Maine’s intricate coastline is filled with hundreds of small harbors, inlets, pocket beaches and rocky cliffs that were formed by powerful glacial activity at the end of the last ice age. First, rising sea levels flooded the coastlands and carved out bays and islands where there were once valleys and mountain tops. Following this period, the land mass rose slightly, resulting in today’s rocky, hard to navigate and wild coastline. Today, the mid coast area between Portland and Bar Harbor, is home to a few major cities such as Freeport, Bath and Rockland but still houses many small villages and isolated landmarks.
During our recent visit to Maine’s mid-coast we veered off Route 1 to explore Pemaquid Point in Bristol. Just 20 minutes down Route 30 we found Bristol’s Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park, home to a 180 year old lighthouse that is still owned by the Coast Guard. The adjacent keeper’s home is used as a volunteer-maintained Fisherman’s Museum. We arrived as a an outdoor wedding ceremony was ending and one look at the amazing views of pounding surf and surrounding rocky ledges told us why the bride and groom has selected this truly special location. If you visit, plan to take the time to scamper down the rocks to the water’s edge. The power of the surf is breathtaking.
From Bristol, we returned to Route 1 briefly before making another side trip to Reid State Park at the Southern tip of Georgetown Island. The well maintained park provides access to two sandy beaches, rocky ledges, boardwalks and protected inlets. It is an expansive park with a bathhouse, lifeguards, a snack bar, picnic tables and plenty of parking. Of course, it is Maine, so don’t be surprised if the water temperatures barely make it above 60 degrees even in August! Several miles of trails lead over the sand dunes and salt marshes on boardwalks and through the woods beyond the beach but be warned, as the sun goes down the flies come out and they are voracious!
Just down the road from Reid State Park we also discovered an idyllic country inn, the Grey Havens, that is perfect for a grown-ups getaway! With a full dining room and bar and exquisite views from the rocking chairs on the front porch, mom and dad were sad that we only had one night the enjoy the inn’s hospitality.
The Grey Havens is about as romantic a destination as you will find along Maine’s quiet mid-coast and we highly recommend it if parents are looking to rekindle the romance without kids in tow. The views from the turret rooms and the front porch are worth the trip all on their own. (Note we paid for our stay out of pocket and the owners didn’t know we’d give them a mention here!)
Maine’s mid-coast is home to many other quiet and romantic inlets, inns and lighthouses, we just wish we had been able to take the time to explore them all. If you know of a special place to visit on the coast of Maine, leave a comment and let us know about it.