While it’s fun to visit Maine by car, locals will tell you that the best way to see the state is by water. As someone who lives on a small island with water views from every window, I have to agree. And when I’m not on the island I’m often either on our own small boat, a canoe, or lecturing on a cruise ship traveling up and down the coast. One of these coastal Maine trips might be just right for you, whether you choose one of the mega-cruise ships or a smaller, more intimate one. Both have their advantages. Large ships have something going on 24/7, while smaller ones have the advantage of being able to dock in smaller ports and exploring venues that the big ships can’t get to. Whichever you choose, a Maine coastal trip is a great way to wind up the summer or early fall season.
Midcoast Maine is especially popular right now, with ships docking at, or mooring just outside of, beautiful towns like Camden and Rockland, famous for their handsome downtowns and windjammer fleets; funky Belfast with its art galleries and unusual stores; Castine, tiny in size and huge in history; and Boothbay Harbor with its attractive stores and shops and nearby Botanical Gardens. Some cruise ships bracket these stops with visits to larger towns and cities, such as Bar Harbor and Portland, giving passengers a good overview of the Maine coast.
The weather has been especially beautiful this summer and our fall season is always lovely. Much as I enjoy looking at the water from my island home, being out on it is even better. Hope to see you along the way!
Several people have asked for more information about Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, proving that summer really is around the corner and we’re all making plans at last! The lighthouse is located in New Harbor, Maine, on the Pemaquid Peninsula, and unlike many lighthouses, it’s very easily accessible by car. A lovely park surrounds the lighthouse tower and the former keeper’s quarters. Entrance fee for the park is $2 per person. I haven’t been to the Fishermen’s Museum in the keeper’s house this spring, but in past years, entrance to the museum and to the tower itself has been free, with donations happily accepted by the volunteer group that keeps everything shipshape.
Built in 1827, the lighthouse was first illuminated with whale oil during the heyday of the New England whaling industry, and later by kerosene. It was automated in 1934, ending a need for a lighthouse keeper and his family to be on the premises at all times. If you visit, check out the brick building for the fog bell. When dense fog rolled in, as it often does here, early keepers rang the bell by hand. Later a steam system was set up to ring the bell, and later still, a system of weights. When you see the rugged cliffs on which the lighthouse stands, you’ll understand why mariners appreciated both the light and the bell on the foggy evenings for which Maine is so well known.
Enjoy your visit, and perhaps you’ll even see the resident ghost, a red-haired woman who is said to haunt the keeper’s house from time to time!
Thanks for stopping by, and best wishes to everyone for a happy and thoughtful Memorial Day weekend.