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down the road and features a variety of items made by inmates including a large wooden carved biker and his lady friend riding a motorcycle. Wood furniture, wooden sailboats, toys, clothing and kitschy souvenirs such as a lobster-shaped bottle opener or cutting board stamped with the words “Handcrafted At The Maine State Prison” are all priced right. Just down the road is King’s hometown of Rockland. I chose different artists for a visit to the Wyeth Center where three generations of the famous painting family’s works are on display. Part of the works are present in the Farnsworth Art Museum which adjoins the Wyeth Center. N.C. and Andrew Wyeth’s work embodies much of the rugged and harsh beauty that can be found along Maine’s coast and served not just as a wonderful study of them as artists but also to deepen my understanding of Maine.

Acadia National Park

Almost three hours later I paid my park fee and chatted with a ranger at Acadia National Park where I had a reservation for a camping spot in the Black Woods Campsite. When I set up my site I found a young couple who had arrived late quickly trying to set up their campsite in the dark before a rainstorm arrived. “We needed this vacation so bad,” said Lauren Devine of Washington, D.C. “We drove all day. to get here. I honestly just want to be outdoors for awhile.” Acadia is one of the largest national parks on the east coast and tends to see a lot of crowds early in the season. Fall slows down because temperatures scare some people away. Camping is a great budget travel option in Maine with most sites charging between $15-$30 per night. There are many sites to choose from, however all but the national and state parks close after Columbus Day. At Acadia I hiked the Jordon Pond loop and visited the top of Cadillac Mountain at sunset for its breathtaking view of Bar Harbor and all of the islands. Next on my itinerary was Surry, Maine. “You will need to arrive before dark because no cars are allowed and you will have to hike a trail to your cabin. No electronics in the main building. No meat is to be cooked on the premises. You will need a flashlight or a lantern. We use composting toilets.” This was the message I received about the cabin I reserved at the Morgan Bay Zendo, a Buddhist retreat center. After Acadia I anticipated that I would need to recharge. I scheduled a stay in an affordable rustic cabin I found on Airbnb. Each cabin is equipped with a potbelly stove, a comfortable bed and instructions on how to access the showers, kitchen and bathrooms in the main meditation building. The cabins are not equipped with electricity so lanterns are needed. I wanted to take time to focus and rest from all of the travel. The quiet solitude of the grounds was just what I needed. From Surry, I took day trips including one to Hancock just half an hour away where I had my first Maine lobster roll at the popular Ruth and Wimpy’s. Wimpy Wilbur, named after the Popeye character, and his wife Ruth run the lobster shack and restaurant with the infamous fiberglass lobster out front. “We go through about two to three hundred pounds of lobster a day in the summer,” said Wilbur. With bags under his eyes, it is clear that Wilbur is welcoming the next week when his season ends. Niki Foss, a veteran waitress at the restaurant, smiles and hands a regular his bowl of chowder and plate of fries. The dining room only has four customers, a sure sign that the season has diminished and a slower pace is just days away. For my part, I have enjoyed a vacation that is focused on high-fiving those who are set to hibernate for the winter. It has forced me to enjoy what Maine has to offer when it is not putting on its big show for the summer. Here, the adventure begins just in time to bid adieu to those who need the same respite you are seeking. A

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Profile for Jennifer Coombes

AWAY Magazine/Jennifer Coombes  

AWAY Magazine is a travel magazine for those who want to have travel experiences off the beaten path. This fall issue focuses on travel in C...

AWAY Magazine/Jennifer Coombes  

AWAY Magazine is a travel magazine for those who want to have travel experiences off the beaten path. This fall issue focuses on travel in C...

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