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Southwest Harbour and Castine?

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Austin, TX
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Southwest Harbour and Castine?

My husband and I are celebrating a wedding anniversary and a special birthday. We have young children and this is our first escape together without them.

We are travling to Bangor on Oct 10th-16th.

We plan to stay at the Claremont Inn for three nights. We plan to explore Acadia from there. Then, we would like to stay in Castine and explore Deer Isle, Stonington, and Belfast. Should we stay in Castine, at the Pentagoet Inn, for 3 nights? Or should we stay for only 2 nights and spend our last night at the Camden Harbour Inn? Is Camden an area worth visiting for the night? We want to see as much as the coast as possible, but don't want to feel rushed and moving around too much. Any advice on traveling in this area would be greatly appreciated!

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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1. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

I'd opt for the Camden Harbour Inn stay. The Inn is on the European model and very highly rated. Camden is a picture-postcard Maine sailing harbor; the view from Mt. Battie is excellent.

On the way from Castine to Camden, you'll cross the Penobscot Narrows Bridge, which has an observatory atop the west tower--worth a stop.

Austin, TX
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2. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

Thanks very much for your advice on staying in Camden and the observatory. Is sailing an option in mid October? If so, based on our travel itinerary, would you suggest any specific locales for sailing?

Also, I'm hoping to create an itinerary that includes an isolated, wilderness experience combined with Maine historical and cultural sights. Is our plan to be in the Southwest Harbor, Castine and Camden area a good one for what we are seeking? Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Maine
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3. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

Why stay in Bangor to explore Acadia? If this were my trip, I'd be staying on the ocean or as close as I could get!

Happy Anniversary!

Austin, TX
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4. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

We are flying into Bangor and driving to the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbour. I thought we could explore Acadia from there. Is there another place to stay that is closer to Acadia, but not in a touristy area like Bar Harbour? Any ideas are appreciated.

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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5. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

Acadia National Park composes roughly half of Mount Desert Island, so you're never very far away.

Austin, TX
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6. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

After staying in Southwest Harbour for 3 nights, on our way to Camden, should we stay in Deer Isle, Stonington, Belfast or Castine? What is the most beautiful area? We are interested in sailing and exploring local culture and cuisine. And of course the outdoor adventure. Where should we stay for a couple nights between Southwest Harbour and Camden?

Bar Harbor, Maine
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for Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park
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7. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

I really haven't had much experience with any of those sites. Stonington is very much a working harbor; the terrain, both in the village and in the harbor, is dramatic (and photogenic, if that interests you). Castine is home to the Maine Maritime Academy. In terms of any sort of "coastal" experience, I would rate both of them above Belfast.

Cape Elizabeth...
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8. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

Nobody loves Castine more than I do. That being said, understand that it is LITERALLY "at the end of the road"-----in other words, it's down a long peninsula and surrounded on 3 sides by sea. So as a place to stay and explore other areas like Deer Isle, you'd be spending a lot of time driving back and forth. That being said, definitely visit! I think it's the most beautiful town in Maine, with fabulous architecture and a rich history. The Pentagoet Inn is lovely, with food to die for (I last ate there in July).

I am a little less familiar with the driving distances from Deer Isle/Stonington since, while I often go there, I am always on my boat. I have a feeling Stonington may have that same issue as Castine in that it is sort of far off the main road. Belfast is nice, but it doesn't quite have that same Maine-coastal feel. On the other hand, it's convenient. Hmmmmm. I guess I vote for Castine or Deer Isle/Stonington (from either of which you could rent kayaks and REALLY see the coast!). I also think the Camden area is worth visiting.

Southwest Harbor is a great choice-----I spend a couple of weeks in Acadia every summer (again, living on my boat)and Southwest is my favorite spot to stay----the village has a nice vibe and fantastic restaurants. There is so much to do in Acadia-----try to get out on the water, even if it's just a short trip to Little Cranberry Island (Isleford) for lunch.

Have a great time!

Cape Elizabeth...
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for Portland, Antigua
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9. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

I just read the second parts of your posting. While there are plenty of isolated, wilderness experiences in Maine, I can't think of how to integrate that with your coastal vacation. To get that experience, you really have to go inland (north and west) and the driving distances around here are long. Perhaps somebody else has some thoughts on that. There is plenty of camping in Acadia, but it is not what I'd call a wilderness experience.

I wish I could help you on the sailing, which is a real passion of mine, but I am not sure what's available in October. By mid-October even I (the die-hard) am getting ready to take my boat out of the water. I know that during the summer there is a schooner that day-sails out of Bar Harbor. There is also a sailboat out of Castine, but that one I believe is summer-only.

A thought on this: On Mt Desert Island, the Chamber of Commerce runs a couple of visitors' centers, and they know everything when it comes to boat-bookings etc. As to Castine, it's a small town where everybody knows everybody and the owner of the Pentagoet will know who (if anyone) is taking people sailing----I guarantee it.

One other thing just to elaborate on an answer to another question you asked: Acadia National Park does indeed cover about 2/3 of Mt. Desert Island. So as you drive around the main roads, you will be entering and exiting the park numerous times. So almost no matter which village you chose to stay in----Southwest, Northeast, Manset, Bass Harbor, etc----you'd be "near" the park. But I think you made a great choice with Southwest.

10. Re: Southwest Harbour and Castine?

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