Thursday, August 11, 2022

Travel: Acadia National Park

It's time to talk about the MAINE reason for our trip: Acadia.  It had long been on my list of places to go and I'm SO GLAD we finally made it happen.  We loved every single thing about our time in Acadia, other than some foggy weather and crowded parking areas.  Two things pretty much out of our control (and we didn't even go during their busiest time!  And the parking lots were still often filled!).

I've ready covered our Niagara Falls stop on the way along with some lodging and other logistics and also covered our day in Bar Harbor, which we did in the middle of our Acadia days.  We had 4 days to spend on Mount Desert Island, with one in Bar Harbor, that left us 3 for Acadia.  Of course, we could have explored more with more time, but we felt like we saw a lot in those 3 days.  

Most of what we did in Acadia was hike, scramble over rocks, drive between hikes, and look for parking.  It wasn't a bad way to spend a few days!  

Our first day was overcast and a combination of foggy/misty all day.  This was not conducive to seeing all that Acadia had to offer, although we could tell even then that it was gorgeous.  And it looks exactly how I expected it to look (although better in person than in my mind).  

I would highly recommend starting a trip to Acadia with a stop at the Visitors Center.  We went to Hulls Cove Visitors Center the first thing in the park, waited in a line to talk to a ranger to get recommendations for kid friendly hikes (even with the research I had done ahead of time, I wanted to see what they would say), and pick up junior ranger books for the boys (which we then didn't touch for 2 days).  I had previously bought online our $30 park pass and had that printed out for our dash but you could also get one of those there. 

We drove Park Loop Road and stopped wherever we found parking and it looked interesting.  Even with the mist, this helped us get the lay of the land a bit.  Also, we messed up the parking at Sand Beach which helped us to know what to do when we went back to do that hike a few days later!

We scrambled over rocks at many locations, none of which I could tell you exactly where they were.   When we drove Park Loop Road again we couldn't even figure it out!  But it was all stunning.  And with the rain we had many spots to ourselves.  It was not ideal weather (my shoes were soaked by the end of the day) but it was nice to see Acadia in different weather, even the fog was pretty.

We stopped at Jordan Pond House for popovers and beverages.  It was charming and if we were near a meal time I wouldn't have minded eating there.  The food all looked good and it was nice to warm up a bit (I tried my best to give my shoes a shot at drying out with the bathroom hand dryers). 

We did walk down to the pond here, which was very short, less than a mile round trip.  This turned out to be our shortest day in the park, with a later start (we were all recovering from the 12 hours of driving the day before) and then the rain keeping us from doing much hiking.  We did visit a local grocery store on the way back to camp for some provisions!  

Eagle Lake
Our plan for this day was to hike a Bubble and then go up Cadillac Mountain.  Then there was NO parking at the Bubble and when I picked a backup, that had no parking too.  So we ended up at Eagle Lake which was near the entrance to Cadillac Mountain so we'd be ready for our reserved time.  We got the last spot in the lot and had a wonderful ~90 minutes just relaxing.  This and Jordan Pond are both closed to people and pets.  You can kayak or paddle board out but absolutely no swimming or wading allowed.  The water was incredibly crystal clear and just gorgeous with the blue skies we had.  The boys loved setting off little "boats" made of tree bark and leaves and it ended up being some of the most relaxing time of our trip!

 

This wouldn't be a must see but our boys really did love it.  My parents are going to Acadia later this year (we separately both decided to go this year!) and the boys have already asked them to check on their boats (which have long since disappeared, I am sure they didn't last more than an hour).  

Cadillac Mountain
This was one of the first things we had decided to do.  I knew of it from reading about it being the first place in the continental US to see daylight at least part of the year.  We weren't going to make the sunrise (something like 4:45am in June!) but we could still visit in daylight.  I booked this a few months earlier, $6 and a time window.  Ours was 11:00-11:30 and they let us in 5 minutes early.  You HAVE to have a pass to do this, as of summer 2022.  But it was well worth the $6 (also...$6).

We drove up the mountain, luckily found parking (there aren't many slots up there!  You need a ticket to get up but then can stay as long as you want).  It's a pretty short hike around on the actual trail, maybe ½ mile, well paved and mostly flat.  However, we, and many other people, did a lot of rock scrambling all over the peak.  This was encouraged, there were signs just asking that you stay off the grass or other vegetation, just stick to the paths or the rocks.  


The views were astounding, we could see so far, the sky was perfectly blue, and the water gorgeous.  It was windy at the top but that was the only downside.  I would strongly recommend this if you can get a pass (there were MANY opening when I booked ours about 2 months out).  It was fun to climb over rocks and just explore.  We ended up being up there about 2 hours!

 

 

Seawall
This was just a place we stopped along the side of the road, shortly before we got to our next hike.  There was ample parking on the right side and then a body of water (the Ocean?) on the left.  We did more rock scrambling here, checking out some tide pools.  Maybe spent 30-45 minutes. 

Ship Harbor
Our destination on the Southwest Coast was Ship Harbor.  This is a figure 8 hike so you can choose your path at two different points but both get you the same place (we always stuck to the left path).  This was also pretty flat, maybe about a mile each way?  We, as was typical for our trip, did more rock scrambling once we got the coast.  There were a lot of tide pools here and the rocks were flatter for easier scrambling than in some other places we stopped.  This was a fun and easy hike with the boys.  There were also (pit, I believe) bathrooms by the parking area (where we ended up parking along the side of the road, like many other people.  Although we crossed path with few people while hiking).

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse
I believe this is the closest you can get to a lighthouse within the park.  And someone lives there!  There was a line to get into the ~20 parking spots but it moved pretty quickly (and the only place we saw a line for parking), we maybe waited 10 minutes for a spot to open up.  There were some wooden stairs and then they just dropped you off on the most dangerous rock scrambling we had the entire trip.  All the rocks seemed to be pointy side up with a lot of crevasses between them.  It was also one of the busiest parts of the park we were in because everyone was in such a small area.  

Turns out, you couldn't even get real close to the lighthouse and the rocks made me nervous (a few of us got scraped up here).  BUT...it was gorgeous and we could still see part of a lighthouse.  I wouldn't recommend if you have very little kids (Sam, age 4, needed quite a bit of help) or are uncomfortable climbing over rocks.  We all had shoes on but there were many people in flip-flops and that seemed particularly dangerous.


That was all our second day in Acadia!  The following day we were in Bar Harbor but we finished with Acadia on day 4!

Ocean Path
This was the longest hike we did in Acadia and one we knew we'd have to be early for!  Park literature said the parking lot can fill up by 9, we got there at 8:40 and got the last spot in the overflow lot, after circling the main lot three times!  It was so busy.  By the time we left there were cars parked along the road for what felt like almost the entire 2 miles of the hike.  I'd HIGHLY recommend doing this one early, pre-9am, or later in the day, after 4?, would probably be ok too.

 

This path is 2 miles out and back, almost entirely all along the coast.  We started at Sand Beach (flushing toilets!) and then walked.  And walked.  And walked.  We walked past Thunder Hole (not thundering when we were there, I think when high tide is coming in is the best time for it but there was no way, with kids and parking, we could have worked out that timing right).  The scenes all along the coast were just amazing.  

We stopped many places to scramble over rocks.  The trail was mostly flat until the end turn around at Otter Point but there was 2 way traffic, especially when we were headed back.  VERY glad we started this so early!

This place with VERY LARGE pebbles was towards the end, not too far before Otter Point.  By this time I realized we had done so much hiking and rock scrambling that I had a broken shoe (my much worn Converse aren't made for all that) so I didn't venture down there with Matt & the boys.  These look like pebbles but they were all larger than my head, significantly so in some places (Luke just wanted to bring "1 or 2" home...we brought zero, for many reasons.)

All told, we spent somewhere around 3 hours doing the 4 mile round trip hike, with many side trips off to scramble over rocks.  It was gorgeous and I'm SO GLAD we had perfectly clear skies for this.  Would highly recommend.  You can also turn around at any point!

 

Sand Beach
This wasn't a hike but was one of the boys' favorite parts of the trip!  It's the only sand beach in Acadia (the rest are rocky) and the signs said the water peaks around 55° in August.  This was mid-June.  The air was about 60°.  Matt estimates the water was somewhere around 40°.  You all, Luke swam for 45 minutes.  We had taken wet suits for the boys expecting this and he LOVED IT.  It was his absolute favorite part of the whole trip.  Sam played a little bit in the Ocean but got cold (for obvious reasons) and much preferred a stream behind the beach that was much warmer.  I am the only one who didn't take a swimsuit (not even to Maine at all) and caught up in my journal, tried to keep sand out of my broken shoe, and kept an eye on Luke in the ocean while Matt was with Sam at the stream.  It was chilly but the boys loved it enough that it was worthwhile.  And Luke got to swim in the Atlantic Ocean in Maine. 

 

All told, we had our parking spot at Sand Beach for 5 hours and made the most of it (we had also eaten lunch out of the trunk between hiking and swimming).  There were changing rooms, water bottle refill stations, and decent bathrooms here too.


At this point in the day, we checked out Jordan Pond again to see it not in the fog and then turned in the boys' junior ranger packets (entirely done in the previous 24 hours) to get their badges at the Hulls Cove Visitors Center.  This is when we learned that Jordan Pond House also has a National Park cancellation stamp (I've had a book since 2004 from my Dad and we had bought them for the boys on this trip.)  But we didn't get the Jordan Pond stamp!  So if you go there, get the stamp.

We had time for ONE FINAL THING in Acadia and we finally made it back to one of the first, non-rainy things, we tried to do.  It was time to end...with a Bubble.

  

South Bubble
This was the only hike we did that wasn't labeled in an Acadia trail book as kid friendly.  BUT...I had read about a rock seemingly perched perilously on the edge, looking like it could be pushed over with the tiniest amount of energy.  And once I shared about this with the boys, Luke was dead-set on trying.  It was about 4pm and we were all up for one last adventure.  So we decided to try the Bubble.  There were around 20 parking spots in this lot and, shocking, TWO empty when we got there.  We didn't even take the last one!  

It says the hike is ½ mile to the top but it is the steepest and "hardest" hike we did in Acadia.  Just bigger rocks to climb up and more exertion required.  Luke (9) and Sam (4) still did it, Sam often needing a hand but scrambling over rocks all week gave them a lot of practice.  It was a perfect hike to end on!

We found the top and Luke tried his best to push over the boulder...it didn't budge (which is good considering the road below).  We are far from the first people to try.  I am SUPER curious how it just seems to balance there!  What is holding it???  (Somewhere I read that a glacier dropped it there around 10,000 years ago and it came from some miles north of here.)  

This whole hike and spending some time at the top took about an hour.  The views were wonderful.  We could see with Jordan Pond or Eagle Lake from the top (I got turned around, I'm not sure), both of places we had spent time at earlier in the week.  It was a really fun hike to end our time on.

And that was it!  All the hikes and activities we did in Acadia.  If I had to pick a favorite I'd probably say Cadillac Mountain but everything we did in the park was wonderful.  I kept telling Matt, I don't think we had been on a trip before where literally everything was as good or BETTER than we expected and hoped it would be.  Nothing was a letdown in terms of activities, just parking at times.  It was one of the smoothest and best vacations we've taken.  I'd highly recommend it all!  (Except, go in the shoulder season, I've seen in Instagram in the last couple weeks, the park talking about how there is NO PARKING...so do your best to avoid that but still go!)

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Travel: Bar Harbor, Maine

Bar Harbor is the largest town on Mount Desert Island, it's rather touristy but I knew we'd still enjoy a day there, to take a break from all the wonderful nature we'd be immersed in in Acadia.  Also, I do love a quaint, touristy town.

This was day 3 in Maine, after 2 days in Acadia and with one left.  We had been getting out of camp pretty early (8:30am, which is early for vacation!) to beat the crowds to Acadia so we all slept in a tiny bit for this day, getting to Bar Harbor (maybe 25 minutes from camp) around 10am.  We meter parked on the street (on West Street, very near the Bar Island Trail), put 9.5 hours on for $14 and set out for one of the best days of our year.

First we just strolled through town, stopping at many souvenir shops.  A lot of our souvenir shopping on this trip happened this day.  I also stopped at Sherman's for my main Maine souvenir, a book (I like visiting local bookstores to buy books when we travel). 

We did about 2 hours of browsing and checking out the views, it was truly lovely.  Then it was time for lunch.  We went to West Street Cafe, right down the street from our car.  We got 3 meals to share between the 4 of us which worked out perfectly, everyone had enough to eat but nobody was stuffed.  Luke & I shared some lobster mac n cheese which was truly fantastic.  (He also had some of Sam's regular mac n cheese.)  That lobster was probably very recently swimming nearby.  Matt had a crabby patty which he also said was very good.   And it was a good location because Matt could run down to the car while we waited for our food to get our jackets for our next excursion!

The week before our trip, when I was planning all the nitty gritty, Matt & I had a few conversations on if we should do something in Maine besides the park.  We discussed either renting bikes to ride on the carriage trails in the park or doing a boat ride out of Bar Harbor.  We figured we can bike at home so boat ride it was!  This was a very last minute addition to the trip but it turned out to be one of the highlights!

We did the Lobster & Seal Watching Tour through Bar Harbor Whale Watch Co.  It was both cheaper and shorter than the whale watching tours which is the main reason we picked it.  I'd say we had very low expectations going in and it exceeded it in every way. 

 

We got on a boat right in Bar Harbor.  We had a boat captain and an animal guide.  (There was also a bathroom on board which we all ended up using for our 1.75 hour trip, this was shortly after lunch where we had all drank a lot of water.)  First they took us around one of the little island in the harbor and we got to see a Bald Eagle flying near it's nest.  That was very cool.  Then we went to check the ship's lobster traps.  We learned A LOT about lobsters and lobstering, Maine catches the vast majority of the lobsters in the whole country and is a big industry in Maine.  It was VERY interesting.


However, the lobsters weren't cooperating and all the traps only had crabs in them.  They said it was a bit early in the season for reliable lobster catching that close to the harbor.  However, they did have some lobster in the tank on board so we could still see some.  AND...on the boat ride back we all had the opportunity to hold one.  Dear Readers, for the first time in nearly 30 years, I willingly touched a live animal that wasn't a lightning bug.  (I have unwillingly touched or been touched by dogs and I do have to touch (processed) meat for cooking purposes.)  It was a DELIGHT and I was really excited about it.  Matt & Sam also held it, Luke wasn't interested.  I never though holding a live lobster would be a highlight of my week but here we are.


After the lobster trap checking (and before the lobster holding), we cruised by Egg Rock to check out the seals.  Matt & I were a bit leery on how many seals we might see but it turns out quite a few!  So many seals!  And they got rather close to the boat.  It was very cool.  Then we held lobsters on our way back to shore.

Like I said, I booked these tickets just a few days before we left but this tour really was a highlight of the trip.  It worked perfectly with our day in Bar Harbor and I'd highly recommend if you are on Mount Desert Island.  We really really enjoyed it.  


Since we had a few hours on the boat, and a few hours since eating, we were ready for some ice cream and then we walked the Bar Harbor Shore Path.  We had one VERY grouchy kid while we were doing that (the boys may have moped over various parts of Maine, they definitely hit their limit at times) which made this a less than fun experience.  It was also getting close to low tide, it would have been more scenic in the morning.  But it was a flat, paved path along the ocean/bay/gulf so it was still worthwhile.


The path ended in a way that we had to walk through Bar Harbor again to get back to the start and this was about the hottest part of the day (maybe 75° and very sunny).  A bit of walking, dropped off some things at the car, and then we did the Bar Island Trail.  This is a trail to an island that appears at low tide.  Since we had parked just down from this we also stopped first thing to see it covered in water, and now, about 7 hours later, there was a clear path across.  

 

 

There is about a 3 hour window to do this walk twice a day (the other was around sunrise) and the boys LOVED checking out what had recently been under water.  It took us about 45 minutes to walk to the island and back, with lots of stops by the boys to check out treasures.  It was gorgeous out with a nice breeze across the water.  It was more fun than I expected it to be!

Now it was suppertime and we knew what we'd be eating in Bar Harbor.  Lobster.  The full lobster meal.  We had accidentally walked through Stewmans Lobster Pound earlier in the day and that seemed like a natural place to return to.  Quick googling showed good reviews and I really wanted to eat outside, right by the water.  This was exactly what we wanted!

I cannot describe the delight I had over this meal.  We were seated right next to the water, on a perfect evening.  Matt & I shared the full lobster meal and I was so excited getting the bibs and reading the lobster eating instructions on our place mats.  We had just learned all about lobsters too!  

We had had regular lobster (not in mac n cheese or anything) just once before, on one of our cruises.  It was rubbery.  I figured freshly caught in Maine had to taste better.  And it did.  Not rubbery at all!  The boys took our corn on the cob and Luke sucked out most of the legs.  There isn't a ton of meat in just one lobster so it wasn't super filling but I don't think either of us could have eaten the whole meal on our own (Matt's not a huge seafood person but he agreed we had to eat a lobster in Maine.).  Luke & I ate some of the mussels too, not too bad dipped in butter!

The meal finished with blueberry pie and then we, regretfully, had to leave.  It was one of my favorite dining experiences of my life, eating lobster on the coast of Maine with that view.  Truly a delight (and we got 10% off with our boat tour tickets which was nice too).

After eating it was time to head back to the car.  We put that 9.5 hours on the meter at 10am and got back with less than 5 minutes to spare at 7:30.  It was a VERY full day in Bar Harbor but everything about it, other than the occasionally grumpy kids, was a delight.  Nothing disappointed.  It was a wonderful day in Bar Harbor, would highly recommend.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Travel: Niagara and Maine

The last time I was in Maine was in 1995, on a rainy June evening when we just barely drove over the border to eat supper.  We were hitting a bunch of the New England states but didn't have a lot of time for Maine.  We watched my Dad eat lobster (while we ate something else...lobster didn't interest the rest of us) and then went back to our campground.  That was my experience with Maine until this past June.


I am not entirely sure how I became aware of Acadia but it's been a place I've wanted to visit for years.  I looked into going a few years ago but when I realized the drive was further than driving to the Gulf Coast...we went south instead.  But now, with our boys at the ages they are, and having survived our 20.5 hour drive home last summer...I knew we could handle the drive to Acadia.  I had the bones of this trip planned a whole year before we took it! (And the details planned about 3 days before we left.)

I have posts coming the next few days about our day in Bar Harbor and another with all the specific hikes we did in Acadia, since reading details from others made planning our trip much easier for me!  This will cover our hours at Niagara Falls, and some of the logistics of our trip.  

Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, is 1,100 miles from our home in Northern Indiana.  That drive needed broken up.  When I saw that Google Maps recommended we drive right by Buffalo, New York, Niagara Falls seemed like a natural stop.  It was only about 6 hours from home but we could fit in a stop at the Falls in the afternoon/evening and then be back on the road in the morning. 

We spent 5 nights in Maine which gave us 4 full days to explore there.  It was quite a bit of driving for those 4 days but the whole family agreed that it was worth it.  We spent 45 hours in the car (that includes our driving around Acadia) but we all LOVED Maine.  It quickly became one of my favorite places I have been.

Where We Stayed
On our first trip through Buffalo, we stayed at a Home 2 Suites which was wonderful: good breakfast, had a curtain to separate our bed from the boys' pull-out couch, dark curtains (not that we got to sleep in much), a ¾ size fridge (very nice for our cooler full of food!) and recycling bins in the room!  

 

In Maine we stayed on Mount Desert Island, in a Deluxe Cabin at a KOA.  I had picked this place YEARS ago and booked it almost 6 months before our trip (my parents are still going to the same place later this year and my Mom booked their site even before I did!).  We LOVE a deluxe KOA cabin, they work very well for our family right now and what we are looking for on vacation. 

This one had our favorite layout to date.  The boys had a small bunk room, Matt & I had our own (slightly larger) room, we had a full bathroom, a kitchen table, a couch, tv, mini fridge, microwave, and a good amount of outdoor space!  When our car was parked (which was all the time we were at camp), our fire pit area was very private and Matt said the gas grill at our site was nicer than ours here!  It was WONDERFUL.   We were very busy seeing the sights in Maine so we didn't have a lot of extra time at camp but it was perfect for when we were.  And only about 25-30 minutes to Acadia or Bar Harbor, depending where in the park we were going!

On the drive home we stay at a Tru by Hilton in Buffalo again.  This gave us a 12 hours driving day followed by 6 hours (flipped of the drive out).  It would have been helpful to maybe split it up to slightly more even days but, mentally, it was very nice to know we were well over half way on our drive back.  Plus, I found that Tru in literally the same building as we had stayed at the Home 2 Suites on the drive out.  I cannot tell you how delighted I was to pull off the highway after 12 hours of driving (plus stops) to a place we were familiar with (we knew when we stayed the first time that we'd be back in the same building 5 nights later) .  The breakfast and check-in desks were the same, the rooms different, but I still find it hilarious that we stayed at the same, but different, hotels two weekends in a row.  (We also did a Tru by Hilton when we did one night before Kings Island about a week before we left for Maine and that was also a good experience, we're fans of the chain now.)

This is the first time we've split up a drive and it was very much worth it.  The driving 20.5 hours home last summer kinda killed any desire to do those overnight drives again and I did not regret spending money for a hotel on the way home.  

Niagara Falls
Our hotel was about 30 minutes from the Falls but right off the highway.  We prioritized getting going quicker on Sunday over a little more driving time on Saturday.  So with dropping off our things at the hotel (at least the cooler and things we'd need overnight), we got to Niagara Falls about 5pm.  We did metered parking on 3rd Street, $20 for 4 hours but if I had to do it again I'd try for the parking at the Niagara Falls Visitor's Center which I think was $20 for 24 hours.  It would have been closer to the falls and felt a little less in the middle of nowhere.  But our street parking was fine, just a little more walking. 


We went to 5:30pm Mass (it was a Saturday) at St. Mary of the Cataract and then had 2.5 hours left!  Time to find the falls! 

We walked through the state park and eventually came across the falls, they were harder to find than I expected!  We knew the general direction and just kept walking and eventually came upon them.   I had been in 1994 with my family (both the American and Canadian sides...turns out I mostly remembered the Canadian and riding Maid of the Mist) and Matt didn't think he had ever been.  So the American side felt pretty new to all of us!

We walked along the falls, which are stunning, and then paid a whole $3.75 to go out on a viewing platform (Sam was free!).  We got a better view from up there of the Horseshoe, Canandian, Falls.  (My Dad informs me that we drove over that bridge in the background to cross into Canada in 1994 but I have no memories of that.  My boys know I HATE high bridges like that so maybe I just blocked it.)


Our $3.75 also let us walk down closer to the falls (where are the blue ponchoed people are from Maid of the Mist) which was a bit misty and muddy but we stayed dry.  By this point it was almost 8pm and we were starving, took us a bit to decide what to do about supper.  We picked up burgers and a hot dog to go with 5 minutes before closing at Flip Burger which seems to be an NY chain.  Matt said the burgers reminded him of Shake Shack.  So we got to eat outside and then walk through a bit of Goat Island t of Goat Island (if we had planned better we would have done more and gotten to see more of Horseshoe Falls).  It was a PACKED 4 hours.  A lot of walking (quickly) but we felt like we saw enough to make the whole thing worthwhile!   It was a great start to our trip!  I'd especially recommend that viewing platform.  $3.75!!

 


The next day was a full 12 hours in the car.  TWELVE HOURS, that was just driving.  A LOT of New York State and then a lot of Massachusetts.  It was about another 4 hours after getting to Maine.  I was mostly proud that we did it with just 3, very efficient stops, 2 tanks of gas.  Ate all our meals out of the back of the Pilot or while driving.  We made very good time, a lot of withholding drinks to limit our stops!

Blueberries
Maine is known for blueberries, a fact I knew from my aunt visiting (what seemed like) often when I was a kid.  I had a blueberry angel ornament that sits in my Nativity angel choir that she gave me sometime in the early-mid 1990s.  Blueberries have long been one of my very favorite fruits, particularly perfectly ripe and freshly picked one, and I made it my mission to embrace blueberry flavors in Maine. 

This was at the Jordan Pond House in Acadia, popovers and beverages (the boys were DELIGHTED that they got free ones...Luke loves a root beer).  This was blueberry tea which was delightful on our first rainy, cold day there.  It was good but a box to bring home was $26 for about 12 servings.  I passed.


There was also blueberry hard cider, made somewhere in Maine (we try to buy local, at least from the same state, alcohol when traveling.  Matt has much more luck finding local beer than I do local hard cider, although I was successful this time!)  Drank some of this while we were supervising the boys playing in the water at the campground, not much swimming, just wading and searching for treasures.  I thought it was cold (note the sweatshirt, I was wearing jeans too) but Luke especially loved it.

I also had a blueberry turnover bought from a place we stopped for ice cream on a rare "hot" day (78° when I believe it was 100° at home)

And a blueberry scone from a rest stop Starbucks in Maine with a gift card Matt got from a patient.  I didn't eat this until Ohio on the drive home and it wasn't great, I didn't even finish it until we were home.  Note: local made treats are better than the Starbucks one.

There were more blueberry items like actual blueberries although they were from Georgia, bought and eaten in Maine, since Maine's weren't in season yet!  I think I did pretty well on the blueberry front!  As well as blueberry pie, both at a restaurant with our lobster meal AND the half a pie I bought at the grocery store that we enjoyed at camp (the grocery store one was better).


Other Food Notes

We packed almost all of our meals, only eating out supper in Niagara Falls, lunch and supper on our Bar Harbor day, supper on the road on the drive home (a very disappointing McDonalds at a rest area on an NY toll road, literally the only thing within miles of the highway), and then two days of complimentary hotel breakfast.  We did buy a few treats like mentioned above but all our full meals were packed from home (other than some produce, milk, alcohol, and pie we picked up at a grocery store in Maine).  We packed all the rest of our meals over 7 nights.  Gas was around $5/gallon when we were driving 2,500 miles so saving a bit of money on food was helpful (although we also buy plenty of snacks we only eat on trips so...it was still more expensive than a week of eating at home).  


After a few days in Maine, Matt remarked "Maine does not disappoint." which is about the highest praise I've heard from him on any trip we've ever taken.  It did not disappoint and I have framed MANY pictures of our trip since (switched out a lot of our family pictures around the house!).  It was a wonderful experience that started our summer with a huge hit.  

Bar Harbor is up tomorrow!