Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Acadia National Park
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
We had another nice day in Maine today. Once again, we took the free shuttle, this time to the Visitor's Center of Acadia National Park. This shuttle service is really terrific, I have to say. It comes to our campground every 30 minutes (as part of the "Campground Loop", which goes to most of the campgrounds on this side of the island, plus will stop at request for any inns, cottages, restaurants, etc. along the route.) There are a number of other loops--today we took the Park Loop Road, with stops at most major sights. Every shuttle stop has an electronic board with the current time, and the next expected shuttle times. It is really convenient--and not only do they carry bikes on racks (up to six), but today we found out they even allow dogs!
In fact, a digression--this is about the dog-friendliest place I've ever seen. (Too bad we don't have an equally friendly dog, sigh.) There are two dog-centric stores on Main Street in Bar Harbor, and today at the Jordan Pond House, there were tons of dogs, even on the grass in the restaurant area next to their families' tables. This is also a huge place for people on bicycles--there were dozens and dozens of them at the Jordan Pond House, as well as pretty much everyplace in the park.
Anyway, we got to the visitor's center and i realized we'd left "home" without water, and I was already feeling kind of dehydrated. So I asked where we could find water (there was absolutely nothing at the Visitor's Center.) The first stop on the loop with drinks was Thunder Hole. So we got on the shuttle, went past a couple of stops, and got off at Thunder Hole. There we found a small concession stand inside what was originally a ranger station. We bought water and I also bought a hat (forgot that too!). There is a trail which leads between Sand Beach and Thunder Hole. We'd passed the former, so after looking at Thunder Hole, we walked back from the direction we'd come to Sand Beach, enjoying the coastal vistas on the way.
Sand Beach is "the" beach in Acadia, and it was very crowded today. They have changing rooms and rest rooms (but no water or anything else to buy? Go figure!) We found a fallen tree trunk in the shade, and sat for a while watching the surf and all the people. The water was obviously freezing, since only very little kids seemed able to tolerate it. The day was gorgeous, though, with blue sky and hot sun.
After we sat there for a while, we realized it was after 12:30 and we'd need to eat something soon. The only place I knew of in the park for food was Jordan Pond House. So we caught the shuttle and rode up the road, again passing a few sights, to get to Jordan Pond. It wasn't quite what I expected--for some reason I expected an old elegant building from the early years of the park. What we found was a largish, quite modern building. The restaurant is apparently famous for its popovers. There was, however, a 30 minutes wait for a real sit-down lunch (and the prices weren't exactly low, either.) We opted instead for "fuel" rather than "food", as Joe calls it, and bought pre-made sandwiches in the large gift shop (sign at door: "Dogs Are Welcome In Gift Shop.") We found a place to sit on the lawn with a view of Jordan Pond. The place was swarming with visitors (two legged and four legged, as I mentioned). There were bike tour groups, families galore, and like I said, it was very busy.
We finished our sandwiches and I got myself a "Harbor Bar" (which I suppose is pronounced "Hah-bah Bah" up here--vanilla ice cream between two chocolate chip cookies, covered in chocolate. While I ate that, we wandered down the path to the "pond", really a lake, and quite beautiful. We walked along the trail by the lake for a while.
From there, we decided to finish the loop by going up to the top of Cadillac Mountain and then maybe go back to the campground. Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the east coast, and supposedly has a 360-degree view which is a "must see". However, we were quite surprised when the shuttle went right by the road leading up there, and took us back to the Visitor's Center. I asked the driver, and he said the shuttle doesn't go there, despite the way it looked on the Shuttle Route Map. So we are planning to go there tomorrow on scooters, since we still want to rent them and drive around the island. We saw a number of scooters today and it definitely looks like fun!
Since it was only 3:30, we decided to go into town so Joey could catch up to me in the ice cream department. We went to our new favorite place, Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium, and Joe tried another of their sugar-free flavors. I was actually too full from my Harbor Bar to even WANT any, but Joe suggested I buy some chocolate to bring home, so I did that. I mean, he TOLD me to, so I felt I should listen!
Like many resort towns, the signs on the local businesses are often very cute! Here are a couple that we liked (I figure the one above is a store named after me, with a Maine accent! Since they drop the R in Bah Hahbah, why not in Debbah?)
This lobster sits in front of Ben & Bill's. Even lobsters love ice cream.
We wandered around a bit, window shopped and people watched some more, and then we caught a shuttle back to our campground. I am now in the laundry room doing some laundry as I type this, while Joe, who has fixed one of our lights (burned out blinker) is now making dinner. We are both trying to mellow out--at least I am. I haven't mentioned much about our mishaps on this trip (other than Mo's) but we've had a few. First of all, Joe turned out to have "a little bit of bronchitis" when we left home, and was coughing a lot (he seems all better now.) Then on the 2nd day of the trip, he broke his little toe in a freak mayonnaise accident. He opened the refrigerator door, and a large, full jar of mayonnaise fell on his foot. His toe has been hurting since then, and he's been eating as much of my Aleve daily as I have.
Then tonight, I had my turn. We'd just gotten off our shuttle at the campground, and were walking back to our site, when another shuttle came around the corner in a narrow place right by the showers. There was a curb there (we were in the road), and as I stepped sideways toward the curb to avoid the bus, I tripped on the curb and fell over sideways, badly bruising both knees and skinning the palms of my hands. I think I'm going to be pretty black and blue tomorrow, and right now the knee which is skinned the worst is stinging. However, onward we go, ignoring these mild difficulties, and focusing on another day of sun (high around only 70 degrees) and fun. I must say, the weather has been pretty scrumptious (except the freezing whale boat), and the nights are wonderfully cool (the weather report says tonight is a low of 52-degrees, which makes it so yummy for sleeping!)
PS added Thursday morning--Yum! The weather is SCRUMPTIOUS today! Cool, blue skies, just perfect. Hooray for no humidity!!! We have renewed our campsite for one more night, and are off to rent scooters today.