Trip Start Jun 03, 2008
Trip End Aug 12, 2008

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Where I stayed
Narrow's Too Campground

Flag of United States  , Maine
Wednesday, August 6, 2008

We packed a lunch, some snacks, beverages and packed the car with layers and changes of clothing and took off over the bridge to the Acadia National Park.   This is an island of mountains that is intertwined with fresh water lakes and numerous sounds and bays that provide for several harbors.  We were immediately greeted with the most quintessential house on Thomas Bay.  We drove down a small road to get a better look at the picturesque view and realized we were actually driving down someone's driveway.  We took a couple photos and continued on our journey. 

As we traveled down highway 102, we passed Echo Lake on our right.  A large fresh water lake with no one to be seen.  Rusty wanted to go fishing, but we didn't bring any of the gear.  So we continued on and found ourselves at the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor.  It was a place that time had forgotten.  This historic hotel is a classic summer refuge to visitors of Mount Desert Island and has been doing so since 1884.  Situated at the mouth of Somes Sound, it not only looks over the water, but it's over sized rocking chairs on the porch overlook the lush green lawns that provide 2 croquet courts which were in use by people who dressed their parts.   We walked pass the players intensely involved in their games of croquet, out to the dock, moorings and boat house.  WOW!  It is hard to imagine a more beautiful meeting of land and sea. We just walked along the dock and took it in, but the 65 degree weather felt brisk with the breeze coming in off the water.  So we went inside the hotel and back in time. 

Southwest Harbor is found on the western side of the island which is known as the "quiet side".  It definitely fit the bill as we drove through the area, there was little or no traffic or people to speak of.  This area was just pristine.  We drove past a house where they had set out several jars of blueberry jam and bread for the taking and a jar to make your donation in proportion to your takings all on the honor system.  The way life should be.

As we continued on to the village of Manset we saw several more "honor systems" with people selling fire wood.  Pay $2.50 for a large bundle, "Just leave it in the Kitty".  Manset is the home to several boat yards.  Boat building is the main industry in this area and it was very evident.  We saw several boats in the midst of the building process.  

Next we found ourselves in a tranquil area called the Seawall.  With the tide out (again) there were mounds and mounds of exposed rocks which we decided to climb on and view the Somes Sound and the Puffins.  The tranquility of it all dissipated when we noticed a fishing boat driving quiet erratically.  The boat would accelerate to an area turn the boat in circles and dart off to an area close by and circle around there just to do the same thing again.  He would do this over and over again.  We decided to call him Curtis.  Curtis the fisherman must have had one too many the last time he placed his lobster traps, because he was unable to find them again.  We drove off leaving Curtis churning the water in frustration.

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse rises from the rocky southernmost tip of the island and provided for views of the Atlantic Ocean and numerous islands in the distance.  Clarkism, "Kids, did you know that this lighthouse is the most photographed lighthouse on the East Coast?"  This small lighthouse, that was built in 1858 and is now fully automated, was a disappointment to the kids as it was not only unaccessible from the inside, but short.  It's height is obtained from the rocky ledge it sits upon.     

We were now in search of the Pretty Marsh one of the stops on the map.  We seemed to search and search. When we finally got there, we weren't even sure we were there, as we were in a wooded picnic area.  "This is it" Clark exclaimed.  It can't be.  With further investigation we decided that, that's it.  That's all it was. We didn't see a Pretty Marsh or any Marsh or water at all.  We decided we would eat lunch at a prettier place than Pretty Marsh.  So we headed over to the Eastern side of the island.  

Northeast Harbor is a low-key town located on the East side of Somes Sound and the Atlantic Ocean.  Here we found a quaint town with art galleries, old books stores and antiques.  We drove the main street through town towards the water's edge only to find numerous stately homes.   This is where the "Summercators" came to visit and bunked with local families during the summer months of the mid-century.  This, like Jekyll Island, was another summer playground for the socially prominent.  The Rockefellers, Morgans, Fords, Astors, Vanderbilts and Pulitzers all came a built their summer cottages of palatial dimensions.  This was quiet a place for a picnic lunch along the harbor.  Peanut butter and jelly never tasted so good as it did in Northeast Harbor.  We wondered around town for a bit before moving on towards our hike on the island's highest peak, Cadillac Mountain. 

We found ourselves hiking on an easy slope of never ending bald granite platforms of rock.  It was spectacular.  The views from Cadillac are beyond compare.  As we were walking to a better vantage point for pictures, we found ourselves surrounded by wild blueberry bushes.  Ripe blue berry bushes.  Once we had our fill, we continued to pick them and save them for a pie.  It was a good thing both of the kids had brown T-shirts on, as they became our make-shift bags for the 2 pints of berries.  Clark didn't seem to be contributing much to the cause...he was having a healthy afternoon full of antioxidants.

We continued through what they called "the loop" which included many stops, but the most memorable of them was Sandy Beach.  Yes, a beach were people spend the day swimming in 50 degree water.  We wanted to let the kids get in the water, but didn't want to miss the rest of the island.  So they took their shoes off and jumped in to their knees.  Shock and amazement came over their faces at the temperature of the water.  They were frolicking when a crowd stared forming around a crab.  We went to look at it briefly and came back to get their shoes to move on.  Audry's were there, but someone had taken Rusty's shoes.  We stood there in astonishment, wondering who would take old worn out crocks?  How does one finish the day out in cold weather without shoes?  Just then a man came up to us and asked us if these crocks were ours?  "Yes!"  He thought his son had left them behind, but they didn't seem to fit him, so he came back looking for people looking for confused and looking for their missing shoes.

It was time to go see Bar Harbor.  This was a quaint town with many shops and restaurants.  First stop was dinner, and yes, Ellen and Clark were in search of lobster again.  We enjoyed ourselves and the lobster at Eddies before we went looking about the town.  Clarkism, "Kids did you know that each female lobster can lay between 5,000 and 160,000 eggs.  Years ago lobsters were not considered good eating.  They were so plentiful that after a large storm they would often wash up on the shore and be collected to be used as fertilizer in island gardens.  Oh, and one last thing,  There are left and right handed lobsters, some have their crusher claw on the left and some on the right."  We then witnessed a fabulous sunset and enjoyed the culture and the people of the area.  The Griswolds were all getting tired and it was time to head back to the campground, but we decided we were going to stay another day.  We really enjoyed Maine and weren't ready to leave.
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