Coffee Talk: Maine Vacation Edition

It’s hard to believe our Maine vacation is already nearing its end. Isn’t it odd how you look forward to something for so long and then suddenly it’s over?

While I’ll be glad to be home and get back into my routine, I’ll miss the soothing sound of the lake water lapping up on the shore, the call of the loons, the brilliant sunsets, and the lazy days with no sense of time.

I thought I’d share some pictures of our vacation and more about what we’ve been up to. I’ve been asked for more information about what there is to do in this area so I plan to put together a travel guide at some point, but this post is more of a journal of this trip.

We arrived last Monday and wasted no time going to our favorite local restaurant — Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth, Maine. The girls had boiled lobsters, and I had Lazy Lobster — basically a whole boiled lobster out of its shell, swimming in butter and sherry. #yum

After dinner, Paul took the girls out for their first boat ride of the season. They weren’t excited at all. (Ha!)

They also spent some time puttering around outside, and my husband takes any opportunity to practice his photography.

It’s been rather chilly during most of our stay so they haven’t done as much swimming as usual, but they like wading by the shore and climbing on the rocks.

The next day was July 4th and we stayed at camp all day. (Here in Maine, they call their lake homes camps, but this place is far from camping! It is a modern 4-season home with a complete kitchen, 2 full bathrooms, and 5 bedrooms — some just fit a twin bed, but they offer a decent amount of privacy for a larger family to share the space.)

Also, just so you can visualize, the two walls of the main living area are floor-to-ceiling windows with an unobstructed view of the lake. After my grandfather bought this place over 20 years ago, he gutted it and restructured the inside so it’s more of a modern-day open floor plan, and he put in the walls of windows. That’s my favorite part about the house. It’s not a huge place, but it is roomy and comfortable inside.

We took the girls out early on the morning of the 4th before the lake got crowded for a ride in the band wagon.

That night we made a lobster dinner here at camp. My girls love to help my mom cook lobsters and set the table with her lobster plates and napkins.

Then we had flag cake for dessert. I think that’s an American requirement these days, judging by the amount of these cakes I saw in my Facebook feed!

Later on we stood outside on the dock and watched the fireworks. There were amateur displays going off all around the lake for about an hour, and it was pretty cool. My husband took some amazing pictures.

One of our favorite day trips when we’re in this part of Maine is to visit Castine, and that’s what we did on Wednesday.

Castine, Maine is one of the oldest New England towns on record and home to the Maine Maritime Academy. Fun fact: it’s also home to the oldest continuously-operating post office in the United States. In addition to that, Castine boasts a couple of charming inns, several nice dining options, an abundance of gorgeous historic homes and churches, and a picturesque lighthouse. You can read more about Castine here.

The best part about it is, it’s off the beaten path so it never gets crowded. It’s almost like our little secret.

The Castine Historical Society, Wilson Museum, and Fort Madison are all worth doing once; but we prefer wandering around downtown, taking in the New England architecture and eating outside overlooking the Penobscot River.

We have our routine down pat. We usually start out by eating lunch — which always involves lobster and a cold beer or glass of white wine — at Dennet’s Wharf (recently under new ownership and renamed The Wharf.) Reviews are mixed at this point, but we were willing to take a chance and it was fine. The atmosphere more than makes up for any lack in the service department.

After lunch, we like to walk through town, wandering in and out of shops, and we always grab an ice cream cone at the variety store on the corner.

Then we usually walk or drive the mile out to see Dyce Head Light — one of Maine’s many lighthouses. You can climb down a narrow footpath to a rocky cliff overlooking the ocean. It’s a beautiful spot to sit and soak in the scenery.

The next few days were pretty uneventful. We hung out by the lake, read books, played games, baked a bunch of fruit pies (I’ve lost count), worked puzzles, and napped. Haha!

Yesterday my mom and I took the girls to town to visit my grandfather, and my dad and Paul drove out to Schoodic Point to take pictures.

Would you believe this man is 100 years old? I did no editing to this picture. (And yes, that’s an iPhone in his pocket. He calls it his apple. He likes to look at pictures and that’s about all he does with it, but he takes it with him wherever he goes.)

Schoodic Point is one of the lesser traveled spots in Acadia National Park. It’s located at the southern tip of Schoodic Peninsula in Winter Harbor, Maine.

In years past, we’ve brought our bikes and biked the 5-mile loop around the peninsula, but you can also drive down to the tip and park in the public lot and then walk out onto the rocks for amazing views of the ocean and Cadillac Mountain in the distance.

When the tide is coming in, it creates a magnificent scene with the ocean surf crashing against the cliffs, creating huge sprays like you see on postcards. You can read more about it here.

Paul got some great shots and even took one of himself so there is some proof of his existence on this vacation. Unfortunately he arrived just after high tide, so he didn’t get to see the water splashing up on the rocks, but it’s still a stunning view.

When you bike or drive around the loop, you get some gorgeous scenes like this one. It feels very off-the-beaten-path even though you’re just a few miles from the over-crowded Bar Harbor.

We tend to stay away from Mount Desert Island at this time of year because it has become so popular, but there’s a lot to see and do there, and when I work up a travel guide, I’ll include all of that as well.

That’s about it for our vacation this year. Sometimes we do more sightseeing, but this year we’ve tried to take it easy and lay low. It’s been nice and relaxing.

Today we’ll go to church and take my grandfather to lunch, and then we plan to enjoy what time we have left swimming and boating on the lake. It’s supposed to be warmer today so we want to take advantage of that!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend, and have a blessed Sunday!

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48 Responses

  1. We were just up there two weeks ago. Thuya Gardens and Asticou Gardens both in Northeast Harbor are beautiful and not busy like Bar Harbor proper. Great place to take pics. We only live about 40 minutes from Portsmouth,NH so it was fun to see the shots you took downtown.
    Enjoy the rest of your vacation and thanks for sharing the awesome pics.

  2. I’ve always wanted to go to Maine, and you have confirmed that I must do so soon with your beautiful pictures and details of your stay. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Looks like a lovely trip, Jo-Lynne! Your girls are cute and your grandfather is amazing! He looks great! How special for you and your girls to spend time with him!

  4. So glad you had this time to visit family and enjoy life in my neck of the woods! I have lived in Maine my whole life and I will be curious to see what you include in your travel guide! Have you ever thought of styling anything from LLBean?

    1. I don’t really shop at LL Bean for clothes. It’s a little on the preppy side for my tastes. 🙂 Whereabouts do you live in Maine? My mom grew up in Bangor.

  5. Beautiful scenery and family, JoLynn! Paul’s pic of the fireworks is magazine worthy! I’ve enjoyed your summer vacation very much! Safe travels home.

  6. Wow! You’ve 99% convinced me to take my next vacation in Maine! Do you drive or fly up ? If you drive, how long does it take? And your grandfather looks amazing! A real inspiration! What’s his secret????

    1. Haha, we ask him that all the time. If you ask him, he’ll say, “My mother says I always woke up happy.”

      He’s lived clean, worked hard, and always stayed on top of any medical concerns that cropped up. He comes from strong stock. His mother lived well into her 90s.

  7. Loved your post.. Would love if you posted styles your daughters wear or recommend a fashion blogger for preteens.I have a 12 year old granddaughter and like to shop for her.

    1. She loves American Eagle. Kohls is okay too. She’s 14. My 11-year-old is harder. Kohls and Target are her mainstays right now. I used to do some tween fashion but they don’t cooperate very well these days. :-/

  8. Loved your post–we didn’t make our usual trek to Maine this year (Pemaquid Peninsula about an hour south of Camden), but it was sure fun to see your gorgeous photos and smell the lobster in my head 🙂 NEXT YEAR!!

  9. Thank you for sharing your precious vacation photos and memories Jo-Lynne…I can’t believe your grandfather is 100, he looks much younger! What a blessing to have him in your family for a century!
    Enjoy your day and safe travels ~~

  10. What a great mental vacation for me, while reading about what y’all have been doing. Your grandfather looks soooo good at 100! Truly a blessing. I bet your son hated missing this trip, especially the lobster. Enjoy the rest of your time there, and safe travels home. Good to see Paul, finally!

  11. What a lovely vacation…thank you for sharing your adventures and traditions!

    Reminded me of my uncle on Cape Cod that we used to visit a lot. He used to suggest we find a big flat rock and take it home with us to keep a memento and to bring some vacation back home with us. At first I thought it was goofy, then we started looking for the perfect vacation stone each time we took a major road trip.

    Beautiful post and pics!

    It eventually evolved into a little steppingstone path in our garden. We had to leave it behind when we moved, but it was a treasured part of our yard.

  12. I have loved all your Insta photos of Maine. We just returned from 10 days in Boston and Maine, and absolutely loved it! Maine is definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever traveled to. We went to Bar Harbor. It was a little crowded mid-June, but I think we got there right before the “high” season started. We all definitely want to go back sometime, so your locations look like a great uncrowded option. We will do anything to get away from the Texas heat!


  13. This is great! We are headed to Maine in early October. Being from California we’ve never been before. Anything we shouldn’t miss on a Fall foliage tour? Thanks!

    1. I might be coming back this fall with some girlfriends! I haven’t spent much time up here in the fall but Acadia is probably really pretty. As far as New England goes, Maine isn’t the best state for fall b/c so much of it is evergreen trees. But it’s still really pretty.

  14. Maine is on my vacation to-do list. I’m a West Coast girl and have never been to New England except for a couple of states. I would love to see your travel guide if you ever write a post about it! Thanks for this glimpse. It’s different enough from the west coast that I really would like to see it. What would be the closest airport to fly into?

    1. It depends on the area of Maine you want to see. It’s a huge state. Bangor is the closest major airport to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. If you want to visit southern Maine, Portland has a large airport.

  15. I like this whole post, but my favorite is the picture of your girls with your grandpa. How wonderful!

  16. Thanks for sharing your vacation with us. I’ve been to Bar Harbor as it was a port of call on the cruise I was on. I was only there for the day but it is a beautiful place to visit. Looking forward to reading your travel guide AND your travel packing post. Safe travels home.

  17. Thank you for sharing. It was great to see these photos and read about your travels. We drove through Maine briefly about a year and a half ago and every since, I have wanted to go and vacation there. Someday we hope to. I am glad you enjoyed such a great family vacation. You are a great example to us all of being such a great woman, who loves her family and God.

  18. Beautiful pictures! We’re going to New England (including Acadia!) next week, and I can’t wait! I’ve been taking notes on places to see ( and eat!) from your posts. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Great pictures JoLynne. The lobster dinners look delicious. One of my favorite meals and if they’re sweet enough, you don’t even need butter. You never mention siblings when you go out east. Are you an only child or do you have siblings?

    1. I have one brother, and I adore him, but we don’t come to Maine at the same time because the house isn’t big enough for both our families. 🙂 I see him when I visit my parents in Virginia.

  20. BTW–your grandfather looks great. Much younger looking than 100 years. I can see a family resemblance.

  21. Amazing – went once when I was a kid and we camped in Arcadia Park (think it was the same place). Thank you for the beautiful photos! Jealous of that cool weather too as it’s been nothing but record breaking heat here in AZ for the past month!

  22. Well, Castine was your little secret, until now that is. Haha. Loved taking a little trip with you on your vacation via your blog. Looks like a gorgeous place to visit.

  23. This was such a nice post and your pictures are beautiful! Your grandfather seems pretty amazing! Thanks for sharing with us!

  24. Wonderful pictures! I especially love the fireworks pic! I’ve never been to Maine, this makes me want to go!

  25. What great travel info on Maine. We honeymooned in Bar Harbor close to 43 years ago. The cabin we stayed part of Hinckley’s, now called Hinckley’s Dreamwood Cottages, where my in-laws stayed in 1947 for their honeymoon. Back then it was what we could afford, as we were touring all around that area of New England & had to watch our money! We travel to Maine 3-4 times a year, avoiding the summer. I dont think people realize just how much there is to see & do in Maine! Everything is so historic with a story attached to it. Portland is a great small city to tour, especially on a Duck Boat tour! What a blessing to have a 100 year old granddad! Our daughters were about the same age as your’s, when their grandfather was 100! He was a farmer his whole life & had served in WWI. Oh the stories he could tell! Your time there to me, is truly a dream vacation! Safe travels coming home!

  26. Wow, your husband’s fireworks picture is absolutely stunning!
    Sounds like an amazing time you all have had there! I’ve always wanted to make it up that way. One day!

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