For many vacationers, the Maine experience begins with a bridge — longtime visitors often describe crossing the Piscataqua River from New Hampshire along Interstate 95 as a cherished moment of arrival. In a state where so many of the most treasured landscapes are places where water meets land, it only seems appropriate that you would find an abundance of postcard-perfect bridges. Some are rustic, historic, and closed to vehicle traffic; others are soaring and modern, impressive monuments to human ingenuity. A few are among the most photographed landmarks in the state, and some are an island community’s lifeline to the outside world. I happen to live in one of a pair of twin towns split by a river — of which Maine has several — where a bridge is both a physical link and a symbolic tie that binds two communities together. Of course, they can also just be great places to fish.
This dramatic suspension bridge stretches 2,120 feet over the Penobscot River, and there’s a slight Fritz Lang feel to its pointed towers and taught, isosceles cables. At one tower, the Penobscot Narrows Observatory is the world’s tallest public bridge lookout at 420 feet, from which you can take in Penobscot Bay and the adjacent Fort Knox Historic Site.
Deer Isle Bridge
There’s an elegant swoop to the cables of this suspension bridge across Eggemoggin Reach, connecting the mainland to Deer Isle (home to the famed Haystack Mountain School of Crafts) by way of Little Deer Isle. At low tide, watch for clam diggers on the adjacent flats.
Bailey Island Bridge
The bridge connecting Orr’s Island to Bailey Island, far out in Casco Bay, is one of Maine’s more photographed sites. Also known as the Cribstone Bridge, it’s a low and graceful arc of granite slabs stacked in a cribbing pattern, with space in between so the tide can come and out freely.
Artist’s Covered Bridge
One of New England’s more classic covered bridges, this postcard-perfect wooden bridge near Bethel earned its nickname from the hordes of painters and sketchers who’ve set up an easel nearby. Built in 1872, it’s been closed to traffic for more than 50 years, but the artists keep coming.
Acadia’s stone bridges
Acadia’s 45-mile carriage road system is the legacy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr., who built the broken-stone roadways to allow for car-free transportation around handsome and hilly Mount Desert Island. Today, the network is ideal for biking and cross-country skiing, and its 17 arched and rustic stone bridges are among the park’s most photographed attractions.