Exploring Maine's rugged and storied coast
|Accommodations||Hotels, Small Inns|
Oct 02, 2023 - Oct 09, 2023
|Single Supp Cost||
The coast of Maine is renowned for its beautiful rocky coast and offshore islands, lighthouses and lobsters, quiet white-steepled churches tucked in small villages, and scenery galore. This is familiar territory for us, and we are excited to be offering this 8-day Coastal Maine hiking trip so close to home.
Time on Monhegan Island, laced with 17 miles of walking trails and home to artists and fishing families alike, will give us a taste of Maine island life. Tucked beneath the high bluffs of the Camden Hills and hugging its well-protected harbor, the quintessential New England village of Camden will offer us vista-rich trails and shop-lined streets to explore.
With its bold granite shores, sparkling lakes, high peaks, quiet harbors, and old, stately inns, Mount Desert Island captures the essence of coastal Maine landscapes. Fittingly, we will spend our last few days walking the graceful carriage trails and rugged mountain paths of Acadia National Park.
Day 1: Portland, Maine, to Monhegan Island
Morning pick-up at Portland International Jetport. After gathering as a group, a two-hour scenic drive up the coast will bring us to the fishing village of Port Clyde. We’ll stop for lunch at a wharf-side diner before catching the ferry out to Monhegan. Once on the island, we’ll have time to settle into our accommodations, take a walk around the village, or just relax on the porch and enjoy the evening. Area orientation and welcome dinner.
MONHEGAN: Of the more than 1,200 islands that dot Maine’s coast, Monhegan Island is considered especially captivating. Located 11 miles offshore, measuring 1½ miles long and a ½ mile wide, Monhegan rises like a whale out of the ocean. Monhegan’s current year-round population of around 75 is a mix of artists and fishermen. In the summer, the population swells to almost 1,200, as the Island attracts vacationers, bird watchers, and anyone looking to experience the peaceful setting created by island life. With 17 miles of hiking trails, there are a variety of options from which to choose, some passing through woods and some following along high cliff tops, rising a dramatic 160 feet above the shore. Dinner and breakfast included.
Day 2: Day Hike on Monhegan
A cluster of grey-shingled houses, the village of Monhegan cloaks the harbor on the east side of the island. There are no paved roads. Aside from a few village pickup trucks, golf carts are the main form of transportation for the locals. The remaining two-thirds of the island is a nature preserve managed by Monhegan Associates. With 17 miles of trails crisscrossing the island, there is a variety of hiking and walking options from which to choose. The trails are numbered and well-trodden.
Around the Village
Day 3: Transfer from Monhegan Island to Camden – Day hike and explore the area
It’s back on the ferry again for our return voyage to Port Clyde. From Port Clyde, it’s about a 40-minute drive up the coast to Camden. We’ll have the next day and a half to hike and explore the area.
ROCKLAND: 30-minutes up the coast from Port Clyde is the town of Rockland. Before the days when the automobile and highways were king, Rockland was a thriving harbor integral to the granite, lime, fishing, and boatbuilding industries. As these industries have faded, the art scene has flourished in Rockland anchored by the Farnworth Museum. Today, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and shops line its main street.
Day 4: Day Hike in the Camden Area – Schooner Olad
CAMDEN: Like many coastal villages, Camden’s heritage is connected to the sea. Shipbuilding and provisioning as well as fishing were the backbones of its economy. Equally important were the six mills that operated along the Megunticook River at the turn of the century. During the 1880s, Camden became a popular summer destination for prominent families from Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Today, 19th-century homes still line Camden’s High Street, and, while shipbuilding and woolen mills are things of the past, the harbor remains a thriving center of boating. Over the years some of the mills have been repurposed, and cool summer sea breezes are still beckoning visitors from “away.”
There are many great hiking and walking options in and around Camden. Camden Hills State Park, with over 30 miles of hiking trails, offers a great variety of hikes with ocean views, thick forests, lakeside cliffs, and open summits covered in wild blueberries.
Day 5: Camden to Mount Desert Island
We will begin the day with a drive to Mount Desert Island, leaving after breakfast and traveling “Downeast” along the coast. We will arrive by lunchtime, with plenty of time for an easy afternoon hike.
MOUNT DESERT: Mount Desert is the second-largest island along the eastern seaboard of the US, and the largest island along the Maine coast. It's thought the island got its name when French explorer Samuel de Champlain described it as L'Isle des Monts-déserts, the island of barren mountains.
About half of the island is a national park. Established first as a National Monument in 1916 by Woodrow Wilson, Acadia was designated a national park in 1919, though at the time it was called Lafayette National Park. The name was officially changed to Acadia in 1929 and today encompasses 49,052 acres. Wanting to travel by carriage and avoid motor cars, between 1915 -1933, John D. Rockefeller Jr. develop a 57-mile network of carriage roads on the island and donated 11,000 acres to the park. The carriage roads still provide a wonderful way to experience the island hiking, walking, or biking.
Day 6 & 7: Hikes in Acadia National Park
There are many great hikes on Mount Desert ranging from easy to strenuous. Those described below are just a few.
Also on Mount Desert:
Day 8: Acadia National Park to Portland
We will depart our hotel after breakfast at about 9:00 am for Portland’s International Jetport, a 3-hour drive give or take. Depending on traffic we will arrive at the Jetport between 12:00 and 1:00 pm.
If you wish to have your own room, there is a single supplement charge. Please let us know if you would like a single at the time of registration, single rooms are very limited. If you are traveling alone and would like to share a room, we will match you with a roommate. If we are unable to match you will a roommate there is a forced single charge of $400.
Airfare, lunches, travel to and from starting/meeting point, optional/individual transfers or excursions, items not on set dinner menu, beverages, tips to guides, insurance, items of a personal nature (phone charges, laundry, excess baggage fees, etc.). Allow roughly $300 in additional costs.
While this trip is van supported, we do ask that you limit yourself to one medium-sized bag that you can easily handle. Keep in mind that you will have to carry it on and off ferries and that not all of our accommodations have elevators. Inn hallways may be narrow and winding. Our suggested packing list may be helpful.
All nights will be in comfortable country inns with private baths.
A full breakfast is provided at the inns. For lunches, we will have the opportunity to shop locally for ingredients for trailside picnics. The inns will also offer bag lunches for purchase, and some days we may have the opportunity to eat at a local cafe, restaurant, or wharf-side diner. Dinners will be either at the inns or a local restaurant, usually at around 6:30 pm – 7:00 pm. The meals will be delicious New England fare. Vegetarian options are not a problem.
The trip will start and end with a pickup and drop off at Portland International Jetport. It is also possible to fly into Boston’s Logan Airport. There is bus service from Logan to Portland, as well as train service from Boston’s North Station in Boston’s city center. Buses and trains arrive in the same terminal in Portland, which is only a short taxi ride from the airport. When making plans please allow for travel time.
We will meet as a group on Day 1 at the Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine at 10:00 am.
The trip ends on Day 8 with a morning transfer to Portland International Jetport, arriving about 1:00 pm.
Please contact us for a more detailed itinerary, for more information, or to register. We're also happy to supply a list of past participants willing to share honest insights into this guided Coastal Maine Hiking experience.
A deposit of $500 along with your completed registration forms will reserve a space on your requested trip. We accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express card as well as personal checks. To make a deposit, you may either follow one of the “Reserve a Trip” links below, give us a call at 1-888-845-5781, or include your payment information in the area provided when completing your registration forms.
The balance is due 75 days prior to departure for most of our trips. When applying less than 75 days prior to departure, full payment is due. For final payments, we accept MasterCard, Visa, and American Express, as well as personal checks.
As confirmation of receipt of your deposit, we will send you a comprehensive packet of information pertaining to your trip, an invoice for final payment and additional information including release agreement form, medical information form, travel information, and packing list. Upon receipt of final payment and no later than 30 days prior to your trip start, you will receive trip rendezvous information and a list of accommodations. Returning trip participants will receive a 5% discount on most trips.
Receipt of all forms will finalize your registration.