Fall Foliage Trip Route
Click here for a listing of Peak
Dates to view the Foliage
Take a leisurely day's drive along the route, or plan for
several day-trips to explore stops along the route.
Beginning in Wells, you'll find 7 miles of wide, sandy
beaches, antique shops and the Laudholm National Estuarine
Research Reserve. This 1,690 acre reserve and historical
farmhouse houses the Maine Coastal Ecology Center, and offers
seven miles of trails showcasing the season's foliage.
At Wells Harbor Park enjoy free concerts at the Hope Hobbs
Gazebo, take a moment to reflect on life at the prayer bell
dedicated to those who perished on September 11 or take in one
of the many festivals held each year.
Wells offers many historic and picturesque points of
interest. The Schoolhouse Division No. 9 offers a unique look at
school life in the early 1900's. Built on one-half acre of land
for a total cost of $878.72, it was designed for a lone teacher
to instruct 35 to 40 pupils from kindergarten through grade 8.
The Museum at the Historic Meetinghouse on route 1 includes
artifacts and memorabilia of early Wells and Ogunquit life as
well as an extensive genealogy library of the towns early
residents. Throughout Wells there are many monuments marking
important historic events such as the first home built in Wells
Head north on Route 9 to Kennebunkport, a charming coastal
village that was plunged headlong into worldwide fame when
summer resident, George Bush, became President in 1988. Take a
scenic drive along coastal Route 9 to catch a glimpse of the
Bush mansion on beautiful Walker Point, as well as the other
magnificent summer homes that grace the shoreline.
Watch handcrafted beer and ales being brewed just steps away
from the exciting dining and shopping area at Dock Square in the
Don't miss nearby Kennebunk (just up Route 9A), where you can
take a tour of the Brick Store Museum on Maine Street, a
wonderful three-building complex that houses local memorabilia,
fine art, antique furniture and nautical exhibits. Take time to
visit the historical White Columns home (built in 1853), which
offers a wonderful tribute to the Victorian era: one of the
stipulations given by the former owner when the home was
bequeathed to the historical society was that nothing in the
house be changed. This, apparently, had been a "house rule" for
some time before that. The home features its original wallpaper,
carpeting and furnishings.
From Kennebunkport, take Route 9 through Biddeford/Saco,
where a diversion to the York Institute on Main Street in Saco
is a fascinating trip through Maine's past. The Institute is one
of Maine's oldest museums, and features an exceptional
collection of Federal period furnishings and paintings, glass,
textiles and other rarities from 18th-and 19th-century Maine
Continue to Old Orchard Beach along route 9, where the
historic pier and amusement park hearken back to a simpler time
in our past. Horseback riding along the beautiful seven-mile
beach is a wonderful way to view the coastal fall colors.
From Old Orchard, head south on route 1 to route 112 driving
west to Hollis Center, then north on Route 35 through pastoral
landscapes to Standish. During the War of 1812, Portland bankers
hid money from the British in the Daniel Marrett House; today,
you can tour this 1789 Georgian mansion, which is filled with
furniture and memorabilia from the 18th & 19th centuries.
Take Route 25 to Portland, a place that native son Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow called his "jewel by the sea." Most people
who are familiar with this gem of a city agree that his
19th-century sentiment still rings true today. As one of the
Northeast's most sophisticated small cities, Portland pulses
with a delightfully vibrant urban atmosphere, yet retains all
the warmth and charm of a close-knit community. Per capita,
Portland is said to be home to more places to dine than any
other American city, save San Francisco; the caliber of the fare
to be found here has been noted in Bon Appetit, Travel & Leisure
and Wine Spectator. Portland also maintains a thriving arts
tradition, evidenced in its many galleries, theater and dance
companies, performance halls and museums.
Built on a peninsula, Portland is bounded by island-studded
Casco Bay, placid Back Cove and the Fore River; such geographic
constraints led to the happy solution of building the city up
rather than out. The resulting urban landscape consists of tall
and stately brick, granite and brownstone buildings in an array
of 19th-century architectural styles. Portland is a wonderful
city to explore on foot; Greater Portland Landmarks offers
walking tour maps of the city's four main historic districts.
Shop and dine in the brick-and-cobblestone Old Port District.
Sample some of the best food you'll ever taste at the Portland
Public Market. Climb to the top of the newly renovated Portland
Observatory, a fixture used to alert merchants and townspeople
of ships arriving to port in the 18th and 19th centuries.
From Portland, head south on Route 77 to Southern Maine
Community College in South Portland, where the Spring Point
Light rests on a breakwater adjacent to the Portland Harbor
Museum, which features as its centerpiece the bow of America's
last clipper ship, the Snow Squall. This 157-foot beauty was
left to rot in South America in 1864, but portions of the vessel
were recently recovered and are being restored at the museum.
Traveling a short distance from Spring Point to Shore Road in
Cape Elizabeth, you'll find Fort Williams Park, offering
heart-stopping views of the sea and access to world-famous
Portland Head Light. Commissioned by George Washington in 1791,
this light enjoys a long and fascinating history, and has
spawned its fair share of legends. A local favorite dates to the
early 1900s, when the lighthouse-keeper's parrot (who reportedly
cursed like a pirate) acted as a barometer, telling the keeper
to turn the light on when a storm was approaching. Henry
Wadsworth Longfellow also visited the light frequently, and is
said to have penned some of his poetry here. Learn more about
this landmark beacon at the museum housed in the former
Just a few miles south on Route 77 you'll find Two Lights
State Park, and another of the region's famous lighthouses
painted by countless artists, including Andrew Wyeth. While
there, sample authentic Maine cuisine at a lobster shack with an
unparalleled view of the Atlantic. Follow Route 77 to its end
and turn left onto Black Point Road to visit Scarborough Beach
State Park. Stop to soak up some sun and frolic in the surf.
Further down this neighborhood road is Prouts Neck, home of
revered painter, Winslow Homer. An unmarked trail beginning at
Winslow Homer Road (ask for directions at the nearby inn) winds
along the cliffs where the artist was often inspired.
Head back on Black Point Road and take a right onto Route 1.
Follow signs to route 295.
Take Route 295 north through Portland and make a stop at the
Delorme Mapping Company in Yarmouth, to experience Eartha, the
world's largest globe as listed in the Guinness Book of World
Records. Continue north on Route 295 to the shopping Mecca of
Freeport, home to legendary L.L. Bean and a multitude of other
brand-name outlet stores.
After your Freeport shopping extravaganza, head back down
route 295 to route 95. Continue south on 95 to route 302. Travel
North on route 302 to North Windham and the lower portion of the
Sebago Lakes Region. Here you can explore shops full of
authentic Maine crafts and snoop around the old antique haunts
that give Route 302 its nickname of "Antique Alley." Follow
route 35 south into Standish, bearing right onto Route 25 west.
In Standish, you can stop at roadside farms and pick some of the
crispest apples in the state.
Traveling west along Route 25 brings you to Kezar Falls. Take
25 west to Porter, site of the Porter Covered Bridge.
Continue south on 160 to Limerick, then head west on 11 to
the Victorian village of Willowbrook in the town of Newfield.
This gem of an historic site shouldn't be missed; made up of
over 37 buildings (including several homes, a ballroom,
schoolhouse, restaurant and ice cream parlor), the village was
carefully restored after it was destroyed by fire in 1947. Even
the details transport you to an earlier era: artifacts include
horse-drawn carriages, vintage toys, Victorian clothing and an
From Newfield, continue on Route 11 south to Sanford. Take
route 109 to South Sanford and turn right onto route 4. Follow
route 4 south to route 236 in South Berwick. From route 236 take
a side trip east on route 91, where you can take a tour of the
1787 Hamilton House (open until October 15th), widely regarded
as one of Maine's finest manor homes. Its Georgian architecture
is stunning, and the interior is decorated with exquisite period
furnishings. In addition, musical performances often take place
on the house's lovely grounds.
Proceed south along route 236 to route 1 in Kittery where
popular outlet stores make this a key stop for shoppers. Kittery
is also home to the historic community of Kittery Point, which
served as a vacation destination for many respected 19th-century
artists and writers, including Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain). It
was Clemens and a group of other seasonal residents that decided
to preserve the charm of this part of the world by purchasing
several historic buildings in nearby York, America's first
chartered city (1642).
Head north on Route 1 from Kittery to Old York Village, where
a number of these buildings are open for tours. Among these is
the Old Gaol, a prison dating back to 1719 and believed to be
the oldest remaining public building of the English colonies. If
you're interested in gravestone-rubbing, don't miss the Old
Burying Ground, where stones bear the Old English spellings of
18th-century town members. Also of interest is York Village's
Civil War Monument; upon inspection, you'll notice that the
soldier is wearing a Confederate uniform. Due to a shipping
mistake, York's statue is on display somewhere south of the
While in York, explore the village of York Beach, where
Victorian-era shops line the boardwalk at Long Sands Beach. Soak
up some sun and stop at the village's restaurant & taffy shop,
which has been owned by the same family since 1896. In addition,
make sure to visit the circa-1879 Cape Neddick (Nubble) Light;
Sohier Park makes for a very scenic picnic spot, overlooking the
Head up Route 1 north from York to Ogunquit. This seaside
village's heralded natural beauty drew artists from near and far
in the late 1800s, making it one of the nation's first art
colonies. Among the many artists who found inspiration here were
Maurice Prendergast, Walt Kuhn and Edward Hopper. Their legacy
lives on today in the exquisite galleries and museums that line
the village's quaint streets and scenic coves.
If you take this tour early in the season, check out the
Ogunquit Museum of American Art (closes September 30th), a
museum dedicated exclusively to 20th-century American art. In
addition to housing over 1,300 significant paintings,
sculptures, drawings and prints, the museum's location
overlooking the Atlantic is truly breathtaking, inspiring a
former Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art to deem it
"the most beautiful small museum in the world."
While in town, take a walk on Marginal Way, a footpath
offering amazing views of the sea as well as of the summer
"cottages" that line the shore. The path ends at Perkins Cove, a
picturesque harbor surrounded by galleries, restaurants and
boutiques, and which features a draw footbridge across its
If you're touring the area at the beginning of September,
don't miss Capriccio, Ogunquit's Annual Week Long Celebration of
the Arts (September 2nd - 8th). This culminates in the Festival
of Kites, right on the beach. Colors take wind, as kites of
every size and description fill the skies over Ogunquit Beach.