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Month: September 2020

Day 6

A later start following the lengthy Tuesday we all had, a short and easy hike started our day. We explored the site and ruins of the old Dorr estate, one of the prominent locals who helped create Acadia and Bar Harbor.

An easy hike to a beautiful secluded cove had us searching for more shells and watching for sea life. We turned inward and wandered around the forested remains of the house. Nothing more than a foundation and granite stairs left from what was once grandiose landscaping remained.

Abby and Rachel were curious in checking out the beehive trail I had done the day before. So we went there next and began our ascent. It was a much busier day, which allowed for frequent stops on the way up. Unfortunately the weather was pretty foggy again which limited the views from these stops.

The fog also obscured the sites once we made it to the top, but we still had a pleasant break. We took a longer way back down to take a peak at one of the rare alpine like lakes that aren’t down close to sea level.

After the three of us headed home to collect Margaux and the kayaks. A short drive had us at Bubble Pond, a smaller body of water next to eagle lake. The winds were even calmer, allowing us to slowly poke around the lake. Being so much smaller than Eagle Lake, we quickly crossed the whole thing before letting the window carry us back to the launch.

As the wind moved us, it slowly picked up and also brought heavy fog up and over the mountains behind us. Propelled only by the wind, we were chased in slow motion back to shore, an eerie but beautiful end to our kayaking.

Our trio dropped off the dog and equipment at home before planning dinner, which was to be fresh cooked seafood. We took a break from orchestrating dual families and went into town for a brief happy hour. We ended up at a great little spot called The Barnacle where we had a very private dining experience on the back porch that only seats 4, so it was just us.

Back home, we enjoyed mussels and delicious home made crab cakes. We reviewed more photos from the day and got excited about whale watching the next day.

Day 5

We started the day incredibly early, hoping to get a Cadillac mountain sunrise viewing in now that the Labor Day weekend crowd had cleared out. Unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate, and we ended up seeing mostly fog.

I wanted to check off another iron rung route, so headed to the beehive next. It was a bit more crowded than the precipice trail, but still sparse being so early.

A much shorter hike, both getting to the start as well as the vertical climb, the view at the top was just as rewarding. Offering a much closer view of sandy beach and the shore, I relaxed and snacked briefly before descending the rear side, again a much easier route.

I took a circuitous route back home, investigating lake conditions and filling up on gas, as well as getting some more sights in along the way. With calmer winds, Abby, Rachel and I decided to head back to Eagle lake and attempt kayaking again.

We successfully got the kayaks unloaded and into the water, and parking was much easier to come by. Abby and rachel took a double along with Margaux, while I reconfigured to use the other kayak as a solo.

The wind still made the lake a bit choppy, but we had a wonderful time. Slowly poking along the coast, we eventually came to a handful of loons. We sat and watched them a while before slowly wandering back to the launch, surrounded by peaks on all sides.

We got back to the house early to prepare for our sunset cruise. Heading to the dock in town, we boarded the Margaret Todd, a 150’ sailing schooner, for our evening entertainment.

We weaves around some of the porcupine islands in the harbor. As the sun set, the scenery became more majestic. Eventually we even spotted some dolphins as they hunted other sea life. The sun behind the trees, we headed back to shore.

Miraculously, one of the restaurants we wanted to try was able to seat us almost immediately, and we settled into another meal peppered with a variety of seafood, beer and good conversation.

Day 4

I woke up early to check off one of my own hiking goals: the precipice trail. Climbing up one of the vertical faces of granite Acadia is known for, it is one of the sought after iron rung routes.

Our drive along the coast the day before showed how tight parking was due to the lack of shuttle this year. So I started from a more distant and less frequented trailhead that took me along one of the first trails that eventually became Acadia National Park.

After a couple of miles of fantastic searches of granite dotted with greenery, and incredible stairs made out of hunks of the same stone, I came to the bottom of the trail and the first iron ladder. Rapidly gaining elevation using iron treads anchored in stone, switching back on narrow ledges and repeating, I (relatively) quickly reached the summit and was greeted by a wide vista from bar harbor to sandy beach.

I enjoyed a hoppy beverage before descending an easier, but incorrect, trail down. It put me a mile down the road from where I parked, so my hike became longer than expected.

We wrapped up our day with a hearty seafood takeout dinner from the lobster co two blocks away. Fresh lobsters and rolls, so much chowder. Stuffed to the gills, we retired ready for another day of exploring this wonderful island.

Day 3

First full day in Maine! We got our bearings by walking on the nearby shore path to downtown bar harbor. A bit further took us to the land bridge, a wide but shallow strip of land that is only exposed at low tide and connects with bar island.

After we swung by the bar harbor farmers market. We grabbed some local produce and meats. After Abby and I went out to grab the rest of our groceries for the week along with some beer and wine.

On our way back, we checked out Atlantic Brewing’s main location that also has a bbq restaurant with outdoor dining. While it looked busy, we were actually able to get seating for 7 pretty quickly.

We enjoyed the delicious food and local beer before heading back for the evening. A pretty light day of activity, I planned to get up early the next day to get some more substantial hiking in.

Day 2

Waking up a bit later the next day, we decided to head into Portland proper to find breakfast. We parked at the eastern promenade, walking back over munjoy hill to grab breakfast bagels from Forage Market.

Returning to the prom, we found a shaded park bench and enjoyed our breakfast with a view of the park and casco bay. Margaux was content to be out of the car, and we all enjoyed watching lots of other dogs.

We checked out an expansive community garden there, and then walked down to the water to give M her first salt water experience. After some splashing we walked along the shore, saw the narrow gauge train go by, and then made our way back to the car.

Setting off north, we planned to take the slower and more scenic route 1 closer to the coast. Stopping for anything of interest, we stumbled upon a great pedestrian suspension bridge. Next up was a tucked away mini lighthouse. And all along they way we would get glimpses of ocean and bays.

We grabbed a late seafood lunch in Rockland accompanied by views of sailboats from the park we enjoyed our takeout in. Filled up on lobster in both pie and mac n cheese form, we hit the road again for the final stretch to Acadia.

Our arrival was uneventful, but driving through central Bar Harbor made us thankful for having a house so close to town. Traffic was tight, parking non existent, and it was clear the middle part of the day on Labor Day weekend was going to be exceptionally busy.

To avoid crowds, we ordered take out pizza from a fun local shop that also doubles as a movie theater (outdoor movies now in covidy times…). Stories were swapped and we started talking about the upcoming week and the variety of activities to come. It was time to get to bed with thoughts of hikes and kayaking to come, and all the delicious food to fuel those adventures.

Day 0/1

We left Pittsburgh after work on Thursday, hitting the road a bit after 5. That put our ETA to Corning at nearly 10pm, but we were all too excited to start the trip to care about the late arrival.

The drive was uneventful, and we found ourselves rolling in to Corning just ahead of schedule. Our only stop had been very briefly at bullfrog brewery in Williamsport to pick up some crowlers, not knowing what would be open once we arrived.

We had also placed an order ahead of time for pickup from one of the few places open past 8 or 9 in Corning called hand and foot. The food was delicious as we gathered around the magic that is hotel cable television.

With food wrapped up and beer consumed, we all went to bed rather tired from a full days work followed by four hours of driving.

We woke up early on Friday, excited to get to Maine. A quick fuel stop for the car, and a fuel (Dunkin) stop for us, and we began our 7ish hour drive to Portland.

The first few hours on the Southern Tier Expressway were beautiful, and absent of any traffic at all. Lovely winding curves through south eastern New York, as we crossed the Catskills and headed for western mass. As we crossed Massachusetts, traffic slowly picked up.

A quick detour was made for lunch in Springfield, and then we were back on the mass turnpike, headed towards Boston, and the variety of beltways that circumscribe it. Traffic got much worse, but we only encountered one accident. But our arrival time slipped by an hour. And then a second hour. So we were quite happy when we finally arrived at our hotel on the outskirts of Portland.

We quickly checked in, signing all the paperwork needed for traveling in the time of COVID. After dropping our bags, we drove up the road 5 minutes to a small grouping of craft breweries. Our first stop was definitive Brewing, and their corona measures knocked it our of the park. We enjoyed unwinding outdoors, heading next door to foundation Brewing later on to continue our sampling of local brews.

On the way back to the hotel, we got great Mexican take out and continued our binging of TV before once again retiring from a day full of driving.

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