America The Beautiful
Written by Jamie
The distance between Long Island and our first national park destination, Acadia National Park, was a little further than we like to drive in a day, so we decided to make an overnight stop in Salisbury, MA. We unhitched for the night at Beach Rose RV Park, caught up on some work and got dinner at a local restaurant called The Hungry Traveler that was recommended to us by the park host. It was an enjoyable seafood dinner but nothing to write home about. (This doesn’t count.)
After our pit stop in Salisbury we continued on to Trenton, ME, just over the bridge from the beautiful Mount Desert Island. Rain fell for most of the drive and it was cold and damp when we pulled into the Narrows Too RV Park. Since it was pre-season, the park was basically empty and the site was level and clear (which made for quick setup), but we soon discovered two serious issues with Bob. First, the door for the electrical cord opened down instead of up. This meant that we could not stop the rain from coming in when we ran the AC power cord outside. Duck Tape came to our rescue for a temporary fix – once the power cord was in place, we shut the door and secured it with enough duct tape to keep the Titanic from sinking. The second issue was a mysteriously large amount of water on the floor of the trailer. We weren’t sure where the water was coming from (we find out later, but that’s for the next post); for now, we thought it was from a small hose access door that came open during the drive. We suspected that it was also caused from holes in our wheel well or the cap to the water tank being loose. Not too concerned, we cleaned up the the mess and decided to head to a local Mexican place in Bar Harbor to celebrate Cinco De Mayo!
Jalapenos is 1 of the maybe 3 mexican restaurants in Bar Harbor. We called ahead to make sure they were open for the season, and when we arrived, it was clear they were definitely open and alive – nearly everyone there were locals, and we could tell we were in for a fun night! We bellied up to the bar and ordered a pitcher of Margaritas, and after striking up a conversation with our neighbor Emily (a Bar Harbor native for most of her life), a pitcher turned into 2 pitchers…and so on…until the margaritas ran dry 🙂
Let’s just say getting up the next morning was difficult. Once we finally got our heads to stop spinning, we drove back to Bar Harbor and nursed our hangovers with an amazing brunch at 2 Cats Inn & Cafe. The cloudy morning cleared up into a beautiful sunny afternoon as we walked around downtown Bar Harbor. We decided to take advantage of the good weather and explore Acadia!
Acadia National Park was the first park east of the Mississippi River to be designated a National Park. It became what it is today largely in part by private citizens’ land donations and efforts to protect this beautiful coastline from over-development. Due to these efforts, it now encompasses approximately 47,748 acres. While the park extends over a few coastal areas, a majority of it is located on Mount Desert Island, which is where we were able to explore. Still a little woozy from the night before, we opted to drive around the island rather than hike. We started our exploration at the park visitor center, where we officially became America The Beautiful passholders, which covers both of our entrance fees to all national parks and monuments for one year at the low upfront cost of $80!
Just outside the visitor center is the entrance to Park Loop Drive, a gorgeous 27-mile scenic road that circumnavigates the Mount Desert Island portion of the park and offers amazing vistas of the rugged shoreline, coastal forests, and mountains.
We took our time along the drive, stopping along the way to get out and explore the beautiful scenery that surrounded us. When we got to Jordan Pond, we hoped to grab a tea or the like at the historic Jordan Pond House, but sadly it wasn’t open for the season yet. We still had some fun walking around the area and grabbing photos of the Bubble Mountains across the pond.
We continued on the route and wound our way up to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on Mount Desert Island and the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard. Cadillac Mountain offered some amazing views and put into perspective just how unique and gorgeous this part of the American coastline really is! We ended our day of exploring back in Bar Harbor with a classic New England dinner at the Thirsty Whale – a cup of “chowdah” and a “lobstah roll”.
Something unique about Acadia is that, for a portion of the year, Cadillac Mountain is the first place in the United States to see the sunrise. The sun was scheduled to rise around 5:15 am the next morning, so we woke ourselves up at 4:45 and wound our way back up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. When we reached the top, we were definitely not alone, so we positioned ourselves among the other sunrise-ers for some good photos. There were some hanging clouds, but nothing on the horizon to obstruct the sunrise…when all of a sudden, we and the whole top of Cadillac Mountain were engulfed in a dense fog. It wasn’t exactly the sunrise photos I was hoping for, but it was still a beautiful experience. As we descended back down the mountain, we broke down below the fog and were able to capture some more of the sunrise.
Unfortunately our last day in Acadia was very stormy, so we didn’t get to hike much, but we did use the opportunity to catch up on work over good coffee and a delicious breakfast at The Trailhead Cafe. We even reconnected with our local friend Emily that evening to catch the Kentucky Derby at The Dog & Pony, followed by some amazing bluegrass and cocktails at her sister’s restaurant, Side Street Cafe. We were really blown away by the charm and beauty of Bar Harbor. It reminded us a lot of a smaller version of Asheville (one of our NC faves) with a nautical/New England twist. So many great local food options, and you can’t beat the beauty of the mountains meeting the sea. All the locals that we met confirmed that early May was the PERFECT time to visit, seeing as most business were opening up, but the summer crowd wasn’t there yet. Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park are definitely on our “must re-visit” list now!
Trae and Jamie