Maine: Kittery to Yarmouth
Check out all five New England road trip routes in our 2012 Fall Travel Guide.
Route:Â A leisurely cruise up the Maine coast, with stops in Kittery and Portland; a visit to the cliffs where Winslow Homer once painted.Â Distance:Â 95 miles.Â Car:Â Rolls-Royce Ghost.
A tidal estuary along Goosefare Bay.
Southern Maine is a lazy manâ€™s ride in the fall. Most of summerâ€™s agonizing 15-miles-per-hour beach-town traffic is mercifully gone, yet thereâ€™s little reason to speed now. From Kittery to Yarmouth, Iâ€™ve chosen a gentle cruise, hugging the craggy coastline on narrow cove roads. This is a time to one-hand the wheel, sip an iced tea, and drop my bare feet deep into the lambâ€™s wool rugs of the Rolls-Royce Ghost.
In downtown Kittery, I grab a beer at the Black Birch and chat up a lady with a ukulele under her stool. The bartendersâ€”pulling unlabeled tap handles made from old hammers, steam gauges, and the likeâ€”play vintage soul albums on the record player and serve up Allagash-battered fish with fries and house-made ketchup. Veering off Route 1 to Long Beach Avenue toward Cape Neddick, the Rolls floats alongside the ocean in near silenceâ€”it has self-adjusting air suspensionâ€”and there arenâ€™t any mansions blocking my view of the surging surf. I hook back up with 1, then hop on Route 9, passing through the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge en route to Kennebunkport, where I stop at the swank Tides Beach Club for a lobster roll at the leather-padded, marble-topped bar, flanked by loafer-and-Nantucket-Red types guzzling wine. (My lodging for the night, the Colony Hotel, is more old money and great at mixing gin, but thereâ€™s no A/C or TV in my room.)
An hour more along Route 9 lands me at Len Libby, a Scarborough candy shop that features a 1,700-pound chocolate moose. Tempting, but even with an 18-foot-long Rolls, I donâ€™t have room. I hit Route 207 and arrive at a â€śdead endâ€ť sign a few miles down the road. Other cars turn left onto Route 77, but I head past the sign and down Black Point Road to Prouts Neck, passing a golf course, a bird sanctuary, and the stately Black Point Inn, with its own private coast that includes a section of cliffs where Winslow Homer once painted. (The artistâ€™s studio, recently refurbished by the Portland Museum of Art, is now open for tours.) Then itâ€™s back to Route 77 and north toward Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, a 19th-century military outpost with the big lighthouse that shines on postcards throughout the region.
A few miles later and Iâ€™m docking the car on Fore Street in downtown Portland. I sample root-beer popcorn at Coastal Maine Popcorn Companyâ€”itâ€™s arranged like an ice cream shop, with more than 30 flavorsâ€”and then meander through Portlandâ€™s narrow blocks, following my nose to the jars of maple glaze and habanero-mango aioli at Stonewall Kitchen. Sated and back on Route 1, Iâ€™m on the final stretch to DeLorme, the Yarmouth map company with an enormous globe rotating in its lobby, plus a motley collection of maps, travel guides, and GPS equipment. Such a display might inspire wanderlust in others, but all I want to do is ramble back south along the Maine coast in search of my next lobster roll.
A view of the Saco River Reservoir from Route 9.
A fisherman walks along a tidal river in Wells.
Roadside seafood at Nunanâ€™s Lobster Hut in Kennebunkport.
Check out all five New England road trip routes in ourÂ 2012 Fall Travel Guide.
Source URL: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/09/fall-travel-guide-road-trip-maine/