Activity note: Hotel check in is available from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00-5:00 PM. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: The Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures including contact numbers for key staff, and answer any questions you may have. Scheduled free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Please be aware that program activities, schedules, and personnel may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
Dinner: At the hotel, our first meal together features a traditional Down East lobster dinner.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.
Activity note: Getting on/off a trolley, walking up to 2 miles, approximately 1.5 hours; some cobblestone streets, grass and packed dirt paths at lighthouse; standing during field trips. Comfortable & sturdy walking shoes suggested.
Breakfast: At the restaurant in the hotel, order off the menu using vouchers.
Morning: At the hotel, we’ll be joined by a local expert who will provide an overview of Portland's history. Originally called Machigonne (Great Neck) by the Native Americans who first inhabited it, the Portland peninsula was established by the British in 1632 as a trading and fishing settlement. Industry grew and Portland's waterfront became a mecca for shipping and trading companies. At one time, Maine was at the center of global commerce as products from Maine were shipped around the world. The Phoenix, the mythical bird that rises from the ashes, aptly symbolizes Portland's legendary rebirth after the Great Fire of 1866 leveled the city for the fourth time. Almost completely rebuilt during the Victorian era, Portland has maintained much of its 19th century architecture and flavor. We’ll then depart the hotel for a walking field trip to the historic waterfront known as the Old Port. Our local expert will discuss architecture and historic businesses related to the various maritime endeavors of historic Portland, the British raid during the American Revolution, and the Portland Rum Riot. We'll end at the Maine State Pier, a short walk from our lunch spot, where we see the port infrastructure.
Lunch: At a restaurant in the Old Port district along Portland Harbor, we will have a plated meal, plus a soft drink and water.
Afternoon: We’ll continue our discovery aboard a classically styled trolley with a ride around the city with commentary to learn more about Portland's diverse history and see some of its hidden gems. Toward the end of our trolley ride, we will stop at Portland Head Light, Maine's oldest lighthouse, on Cape Elizabeth. At Portland Head Light, we'll enjoy the spectacular shores of Fort Williams Park while learning about this famous lighthouse. Departing the lighthouse, the trolley will drop us off at the hotel, where we will have time to regroup and refresh before having a free evening.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Fresh seafood, farm to table, classic New England, the options are plentiful.
Evening: At leisure. Go out to explore more of this charming small city at your own pace. Stroll down to the water and watch the boats venture in and out of the harbor or simply relax. Prepare to check out of the hotel and depart from Portland tomorrow.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking and standing, approximately 1.5 hours in museum; unpaved terrain, walking up a marine ramp with hand rails to wooden dock, steps up and down over gap to board boat. Boat has wooden benches; half of the deck is shaded. Warm attire recommended.
Breakfast: Hotel restaurant vouchers.
Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and depart Portland, driving up Maine’s scenic coastline to Bath, renowned for shipbuilding since 1743. More than 5,000 vessels have been launched in the area, that at one time had more than 200 shipbuilding firms. In the company of an expert at the Maine Maritime Museum, learn how Bath became the nation's fifth largest seaport by the mid-19th century, producing clipper ships that sailed to ports around the world. There will be some time before lunch to explore the museum on your own.
Lunch: At the Maine Maritime Museum, we’ll have box lunches.
Afternoon: Continuing north along the coast, we’ll arrive in the picturesque coastal community of Camden. We’ll embark on our first maritime excursion out of Camden Harbor to learn everything about lobster and more from a staff member aboard a lobstering boat. As we cruise through the harbor, see how traps are pulled in everyday by professionals and amateurs alike. It can be windy on the water, so an extra layer and/or windbreaker is recommended. When the lobster cruise concludes we will check in to the Lord Camden Inn. There will be time to relax, freshen up or explore downtown before dinner.
Dinner: In a local restaurant in Camden, we’ll have a plated meal.
Evening: We’ll walk back to the hotel for a presentation by a local expert to further your knowledge of mid-coast Maine. Joined by Bud Warren, we’ll explore the fascinating story of how early, fragile English settlements hung on despite attempts by original residents to drive them out and efforts by the French to dislodge them, how they sank roots and expanded downeast to become the Maine coast we know today.
Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach. Walking up to two miles and standing in museums.
Breakfast: At the Inn.
Morning: Our next field trip takes us to the Farnsworth Museum and the Wyeth Center, located in Rockland. A docent will lead our exploration, consisting of several discrete components dedicated to collecting, research, exhibitions and interpretive programs related to three generations of Wyeths in Maine: N.C., Andrew, and James Wyeth. At the conclusion of our time with the docent, there will be some time to explore what interests you most.
Lunch: At a local restaurant a short walk from the museum you will have the option to purchase what you like with vouchers provided by your Group Leader.
Afternoon: Reboarding our motorcoach, we’ll proceed to the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland and listen to sea stories, shanties, and other heroics on the high seas by the curator, Captain Jim Sharp. Captain Jim will lead our exploration through the museum to learn about historically significant sail, power, and steam driven vessels and their origins, construction, and more. We’ll then return to the hotel.
Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Walking on pavement from motorcoach to dock, up a marine ramp with hand rails to wooden dock, up and down a few steps and over gap to board boat. The weather-dependent sail is approximately 2.5 hours. Schooner has sails and wooden benches with cushions; the only bathroom is down a steep flight of wooden steps. Soft-soled, non-marking shoes recommended.
Breakfast: At the Inn.
Morning: Welcome to the world of the Maine Windjammer! We’ll board a family-built, owned, and operated schooner for a sail out of the picturesque Rockport harbor. The captain will regale us with stories, while pointing out the varied wildlife, lobster pots and lighthouses. The captain will also explain why the lobster fishing industry is so important to Maine's economy and "sense of place."
Lunch: Enjoy a homemade lunch on board the schooner from the Captain.
Afternoon: Leaving Mid-Coast Maine, we’ll head “Down East” to Mt. Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. En route, we’ll visit the Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory. The observatory affords 360-degree views of the Penobscot River and Bay, the countryside, and distant mountains. Marvel at the view from the tallest bridge observatory in the world! We’ll proceed to Bar Harbor and check in to our final hotel before heading to dinner.
Dinner: In a local restaurant in Bar Harbor, we’ll have a plated meal.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Participants are encouraged to bring National Park Passes. Getting on/off a motorcoach. Embark/disembark vessel using ramps and/or stairs. Walking on uneven terrain. Schedule and nature cruise, approximately 2 hours, are weather dependent.
Breakfast: At the Inn.
Morning: We’ll begin our exploration of Acadia National Park with a scenic drive up Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the eastern seaboard. Please bring your National Park Pass if you have one. During our drive, the Group Leader will provide commentary with photo opportunities. When the serpentine summit road was built in the 1930s, it was considered the best-engineered mountain road in the world.
Lunch: Enjoy a boxed lunch inside the park that includes a homemade sandwich or wrap, fresh fruit, a bag of chips, a homemade cookie, and a bottle of water.
Afternoon: This afternoon we'll explore the park by sea on an Acadia nature cruise. On the 2-hour, fully-narrated field trip of Frenchman Bay, take in the breathtaking scenery of coastal Maine, Acadia National Park, the islands of Frenchman Bay, and the shoreline of Bar Harbor. We’ll see parts of the island only visible by water including summer mansions, Egg Rock Lighthouse, and wildlife that may choose to appear.
Dinner: Ending as we began, enjoy a farewell lobster dinner at the hotel, and share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.
Evening: We’ll have a wrap-up and review of our program. Then prepare for departure and our transfer back to Portland in the morning.
Activity note: While hotel check out is officially by 11 a.m, we will depart on our transfer from Bar Harbor at 8:30 a.m. The trip to Portland International Jetport is 170 miles, approximately 4 hours depending on traffic, with expected arrival about 12:30 p.m. We recommend scheduling flights that depart after 2:30 p.m.
Breakfast: At the Inn.
Morning: Travelling in and out of Bar Harbor without your own vehicle, is difficult and time consuming, so we have scheduled a group transfer back to Portland. Departure from Bar Harbor is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. The trip to Portland International Jetport is approximately 4 hours, with expected arrival by 12:30 p.m. The bus will then have 2 more drop offs: the Portland Transportation Center (train station), and the Holiday Inn by the Bay (our first hotel). This concludes our program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!