You don’t have to start every morning wandering the expansive beach at low tide scouting for sand dollars and marveling at the cliffs under a golden sunrise sky.
But we definitely did.
It was a happy coincidence that low tide and sunrise happened simultaneously during our getaway to the Bold Coast in September. We were rightly lured in by a cool off-the-grid A-frame cabin stationed cliffside overlooking the Atlantic and some downright stunning coastal trails. The sunrise beach walks made it all that much sweeter.
The cliffside A-frame located in Robbinston, about 12 miles south of Calais. It’s a short, winding dirt road away from Route 1, but it feels gloriously remote. The owners call it Camelot. And I can’t argue with that title.
While I’d love to take credit for discovering this place, I cannot. A friend of mine found it on Airbnb and told me about it.
Camelot boats all the necessities: a roof and sleeping accommodations for four people, an outhouse, a deck and grill, a bonfire pit, and unbelievable views.
* Note: The cabin sleeps four, but we asked the owners for permission to set up a few tents, which they let us do, so if you see tents in the photo, that’s why. Ask first!
The cabin comes with plenty of other essentials, too, like bug spray, utensils, lighter, salt and pepper, a big cooler, chairs for the bonfire.
What you won’t find: electricity, flush toilets, internet. It’s amazing.
The cabin sits on the edge of cliff that overlooks the Atlantic (and Canada). When the tide allows, you can follow a short path and staircase to get down to the beach.
This cabin isn’t all that far from the world at large (takeout pizza and IGA in Calais are only 15 minutes away) and there are other homes in the area, but we never spied another soul during our long shorelines explorations. We saw one boat – that’s about it.
What we DID see: Seals. Sand dollars. Incredible rock formations carved by the tide and the strength of the waves.
The most notable of those formations is known as Pulpit Rock, which is a short walk from Camelot (on the beach when the tide is out, of course).
We didn’t need to set our alarms to welcome the sunrise at Camelot – it woke us each morning with a sherbet-colored glow that lit up our tents and the big picture frame window of the cabin.
It’d be tempting to plant yourself on the deck with a book and a beer for the duration of your stay – looking up now and again to take note of passing boats or the bald heads of curious seals – and you absolutely could.
But this is the Bold Coast, people. Home to some of Maine’s most magnificent hiking. So I recommend you do some hiking.
There are a host of coastal preserves in the region, including several managed by Maine Coast Heritage Trust.
I also really dig Culter Coast Public Reserved Land, which is about a 45-minute drive from Robbinston, and that’s where we ended up.
Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land
There are 10 miles of trails at Cutler Coast, including 3.5 miles of coastal trail, where you can look down into the Bay of Fundy from atop the cliffs or walk through meadows of chest-high flowers before ducking back onto the tree-covered trail. From the trailhead, it’s 1.4 miles of fairly easy going trail to get to the coast and the promontory featuring breathtaking views.
I’ve written about hiking Cutler Coast before and camping at Cobscook Bay State Park – also a great pairing.
What makes this area so fantastic – besides the scenic cliffs, pebble beaches, flowering meadows, and moss-covered forest – is that the hiking is pretty accessible, even for folks who don’t hike very often.
There’s certainly some ups and downs and lots of exposed roots and rocky terrain, so you’ll need to mind your footing, but you won’t need to spend an hour huffing it up to a summit to appreciate the views.
We opted for the 3.4-mile Coastal Trail, which includes wooded trails, open fields, and plenty of gaps in the trees to look out onto the water.
And hey, why not toss in a visit to Campobello Island before you head back home? Passport required for a day trip to the island, where you can hike Roosevelt Campobello International Park and tour the summer residence and gardens of the Roosevelt family.
It’s mostly mellow hiking here, with similarly grand vistas. And since the weather was so splendid, and also because we weren’t in much of a rush to return home, we spent a good long while sitting on the rocks watching whales go by.
It’s not easy to leave a place like this. On the upside, this coastline isn’t going anywhere, so you can visit it again and again.
Robbinston + the Bold Coast
– Check out Camelot on Airbnb: www.airbnb.com/rooms/24926971
– Cutler Coast Reserved Land trail guide [PDF]: www.maine.gov
– Another post about hiking Cutler Coast and camping at Cobscook Bay State Park
– Information on visiting Campobello