Have Heart, Will Travel

National Parks

One if by Carriage, Two if by Sea

Life lessons, Maine, National Parks, RV destinationsNancy Powell4 Comments

We continued our exploration of Acadia National Park on Day 30 of our Grand Adventure.  We decided to check out a small portion of the island's Carriage Roads, which were planned and financed by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. between 1913 and 1940.

There are 57 miles of carriage roads in the park for the use of hikers, bikers, horse riders or even horse-drawn carriages. Motor vehicles are not allowed. This feature is just one aspect that shows the foresight and generosity that went into planning Acadia, making it one of the great national parks of the country.

 There are also many beautiful bridges among the roads. We spent some time at this one.

There are also many beautiful bridges among the roads. We spent some time at this one.

 Even with so, so many visitors to Bar Harbor and the park in August, there was peace during our walk along one of the carriage roads to Eagle Lake.

Even with so, so many visitors to Bar Harbor and the park in August, there was peace during our walk along one of the carriage roads to Eagle Lake.

 Underneath the bridge we explored was a rocky stream.

Underneath the bridge we explored was a rocky stream.

 Petunia found it a very enticing place to explore.

Petunia found it a very enticing place to explore.

After Petunia made her way to all the rocks she could easily reach, she paused to determine each time if she could make the jump to the next one, which was a little further than comfortable, while also wet and slippery.  I remember willing myself to be quiet and watch, neither encouraging her to go for it nor discouraging her from the risk.  I had the feeling even then that this was a parenting lesson with training wheels...a foreshadowing of many such, ever more consequential, moments to come.

We were blessed enough to still have Petunia's grandparents with us and they treated us to a wonderful cruise out of the harbor that afternoon. We saw animals, natural beauty, summer "cottages" of the uber wealthy, a lighthouse and all type of marine vessel!

The biggest treat was to come toward the end, however.

 We set sail for our tour. We were threatened if anyone dared hum the tune to Gilligan's Island. ha!

We set sail for our tour. We were threatened if anyone dared hum the tune to Gilligan's Island. ha!

 Well, isn't that something?

Well, isn't that something?

 Egg Rock Lighthouse, with all sorts of sea birds and seals on the rocks around it.

Egg Rock Lighthouse, with all sorts of sea birds and seals on the rocks around it.

 Look at the little guy in the bottom left corner. Is he posing for the camera?

Look at the little guy in the bottom left corner. Is he posing for the camera?

By this time, Petunia had been going around town for a couple days in her officers navy hat that was a gift from her grandfather. We were told that the female captain of the ship might welcome a little help, and sure enough...Petunia got to pilot the ship through Frenchman Bay.  She was honest-to-goodness steering the ship under the direction of the captain, following commands and in control of the wheel under the captain's watchful eye. What an opportunity!

 Love our little sailor girl!

Love our little sailor girl!

 What a brave mariner!

What a brave mariner!

 Listening to some tricks of the trade!

Listening to some tricks of the trade!

 Well done, officer!

Well done, officer!

When we got back to land, it was close enough to low tide that we could walk out on the bar again.  This time, though, Petunia spent some time trying to skip rocks and needed a little help.

 So she got her next lesson of the day...this time a lesson on rock skipping from Gramps Fuzz!

So she got her next lesson of the day...this time a lesson on rock skipping from Gramps Fuzz!

 Showing off the great skipping rock she found to put her new found knowledge to the test.

Showing off the great skipping rock she found to put her new found knowledge to the test.

 There it goes!

There it goes!

 Happy with her results!

Happy with her results!

We decided to end the full and wonderful day with a ride to the top of Cadillac Mountain for the sunset view.

 What a way to end a fabulous day!

What a way to end a fabulous day!

Day 29: Walking the Ocean Path in Acadia National Park

RV destinations, Maine, National ParksNancy PowellComment

Most of Acadia National Park is located on Mt. Desert Island. There is so much to do in the park and on the island, including in the main town, Bar Harbor, that even if you're there a week, you can barely scratch the surface on all there is to do.  We know this because we were there for a week that seemed so fun and full of activity, and yet we left with both happy memories and a list of "what we want to do next time."

Our first day there we walked out on the bar near low tide. On our second day there, we were joined by Petunia's grandparents, who left their idyllic camp to come spend a few days with us near Bar Harbor.  The main activity of the day was walking the breathtaking-at-every-turn Ocean Path.

The Ocean Path is an easy walk along a 2 mile stretch of shoreline that delivers above and beyond what it asks of the hiker.  In fact, you can opt to stay on a flat or very gradually sloping path the whole time, if you choose; although there are many options for short detours that provide for a little more exertion and even more stunning sightseeing angles.

Scenes of this path are so varied, too!  You start at a sand beach, go by Thunder Hole, of course see sweeping views of the water with all kinds of boats, take a short walk through a forest, and end up on a cliff!  How is that for a little variety?

What a magical hike we got to enjoy in perfect weather!

 The Ocean Path starts above the sand beach in the background. We had walked a while, obviously, to be able to turn around and get this shot.

The Ocean Path starts above the sand beach in the background. We had walked a while, obviously, to be able to turn around and get this shot.

 What does Mark see through his lens?

What does Mark see through his lens?

 This cute fella taking a nap in the sun on the rocks below!

This cute fella taking a nap in the sun on the rocks below!

 Petunia and her Nana love sharing adventures together!

Petunia and her Nana love sharing adventures together!

 Some "bunny" was here with her crew watching Thunder Hole in awe! We got some good waves that day. Thunder Hole is active because of a small cave below sea level. When the waves come in and the air pushes them out *technical talk* anyway...sometimes there is a big, loud sound like thunder. It's fun! We even got sprayed a couple times.

Some "bunny" was here with her crew watching Thunder Hole in awe! We got some good waves that day. Thunder Hole is active because of a small cave below sea level. When the waves come in and the air pushes them out *technical talk* anyway...sometimes there is a big, loud sound like thunder. It's fun! We even got sprayed a couple times.

 These are the views from the path out to the deep blue sea.

These are the views from the path out to the deep blue sea.

 Mark turned his camera over to Petunia and climbed a few rocks.

Mark turned his camera over to Petunia and climbed a few rocks.

 As you can see here, most of the path is flat and easy.

As you can see here, most of the path is flat and easy.

 Until you decide to go down to Boulder Beach, anyway.

Until you decide to go down to Boulder Beach, anyway.

 Cairns are used as trail markers along several of the hikes in the park and so they have popped up even along the beach and other places in the park. There were several standing on Boulder Beach when we down to it, and Petunia built a small one herself.

Cairns are used as trail markers along several of the hikes in the park and so they have popped up even along the beach and other places in the park. There were several standing on Boulder Beach when we down to it, and Petunia built a small one herself.

 And then you walk through the forest! What magical light!

And then you walk through the forest! What magical light!

 And our final destination was the tip of those cliffs! We went right out and I sat close enough to see over so I could look for rock climbers who sometimes scale the cliff.

And our final destination was the tip of those cliffs! We went right out and I sat close enough to see over so I could look for rock climbers who sometimes scale the cliff.

 Here is the rewarding view from atop Otter Cliff!

Here is the rewarding view from atop Otter Cliff!

 With all that beauty, these are my favorite...

With all that beauty, these are my favorite...

 ...views of the day!

...views of the day!

 To get a perspective of how big the island is, take a look at this map.  If you're looking at the map as a clock, then just a little "past 3:00" you will see Sand Beach and can follow it to Otter Cliff. All that scenery and adventure took place in that small percentage of the island.  We had a wonderful walk and worked up an appetite for our delicious seafood dinner in Seal Harbor, where Martha Stewart has her summer home. We ate at the Lighthouse and our butter was served in real half shells. Now that's my kind of whimsy!

To get a perspective of how big the island is, take a look at this map.  If you're looking at the map as a clock, then just a little "past 3:00" you will see Sand Beach and can follow it to Otter Cliff. All that scenery and adventure took place in that small percentage of the island.

We had a wonderful walk and worked up an appetite for our delicious seafood dinner in Seal Harbor, where Martha Stewart has her summer home. We ate at the Lighthouse and our butter was served in real half shells. Now that's my kind of whimsy!