14 June 2011

Popovers and Pizza.

There are three things I learned from this weekend trip to Bar Harbor; 1. As much as I love camping, especially in BH, staying at a *really* nice hotel does have its perks; 2. To me, the best sound in the world is our son's hearty, infectious giggle, especially when he really gets going; and 3. Hiking with our dog to her most favorite spot is worth the physical challenge of getting there, just to see the unadulterated bliss she gets from launching off a rock, and making a gigantic splash for the tossed ball.  Fellow hikers stop to watch her antics, and like us, get a kick out of her focus on the ball and the water.  

We really did have a spectacular weekend.  Maine weather in early summer can be, well, iffy at best.  Somehow we managed to snag a couple of amazing days that seemed to cluster only in the immediate BH area, because as I heard from others, hometown and south were getting rained on.  We started out on Friday morning and by 'we', I mean myself, Terry, the babe, and of course, the Dog.--by now I have this drive down pat. In my head, I plot certain points along the way that help make the 2.5-3 hours fly by.  

Suffice to say, my Civic has a lot of nooks and crannies for storage.  It never ceases to amaze me how much STUFF is required to bring along a baby.  But, we managed, and in a couple short hours, were transformed into our favorite place.  Of course, no drive up is complete without stopping at the Big Chicken Barn. What?  Yeah, it's surreal. For the book and antique lover, it's 26,000 sq. feet of delight.  It's also exactly two hours from home, so a good stopping point, and the sign that we are almost to our final destination.  I always manage to find a few treasures from my ever-growing book list at this place.  

Gman waits patiently for our buzzer to sound that our table is ready
From there, it was onward to Jordan Pond House.  This place truly is a little slice of heaven.  We arrived there just in time for lunch, which of course consisted of a traditional 'popover and tea'.  Or in my case, freshly squeezed lemonade.  There is just about nothing more delicious than sinking your teething into a piping hot, buttery, airy popover, that has been slathered, and yes, I mean slathered, in creamy butter and tart strawberry jam.  I literally wait all winter for this first bite.  Sure, I've made them at home, but it never quite tastes the same.  This year, it was Garrett's turn to try his first one.  He loved it.  And of course, we've been promising Gabby her birthday one for days now.

Trying the first popover bite
Yup, it's yummy.

Miss Gabby is anxiously awaiting her popover to cool

Jordan Pond and the Bubbles
 So after we inhaled our popovers (and a very expensive kiddie grilled cheese for the babe), we flaked out on the grass to let G crawl around a bit.  After all, he had been cooped up in that car seat for along time. He wanted to be free!  JPH over looks, obviously, Jordan Pond, and then beyond that, two of Acadia's lovely hikes, the Bubbles.  It is breathtaking and serene, and the sight never gets old. Garrett quite enjoyed frolicking with daddy on the grass, and then realizing he had all this open space to explore, took off to see what he could find.

I want your hat, Daddy.
And I'm off!

After Jordan Pond, we took a walk around the nature trails, and then finally decided to check in to our hotel.  But first, we had to drop off Gabs at where she was boarding.  As difficult as it was to leave her, because we are so used to have her camping with us, we just couldn't have her stay with us.  So we dropped her off, then headed to The Bluenose Inn.  We had an amazing room that overlooked the Harbor and plenty of cushioned space for G to explore.  We immediately changed into our suits and headed to the gorgeous indoor pool.  Unfortunately, it was so cold! You'd think an indoor heated pool would be...well, heated.  We lasted about half an hour...but watching G's chin quiver in shivers was too much to bear.  That night, we headed into town and had an early dinner at our favorite pub, The Thirsty Whale.  It was such a beautiful evening! Summer in Maine had arrived.

So in previous trips to Bar Harbor, T and I discovered the most amazing pizza place.  Last summer, when we took G here for the first time, he was just a little baby and we really had to call it a night early one evening.  So by 9pm, G was sleeping, and we were starving.  We ordered a pizza from this place, Rosalie's.   Oh. Em. Gee.  It was the best pizza we had ever had.  There's something just ridiculously good about it.  The sauce has this tangy yet slightly sweet taste, and what I love most is that there is just the right amount...not too much, not too little.  The crust is thin and a mixture of crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.  Needless to say, we had it in our heads again, that we could not go the night without having this amazing pizza.  T went to go get it, and there's just something about eating pizza in a hotel room, on a nice coffee table, with no plates, and just tasting the goodness that is a fresh, hot awesome pizza. 

Did they just get their food?
Alright, so enough about pizza.  Saturday came, we picked up Gabs, and went for breakfast at yet another favorite spot, Two Cats. See the theme here?  Bar Harbor is a foodie paradise. There are just so many amazing restaurants.  Two Cats is no different.  They have the freshest tasting ingredients. The only annoying part is that it takes forever to get food.  Oh well, it's still worth the wait.  We fueled up, and enter the park.  Gabs knew we were heading to her spot.  The Bowl awaits.
Where's Gabs?

Did she jump in again??
We secured G in the backpack carrier, and started the trek.  I have missed hiking with Gabs. She's so fun.  She can be off leash, and even tho the hike is a challenge, in a short half hour, we were at the top...the glistening pond of the Bowl shimmers in the sun.  It's still.  Quiet.  And then soon, it's splashes and giggles. G loved watching Gabby fling herself off the rocks into the water.  It was such an awesome afternoon.  I'll be honest.  A year + after having Garrett, and I have not done much in the way of strenuous exercise.  Isn't chasing after a crawler exercise enough?  So this felt awesome...to be sore in muscles I forgot existed.  Not to mention, being in that coastal air.  Exhilarating.

After the hike, Gabs was exhausted so back to the car we went.  We had parked at  Sand Beach, quickly changed G into his swimsuit, and took him for his first real beach experience.  It was a joy to introduce him to the beach toys and then watch him discover the grainy sand.  He was hilarious.  

What do I do with this?

Is this right?

What do these do?
Where are my toes??

Ooh a pail!

 Soon it was time to pack it in.  We headed back into town, grabbed lunch, and then took Gabs out for a walk around Main St.  She is, after all, the Belle of Bar Harbor.  But let's face it. We were all exhausted.  It was nap time.  We dropped Gabs off for the night and went back to the hotel. 

Dressed up for a night on the town.
For dinner, we couldn't decide what we wanted.  I sometimes feel like there are so many choices in BH, it's just too difficult to pick. And now adding the babe into the mix, our choice needs to be wise.  The fog was starting to roll in and the air was rapidly cooling.  In the end, we needed something hot and comforting. Usually that means Thai or Italian.  That night, we opted for Italian---Mama Dimatteo's.  Hot, delicious.  Garrett was a peach, and the hostess, who was probably in her 60s, was constantly flirting with him. I think she just appreciated that he wasn't yelling his head off like the little girl who sat behind us, and also seemed infatuated with the Gman.  And who wouldn't be? 

Then came Sunday.  It was so chilly and rainy, it was as if Mother Nature knew we had to head home that day.  We wasted no time in gathering up all our stuff (didn't we just unpack it all?), making sure there were no stray blocks under the bed, then packed the car and headed off to pick up the Gabs.  Breakfast then was at another local favorite, Cafe This Way.
We slowly made our way off the Island.  It's always bittersweet.  We know we'll be back in a few weeks when Terry's sister is in town, but it's always hard to leave this magical spot. We decided to take Route 1 south after Belfast...driving through Camden and Rockland...G started to have a backseat meltdown around Camden.  We need a diversion. That's where Reny's comes in handy.  A quick stop there, perusing the wonders that is that store...and G was temporarily appeased.  Daddy thought it would be cute to try out some sunglasses.

I'm too busy for autographs.


Unfortunately, somebody's mood did not improve, and it was determined that, despite having what we thought was a gigantic breakfast, lunch was what was needed.  A quick stop at delicious Sarah's in Damariscotta and all was fine.  Arriving home is also bittersweet.  The unpacking is daunting.  The laundry that piles up so quickly after being away.  I always feel this rush to do it all at once because I know I won't feel like it later.  

It was a fabulous weekend away.  The weather cooperated. We had our two favorite traveling companions with us. And it once again reaffirmed that it doesn't take much for our little family to be content and happy.  I can't wait to do it again soon. 

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