“I looked along the San Juan Islands and the coast of California, but I couldn’t find the palette of green, granite, and dark blue that you can only find in Maine.” ~ Parker Stevenson
Quick Geography Lesson
Sounding like a local (thank you Tiffany) I had to get my geography in check. Though the island might be small, it had a way more going on then even I realized. Bar Harbor is not the only town on the island, and Acadia National Park makes up most of the Island with four towns located inside. Together the whole island is known as Mount Desert Island or MDI and if you want to sound really with it, The Island.
Now that the geography lesson is over.
Waking with the sun, I went with Tiffany to the grocery store. Just one of the many reasons we are friends, is that she is an early riser. She is also an amazing chef and made an open faced tartine that could have been served at Maison Kayser. It was sooo yummy!
After breakfast, she put on her metaphorical tour guide hat and we were off to explore Acadia.
We completely lucked out with the weather. In New York, which is several days ahead of Maine and NH, we had had rain every day in the afternoon. With the weather headed towards Maine, I was checking it every day and it looked like a wash out.
The weather Gods were with us, because while it did rain, as luck would have it, it was when we were eating lunch. Afterwards the sun would come out and it would be gorgeous!
Named after the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, at 1,527 feet of elevation gain, Cadillac Mountain has the badge of honor as being known as “The nations first sunrise” in Fall and Winter. While we didn’t get up that early, we did drive up the scenic road to experience the requisite views.
Having grown up in the White Mountains, I am a harsh critic with what people call mountains when really most of them are more of a mole hill. (See what I did there?) Yet, there is something majestical and solid with the way the mountains along the Maine coast rise up from the ocean. The contrast of water and rock, is a stark reminder of the history, much of it prehistorical, and the magnificence that nature can wrought.
Cadillac has trails of varying degrees of difficulty you can hike up. Or you can drive, appreciating the views without breaking a sweat. It was a cloudy day, but that didn’t detract from the beauty. If anything it enhanced it especially with the pictures we took! It literally felt like we were reaching out to heaven.
Acadia National Park
The 49,052 acres that consist of Acadia National Park are spread across several islands along the Maine coast with MDI making up the majority with 30,300 acres. Acadia which was originally named after Lafayette (Yes THAT Lafayette for all the Ham-Fans out there!) was renamed in 1929 in ode to the French colony of the same name. In 1915 John D. Rockefeller constructed over fifty miles of trails, bridges and cabins, many of which are in existence today. He helped create a unique space where people can enjoy a true diverse mix of peaceful forest and beaches, yet still have access to civilization in nearby towns.
Due to the vastness of Acadia, I only saw a fraction (which means I will just have to go back and visit!) We did stop at the Wild Gardens which was not only a green oasis, but also informative of plants exclusive to Maine.
Having worked up an appetite, our next destination was Bar Harbor to grab some grub AND explore the small coastal town. Founded in 1763, Bar Harbor still has that quaintness of old colonial history weaved in with a more modern, but still rustic nautical feel.
Bar Harbor was named after a sand bar located at the rear of the harbor, and leads to Bar Island. At low tide you can walk or drive out, though be careful because at high tide it is completely covered and you will get stuck out there. Tiffany and her boyfriend told me that every year, at least one person loses their car to Poseidon. It is also a great place to find some sea treasures including mermaid tears!
Beginning to rain and absolutely famished from all the exploring, Tiffany took me to a stunning hotel right on the ocean called the Harbor Side Inn. The inside decor reminded me of something out of the Titanic, while the outside pool area was luxury personified. I ordered the lobster bisque and Tiffany had a Haddock sandwich which was ginormous!
Just as we finished lunch, the sun came out. It was also time for another photo sess in front of the gazebo and stunning waterfront, before we decided to check out the shops.
I collect sweatshirts from the ocean towns I visit and one from Bar Harbor was a must. While the shops did have the typical touristy souvenirs, the vibes were much more New England then a typical beach town. Many of the buildings were hundreds of years old making it a charming shopping experience.
Working up an appetite we grabbed coffee and blueberry whoopee pies at a cute bakery and then sat in the square talking. Because of course we had way to much to say and not enough time to say it! Literally we never run out of stuff to talk about and nothing is to TMI or off topic. I can bare my soul and their is no judgement from my mer-twin. If I haven’t said it before, I love this chica so much!
It was literally the best day and I wasn’t sure anything could top it…But knowing my friend she made sure the next couple days did!