Nature’s Gym

What better way to leave Manchester than on a stomach full of Huevos Rancheros…Vermont Style (no tortillas).  Actually I think Robin out-ordered me.

We spent the last 5 days in Bar Harbor, Maine visiting Acadia National Park. This was a much anticipated stop for us for several reasons. First, we had the opportunity to visit the incredibly picturesque Maine coast 13 years ago for Robin’s cousin’s wedding and vowed to come back for a longer visit. Second, my cousin Amy and her husband Andy (loyal readers may remember them from our time at their home in Durham, NC) have been here several times and got us all excited about the park.. Third…..Lobster ….affordable lobster.

After checking into the Holland Inn B&B (another great tip from Amy & Andy) and absorbing a plenitude of information from our innkeeper Evin, we headed for dinner at Galyn’s on Main Street. We were lucky to get a nice table by the window with a great view of Frenchman Bay and the Porcupine Islands.  

Lobster dinner #1

Lobster dinner #1

Our warm up:

Tuesday we took one of the Park shuttles to Sand Beach for what we thought would be an “easy” hike to a small peninsula called Great Head. We needed “easy” because we were both still in significant discomfort from our mountain hike in Vermont (to get down stairs we had to externally rotate our hips….Charley Chaplin style….and groan alot….oiy..oiy…oiy). Of course our original plans were for the “easy” ocean hike but Evin convinced us to do the Great Head hike (less people, better views). She was right, the hike was great and views spectacular, but we must have made a wrong turn somewhere because we wound up finishing the hike by having to climb down a long steep rocky cliff. Very painful but we eventually make it down to the beach. We walked the “easy” ocean trail for a little while but decided it would be prudent to hop on another bus and sit for a few minutes on the ride to Jordan Pond. Turns out the only restaurant in the entire park is the restaurant at the Jordan Pond House. They specialize in popovers and tea so we had our popovers and made our way back to the inn. Dinner was at “Cafe This Way”.  Robin had the salmon, I had a lobster roll.

Climb down to Sand Beach from Great Head...oye

Steep climb down to Sand Beach from Great Head…oiy..oiy

Popovers at Jordan House

Popovers at Jordan House

Lobster (roll) dinner #2

Lobster (roll) dinner #2 at Cafe This Way

Upper Extremity, Back, and Abs Workout:

Wednesday we decided to go Kayaking.  Our group was taken to the remote West Side of Acadia for a 3 hour paddle in Western Bay.  We had a great time (in spite of the rainy weather) and saw a dolphin, a few seals, and various sea birds including some very large Osprey. It was very peaceful and very wet.  After nice long hot showers we picked up a pizza from Rosalie’s and got caught up on “Suits”.

Check out all those great curls

Check out all those great curls

Soaked to the bone but having a blast

Soaked to the bone but having a blast

Thursday was stormy all day so we decided to do an audio drive tour of the Park.  Acadia is incredibly scenic with rocky coastal cliffs, forests, several large lakes, ponds, harbors, bays, and even a fjord.  Most of the Park is on Mount Desert (pronounced dessert) Island but it also extends to several additional islands in the Atlantic.  Our drive was throughout the Mount Desert portion of the park on the Park Loop Road, and included a nice trip to the top of Cadillac Mountain (named after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a french explorer in the area in the 1680’s who is better know for founding Detroit).  Sadly it was too foggy to see anything from the top but we got some great views coming down.

View of Bar Harbor and Frenchman's Bay from most of the way up Cadillac Island

View of Bar Harbor and Frenchman Bay from most of the way up Cadillac Island

Somes Sound

Somes Sound (Fjord)

Coast near Thunder Hole

Coast near Thunder Hole

Side Note for Chicago Friends:  We also found a memorial plaque to Stephen Tyng Mather at the summit.  We were all excited to discover that this was the same Mather that the High School in Chicago is named after (we have many college friends who attended Mather). Mather, among other things (he coined the phrase “20 Mule Team Borax”…..how old are we?), was the first director of the National Park Service.  So now we know all about Stephen Mather and Friedrich Von Stuben.  Wonder what other notable Chicago High School namesakes we’ll stumble upon?

After the Park drive tour, we drove to Long Pond for a short hike, then to the town of Bernard for dinner at Thurston’s Lobster Pound.  A Lobster Pound is a very casual picnic table style restaurant where you order your lobster size at the counter (they pick one from the “Pound” for your approval), you then pick a table and wait for dinner to be served.  Doesn’t get any fresher that that!

Long Pond

Long Pond

Before (Dinner at Thurston's)

“Before”

After (yes, I actually felt kind of bad.....but really enjoyed Lobster dinner #3)

“After” (yes, I actually felt kind of bad…..but still really enjoyed Lobster dinner #3)

When we returned to Bar Harbor we took an early evening hike to Bar Island.  During low tide you can walk across the sand bar to this island and hike the trails. Great views of the town from the island.

High Tide.  Bar Island in the background.

High Tide. Bar Island in the background.

Low Tide

Low Tide

View of Bar Harbor from Bar Island.  Cadillac Mt in the background.

View of Bar Harbor from Bar Island. Cadillac Mt in the background.

Lower Extremity Workout:

Friday we rented bikes and spent the day riding the Park’s famous Carriage Roads and bridges. Financed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. back in the first half of the 1900’s, these roads provide close to 60 miles of trails that wind their way through the Park free of cars. We saw many bikers, joggers, hikers and the….castoffs of horses.  We had the perfect day and place and truly enjoyed our ride through the woodlands, lakes and ponds.  We even made it up all the hills without walking, but today sitting isn’t as comfortable as it should be.  Maybe some padded bike shorts next time!

Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake

Granite bridge

Granite bridge

Granite Bridge over the Carriage Road

Granite Bridge over the Carriage Road

Stopped at Bubble Pond for snacks.

Stopped at Bubble Pond for snacks.

For our final Bar Harbor dinner, we went to Blaze……because they had this on the menu:

Not exactly Kosher.  Lobster dinner #4

Lobster Dinner #4, (Not on the Kosher Menu)

Bar Harbor is definitely one of those places we would really like to visit again.  Great beauty, great food, and a great work-out!

Just arrived at the Hartstone Inn in Camden, ME.  Staying in the Mansard room….up 3 flights of stairs.  Oiy.

 

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1 Response to Nature’s Gym

  1. Ellen says:

    Yes, definitley padded shorts next time and, surprisingly, a less padded saddle! Putting in an order for sunshine when you’re here, can’t wait to see you. xxoo

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