Though I am a Michigan girl through and through, I’ve always loved the East Coast. My dad was born and raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, so growing up we always spent holidays there. Everything is so much older on the East Coast, so eclectic and unique to each place, and I love the small-town charm. I’ve spent my fair share of time in different states along the Eastern seaboard. New York City and Boston are two of my favorite cities to visit, and I hope to one day live somewhere along the water.
My younger brother Alex plays junior hockey in Lewiston, Maine. When my parents told me that they were going to go visit him over Fall Break, I decided to tag along. I had never been to Maine, and given the time of year, with the leaves changing colors, I knew it would be the right time to go.
Shooting on film is usually my go-to for travel photos. It’s so convenient, and getting my film developed feels like Christmas morning. I can never capture the same feeling as I do with film when I shoot digital. They always feel so flat and lifeless to me. With film, each photo evokes its own unique feeling. Yes, some photos do turn out blurry and I’m not always satisfied with my final product, but it’s all about trusting the process.
I never leave the house without my camera, whether it’s film or digital. Usually, I have one of my point-and-shoot 35 mm cameras around my neck whenever I leave the house. That’s the thing about film, it captures those passing moments in a way that a digital camera just cannot.
Almost all of my film cameras are thrifted, aside from the few I’ve had passed down from my grandfathers and dad. It’s actually becoming a problem; every time I see a film camera in a thrift store, I immediately buy it. I might have too many cameras. Each one has its own unique filtering, and when I shoot with them for the first time, I never know what kind of vibe I’m gonna get. But the surprise is the best part, and I was happily surprised when I received these photos.
We landed in Portland, Maine at 10 a.m. on Friday morning. My brother was playing games in New Hampshire that weekend, so we decided to take the scenic route along the coast to Bar Harbor, Maine, making a few stops along the way. The road was long and windy and absolutely spectacular.
Our first stop on our road trip was Boothbay Harbor, a small fishing town known for having the best sea kayaking in Maine. I was immediately drawn to the little mom-and-pop shops and one-way streets of the quaint downtown.
My mom and I wandered into bookstores and souvenir shops that had all the knickknacks you didn’t know you needed. Since it was mid-October, the town was decked out with Halloween decorations. In front of “The Smiling Cow” was a 1000 pound pumpkin grown by a man named Richard Powell. I still am trying to wrap my head around how Richard Powell transported the pumpkin.
We made our way down to the water, and the view was absolutely beautiful. Even though there was an overcast, I was struck by the picturesque boats in the water and the unique landscape. I tried to imagine the energy during the peak tourist season in the summer months, the town full of tourists.
We walked down a floating dock that adjusted to the tide. It felt so good to be close to the ocean. I love the smell of sea salt and the feeling of a crisp breeze that floats off the water. Since we wanted to make it to Bar Harbor before sunset, we were only able to spend a short amount of time walking around.
On our way out of town, we drove through a rural residential area. The deep red and yellow leaves were so mesmerizing that I couldn’t stop looking out the window. About halfway back to the main road, we pulled over at an aged cemetery with a view of a Christmas tree farm. My dad and I hopped out of the car to take a look at some of the overgrown headstones. Most of them dated back to the 1800s, and some even earlier than that. We spent about 15 minutes walking around and paying respects to those who were buried before getting back into the car and making our way back to Route 1.
There were so many lobster restaurants, I think I counted 35 along the way. Each was unique and had its own charm. I could only imagine how delicious the food must taste, and I decided that I needed to try fresh lobster before leaving.
We stopped at a scenic overlook along the road at the three-quarter mark. It was called the Fort Knox observatory and looked out onto the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. It is one of the best-preserved military bases in New England, and it was active during the Revolutionary War. My dad and I are such history junkies, so this was so exciting for us to see. The views of the river and the trees were spectacular.
About an hour later, we finally reached our destination, Bar Harbor. The town was bustling with activity on that late afternoon. Our hotel was situated on the waterfront, and we had such a beautiful view of the ocean. Downtown was old and charming. I felt like I had been dropped into a Norman Rockwell painting. The architecture was classic yet original, and there was so much to see in such a short amount of time.
We got there around 4 p.m., and the sun set at 6 p.m. After checking in, we dropped our bags in our room and set out for the town. My mom and I went into some locally-owned shops to see what kinds of tchotchkes we could find. We love to collect ornaments in my family, so we made it our mission to find one. We also found some sweatshirts and iron-on patches with the destination sewn onto them. Once we finished shopping, we walked around until the sunset.
Locals played music, tourists waited in line for restaurants, and fishermen prepared their boats for their morning trips. We had dinner at a locally owned restaurant near the water, and I had some of the best shellfish I’ve ever had in my life. I finally got my lobster, and all was right in the world.
I was determined to wake up to watch the sunrise. Bar Harbor is the first place to see the sunrise in the United States, and I knew I had to capture the moment on my camera. When I woke up at 6 a.m., there was no sun. It was actually supposed to rain, but the haze of the clouds and the mist of oncoming rain was comforting in its own way.
Although it was 6:30 in the morning, everyone was awake. The walkway outside the hotel was full of people walking, running and taking photos. It seemed like even with the rain, everyone was just happy to experience the morning mist.
On my morning walk, I watched the fishermen come in with their morning catch. It felt like I was taking a glimpse into their daily lives, and I wondered what their typical day looked like.
The whole trip was such a fun experience. I was so happy to be able to spend some much-needed time with my parents after a grueling beginning of the semester. On Saturday and Sunday, we watched my brother play and went out to dinner with him. He showed us around Lewiston and the rink he plays at, and I loved getting to see what his daily life looks like while playing Juniors.
Staff Photographer Gabby Ceritano can be reached at email@example.com.