Blessed with one of America’s most magnificent coastlines, Maine looms large over New England. Countless islands, deep-water harbors, and wild, glacier-carved bays create the dramatic beauty of Maine’s rocky shores – which, if smoothed from end to end, would stretch more than 3500 miles. Planted along this seascape are fishing villages, summer resorts and picture-book colonial towns, with a thickly settled southern coast and wilder untouched scenery to the northeast. A suitable introduction to Maine is the old city of Portland, whose atmospheric downtown boasts a growing restaurant and gallery scene. East of there, the Midcoast offers a mix of old shipbuilding villages, academic settlements and pretty harbor towns. Further east lies Acadia National Park, a spectacular island of mountains, lakes, fjord-like estuaries and coves. Beyond it stretch the little-visited peninsulas and jagged cliffs running east to Canada.
While the coast is the fame of Maine, inland travel offers ample reward. This is, after all, ‘the pine state’ with forests covering 90% of the land. Thousands of lakes and ponds fill the vast wilderness, with moose and bald eagles far outnumbering humans. Maine’s own stretch of White Mountains provide alpine appeal, luring snow-seekers to slopes near Bethel and Rangeley, while further east lies the cloud-piercing summit of Mt Katahdin.
Adventure comes in many forms in Maine, from racing white-water rapids to kayaking tranquil coves along the coast; there’s hiking, bird-watching, mountain-biking and rock-climbing, with plenty of bucolic B&Bs in which to recover after the day is done. Perhaps best of all are the wondrous fruits of the sea. The lobsters fished from Maine waters have no equal anywhere on earth: other attractions aside, a lobster feast is reason enough to linger here.