Gypsy Journey travel blog

Niagara Falls with Cath

The cabin at Harpswell, Maine

Hiking on the Giant Stairs Trail at Bailey’s Island

Capitol building at Augusta

Portland Head Lighthouse

Home of LL Bean in Freeport

Bug Light Park lighthouse

Acadia National Park

Hiking at Curtis Farm Perserve on Harpswell Neck Island

Hiking at Crest Trail on Orr’s Island

My friend Cathy joined me for the trip from Cleveland to Maine. She had never seen Niagara Falls, and since it was a quick detour for us, we decided to take a side path on our route. I picked her up at midnight from the airport and we headed out. By 3:00 a.m., I was getting tired and started looking for a place to pull over and sleep for a few hours in Gypsy. Literally, every travel center or rest stop was maxed out with truckers. So, we journeyed onward.

By 4:00 a.m., we were nearing the Canadian border. I looked up a travel center, and the nearest one was in Ontario. Let me just say, if you ever have to go through customs, 4:00 a.m. is the time to do it. It was a breeze! We found one small spot at a travel center and so at 5:00 a.m., we called it a night...for 3 hours.

We arrived at the Falls on the Canadian side by 9:30 a.m. and it was, as always, glorious. It was surprisinging warm though and after walking the length of the Falls, Ossy was pooped. There was no way he could make it back to Gypsy. I hustled back and picked up the threesome to start our trek back on the road toward Maine. We were back on the road by noon and boy was I glad we came through customs in the dawning hours...the lines to cross the border were LLLLLOOONNNGGG!

As we approached Albany, New York, both Cath and I were tired of the Interstate travel. We pulled off the road, found a local restaurant and decided to take the back roads the rest of the trip. The road through Vermont was glorious. I wasn’t as impressed with New Hampshire, but it was all truly beautiful driving.

The Airbnb I had rented in Maine was awesome! It was on a small island outside of Portland called Orr’s Island (part of the town of Harpswell). It looked like a small church...white clapboard boards with lots of windows and a peaked roof. It was sitting on the Casco Bay and the dogs had plenty of room to roam.

Cathy was only able to stay a few days, so we spent them exploring the Orr’s and Bailey Islands near the cabin. And, oh yeah, we ate A LOT of lobster! We hiked the Giant Stairs trail and found that the people of Maine were very interested in Gypsy (no surprise), but will never win the Miss Congeniality award for friendliness. In fact, one truck that refused to move over in a narrow passageway preferred to hit Gypsy’s side mirror versus allowing us to proceed before him. Guess he was in a hurry....

The setting of Maine is picture perfect. Small coastal towns, numerous lighthouses, more land than people, a stunning national park, and cool fall weather and foliage were all sights to see. Yes, there was some rain, but after hearing about the impact of Florence on the eastern coast further south, I was grateful for the many days of sunshine and the cool weather.

I loved the lighthouses and wish I could have visited more of them. I did visit the most photographed sight in Maine at the Portland Head lighthouse. It truly was glorious not only in the lighthouse, but the setting within the Fort Williams park.

One day trip we took while Cathy was with us was to the capital of Maine at Augusta. As we were driving, I suggested we go through the states and name all the capitals. Of course, in my mind, I felt I had visited most (if not all) the capitals and would do well at this game. We started off with a bang...Maine. Since we were in route to Augusta, we got that one right. Then, I said, “ok, New Hampshire.” Silence. We visited New Hampshire together many years ago. Total blank. Neither of us could think of the capital. How about Connecticut? Nope. Nothing. We had limited cell service, so we laughed as we “guessed” at the state capitals. By the time we finished, the only ones we were certain about were Oklahoma and Texas!

We visited Augusta on a Friday, but it felt like a ghost town. Where were all the people that worked at the capitol building?? It was an impressive building, but not much to the overall complex. Since it was cold and damp, we walked the complex, took our pics and headed out. We were told the place to eat was The Red Barn, so we headed that way. As we pulled into the restaurant, a pick up truck with a lady pulled up beside us. She followed us into the parking area as she saw the Texas license plate. She informed us her husband told her he would take her on a trip anywhere she wanted to go and she chose....yep, you got it....Waco, Texas. Home of Chip and Joanna, of course.

She wanted to know what Waco and Austin were like and what she should do while visiting there. Chip and Joanna, I love ya man, but if I can choose anywhere, it probably ain’t Waco.

After Cathy’s departure, I visited Freeport...home of LL Bean. It was amazing. There was a LL Bean retail store (which never closes by the way...literally open 24 hours a day), an LL Bean home store, and an LL Bean hunting and fishing store. And, they were huge! Yep, I looked at the duck shoes, but just could not justify spending $200 for them. As I was strolling the streets of Freeport (which is a shoppers haven with every store imaginable lining the streets), I came across the Wicked Whoopie. It is the state’s adopted desert. The owner was on Shark Tank and is making a killing. I had to try one. It is basically two pieces of cake with vanilla cream inside. Yes, it was good.

I visited the largest city of Maine, Portland several times as it was only 45 minutes from the island cabin. After visiting the Portland Head lighthouse, I made it to the Bug Light park to visit another lighthouse. The dogs were able to run free and a large cruise line ship had just pulled into the bay, so it was fun to just sit and watch all the activity.

I was on my way to visit Desert Maine (sand dunes up to 70 feet tall) when I came across the largest rotating world globe at the Garmin global village. It truly was huge! I had to bypass the sand dunes though because it started raining and dogs were not allowed. Oh well...

One of the reasons I wanted to visit Maine was because of Acadia National Park. I had read so much about it. I was a little disappointed to discover it was a 3 hour drive from my cabin, but decided to make the trip anyway. It wasn’t quite what I expected. The drive really was long (and on two lane, busy roads) and by the time I arrived at 10:30 a.m., the place was packed! I could hardly move through the visitor center due to the crowds, but did have a very nice discussion with another Travato owner outside in the parking lot. I love running into other Travato owners! I ran into my first on this trip at the Portland Head Lighthouse. I love sharing war stories with each other.

We left the visitor center and headed out on the Park Loop scenic drive. I was extremely disappointed to learn that I could not take Gypsy up to Cadillac Mountain (the highest point of Acadia) as no RV’s were allowed. So, after spending 3 hours meandering around the park, we made the 3 hour trip back to the cabin...disappointed, but overall, glad I at least got to see the park.

However, the highlight for me (after the lighthouses) was hiking on Harpswell Neck and Orr’s Island. My first day in Maine, Cathy and I visited the Land’s End gift shop. They sold CBD (cannabais) for dogs as it is legal in Maine. I bought some for my pups since it was supposed to help with mobility and anxiety. OMG! Nope, don’t really care about anyone’s politics or religious beliefs. It works! After a couple of days, Ossy was RUNNING! Yes, my son was running! I hadn’t seen Os run in over a year. It was amazing. Yes my friends, I’m a fan. (Now, if only the anxiety part would kick in for Presley!)

We hiked about 1.5 miles at the Curtis Farm Perserve and it was flat and an easy hike. Ossy did great. But, then we hiked over 3 miles at the Crest Trail and it was flippin’ tough! It was very rugged and very steep. I cursed myself halfway through the hike for bringing Ossy on this hike, but he was a champ. He was breathing heavy, but he made it with flying colors. We topped the Crest Trail and were very high up looking over the Bay and it was stunning!

On our way back to Gypsy, Ossy got his foot stuck in one of the wood planks we had to cross and it scared the crap out of me. I could not get his foot out. But, God is good. I calmed him, told him it would be ok, then I prayed that God would help me. And, He did. I slowly picked up Os and moved him backward where I could get his foot out. He took off like nothing had happened. Amazing. By the time we got back to Gypsy, we were all exhausted. It was so exhilarating. CBD for a 13 year old lab. Amen, I’m a believer! (Thank goodness it is now legal in Oklahoma!)

Almost two weeks in Maine and I’m a fan of the state. Yes, it is beautiful. Yes, the lighthouses alone are worth the trip. Yes, Acadia is a beautiful national park. But, I’m going to be honest. I’m a fan because of the lobstah...pure and simple.

I have had good lobster before, but I’ve had more bad lobster than good lobster. And, the few times I’ve had great lobster, it was very expensive and I soaked it in butter. Not here my friends!

Lobster is plentiful in Maine. As is wild blueberries. Did you know Maine produces 99% of all the nation’s wild blueberries?? While here, I had lobster dip; lobster rolls; lobster salad; lobster mac n’cheese; lobster grilled cheese; lobster omelette; and lobster meat I used to make meals at the cabin. It was all reasonably priced and I didn’t soak it in butter one time. A MA ZING!

I will never eat lobster outside of Maine again. I simply could not get enough!

Now, it’s time for me to start the journey down south. I would have liked to visit more lighthouses, but I was able to truly experience Maine and I loved my time here. No doubt I will be back. Yep, if only to have just one more lobstah meal....

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