Maine: Portland, Acadia National Park/Bar Harbor, Ogunquit

Maine was such an amazing adventure, so very worthy of a trip.

Our plan was to visit Acadia National Park, a fair distance of seven hours from Albany. To break up the trip we stopped in Portland for lunch, the largest city in Maine. We ate at Duckfat, a small restaurant with an eclectic menu including panini’s, poutine, Belgian frites, and milkshakes. We enjoyed some panini’s and frites with house made mayo based dipping sauce. We stretched our legs a bit at Standpipe Park, a small romantic grassy knoll that overlooks the city.

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Our journey continued happily with a 70 mph speed limit. We made it to the park early enough and chose Acadia Mountain as our welcome hike. It was very exciting and scenic the entire way. Right off the bat there was a scramble to climb up, pine barrens, red squirrels, pink flowers, and an ever changing environment. After gaining some healthy elevation the rocky summit gave breathtaking views of the water and islands that speckled it. The descent was steep along the cliffs edge, filled with anxious excitement and rewarding sights. This was the perfect hike to show us what the park is all about.

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Hungry us made it to Trenton Lobster Pound for dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. We wanted something easy to eat so we went for lobster chowder and clam chowder; each had large fresh chunks of their respective meats. We also got delicious corn, and then raced to see the sunset. There is a parking lot by Agamont Park, Bar Harbor that overlooks the water. This place is made to watch the sunset. Here you will find the most stunning views, and then you can walk right into town.

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Bar Harbor is filled with restaurants, ice cream shops, and souvenir shops from ritzy to slightly tacky and everything in between. Dessert was at the Pink Pastry Shop, and they made a mean Whoopie Pie. I got a blueberry with lemon filling, so delicious!

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Our sugar high had us popping in and out of stores and getting a feel for the town. After a long day it was time to hit the sack to rest up for a big day. I had the best breakfast at 2 Cat’s Café in Bar Harbor, maybe the best I’ve ever had. I got cheddar bacon pancakes with real maple syrup, they were just the right balance of sweet and savory, so divine. I definitely filled up just from these, but happened to order their two biscuits with strawberry butter as well. I took them to go and snacked on them throughout the day. They were the perfect density, flakey yet firm. The strawberry butter was sweet but not cloyingly so, which complimented the buttery saltiness of the biscuit. Yummm.

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After a very filling breakfast it was hiking time. Acadia is a big park, and there are many options to chose from. We chose to visit the quiet side, an area of the park only 10% of visitors venture to. It was a shorter drive than we’d imagine to get to this beautiful place, the Schoodic Peninsula. We leisurely cruised around the beautiful coastline, stopping anywhere beautiful. We explored the Seawall, getting our first dose of pink granite that fills the park. We took our time observing the tidal pools here searching for signs of life.

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We hiked two short trails, Wonderland and Ships Harbor. I preferred the latter, which had more diverse views. Jagged pink rocks and turquoise water lined with pines, what a memorable sight.

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Some interesting flora and fauna along the trails, including wild iris.

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We stopped to admire the Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, and walk a short distance to get a good view of it.

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Our serious hike of the day was combining a few trails around Beech Mountain. Here we climbed ladders and gained great heights for beautiful views of Echo Lake and the surrounding area. At the summit there is a fire tower, as if you weren’t high enough.

DSCF7958 DSCF7973 DSCF7966 DSCF7960 DSCF7959 We took a different trail back to the parking light, the Canadian Cliff trail which is new in the park and not on the trail maps yet. It was nice to be able to go back to the parking area a different route, and there were some very interesting sights and beautiful views along the way.

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After a long and wonderful hike a dip in beautiful Echo Lake was deserved.

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After soaking up a bit of sun and some warranted moments of relaxation, we headed to dinner at the Burning Tree. This was a hip place in a quiet way tucked between the mountains in Otter Creek. The food was damn good, fresh, and beautifully plated. We ordered shrimp and scallop fritters and a crab bisque as appetizers, and I got a Thai chili glazed Monkfish with coconut rice and eggplant as my main dish which came with a beautiful salad. Everything was delicious and quite filling.

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On the road from our hotel into town we kept passing by a cool looking mini-golf course, and that’s our kind of nightlife. We had lots of fun at Pirate’s Cove, it was beautifully maintained, and had fun facts about pirates on many of the holes. This is a great spot for kids and kids at heart. The stocks are a great photo-op, and there are water cannons to shoot at people from across a pond.

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Next morning we ate at Jeannie’s Great Maine Breakfast. They made a fantastic breakfast sandwich which fueled me well into the afternoon for a lot of hiking. We made a quick stop at Hulls Cove Sculpture Park near town. There were some quirky pieces in a beautiful natural setting. Then into the park for some final hikes!

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Great Head was first on the list of the day. Here are some great views of Sand Beach and the rocky ocean coast.

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This was our last day and we decided to see the major park sights, on the not so quiet side. The Park Loop Road show cases these sights, and makes them accessible for all sorts of abilities. You can park and look or get out and hike, either way you will be exposed to great natural beauty. These areas are naturally much more crowded due to their accessibility. We stopped at Jordan Pond to witness the Bubbles and drove up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. We hiked around the summit of the mountain, which is the tallest on the Atlantic Ocean north of Brazil. This summit has impeccable views, and is a spot many choose to watch the sunrise or sunset from.

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The weekend was coming to an end, and our journey back home was inevitable. We stopped in Ogunquit to stretch our legs and eat. The Marginal Way is a beautiful paved stretch which hugs the coast. It is 1.25 miles each way, and there is much to see. Beautiful homes, flowers, the ocean and it’s rocky coast, and lots of benches lining the path. A person with more time might enjoy sitting on a quiet bench and taking in the scene.

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Our last Maine-ly delight was dinner at Gypsy Sweethearts where we shared a few small delicious plates. Lobster sliders, creole shrimp, succulent scallops, and a mushroom with cheese onions and peppers satisfied our taste buds. Everything was fresh and flavorful, and we enjoyed the meal outside watching people in this lovely beach town.

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Maine was so wonderful, I wish I had more time to spend there, but I am so thankful for just the long weekend. The nature in Acadia was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen. The seafood in the state was fresh as can be. There is culture to be found for those who are looking for it, and fun to be had in every corner!

 

http://www.duckfat.com/

http://www.yelp.com/biz/standpipe-park-portland

http://www.nps.gov/acad/index.htm

http://www.trentonbridgelobster.com/

http://www.barharbormagic.com/agamont-park.html

http://www.facebook.com/ThePinkPastryShop

http://www.2catsbarharbor.com/intro.html

http://www.barharbormenus.com/the_burning_tree_menu.pdf

http://www.piratescove.net/bar-harbor

http://www.jeanniesbreakfast.com/

http://marginalwayfund.org/

http://www.gypsysweethearts.com/

 

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