Autumn in Maine – Boston to Bar Harbor

A few years ago I was asked to come out to New Hampshire to second shoot for my friend Gwyneth Colleen at the end of October and I immediately became enchanted with the beauty that is New England in the fall.  I’d been to the area many times before but never during peak leaf season and while that trip was just a bit after the peak, it gave me enough of a preview that I was determined to come back the following year when the leaves would be (hopefully!) at their best.  The next year the leaves were again slightly past peak even though my trip was a couple weeks earlier but they were still beautiful to behold.  This past autumn I was determined to make it during peak season in Maine and to also stay a spell in Bar Harbor a bit longer so that I could see Acadia National Park this time around.  The leaves were just before peak and Acadia National Park was closed due to the government shutdown.  Sigh.  Maybe this year?!?

I already had this trip featured on Entoursite but I figured I’d blog a bit more in detail and show off a few more images here on my own site!  🙂  I’m going to start with the first two days and go from there because I don’t think anyone wants all 100+ images in one post!  That’s a personal pet peeve of mine when I go to photography blogs so I won’t do it to you here!

I flew into Boston this time around due to a crazy sale on Airtran that enabled me to fly for $47 each way and picked up a rental car (I ended up with an Infiniti G37x which I am now obsessed with and want one for myself!) and headed up towards Maine.  While I had my dates set for months it took me a long time to finally plot out where exactly I wanted to go in Maine and what I wanted to see.  One of the must-do’s on my list was finally meeting up with my friend Jessica who lives in Portland and we decided to meet up for lunch the day I flew in so when I landed I headed straight towards Portland.  I let Jessica decide what restaurant to meet up at and she decided on Duckfat which was such a cool little place!  The parking in the area is crazy but in the end it was so worth it!  We lucked out and ended up with a table outside – it was around 70 and sunny so it was a great day to enjoy a meal in the fresh air.  We finished off our dinner with their donut holes – SO delicious.

Duckfat in Portland Maine

Remember how I said I had a hard time deciding on where to go and what to do?  I knew from early on that I would be meeting up with Jessica for lunch so I planned my trip mostly around that.  I toyed with going back up to Lubec so I could cross over to East Quoddy Lighthouse since I missed out the last time but in the end I decided to go from Portland to Bar Harbor and then to Rockland.  However, the government shutdown threw a wrench in the works and I decided to spend a day puttering around the Portland area before heading to stay at the Captain Daniel Stone Inn in Brunswick before heading to Bar Harbor.   Since I had more time in the area I decided to head back to one of my favorite Maine lighthouses, Portland Head Light after lunch.  I had been there before but wanted to revisit it in the fall.  While not much was different from spring to fall besides a TON more people thanks to the cruises, I’m still glad I revisited it!  The entire park is just absolutely beautiful and the blue skies really helped make this beautiful lighthouse shine.

Portland Head Light in Portland MaineRam Island Ledge Light in MainePortland Head Light in autumnMaine Lighthouse

After visiting the lighthouse I headed over to the Freeport Outlets where LL Bean is located.  We stopped the year before but only visited a couple stores before heading back out of town and since the outlet mall concept in Freeport is unlike anything else I’d seen before, I wanted to go back and peruse the stores a bit more.  It was a perfect day with weather and I had a lovely afternoon exploring all the shops they had in town.  I even ended up picking up a travel bag that I’d been wanting at the LL Bean outlet for a crazy cheap price ($15).  If you are looking for a bag for your toiletries, I highly recommend this sucker!  I LOVE IT!  It’s already been used quite a few times.

Eventually I made my way to the Captain Daniel Stone Inn and checked into my room.  Instead of venturing out, I decided to eat dinner in the hotel and it was delicious!  I’d go back even if not staying in the hotel.  I really enjoyed the hotel but did have one issue: the heat didn’t work in my room.  It was fine during the day when the sun was out and I had no clue it wasn’t working.  Around 4AM I woke up FREEZING and discovered the problem.  Instead of calling the front desk I threw on more blankets and went back to sleep.  When mentioning it on the way out, I got a bit of an attitude from the front desk which was unfortunate.  Ah well!  My only real regret from this day was not going out to see the northern lights.  I’d got an alert (yes, I am THAT person) on my phone that there was a “storm” but decided to stay put because I wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t know where to go to find dark skies.  After seeing the images from that night, I was kicking my own ass.  Lesson learned – GO OUT!

The next day I intended to head straight to Bar Harbor to get the meaty part of my trip underway and the part I’d looked most forward to – seeing Acadia National Park!  Since the park was still closed I scrambled last minute to come up with an alternate plan of attack.  I’d left my passport at home (another kick to my bum!) so heading to Campobello Island was not an option (although I hear that it was closed due to the shutdown as well).  After a lot of hemming and hawing and conferring with friends I decided to embrace my dark side and do some Stephen King sightseeing!  I’ve LOVED his works since I was a kid – my first favorite movie wasn’t Annie (she came after) but Cujo.  I remember watching it on TV when I was around 4 and I loved that movie.  I think the majority of the movie went sailing above my head thankfully!  My next favorite movie?  Children of the Corn and I think it was around the same time?  I remember setting my alarm to watch these movies when they were on HBO and my parents had no clue what I was getting up so early to watch.  As I grew older I finally read his books and watched more of his movies.  I’m still a bit freaked out around sewers thanks to It!  So, it seemed like the ideal way to “kill” a day while still doing something fun.

Since the route to Bar Harbor went through Bangor, I decided to start with Stephen King’s house.  I didn’t want to be creepy so I literally just drove by, paused and took a picture out the window before leaving again, hence the crap quality.  I really wanted to get proper images of his home with my SLR but I didn’t want to be THAT person.  His home is absolutely beautiful and just sinister enough to be the home of a horror writer.  The gate to the home is a spider web and bats are atop of the railings.

Stephen King's Home in Bangor Maine

The next stop on my King filled day was taking a spin through Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor, Maine.  This is the graveyard where Gage is buried in Pet Sematary.  It is an absolutely beautiful cemetery and there were a ton of people out walking around the grounds.  I didn’t stick around too long but I’m glad that I stopped by.  The leaves were amazing!

Mount Hope Cemetery

The final stop for the “Stephen King” adventure was the home featured in Pet Sematary.  I don’t know why  but the home in the movie always captured my heart.  It’s a beautiful old home and I figured since it was close enough to Bar Harbor it was worth the detour to find it.  It’s not on a busy road like is depicted in the movie but everything else was exactly the same from the outside.  The owners were outside so I used my iPhone to capture an image while stopped down the street before leaving.

Pet Sematary Filming Location

Just before sunset I checked into the Bar Harbor Inn and upgraded my room to an ocean view because, well, why not?  I dropped my luggage, took a whiff of the salt air and grabbed my camera and headed off into town to find something to eat.  I took a few images along the way just before sunset.

I had no idea that I’d be able to see a lighthouse from my room so I was pleased when I stepped out onto my balcony and saw Egg Rock Light in the distance.  When I was 14 we rented a house in the Outer Banks behind Currituck Lighthouse and it was really neat to have the lighthouse beaming through the house all night.  Some would probably find this annoying but I found it comforting so it was fun to see a lighthouse again from my window.

Egg Rock Light in Maine

The view of the “bar” that gives Bar Harbor its name.  During low tide you can walk or drive across the strip of land you can barely see just behind the sailboat connecting the two islands.

Bar Harbor Maine at sunset

For dinner, I had a HORRIBLE meal at Paddy’s Irish Pub.  I hadn’t ate since breakfast at Tim Hortons (why oh why aren’t you in Northeast Ohio yet?!) so I was starving!  It was so bad I didn’t eat most of it.  Sad trombone.  When we were here the year before Paddy’s had caught my eye and I was looking forward to a meal here but it wasn’t meant to be I guess!  I picked up some blueberry ice cream on the way back to my room.

One of the original things I wanted to try when I was in Bar Harbor was astrophotography.  However, with the government shut down I decided it wasn’t worth lugging all of the gear necessary when it was pretty likely the shutdown wouldn’t end while I was in Maine.  There’s a ton of things you need to make that kind of photography work and to me it just wasn’t worth lugging it all on a flight if I didn’t think I’d use it.  Of course on my way home I was so amazed by the stars I could see that I was kicking my bum again because I wish I’d had brought all the stuff.  However, where there is a will there is a way and I decided to get creative and see what I could do to make what I had on hand work.  The main thing that I was missing was a tripod so I set up a station on my balcony with a chair, a side table and pillows.


Here is the end result.  It’s by no means perfect but I was elated and decided to press on.  While I wish I had a shutter release that one needs for the crazy stuff you see online, I was happy that I was able to get ANYTHING honestly so I went with what I had and kept on going!  The red light near the center of the image is a lighthouse.

Maine Astrophotography

Probably my favorite of all of my attempts at this!  I decided to move from my balcony to the “shore path” that’s a historic path around Bar Harbor so that I could get the lights from the ship (above on the left) out of the image.  I wonder if anyone was watching me from their hotel rooms going “what is wrong with that girl?!” LOL.

bar harbor Astrophotography

A final image that I moved back to show a bit more of the foreground in, you can see the gravel shore path where I had taken the above image from above.

astrophotography in maine


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