Dawn and I have a tendency of going on adventures. ‘Adventures’ meaning we get lost, but usually find something amazing along the way. We have a tendency to follow dirt mountain roads until they turn into footpaths, having to back our truck through the woods for a mile before we can turn around, or not realizing that we’re driving down an unmarked driveway until we’re in front of someone’s house. While we don’t necessarily encourage this form of exploration, it has led us to some incredible places. And now that we’ve found them, you don’t have to wander like we have!
Driving up to the Schoodic Peninsula was a midday whim that led to packing PB&Js, piling the dogs in the truck, and my expert playlist but suspect navigation skills being put to the test. All of my directions going forward have been triple checked by Dawn, who is far less directionally challenged than I am.
From Captain Nickels Inn you’ll head North up Route 1 eventually driving over the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Observatory. Over the Summer, you can actually stop here and go up into the Observatory!
Continue on Route 1 until you reach 186. Congratulations, you have made it to the Schoodic Peninsula! From 186, turn onto Summer Harbor Rd. Get ready for breathtaking mountain and water views, back roads, and small harbor villages.
Turn onto Gray Rd. Gray Rd was one of our adventuring discoveries and was absolutely worth the detour!
Following the unassuming dirt road, which according to Google Maps lead to the coast, we found a gorgeous and extremely secluded stretch of rocky beach.
This was the perfect spot to stop and eat our impromptu picnic and let the dogs stretch their legs.
Pro-tip for Captain Nickels Inn guests: If you bring Jace the Inn Dog a stick from your travels, he will be your best friend.
Once you’ve reached the bicycle, you’re in someone’s driveway and you need to turn back.
Go back to Summer Harbor Rd. and continue until you find Grindstone Ave. If you are a lover of coastal homes, this is the perfect street to view some!
Follow Grindstone until you run out of road, you’re now at Grindstone Neck Point. The views here were absolutely stunning and so worth some “adventuring” to find!
If Grindstone Neck Point doesn’t make you fall in love with the Maine Coast, I don’t know what will. We could have stayed there all day listening to the waves crashing and basking in the sunshine, but we had to continue on our way.
Leave Grindstone Point, and head back to Summer Harbor Rd where it will eventually become Main St.
If you take Main St to Harbor Road, you’ll find a working harbor! Take a rest here and watch the fisherman loading up their lobster traps.
Get back on Main Street, also known as 186, and continue until you see Schoodic Loop Rd. The Schoodic Loop is part of the Acadia National Park. There are tons of hiking and bike trails inside the park but if you’re simply looking for a scenic drive, there’s no need to leave your car.
As you’re leaving the loop turn right to take Main St through Birch Harbor.
Turn off of 186 when you reach 195 and head back to Rt 1.
We went on this spontaneous adventure during the 2020 quarantine and therefore did not stop at any eateries but saw plenty along the way. I’ll list a few that had great locations and upon further research, great reviews!
The Pickled Wrinkle
I’m pretty sure Dawn wants to return to the Schoodic Peninsula just so she can eat here because she loves their name!
Lunch on the Wharf
Our guests are in love with their Lobster Grilled Cheese! How good does that sound?!
Me & Ben’s Dairy Creme
Anyone that knows me knows I have a pretty intense obsession with ice cream and when we returned to the peninsula to get updated photos for summer, I insisted on stopping here. While the ice cream was delicious, be warned that a small cone is the size of a large!
Need a dinner recommendation?
Two of our favorite dinner spots can be found in downtown Ellsworth. Ellsworth is located right on your way home to Captain Nickels Inn just 30 minutes away.
A unique restaurant offering artisan dishes, great drinks, and a fun atmosphere.
Enjoy fresh lobster while dining on their rolling lawn surrounded by fresh air and local charm.
Updated March 2023