Tag Archives: travel

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 4 – Acadia National Park, “a place like no other”

I have to admit that, although I loved our exploration of Maine, I had a strange, niggling sense of homesickness for Ontario!

That said, Acadia National Park lives up to the hyperbole of the letters to sent to President Woodrow Wilson in the early 1900s supporting the creation of a National Park on Mount Desert Island. Rocky shores and craggy cliffs, golden beaches, cool green woodland, mountains, lakes, a fjord – it is astoundingly beautiful and I am so glad to have experienced it.

Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, ME Sand Beach, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Coast path, Acadia National Park, ME Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME Strange shadows on Cadillac Mountain Strange shadows on Cadillac Mountain From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME From Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park, ME

As seems so often the case, it was art, in this case the artists of the Hudson River School in the 1800s, that drew the first visitors to the area. The resultant influx of the wealthy of ‘the gilded age’ and their elegant summer ‘cottages’, the formation of the national park, and the construction of 57 miles of Carriage Roads by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. for hikers, cyclists and horse riders, all contributed to the unique sense of nature at its most beautiful made accessible to all.

Carriage Road bridge,  Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME Carriage Road bridge, Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME

Another confession; it is rare for me to choose destinations that are a focus for mass tourism. Bar Harbour, Mount Desert’s main town, seemed to be the exception that proves the rule! As well as its natural beauty, perhaps it retains some aura of those golden years. We particularly enjoyed the shore walk, awestruck by a single vista encompassing storm clouds, a rainbow and clear blue skies over the harbour and ‘bar’, the sandbar that links the town to an island at low tide.

A 'cottage' in Bar Harbour A 'cottage' in Bar Harbour Bar Harbour Bar Harbour An even bigger 'cottage' in Bar Harbour An even bigger 'cottage' in Bar Harbour The Bar Harbour Shore Path The Bar Harbour Shore Path The Bar Harbour Shore Path The Bar Harbour Shore Path The Bar Harbour Shore Path The Bar Harbour Shore Path The 'Bar' at low tide, Bar Harbour The 'Bar' at low tide, Bar Harbour The view from Bar Island The view from Bar Island The 'Bar' at low tide, Bar Harbour The 'Bar' at low tide, Bar Harbour Bar Harbour Bar Harbour

Why the sense of homesickness? Hard to define really, though there was an implicit acknowledgement of how incredibly lucky we are to have so much beauty on our doorstep – we hardly need to venture across borders to do so many of the things we enjoy doing. And, although people were gracious and charming, there was a sense, as someone else expressed it to me, that Americans are perhaps not quite as free to be individualistic as Canuks. Coming back across the border, we found a more open friendliness, a delightful quirkiness, and knew that we were home.

To be continued . . .

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 3 – “It must be Maine; the way life should be”

Sailing Penobscot Bay at sunset, eating appetizers and lobster bisque on Schooner Heron, which became “Sanderson’s Yacht” in the Johnny Depp film “The Rum Diary”;

Rockport, ME Rockport, ME - the calm after the storm On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron Heading out to sea, Rockport, ME Heading out to sea, Rockport, ME On Penobscot Bay, ME On Penobscot Bay, ME Heading out to sea, Rockport, ME Heading out to sea, Rockport, ME On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron On board Schooner Heron

. . . looking out from Mount Battie across the magnificent sweep of the bay, dotted with islands;

Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie Hiking in Camden Hills State Park Hiking in Camden Hills State Park Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie Camden Hills State Park - view from Mount Battie

. . . floating on our backs in Megunticook Lake whilst watching the Turkey Vultures ride the thermals overhead; lazing with our books on the beach at Birch Point and at our lovely home from home, ‘Wildflower Cottage’, small but perfectly formed, set in a woodland clearing in a garden that beautifully blurs the distinction between wild and cultivated.

Swimming in Lake Megunticook Swimming in Lake Megunticook The beach at Birch Point, ME The beach at Birch Point, ME The beach at Birch Point, ME The beach at Birch Point, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME Wildflower Cottage, Near Lincolnville, ME

Shaker simplicity – beautiful benches and beds, first at the fabulous Farnsworth Art Museum at Rockland and then at the equally wonderful Windsor Chairmakers in Lincolnville; and the delightful discovery at the Farnsworth of American artist Andrew Wyeth, so rooted in place (a Maine summer person) and cinematic in quality.

The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME
Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville Modern Shaker furniture at Windsor Chairs, Lincolnville The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME The Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME

No trip would be complete without one or two memorable foodie moments; for Paul, the Whoopie Pie was an obvious hit! Then there were the pop-overs served with whipped butter and jam at Jordan Pond, an Acadian tradition that seems a little strange to those used to eating Yorkshire Pudding with roast beef and gravy. But the meal to remember was at Saltwater Farm, overlooking the harbour at Rockport – my Halibut with spicy borscht was exquisite.

Paul discovers the Whoopee Pie! Paul discovers the Whoopee Pie! Halibut and Spicy Borscht at Saltwater Farm, Rockport, ME Halibut and Spicy Borscht at Saltwater Farm, Rockport, ME
The tradition of popovers The tradition of popovers Popovers at Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME Popovers at Jordan Pond, Acadia National Park, ME

Definitely the way life should be!

To be continued . . .

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 2 – “Won’t you join the dance?” (The Lobster Quadrille)

“Lobster” – if you mention Maine, this seems to be the almost unanimous first response. So it was very apt to spend our first day in the pine tree state at Rockland Lobster Festival. We ate lobster rolls and chowder, saw the massive steamers where, to that point in the Festival, 13,680 lobsters had been cooked (and counting!), watched crazy people try to race across the water on a path of lobster crates, posed by the giant lobster from the procession and even bought a bauble made from reconstituted crushed lobster shells as this year’s Christmas Tree memento.

Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival Rockland Lobster Festival - crate race

Needless to say, this was not the last lobster we ate, though in all honesty it doesn’t rank in our all time favourite foods. But dinner at a lobster pound, Thurston’s in Bernard on Mount Desert Island, had to be done, looking over a classic working harbour as the sun dropped low over the water.

The classic lobster dinner The classic lobster dinner Tackling the classic lobster dinner! Tackling the classic lobster dinner! Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME

Kayaking out of Rockland harbour, round the headland to the lighthouse and back to shore through the lobster boats at Owl’s Head was pretty awesome too – I’ve always been a bit nervous around boats that can move faster than I can when paddling; no sweat.

Paddling out of Rockland Harbour Paddling out of Rockland Harbour Paddling round the headland to Owls Head Paddling round the headland to Owls Head Owls Head Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Paddling below the Lighthouse Paddling below the Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Owls Head Lighthouse Paddling into Owls Head Harbour Paddling into Owls Head Harbour

And, everywhere you go, even in-land, the landscape is punctuated by the bright signatures of the buoys that stake out a lobsterman’s pots.

Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME
Owls Head, ME Owls Head, ME Owls Head Harbour - Lobster Shack Owls Head Harbour - Lobster Shack Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Thurston's Lobster Pound at Bernard, ME Buoys Buoys - each lobsterman's buoys are different, a kind of signature Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour Bernard Harbour

(You can click on any photo to see all the photos in the post as a gallery with full titles)

To be continued . . .

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 1 – “Are we nearly there yet?”

Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, New Hampshire . . . .

Yup, Maine is a long drive from Toronto. That said, we left on Thursday evening and arrived on Saturday afternoon, so we hurried slowly the 625 miles to our destination, though I was pretty impressed to pass through four Provinces/States in one day!

View from the bridge, Littleton, NH View from the bridge, Littleton, NH

We barely glimpsed Vermont, though what we saw was lovely, but we thoroughly enjoyed our drive through New Hampshire’s White Mountains to North Conway (a ski and all-season activity resort) – despite a brush with the law! Apparently someone thought they had caught the rear of our car and phoned it in. As we felt nothing and could see no damage, we parted on good terms with the police. There was a certain comedy to it; Paul had been warned of the tendency to jump on those with Canadian plates for speeding and was being rigorously law abiding. The flashing lights in our rear-view mirror therefore resulted in some muted expletives along with that sinking feeling . . .

Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Covered bridge, Littleton, NH Modern Covered Bridge, Littleton, NH Mount Washington, NH Mount Washington, NH
Crawford Notch, NH Crawford Notch, NH

I’m not normally really a pizza person, but maple-fennel sausage pizza at the Flatbread Pizza Company for supper was as entertaining as it was delicious – pure theatre!

The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH The Flatbread Pizza Company, North Conway, NH

To be continued . . .