning. Nubble lighthouse, like its name is quaint and I love Spot's interesting story. The Precipice Trail must of got your heart thumping, and the views look spectacular. Thank you so much for sharing your journey, Deborah, I have enjoyed this hub very much. My votes and best wishes to you and sharing.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks so much for the wonderful comment, Fennelseed. The gorgeous scenery is quite forgiving to an amateur photographer like me. Thanks, too, for the votes and share.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

This beautiful hub was well worth a second read! It makes me want to revisit Maine! Voted up and shared!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Absolutely beautiful! Your photos are stunning. Loved the Boothbay harbor one. And Mt. Desert can't be beat. It's one of our favorite places. Great hub! Voted up!


PurvisBobbi44 profile image

PurvisBobbi44 4 years ago from Florida

Thanks for the delightful journey, and the beautiful pictures that invites one to visit Maine.

Your hub has made my morning and put a smile on my face. I hope you enjoyed your trip.

Thanks for sharing this with us.

Your Hub friend,

Bobbi Purvis


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, GTF. I can't wait to get back to Acadia someday. We didn't spend nearly enough time there!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Bobbi, glad I was able to make you smile. Thanks for the comment. I hope you make it to Maine some day.


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

I needed another virtual vaca! What better place to take one but here! Thank you again for sharing and creating this beautiful hub! :)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for stopping by, Linda!


am301986 profile image

am301986 4 years ago from New Delhi

One thing I like the most of your hub is the beautifully placed nice photograph. Cheers!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks for stopping by to read and comment, am. Glad you enjoyed it!


mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I really enjoyed the tour. I've never been to this part of our country, and I sure would love to see it

Great photos. I voted UP, etc.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, Mary. You should put it on your list of places to visit. It's a gorgeous part of the country.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Thank you for taking us on a photo journey of your New England vacation! I agree that some of the best trips involve no itineraries, and especially when visiting such a beautiful spot. Your photos are gorgeous. I love the colors and lighting. Voted up!


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa Author

Thank you for reading and commenting, vespawoolf. It's easy to take great photos when there's so much beauty to capture. I'd like to go back some day.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

This was like the Travel Channel! All the best, beautiful photos, explanations and tour! Great job on this one Deborah; you let us tour with you through your camera lens.

Voted all the way across except funny.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks so much for the comment and compliment, Mary. But I'll try to be funnier next time. : )


ryanjhoe profile image

ryanjhoe 3 years ago from Somewhere over the rainbow

Wow! That's very amazing pictures you share. I always love traveling, your experience could be my future reference for traveling. Thank you.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thanks, ryanjhoe! I hope I've inspired you to visit some of these places.


pennylu profile image

pennylu 3 years ago from Georgia

You would make a terrific travel writer for a magazine or newspaper! I have visited these same places (my dad used to summer near Bar Harbor and we would visit him on occasion). I enjoyed both your pictures and descriptions, very much. Thanks for the "armchair" trip to New England.


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa Author

Thank you for the great comment and compliment, pennylu. I'd love to be a travel writer for a magazine someday!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working