Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mt. Desert Island

For the last week, Allan and I have been exploring the second most popular national park in the U.S. and it certainly has one thing in common with the most popular park (which is Yosemite... in case you didn't know), namely numbers of people. There are certainly some places on the island that are not as popular, such as most of the western side, but for the most part, there were bumper to bumper traffic jams (even with the bus shuttle system running every half hour), people standing in long, long lines for ice cream in Bar Harbor, or bicyclists from every bicycle club in America. They were especially numerous on the park loop road and there were hundreds, if not thousands, of bicycles at Jordan Pond where all of the carriage roads seem to converge and the hot popovers are served for Tea. This was the high season for the island and every pathway was an endless stream of people from just about any country you could name and probably a few that you couldn't name. Aunties from India teetering along the rocky cliffs after the younger members of the family, French youths all with the physiques of bagettes, elderly women with makeshift walking sticks made of branches, children fast asleep in their strollers, dogs walking doggedly along behind their masters; all were there. We were there too and spent the first day exploring Bar Harbor, which is mostly restaurants and gift stores, but charming.... very charming with pots of flowers everywhere and of course the harbor full of boats. We had lunch at the Bar Harbor Inn and although the food was good, I think that they thought we should be on a diet because there was not much of it. On one of the days we had to drive back into Ellsworth to take care of some errands and there we had a proper lunch at Finn's Irish Pub (left). I had shepherds pie and Allan had corned beef and cabbage. Both were delicious and the helpings were so large that we had leftovers to take home. As it turned out, right across the street from Finn's was a cafe where we had breakfast a couple of times as Allan really like the Corned Beef Hash and I was sold on the platesized Blueberry Pancakes which had little crispy edges and were filled with blueberries in the middle, with plenty of butter and Maine maple syrup. On our last day on the island, we took a cruise on the Sea Princess with a National Park Ranger who gave a nature talk while we were crossing over to Isleford on Little Cranberry Island and then up Somes Sound and back. We were able to see seals, bald eagles, osprey, and several kinds of ducks. But the best part of the boat ride for us, was getting photos of the harbors, the boats, and the scenery along the shore. Altogether between the two of us, we took over 600 photos while we were here for the week. Not all of those came from the boat ride, we got many photos from SW Harbor and also NE Harbor. Unfortunately we had to take many of the photos in the fog or drizzly rain since we were only here for one week and we only had one day of sunshine during our visit. But now that we have had a lesson from Michael on creating fog, we should be OK. One of the final places we had to visit before we left the island was the Atlantic Brewery. I had promised our friends Mike and Rose that I would bring them some Maine brews, so we stopped by and had some Mainely Maine Barbeque and picked up a sample of Maine beers to bring back to Arizona. Hopefully it won't get too hot on our trip home, it would be a shame if we needed a cold one before we got them to their intended recipients.

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