Posted October 13, 2019 – Narrated by Carmen
“The gifts of understanding are presented to those who travel and seek. For to move is to permit change, and to open doors of perception. If opened slowly, considerately, then bouquets of clarity and compassion rush in, and we might indeed discover a quiet place in ourselves that is a state of grace.”– Richard Bangs – The Slow Travel Movement
We pulled Beauty out of Ashuelot under a soft mist inside a light fog. 100 miles later we were in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
On Monday morning we woke to rain tapping on the roof so we went back to sleep. Why rush? Our destination in Maine was only forty miles away.
Later, we pulled out under a blue sky.
Like the slow cooking movement, slow travel and adherence to the 4-3-2 Rule is the LIB way.
New England is an ideal region to exercise the slow travel philosophy because all of the sights and natural wonders are as near as your best friend. No need to rush. Day trips are seldom more than a three mile jaunt.
Coastal Maine, where quintessential small towns – each with a proud Main Street where the library and town hall and the vintage Chinese restaurant clustered around the impressive clock tower in the public square – are strung like white pearls, evenly spaced, along the evergreen lined shoulders of U.S. 1.
That’s not to say that each town is … well, as a New Hampshire man told me, “Seen one Maine town you’ve seen them all.” Nope. Not at all.
Sure, at a glance, the similarities can be striking but if one takes the time each community has a unique character. The great thing about New England is it’s no big deal to just move along till the whoopie pie of your eye appears.
On a whim we visited colorful and rowdy Old Orchard Beach. As seasonal beach towns go it was fun but we just weren’t in the mood. Okay enough of that …
We longed for those picturesque harbors and hideaway beaches nestled between granite cliffs – the sort of places that make you feel as if you’ve been there before.
And we probably have seen them in films and images over the decades. It’s easy to understand how colonizers thought they’d found home. This coast instills a sense of belonging.
We met some wonderful locals on a bike trail who kindly guided us toward more beautiful, yet developing rail trails that meandered through wooded areas, wet lands, coastlines and quiet neighborhoods …
It was definitely a win to ferry over from Portland to Peaks Island on our bikes …
and take in the rugged coastline …
… and cozy village.
Also, while in Portland, we picked up a new television at Best Buy since our not-so-old one had a fatal accident last month while towing Beauty across a rouge pothole …
… but we were consoled by delicious Maine blueberries and …
we enjoyed a craft brew break with David, an instant new friend we met while sharing a table at Barreled Souls Brewing Company.
On our way out of town, we stopped in Freeport and found a new winter coat for Jim at the L.L. Bean Outlet.
Continuing on, we sighted our first Maine lobster …
before stopping at …
Collecting our mail at a bar was a sign that we’d reached the next level of travel mojo.
This micro-campground, on a rural byway less than a mile from its namesake seaside village, has dry, electric-only, and full hook-up sites. We reserved a few weeks ahead and arrived early-afternoon because their pizza oven at The Watershed Tavern, closes at 5PM.
Stopping in Boothbay was one of the best decisions we made on the LIB New England Coastal Tour …
just a couple of miles from town, is a spectacular project …
Our Friend (thank you Nancy) advised us to make time for Red’s Eats, a couple of miles over the bridge in Wiscasset.
Red’s is so popular that even though we arrived an hour before the 11:30 AM opening, we were still sixth in line. By the time we were served the line was wrapping the block – a three hour wait. Worth it! The lunch was the best deal in town and the line was fun and educational as the locals taught us more about the area.
We arrived in Boothbay on the last day of August and stayed for four days, but we could have easily filled two more weeks.
These tranquil, predictable and hospitable Maine villages impart a sense of well-being – like a cushion of civility in a rigid world. And, by taking in the coast on this slow easy-going journey we were able to return the favor by giving the delicate Maine environment a break. And, that’s what we mean by “the Maine thing.”
On to Acadia!
If you want to see our exact route, click here.