Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Part Deux of Maine Camping: Bar Harbor and Acadia Nat'l Park

After a leisurely breakfast, eggs with hotdogs, a Woolley tradition! Seriously, it's like a must on any camping trip! hahaha, anyways, after breakfast we got ready to leave for our next adventure.

Since we had originally wanted to camp in Acadia National Park, we figured we'd make a day trip up there on Saturday to check it out. Camden is about two hours from Bar Harbor...it was a really pretty trip though. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pics, but there is the coolest bridge with an observatory on the way. The Penobscot Narrows Bridge Observatory is 40 stories high! It would have been really cool to stop there...we thought we might on the way back, but it was too late. It's right next to Ft Knox (no, not the one with the gold!) which is one of the best preserved military fortifications. We were surprised when we crossed the bridge that it is only a two lane, and the observation towers are in between the lanes. It seemed like it would have been wider. You should look it up though, it's pretty cool! While we were driving, David and I were commenting on how much the land looked like Ireland...very green and lots of boulders! lol...

We reached Bar Harbor around 1:00...seemed like a good time for lunch! It was odd, on the way, as we got close to the island, there were several BBQ shacks on the side of the road! Of course, there were lobster shacks everywhere! but it seemed out of place for there to be so many barbecue pit stops...and they looked like the real thing! which is definitely odd for up here! hahaha 

We didn't stop at any of them though :/ We wanted to look around Bar Harbor. It was a really cute little town, definitely touristy though. I could not find a space to park! I was starting to get a bit stressed...David wanted me to park in a hotel parking lot...I didn't want to get a ticket/towed! It didn't help that it was the holiday weekend, that's for sure! Finally just parked in a public parking lot. We tried one restaurant, that was filled with people no less...but it was closed...due to a bus tour. We were a little discombobulated at first when they said they were closed...there were a ton of people eating there! lol...they didn't have room for any other customers. Luckily, there were several other places to choose from. 

The heat wave was still persisting! It was a bit miserable. The restaurant we did find technically had AC, which was a requirement from David...but I think we might have been better off on the covered patio with the breeze from the water. The AC really didn't seem to be doing much! But, the food was delicious (and pricy!) and the waitress was very nice! 

I had the sampler this time, and I think David went with the haddock again...like I said, he was a little obsessed! We finished with some blueberry pie and ice cream. The pie was made with wild blueberries, which I like so much better than regular blueberries. They have much more intense flavor...I always try to buy the wild frozen blueberries. Of course, for $8, that pie should have been much bigger than the sliver they gave us! We were a little miffed about that, but what can ya do. We certainly enjoyed the bites we had!

When we were leaving, Buddy found the lobster tank! Anyone with kids knows that the lobster tank is always a popular stop at the grocery store. One of the workers was so nice and fished one out to show him!

After our fortification, we were ready for Acadia National Park! There were three main sites we wanted to see...the mountain top, the sandy beach, and Thunder Hole. The park loop road was supposed to bring to around to these...but apparently we went the wrong way at first, and wound up exiting on the far side of the park. But even that drive was beautiful! We turned around and made a turn off for (I forget what!) and found the road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, which is the tallest mountain on the east coast and is the first spot the sun touches at sunrise in the US. It had such a beautiful view! David even walked around a bit...until he got too hot and tired...after that, he pretty much stayed in the van ;)


After we got our bearings from the park rangers, we found our way to the road to the rest of the park...at which point you have to pay to get in. I thought it rather funny that the mountain wasn't inside the toll area...it really had a spectacular view! Anyways, next up was the beach. I didn't feel like swimming, but that's ALL Red One had been talking about all day! I was glad to get there just to shut her up! hahaha

The beach was a little crowded, but not too bad. The water was freezing though! I just had my feet in it, and I cooled right off! It was the funniest thing. There was a bus load of tourists...and I've never seen such posing and posturing to get just the right pic! I'm not kidding, there were a couple of girls taking pictures, checking them, taking more, jumping in the air, for like 30 minutes! I've never seen anything like it! I had a hard time not laughing!


Not sure exactly what Buddy was doing here, but he was trying to get that water to do something! lol
 Anyways, the kids had a blast swimming and playing! Rachel was brave and went in the water...but she didn't last as long as the kids ;) They also found a dead crab to play with! haha, Papa wasn't too thrilled about that!

On to our last stop, Thunder Hole. This is an inlet with a small cavern that when the waves rush into it just right, it makes a sound like...you guessed it...thunder. I think we weren't there at quite the right time, but we did get to hear it once. It was pretty cool just watching the water rush in and out...it actually filled up and rose about 10 feet due to the narrow inlet.

David wasn't feeling it, so he stayed in the car. On the way back to the car, I found these cute little monkeys!

But seriously, this is just about the cutest picture ever! By this time it was getting a little late, so we decided it was past time to head back to the campsite. We needed to use up our supplies, so even though it was at least 9:00 by the time we got back, we roasted hot dogs, jalapeno brats, and marshmallows for s'mores! Those were some good but spicy brats!

In the morning, we broke up camp...actually wasn't too bad. There were earwigs everywhere...we were trying to shake them off the tent and everything else before we put them in the cars. Luckily they didn't seem too interested in pincering anyone. OH, oh, oh....I totally forgot!!! I think it was Friday morning, but we saw a fisher cat in the woods, like 50 feet away. That thing was huge! I didn't realize how big they were. In case you don't know what a fisher cat is, it is a medium sized member of the weasel family. It has that distinctive curve of the back like a weasel or ferret...but much bigger! This one was at least 3 feet long! I wish I had been able to get a picture of it, but it was really cool just to see it. I'm glad it wasn't any closer though, they're nothing to mess with! That was the only wildlife we really saw though...oh well.

Anyways, I think we were out of there by 10 something. Dad had worked in Maine years ago for a while...so he remembered this really cool authentic drive in type restaurant in Brunswick. We decided we'd stop by on our way out of Maine. It was so cool! If you wanted to stay in your car, then you turned your lights on when you were ready to order. We decided to go inside...pit stop! if ya know what I mean ;) It was cheap and delicious!!! Can't ask for more!

Once we started leaving Brunswick, the traffic turned awful! We were suspicious that it might, seeing as it was Sunday on a holiday weekend...but it was terrible! It cleared up a little, but basically all the way from Portland, ME through the New Hampshire portion of I-95 was horrible...then once we hit Mass it was fine until we wanted to get on I-90. Of course, the gigantic thunderstorm that was raging at that point didn't help. David was actually thinking that it might even spawn a tornado! It certainly had the look! When we finally got on I-84, the traffic and the storm finally let up. Still, it took us an extra couple hours to get home! Thankfully Kim was able to save the day and pick up the dog from the kennel for me, as there was no way we would make it in time. Thanks Kim!!!

And that, as they say, was that. We had a great time, notwithstanding the heat! Although, I don't know if we'll ever get David out camping with us again! ;) It was totally his idea...he's been wanting to go for a long time, but what with the heat and lack of a nice shower, he was ready to be home! But, we made lots of great memories and I'm super happy we were finally able to get away for a little fun. We haven't had a vacation, like ever! So even though it was just a few days, it was perfect!