I recently just returned from Maine, and heeding the advice from my agent, I took it all in and we decided a column upon return would be more appropriate.
I couldn’t agree more.
I was able to be more in the moment, more in touch with myself and the physical surroundings of such an astonishing state. If you’re a nature lover like I am, Maine is your paradise. With it’s endless miles of untouched forests, coastlines you only dream about and see in movies, and hospitable locals that are more than willing to show you around, my time in Maine was filled with endless memories that will last a lifetime.
Prior to my arrival, I put together a bucket list of what I wanted to see and do. By the end of the trip, I had accomplished all of them! With three weeks in vacationland, it was pretty easy to do.
First on my list, was a visit to L.L. Bean in Freeport, the flagship location and best known for it’s gigantic bean boot in front of the store. Growing up, I had visions of this building being a simple place that was near the ocean. To my surprise, L.L. Bean grew up! The flagship location has an expansive campus and just across the street are outlets where you can continue to spend your vacation money.
Product placement. You can’t tell me this isn’t pure genius. I came to see a boot and I suddenly found myself walking away with bags of merchandise from several different stores. I have definitely helped the local economy!
L.L Bean is best known for their customer service as well as their high quality merchandise. I have been a customer for years, and stand by the company, so it was obvious that checking out the flagship store just had to be first on my list, as well as reserving paddle boarding classes for the next three weeks I would be in town compliments of their Outdoor Adventure School where you are able to book everything from kayaking to overnight trips and hiking excursions.
Next on my list was a visit to Acadia National Park over the weekend. I made sure to invite one of my adventure buddies up for this trip, and we both have never been. We decided to camp over the weekend at one of the many campsites within the park. Our site was perfectly located near the ocean, and at night we were able to hike down to the rocky coastline and watch as the waves crashed ashore amid the abundance of stars overhead, but not before a 15 mile hike, of course.
We decided on hiking Cadillac Mountain, a trail from our campsite led us right to it. We ventured off around 2PM and didn’t return back to camp until nearly 9PM. It was the hike of all hikes! With gorgeous sunset views over the endless ocean dotted with islands, we couldn’t have chosen a better hike in the park. As we traversed the trail, we made our way past the tree line and straight to the top of the summit, where people were driving up to catch the sunset.
Can you imagine, all that hiking and we could have just drove? Well, it wouldn’t have been as adventurous I say. I say that with confidence as we found ourselves hiking back in the dark, and with every little noise we heard in the distance, we could have sworn that we were going to see a moose. Nope, just a family of deer actually. I’m convinced that my favorite animal in the world does not ever want me to see him again.
After a long day, it was time to turn in once we arrived back to camp, after all we had a sunrise to catch at 4:30AM, and amazingly we were able to wake up on time to catch it after all that hiking even though my legs now felt like rubber bands.
The sunrises in Acadia are some of the best in the world. Acadia is the first spot in the United States to get the sunrise, and once it rose over the pine covered bluffs, we were certainly treated to one heck of a show. Words just can’t describe it. Pictures are worth a million more words, but even they can’t do justice for how incredible it was at that very moment in time.
Acadia was everything that I had imagined it would be, but it wasn’t a place I wanted to leave. There’s so much more to take in at one of our countries greatest national parks, that it will take you much more than just one day.
While Acadia was great, next on my list was a visit to the famed Portland Head Light. Based on Cape Elizabeth just outside of Portland, this lighthouse is everything you picture when you think of Maine. Waves crashing along a rocky coastline, while a dated lighthouse from yesteryear flashes its light into the distance. If lighthouses are your thing, I strongly suggest taking a stroll along the Portland coastline to this gem, and once you’ve made it, you may find that you don’t want to leave as you feel a world away.
Last on my list was a trip to Ogunquit. Being a gay man, it was just a natural pick. Ogunquit is the Provincetown of the north, and for good reason. With its majestic views of the seaside and quaint village shops and unique eateries, this is a summer destination that is quintessential New England. Getting to spend a weekend here with a great group of friends that came up from Connecticut to visit meant the world to me as we all shared in some pretty great memories along the Maine coast.
Maine was a trip I will never forget. I can’t exactly put into words just how much I felt like myself. I felt in my element. I felt alive. I just felt right.
Three weeks in vacationland and I knew at some point I would have to stroll back home, but reality hit me on leaving day that I was departing what had suddenly started to feel like home to me. It was a tearful goodbye, one where if I were still a kid, I would be kicking and screaming not to leave. I will undoubtedly continue to make many more trips to my new found paradise, and I can’t wait to continue to explore some more.
Until next time, Maine.