Thursday, October 28, 2010

Maine-ly For Fun, Part 6 - The Finale

Thanks for going on vacation with us - it has been so much fun to re-live it with you, my friends. As Gigi said, it will be kind of sad when the journey is over. And now I have to try to think of new things to write about besides.

The last day in Maine dawned bright and clear, after the two dreary, wet days. We decided to go back to Acadia National Park, specifically to Cadillac Mountain, which had been totally enshrouded in clouds last fall when we were there. It was a very windy day, but there were many people there on the mountain, from many states and countries - lots of different languages were being spoken.

DC took this one through his filtered sunglasses, just to see what would happen.

There was another cruise ship in the harbor that day, but not nearly so large.

We went back into Bar Harbor for some last minute souvenirs. The streets weren't as crowded with cruisers this time. We passed one more cemetery, this one in the middle of town next to a beautiful old church. Can you stand it?

Kevin had been waiting all week for a lobster dinner. We had passed numerous roadside places where we could see that lobsters were being cooked. We decided to eat at one of them rather than a fancy place in town. It was quite an interesting experience. No frills, low cost, good food. (Well, good food if you love lobster, clams, and crab legs).

I discovered I am not a real fan of lobster or clams (except in chowder) - I did enjoy the crab legs, and watching the guys loving every messy minute.

Not very appetizing looking, but kinda fun.

We had to return Kev to his house that evening, after getting a few things he needed. Then we headed back to Groovy's place to spend a very short night. Since we had to get up at 4:00, we only visited for a few minutes before we headed up the stairs to a few hours of sleep. We were on the road to Boston by 4:30, without waking up our hosts. We made great time, since it was a Saturday. That turned out to be a huge blessing. We got to the rental place (remember that story in Part 1?), they ordered us a cab and we had another interesting cab ride. We got to the airport in time for a bit of breakfast, had a flawless flight to Memphis (doesn't make sense to go from Boston to Memphis to Denver - who makes these nutso schedules?), had a really bad bbq sandwich in the Memphis airport (where I told DC I had lived there when I was a baby and Dad was in the Navy - he said he never knew that before), a nice flight to Denver, and an uneventful trip to the parking lot and on home. I love this view of the clouds, and the shadows made by them on the ground.

Two days later, Kevin called to tell us that we had missed the peak color in his neck of the woods, and sent this picture as proof.

The End!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Maine-ly For Fun, Part 5, The Rainy Season

You'll remember, from Part 1, that rain had messed with our plans to get out of the Boston airport in a rental car. We hoped the forecast would be wrong and there would be no rain the rest of the week. But, after our beautiful day in Acadia and Bar Harbor, Wednesday dawned rather dark and dreary. But it turned out to be a wonderful day of total relaxation and watching of the good movies MM and her family had in the cottage.

By noon, the deluge began, and it rained in earnest all afternoon. In the evening we had a dinner date with Midlife Mom and her husband. We met them at the Lucerne Inn, halfway between their house and the cottage.

We had hoped to see the amazing panoramic view, but it was dark and very wet by the time we got there.

But what an amazing meal we had. I ordered the special of the evening, and it was not only delicious, but beautiful - pinwheels of beef stuffed with lobster and asparagus spears.

I must admit, nothing we ate that night was on my "food plan" - I even indulged in rich dessert. It's a good thing we took these pictures of MM and me before we ate rather than after! MM and I have lost, together, a total of 72 pounds since our last visit with each other a year ago.

This one was taken last November when we had breakfast together the beautiful Senator in Augusta.

It was a fabulous evening for the three of us, visiting with our friends. The funniest thing - MM's husband didn't know until that evening that he was getting together with a blog friend. He thought his wife had found a long-lost cousin or something like that.

I usually love sleeping to the sound of rain on the roof. That is, unless I have a big plan for the next day that is going to be spoiled, or at least hampered, by the rain. I didn't sleep very well that night, waking to the rain all night long, wishing and praying it would stop before morning. No such luck.

It rained all day, the day we'd saved for the trip to Baxter State Park, where the leaves were at peak beauty. All day, as we traveled, I imagined the beauty we would be seeing if the sun were shining through the trees. But we made the best of it and had a wonderful day together. We were blessed with free entrance to the park, since Kevin has a Maine driver's license, and the gate keeper was the mother of one of the TC students.

The steam from the paper mill covered most of the buildings. The smell took me back to International Falls, Minnesota, where I lived for 3 years when I was a kid.

The guys talked me into going on the short hike with them, where we were supposed to find a beautiful waterfall. It was supposed to be 1.2 miles. We walked and walked, and climbed and climbed, and took very careful steps because of the very wet rocks and muddy path. I didn't look up at the trees too much (didn't want to drown!), but looked down and saw these piles of muti-colored leaves.

We never did see the waterfall - don't know how we could have missed it. Maybe it just seemed like twice as far as 1.2 miles, since it was so miserable. But I did catch the rushing water between the trees.

Fortunately, DC had brought a water proof jacket and a poncho with him, and Kev's friend's mom loaned us hers, so we didn't get drenched everywhere - mostly from the knees down - well, DC from the waste down. This picture was taken at the final leg of the Appalachian Trail. We actually have a picture of ourselves at the beginning of the Trail, taken in Georgia a few years ago, but I can't find it anywhere. It was a much nicer day.

It did brighten up a bit as we headed back toward the cottage. I liked this rock, even though Groovy does not.

The GPS got us into a mess, but we saw some beautiful scenery because of it. Just imagine if the sun was shining!

We were very glad to arrive back at our little home away from home, turn on the little electric fireplace, and pop "The Blind Side" into the DVD player.

Stay tuned for Part 6, The Finale.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maine-ly For Fun, Part 4 - Acadia National Park

Once we were settled in the cottage, we headed to the coast to Bar Harbor (or Bah Hahbah, if you're a native speaker ;-)

We looked out in the harbor and saw an enormous cruise ship. We have been on both sides of the cruise ship crowd in town. We were the crowd a few years ago. When we were in Hawaii the last time, we could see the ships from our Bed and Breakfast - and would decide NOT to go to town that day - just too many people. The crowd was tremendous in Bar Harbor, so maneuvering around town was difficult.

We decided to escape the madness of all the souvenir hunters and headed out for some sight-seeing in Acadia National Park. It was a perfect weather day, and it was a beautiful place to be. The guys wanted to hike up Bee Hive Mountain. I headed the other direction, down a hill to a nice "facility", if you know what I mean. Imagine my surprise when I found a beautiful sand beach down those steps - a sandy beach surrounded by forest, something I'd never seen before.

These kids were having a great time - the water in this part of the ocean never gets any warmer than 50 degrees - I think this little guy could have used a few more clothes!

Here's proof positive that there is actually a lifeguard - chained up for the winter - so some people actually brave those 50 degree waters in the summertime.

I loved watching the crashing waves, and trying to catch them at just the right moment.

The rocks on this beach reminded me of the lava rocks on the beach on the Big Island - the rocks where I have slipped and hurt myself the first day of each of our trips. I was really really careful to not have a repeat of those mishaps on the seaweed-slippery rocks.

There were crowds from the ship everywhere we went, but we managed to find some spots that were not inhabited --

How'd you like to inhabit this house??

Or this one??

We thought this guy was pretty nuts in view of all the tourist buses that were on the rather narrow road. To each his own madness!

We visited Thunder Hole again - we were there last November when we went to see Kevin - it was a cold and foggy day, and the sound of the crashing water was proof of the name of this popular tourist site. Back in August, 2009, Hurricane Bill was wreaking havoc up the coast and this article tells of the horrific result: Three Swept Out to Sea at Thunder Hole. This day, the water wasn't quite as loud as last year, but still worth the stop.

It was so great to be spending this beautiful day in this beautiful place with Kevin.

This little guy was used to being fed, me thinks. We didn't have anything to give him, but he stuck around in hope.

It was a great photo op day --

Maybe this will be our Christmas card picture (if I get Christmas cards out this year - I'm doing the community choir again, plus the church one, so have to get busy around Thanksgiving Day, if I plan to do that this year).

Finally - a couple more shots of one of my two photo obsessions (cemeteries and crashing ocean waves) --

I'll close with this funny story. We went back to Bar Harbor and decided to have a light, early dinner. We went to a place called "Rupununi" - it was named for a river in Argentina. The owner had done a research project down there and fell in love with this river, or at least its name. How he ended up with a restaurant in Maine remains a mystery, even to him. The menu consisted of typical seaside food, plus a few interesting South American treats. We ordered empanadas with crab, cheese, and corn, as an appetizer. And I ordered a bowl of clam chowder for each of us. We had prefaced our order with the fact that we just wanted a light meal, and the waitress had a great sense of humor, telling us that wasn't okay and we needed to leave. She gave me the funniest look when I placed the order and I wondered why. Soon she appeared with the empanadas, 3 spoons, and one bowl of chowder. I thought maybe she hadn't been able to bring all 3, but she left and came back with coffee and no more soup. I said, "You did get that we wanted 3 bowls of chowder, right?" "No,", she said, "I thought you wanted one to share!" We had such a good laugh over that - she must have thought we were really really cheap!

It was good and a great day ended with a wonderful, restful evening and a good night's rest in the cottage.

Stay tune for Part 5 - The Rainy Season