Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Mass. to Maine

Monday morning we left Stockbridge and continued our drive toward Maine.  We had to do some interstate driving, but as soon as we could, we got back off the interstate and onto smaller roads.  We much prefer being on non-interstate roads whenever we can, to see these little towns and unique out of the way places.  But we knew we wanted to get on up to Acadia National Park to spend some time there, so we just put in some miles the last few days.  Anyway, our first stop in Maine was in Freeport, where we visited the various LL Bean stores.  If you've never been there, you would just be amazed at how LL Bean has transformed this little town.  In addition to a big campus of their corporate headquarters, there's the big retail store, then the outlet, then the various specialty stores, like bike/board/boat, etc.  And there now are tons of other outlet stores of various well known brands all over the town as well.  We had fun going through all these stores, but were able to restrain ourselves and came away with just a couple small goodies!!  Also learned when we got to Acadia National Park, learned that LL Bean has donated over 3 million dollars over the last 11 years to support the park--nice work, guys!

We drove on through the lovely Maine countryside, passing through lots of small towns, seeing lots and lots of Cape  Cod and salt box style houses--made us think of our longtime house in Atlanta!  We just love this style of architecture, especially the ones covered in weathered wooden shingles.  And the others use such warm and wonderful colors, with lots of contrasting trim work and for us this was  a real treat!  It was such fun to just ooh and ahh over all these beautiful homes, and to see more and more splashes of fall colors in the leaves.  It was interesting as we drove through different elevations--we would see a good number of trees that had already turned and had lost a lot of their leaves, then we would notice that we'd hit a stretch when hardly any leaves had turned colors.  Don't know if it's strictly a matter of elevation, how far north we were in relation to other places, the different micro climates of different areas, or a combination of all of these things, but we're just loving seeing these colors!  Just hoping that each day for a while they will continue to get more and more colorful.

We stopped for the night Monday in Pemaquid, MA, and first drove out to their lovely little Pemaquid Point Lighthouse before finding the campground.  It was a lovely campground, way back in the woods and it took us a while to find it, but when we did we were glad we stayed there.  Big lovely grassy lawns, lots of wooded sites and some open, like ours, but all marked with numbered lobster pot markers--really a nice touch!  The night was chilly, so we were cozy in the carhouse!  Some folks a couple sites over had built a fire, but they were sitting out around the fire all bundled up in several layers--we decided to stay inside, as we both were pretty tired.

Woke up today, Tuesday, to a bright blue sky with the sun decorating the landscape with brilliant, warm shafts of light, dappling the leaves through the tall trees, creating interesting shadows and generally making it just a spectacular day to drive!  We stayed well off the main roads, and though the going was quite slow at times, our route (Hwy 1) took us through any number of lovely little small towns along the water, with views of sailboats and fishing boats in little harbors, lots of quaint churches with tall steeples, beautifully painted houses with lots of gingerbread and filigree trim work, and more and more beautifully colored leaves.  We absolutely loved it!!  All of this brought back some really fond memories, too.  30 years ago, when Jeremy was just 6 weeks old, we had our first experience with RVing--we rented a unit and drove up to New England for a couple weeks and just had a blast.  We knew then that we loved being in an RV, Todd and Shelley made up a song chronicling our trip which we all still sing from time to time, and it was just so much fun.  I especially remember driving through all these little coastal Maine towns and how blown away I was with all this beauty.  When we came through Camden I remember well walking over this little bridge with the river running over a little falls right under it and just thinking it was about the most beautiful scenery I'd ever seen.  It was in the early summer, so the leaves weren't in their full autumn splendor, but it was fantastic nonetheless.  Jeremy was such a good traveler, even at that young age--he spent most of the time in his infant seat, between our seats up front, and it was very easy to make the trip with him.  The other two kids loved it too, so it was great to see some of these places again, after such a long time.  Trisha and Shelley had come to Maine together some 6 years ago and spent a week traveling the coastal towns, but I had not been back since that trip 30 years ago.  When they were in Camden then, they had a remarkable small world experience:  they were sitting out at an outdoor cafe in the late afternoon, having a drink and talking about chartering a sailboat for a cruise the next day.  So Shelley decided to walk down to the dock to see what she could learn, and when she got down there, a guy had just come in from a day of taking a group out.  She didn't get a good look at his face at first, but when she spoke up and began to ask him about a charter, he whirled around and said "There's only one person in the whole world I know who has that Southern accent and that red hair--Shelley is that you??"  It was a classmate of hers when she spent her first two years of college at Wesleyan in Connecticut, and had not seen him since she transferred to Chapel Hill after her sophomore year.  So they went out on his boat with him that day, and he recommended a place to stay and several places to eat.  They had a ball.  So, for all those reasons, we loved driving through Camden today.  We decided not to stop and spend any time there today, as we had spent a good amount of time in Rockland earlier, and we wanted to get to Acadia National Park before the visitor center closed, so we decided to stop in Camden on our way back to Boston next week.

Our stop today in Rockland was just a wonderful time, too!  We went to the Farnsworth Museum, which is one incredible museum!  It has such a large collection of Andrew Wyeth paintings, as well as paintings by his son, Jamie.  They also have lots of works by a number of other artists and we spent several hours  there, just taking in all this incredible artwork.  There is a great deal of diversity throughout the museum, with some modern contemporary work, in addition to all the Wyeths, and work by a number of 18th century artists as well.  We thoroughly enjoyed this museum.  And just walking from where we parked along the little harbor to the visitor center, and then through town to the museum it was just gorgeous, even if it was chilly and did start to rain.  And after the museum time we stopped in at the Brass Compass for lunch--Trisha had been dreaming of a lobster roll ever since she had her last one when she and Shelley were in Camden 6 years ago, and the man at the visitor center highly recommended this place.  So we veered off our vegan routine to immerse ourselves in this wonderfully delicious specialty of this area and it was just out of this world!!  Thank you again, Lynne, Tessa and Evelyn--the Vegan Vagabonds--for laying out how you can eat a mostly plant based diet, but it's okay to occasionally have non-vegan foods and not worry about it!!  Just fabulous!

With tummies full of delicious lobster and smiles on our faces, we got back in the RV and drove on through the line of gorgeous little coastal towns on the way to Bar Harbor.  We made it to the Acadia visitor center before they closed and the ranger we talked to was so friendly and helpful, giving us maps of the many hiking and biking trails in the park and giving us the benefit of his experience on which ones to start with.  The campground in the park where we had hoped to stay was full, so we came to a camp just outside the park for tonight, but we got a site with an ocean view and it's wonderful!  After we checked in we sat out on a bench and snacked on this lovely organic, herbed popcorn we had found at a roadside farm stand earlier in the day, just enjoying the view of the water.  There was this seagull not far away walking around looking for food.  It seemed to be eyeing us to see if we might drop some popcorn that it could come fetch, but no such luck for Jonathan Livingston tonight!  It was chilly, but just gorgeous sitting out there!  It did begin to sprinkle, though, so we came back to fix some good hearty soup and quinoa for supper, topped off by this incredibly delicious organic decaf peppermint tea we had found at a store in Stockbridge, with a little organic treat--"bite of energy" they called it at the Grain Train in Petoskey, Michigan where we had bought them--a crunchy little delight made with greens and chocolate--wouldn't you just kill for some of those, Jim Roberts??  Hee hee!!  Anyway, a wonderful way to end the evening.  Not sure what the weather is going to do over the next week while we're here, but we were able to get reservation for a site in the campground inside the park where we wanted to be starting day after tomorrow for 5 days.  Hopefully we may be able to get in tomorrow as well, but we'll see.  Hope the weather will be good enough for us to get in some good hiking and biking while we're here!!

Our campsite at Stockbridge, Mass
 Driving through Mass.

 Crossing into Maine

 The border is smack dab in the middle of the river--you see this sign in the middle of the bridge!

 Pemaquid Point Lighthouse
 Our campsite at Pemaquid

 Isn't this a hoot??

 A typical weathered shingle covered salt box Maine house
This dusty rose colored hydrangea is more like a tree than a bush!
 Just love these little harbors!

 Post Office in Chamberlain, Maine, where we stopped to mail a package home

 It's fall y'all!!

 Trying to get a good shot while moving is a real challenge, but Trisha got a good splash of color in this one--sort of an impressionistic feel, don't you think??
 This lovely little farm stand where we loaded up with some luscious fresh veggies!!

 Love this quote on the wall of the museum

These are the engraved blocks created by Rev. Jonathan Fisher, a Congregationalist minister in Maine in the 1800's who was a true Renaissance man--writer, painter, sculptor, etc.  These were done for a book he did illustrating animals depicted in Bible.  The book, Scriptural Animals, is on display in the museum, along with some of his drawings.  There was no explanation of why they installed all these blocks in this fashion, but of course it looked like a labyrinth to Trisha--'nuff said!!

 Love this sign on a toy store in downtown Rockland!  So true!!
 About to dig into the lobster roll!!

 Lobster sculpture in Rockland

 Scenes as we drove on toward Acadia

Just love these color combinations!

 Rock wall cut as we approach this unique bridge

 Sitting out by our campsite, looking out over the water

 Jonathan Livingston Seagull, hoping for some popcorn!


  1. Love this part of my trip...........

    Kicking a bug and this sure cheers me up.


    1. Rod, sure hope you get over it quickly! Need to have you back on your bike!! Where we hope to be later today. Feel better soon, my friend!