Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bar Harbor

Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island (MDI) which is home to the Acadia National Park encompassing lots of trees, countless lakes and ponds and a fjord is a very popular Maine vacation spot and as we scheduled being there for the Labor Day weekend we booked ahead. Heading north and east on Hwy’s 1 & 3 was a pleasant scenic drive which took us through the town of Belfast. We were fascinated by the very noticeable changes once across the bridge onto the island, it truly is a different world, no megastores, malls etc.; small wonder then that the main town was once known as Eden. Since arriving in the eastern US I have discovered why so many people ride around on their little John Deere tractors cutting their grass - if they don’t - trees will pop up as trees seem to grow like weeds here, just love the rich soil. The town and harbor of Bar Harbor are quaint and inviting with many tourist-oriented shops and restaurants; both are kept busy by the visiting cruise ships (during the season on Wednesdays and Sundays) which disgorge close to 4,000 passengers each week. On the day we visited there were 2 cruise ships in, one docked and the other so large they had to use tenders to bring the passengers ashore.

MDI has an excellent FREE (LL Bean are big sponsors) transport system which we utilized for the 4 days we were on the island, just using the car once to go grocery shopping. There are 5 bus routes four of which travel to different scenic attractions and points of interest, the 5th collects passengers at the various RV Parks. Our park was bayside on a pebble beach which afforded us wonderful views of the sunset. A local enterprising fisherman visited our park daily between 5 and 7 pm selling lobsters while another entrepreneur drove around the park tinkling a bell to announce that he had pies for sale.  Much to my chagrin we did not get to hike MDI as my knee was still out of action and I was still putting both feet on each step I climbed.
Wednesday we headed back to Eileen’s and Carl’s in monsoon like rain for our pre-arranged and scheduled visit; our shelter from the hurricane was an unscheduled stop that was much fun and greatly appreciated. On Thursday Eileen, her friend Jean and I went shopping and treated me to a tour of the close by lakes and towns while Tom and Carl installed a new door for Jeremy. Later on we emptied our refrigerator into Eileen’s as on Friday we were traveling to Boston on the first leg of our 6 week UK, Israel, and Ireland trip.
Friday afternoon Carl & Eileen dropped us off at August Airport in sunny, blue-sky weather for our Cape Air Cessna flight to Boston; traveling at about 5,000 feet we had a bird’s eye view of the Maine and Massachusetts shoreline, ending with a thrilling landing over downtown Boston. We stayed at the Hyatt Harborside that night as our transatlantic flight was early on Saturday morning. During dinner and a walk along the harbor side afterwards we enjoyed a lovely sunset.

Saturday morning we were up before the dawn to witness an amazing sunrise and a cruise ship entering Boston harbor - I was very tempted to call the Barth’s as they think we’re sleepy heads – well…we are definitely not early morning people. The only downside to this trip was that I hardly slept a wink Friday night, my nose was running and swollen and it took me 2 hours to realize that I was having an allergic reaction the feather pillows.
We are posting this from Jennifer’s.

Perhaps we’ll post something from here, Israel or Ireland…we’ll see, no promises.
Definitely more in late October! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Shelburne Museum and Ferry

1. Dining Room of the Ticonderoga Paddle Boat
2. The Grand Staircase on the Ticonderoga...remind anyone of Titanic?
3. Adele on Steam Train
4. Tom reliving his childhood
5. Adele reliving hers
6. RV on the ferry crossing Lake Champlain

Monday, September 5, 2011

Sailing the Maine Coast

1 Camden
2 Me & Pirate of Appledor
3 Tom and Carl
4 Windjammer in full sail
5 Eileen and JC
6 Windjammer fleet in Camden Harbor
7 Belfast, Maine
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"Irene" at Eileen's

In concluding our last Blog we mentioned that Eileen invited us to shelter in her home in Maine and that we did not hesitate to accept her invitation, so on the Friday we drove the 220 Miles to Winthrop and safety. “Irene” did, in fact pass right through the area of New Hampshire where we had been. We arrived in time to help Carl take his boat out of the water and transport Jeremy’s 3 snow mobiles to Eileen and Carl’s home. Parked in front of the house was an RV, a Jeep, an SUV, “Bluebug”, Carl's boat on a trailer, 3 snow skis on a trailer and our tow dolly.  Eileen said she was thinking of putting a "For Sale" sign on everything.

Saturday Eileen served up lobster rolls for lunch; they were yummy and the beginning of a daily dose of lobster for both of us while in Maine. That afternoon Carl drove the 4 of us to Boothbay. On the way we stopped at an RV garage to see if we could have our RV serviced; while Tom was checking on the service Eileen and I decided we would check out the RVs parked around the forecourt. Looking at one I leaned over on the top step of a 5th wheeler to look in side window overbalanced and BANG…over I go, head-over-heels backwards. And…you guessed it – the door was unlocked! Embarrassed and annoyed I sat there in pain trying to assess the damage I had done to myself; I sprained my knee, hit my head on another RV and hurt the index finger on my right hand, all in all very little considering the height of the fall. As there was nothing broken we continued on to Boothbay, a beautiful small town on a hill overlooking the harbor on the coast of Maine, this part of New England reminded us of Cornwall in England. The day before Irene was due to arrive the weather was beautiful, the sky cloudless and blue and the shops were wonderful for us browsing tourists. After dinner my knee was quite swollen and sore so on the way home we bought an Ace knee support.
The rain associated with Irene started in the middle of Saturday night however the Roaring Lion of a hurricane we had anticipated ended up as a Kitty Cat around Winthrop. We had 24 hours of heavy rain, strong winds, with gusts that took down a few trees yet locally no great harm done, we lost electricity for 3 hours but others were not so fortunate. The worst of the storm was in upstate New York, the Adirondacks, Vermont and New Hampshire in particular. Irene ensured, however that I had a very restful day - much needed for my knee.

How many of you know that LA is in Maine? I’ve been there! It’s where we had the RV serviced.  LA for Lewiston/Auburn has a most magnificent river the Androscoggin running through it - at least it was truly awesome the day after the storm.  Auburn is on one side of the river and Lewiston is on the other. We had lunch (lobster rolls, of course) sitting on the balcony of a restaurant overlooking the river and waterfall on what was a hot summers day. Later that afternoon the noise of chain saws was in the air all around the lake near Eileen’s where the men were hard at work cleaning up after the hurricane, what a good excuse to use the chain saw. 

We stayed 4 nights with Carl and Eileen and then headed for the coast and Camden which Carl had discovered was holding its annual “Windjammer Festival” over the weekend. Windjammers are Schooner’s of anything from 46 to 132 feet in length, with 2 to 4 masts 65 to 80 feet tall; originally built as cargo carrying sailing ships, the Maine fleet has been lovingly refurbished by their owners and now offer passengers a great day or several days cruise under sail. Eileen and Carl joined us in Camden for 2 days and we were lucky enough to manage to secure reservation on the Schooner Appledore 11, a traditional 86-foot wooden windjammer (that has circumnavigated the world 4 times) and sailed into Camden port as part of the Windjammers parade. One unique feature of windjammers is that most of them do not have an engine; as you can imagine it’s fascinating to watch a tiny boat with an outboard engine push a 132 foot windjammer into dock.
Our next “port of call” is Bar Harbor on Mount Desert Island, Maine.