Bar Harbor Travel Blog› entry 3 of 4 › view all entries
Acadia National Park is on the most-eastern edge of North America, which means the sun hits it before any other part of the continent each day. Pretty cool. In fact, except for some eastern reaches of Brazil, the sun arrives here before anywhere else in the Western Hemisphere each day. Pretty cool indeed. Brian and I agree that seeing the sunrise before anyone else on the continent is worth waking up early for. So at 5:15am, the alarm sounds and we throw on some warm clothes (we're not in Texas anymore) and scurry into the car. We drive the dark roads into Acadia and follow directions to the spot. We immediately notice that no one else is here which is going to make this sunrise even cooler--now we won't have to share our "first" status with anyone else.
Since we're up, we decide to explore the park while everyone else is still sleeping. We visit Thunder Hole, an ocean cove that sounds like thunder crashing when the waves hit. Brian loved this place and took about a million photos of the waves, stopping only when I complained about all the bug bites I was getting.
We find a popular local place called Cafe This Way which is crowded, warm and smelling good--all signs of a good meal. We both order breakfast sandwiches and take in the locals while we wait. Two great things happen once the food is delivered: 1. I order a white chocolate hot cocoa which could be really good or really bad and lucky for me, it's super awesome--the best hot cocoa ever.
After breakfast, we go back to the hotel for showers and a morning nap (gotta love Saturdays). We wake up at 1pm and head back to Acadia. We've read in our travel guide that Acadia is full of "carriage roads," gravel paved trails suitable for horses and hikers. One of the Rockefellers built the roads 100 years ago to enjoy the Maine surroundings and bequethed the lands to the park when he died with the provision that cars never be allowed on them.
Unfortunately for us, we have no address to go to so it's me, not Magellan, who's directing the way. We follow a rough map in our not-very-good National Geographic guide and I know we're close, but I'm not sure where to turn. Brian rattles off the names of some streets that we pass by and asks whether or not to turn. I concentrate on the map and tell him to keep going. After a while, it's clear we've gone too far. "What do the driving directions in the guide say to do?" he asks. I read verbatum from the book. "Turn right on Park Road." "Park Road that I just asked whether to turn on?" "Um..yeah, that one." Brian grabs the camera from the mess of books and papers that surround me and photographs "evidence" of my poor navigational skills.
We finally arrive at the carriage roads and begin hiking to a supposed waterfall. I say supposed because we never reach said waterfall. The guidebook gave really lousy directions on where to go so we mostly just walk up a gravel path for 2 hours. It's pretty, but not spectacular (I grew up in Washington--the terrain is very familiar). It starts to rain so we go back to the car feeling like Acadia has been a bit of a bust overall (this park is usually ranked in the top ten of National Parks--how can it even been mentioned in the same breath as my beloved Yosemite??).
We clean up and head back to Bar Harbor for dinner. Brian has Citysearched good restaurants in town and we settle on a place called McKays (named after Dylan??) that is famous for its lobster mac-n-cheese.
After dinner, we do a final walk through the town--walking along the harbor and watching the cruise ships sail out for another day--then pass last night's ice cream parlor for another 2 scoop cup.
Hurricane Gustav is making his way up the coast and rain is predicted tonight. We get back to the hotel, pack our stuff and get to bed early. We're heading south first thing in the morning for a friend's noon wedding.