Autumn 2012, my sisters and I (seniors) plan to do a scenic drive out from Portland, ME. Elevated vistas, quaint villages, and natural attractions are what we seek, not large cities or shopping--and eating is only a necessity, not a focus. Perhaps one natural history museum would fit in. We'll be on an efficient schedule that should go something like this:
1. Arrive and stay Portland
2. Interstate to reach Acadia N/P, lunch in Bar Harbor, drive the eastern loop & Cadillac Mtn., then stay in Ellsworth.
3. Highway #1 along Maine coast into New Brunswick--Hopewell Rocks, the Gorge at St. George, Carlton Martello Tower--stay in St. John, NB.
4. Ferry to Digby, NS, drive east on #101 to Wolfville and Cobequid Bay, Burncoat Head for tides, continue to Halifax for night.
5. Museum, Peggy's Cove until mid-afternoon. Pickup highways #102 and #104 around Bay of Fundy. Best place to overnight between Truro to Amherst? Prefer chain hotel.
6. Most interesting route back to St. John, NB--Fundy N/P (west from Hwy. 2 or drop down from Hwy. 1) then through St. Martins?
7. Return to Bar Harbor and stay Ellsworth.
8. Back to Portland, ME.
Would appreciate any insider's suggestions for unique scenery along this course as well as routing to maximize the access to best attractions.
Regarding Hopewell Rocks--if we go after it closes on Oct. 8, how long/difficult is the way to the beach on foot, and where do you find the access?
Is Fundy N/P worth the detour in terms of easy access to waterfalls, etc. or do most features require long hikes?
We really need to cut this down to 8 days, but not sure what to give up, so would like to hear from readers about that, too. (Realize it will be slow going on the 2-lane coutry roads.)