The Bold Coast of Maine


One of the most spectacular sections of the Maine coastline can be found in the Cutler Coast Public Reserved Land just east of Machias. This unspoiled landscape and incredible ocean views can be experienced after a short hike through a typical Maine spruce forest, and is a great place to enjoy some of Maine’s interesting flora, fauna, and geology. Sam, Jack and I recently had an opportunity to briefly explore this area, and although we didn’t get to spend a lot of time there, we did get enough of a taste to want to return.

Lots of bunchberry and lush green ferns were blooming all along the gentle trail, and the dense overhead canopy provided much appreciated shade on what was a relatively hot afternoon. Despite hearing (fictional and exaggerated) stories of how bears usually grab the lead hiker, Jack fearlessly blazed the mile or so trail that led through the woods to the ocean. As we neared the edge of the land, we could hear the Atlantic waves crashing on shore, and we could feel the temperature drop as a very welcome cool breeze washed over us.

We spent a few minutes marveling at the coastline view, noticing what looked like “almost-secret” little pocket coves of rounded boulders dotted along this incredibly beautiful stretch of shoreline. The towering and imposing cliffs protecting the land were somewhat darker in color – and much more rugged – than the warm, pink granite found further south in Acadia.

Although we would love to have explored further along the coast, due to the warm temperatures and potential for a long walk back, we decided to save that for another day. This is a remote and stark landscape that relatively few people probably get to see, and one that I will definitely return to with my camera, especially since first light would likely do a number on those remarkable east-facing cliffs. Can you imagine what this landscape would look like at first light?


29 thoughts on “The Bold Coast of Maine

    • David Patterson

      It is indeed a beautiful place Bill. Relatively remote and still unspoiled as well… nothing like Acadia with the crowds etc.

    • David Patterson

      The hike in isn’t difficult at all, though being in the woods in the dark would probably spook me. There’s another 3.5 miles you can hike all along the shoreline. We didn’t have time to do it all – doubt of Jack would have been up for it either – but I will DEFINITELY return someday. You can also camp out there if so inclined.

  1. Dena

    I can’t wait to see it at first light! Also, how has Maine’s department of tourism not contacted you yet? Seriously, you’ve made me wanna see the place at least a hundred times.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Dena. I got a call a few years back from a PR guy asking to use a photograph for a tourism site. Without me even saying anything, he blurted out that they didn’t have any money to pay for licensing, and that I should be happy for the exposure. I have always been pretty reasonable when it comes to people asking to use my photographs, but this time it immediately rubbed me the wrong way. Besides, I have a few friends who are trying to make a living from photography, and the last thing I want to do is help destroy their livelihood by giving stuff away for free.

  2. Beautiful…as always, David….

    Can’t wait to see your early morning photos…somehow I’m pretty confident that they’ll be posted here in not too long….. 🙂

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Scott. This is actually quite a ways from me, so it would mean either a VERY early start, or being in that area overnight. Might not see the first light from here shot for a while, but I am determined to get there.

  3. Inspired and pretty

    Oh yes I can imagine how it would look at sunrise, it must be spectacular ! Can’t wait to see your photos. This hike in the woods looks so nice, I’d love to hike that trail.

    • David Patterson

      Thanks Graham. You can see Grand Manan off in the distance. I’d love to get there sometime… must be beautiful.

      • Graham

        David, you would get some great photos there. It may be even more beautiful than the Maine coast (if that is possible), though of course that is my opinion as a Canadian!

        • David Patterson

          Graham… you’re making me really want to make that trip. Since technically it is Canada, I’m wondering if I would need my passport 🙂

          • Graham

            David, sadly I think we all need passports or some sort of enhanced identity card nowadays. But Grand Manan is worth it (and there are a few other worthwhile places elsewhere on the coast of the Maritimes and Quebec!).

            • David Patterson

              I can imagine that the ride to Grand Manan would definitely be worth the trip. I’ve been doing some research on Nova Scotia and PEI. I would love to spend some time in the Maritimes… so close and almost another world for us.

              • Graham

                The ferry to Grand Manan is excellent – whales, birds, and the ever changing weather and seascape. Plus the whale watching and walking there is excellent. Elsewhere in the Maritimes you might want to check our Brier Island, and I am very partial to other spots like the southern Gaspe (well, that is Quebec, but nearby) and the Northumberland Strait shore of NS (which feels sort of abandoned, but very photogenic in places).

                • David Patterson

                  Now I can’t wait. Thanks for the tips… I’ll definitely store your advice away for “when” I make my trip.

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