Written By: Elizabeth Lovejoy Knauss

With a state population slightly smaller than that of the city of Philadelphia, Maine makes for a placid and unobtrusive getaway. If you own a car, some of the best destinations Maine has to offer are in a New Yorker’s backyard. The coast of Maine contains some of the most eclectic territory along the east coast.

My boyfriend and I started our trip through Maine in a hurricane-like storm at 2 a.m. Although the weather was literally life-threatening, we arrived at our serene bed and breakfast, The Brannon Bunker Inn, without so much as a sneeze. An abundance of WWI relics adorned the halls that lead from our room to the breakfast nook, where homemade blueberry and walnuts muffins are served every morning. Each room in this 19th century home looks out on a blanket of wild, purple Lupine, where the owners say they have seen moose grazing.

After we finished our continental breakfast, we set out to have an authentic Maine experience. We first visited the small Maine State Aquarium near Boothbay Harbor, a popular tourist area. The aquarium has two touch tanks, containing dozens of seas creatures – including lobsters, crabs, sharks – indigenous to the coast of Maine. With a small entry fee of $5, we spent an hour learning about marine life we had never known existed.

The nearby Robinson’’s Wharf offered the best deal on Maine seafood yet: $23 for a twin lobster dinner. Who could pass it up? We also ordered locally caught haddock and shrimp, paired with a buttery Chardonnay. The restaurant, named one of Down East Magazine’s top ten lobster establishments, overlooks a quiet bay filled with a flotilla of sailboats and lobster boats bringing in the day’s catch.

The following day we were able to experience firsthand what it was like to catch lobster. For $45 a person, lobsterman Steve of Captain Jack Lobster Boat Adventure will feed you a savory lobster roll lunch while you help him catch lobsters in Rockland’s harbor. It’s a history lesson and tour of a gorgeous, nautical town from the sea.

Since we had learned a ton about lobster, we traveled up through Camden to Lincolnville in order to sample some of Cellardoor Winery’s award-winning blueberry wine, another Maine treasure. They have a myriad of other award-winning wines that you can taste while admiring the majestic mountain range behind the vineyard. The tasting and tour were free and since bottles started at $14, we were able to bring a unique piece of Maine’s inland home with us.

We finished the evening off with a visit to the 1920’s theater, The Strand. They show one movie at 7 p.m. every day in this renovated theater, but since the owners take so much pride in their establishment, it is sure to impress. The staff is dressed in authentic 20’s attire and run the theater just as they would during the time of prohibition.

There is plenty that make a trip to coastal Maine worth spending time, without spending much money. Whether it is a scenic bike ride to one of their many lighthouses (Pemaquid Light house, which is on the state quarter or Cape Elizabeth, the oldest lighthouse in the state), home-boiled lobster by the ocean, or snagging a Groupon for a whale-watching adventure, there is enough to explore and appreciate in this underestimated area.

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