02 July 2012

Welcome, Summah!

We just returned from our short but oh so sweet getaway to Bar Harbor. Every time we go, I fall just a little bit more in love with the place. This charming coastal village is accessible, exciting, and chock full of activities to fit almost any taste. Of course the fact that it sits on the outskirt of Acadia National Park isn't too shabby either.

This was our third trip with Garrett in tow. Hard to believe we've managed to go every summer since he was born, but that’s how much we love it. Next year we hope to resume our camping tradition with him. Won’t that be an adventure!

This year was the first that we actually stayed within walking distance from all the happenings in town. While the Anchorage Motel offered no frills lodging (read: no hair dryer!), the easy access to Main Street, the park, and our favorite restaurants was awesome.

When we left Friday morning, the car was slightly stuffed with three humans, a dog, and all the accoutrements that accompany us.  We tried to pack light, really we did.  But seriously, when you have a kid that insists on bringing at least 57 books and 12 stuffies, things can get a little crowded.  Even Gabs has her own backpack.  But off we went under cloudy, drizzly skies that threatened to dampen the grass but not our mood.  As we headed north, the brighter it got, until we were assaulted with full on sunshine and the promise of steamy, humid temps.  One of my most favorite summer games to play on a summer road trip is the license plate game.  You know, how many out of staters can I spot within a few days?  At a national park destination like Acadia, my final number was pretty awesome.

Our first real stop as always is the Big Chicken Barn.  I love going there with a list of authors and hope to find a few treasures.  This time did not disappoint as I found two books that have been on my ‘to read’ list for a while. This is also the perfect place for the two G’s to stretch their legs and take a break.  It’s also great knowing that once we hit the BCB, we’re only about half an hour away from our final destination.

And so it goes…we sail into Bar Harbor, delighted that our room was ready two hours before the normal check-in time, get unpacked, and go for lunch at a favorite watering hole, The Thirsty Whale.  Once fortified, we stroll into town, meandering down the hill to water’s edge.  An eager Garrett proclaiming “Water, water, water, water” over and over and louder and louder, clearly meant that he was anxious to dip his toes. Bar Harbor, like Portland, is a stopover for many a cruise ship.  This one was docked not far off, but ready to leave that evening.

The center of town has a beautiful park, complete with benches, a gazebo, and tree adorned sidewalks.  It’s the perfect spot for a toddler to roam and run.  We got some rainbow sherbet and found a spot to share the cool treat as we people watched.  

Back to the hotel for an attempt to get this kid to nap. Didn’t happen.  Despite having been up since nearly 6am and only allowing himself about half an hour in the car, Garrett was not to miss any of the fun he thought we might be having if he napped.  No nap on a hot summer day makes for a very cantankerous Boo.  And possibly cranky Mommy. 

An early dinner at the most delicious Rosalie’s (best pizza EVER) and then it was back to pick up the Gabs and walk around town.  As usual, Gabs captures most of the attention, mostly by people who have also owned or do own a Rottweiler and those who simply think she’s a gorgeous dog.  She and Garrett splish splash in the fountain.  It’s hard to tell who loves the water more.  After a while, we decide to catch the sunset atop Cadillac Mountain.

Five minutes into the ride there, and we have a passed out kid. Finally, the exhaustion won out.  Driving up the mountain is a gorgeous and for the heights enthusiast, breath-taking experience. I admit, there are times when the narrow, windy curves have me clenching the door handle.  Because there was a storm coming, the clouds were dancing rapidly across the mountain. It felt like we were driving straight into them.  Once atop, the temps dropped, the gusts became gales, and we still had a sleeping kid in the backseat.  T stayed behind while I darted across the rocks, feeling a little like Dorothy in the tornado…and hoping that I didn't  airlift into lands unknown.  It was a sight and experience we hadn’t seen before, and worth capturing.

We did indeed get the storms.  The toddler long in dreamland, I set out with Gabs to do one last jaunt around town but the zig zag lightening had me turning right around and heading back to the motel for some shuteye.  After all, Saturday was going to be a big day. 

We awoke to another sunny, steamy day, and the first thing to do was grab a good breakfast.  Two Cats it was, for their fresh, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits slathered in strawberry butter. Divine.  Fueled and ready, we set out to the park for our hike to the Bowl.  Gabs seemed to know the way and led our charge through the hot forest.  And man was it hot.  I had the pleasure of having the 30+ lb urchin on my back, climbing up hill for 45 minutes until I pretty much wanted to just pass out in the water.  I didn’t.  Gabs, however, flung herself off the boarded ledge once we reached the Bowl, and happily retrieved the ball over and over. 

Back down on stable ground, we head to Sand Beach.  The waves are fast and furious and the water is a bone-chilling, spine-tingling freezing.  Actually, freezing is an understatement.  Someone apparently did not seem to mind.  

A failed attempt at Jordan Pond house for popovers as the crowd was just too massive.  After nap time, it was back in town for us.  An impromptu trip to the nearby library proved a welcome distraction.  Onto get a snack and some iced coffee...then into the park for some play time. 

So typically, Garrett is always around other boys.  His daycare is all boys.  His friends are mostly all boys. It’s not often that he finds himself with any girls.  Here at the park, there were two very adorable little girls who seemed quite taken with our blond Boo.  One even went as far as to attempt to hold his hand, but typical boy, he ran away and barely even noticed her.

The Gazebo and park were alive with live music from a community brass band. It was delightful to sit and listen play some favorite familiar tunes. By the time we had dinner, eating al fresco at a local Italian joint, we could hear the thumping beats to John Williams’ Star Wars classics. 

More ice cream in the evening, along with people watching, grass flopping, boat admiring.  Another trip to Cadillac to catch the 8:22 pm sunset…this time with an awake kid, lovely views, and a beautiful moon. 

Sunday…a failed attempt at yet another crowded restaurant led us to a diner called Jordan’s… the blueberry pancakes did not disappoint.  Back to Sand Beach for some water play, and another failed try at popovers.  I’ve never seen a crowd like this standing in line before the restaurant had even opened.  So there you have it.  We never made it to have those airy delights. Disappointing but not quite worth standing in line in 85+ degrees with a 2 year old.  Besides, he had already passed out again in the car after is romp at the beach…what they say about never waking a sleeping baby is certainly true for a sleeping toddler.  

So how many licenses plates did I actually end up recording? 41 plus the District of Columbia.  Not too bad for a weekend in Maine.  Can’t wait to do it again in the fall.

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