On our 6th day out of town, we left Camden and headed even farther up the coast to Bar Harbor and Acadia.
A gentleman my parents crossed paths with gave them a few geocache names to pass along to us so we could find them along our route this day. We found one at Fort Point Light, just north of Camden. It was a neat park and a trickier find than we thought it would be to find, but eventually we got it! After we found the cache on a small beach, we spent some time wandering the grounds to see the lighthouse, old fog bell, ruins of Fort Pownall and the foundation of a hotel that burned down on the property.
Down a wooded trail, we found a public dock where the Penobscot River met the ocean. It looked like seagulls had been eating lunch there.
After leaving the park, we planned on driving straight to our motel and getting a start on exploring Acadia. Our plans were happily delayed, though, as we approached the bridges over the Penobscot River. Kevin immediately recognized the older bridge as one he had crossed several years ago on a family vacation. Now, that bridge is closed and a sleek new construction fulfills its duties. We saw signs for a bridge observatory, so we decided to check it out.
Driving into the park, I saw a sign warning of wasps activity. The signs were adorable, with a handwriting-styled font and an image of a smiling cartoon bee. To me, though, a sense of horror still came through. Several people reading this have undoubtedly seen my shameful hysterical reaction to seeing a stinging insect, especially a wasp, in all of its shrieking, screaming, flailing glory. The mere thought of their dangly legs gives me the shivers. Regardless, I told myself to put on my big girl pants and deal with it. I’m quite glad I did! Not only did we not see any wasps at all, but the observatory and surrounding park were great!
At 420 feet, the Penobscot Bridge Observatory is the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. Apparently, the old bridge was closed just months after Kevin’s family traveled across it due to severe corrosion. The new bridge opened in 2006, incorporating granite into its design as a tribute to the local trade.
On the same property, and included in the $7 admission, is the fascinating Fort Knox. This is a lesser known Fort Knox to most people, but it is the original, built in 1844. Although troops were occasionally stationed at the fort, it never saw military action. Now, it is open to the public to tour or just walk around. It is also widely reported as a haunted location. We spent several hours exploring the various components built into the hillside, but did not see any ghosts.
Finally, in mid-afternoon, we checked into our cozy accommodations. Along the way, we saw tons of beautiful scenery and a bald eagle swooped over my car as we sat stopped at a red light near a creek. Our motel was adorable, consisting of several small bungalows, each housing three rooms. From the back, a .2 mile trail connected us to Acadia, and the free Island Explorer bus picked up in front.
We were pretty hungry by this point, so we headed into town as soon as we unloaded the car. A short walk from where the bus dropped us off, we found Epi’s and popped in for a quick bite. We were glad to be inside when the rain started shortly after we arrived! I had a cup of creamy haddock chowder and some ham & tomato quiche while Kevin ate some pizza.
After fueling up with some lunch, we set out to find some geocaches in town. The rain had subsided to a drizzle, and we were equipped with our rain coats, so we wandered the downtown area on our hunt. The first one we found on Mt. Desert Island is by far the smallest we’ve ever seen!
Bar Harbor was full of cute little shops, tempting us to spend waaaay too much money. Fortunately, many businesses were having 50% off sales since it was the end of the season. Instead of going to the national park so late in the day and in the drizzle, we spent the late afternoon and evening browsing the boutiques.
One store we stumbled upon was a gourmet grocer. We picked up some blueberry mead and local tarragon goat cheese to bring home as a delicious memory (gotta love hotel fridges and car coolers!). I was so glad to get the mead because we had passed the Maine Mead Works in Portland but hadn’t had time to go in! The company uses Maine wildflower honey and local ingredients to prepare seasonal honey wines. The mead was excellent (and strong!), really presenting the flavors of honey and blueberries.
Our “autumn getaway” package included a meal at a choice of two restaurants, and we ended up having dinner that evening at Poor Boys Gourmet, a casual restaurant at the end of the main street with a ton of menu options. We stopped at the bar to wait for our table to be ready and I ordered a wild blueberry martini. It was great, not too sweet, with fresh berries in the bottom of the glass. By the time the drink was made, we were escorted to our table upstairs in a cozy sun room area. The temperature was pleasant, so all of the windows were open, allowing the sea air to breeze through the dining room.
We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have lobster as part of our package, so I ordered Lobster Fra Diavolo and Kevin ordered Lobster and Shrimp Alfredo. The portions were enormous! There was a full lobster’s worth of meat in my zesty dish. I was stuffed after dinner, had some to snack on after the next day’s bike ride and brought some pasta home with us for lunch two days!!! Even Kevin couldn’t finish his portion.
Our last stop for the day was Mt. Desert Is. Ice Cream. In Portland, my sister pointed out their newest shop, but we held out for the original location near the village green in Bar Harbor. It was quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever eaten. The flavors were so creative and the texture and sweetness were perfect. We ordered a blueberry basil sorbet and a basil marscapone ice cream, then combined the two back at our hotel room for the perfect blend of creamy and icy, sweet and savory. It was so good, in fact, that we headed back the next day!
Check back soon for some mind blowing scenery from our day in Acadia!