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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!

Day 28: Exploring the Bar in Bar Harbor

Maine, RV destinationsNancy Powell4 Comments

One of the many things we have loved about our previous visits to Maine is our usual day trip to Bar Harbor, a beautiful coastal town that has much to offer.  In the past, we have come to see the boats, explored some of the natural wonders in nearby Acadia National Park, taken a whale-watching cruise, eaten delicious food, and shopped in the one-of-a-kind stores that line a few blocks near the water. There never seems to be enough time to hardly scratch the surface of all there is to do and see around here.

Having an RV this time meant we could stay in a campground very close to Bar Harbor for several days and experience many more things all in one visit.  After getting set up at camp, we took the Island Explorer, a free bus that operates all over Mt. Desert Island where Bar Harbor is located, into town.

Of course the first thing you have to do in Bar Harbor is come down to the waterfront and take in the scenery.  When we arrived, the gray overcast day was just giving way to the sun and we caught the transition as we looked out at the water.  While some rays of light were starting to shine through, the last of the fog was still burning off.

 

We realized that we were there shortly after low tide and that we would be able, for the first time, to walk out onto the bar that gives Bar Harbor its name.

What a fascinating experience to get to walk way out on what is normally the bottom of the sea!

 Petunia and I are walking out at the beginning of the bar. Yes, this is normally covered in water high enough for ships to pass over. That land out there?  It's Bar  Island . But a couple times a day, a little before and a little after low tide, you can walk (or drive your car) to the island.

Petunia and I are walking out at the beginning of the bar. Yes, this is normally covered in water high enough for ships to pass over. That land out there?  It's Bar Island. But a couple times a day, a little before and a little after low tide, you can walk (or drive your car) to the island.

 Many interesting things await discovery out there!

Many interesting things await discovery out there!

 When we went out, we were past low tide, so some water was starting to come back in. The little pools of water made the exploration even more exciting. We got to see a good bit of (very small) sea life in that water.

When we went out, we were past low tide, so some water was starting to come back in. The little pools of water made the exploration even more exciting. We got to see a good bit of (very small) sea life in that water.

 All the while, higher water and large ships are not too far away.

All the while, higher water and large ships are not too far away.

 The water comes back in so subtly, but so quickly, that you don't realize how fast it is rising.

The water comes back in so subtly, but so quickly, that you don't realize how fast it is rising.

 We had a fabulous hour out there. If the water weren't coming back in rather quickly, we could have stayed longer.

We had a fabulous hour out there. If the water weren't coming back in rather quickly, we could have stayed longer.

 By the time we got out on the bar, the weather was wonderful!

By the time we got out on the bar, the weather was wonderful!

 This is what happens when the tide comes back in so unexpectedly fast.  Mark had a little dry path to walk out and look at some pools and two minutes later, his path was gone.  He had to balance on a rock and take off his shoes so they wouldn't get soaked.

This is what happens when the tide comes back in so unexpectedly fast.  Mark had a little dry path to walk out and look at some pools and two minutes later, his path was gone.  He had to balance on a rock and take off his shoes so they wouldn't get soaked.

 Petunia, a lover and respecter of all life forms, got carried for a lot of the visit because she couldn't stand the thought of possibly stepping on a shell or clam and injuring it.  She made certain we stepped as carefully as possible, too. Love her heart!

Petunia, a lover and respecter of all life forms, got carried for a lot of the visit because she couldn't stand the thought of possibly stepping on a shell or clam and injuring it.  She made certain we stepped as carefully as possible, too. Love her heart!

We sure did work up an appetite and were thrilled to get back "on land" and go eat a delicious dinner, followed by the first of many trips to an ice cream shop during our visit.  What a great day and our Bar Harbor adventure was just barely under way!

Days 17 - 27: Summer Camp in Maine!

RV destinations, MaineNancy PowellComment

We have gone to summer camp at the lake! And the best part about this summer camp is that it is our parents' home on Cold Stream Pond in Maine, so we have enjoyed the best of lake life and activities along with lots of family time--grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, 2nd or 3rd cousins (I have never completely figured that out) and new friends!

There have been day-long playdates and sleepovers for Petunia, and she spends most of her time in or on the water--with a cousin or friend, if at all possible.

Enjoying beautiful weather, we have had the opportunity to go kayaking, swimming, boating, and tubing a few steps from our door.  When not in the water, we have been enjoying playing games and eating copious amounts of good food, often with some extended family.

Although you could spend a full summer right here at camp, we have pulled ourselves away a couple times for some fun outings, too.  One day we went to eat at a restaurant on Lake Millinocket, and enjoyed hanging around a bit to soak in the amazing views of Mt. Katahdin in the background.

We are gearing up for our next adventure for a few days but are grateful and excited that we'll get to come back to "home camp" for a few more days before we leave Maine.  This state deserves every bit of its reputation as an awesome place to be!

 

 Mark and I were out kayaking when he got this shot of me with "camp" in the background. What a lovely place to be!

Mark and I were out kayaking when he got this shot of me with "camp" in the background. What a lovely place to be!

 Some version of this is Petunia's most common attire.

Some version of this is Petunia's most common attire.

 Picnic on Waffle Island with her cousin who is a special friend. I wonder how many hours total she's logged on Waffle Island so far?

Picnic on Waffle Island with her cousin who is a special friend. I wonder how many hours total she's logged on Waffle Island so far?

 For this journey, we didn't even leave our lake, just went to another part of it. Petunia did a great job as captain.

For this journey, we didn't even leave our lake, just went to another part of it. Petunia did a great job as captain.

 Petunia and another cousin, who are anxiously anticipating going ashore!

Petunia and another cousin, who are anxiously anticipating going ashore!

 The water here is so clear and beautiful, and the sand glitters with gold specks, like we're on some exotic faraway island.

The water here is so clear and beautiful, and the sand glitters with gold specks, like we're on some exotic faraway island.

 Petunia showing off a piece of gold.

Petunia showing off a piece of gold.

 Closer to home, we have enjoyed watching the playful--and sometimes aggressive with each other--hummingbirds at the feeder.

Closer to home, we have enjoyed watching the playful--and sometimes aggressive with each other--hummingbirds at the feeder.

 When one starts humming right by you, it is surprisingly loud!

When one starts humming right by you, it is surprisingly loud!

 Magnificent creature!

Magnificent creature!

 We caught another sight of our friend, Mr. Bald Eagle

We caught another sight of our friend, Mr. Bald Eagle

 Petunia is standing between her grandparents, who came with us in the RV to take us to lunch in an enchanted setting.

Petunia is standing between her grandparents, who came with us in the RV to take us to lunch in an enchanted setting.

 We ate lunch just up from this view! Lake Millinocket with Mt. Katahdin in the background.  Breathtaking!

We ate lunch just up from this view! Lake Millinocket with Mt. Katahdin in the background.  Breathtaking!

 Petunia captured this pic of us.

Petunia captured this pic of us.

 "Keep Maine Beautiful" as it is indeed a beautiful state!

"Keep Maine Beautiful" as it is indeed a beautiful state!

These days at camp have been a delightful mix of lake activity, socializing, resting and sightseeing. Lots of talking and laughing! What a blessing to do all this with family.  

 

Day 16: You win some, and once in a Blue Moon you lose some

Life lessons, RV destinations, State Parks, National ForestNancy Powell1 Comment

As I've written about our travels to the north, I have shared that I only had reservations in one place between where we left home (Texas) and our destination for August (Maine.)

We have had a lot of luck, which I am calling Grand Adventure serendipity, on our side, and even though we've been winging it with almost no reservations in the middle of a beautiful summer, we have had no problems finding a comfortable place to stay.

When it was time to end our most delightful stay in Watkins Glen, New York, our idea was to head to the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. Besides wanting to experience its beauty, legend has it (along with lots of websites and rv camping forums) that there are plenty of places to stay for free or nearly free in federal lands, as long as you don't need a full hook up with electricity and water.  That seemed like a great plan for us since we only wanted to spend one night and get back on the road fairly quickly.

My best guess is that we were getting a little too comfortable with our "winging it" luck. Because we loved the state park we were leaving, we did not leave very early in the day. Then we had to drive across New York and into Vermont.  Even though the National Forest is right there on the border, it takes some time to get where you are going. They don't call them the Green Mountains for nothing. Those mountains are legit!

We drove up and down, coaxing (the-yet-to-be-officially-named) RV who did a great job, but was kind of saying something like..."Umm...what??"

 

 Cloud level driving in the aptly named Green Mountains

Cloud level driving in the aptly named Green Mountains

We still haven't fully figured out if the following story is due more to this particular National Forest, our status as newbies, or the nighttime arrival into the camping areas.  Whatever the reason, this was our experience...

I had tried to do a little reading about where a motorhome could camp for the night in the Green Mountains and we headed to a camping area. When we got there, we saw that we had arrived at a "normal" campground--albeit with very tight spaces--not the primitive wide-open fields we were expecting.

Not wanting to disturb anyone further at the late-ish hour we had arrived by unhooking our car and backing into a space, all while shining lights in every nearby camping spots' location and in general attracting more attention than a lightbulb at a junebug convention, we decided to pass on that area and look for a new spot.

We didn't know where we were heading and we were off to find a place in the wide wild forest.

In God's provision, it happened to be the night of a Blue Moon.  We sure would have had it rough without those moonbeams!

 I know this is not the caliber of picture normally found here, but I wanted to give just a sense of of the wonder we felt when we saw this full, bright moon pop up right between those mountains out of nowhere!

I know this is not the caliber of picture normally found here, but I wanted to give just a sense of of the wonder we felt when we saw this full, bright moon pop up right between those mountains out of nowhere!

To make our long night's story shorter, I'll just say we drove around for a couple hours. At every potential spot, we spotted homes or private businesses. Is this normal in a National Forest? We were expecting much more deserted land. We'll do a bit more homework before we plan that again.

We finally decided to "give up" our idea of roughing it in the forest and headed for a state park campground we discovered located within the forest. We made our way there and found out that it, too, was full. When it rains, it pours.

At this point we needed to stop and rest.  We pulled into a thankfully large and empty parking lot of the state park, turned around to be ready to head out as soon as possible, and settled down to a dinner of Honey Nut Cheerios with banana slices before grabbing a few restless hours of sleep.

 

We pulled out very early in the morning before anyone would have to tell us to leave. We put a good number of miles between us and our less-than-ideal camping spot before turning into the quintessential, small town diner for a large breakfast. We got reset, and headed out ready to tackle the new day's adventures.

 My eggs florentine with breakfast potatoes were scrumptious!

My eggs florentine with breakfast potatoes were scrumptious!

 

You win some. You lose some.  You gain experience either way.