Friday, September 27, 2013

Acadia/Bar Harbor, Days 1 & 2

(Since we're now staying at a campground in the national park, we don't have any connectivity there, so this post was done  as a document and pasted in now, while we're in downtown Bar Harbor)

Wednesday we drove into the park and had a dickens of a time getting our bearings and finding all the necessary roads.  We had stopped at the visitor center the afternoon before when we first got to Acadia, and thought we understood the directions from the ranger, but we spent a good part of the next day driving around, either making wrong turns or missing the turn.  Unlike some other national parks, this one is a series of parts of the park, then you find yourself on private land or in one of the little villages, like Otter Creek, or the “Harbors,” i.e., Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Seal Harbor, Bass Harbor, Southwest Harbor, and then you often have to take another road to get back into the park.  There is a park loop road, but it is one way in places and you want to go the other way.  Or, like the campground where we’re staying, Blackwoods, is in the park boundaries, but it is on Highway 3 and not the Park Loop Road, and you can’t get on the Park Loop Road from Highway 3 anywhere near the campground.  So you have to drive all the way back up into Bar Harbor from the campground to access the loop road, which you need to get to some of the places everyone wants to go in Acadia.  So, the day was not without some frustration, but we’re finally figuring out the road system so that helps.

There’s this wonderful system of Carriage Roads running throughout the park, some 45 miles of them, that were originally set up by Rockefeller when he was helping set up the park.  Now they are off limits to motor vehicle traffic, and used only by bicycles, horses, carriages and hikers.  It’s wonderfully wide and, while not paved, it’s a great surface with packed crushed stone, and it’s just another fantastic place to ride bikes without having to worry about vehicular traffic.  So we really wanted to get out and ride as soon as we could.  But, since I could only make a reservation 48 hours out for the campground, we had to first go by and wait for the noon checkin time to make sure we could stay there Wednesday night as well.  So we did that, and as we were pulling into our site, a lovely couple came up to talk to us, since they have a View like ours.  We invited them in to look at the modifications we’ve done to our unit and ended up just visiting for quite a little while.  They are from California and Thane is an astronomer and is volunteering at the Acadia Night Sky Festival this weekend.  Just delightful folks, and once again, one of the greatest things about this trip, the chance to meet so many truly wonderful folks.  Carol is a writer and when she gave us her card, we saw that she does a travel blog under the name RovinCrone--what a hoot!  Just great!  And it turns out, we realized that we recognized each other’s names from posting on the Winnebago View user group--so great to meet other View owners!

Anyway, we ultimately got to the Carriage Road and did 12 miles or so and it was just glorious!  We rode around Eagle Lake and had some wonderful views, but it was just spectacular to ride through the tree lined roads, with hardly anyone out, crunching through leaves fallen across the roads and just luxuriating in the still-beginnings of the fall colors.  Thane had told us that, having grown up in Maine, this is very late for their leaves not to be at their full peak.  So we’re hoping that each day there will be more and more color.

Came home to the campground where we made the vegan chili from one of the new Moosewood cookbooks we had bought and put it over some multicolored quinoa we had cooked the day before.  Wow, was this ever delicious!!  So excited to have these new cookbooks from our all time favorite vegetarian/vegan restaurants, and can’t wait to try out many more of their wonderful recipes.  After supper we were both pretty tired, so we hit the hay early, knowing we wanted to be up and at ‘em early on Thursday morning for some more biking.

It was a little chilly overnight, but the weather seems to be gradually warming as the week is progressing, but it was still a hot oatmeal morning on Thursday when we were up at dawn.  Got ourselves all situated, fueled up and layered up and headed off to Jordan Pond--wanted to get there early to be sure we could find a parking place to start our ride.  Glad we did, as there were only a few cars and one RV when we parked, but when we got back from our ride the lot was completely full.  Anyway, we did between 13 and 14 miles today and it was another glorious day of riding!  Had a lot more uphill climbs than the day before, and learned later that this is the most difficult section of the whole carriage road system.  But it was an invigorating ride, and we finished up back at the Jordan Pond House.  There’s a great tradition of many years for folks to come here and sit out on the lawn seating areas and enjoy tea and popovers, so we wanted to see this as well.  We got there a little after 11:00 and learned that they don’t start seating folks out on the lawn until 11:30, so we just got some wonderful hot coffee and sat out on an upper deck overlooking the lawn and enjoyed the sunshine and the view.  We knew we were going to pass on the popovers anyway, so we had a great time there.  As we were parking our bikes and walking over to the Jordan Pond House, we saw a couple with a little boy and Trisha noticed that she was surreptitiously taking some photos of Santa and pointing us out to the little boy.  So we walked over to talk to him and turns out his name is Nicholas!  What a coincidence!! He looked to be about 5 and was not at all shy or afraid of Santa.  So we had a nice little chat and when I asked if he wanted his picture taken with me, he hopped up onto my knee without hesitating!  Lots of fun!!

Then we drove down into Bar Harbor where we spent a wonderful afternoon, walking all over town, along the beautiful downtown park, down to the pier where we got reservations for a boat nature tour tomorrow afternoon.  We had a ball going into lots of neat little shops and found a wonderful yarn shop where Trisha got some absolutely beautiful yarn for another sweater.  She’s just so excited to be retired and have time to do all the knitting she’s only been able to do sporadically while working, and it’s so much fun to see all these different types of yarn in other parts of the country from what we’re used to seeing back home.  And we found a bike shop that was having a great sale on biking wear, so we got some much needed new duds to help keep us warm as we’re biking in these colder climes.  Topped that off with a stop at a funky little coffee shop where the barista had hiked the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, starting at Springer Mountain, not far from our home in Cherry Log.  So we sat by the window overlooking the park and watched the crowds from the cruise ships that stop here most every day as they filled the sidewalks--lots and lots of different languages as people from all over the world visit here--just wonderful!  

Back home to the campsite where we did grilled veggies for supper--as I was putting them on the grill a couple came up to ask about our View and how we liked it.  This happens quite a bit as lots of folks are curious about RVing in a small unit.  The most frequent question we get is what kind of mileage we get.  And most are blown away when we tell them we get 16mpg, since most gasoline models get around half that.  Anyway, this couple was really nice and they had a beautiful labradoodle named Zoe, just the sweetest and friendliest dog.  And it was such a trip when I asked them where they were from--they said Manitowoc, Wisconsin--and we knew where that was!!  A month ago we would not have known that, but that’s another thing we’ve enjoyed so much about this trip--now we know so many more areas of the country than we did before we started and it’s fun to talk about the places we were in their town, their beautiful bike trail along the shores of Lake Michigan and they knew exactly the RV park where we stayed.  They also have taken their RV to Alaska, so we got a lot of good tips from them, since we’re thinking of going to Alaska next summer.  Anyway, a great ending to another wonderful day!!

An interesting phenomenon--a pond that reminded us of some of the marshland in coastal Georgia, but with the mountains rising above it

 Our new friends and fellow View owners, Carol and Thane, at our campsite in the national park
 Driving along the park loop road

 Cruise ship anchored out in the harbor.  Apparently during September and October, Bar Harbor is a port of call for numerous cruise ships, two or three a day, that disgorge tons and tons of tourists for a day.  Makes for very crowded streets, but we've been interested to hear so many foreign languages, far and away the most frequent of which is German--there was even a huge cruise ship in harbor on Friday that was totally German.

 Some views from our first ride along the Carriage Roads in Acadia National Park on Wednesday afternoon--just gorgeous!!

Some shots from our bike ride on the Carriage Roads Thursday morning, we crossed many of these lovely little streams with beautiful bridges across

 Lots of climbing on this ride--here we're right along Jordan Pond, but eventually got up quite high above it

 Seeing more and more beautiful colors!

 Love these white birches!

The water in this stream was so still, got great reflections of the trees in the water

 Here you can even see the reflection of the sky on the water in the stream

 See the patches of blue sky showing up in the reflections?  Trisha took these shots and they're just wonderful!

 Looking out over one of many lakes and ponds throughout the park

 I just loved the effect of the trees reflected in the small amount of water collected in an indention in one of the huge rocks they have lining the carriage roads in places

 Here come some horses on the carriage road!

 Look at all these luscious apples!

 Lots of these carriages giving people rides in downtown Bar Harbor

 Some beautiful flowers along the walk down Main Street

Neat old building

 4 masted schooner in the harbor; takes sailing cruises out in the afternoon
 Gorgeous tree on our walk down to the pier

 Unusual, beautiful flowers outside the yarn shop

 Just love these colors, the weathered shingles and the shapes of buildings like this one
 Village Green in downtown Bar Harbor

 Cute Maine license tag!


  1. I have probably been to Acadia NP at least 10 times over the past 20 years, and it is the only return destination where I have to use a map to get everywhere! The roads are not laid out in a rhyme or reason that my brain can decipher! And oh, how I remember that hill up above Jordon Pond! I left lots of shoe leather there, with more pushing than riding! haha! Love the blue reflections...

    1. Suzanne, thanks for your comments about your difficulty with the road layout in Acadia--glad it's not just us! But it's all worth it, since it's just such a beautiful place. We just love these reflections in the water all over the park--our new friend, Thane, aptly described this as getting to see the beauty twice! I like it!

  2. Jack and Trisha,
    We just saw this. It was so great to meet you! Your pictures of Acadia are wonderful. We'll email you soon--this is a quick Wi-Fi stop at a library in southern Ohio.
    Carol (aka RovinCrone)

    1. Carol, it was great to meet you and Thane, too! We really enjoyed visiting with you folks, and comparing notes with fellow View travelers! Hope the rest of your trip is going well. We're in Annapolis, MD and will be back home in GA sometime next week. Take care!

  3. Hi Jack and Trisha,

    My name is Jocelyn and I am with Dwellable. I am looking for fun and authentic blogs about Bar Harbor and yours happened to catch my eye. If you’re open to it, shoot me an e-mail at jocelyn(at)dwellable(dot)com.

    Hope to hear from you soon!
    - Jocelyn