OK -- Here's an odd road trip for ya. I live in Mystic, CT, and will be heading to the Jersey Shore in late June for about 5 days. Although I'm a native "Jersey Girl", I've never done any camping in the Shore region. We need tips on good campgrounds that are close to the beach, anywhere between Seaside Heights and Cape May but especially close to the Wildwoods. (I want to photograph the wild retro signage and architecture!)Any other tips on that part of the Shore would be great, too. I'm more familiar with the Northern end, so I'm a South Jersey newbie.
Immediately after that we are heading to Midcoast Maine for the second 5 days. We'll be centered around Boothbay for an event, but I'd like some tips on eateries and places to see. I was thinking aboutn taking a boat to Monhegan for the day. Offbeat, quirky, and old-school Classic Maine places are my favorite.
Thanks in advance for any help!
Stonington Harbor -- Deer Isle
Stonington Harbor is about as old school as it gets.
In the last couple of days there have been some really cool Maine destinations posted here (use the gray search buttons) but Durham has a very cool, retro-sorta sauna-commune (actually, my intel might be rusty).
I live in the Boothbay area so am really familiar with it.
Best breakfast: Ebb Tide which is a funky little restaurant that's been around forever, has great food and very cheap. They also make a great fish chowder and their peach shortcake is out of this world and huge! Don't let the lines scare you off however; they move quickly :).
For lunch; Another funky little place but this one overlooks the harbor. You can sit inside or out. They have stuff like quiche, lobster salad, homemade soups and desserts, burgers, quesadillas.
Both of the above places are right on Commercial St., the major street through town.
For dinner; If you want upscale and don't mind spending some money, try the Spruce Pt. Inn on Spruce Pt or the Lawnmeer Inn on Southport Island (both places are about a 10 minute drive outside of Boothbay) and both have beautiful water views. Another place with good food but not as good as the above is the Ocean Pt. Inn. Again, the views and atmosphere are wonderful.
Other good bets are the following: Carriage House in East Boothbay on the Ocean Pt. Road or the Thistle Inn on Oak St. Both places serve good food and have separate pub areas. The Thistle has live entertainment on the weekends, ie piano player or guitarist.
For lobster in the rough either try the Lobsterman's Co-op on the east side on Atlantic Ave or Robinsons Wharf on nearby Southport Island. Both places overlook the water, are reasonably priced, and if you want, can pick your own lobster.
Definitely go to Monhegan Island. It's a beautiful, unspoiled island with tons of hiking trails (very easy to difficult); spectacular views; deep forests; tons of artists; a gallery or two and a couple of sandwich shops, along with some B&B's and the Island Inn.
Best best is to bring a backpack with lunch, water, and camera. Taking the ferry from BBH only leaves you 3 hours to spend on the island, so why spend time waiting for a sandwich to be made at a shop when you can hike to a bluff and have lunch overlooking the sea and possibly spotting a whale?
Don't miss the drive out to both Ocean Pt. (about 15 minutes outside of downtown BBH) or Cape Newagen on Southport Island. Also on Southport is a tiny little low-tide, cove like beach with a lighthouse called Hendricks Head Beach/Lighthouse. Check a local guide on directions.
Another pretty drive is out to Little River in Boothbay. Take rt. 96 to King Phillips Trail and just follow the road. It goes around a loop and has nice views of forest, open ocean, and a lovely Little River which is predominately occupied by lobsterman.
Downtown, stop at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation's Gallery for great art done by local artists of local scenery. Reasonable prices for original work and limited edition prints.
Also stop at Abacus which is a very upscale crafts shop. Expensive but it's fun to browse.
There is also a small aquarium on McKnown Pt. that is great for kids. They have touch tanks and the views outside are beautiful.
Also take any number of boating tours. The area is best seen by the water plus the captains will fill you in on all the local scenery and gossip :).
Enjoy your trip and hope you have a great time!
Hi, I certainly appreciate Melanie's note about Maine. I also will be heading that way so I printed out the info.
I have been up to Maine several times as we are somehow drawn to Calais ME & find our way over to New Brunswick in Canada. It depends which road we pick but we like the city of Camden. It is very picturesque with lots of little shops.
We stayed in a cheaper motel a couple of miles north in Belfast. It has become 1 of our favorite areas also.