Tuesday, June 16, Bar Harbor Area (2xx miles of driving loops!)





The weather gods were not with us today! It was either drizzly or foggy or
both, so we drove around a lot not seeing much by way of views. But we got
a good sense of some of the area and know of some places to go back to. And
we got to spend some time with an old friend of mine, so that was great.

We started out with a drive along the scenic loop road through Acadia
national park, but even though some parts are beautiful in the rain, we
clearly have to go back because you couldn’t see out into the bay / Gulf of
Maine. So we hope to do that when it’s nicer tomorrow. We then drove
through the middle of Mount Desert Island (the island on which Bar Harbor
and the national park are located) and on through the town of Ellsworth to
Sullivan, where my friend Cecily lives right on the bay in a house that her
parents, friends of the Andersons, built there when they retired. I hadn’t
seen her in 13 years and we had a lot to catch up on as we had coffee at her
place and then went to Ellsworth for lunch at a fun cafe in an old Victorian
schoolhouse. We also checked out the view (drippy as it was) at the bottom
of her property, where she can look across the bay to an island. After
lunch, we took a bit of a drive from her place to the nearby “forgotten
part” of the national park, the Schoodic peninsula past the teeny town of
Winter Harbor. The rock formations at the beach head were great, and Mark
and I clambered around in it for a bit(Cecily passed, because the rocks were
slippery–she lost part of her right leg to diabetes a couple of years ago
and gets around amazingly well, but that was a bit much!). But again, the
views were nonexistent.

About 3:30, we took our leave from Cecily, and we drove back to Mount Desert island, with a bit of a detour when we discovered these great tidal falls that were in full whitewater action as the tide was going out and got pushed over a bunch of rocks. We drove the western loop through the west half of the island, and despite fog and some more drizzle, we stopped at a famous but VERY short lighthouse from the 1850s–the Bass Harbor Head lighthouse.  Again, fun rock climbing, and a fog bell from a buoy made it very atmospheric, but no views. We drove past Southwest Harbor and through a little town that had exclusively those little clapboard white houses that make up so much of this island’s housing, without the mix of minutely restored Victorian B&Bs and fake-old posh resorts that we found in Bar Harbor–a town that’s sort of like Estes Park or Jackson Hole in that it is all tourist-oriented and partly super-elite. Except that here, there are
probably more super-rich than even in Jackson Hole–before a big fire in
1947, the whole town was big resorts and mansions, and according to Richard, Martha Stewart, Susan Sarandon, and various political figures live here, as well as the last Rockefeller son, who is 100, and lives at the edge of the national park, for which his dad (John D.?) bought and donated most of the land.

We wrapped up the day with cheap Chinese dinner and an hour at the
laundromat, and then crawled into our hotel room bed to await the allegedly
improving weather forecast for tomorrow.


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