For years, the “perfect” vacation meant staying at a resort on a tropical island. But these days, an increasing number of people are choosing a classic road-trip getaway. A scenic drive through towering mountains or along the idyllic coast offers a memorable way to bond with family and friends. Perhaps it’s time to enjoy the journey rather than just the destination.
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With an abundance of nature, Maine is one of the most popular road-trip destinations in the United States. Charming coastal towns and unforgettable inland trails offer history and outdoor adventure. Consider these three options for your next Maine excursion.
Portland stood true to its name as one of America’s largest ports in the 19th century. The once sleepy city has now become a hip, dynamic, sophisticated destination. The central city is bursting with buzz-worthy restaurants, a vibrant cultural life, and trend-setting stores—all easily walkable in a compact urban core.
Stroll through the Old Port area, with its red brick sidewalks, 19th-century buildings, and cobblestone streets. From there, it’s a short walk to Congress Street, the spine of the downtown arts and culture district, which includes the Portland Museum of Art.
While downtown features wonderful art, the East End is home to the Portland Observatory, built in 1807. Experience a unique view of the water from the tower’s 360-degree windows or take a short boat ride to any of the islands in the bay.
Portland’s attractive central city, appealing restaurants, lively cultural scene, and easy walkability make it a city that feels both grounded and contemporary. And if that isn’t intoxicating enough, take a deep breath of the salty ocean breezes.
Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway
The Pequawket Trail Scenic Byway offers a spectacular alternative to the traditional coastal route. The drive focuses on nature and passes by lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and mountains, including scenic views of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The 30-mile drive from Fryeburg to Gilead passes through the White Mountain National Forest and is one of the great northeastern autumn drives to see colorful fall leaves.
The adventure includes Sebago Lake, the second-largest lake in Maine, and Jockey Cap rock with a monument dedicated to Arctic explorer Robert E. Peary, who once lived in Fryeburg. The journey culminates at the picturesque Hemlock covered bridge, an 1857 civil engineering landmark.
The Best Lobster Around
If there is anywhere to try lobster, it’s Maine; the two are inextricably linked. The classic lobster roll, consisting of lobster meat tossed in mayonnaise dressing and served inside a bun, is simple and delicious.
But in Portland, chefs are trying creative variations—lobster tacos with shells made of crisp cheese; warm, buttered lobster served in a Chinese bao bun; and lobster mac and cheese with truffles.
An unforgettable lobster dinner in one of Portland’s waterfront restaurants can be the perfect way to complete a fun-filled day of travel. —Susan Hegger