7.31.10 Into U.S. and to Acadia NP

Acadia National Park Travel Blog

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7.31.10 Into U.S. and to Acadia NP

Super beautiful and busy day today!

Here’s a rundown:

Left peaceful Sussex, NB Walmart and drove west on Trans-Canada (not busy at all this Sat. morning)

Saint John, NB – we parallel parked right in front of the old stone church at Wellington and Carleton, just off the highway.  Parking was free on weekends (metered weekdays) and nobody was parked along that street.  In fact, only one car had joined us by the time we left around noon.  Lots of parking there, but none seen in the old town as we walked.  Highly recommend that location for an easy jaunt around old town.

LOVED Saint John!  It is an architecturally beautiful city with many buildings from the late-1800’s after the Great Fire of 1877 destroyed most of the city.

We walked in the old market, along the huge water harbor that enabled the building of big ships for Europe and other places (and the legendary Marco Polo), into an old General Store set up as an 1880’s museum, by the volleyball sand-pit near the harbor surrounded by alfresco cafes, and enjoyed the brilliant sunshine.  We thought Saint John was delightful!

Drove about an hour onward to the Calais/U.S. border and after just one car in front of us, crossed the border.  The Custom’s guy came aboard Ciao and opened a few overhead cabinets in the back.  Gladly, nothing thwacked him on the head and after a short pleasant chat, we were back in the good USA.  I’m always relieved after border-crossings. 

A long, scenic drive was ahead of us on Hwy 1, the Coastal Route, on which we saw precious little coast!  You have to drive about 10 miles south at each little finger cove to go down to see the water.  It was a very scenic, beautiful drive though.

We did, also, get to stop at roadside stands for fresh Maine blueberries, garden fresh lettuce, homemade raspberry jam and blueberry jam, etc.  One nice lady asked if we wanted to try Zuchini Relish and then went back into her house to get a jar for us as she had just finished making it.  She refused payment and insisted it was a gift- wasn’t that nice?!

Blueberry Land is also along Hwy 1 and ought to be a destination on every GPS!  They had perfect Blueberry Pie still warm out of the oven, blueberry Green Mountain coffee, etc.  In fact, the whole building was shaped and painted like a blueberry!

What else… we went through many small towns and FINALLY (it was too much driving for one day), we got onto Hwy 3 down to Acadia National Park.

Stopped at the Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Info Center which turned out to be a great strategic move!  She had all the scoop on which campgrounds still had space on this Saturday night.  Only 2 campgrounds did and one had sites on the water for $99.  We got full hookups for $30 (their special rate and we got the last one).  We’re at the Narrows RV Campground, which is just nice as can be, pool, etc. and chock full of enormous rigs.  Apparently you can get a whole season here for $1500, which seems like a pretty good deal for this area.

It is a hopping place!  And the road is not really designed for all the visitors.  It is a 2-lane, country curving road with no center turn lane and no chance of passing.  Turning left onto Hwy 3 is a risky proposition with few breaks in traffic.  Lots of people out enjoying this last July Saturday of perfect weather!

So after we got our campsite, and had eaten our seafood chowder, crab roll, and hot dogs from a local joint, and luxuriated in calling Ned on our U.S. cell phone, we headed back out to see Acadia.

Acadia National Park is lovely!  The park road circles clockwise on a loop.  You can go counter-clockwise for a short distance.  There are 4 low bridges.  I think 11’8” was the lowest, which we fit under fine.  In fact, I think that in the center, it’s actually a few feet higher than that.  We were fortunate because the Visitor’s Center woman who helped us with our campsite, also had the Acadia NP info for us. 

Having that Acadia NP folding map is critical because the road signs in the park are confusing.

Also, the National Park’s Visitor’s Center was closed this high-season summer evening at 6pm.  Admittedly, I’m accustomed to Canada where they stay open to meet the traveler’s needs during high season.  Shoot, the Port Aux Basque, NFL Visitor’s Info folks are there at midnight to help ferry passengers!  Cultural shock indeed.  Folks in the full parking lot at Acadia could have benefited from extended hours at that Visitor’s Center.

There are two must-sees on the Acadia National Park loop:

  1. Cadillac Hill – drive up to 1500 feet elevation to get almost a 360 degree view from one spot.  You can see all around if you walk to various vantage points.  Absolutely incredibly stunning and Ciao didn’t even break a sweat on the climb.
  1. Thunder Hole- a sea hole that makes all sorts of noises as waves crash into the mostly under-rock cave.  You can stand on the rocks and feel it on a powerful wave, although we were not there at the best time (mid-tide as the tide is incoming).

The remainder of the loop (20 miles maybe?) has some lovely lookoffs, beautiful roads lined by trees of every shade of green, and we saw a deer too.  Partway on the loop is a drive-up Ranger’s booth where you can get your pass ($20 family pass, good for one week).

Then we returned to our campsite, almost making it by the time the GPS turned to night-vision, my self-imposed time limit for being in a campsite.  A productive day indeed!

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Acadia National Park
photo by: shadowflower