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THE gems of maine

September 18-25, 2022
Portland, Camden & Bar Harbor

Introduction

Mind’s Eye Travel is based in one of New England’s prettiest harbor towns—Camden, on Maine’s Penobscot Bay—and we’re pleased and proud to show it to our friends. From south to north, from Portland to Bar Harbor and with four days in Camden, you’ll experience the best of downeast Maine. We’ll even tell you why it’s been known as “downeast” since colonial times.

Starting from $3990 per person, occupancy.

Itinerary

Days 1-3, September 18-20

After everyone is settled into our hotel in Portland’s historic Old Port, we’ll gather for a “wicked good” meet & greet dinner at one of the city’s many wonderful restaurants (this is a “foodie” town). Afterward, we’ll stop for a special treat, artisanal gelato or ice cream. 

 

Our itinerary for the next two days includes a narrated tour of Portland’s waterfront in a vintage fire truck and a visit to the oldest of Maine’s 62 lighthouses, Portland Head Light, commissioned by George Washington. There we’ll hear the waves on the granite shore and smell the salt air as we feel our way around the tower to the keeper’s quarters. 

Native Americans called it Casco, but as a European settlement, Portland dates back to 1623. Since then, its history has been rich with shipbuilding, railroading, fires, military actions, famous poets and artists and even Hollywood producers—as we’ll learn in our walking tour of this unique small city. Don’t forget to ask our guide about the Great Portland Rum Riot!

Days 3-6, September 20-22

On Tuesday, en route to Camden in our spacious vans, we’ll stop in nearby Freeport to visit and shop at L.L. Bean, the legendary Maine outfitter founded by Leon Leonwood Bean in 1912. 

 

Then, 90 minutes farther up the coast, we’ll check into the Lord Camden Inn. This evening we’ll stroll (always with our sighted guides) along Bayview Street to the Camden Yacht Club For an al-fresco pizza party. We’re likely to hear plenty of boats passing by within a stone’s throw.

 

On Wednesday, after a leisurely breakfast, we’ll walk back to the harbor and board our comfortable 30-foot cruiser, where you may sit in the open air or under cover. We’ll motor out into Penobscot Bay, turn south past Curtis Island and proceed to Rockport Harbor for a catered picnic lunch (including Maine’s famous whoopie pies). This afternoon, those who wish to will hike up Mt. Battie to the seaside overlook where local girl Edna St. Vincent Millay wrote her famous poem 'Renascence'.

 

Optional: Sail the bay on the windjammer Surprise or take a lobstering excursion aboard Lively Lady II.

 

On Thursday, we’ll have a private tour of the Owls Head Transportation Museum in nearby Rockland. This world-class collection includes more than 150 historic cars, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and airplanes, many of which still drive and fly. Docents will explain the displays and let us run our hands over some of them.

 

In addition, our friends at the Mid-Maine Sports Car Club will offer rides in classic cars by Aston Martin, Bugatti, MG, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, Morgan and Ferrari. Think low-slung seats, snarling motors and wind in your hair.

 

Optional (by reservation and weather permitting): Model T Ford rides and biplane flights.

 

Today we’ll lunch outdoors at McLoon’s Lobster Shack next to the wharf in South Thomaston, where we’ll hear lobsterboats pull up to deliver their catch. If a well-stuffed lobster roll isn’t to your fancy, McLoon’s also serves burgers, hot dogs and other picnic fare

days 6-8, september 22-24

Friday morning, we leave Camden and drive a couple of hours farther downeast to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park, where the Rockefellers and other notable American families built grand summer cottages. On the way, we’ll stop at Momo's Cheesecake Bakery, which operates on the honor system. We’ll put $6 in the jar for each of you; then you choose one of 30 flavors and enjoy it outside on the picnic tables.

 

Our home for the next two nights will be the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa, established 1887. It’s right on Frenchman Bay at the town landing, amid shops and cafés. Bar Harbor’s circular 1.5-mile Shore Path also begins and ends at our hotel. In your free time, you’ll find that the path is well groomed and easy to walk, and hearing the waves and feeling the breeze and sun on your face is highly therapeutic.

 

This afternoon we’ll take a walking tour of Bar Harbor with a local guide, who will share stories and secrets from the Gilded Age and the era of the rumrunners, and tell tales of the people who made Bar Harbor so prominent. 

 

The next day, Saturday, our first stop will be Acadia’s information Center. If you don’t already have a National Parks Access Pass, this is the place to get one. The pass—which is free to us blind people—provides lifelong entry to all US national parks. Then we’ll do the Acadia Park loop tour, at our own pace and with plenty of time. The high point—literally—will be the summit of Cadillac Mountain, where the sun first touches the US each day. We’ll also visit Sand Beach, taking the steps down to the water’s edge to hear the waves and the gulls and taste the sea air. You may even wish to dip your toes into the frigid North Atlantic. And then at Jordan Pond, we’ll enjoy the traditional popovers with homemade jam. 

 

Optional: horse-drawn carriage rides in the park.

 

Our visit to Bar Harbor will end on a high note: a lobster-bake supper, with chowder, lobsters in the shell, mussels, corn on the cob, potatoes and dessert. We’ll show you how to crack open a lobster—or, if that’s not to your taste, steak and chicken will also be available.

Day 8, september 25

On Sunday, we’ll travel by van to the village of Unity, Maine, for the famous Common Ground Fair produced by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Activities include sheep-shearing, draft-horse and oxen demonstrations, country dancing, music, basket-weaving and more, as well as hundreds of exhibitors and plenty of good food to sample. This event is unique among country fairs and brings people from all over New England.

 

Finally, it’ll be time to return to the Portland Jetport for your late-afternoon or evening flight home. If you prefer to stay overnight in Portland and fly home the next day, there are reasonably priced hotels nearby that offer airport shuttles.

The Details

  • $3990 per person, double occupancy

  • $4999 per person, single occupancy

  • 7 nights’ accommodations, breakfast each morning, three dinners, two lunches and MoMo’s cheesecake.

  • All activities as described except optional activities.

  • One sighted guide per person.

  • A $750 deposit per person is required to hold space; the balance will be due 90 days prior to the trip, after which fees will no longer be refundable.

  • Price is for double occupancy and does not include airfare, alcoholic beverages, personal items or any gratuities.

  • Mind’s Eye Travel recommends trip insurance. 

  • Our trips are non-smoking and not combinable with any other offer.

  • Until further notice Mind's Eye Travel clients and guides must be fully vaccinated (including booster shots) against COVID-19.