This was day one of our visit to Acadia National Park. The first national park east of the Mississippi, it is 49, 000 acres that preserves the rugged coastal environment of Maine. It is also the first national park where all the land was donated by private citizens. Many of the highlights of the park can be seen by driving the loop road and hiking along some of the many paths within the park.
Our first stop was to head to the top of Cadillac Mountain and enjoy the panoramic views. This is the highest peak on the eastern seaboard. The views and hiking trails give you a great overview of the park. After stopping at Sand Beach, the only beach in the park, we continued along the loop road stopping at a number of coastal view overlooks including the Thunder Hole, where a combination of tide and current can create huge geysers.
Our master plan included bracing the large crowds and having a Maine Lobster lunch at the Jordan Pond. The traditions at the pond restaurant date to the late 1800’s when the heavy hitters of the industrial giants built summer homes in the area, including the Rockefellers. Anneke had already picked up the menu at a gift shop and was ready to order. As we walked into the restaurant, we were surprised with the lack of activity until we were informed that they had lost power as soon as they opened several hours earlier. Plan B was to head back to the motorhome for lunch. One of the few times we decided not to bring a picnic lunch.
There will be lots more to see and do including the carriage roads built so the wealthy could use their horse and buggies on their property. Even today, only hiking, biking and horses can be used on these roads.
We made the short trip from Bangor to Bar Harbor, Maine and are staying in the Bar Harbor campground with views of the ocean and only 2.5 miles to the entrance to Acadia National Park.
It was a beautiful evening so quickly ran downtown to observe the sunset over the harbor. The town is very busy and parking was at a premium. We managed to get a few shots before the light was lost. Given that it sits close to the first national park opened east of the Mississippi and is just a few hundred miles from most of the northeast coastal cities, it is no surprise that the area is very busy. As I am sure I have said before, around every major natural attraction the tourist stuff abounds, and for the most part it is always the same. At least at sunset, Bar Harbor seemed to retain some of its historical charm.
We are looking forward to exploring the park and the surrounding area.
The storm is gone with just a few more hours of gusty wind. It could have been a lot worse. We had lots and lots of rain and wind gusts that never exceeded 60 mph. The park shed all the rain without any serious pools of water. Again luck and timing played a big role. The center of the storm moved north well east of us. In hind sight it would have been a big mistake to panic and run to the east. Since south was out of the question, sitting was our best option. We would have had to go all the way to far western New York or even PA to get better conditions that we had here.
Vermont and New Hampshire, where we just were, really got hammered. I read last night that nearly all the rivers and creeks in Vermont are flooding. Montpelier, a few miles from our campground there, may be voluntarily flooded again to save the nearby dam.
I was worried about the trees in the park and lost some sleep over that. Halley also was having a hard time relaxing with all the racket, but she did her best. As it turns out my concerns were not totally unfounded. Walking the park this morning, a huge pine tree at the end of our row came down over night just behind a camp site. Its twin sister is sitting 20 feet in front of my coach. I cannot wait for the wind to completely settle down.
Today will be largely spent trying to determine if we can move to the coast based on conditions after the storm.
We count ourselves very lucky and feel sorry for the folks that have lost so much. Watching the news for areas we have lived in and visited is difficult.
Before we settled in to await the arrival of Irene, we visited the Cole Land Transportation Museum. It was developed as a dream of the family which owns a large national trucking company out of Bangor. It was a great display of all types of vehicles used in the area. Most interesting was the snow handling equipment including a snow roller, which I had not heard of before. Clearly, snow is a big deal in this part of Maine. The museum also hosts a number of military displays including the city memorials for past wars and conflicts.
They built a covered bridge on the property where school kids could eat their lunch. Anneke was disappointed that she did not bring one.
Yesterday, we attended the American Folk Festival in downtown Bangor along the waterfront. This was a large event with five stages, lots of vendors and food options. The turnout was very good, perhaps because today is heavy rain and sometime later this evening the arrival of what will be left of Irene.
We have heavy rain with forecast of much more to come along with wind gusts of up to 50-60 mph. Flooding should not be an issue but we do have some fairly tall trees nearby.
It could get interesting. There is no place to go since the center of the storm is to the west of us and to the east is a higher chance of flooding. So I am hoping we lucked into a sweet spot??