Why start the road trip in Portland, Maine, you may ask? Because we found an awesome flight using our United miles that flew from Shannon, Ireland to Portland, Maine via New Jersey. Starting at the most north eastern state as we make our way back to California sounded like a good idea.
This is what a typical flight looks like from Kieran’s point of view…GETTING AROUND:
We thought that renting a car in the states would be super cheap (in CA, you can normally get a car for $15/day), but once we started our research we realized that because we were picking the car up on the east coast and dropping it off on the west coast, we had to pay a “one way” fee which costs more than the car rental itself. So, we just swallowed the painful fee and found as many coupons online as possible.
Here is our little Ford Focus and our first Airbnb in US!
Below is the route that we came up with one day at a time (we usually plan about 2 days in advance at most and sometimes, not at all):
Portland –> Freeport –> Boothbay –> Bangor –> Bar Harbor –> Acadia National Park!
We decided that we would stay in as many Airbnb’s as possible and rent out a private room in someone’s home rather than getting a hotel (which is far more expensive most of the time). The nice thing about Airbnb is that you can email people and ask for a discount which most are willing to accommodate and at the same time you get to hang out with a few locals who can recommend places to see and restaurants to eat at.
Our qualifications for a good Airbnb are as follows:
- great reviews from previous guests,
- private room and bathroom,
- under $75/night.
We have stayed in some awesome places around the world with Airbnb and so far, no crazy stories to speak of. Most people give you plenty of privacy and usually even provide you with a light breakfast!
Our first airbnb stay in US was right outside of Portland, Maine in a town called Hollis with Meg and her adorable pups (see the house above)!
The second spot was in Bangor, Maine on our way to Acadia National Park where we stayed with a lovely Russian woman (who knew there were Russians in Bangor?) who took great care of us and made us delicious breakfast and always gave us snacks for the road. She also runs a Russian/European food store from which we got to sample various yummy foods!
WHAT TO DO:
The roads are beautiful and the towns are adorable. Anywhere you go, you will be greeted with a smile and delicious seafood!
Portland: A beautiful waterfront harbor town that is buzzing on a warm summer night with young people, refreshing breweries and $1 taco Happy Hour.Allagash: Speaking of breweries, Allagash offers an awesome free tour and lots of delicious free sampling. The Irish was in heaven… Old Orchard Beach: Who knew? This beach goes on for miles and packed with families on a hot summer day. We dipped our toes for about 3 seconds and kept moving!
Saco Heath: The perfect spot for a short hike through a protected peat bog.
Cape Elizabeth: A beautiful town just 15 minutes away from Portland where the #1 photographed light house in US is located, the Portland Head Light. Here it is from every angle… Freeport: A tiny town which is home to numerous outlets (where we got to update our wardrobe by buying a few items at Gap) and the home to L.L. Bean headquarters store. I will be honest, neither one of us have ever heard of L.L. Bean (think a sporting goods store on crack)!Boothbay Harbor: another water front town which is packed during the summer season with tourists and yachts!
Acadia National Park: This is the first eastern National Park and it is HUGE. We didn’t have amazing weather, so it was hard to capture the beautiful small island views. I was somehow convinced to do a few pretty advanced hikes (I must have still been suffering from jet lag)!
A bit of horizontal climbing…
and some vertical climbs as well!
WHERE TO EAT:
Eventide Oyster Co: a lively spot in Portland with yummy lobster rolls and great people watching! But a tad overpriced.
Bite into Maine: a popular food truck right by the Portland Light House in Cape Elizabeth. Their lobster rolls are top notch – DO IT!Traveling Lobster: after 5 hours of hiking, this was a must! It was a very delicious and messy meal. For $19, we had to do it once.
Portland Lobster Co: a waterfront seafood spot also located in Portland. The food is just ok, but the ambiance with live music is lovely!Blue Moon Cafe: Great sandwiches if you are in Boothbay Harbor!
Maine is beautiful, very green and a super friendly state. We got very lucky to experience a few beautiful summer days at the end of August. Portland, is like a mini waterfront San Francisco with delicious food and a lively vibe. Look forward to coming back to see what the winter feels and looks like!
New Hampshire and Vermont!