Escape the leaf-peeping crowds


If I wanted to lose the tour buses, the vehicle parades, the lines and the masses, and I wanted to not only see the fall foliage show, but also the coast, I’d—sshhhh—return to the Blue Hill/Deer Isle Peninsula, and spend a weekend or longer.

Perhaps because there are no huge hotels or fancy-schmancy resorts here, the crowds and bus tours go elsewhere. Good. Now I’ve previously blogged about the Shore Oaks Inn on the grounds of the Oakland House Seaside Resort, and the Inn on the Harbor, in Stonington at the tip of Deer Isle. Besides these, favorites are the Pentagoet Inn, a butter-yellow Queen Anne in Castine, the land of white houses, and the Blue Hill Inn, an elegant oasis in downtown Blue Hill.

Thanks to the mapmaker-challenging coastline, you can watch the sun both rise and set over the ocean as you noodle the byways with a glimpse of water around nearly every bend. Spend an afternoon or longer exploring Castine’s rich history and viewing its architectural gems; mosey around Deer Isle, and if the weather’s fine, take the passenger ferry to Isle au Haut. Artists’ and artisans’ studios are plentiful, walking and hiking trails lace abundant preserves, and dining choices range from seafood shacks to elegant restaurants.

A grand time to visit is over Columbus Day weekend, when the annual Peninsula Potters Studio Tour and Sale occurs. And here’s a plus: renowned potter Mark Bell has a kiln opening on Oct. 11.