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September, 2015

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“Ah Maine. Now that really is somethin’ else”. These were the words of the very helpful man behind the Alamo counter at the car hire centre at Boston’s Logan Airport. A few hours on and we were to discover exactly what he meant! Our journey took us north, just under 200 miles largely along Interstate 95. We bypassed the sandy beaches of the developed resorts of the southern coast and skirted Portland. Our destination was Camden, schooner capital of New England and one of the many stars of Penobscot bay. Once through the Boston suburbs the drive was fairly easy. Evidence of courtesy on the road ,was a refreshing difference from driving in the UK. A stop at the iconic Moody’s Diner on route 1 was a real treat. Apple pie just like Mom used to make! Camden is stunningly beautiful. The harbour is brimming with all kinds of watercraft. Schooners, windjammers, mega yachts, minor yachts, dinghies, kayaks, lobster boats and rowing boats all weaving a kind of watery ballet. Sitting on a bench in the harbour park watching this endless fluid display is fascinating. A schooner trip of a couple of hours is easy to arrange and the choice of vessels is considerable. The Olad, the Appledore, The Lazy Jack 11, or maybe The Surprise? Or perhaps a motorised trip on the Lively Lady to see how lobsters are raised from the deep. Such an excursion necessitates refuelling in the form of a lobster roll and refreshment via a glass of chilled chardonnay. Camden has no shortage of eateries ready to oblige. A drive (or hike if you are feeling energetic) up Mount Battie just a few miles further along route 1 provides the most magnificent view of the harbour. Thin white church spires pierce the abundant foliage that runs to the harbour edge. We had booked a holiday rental house through the agency of ‘On the Water in Maine’. Sea Cliff cottage was our home from home for two weeks and we could not have had a better base. The view from the deck was mesmerising, and if there had not been so much to see and do, I think we could have happily spent our days stretched out on the Adirondack chairs, schooner spotting in the bay. Penobscot bay is not famous for sandy beaches. The glaciers of many millennia ago have carved the granite foreshore into peninsulars that stretch like gnarled fingers into the ocean. The effect is a seascape that is awesomely beautiful. Small towns on the oceans edge bear testament to the seafaring history. Sea Captains houses with widows walks, line main streets where once rope makers and chandlers thrived. There is too much to write of about this part of Maine in this piece – along the coast is Acadia National Park – a chapter on it’s own. If you like fantastic coastal scenery, fresh seafood, small town America, friendly people and a historical story just waiting to be told, then do go. You will not regret a moment of it.


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