Bar Harbor Trip
My mom and I left Provincetown around noon and had a long drive ahead of us to Bar Harbor. When we crossed the border into Maine, we stopped at the first rest stop for a potty break. The delightfully refreshing, pine-scented Maine air was the first thing we noticed after emerging from the car. The second was the overwhelming evidence that my grandma had been consulted when designing road signs.
We took heed, but, as we had just eaten Chipotle in Boston, didn't worry too much. As we made our way north, we passed several moose crossing signs that my mom found very amusing, but for all the signs, we never saw a single set of antlers. There were even snowmobile crossing signs, but despite weathering what my mom considered "winter temperatures", we didn't see any of those either.
It was late when we finally checked into our hotel, the Atlantic Eyrie Lodge. Boasting great views of Frenchman Bay, I had chosen it more for my love of the Game of Thrones series. An eyrie is defined as "a large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle, typically built high in a tree or on a cliff", so I think the hotel was aptly named.
To my disappointment, our sky cell did not slope slightly downward and even had bars to keep us from plummeting to our death! And I guess it wasn't mentioned in the brochure, but I failed to find the Moon Door that every proper Eyrie should have!
However, the view was great, as promised, so I will give them that.
After a good night's sleep, I woke up and drove into Bar Harbor to see the town and grab lunch. I quickly discovered that Maine has an obsession with blueberries. Every restaurant I passed had several things on the menu that incorporated blueberries, and the diner I chose to eat at had a giant blueberry muffin fixture above the entrance. I had to try a muffin, and it turned out to be pretty darn tasty! Doing some research later, I discovered that Maine produces one quarter of all blueberries in North America and that the blueberry is the official fruit of the state.
Since my mom was sleeping in late, I decided to spend the afternoon in Acadia National Park. Covering most of Mount Desert Island, Acadia is the oldest National Park east of the Mississippi, and it is truly a natural wonder. Within the park are mountains, huge rock formations, forests, and the pristine shoreline of the Atlantic. Acadia contains both walking trails and carriage trails designed and funded by Rockefeller back in the early 1900s. I decided to tackle the Beehive Trail which was recommended to me by friends.
The Beehive is a trail that takes you up the side of a beehive-shaped rock formation using ladder rungs fixed into the side of the mountain where necessary. It can be dangerous at times, as this sign reminded me, but it wasn't terribly risky on the nice day that I hiked.
The trail was well marked, and I found the use of the iron rungs fun and unique. As I worked my way up the Beehive, each breathtaking view of the bay was somehow better than the last. Here is some of what I saw as I hiked the trail.
This is not a trail for those scared of heights!
As I was the only person on the trail, I naturally needed to take a selfie. I thought it would be best to hang off one of the rungs, holding on with one hand and taking a photo with the other. That way, the picture would capture the ground far below. Thankfully, I didn't fall. Unfortunately, something much worse happened. I struggled to capture the perfect shot, and after three or four tries, I began to be heckled by two unseen guys in the trees 300 feet below me. Somehow they had spotted me and my troubles and began to give a play by play.
"And here he goes again. No! He didn't quite get it folks. He's going in for another. And I can't believe my eyes here. He's orienting the phone diagonally! A bold move. A very bold move!"
"Yes, we haven't seen that since the World Championships of '09! A poor effort though. He really needs to step up his game if he wants to qualify for next year's Olympics!"
I'm happy that I didn't fall off the mountain laughing or let go of the rung due to embarrassment. I got a passable shot just as the heckling began and then safely proceeded to the top.
I took a different trail back to the car and drove back to the Eyrie to pick up my mom. We drove to Bar Harbor and looked at some of the cool shops, where we learned we were pronouncing the town's name incorrectly.
Finally it was time for dinner, so we left the main drag and headed over to the Side Street Cafe, which was hopping, clearly a local favorite. Immersing ourselves in the blueberry culture, we ordered two blueberry basil margaritas. They were amazing.
Since we were ravenous, we ordered grilled stuffed avocados as an appetizer and each chowed down on a veggie burger. We also shared a half order of macaroni with black beans and avocado.
The burgers were phenomenal, but the macaroni was out of this world, the best we had ever tasted. It was so savory that my mom glanced at her phone, leaned over the table, and whispered to me, "The waitress just texted me. She says there is poison in the macaroni." I kept eating.
The following day my mom and I went to Acadia together. We drove all over and saw most of the park accessible by road. Despite the cold weather and nasty conditions, we braved the drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain, where the sun first hits in the United States each morning for about half of the year. With no less than six layers on, my mom stepped out of the car at the summit just long enough for me to snap a flattering picture.
As you can tell, my mom is not the biggest fan of cold weather. When she was safely back in the car, she flatly declared, "Well, I can cross this list off my state." I thought that summed up the situation nicely. We got out of there in a hurry, and as we drove around Acadia, I took some rainy photos that hopefully showcase the natural beauty of the area.
That night we ordered some Side Street to go and dined at the hotel while watching TV. We decided our next stop would be Burlington, Vermont and booked a hotel for the next few nights. In the morning we pulled away from the Eyrie after some brief confusion. The gas tank in the car was full despite being almost empty the previous night. It turned out the car was just confused since we parked on the side of a hill. Before leaving Bar Harbor, we stopped at the ancient town Post Office to mail a postcard to my grandma. I was intrigued by the P.O. Boxes, which had combination locks!
Finally, we hit the road for Burlington. I'll post about that in a few days! We're there now and almost ready to fly to Virginia to look for my first apartment!