Coastal Maine: The DownEast Acadia Region

If it weren’t for the harsh winters and chilly springs, Maine would be my favorite state in the U.S. I highly recommend a drive to explore coastal Maine, especially the DownEast Acadia region. There are several good facilities for hiking, sailing, and recreation.

There are several guidebooks to choose from for your trip to Maine, and the state’s information centers are great places to browse a wealth of brochures. My favorite information center is located in Yarmouth, a 15-minute drive on I-295 N from Portland. There are travel counselors to help you plan your Maine visit.


Drive along the coast of Maine stopping at lighthouses, fishing villages, and then onward to Lubec, the easternmost point in the contiguous U.S.

DownEast Maine

My favorite part of Maine is DownEast—from Acadia National Park to Lubec. The small fishing villages, lighthouses, islands, etc., might seem remote and bleak for many, but not for me.


The Acadia National Park in Maine is a 47,000-acre recreation area on Mount Desert Island. Plan on viewing the video presentation at the Center. It’s shown every 30-minutes. Drive up to Cadillac Mountain to watch a sunrise or sunset, hike the paths, or take a carriage ride.


Maine has several hiking trails that range from easy to extreme on the difficulty scale. Mount Katahdin Loop, a 17 mile moderately trafficked loop trail, is rated as difficult. The Wells Reserve trail is rated easy and features signs to help you find your way, identify plants and animals, etc. Acadia National Park has over 125 miles of hiking trails.


The shoreline of Maine is dramatic. Take your time to explore. The 3,478-mile tidal shoreline is the fourth-longest in the U.S., surpassing those of Texas and California. There are over 4,000 islands off Maine’s coast. 15 of them are unbridged and support year-round populations. Spend a day at sea on a chartered sailboat or go on a lobster boat tour and learn to haul in lobster traps from a fisherman.


You’re in Maine; you have to try lobster. There are several good places all across the city of Portland and beyond to enjoy lobster. Your lobster meal may be priced depending on the day’s catch. Hence, it is okay to ask the price for the day as you decide on your order.

Fishing Village

Cutler, a small fishing village on Route 191, felt authentic to me and is a must-visit if you wish to experience Maine that has been untouched by tourism. Fishing vessels and lobster boats base at the harbor. There are no hotels, motels, restaurants, or stores. The Cutler Coast Preserve has a remote 1.5-mile loop hike with a leg that hugs the Bold Coast and offers wonderful views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Pemaquid Point Light

The name “Pemaquid” is of Micmac origin and pem/pemi means “extending” while equid means “situated.”

The Pemaquid Point Light is open to the general public for climbing. I recommend the climb on a spiral staircase to enjoy a wonderful view of the surrounding seascape and a working fourth-order Fresnel lens. The height of the present tower, built in 1835, is 38 feet and shows a flashing white light every 6 seconds that is visible 14 nautical miles.

Bell House

The bell house originally contained a hand operated fog bell, which was replaced with a bell operated by duplicate Shipman oil burning steam engines to ring it. This lasted for a year and was replaced by a Stevens machine. The adjacent tower contained the weights. At the onset of poor visibility the light keeper would wind up the Stevens machine, which brought the weights to the top of the bell tower. As the weights slowly descended, the bell rang at regular intervals for approximately 6-8 hours.

West Quoddy Head Light

The easternmost point of the contiguous United States is West Quoddy Head in Maine. Located in Quoddy Head State Park, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse was originally built in 1808 but the tower you see today was built in 1858. The height of the tower is 49 feet with a third-order Fresnel lens. There are two white flashes every 15 seconds and the fog signal has two blasts every 30 seconds.

Red stripes on the West Quoddy Head Lighthouse help it to stand out against snow. The only other lighthouse in the United States with horizontal red and white stripes is Assateague Light in Virginia.

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