|Bar Harbor, ME
I entered Maine and knew I had reached the coast when the sudden scent of saltwater stabbed my nostrils. I managed to fight the crowded streets of pedestrians and found my way to the Bar Harbor Hostel. My first experience staying at a hostel - exciting! I was greeted by a cool guy who had me read the rules of the house and fill out a couple forms, and before I could even grab my things from my car, I met a guy who was on his way to snap some photos of the sand bar between town and Bar Island. The sand bar is only accessible/viewable during low tide. I got acquainted with Jonathan as we snapped some photos of the sand bar and the awesome sunset, then explored town and grabbed some yummy local clam chowder. REAL New England Clam Chowder, yay!
Thursday, August 12, 2010
This morning Jonathan chatted about last night. We could hear a guy opening/closing the bedroom door all night long, this apart from my bunk partner who was yammering in his sleep, lol. Before we parted ways, Jonathan gave me 3 day pass to Acadia National Park, saving me the $20 vehicle permit! Sweet!
Acadia National Park was fantastic. I started the day with some much needed R&R, soaking up sun at Sand Beach, then I drove the 27-mile Park Loop Road, which offers outstanding views of the park's ocean shoreline, coastal forests, and mountain silhouettes; getting out for points of interests such as Thunder Hole and best of all - Cadillac Mountain. At 1,530 feet, Cadillac Mountain is not only the tallest mountain in the park, but also the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States. Rising high above the town of Bar Harbor, Cadillac Mountain offers magnificent views of the Porcupine Islands and Frenchman Bay.
I stayed the night tenting in Susan's back yard in Camden, another couch-surfing host. And what a perfect night for tenting - I got to watch the Perseid meteor shower! With one shooting star after another, smiling, I rested my head and caught some zzzs.
Friday, August 13, 2010
After getting cleaned up, drying my tarp on Susan's clothesline, and playing with Susan's boxer dog Ramsey, I explored the small village of Camden, then I headed to the nearby village of Rockland, what I would consider Camden's "Big Brother."
Shipbuilding, lime processing, granite quarrying, and commercial fishing and lobstering layed the foundation for Rockland’s industrial past, and still continues as a necessity for today's year-long residents. The town was bustling when I arrived, with tourists and locals alike, mainly due to one of the many popular summer festivals it was holding. My Rockland exploration included walking the 4,300 foot breakwater to the beautiful old lighthouse, followed by strolling historic Main Street, with its many shops eateries, and art galleries, and it was at Thorndike Creamery where I had the best pizza I've ever tasted (flavor-wise), along with one of their yummy Maine Blueberry shakes. Then I walked around Rockland's working harbor, where I saw fishing boats being worked on, and chatted with a retired local worker, who told me that next time I have more time in Rockland I should check in with "Captain Jack" who for $25 will take me out lobstering with him!
Next I arrived at Jeff & Vanessa's, with Vanessa being a Minnesotan herself, she had insisted I stay with them for a night! They were great. Jeff offered me a beer as Vanessa grabbed the clean sheets from the dryer for the comfy guest bed I'd use. They showed me around their home, then we enjoyed great seafood and conversation at Waterworks, a local bar and restaurant they favored. Vanessa and I shared a gigantic platter of fried scallops, clams, fish, and more, and I tried a local Blueberry beer, with real whole Main blueberries! After dinner we all went back to their place where we had even more laughs watching one of my all time favorite movies, "Waiting for Guffman," and I introduced them to the hilarious "Double Rainbow" youtube video and song that Adam in New York had shown me. My way of paying it forward, lol. It was an awesome night with awesome people!
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Before I left my new-found friends, they gave me a home-cooked breakfast (the first on my trip-so good!) and Vanessa told me I should give her a call before I visit Alaska, since she has family there and friends that run a dog-sledding venture she worked with!
My last stop in Maine was Red's Eats, where after waiting in line for over an hour, I tried their legendary Lobster Roll - a hoagie filled with nearly TWO pounds of lobster, drizzled with butter and mayo - HEAVEN! A word of advice though - I could've followed Vanessa & Jeff's friends' advice advice and saved myself the hour wait and went right across the street to get an equally delicious lobster roll. But I, however stubborn, wanted to see what all the fuss was about =)
After lobster, I went to beautiful Ogunquit Beach for a little R&R.