DownEast & Acadia
If you’re looking for a travel destination that truly sparkles, you won’t have to look long in the northeastern coast. This is where America’s sunrise begins, at the tip-top of the lighthouse in Lubec. It’s just the start of an inspiring, adventure-filled day you’ll want to experience again and again, sunrise after sunrise.
Everybody knows north, south, east and west. But you have to know something about Maine to know “DownEast.” Back in the day, “DownEast” described the direction sailing ships traveled to get here from New York and Boston. That is, downwind and to the east. Over time, “DownEast” also came to represent the rich maritime history and strong, independent spirit of the people in this special part of the northeastern coast.
The first rays of dawn to touch the United States do so on the face of the West Quoddy Head Light in the DownEast village of Lubec. From there, a world of intense natural beauty comes alive in a union of ocean, coastline and inland wonders that quicken the heart and stir the soul. Summer is simply glorious. Fall explodes with color and passion. Winter is refreshing and calm. And spring ushers in the glorious bloom of nature as the cycle begins all over again.
Speaking of cycles, the ocean tides of DownEast Maine are some of the highest on the planet, with highs and lows occurring twice daily. It truly has to be seen to be believed. If you don’t believe it the first time, there’s always the encore. Also in the “must see” category is Maine’s national treasure, Acadia National Park. And make sure to feast your eyes on the 14 miles of spectacular shoreline of Cobscook Shores, where the recreation opportunities are just as endless.
With so much to explore, a DownEast Maine map is a great place to start. An experienced guide is also an invaluable part of the DownEast experience. North of Acadia, the village of Grand Lake Stream is home to the most concentrated population of Registered Maine Guides in the state. The fishing and hunting are unmatched, as are the opportunities to simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
Places to Visit
Of course, there’s so much more, starting with DownEast’s breathtaking scenic byways: Acadia All-American Road, Blackwoods, Schoodic and The Bold Coast. Or cover some scenic ground on foot on the coastal trails — Great Wass Island, Cutler Coast and Petit Manan. Save room in your schedule and your slideshow for the picturesque island towns of Stonington and Deer Isle, home of the internationally renowned Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
Other Things To Do
You’ll need a boat — tours are available — to visit Machias Seal Island and witness the phenomenon of thousands of Atlantic puffins each summer. While you may not be able to book the Presidential Suite, Roosevelt Campobello International Park invites you to an inside look at FDR’s historic summer home. The American President’s residence is actually just a bit into Canada – so have your passport handy. And save room for those famous Maine wild blueberries and the Machias Blueberry Festival. It’s DownEast delicious.
Featured DownEast & Acadia Towns
With the ocean breezes of its 1.5-mile Waterfront Walkway and the 30,000-acre Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, Calais also offers great paddling and fishing on the St. Croix River.
If Maine’s Blueberry Belt had a shiny buckle, it would be Machias, with its historic Revolutionary War sites and, naturally, the annual Machias Wild Blueberry Festival.
Known as the gateway to Acadia National Park, Ellsworth is also the portal to a time-traveling trip to vintage Maine via the 90-minute Downeast Scenic Railroad. All aboard!
Moose Island is the home of Eastport, the deepest port on the East Coast, featuring the biggest ocean whirlpool in the Western Hemisphere. Plus historic architecture, museums and festivals.
The Schoodic National Scenic Byway is the way to get to Winter Harbor, a picturesque coastal town on the doorstep of Acadia’s Schoodic Peninsula, with not one but two legendary Maine lighthouses.
Regularly appearing on lists of America’s Favorite Towns, Bar Harbor enjoys a very close relationship with its neighbor, Acadia National Park, and all things scenic and inspiring.
For those who enjoy the sporting life and an endless flow of lakes, rivers and recreation, Grand Lakes Stream is awash in all of the above, with some of the best fly fishing in the world.
If you love wildlife watching (think whales and puffins), historic sites, fresh seafood and wild blueberries, you’ll have your pick in Milbridge on the enchanting Narraguagus Bay.
Distinct for being America’s easternmost town, Lubec and Campobello Island are further distinguished by the summer home of FDR, The Gold Coast Scenic Highway and Maine Sculpture Trail.
Home to the Red Paint or Maritime Archaic people 5,000 years ago, Bucksport was also the scene of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 conflicts. Today it’s a working waterfront with a classic seaside downtown.
Stonington harvests more lobster than any other Maine port. The history of its granite industry is written in stone. And the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts weaves together the inspiration of then and now.