A couple’s bucket list road trip reveals the best of Maine in fall. Don’t miss lighthouses, a covered bridge, puffins and more.
My wife, Amy Jo, and I fulfilled a lifelong dream of visiting Maine in autumn. Our hosts treated us to a back roads tour of the eastern and central parts of the state.
One of our first stops was the historic midcoast town of Castine, considered one of the oldest in New England. Located about 130 miles northeast of Portland, its charming Main Street slopes down toward the sea and includes most of the town’s dining, shopping and lodging. We had a perfectly fresh, sunny morning for sightseeing and exploring what else Castine had to offer. On our stroll, we saw the Unitarian Universalist Church, a meeting hall built in 1790.
Before leaving Castine, we drove a short distance from midtown to Wadsworth Cove Beach and explored Dice Head Lighthouse. For folks from North Dakota, the opportunity to visit lighthouses was at the top of our list of things to see and do.
Maine’s Rugged, Scenic Beauty
As we traveled along the coast toward the town of Winter Harbor, Amy Jo and I were struck by the natural beauty of the rugged seacoast and rocky shorelines. We saw fish houses covered with colorful buoys.
The following day we continued on our journey, heading to Milo, a town that sits in a valley in the foothills of Longfellow range, which were ablaze with fall color. We took an early morning stroll down Milo’s Main Street, observing its quaint shops and eateries before stopping at Elaine’s Bakery & Cafe for breakfast. The cafe was bustling with the regular hometown crowd, and had a very welcoming vibe. We followed a hearty breakfast with a taste of the cafe’s delicious freshly baked pastries.
As we walked to our car, I went across the street to a bridge along the Sebec River. My eye caught the dilapidated remains of a old spool factory along the banks.
Our autumn in Maine concluded with stops in Brownville, where we discovered the remains of the historic Katahdin Iron Works; Monson, one of the first (or last) towns on the Appalachian Trail; and Guilford, where we saw our first covered bridge.
Photographing Low’s Covered Bridge near Guilford was the perfect end to an unforgettable trip! Autumn in New England defies description.
For even more scenic autumn destinations, check out these small towns with amazing fall foliage.
Don’t-Miss Points of Interest in the Pine Tree State
Hike the Trail
Monson is the last town hikers pass through on the way to Mount Katahdin and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. Stop at the visitor center to see a scale model of the mountain, get your trail passport stamped, or hear the latest updates on trail conditions.
Check out a scenic national forest on the North Carolina segment of the Appalachian Trail.
Puffins and Lighthouses
If you’re in Maine over the summer, consider taking the Puffin and Lighthouse Cruise in Bar Harbor. The trip visits three lighthouses and Petit Manan, an island that is home to a nesting colony of puffins. Birders should also check out hotspots along the Maine Birding Trail.
Low’s Covered Bridge outside of Guilford harkens back to an era when horse-drawn carriages gracefully traversed country roads.
Next, don’t miss these picturesque destinations for fall camping.