we spent the second last week of august in bar harbor, maine. it was everything we had heard about – beautiful, pristine landscape with its own eco-systems, lots of outdoorsy activities, acadia national park’s easy accessibility and a lovely downtown area replete with new england charm. having lived in connecticut for seven years (my first taste of america) i fall for new england easily, every single time. it’s hard to describe. it’s the opposite of nouveau riche. not tacky or too self-consciously granola. simple elegance and old buildings, breathtaking autumns and brilliant gastronomy. it’s culture in pastoral garb.
i took this picture at 2 cats (an outstanding place for breakfast in bar harbor) – it epitomizes the magic of new england…
since i was committed to making this a truly active vacation, the first thing i did after we got to the bar harbor motel (where we were staying along with our friends), was to go for a brisk walk. there was a small pathway from the motel that opened onto a quiet carriage road. i felt refreshed. we ate that night at a restaurant right on the pier. obviously i went for the lobster roll. we decided to walk back to the motel instead of taking a shuttle – this is free, clean, reliable transportation bar harbor style. the following day was whale watching day on a 140 feet long catamaran – okay, so boat rides are never painless for me (i spend quite a lot of the time just praying not to pass out or throw up), but i did get to see some whales – 3 of them up close and personal. humpbacks are sleek and quick and can be identified by the unique patterns of black and white on the underside of their tails. we met sonogram and his mother P.D. we also saw some dolphins.
after whale watching we took it easy. dinner consisted of picking up some pizza from anthony’s – service was too slow and the kids didn’t enjoy the bland meatball. over the next one week, we went to cadillac summit and sand beach in acadia park, hiked along beautiful jordan pond and went kayaking in the ocean. we savored an expansive sunset from blue hills overlook and took a million pictures. there was also a biking trip in the rain and lots of shopping downtown. on the way back we stopped over at a small art store and bought dangly silver earrings made by terry strickland and “black-eyed susan” prints by charlotte bridges.
we spent a night in boston and took the kids to our old haunts – quincy market and the boston harbor. some things had changed dramatically. the highway and parking lots have disappeared underground (thanks to the big dig – which took $15 billion and a dozen years to complete) so after years and years of going to boston, we still needed a little bit of help in getting oriented.