August 2, 2007
I think we’ll be returning to Maine.
We packed the car, kissed our cats goodbye & left at around 10 AM and after a hot 5-1/2 hour ride in a non air-conditioned car, we rolled into Ogunquit, which apparently means “beautiful place by the sea” in Algonquian.
We got to the Puffin Inn around 2:30 PM - We like B&Bs particularly because you’re always staying in some cool old house (we like old houses) & you meet other travelers & the innkeepers usually give you the inside scoop on your destination. We quickly showered & headed out to Marginal Way (which is a seaside walk in Ogunquit). Ogunquit is moneyed so it’s impeccably neat, pretty, beautifully landscaped, & safe. We ambled along Marginal Way (which is the principal reason why I wanted to visit this “beautiful place by the sea”) and it was all that I hoped it would be. We followed the footpath past some seaside inns & made our way out to the sea. We found a nice alcove & the seawater crept over my feet, which was very refreshing. We ran into a couple from New Hampshire that was kind enough to take our photo.
The seashore is very rocky and the sand is extremely soft & fine. There are no shells in it.
Further along The Way, there was a rocky outcropping jutting out into the sea. We made our way out to the end. It got increasingly more difficult as the rocks were wetter & slipperier as we got closer to the end. Plus, there were snails everywhere & I didn’t want to step on anyone. I am SO clumsy that I was glad to have made it out and back without falling on the rocks! It was beautiful when we were out there. The sun was beginning her descent at about 5PM so the it cast a warm light play on the rocks.
We continued on Marginal Way, getting sweatier as the walk went on. It was a warm sunny day in Maine. This worked out for us, because it made the water that much more refreshing (and we were scouting out swimming areas for the next day). After emerging from the other side of the walk, we decided to eat at an outdoor burrito place (Bandito’s Burritos). It seemed like we were under dressed for some of the upscale restaurants in town. On the one hand, things are expensive. On the other, everything is beautiful & it’s safe - we had no problem leaving our belongings unattended on the beach, for example. After dinner, we had ice cream while wandering around the pretty little town. I saw an awesome soap store and I couldn’t pass it up, so we popped in & I made a few small purchases (same with another shop, where a bought a few little candles & some cat nip, naturally)
The tide here was interesting. It’s very dramatically high & low tide. You can almost watch it come in & out. During the morning, the beach is 1/3 mile out to the ocean. It’s really shallow also. As the tide comes in, everyone squeezes as the beach gets smaller. In the evening, it’s low tide again and the beach is palatial. At around 8PM we went to the beach & waded around in the warm shallow water after having walked out about 1/3 mile onto the beach. It was so peaceful.
My favorite time to be on the beach is at dusk, but this was pretty cool also. Everything in this town is walkable. We walked back to the inn & settled in for the night.
August 3, 2007
In the morning, we had waffles and homemade blueberry sauce that Mark (one of the innkeepers) prepared. We chatted with a couple from CT for a bit, checked out of the inn, loaded the car, & then headed back out to the ocean. The cool water was glistening in the sun & little waves rolled in over my feet.
It was early morning, so the beach was still large. After a short stay there, we decided to head over to the rocky alcoves we admired the day before. We were able to walk through a tidal stream at low tide (about thigh high) to get there. In a few hours it would be impassable. We spent hours in the alcove cooling off & enjoying the ocean.
After a while we walked down Marginal Way again to Perkins Cove to grab some lunch at Barnacle Billy’s Lobster Pound before returning to the ocean to cool off again. It was a HOT day. We made our way to a public restroom where we freshened up & made our way north to Freeport.
At this point, I realized I hadn’t packed enough hot weather clothes & we needed to do a little laundry. We got to Freeport in the early evening & checked into the Village Inn. It is an old Victorian house, with a motel-style setup attached. An old couple runs the place & they haven’t updated anything in 20 years. It was a little tacky, but it was clean, neat, & a great value at 90 bucks which included a full breakfast. We’d definitely stay again. We were planning on meeting my parents there in Freeport & they weren’t expected for another hour, so we checked in, took showers, & headed down the street with a bagful of laundry. It was very convenient to do!
As we returned from one of the trips to the laundromat, we ran into my folks in the parking lot. We decided to go to Portland for dinner at a seafood place on the harbor. Then we walked around the city a bit. There was a cool store called Waterlilly & the owner & her boyfriend travel to Asia for 3-4 months every year to gather things for the shop & have a bit of an adventure! It was fun talking to her. It was THE coolest shop! Portland is a cool city. It’s small but has arts & culture, and it’s clean, safe & seems like it is in the middle of nowhere!
We looked at some beautiful old houses & then all returned to Freeport for some Ben and Jerry’s.
August 4, 2007: After a hearty breakfast at the Inn, we ambled around Freeport a bit, hitting a bead store my mom wanted to check out and then off to the Desert of Maine, which is a Ripley’s Believe it or Not oddity. A farmer overcultivated his farm, so now it’s sandy due to the soil erosion.
After the Desert of Maine, we picked up lunch from a neat deli in Portland, packed bags & headed out to Two Lights State Park, in nearby Cape Elizabeth.
From Maine’s Bureau of Park’s website “Standing high above the rocky coast and rolling surf, visitors have sweeping views of Casco Bay and the open Atlantic. Picnic tables situated on the hills facing the ocean afford visitors spectacular views of the ocean ..... Strollers and hikers can enjoy the refreshing sea breezes along shoreline trails ….”
After lunch overlooking the ocean, my mom settled in with a book & my dad filmed some stuff & Steve & I wandered off. We checked out an old WW2 lookout,
walked by some people making (and selling) tie dyed shirts,
hiked around and picked raspberries (Steve picked QUITE a few!) & then ended up on the rocks looking at the ocean hours later.
We walked out by some other people marveling at the waves slamming into the rocks and then cringing as the cold water strode over everyone’s chilly feet.
At one point, we observed the water pulling rocks back into the ocean. It was a cacophony of sound from the pebbles rolling over top of one another as the waves pulled them out.
For awhile I sat by myself looking into the ocean.
After the park, we all grabbed a bite to eat at a Chinese buffet (The China Rose) & went to see "The Bourne Ultimatum" (in I believe, Brunswick – the town where Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”). Anyway, we love the Bourne series. I think it was opening weekend, because it was awfully full in that theater.
August 5, 2007
We had breakfast at the Inn, checked out, said goodbye to my folks & went our separate ways. We had a 3-1/2 hour drive to Bar Harbor. We got there around 2. It was a little cooler that day, so we weren’t sweltering in the car. We took the longer coastal road, because we weren’t in a hurry & wanted to see all the villages. We stopped off in Owl’s Head. The Lonely Planet book resting on my lap made no mention of it, but the name intrigued me enough to make the detour. So there was a little lighthouse there. We went up to it....
Our next stop would be Acadia National Park on Mt Desert Island (pronounced "day-sehr" by the locals) One thing we noted about Acadia is that most of the visitors are people who have been going there for the last 15 years or 20 years. We can see why now.
As we got closer to Mount Desert Island (where both Bar Harbor and the park lie), in Searsport, we approached this tremendous suspension bridge. Apparently it’s the largest or longest one in the world. We drove into Bar Harbor & made our way to the Black Friar Inn. This was hands-down the coolest house I had ever been in. Apparently the previous owner outfitted it with funky antiques & lots of woodwork from old mansions and stuff. There were so many interesting elements to this house, from the windows in the ceilings to the funky doors & handles. There was a neat feeling there too. I wondered if it was haunted? We were in the upstairs (3rd floor, Room 6).
We settled in and made our way to nearby Acadia National Park. We did the Shoreline Path out to Otter Cliffs. We stopped along the way to Thunder Hole, which evidently mimics the sound of thunder under certain conditions. We enjoyed the journey down the shoreline and the view from the cliffs.
We watched the sun set at the top of Cadillac Mountain (at the Blue Hill pull off). We set up our lawn chairs and had some snacks with us. More people began to assemble. Apparently every Sunday at 1/2 hour before sunset, there is a church service. There were some scattered other people. One family brought a whole pizza with them. One couple set up a card table & had Chinese food! People clapped when the sun went down and after awhile it got chilly.
We headed back into Bar Harbor. Everything there was within walking distance. We grabbed some pizza (but it’s not like pizza here) & walked around the town. It is a pretty town that revolves almost entirely around Acadia National Park & fishing/boating.
August 6, 2007: In the morning, we asked Perry, one of the innkeepers, if he could suggest any lesser-known trails. We went with his suggestion to go to Penobscot mountain via the Spring Trail to the Penobscot Trail and later on to Sargent Pond and Sargent mountain before heading through the amphitheater, Atiscou trail, and then the carriage road back to Spring Trail to the Jordan Pond House.
After breakfast we walked to Hanneford (for non-New Englanders, it is a supermarket chain), got water & apples & sandwiches to put in our backpacks for lunch.
From Trails.com "At 0.5 mile from the trailhead, cross a carriage road at the West Branch Bridge, one of the unique stone spans that dot the Acadia landscape. Turn left and begin the climb up Penobscot. Switchbacks take you along a wooden split rail fence. You may need to scramble up on your hands and knees at one tight spot. "
From Yahoo Travel "...This trail offers views of many park features including Eagle Lake, Cranberry Isles, Seal Harbor, Frenchman's Bay and nine different mountains. At the beginning of the hike just after Jordan Pond, visitors will view a beautiful stone arch bridge crossing the largest and fastest stream in Mount Desert, Jordan Stream. Take the carriage road a few hundred feet to a foot bridge; you see trail signs. The trail enters a pine forest while paralleling bubbling brooks. The trail gradually ascends and you'll cross the carriage road. Continue your ascent following the blue-blazed rocks. Scenic vistas begin appearing as you ascend along a number of switchbacks. Farther down on the trail, the sites include South Bubble, North Bubble, the Atlantic Ocean studded with numerous islands. The trail opens onto a ridge with extraordinary views of Pemetic Mountain, Day Mountain and Jordan Pond to the east; Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound (only fjord in eastern US) to the south; shifting slightly westward, you'll see Greening Island and Cranberry Islands. Climbing affords more views including Northeast Harbor in the foreground to the Park Loop Road. When you reach the large cairn, look for Sargent Mountain Pond which will be southwest of Eagle Lake. "
Here were are in front of Jordan Pond on our way to Penobscot (so named after the Native American tribe that originally lived there)
Here's just a photo of Steve on our way up. Every time we thought we were at the top, we'd see another little peak.
The weather was perfect. There was a cool breeze in the air, especially at the top. So it was refreshing to cool off every time the breeze blew.
I wasn't sure if I could do Sargent too, but I wanted to at least try. And I did make it to Sargent! So, here we are at Sargent. There were some really nice people at the top who offered to take our photo.
We took our time going back. We pulled off the trail to have lunch with a view and rest our feet. After the amphitheater, we climbed up to some carriage roads, to give our legs and feet a break. So we walked the carriage roads & it was overcast & felt like rain was coming in. It was nice walking through the woods. We spotted Spring Trail & took that back to the end of the hike.
We were pretty tired & as we were leaving the park, it began to rain. We returned to the Black Friar, cleaned up, chatted with some other travelers at the inn about where to have dinner.
We finally headed into Bar Harbor huddled under an umbrella & had a nice dinner at the Parkside. There is also a shore walk in town and it had stopped raining, so we walked along the shore/harbor in the mist and emerged on a quiet little side street as it was getting dark. We were back in town and we stopped into a "Life is Good" store before heading back to the Inn.
August 7, 2007: Well, this was a long day of driving from Bar Harbor back home. We had a delicious breakfast at the Inn & headed out at about 8:44 AM and we made it home around 6:15 PM. It was a long drive, but we really enjoyed Maine. I liked the laid back attitude. I also liked the progressive political spirit along the Maine coast. It was very homey there, too. We’ll try to return to Ogunquit in the Fall, & we’ll surely be returning to Acadia. There is so much to do in Maine and we just scratched the surface!
September 27-30, 2007: We returned to Ogunquit during the last weekend of September. We hope for a longer trip in the summer again, but here are our pictures from our weekend in Ogunquit.
This time, we decided to stay at The Dunes in Ogunquit. It was a ncie little getaway and my parents met us there.