Mid Coast Maine, Camden

September 7th, 2014
Pie in the Maine Sky

Like many of our weekend trips, this one filled up very quickly. Paul and I were asleep at the switch for the original booking, but fortunately got in from the waiting list when another couple ran into a conflict with a family obligation.

We left home about 7:30 Friday morning and fortunately found the northbound traffic on 95 pretty manageable; we’re glad we weren’t going south! We met much of the group, by coincidence, at a rest stop a few miles from our meeting place in Kittery. At the driver’s meeting Lillian handed out her usual amazingly thorough trip packets. We drove up the highways and through Freeport , making the ultimate sacrifice by NOT stopping at LL Bean, and then down the ragged coast and around Southport Island to a lunch stop in Boothbay Harbor, where we scattered our patronage among several different restaurants. The slightly lighter off-season traffic continued and we made our way through Wiscasset-“Maine’s Prettiest Village”-and past the folks in line for lobster rolls at Red’s, in record time. In Waldoboro, Lil pointed out the famous Moody’s Diner and the CB chatter turned to talk of blueberry pie. The cravings started. Thanks, Kathy H.! Since no Miata trip should forget ice cream, we made a pit stop at a cute place overlooking the ocean, where I got a Lobster Tracks cone.

After checking in at the Cedar Crest and catching our breath, most of us wandered into Camden for dinner. Paul and I joined several other couples at a lovely restaurant on the harbor with a great view of the water and boats. Camden has a charming downtown with fun shops and restaurants, and a really beautiful small park on the harbor.

We got an early start the next morning and drove through beautiful twisty roads, including some real up-and-down roller-coaster style hills that, with a little more speed, could have gotten us airborne. Since it was Saturday we didn’t get stuck behind a school bus as we had the day before, which caused total frustration to our Zoom Zoom! Our morning destination was Fort Knox and the beautiful Penobscot Narrows bridge. The bridge is a cable-stayed construction similar to Boston’s Zakim Bridge, but they designers cleverly included an observatory in one of the towers. An elevator took us from ground level floor 1 to floor 2-420 feet up! The 360 degree views were spectacular. Our Miata’s looked like little bugs far below, and we had a good view of Fort Knox, a pentagon-shaped granite fort built into the bank of the river.

After descending from the observation tower we toured Fort Knox, a structure which took 25 years to build starting in the 1840’s, but which was never used in combat. Most of the cannons originally outfitted in the fort were melted down during World War II for their metal, but the preservationists had acquired a couple of samples for us to view. We had an informative tour guide and came away glad we didn’t have to live in the fort. While the officer’s quarters had two shallow fireplaces, the enlisted quarters had no source of heat at all, hard to imagine during a Maine winter.

We had lunch in the charming town of Searsport, a well-deserved break after a collective horror show watching a true Maine-iac in an SUV passing every car on the road, Miatas and OTM’s both. The idiot came close to killing himself in head-on collisions numerous times, and we were all glad to be well rid of him. After lunch Lilian led the group on more beautiful, twisty roads, but Paul and I broke off to head back south on Rt. 1, checking out the antique stores. Dinner that night was a traditional New England clam and lobster bake at the hotel’s restaurant.

Sunday proved to be another gorgeous day, if a little chilly from a stiff wind. We drove to the fabulous Owl’s Head Transportation Museum, which had reserved a nice grassy area for the Miata’s and which gave us free admission as exhibitors. It was their Foreign Car Festival, with lots of Porsche’s, MG’s, Citroen’s, and more. The wind kept most of the antique airplanes grounded, but there were a few on display. The museum itself is stunning, with well-curated exhibits representing every form of transportation. Though Paul and I have been there several times, there’s always something new: this time it was a great exhibit about the history of car and motorcycle racing. Owl’s Head is definitely worth a visit if you’re in the mid-Coast area.

Most of us left around mid-day for the trek home, and several of us met up at Moody’s Diner for lunch and, finally, their scrumptious blueberry pie.

Thanks to Lillian for planning a wonderful trip, and thanks to Mother Nature for spectacular early fall weather.

Submitted by Celia Raia

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