We took our time the next morning, enjoying our coffee and having a lazy breakfast. We packed up and moved out, heading about 3 hours northeast to the coast of Maine. Getting on Highway 1 we started to catch some glimpses of the beautiful coastline as it wound its way through small coastal towns and up over hilly terrain. We finally arrived at our campground for the next four nights: Megunticook Campground which is located between Rockland and Rockport, right on the ocean. It isn’t too expensive and we had a full hookup, so we could enjoy our showers and wash a lot of laundry. The view from the campground is fantastic and we spent a lot of time out on their deck, both in the mornings with our coffee and then in the evenings with our wine.
Day one took us up into Rockport where we picked up some fresh lobster for dinner. It was excellent, and the first of MANY lobster meals that I would eat during our stay here. We relaxed, enjoyed the beauty of the natural surroundings, and settled in for the night.
The next day we woke up and went down to Rockland to explore for a bit. We walked around and looked in the shops, then we ate lunch at the Rockland Cafe. Val and I both got some excellent seafood chowder, which of course had a lot of lobster in it. We also explored the Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse that sits in the harbor. There is a big stone jetty that stretches the better part of a mile out into the harbor, with the lighthouse at the end. You can walk on these massive stones, but with care because there are gaps between them. The lighthouse was built in 1902 and normally offers tours, however due to a lack of volunteers it wasn’t open the day we walked out there. That’s ok though, because due to the magic of drones I was still able to get some great photos even without accessing the lighthouse. We headed back to Marty to let Brooks take a nap, then I went to a great fish market in Rockland to pick up fresh Halibut that had just been caught and delivered to the market. That evening it started to rain, but I sat under the awning and put it on the grill while the boys watched Shrek inside. It was excellent! I wish we could get it fresh in Athens.
Day three would be quite memorable, because we hopped in the car and drove an hour south to Booth Bay to go whale watching. This is something that none of us have ever done, so we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were really excited about it. We headed out on the Cap’n Fish Whale Watching tour which took us almost 30 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. We were out to far that you couldn’t see land anymore. Everyone on the boat was on the lookout for whales, because there are no guarantees and you never know what you will find. After a while, we started to wonder if we would spot anything. The boat slowed and we crept up on a Basking Shark, which is the second largest shark in the world. It was huge! I only was able to photograph the fin because I didn’t have on my polarizer to cut down on the glare on the water’s surface. After seeing the shark, we continued on with hopes of seeing a whale. Way off on the horizon, I spotted what I thought was a spout of water. Val thought she saw it too, so I walked over to the captain and told him where I had seen it. The boat turned and accelerated in that direction, and 5 minutes later we found ourselves in a pod of whales. These were all Fin Whales, which are the second largest whales behind the Blue Whale. They were massive, and they would blow water 20+ feet in the air when they surfaced. It was really hard to photograph them though, because you never knew when they would surface, and it happened quickly. After a few breaths, they would dive deep into the water and might not surface again for 30 minutes. So I was never able to photograph the spout of water, but I did get some photos and video of the whales breaching the surface of the sea. What an incredible day, one that we will remember for a long, long time. Of course Brooks wasn’t quite as interested in all of this since it was the middle of his nap time, so he spent almost the entire voyage taking a nap on one of the benches. We got back to shore, grabbed some ice cream on the harbor, then hopped in the car and headed back towards home (what we call Marty in the summer). When we got to Rockland we stopped at a restaurant called Claws where I had a lobster roll and Val had some really good lobster macaroni and cheese.
Day four was a bit more relaxed, though we still had plenty to occupy us. After a lazy morning, we rolled a few miles up the road to Beech Hill Preserve. The owners of the campground told us about it and I am really glad they did. An easy one mile hike to the top of the mountain brought some amazing views of the surrounding countryside as well as West Penobscot Bay. Adding to the beauty of the setting is an old stone building, constructed with a sod roof (which had tons of wildflowers on it) in 1913. Amazingly, each of the buildings numerous stones was hauled in a burlap bag to the summit by a horse. It was very beautiful up there. After the hike we headed back to Marty for lunch, Brooks’ nap, and to do some laundry. When Brooks woke up, we headed up the road a few miles to Camden, which is an idyllic little town right on the coast with mountains right behind it. It is a beautiful setting and we really enjoyed strolling the streets and taking in the views. It started to rain a bit so we stopped at a little cafe that had a beautiful deck overlooking the bay, but also big umbrellas for shelter. I had a local beer, Val had a glass of wine, and the kids had a little snack. One thing about Maine: it is cold compared to Georgia. So cold that we had to buy knit caps before going on the whale watching tour. Lows go down to about 50 at night, with highs hovering in the low 60s over the past few days. Val gets cold easily so she was pretty much shivering after 30 minutes out on the deck. We went back to the car, picked up some stuff for a lobster salad, then headed back to Marty for dinner. It was a nice day on the coast of Maine and a great way to wrap up our time here near Rockport. Next up we are spoiling ourselves and staying right on the water, and the nice thing is it is only 30 minutes up the road.