Saturday, June 07, 2008

Maine - Day 3

We awoke at 6:30 a.m., got dressed and had breakfast in the hotel dining area. From there, we prepared for a 170 mile drive north to Mt. Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park, Maine's only national park. What a day!

We had to take some stops along the way, of course. First, gas was still under $4, at $3.99. We took a quick stop in Augusta to see the State Capitol Building. The grounds around the building were quite scenic. Next, we stopped in Waterville at Colby College, birthplace of Sigma Kappa, Stacy's sorority.

Driving past Bangor and no Stephen King in sight, we left interstate and onto State Route 3 to our destination, Acadia!

We made it on to Mt. Desert Island, which has 108 square miles, so it is quite large. Oh, but wait, we had to stop in Bar Harbor. Bar Harbor is a famous summer colony in the "Down East" region of Maine. It looked like there was something for everyone. There are tree-lined streets with restaurants and shops, a great main street park, a town pier, whale watching, kayaking and so on. Even the ocean liner Queen Mary visits there.

We walked Main Street for a brief while and had lunch at Rupununi. We had Maine lobster and clams.

It was finally on to Acadia National Park. Now in Bar Harbor it was sunny and 65. When we got to the Atlantic Ocean side of the island, it was 55, windy and foggy. What a difference! The main attraction for most is the 20+ mile one-way loop through the park, taking us to the most sought after points.

Upon entering the National Park we were welcomed by the famous Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is a small inlet, naturally carved out of the rocks, where the waves roll into. At the end of this inlet is a small cavern where, when the rush of the wave arrives, air and water is forced out like a clap of distant thunder. Water can spout as high as 40 feet, but the tide was out and we saw only small splashes and gurgles. Still the scenery and rock formations were awesome, even in the dense fog.

Next was Otter Point, It was simply breathtaking. The Point comes after the ocean cliffs. The surf crashing against the huge boulders was awesome, and we did not get to see it at its fullest. Since the tide was out we did get to explore the massive granite boulders. The family climbed and sat on the boulders and listen to the ocean speak to us.

Later, Stacy, Rigby and Lucy took a little nap in a parking lot while Erik took a quick 3/4 mile hike to Bubble Rock. Going up the steep gap between South Bubble and North Bubble (rounded mountains), the trail gave me a short route to Bubble Rock, which is perched high above the Park Loop Road on the summit of the South Bubble. The fog enveloped me as I made it to the top, some 700 feet above sea level.

The final stop of our brief tour of Acadia was Cadillac Mountain. Even after being sheared off by the glaciers many, many years ago, it remains the highest point along the North Atlantic Seaboard at 1,532 feet above sea level. It usually provides spectacular panoramic views of the island and ocean, however, today a heavy fog took over. Driving to the top, we could barely see the road in front of us. What a unique experience. The wind was biting and cold. Erik hiked the perimeter of the summit. One cool fact is that Cadillac is the first place to view sunrise in the United States during the winter months.

Upon leaving the park, and all too soon, we decided to stop in Bangor for dinner and a quick tour. We stopped in the town square area, where a concert and festival were going on. It was neat to see so many locals out on a Saturday night enjoying music, beer and the 65 degree weather. We ate just across the street at Thai Siam, getting our fix of some tasty Asian food.

We drove back to Portland under a beautiful starry sky, once again thankul that Maine does not allow billboards - no distracting lights!! We stopped on a ramp at one point for a pit stop. Looking up to the sky, we saw the most brilliant view of the Big Dipper we have ever seen. The stars just popped out of the sky. What a sight!

We got back to Portland just after 11 p.m. For the day, we traveled 414 miles and were gone for 15 hours.

What a day. (pictures on GrayStation.com coming soon)
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