In August, my family went on a road trip from Wisconsin to Maine via Quebec, and from there to Bethany Beach in Delaware, Ocean City in Maryland, and Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. We finished off with a few nights in the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee before finally heading home. Miles and miles were spent talking, sleeping, debating, and listening to music, my brothers and I squished the whole time into the back of our Honda CRV. The entire trip was fantastic, but Maine stuck with me the most. My parents hiked the Appalachian Trail when they were first married, and it was fun to hear their memories as we hiked along the same sections of the trail more than 25 years later. We stayed at Harrison’s Pierce Pond, an event in itself and something for a future post, and we ate the most delicious lobsters in Bar Harbor. At Pierce Pond our cell phones didn’t work, so we enjoyed 48 peaceful hours of hiking, reading books, learning endless nature facts from my youngest brother, and joining in a Beatles sing-a-long with our camp host (like I said, an event in itself and something for a future post). What resonated most with me about Maine though was how beautiful the United States is, and how varied. I had just moved back from Europe a few days before we departed, and had spent the last month flitting through Spain, Morocco, The Netherlands, and Italy. Home seemed dull in comparison. But Maine is just as beautiful, in different ways, than the Amalfi Coast. The sparkling waters and crashing waves are just as nice as Sardegna, and the mountains are as stunning as any in the world. This year, while I’m still planning lots of international travel, I’m hoping to explore more of my own vast and varied country. Stay tuned. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite photos highlighting the beauty and serenity of Maine.