Tag Archives: Maine

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 6 – Wild Gardens of Acadia

The Wild Gardens of Acadia provided a contemplative interlude, wandering the paths to the soundtrack of birdsong and a babbling brook.

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This is a delightful idea, a well-labelled garden of species native to this area of Maine.  I was happy to realize how many native plants I can now recognize (many of these plants are familiar in Ontario) and how many I managed to include when planting our own back yard!

Maine Roadtrip 2014: 5 – Dive in

Dive In Theatre with Diver Ed proved hugely entertaining as well as informative – boat trip, mixed with live-dive video and expert commentary crossed with improv comedy, and up-close contact with marine species!

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It was also joyous to see more than the bobbing heads of harbour seals – we had had a number of glimpses both when sailing and kayaking coastal Maine, but no more than that until now.

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Definitely an Acadia highlight!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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”;

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

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. . . 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

To be continued . . .