Maine

Encircle Maine: Your journey through the easternmost state begins with the incredible natural beauty of Acadia National Park. While driving south, savor some of Maine’s nearly 3,500 miles of Atlantic coastline with a western detour to Augusta, the capital city. The scenery is as wonderful as the lobster.

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1 Brief History of Bar Harbor, Maine

Native Americans lived along the coast of present-day Maine for thousands of years before Samuel de Champlain, a French explorer, came ashore in 1604. He called his discovery “Isles des Monts Deserts.” The main island’s English name remains Mount Desert and the surrounding waterway is Frenchman Bay. Look again at this photo. From this peaceful shoreline you can see nine wooded islets. Surely this view is why the first European settlers called their town Eden. But when it was incorporated in 1796, the namesake was actually Sir Richard Eden, an English statesman. By the time it was renamed Bar Harbor in 1918, the town had become a resort community and summer residence for the wealthy and famous. Tragically, many of their mansions were destroyed by a fire in 1947. The ten-day blaze devastated most of the island.

21 Albert Meadow, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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2 Mount Desert Reading Room at Bar Harbor Inn & Spa Hotel in Bar Harbor, Maine

In 1881, the Oasis Club of gentlemen founded the Mount Desert Reading Room near what is now known as Arcadia National Park. It was not a library. Instead, this prestigious, private establishment attracted the American gentry like Rockefeller, Ford, Vanderbilt and Carnegie for a stiff drink and an excellent cigar. Today, this handsome, cedar-shingled building is a fine-food restaurant and part of the Bar Harbor Inn & Spa Hotel overlooking Frenchman Bay.

7 Newport Dr, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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3 Things to Do in Bar Harbor, Maine

It is easy to find things to do in Bar Harbor. Downtown is a kaleidoscope of storefronts, galleries, restaurants and pubs welcoming tourists. Main Street is a delightful place to window shop, taste local cuisine, sip a cold beer and have an evening of fun. Other attractions include tours of Arcadia, boat and ferry rides in Frenchman Bay, whale watching, visiting lighthouses plus hiking and camping. During peak season, Bar Harbor also hosts frequent festivals and special events. A must do is a stroll along The Shore Path. This less than a mile promenade around the eastern shore offers spectacular scenery.

17 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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4 Lobster with Ice Cream Cone in Bar Harbor, Maine

The American lobster is known by several names. Most people call it Maine lobster, probably because the state is the largest producer along Atlantic coast. Nearly 6,000 lobstermen make a career from catching this cold water delicacy. It is easy to find a Maine restaurant offering this delicious crustacean. The meat is served in soaps, sandwiches or right from the lobster pot (trap) and into the boiling pot. Wearing a bib is optional. Afterwards, join this statue for a photo op while eating an ice cream cone in Bar Harbor.

66 Main St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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5 Accommodations in Bar Harbor, Maine

Accommodation options in Bar Harbor are as diverse as the tourists who visit. There are several premium properties such as the Harborside Hotel, Spa & Marine seen here. You can also find modest-priced hotels and motels. Those preferring quaint can select among cottages, inns and B&Bs. Increasingly, more apartments and condos are also becoming available.

50 West St Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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Great Black-backed Gull Profile at Bar Harbor, Maine

The great black-backed gull is a very common sight along the coastal waters of New England and the Atlantic coast of Canada. Its body can stretch over two feet. This domineering bird pushes its four pound weight around by demanding handouts from tourists. Several local companies offer bird watching tours around Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park. Among the favorites are puffins and peregrine falcons.

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6 Saint Saviour’s Church in Bar Harbor, Maine

The most historic section of Saint Saviour’s Church was designed by C. C. Haight and finished in 1878. Several additions occurred through 1907, making this the tallest building in Mount Desert. The fieldstone base and wooden shakes create a handsome frame for the stained-glass window designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The ten-bell carillon can be heard throughout Bar Harbor. The parish is named after the Saint Sauveur Mission founded nearby in 1613.

41 Mt Desert St, Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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7 Scenic Drive on Mount Desert Island, Maine

The scenic drive on Mount Desert Island follows an eight-shaped path on Maine Highways 3 and 102. You can cover the 66 mile route in about two hours if you hurry. But why hurry? Relish the island’s natural beauty. Savor the cliffs, inlets and islands as well as the small villages dotting the 108 square-mile island. A shorter route is the 27 mile Park Loop Road through Arcadia National Park. To enhance your experience, pick up a map and information at the Arcadia Park Headquarters in Bar Harbor or either the Thompson Island and Hulls Cove Visitor Centers.

Carriage Rd & Day Mountain Trail, Mt Desert, ME 04660
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8 Schooner Head from Overlook in Acadia National Park, Maine

Credit earthquakes, volcanoes and glaciers for forming the 47,000 acres of pristine forests, rugged coastlines, peninsula fingers and charming inlets of Acadia National Park near Bar Harbor. This cliff with a cluster of exclusive homes is Schooner Head. The gorgeous scene is viewable from the Overlook observation point just off the Park Loop Road.

Schooner Head Rd & Schooner Head Trailhead Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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9 Vista from Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, Maine

The panoramic view of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands from this elevation of 1,528 feet is spectacular. The overlook at Cadillac Mountain is a breathtaking highlight of Arcadia National Park. Marvel at this waterscape created during the Ice Age 10,000 to 17,000 years ago. This vista is especially incredible as the sun makes its first appearance in the United States each morning.

707 Cadillac Summit Rd Bar Harbor, ME 04609
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10 Seal Harbor Yacht Club in Seal Harbor, Maine

For a beach that is quieter than neighboring Arcadia National Park, try one on Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor, Maine. This oasis on Mount Desert Island provides a relaxing view of tree-lined coasts and anchored sailboats. And when the sails get hoisted, it is often the Seal Harbor Yacht Club that is sponsoring the race.

Seal Harbor Yacht Club 29 Steamboat Rd, Seal Harbor, ME 04675
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11 Seawall Road Scenery on Mount Desert Island, Maine

Most people concentrate on Arcadia National Park when on Mount Desert Island. But save time to enjoy other scenic drives. A lovely loop starts just south of Southwest Harbor following 102A. Also called the Seawall Road, it travels along the coast providing wonderful sights of the Atlantic plus summer homes with immaculate gardens. Another highlight along this route is the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.

566 Seawall Rd, Southwest Harbor, ME 04679
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12 Bass Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine

Dotting the coastline of Mount Desert Island are countless coves and quaint fishing villages. One example well worth exploring is Bass Harbor along the southside of the island. Sharing this beautiful harbor is Bernard. Both charming towns can be found and enjoyed by following 102A and 102.

143 Harbor Dr Bass Harbor, ME 04653
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13 Penobscot River View of Bucksport, Maine

Bucksport, Maine – seen from Fort Knox State Park across the Penobscot River – is a small town of about 5,000 people. Its fascinating history dates back 5,000 years. The first settlers were the Red Paint People. This indigenous tribe lived in present-day New England from 3000 to 1000 BC. Colonel Johnathan Buck was the first person from Massachusetts to build a plantation here in 1775. His name was honored when Bucksport was incorporated in 1792. This shoreline is best remembered for the worst naval defeat in American history until Pearl Harbor. In 1779, during the American Revolution, the British sunk 44 American ships and killed 474 sailors during a battle called the Penobscot Expedition.

740 Ft Knox Rd Prospect, ME 04981
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14 Courtyard at Fort Knox in Prospect, Maine

The beautifully preserved Fort Knox in Penobscot, Maine, was built with granite in the mid-19th century to guard the Penobscot River from a potential British invasion. The attack never came. The fortress was also manned during the Civil and Spanish-American Wars but still never saw a military conflict. The 124 acre, former military post is now the Fort Knox State Park. It is fun walking around this U. S. National Historic Landmark.

740 Ft Knox Rd Prospect, ME 04981
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15 Cannon at Fort Knox in Prospect, Maine

This Rodman gun dates back to the Civil War. The vintage smoothbore is one of two, 50,000 pound columbiads at Fort Knox. Looking at the cannon recalls the courageous story of the fort’s namesake, Major General Henry Knox. Soon after the American Revolution started in 1775 at Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, Knox befriended General George Washington. The following year, Knox transported 60 tons of cannons from upstate New York to Cambridge. The grueling march required six weeks and covered 300 miles of ice and snow. When the artillery arrived in Boston Harbor, the British made a hasty retreat. Henry Knox later became the first U. S. Secretary of War.

740 Ft Knox Rd Prospect, ME 04981
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16 Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Fort Knox State Park in Prospect, Maine

To reach Fort Knox State Park, you must cross the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. Do not be in hurry to drive across its 2,120 foot length. The cable-stayed bridge was finished in 2007 at a cost of $85 million. An elevator will take you up 42 stories. The 420 foot tower of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is the world’s tallest bridge observatory. The panoramic views at that height are incredible.

ME-3 & ME-174, Prospect, ME 04981
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17 Woodchuck Exiting Burrow Below Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Prospect, Maine

This woodchuck peering out of his burrow lives below the Penobscot Narrows Bridge in Prospect, Maine. His view is not nearly as great as the one on top of the 420 foot observation tower that is part of the cable bridge. However, his heavy claws make him an excellent tree climber so he can see the Penobscot River and Fort Knox State Historic Site.

ME-3 & ME-174, Prospect, ME 04981
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18 Light Tower at Searsport, Maine

Although this is not a functional lighthouse, it is a tribute to Searsport’s 17 shipyards and their claim of producing 10% of the nation’s deep water captains. That is a remarkable accomplishment for a town of less than 2,700 residences. However, Searsport is also Maine’s second largest port.

156 E Main St, Searsport, ME 04974
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19 Vintage Lobster Trap Floats at Searsport, Maine

There is an antique dealer on Maine Street in Searsport who is trying to prove the adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Appropriately, the store is called the Treasures & Trash Barn. This colorful display of vintage lobster trap floats cover the barn’s exterior. They are a testament to another saying. “Maine lobster is the best lobster.” Over 124 million pounds of the delicious crustacean are annually harvested along the coast of Maine.

156 E Main St, Searsport, ME 04974
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20 Rumford Falls on the Androscoggin River in Rumford, Maine

Rumford, Maine’s native son is Ed Muskie. The career politician was a governor, U.S. senator, Secretary of State plus a nominee for Vice President and President. Next to his memorial is a section of Rumford Falls. Here, the Androscoggin River cascades over a series of dams used to power local paper mills. The total drop of the falls is 176 feet.

Prospect Ave & S Rumford Rd Rumford, ME 04276
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21 Brief Introduction to Augusta, Maine

When this area was settled by the English in 1629, it had the Indian name of Cushnoc. While part of Massachusetts, the town was renamed Augusta in 1797 in honor of Henry Dearborn’s daughter. He was a key military figure during the Revolution and the War of 1812 plus a U. S. Secretary of War. Augusta became the capital of Maine in 1832 and a city in 1849. This small community of about 20,000 residents has maintained its New England charm along the banks of the Kennebec River. In the background is the Kennebec Memorial Bridge. The 2,098 foot span was built in 1949.

1 Cony St Augusta, ME 04330
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22 Maine State House Building in Augusta, Maine

In 1832, the Maine State House was built with granite on Weston Hill. Most of the capital building was demolished and rebuilt in 1911. The exceptions are this portico and a few walls. Similar to California, the state house has a statue of Minerva at its peak. She was the Roman goddess of wisdom and commerce. After a restoration in 2014, the green cooper dome seen here became brown again like it was in 1910. It is expected to stay that shade for the next three decades.

210 State St, Augusta, ME 04333
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23 Maine State Capitol Composite in Augusta, Maine

This composite of two photos from Augusta are: The entrance to Maine’s State House which was finished in 1832 and the interior rotunda and dome standing 185 feet tall. A 69 year old senator I met claims he was the last person to crawl up the winding staircase to the dome’s apex when he was an 18 year old page. Maine became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.

210 State St, Augusta, ME 04333
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24 The Blaine House is Governor’s Manson in Augusta, Maine

This National Historic Landmark was built in 1833 for a ship captain named James Hall. But its namesake is James G. Blaine, the home’s second owner. His long political career as a Republican began at the Maine House of Representatives, included being a Speaker of the U. S. House and U. S. Senator, the U.S. Secretary of State and twice was a presidential nominee. In 1881, he was walking beside James Garfield when the 20th U.S. President was assassinated. In 1919, The Blaine House was donated to Maine as the governor’s mansion.

192 State St, Augusta, ME 04330
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25 Burton M. Cross Building in Augusta, Maine

One of the youngest structures in Augusta’s Capitol Complex Historic District – which includes the State House, the Governor’s Mansion plus two former homes and the Nash School built during the 1800s – is the Burton M. Cross Building. The Maine State Office Building was constructed in 1952 and renamed in 2001. Burton Cross was a Republican who served in the State House of Representatives and Senate before becoming Maine’s 61st Governor in 1952. Among the government offices located here on Sewall Street are the Secretary of State.

111 Sewall St, Augusta, ME 04330
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26 Olde Federal Building Office Complex in Augusta, Maine

In 1890, Augusta welcomed an impressive new Post Office and Court House along Water Street. Architect Mifflin Bell supervised the construction of this Romanesque Revival design faced with white granite. M. E. Bell’s most famous contribution to architecture was the Washington Monument in D. C. During the 1960’s, August’s landmark structure was converted into the Olde Federal Building Office Complex.

295 Water St, Augusta, ME 04330
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27 Blockhouse at Fort Western in Augusta, Maine

Early in the French and Indian War (1754 – 1763), the British built this wooden blockhouse to defend against the French. The oldest surviving wooden fort in the United States still flies the Flag of British America. Fort Western also served as a trading post. The most famous residents were Benedict Arnold and Aaron Burr in 1775. Five years later, Arnold defected his post as a U.S. general during the Revolutionary War to become a British general and traitor. Burr went on to become the 3rd Vice President of the United States.

16 Cony St, Augusta, ME 04330
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28 Old City Hall in Augusta, Maine

This red brick, Renaissance Revival structure along the riverbank served as the Augusta City Hall for 101 years, from 1896 – 1987. A year after opening, it welcomed John Philip Sousa. He was a bandmaster who composed over 100 famous military tunes such as “The Stars and Stripes Forever.” In 2001, the historic building was converted into assisted-living apartments.

1 Cony St Augusta, ME 04330
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29 WWI Memorial Tower at Camden Hills State Park near Camden, Maine

Camden Hills State Park is an uncrowded, 5,700 acre wooded park. It offers 30 miles of trails and is a favorite among hikers, hunters, campers, bird watchers, cross-country skiers and snowmobilers. You can spend a couple of hours walking to the 800 foot summit of Mount Battie. Or there is a road to the top for those who are short on time or short of breath. Take another twenty steps up the winding staircase of this stone tower for a great view of Penobscot Bay. This World War I memorial called the Mt. Battie Tower was built in 1921.

Mt. Battie Trail & Mt Battie Rd Camden, ME 04843
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30 West Penobscot Bay From Camden Hills State Park near Camden, Maine

The 800 foot apex of Camden Hills State Park provides a panoramic view of islets dotting West Penobscot Bay, the largest bay in Maine. Its namesake is the Penobscot Indian Nation. Historians believe these indigenous people have populated the area for over 11,000 years. In the foreground, from left to right, is the Northeast Point, Sherman Cove, Camden Harbor, Curtis Island and the town of Camden.

Mt. Battie Trail & Mt Battie Rd Camden, ME 04843
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31 Brief Introduction to Camden, Maine

In the winter, Camden is a sleepy town of less than 5,000 people located midway along Maine’s Atlantic Coast. During the other three seasons, it is a beautiful attraction for tourists. The first European to arrive at this picturesque harbor was James Richards in 1769. During the 1800s, the village grew thanks to thriving sawmills, blacksmith shops, lime quarries and a half dozen shipyards. After the Great Fire in 1892, this seaside community was rebuilt encircling the harbor with charm. The historic center is on Main and Bay View Streets. While exploring Camden on foot, you will quickly discover why it deserves the nickname, “The Jewel of the Maine Coast.”

Mt. Battie Trail & Mt Battie Rd Camden, ME 04843
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32 Sailing in Camden Harbor in Camden, Maine

Sailing into Camden Harbor is a visual treat for novices or experienced captains. The approach from the Atlantic Ocean is through Penobscot Bay. Let the flanking 52 foot Curtis Island Light and the 20 foot Northeast Point Light help you navigate into the harbor. The 19 foot main channel is considerable shallower on either side and can be treacherous around submerged rocks appropriately named The Graves. Landlubbers and day-trippers can arrange for sailing excursions and sightseeing trips along these scenic waters.

31 Main St Camden, ME 04843
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33 White Crested Duck in Camden, Maine

Several crested ducks swim gracefully in the Camden Harbor. This rare, domestic breed has its origins from the East Indies. The tuft of plumage on the crestopher’s head resembles a large cotton ball. The male or drake white crested averages about seven pounds.

16 Atlantic Ave Camden, ME 04843
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34 Schooner Mary Day in Camden, Maine

Schooners began sailing along the coast of Maine in the 1700s. These tall ships had one purpose: to haul commercial cargo along the Eastern Seaboard. By the early 1930s, trains made these fleets obsolete. In 1936, a visionary named Frank Swift was the first person in Maine to convert a marvelous ship into a windjammer cruise. This sparked an industry in Penobscot Bay. There are now 12 vessels offering sightseeing cruises for the delight of tourists. The Schooner Mary Day is one of the dozen.

16 Atlantic Ave Camden, ME 04843
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35 Grand Harbor Inn and Curtis Island in Camden, Maine

The Grand Harbor Inn has an enviable location in Camden along the shore of the harbor. The four-star, boutique hotel has the appearance of a historical Coastal Cottage. However, it was built in 2010 so it is filled with modern amenities. Whether you reserve a waterfront grand suite or a standard room, every guest is amazed by the views. In the background is Curtis Island. This was the summer residence of Cyrus Curtis, the former publisher of the Saturday Evening Post. On the Atlantic side of this islet is a lighthouse and a former keeper’s home.

14 Bay View St, Camden, ME 04843
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36 Megunticook Falls in Camden, Maine

The Megunticook River is a spillway from the lake of the same name. The 3.5 mile flow ends by tumbling down this embankment behind stores on Main Street. The water then enters the Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay and finally the Atlantic. The word Megunticook was the Native American name for the Camden area. The translation is “great sea swells.”

33 Main St, Camden, ME 04843
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37 Norumbega Castle in Camden, Maine

Joseph Barker Stearns was the president of Franklin Telegraph Company when he invented a duplex system of telegraphy. In 1871, he sold patent rights for this two-way communication to Western Union. His stream of royalties gave him the wealth to pursue his fantasy of building a European-style castle in 1886. The 10,330 square foot, Victorian house designed by Arthur Bates has a stone façade and a spectacular turret. Stearns called it Norumbega Castle. This name was a phantom settlement in today’s Maine first reported in 1542 by Jean Alfonse, a Portuguese navigator. The landmark along Penobscot Bay is now The Norumbega Inn.

63 High St, Camden, ME 04843
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38 Toucan Balancing Guinness Pints Mural at Brian Boru Irish Pub in Portland, Maine

On a red brick wall outside of the Brian Boru Irish pub in Portland is this flying toucan. The Guinness mascot is balancing two glasses of dry stout on his long, colorful bill. Inside the pub is a welcoming atmosphere. True to its heritage, the tavern has expertly drawn plenty of pints for its appreciative patrons since opening in 1993.

57 Center St, Portland, ME 04101
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39 Portland Head Light in Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine

There are over 150 lighthouses along 6,000 miles of New England’s coast. Ship’s navigation technology has made them obsolete. However, they are still busy as beacons to tourists with cameras. Maine has 66 lights. The oldest is Portland Head located at Williams Park. This is in a suburb of Portland called Cape Elizabeth. George Washington commissioned the light in 1787 and it became operational four years later.

12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
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40 Welcome to Kennebunkport Sign in Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunkport is located along Maine’s southern Atlantic Coast and on the Kennebunk River. This small town of less than 3,500 people has catered to rich summer residents, resort quests and shore visitors since it was incorporated in 1653. The two sections of this quaint village are Dock Square and Kennebunk Lower Village. The ambiance is typically charming and quiet except during the Bush presidencies when it swelled with global attention.

2 Western Ave, Kennebunk, ME 04043
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41 South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport, Maine

The South Congregational Church of Kennebunkport was founded in 1838. However, the church where this United Church of Christ community congregates was built in 1824. The red copula above the 1824 Aaron Willard clock has made the South Church a historical landmark in Kennebunkport. In the foreground is Grist Mill Pond, part of the Kennebunk River.

2 North St, Kennebunkport, ME 04046
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42 George H. W. Bush Summer Compound on Walker’s Point in Kennebunkport, Maine

In 1903, George H. Walker built a mansion on what was called Point Vesuvius in Kennebunkport, Maine. George H.W. Bush spent his boyhood summers here. The former president eventually inherited his grandfather’s view of the Atlantic Ocean, now called Walker’s Point. There are nine bedrooms in this New England style home, plus a pool, tennis court, guesthouse and boathouse. The Bush compound became the Summer White House during his presidency. Guests have included Vladimir Putin, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher and many other world dignitaries.

292 Ocean Ave Kennebunkport, ME 04046
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43 Cape Neddick Lighthouse on Nubble Island in York Beach, Maine

The beacon at the top of the 41 foot Cape Neddick Lighthouse was first turned on in 1879. It has been aiding marine navigation along the coast of Maine ever since. Residents of The Yorks call this light The Nubble because it was built on the rocky cliff of Nubble Island. Summer tourists to this group of neighboring resort communities simply call it beautiful.

8 Sohier Park Rd, York, ME 03909
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44 Introduction to Rockport, Maine

It is easy to see why Forbes Magazine called Rockport, Maine the prettiest U. S. town in 2008. The population of 3,400 encircles the picturesque harbor. This waterway to the Atlantic once served cargo ships filled with lime stone. The local quarry provided materials to rebuild the U. S. Capitol after it was attacked in the War of 1812. Now the harbor serves locals for mooring their yachts and pleasure boats while tourists enjoy sightseeing trips aboard windjammers and schooners. The village also boasts of an artist community, numerous galleries plus the Rockport Opera House built in 1891.

111 Pascal Ave, Rockport, ME 04856
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45 Rockport Harbor in Rockport, Maine

The harbor in Rockford, Maine, looks as idyllic as your imagination can muster. Fluffy clouds provide a warm canopy over idle fishing boats in rippling blue water. A pristine white church stands behind mansions along the green shoreline. So, turn off the cell phone, find a bench beside the Andre the Seal statue and savor the view.

111 Pascal Ave, Rockport, ME 04856
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