Bar Harbor, Maine

We recently took an amazing trip to Bar Harbor, ME. We spent the week exploring the village and Acadia National Park. This vacation was definitely worth the nine hour drive from the city to Maine, and we are excited for many more trips in our future.

We stayed at the Graycote Inn in the village of Bar Harbor. We spent the first few nights in the inn’s smallest room, and the last few nights in the private king-sized suite. The inn was walking distance to the village restaurants and streets, which we were able to explore throughout the trip. Roger and Pat also served amazing breakfast – Probably the best meals we had during our stay!

We drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain on our first full day in Bar Harbor. We stopped at the many scenic overlooks to enjoy the incredible views from the highest mountain in Acadia National Park. We then visited Thunder Hole, but unfortunately missed the famous explosions of water which only happen at specific times of day. Even though we didn’t hear the “thunder,” the view was beautiful and we had a nice time. Next, we stopped along Park Loop Road to explore the Otter Cliffs and Otter Point. We did not see any otters, but we did have fun walking along the rocks and enjoying the view!

After returning to Bar Harbor, we took an easy hike along the Shore Path around Bar Harbor Village. We had a delicious lunch at a nearby Irish pub, where we tried Bar Harbor style pub food – basically pub food with a seafood twist. Afterwards we took a wooded path to a very pretty beach, called Pretty Marsh, which had amazing views. It took us some time to actually find the place, and a little longer to figure out where the path was, but we enjoyed it all the same. On the way back, we stopped at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. This was a nice way to end the day and we got to see a great sunset. Interestingly, a U.S. Coast Guard family lives in the building year round.

We spent most of our second day at Acadia hiking up Gorge Path to the top of Dorr Mountain and then back down the other side. We were a little intimidated by the trail’s “expert” and “difficult” warnings, but we decided to try it anyway and were rewarded with the most amazing views! We managed to make it safely to the top without falling off any cliffs or rock ledges – Success!

First, we walked Jesup Path to Hemlock Trail, two easy wooded trails on the way to Gorges Path. The long climb up Gorges Path was definitely a challenge. Most of it was an uphill trek that had us jumping and climbing from rock to rock along the side of the mountain. After emerging from Gorges Path,  we climbed up the rocks to the top of Mt. Dorr. While not as strenuous as the hike up the Gorge, this was definitely more dangerous! The views from the top were absolutely spectacular.

We took Ladder Trail down the side of Dorr Mountain. This path mostly consisted of steep stone staircases and, of course, ladders. We enjoyed the way down almost as much as the way up! After reaching the bottom, we took Kane Path along The Tarn back to the car. We ran into the world’s largest spider along the way.

The next day, we rented a canoe to explore Long Pond, a beautiful body of water in the park. It was a great workout with a beautiful view – We paddled out towards two distant mountains, which I think were the famous “bubbles,” but we never confirmed that. The Canoe was fun, even though it started to get windy, which made the trip back somewhat exhausting. Afterwards, we spent the rest of the afternoon golfing at Northeast Harbor Golf Course. The course was absolutely beautiful, although a little bit harder than the easy courses I usually play.

On our last full day at Acadia, we headed out to the only part of the national park that is located on the mainland in search of a bald eagle. Although they are apparently nesting throughout, we did not actually find one during our trip. We also searched high and low for moose, but the moose also eluded us…

We can’t forget about the plenty of relaxation and lounging around the inn. Our room came complete with a DVD player and extremely shoddy wifi, so we went on a search for a place that still sold DVDs. We eventually found a little DVD rack in the back of Rite Aide with about ten movies on it. We bought Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and hunkered down for the night.

This was such an amazing trip, and I am so glad that we went. We coupled the text from this blog post with our favorite pictures from the trip to create an Apple Photo Book, which was also worth every penny. I am excited to plan more national park trips in the coming years and I hope that we are able to hike many more mountains and see so many more amazing sights!

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The Adirondacks – Hartford, NY.

We traveled up to the Adirondacks last weekend to visit our old friends (who are recently engaged!) and we had an amazing time. Upstate NY is so beautiful, and we really do not appreciate it enough as downstaters. We are accustomed to a different kind of beauty, with the New York skyline and the Hamptons’ beaches, but there is nothing like the expanses of mountains and seemingly untouched land that you find upstate.

After battling the Labor Day Weekend traffic leaving the city, it was open road all the way to Hartford. The drive was absolutely beautiful, with every curve bringing new landscapes and skyscapes that made us want to pull over to look. While we accidentally sped past all of the scenic parking overlooks along the interstate, we enjoyed an amazing sunset from the car. It was probably for the best that we didn’t actually stop, as we didn’t arrive in Hartford until nearly ten o clock as it was. We did make one stop, where we bought the worst pizza I’ve ever had – a quick reminder that we were not in the city anymore.

We spent the weekend catching up with our old friends, who were very welcoming hosts. They recently moved into a new place, which they have decorated in the most adorable way. They also have a large porch, with really nice views overlooking the yard. I can only imagine how nice it will look in the fall once the leaves begin to fall, leaving an unencumbered view of the mountains. In retrospect, I just wish I had taken more than one photo!

As I mentioned at the start of this post, our friends recently became engaged, and their happiness is contagious to everyone around them. They are so excited to start their next adventure, and it is impossible not to be excited for them. There is hardly a better way to spend a holiday weekend, or any weekend, than catching up with old friends. It seems like life continues to get more complicated as we get older, and seeing old pals is like a breath of fresh air. I hope that we can all meet up again soon.

All in all, this was one of the better weekends of the summer, ending the season on a high note (no pun intended). I would definitely encourage all of our downstate companions to make the trip upstate. While I am definitely a proponent of traveling to other countries and states, it is really incredible what you can see without even going too far. New York is a beautiful and diverse state, both geographically and demographically, and I love how much there is to experience.