We spent two weeks in Maine and have loved every minute of it! We did not take the time to update the blog as we explored, so this will be a long post. We've broken it down into several sections, in no particular order. If you don't have time to read it all, please enjoy the pictures.
Maine is a beautiful state. It is much more mountainous that we imagined. There are very few flat areas and those are mostly by the coast. And water... there is water everywhere. The coastline has many inlets of water cutting up through the land. There are lakes also and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish which is which. Low tide, however uncovers the mystery of the inlets. The lakes do not change water level. The ocean is constantly changing.
Susan has a sewing friend that lives about two hours from our campground, so they decided to meet halfway for a visit. They met a a city park in Bangor and talked for hours before it was time to leave. Unfortunately, no pictures were taken, but they have memories of a wonderful visit.
Thumbs up! As we drove around Maine, mostly on the scooter, but sometimes in the rig, we would get thumbs up from folks we passed. Since we are in Maine, and not Australia, we assume this was an "I like what I see" gesture and we always smiled and waved back. We have not experienced that many thumbs up in our more than five years of RV experience.
Acadia National Park
We stayed in a campground about 15 miles outside of Acadia National Park and drove in to the park almost afternoon. The morning of our first full day here it was very crowded and even finding a parking spot was difficult. After that we worked at home until mid-afternoon and then drove in. While there were still many visitors in the park each afternoon, you didn't get that overcrowded feeling we had the first day here. We had a different adventure each day.
Mount Desert Island
Acadia National Park is located on Mount Desert Island. We took one afternoon to explore the island outside the park. The small towns located throughout the island were more like fishing villages; they were charming and almost every house had set of lobster traps on standby.
We stopped and saw the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. It is somewhat short by our expectations.
Driving on, we followed a road that ended at a pier. There were many boats anchored in the harbor and several dinghies moored to the dock.
We were also welcomed by multiple deer along the way. This one chose to pose for us as we drove past.
The Park - By the Ocean
Acadia National Park has a road (Park Loop Road) that allows you to drive past many favorite places in the park. This road, sometimes one way, takes you along the shore, past lakes, and up mountains. We spent a couple of days exploring the shoreline. Our first day in the park was foggy. This picture is looking out across an inlet to Schoodic Point. You can see how dense the fog was that day.
Sand Beach was overly crowded so we didn't even visit that area, but spent most of our time around Thunder hole and Otter Cliffs. Thunder Hole was pretty quiet while we were there. There was a paved trail that followed the shoreline for 2 1/2 miles. We decided to leave the shoreline trail and scramble across rocks to see how far we could get before a cliff above or below us stopped us. Our first try was pretty decent and when we finally came to an impasse, there was a path leading up to the main trail so we did not have to backtrack.
Our second attempt, closer to Otter Cliffs was also fun and allowed us to explore some tidal pools as the ocean receded.
It had rained the night before our day at the rocks and we saw several temporary waterfalls and rivers flow through the rocks as rainwater ran off the mountains above us.
There was always something to do or see down on the rocks. When we tired of climbing, we sat and watched the seabirds hunt for dinner.
The Park - Carriage Roads
Long ago carriage roads were built throughout the park and cars were not allowed. This is still true today. You can walk, ride your bike, or travel in a horse drawn carriage, but you cannot operate a motor vehicle on them. We chose to walk a few of these roads on one of our afternoon trips to the park. Walking down these quiet lanes across cobblestone bridges and past enormous gate houses was delightful.
The Park - Bar Island
Bar Harbor is the largest town on Mount Desert Island and is well suited for tourists. We didn't really explore the town since there was so much to do elsewhere, but we did travel there one day to visit Bar Island. Bar Island is just off the shore from Bar Harbor. The tide at Bar Harbor can change 10 - 12 feet or more depending on conditions. At low tide, you can walk on foot from Bar Harbor to Bar Island. We downloaded a tide chart and planned our trip to the island. We thought we would arrive just as land was appearing from under the water, but the pathway to the island were already dry as we crossed over. (This is the bar on our way back.)
We explored some small tide pools and watched two birds fight for dinner.
After a heated battle with a rival, this bird on the right won the right to feast. It was fascinating to watch. We posted a youtube video of the feast at the link below. (Disclaimer: only one crab was harmed during the filming of this video.)
We walked across the bar to the island and followed a trail to a high point on the far side. From there we could see a view Bar Harbor and Cadillac Mountain.
After our island excursion, we returned to Bar Harbor before the tide rose again.
The Park - Cadillac Mountain
One clear afternoon, we drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain to see a wider view. It was a clear day and you could see quite far. Here is a picture of Otter Point where we did most of our rock scrambling.
This shot overlooks Bar Harbor and Bar Island to the left. You can tell is it close to low tide in this shot.
From the western viewpoint we watched the sun set over Eagle Lake before driving home.
Lubec and Canada
Our last day of exploring Acadia took us away from the National park and up to Lubec and Canada. We drove through Cherryfield, Maine "the blueberry capital of the world." Yes, we found it ironic, too. The wild blueberries in Maine are very small, but mighty tasty. They grow on very short bushes less than one foot off the ground. We past several of these fields and saw some harvesting taking place. Some folks picking by hand, some using a blueberry rake, and some tractors with blueberry harvester attachments. We bought several quarts to freeze for our smoothies. This is prime blueberry season!
Before arriving in Lubec, we visited Quoddy Head State Park to take a peek at the West Quoddy light house. It is the Easternmost point of land in the United States.
Going to and from the lighthouse, we passed a cove where you could really see the effects of low tide. These sandy bottoms were exposed far from the shoreline.
By this time we were ready for lunch. We split a fish and chips meal at Becky's Seafood in Lubec and it was wonderful!. After talking to the lady behind the counter (we aren't sure if Becky was her or the dog) we asked about her lobster rolls which were rated some of the best in the state. We had tried a couple of Lobster rolls near our campground, but were unimpressed. She told us her dad gets up at 5 each morning to get fresh lobster. We would pass this food truck again on they way home and thought we might split a lobster roll for dinner.
After lunch, we crossed the bridge to Campobello Island, Canada (we brought our passports!)
...and then took a ferry to Deer Island. It was a very interesting ferry. It was pretty much a barge with the bow of a boat attached to the center of one side and the stern tied off to the back. After leaving dock, the the boat would swing out and reverse position so that it could move forward in the water and the cars could still easily drive off.
We arrived at Deer Island and walked to Deer Island Point Park to watch the Old Sow Whirlpool, the largest whirlpool in the western hemisphere. It was pretty cool. Wide swaths of water were doing very strange things and while it was very interesting to watch, it was difficult to photograph and even more difficult to explain. Do a Google image search on Old Sow Whirlpool and you will see some of the crazy stuff. It wasn't a clear vortex the day we visited, but you could still see small whirlpools forming and colliding at a common spot.
If you get a chance to see it, you should - just check the tide charts before you go. This phenomenon only happens for a brief time twice a day about 3 hours before High tide. While there, we also saw some seals playing in the currents.
On the ferry ride back, we met a couple from Austin, Texas and chatted about things "back home" We also saw some porpoise off the bow of the ferry until a powerboat full of tourists blew by and scattered them. I only got one (poor) picture before they were gone.
Before leaving Canada, we toured Roosevelt Campobello International Park. It was fun to imagine spending summers in this beautiful place like FDR did throughout his life.
On the way home, we drove past Becky's seafood trailer again and tried her lobster roll. It was the best we've had this trip, but still not what we remembered from our trip to Maine in 2004. Could it be our memories were better than reality?
Wiscasset and Pemaquid Point
We left a few holes in our schedule and found ourselves without a campground for the weekend. No problem, just two hours down the coast was a campground with an opening. Bonus, it was just a short drive from the best Lobster Rolls in Maine and the Pemaquid Lighthouse - the one on the back of the Maine state quarter.
Once again, we worked at home all morning and left for Red's Eats in time for a late lunch.
We arrived about 1 PM to a very long line (no surprise) and waited almost an hour and a half in the sun for our Lobster Rolls. Two girls came around every half our or so with cold water and once with fried shrimp samples while we waited. Also, Reds had about a dozen umbrellas it loaned out to customers, so the last 30 mintues we were able to stand in the shade!
Was it worth it? Absolutely! This time, we each got our own. Red's boasts that they put more than a whole lobster on a roll, but we wouldn't know since we only know about cows, being from Texas, ya, know. We do know that it is delicious and very filling! It was rather pricey (the most we've spent on a meal in our entire marriage) but it was worth the splurge. We figure an expensive meal once every 23 years isn't too much - even if it comes served on a red plastic tray and wrapped in foil.
We tried four lobster rolls during our two weeks in Maine. Two were highly recommended by others but unacceptable, one (Becky's in Lubec) was good, but only Red's made us wish we lived here all summer so that we could spend our entire savings on lobster! Thanks Red's! it was exactly what we remembered!
After a satisfying lunch, we headed out to the Pemaquid lighthouse. We arrived 45 minutes before all the buildings closed so we only had time to visit the Fisherman's Museum. We visited here in 2004, and climbed the stairs to the lighthouse so the disappointment wasn't too great. The museum is nothing fancy, but it filled with fishing tools of the trade and enough to read to keep one occupied for hours.
After the buildings closed, we spent a couple of hours outside on the rocks by the ocean. The Pemaquid Lighthouse has an area of long slopey rocks where you can sit, walk or explore tide pools. We did all three.
We were about two hours from high tide during our visit, so there were still many tide pools exposed, but they were filling fast.
It is always interesting to see what the sea leaves behind in the crevices on the shore. There is always something interesting to see. The colors in this tide pool were striking!
We spent most of our time sitting near the water trying to predict which waves would fill the tide pools and make the biggest splash. We remained, dry unlike others on higher ground who were hit by waves, but as the waves drew closer it became apparent it was time to leave or risk a wet ride home.
It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful ride with a sunset view much of the way home. What a great way to end our Maine adventure!