An Affordable Vacation on Maine Coast
Dramatic and beautiful, Maine’s Downeast coast is an appealing and economical destination for any group of women who want to get away, relax, and rejuvenate.
although Downeast Maine may not be as well-known as a resort and urban areas often chosen for getaways, this easternmost edge of the United States can save vacationers hundreds of dollars and can deliver a vacation that is memorable, unique, and a true getaway.
The Undiscovered Coast of Maine
The coastal area known as Downeast Maine stretches from Ellsworth to Lubec and Eastport, as far east as one can travel in the continental United States. At the southern edge of this area, Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor are well-known vacation spots. But many visitors to the Maine coast end their exploration in Acadia. The perception may be that there are no attractions or points of interest beyond the national park and the busy tourist town of Bar Harbor. Thus, travelers miss the experience of what some call the “true” Downeast coast.
Downeast Maine is not heavily populated and has not been commercialized. It is true that getting to this area of Maine’s coast will take more travel time, but highways are good and traffic is light. Most points Downeast can be reached by less than two additional hours of driving beyond Acadia, or by flying into Bangor International Airport and driving two or fewer hours from there.
Rent a Downeast Vacation Home
Renting a vacation home for a girls’ getaway offers many advantages. Hotels provide basic lodging needs; but in a comfy vacation home, guests can cook meals in a full kitchen, sit up all night reminiscing by the fire, nap whenever they wish and have breakfast in their pajamas. Living areas are shared by all, but each can have her own bedroom space. It’s a perfect arrangement to refresh and nourish friendships.
Vacationers can find rental homes on websites like HomeAway or VRBO, contacting owners directly. Businesses like Hearts of Maine Seaside Rental Properties and Lubec Rental Properties represent and manage vacation homes and will assist a group in choosing the most suitable spot.
Besides providing homey surroundings, a rental property in Downeast Maine offers considerable savings. Houses in this area can be rented for half the price of a similar home in midcoast Maine. For example, a group of four women could rent a house for as little as $150 per person for an entire week and still have private rooms. For women on a shoestring budget, this total for a week’s lodging can’t be beaten.
Restaurants are generally less pricey in Downeast Maine than in more heavily traveled areas, and even more, can be saved if the group has rented a home. Dining out is always an option, but pooling grocery money and cooking at least some of the meals at home will cost a fraction of money spent on three meals a day at restaurants. And for good friends, cooking together may very well become a cherished tradition.
Enjoy Downeast Activities
A girl’s getaway in Downeast Maine cannot be planned around spas and shopping malls, simply because there are none. The attraction of the Downeast coast lies instead in its great natural beauty, villages filled with local color, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing are more vigorous ways to enjoy the outdoors. Birding, beachcombing, and whale-watching take visitors out into the clear Downeast air but require less physical effort.
Blueberry Festival in Machias
In the summer and fall, towns of Downeast Maine host numerous festivals and events, like the Blueberry Festival in Machias and the huge Fourth of July celebration in Eastport. Visiting musical artists present free concerts every Wednesday evening in July and August in the town of Lubec. Town barbeques and picnics and benefits and bean suppers mix visitors and natives.
The area’s history is everywhere, from petroglyphs carved into the rock to the Machias river where the first naval battle of the American Revolution fought off the British. For those interested in the area’s stories, historical sites and museums will open the past.
And while there are no malls here, there is just enough shopping to supply any girls’ get away with quite a few hours of this diversion. Painters, photographers, fiber artists, and potters have found endless inspiration in this area, and studios spotlight their work. Baskets and jewelry made by the Passamaquoddy tribe at Sipayik are for sale in local shops. Antiques and farmers’ markets are easy to find. A must-stop is the easternmost gift shop in the U.S., on South Lubec Road. Yes, there’s enough shopping in Downeast Maine to put any well-planned vacation budget in peril.
The purpose of a girlfriend’s getaway is to reconnect, to rejuvenate, to have fun with good friends. Whether that means hiking, birding, shopping, or spending evenings by the fire with tea, books, and puzzles, girlfriends can do all that in Downeast Maine and still come home with money in their pockets.