After a delightfully long and winding drive North up the US-1, just when I thought I couldn’t move my neck from its rightward facing position, I turned onto Bar Harbor Rd. After a series of bridges, I meandered through some woods and past some rivers and almost immediately lost cell service. By the time I made it to my campground (Blackwoods was the only campground open in late October) I was tired after a long day of driving. I set up camp, ate some pie, freshened up and breathed in the crisp piney air. I immediately got my second wind and got back in the car to catch the sunset. I knew I had a full day planned in the park so I decided to enjoy the outskirts of Mt. Desert Island before settling in for the night.
After a restful night’s sleep, I woke up to a brisk 30 degree morning. Emerging from my sleeping bag was not an easy task. Luckily I planned ahead and stuffed that day’s outfit in my bag with me before I went to sleep. I got dressed from the comfort of my bag and brushed my teeth while boiling water for my morning coffee. Shortly after, I set out for Acadia. I stumbled upon an overlook and sat on a stone ledge to drink my tea and eat my breakfast bar.
Next stop was Sand Beach. “Aren’t all beaches made of sand?” you may be asking yourself. Apparently a sandy beach is very unusual for this North Isle in the Atlantic Northeast. The sand that makes up this particular beach is unique in that it’s made of sea shells that have been pounded over years of the rough ocean surf.
Being a lover of all weasel-like creatures, I had to stop at Otter Cliffs, if only for the name. I hopped around the giant mounds of granite that jutted out into the sea. Though the air had a chill, the sun was shining bright. I propped myself up against a boulder of choice and let the sun warm my face while I shut my eyes, hearing only the sound of waves crashing the cliffs below me. If I could relive one moment in my life, it might be this one.
The weather in the Northeast is about as temperamental as the people that inhabit its land. Before I knew it, the bright sunny day had turned overcast and dim. However, such a turn of events was not going to stop me from hiking around the idyllic Jordan Pond. This was by far the most crowded part of the park. While I had most of the park to myself, that was not the case here, and for good reason. The historic house was easily accessible by car and the smell of popovers seemed to draw people from all parts of life. While I desperately wanted some tea and snacks, the wait for a table for 1 was over an hour. On a Tuesday. In late October. Not happening. I went for a hike instead. The planks that made up the trail were oh so fun. I felt like a little kid going on a treasure hunt. The trail was easy as it looped around the pond with hills covered in fall foliage surrounding it.
Since I never did get those popovers, I opted for a Lobster Roll in Bar Harbor (pronounced: Lawb-stah Roll in Bah Hah-bah). While there are seemingly endless options when it comes to lobster in Maine, I choose to stop at Side Street Cafe. It was everything I wanted it to be. Huge chunks of lobster, a tad of mayo, a sprinkle of old bay on a buttery bun. That with a glass of local unfiltered cider and I was in heaven.
After dinner, I drove around the quaint seaside town and eventually wound up at Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse to catch the sunset before returning back to camp for another cold night under the Northern sky.
I woke up early the next day to make the 45-minute drive up to Cadillac Mountain so that I could be the first person in the US to see the sunrise. While I made it in time, the clouds did not cooperate in my favor. Regardless, the drive was breathtaking and I was feeling sad that my time in the park was coming to an end. Back in Bar Harbor, I stopped at Jordan’s for breakfast. I typically don’t go for straight carbs for breakfast and I hardly ever opt for blueberries in my pancakes but the wild Maine blueberry pancakes (with homemade blueberry spread) was worth every bite. The berries are smaller and more tart than your average blueberry. 10/10 would eat again.
I said goodbye to idyllic island town and headed inland. Next stop: The White Mountains of New Hampshire.