My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Vacation: Acadia, Part 1


Vacation: Day #4

We had big plans for the first day of July, so we hopped on the bus to Bar Harbor and got an early start with breakfast at Café This Way, tucked down at the end of a little side street. We dined out on the porch at the table you see behind me, and figuring out what to order was simple enough since they just have one vegan breakfast option, a yummy tofu scramble with toast called, "The Vegan!" Ordering it was both gratifying and weirdly disturbing... "Yes, we'll have two Vegans, please!" LOL


After breakfast it was off to buy our Acadia pass ($10 for the two of us, good for a week - a bargain at any price!) and board the Island Explorer to Acadia. We were just about the only people on the bus, and since we were sitting up front we got to enjoy a little chat with our very fun bus driver, Charlotte. We asked each other where we were from (she's a Maine native), discussed her hometown and her job (which she loves) and the delicious splendor of Maine's blueberries (which we were too early for, boohoo) and answered her questions about our vacation. We also asked her about a restaurant on the Green called Tamarind we'd noticed that morning, but she said it was very new and she hadn't eaten there or heard anything about it yet. (Remember Charlotte and Tamarind, they'll both return for an encore in a later post!) Then we were at our first stop, Bubble Pond, and off to explore a bit of beautiful Acadia National Park!

You can follow along with us if you'd like as we explore the area by referencing this handy map of Mount Desert Island - which we learned is pronounced "dessert." French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who came upon it in 1604 while exploring Maine's coast, was inspired by the island's mountains with their bare summits to name it "l'isle de Monts deserts" (deserts meaning bare or desolate). But for us it was easy to remember how it's pronounced because it's so sweet!

Just like this critter ;-) ...

BW at Bubble Pond,
which I found cute since one of his nicknames is "Bubbles!"

I'd been seeing a lot of beautiful cultivated flowers everywhere, but Bubble Pond presented the first wildflower (and you know me and my wildflowers!) And it was a real beauty - a deep purple Iris at the water's edge, just begging to be photographed! Naturally (pun intended), I obliged. :-)

This photograph, one of my favorites from our trip,
doubles as tomorrow's Wildflower Wednesday post! ;-)

We set out on the hiking trail from Bubble Pond, and it wasn't long before another tantalizing photo op appeared: I thought this looked like two trees celebrating their handfasting ceremony, presided over by Reverend Rock...

Blessed Be and rock on, newlywoods! We're rooting for you -
hope neither of you ever leaves the other!
(Do tree brides have hope chests, or just regular trunks?)
Okay, this is getting sappy, I'll stop now. ;-)

After a while on the trail we joined up with one of the Carriage Roads and followed it the rest of the way to Jordan Pond. There were a few other hikers and a couple of horseback riders, but mostly the Carriage Roads were being enjoyed by bicyclists that morning who were all very courteous and looked to be enjoying themselves immensely. We'd considered renting bikes (the Island Explorer buses have bike racks), but figured we'd just hike for free this time and save an Acadia bike ride for next time.

I was enchanted by these little - whatever-they-ares! A variety of moss no doubt, though to me they look like bright green twinkling stars...


I think ferns are so pretty, and there were plenty to admire everywhere we went. But this spot yielded a particularly thick, bright and vibrant fern flock...


Can't have a Carriage Road without a carriage gatehouse, I suppose... so here it is in all its historic and photogenic handsomeness...


And what's a gatehouse without a gate? This was right across the Carriage Road from the house...

And what's a hike without a skilled navigator and guide?
BW studies our Acadia trail and Carriage Road map.

Not far from the gatehouse and its gate was Jordan Pond. We poked about in the pretty gift shop in the Jordan Pond House (where we bought a good Acadia topo map, recycled cotton Acadia tshirt for moi, a couple of magnets and some postcards), and then strolled the grounds a bit till we found a nice spot to fly our kite (fail! Shifty winds due to the surrounding trees made launching impossible) and enjoy a picnic lunch (success!) :-)

This was a fanciful tree beside our picnic spot, bedecked with brilliant white flowers. It looks dogwood-ish to me, but I'm stumped (oh no, not another tree pun! LOL) Do any of you know what it is? (To get a closer look, click on this - or any other photo - to see a larger version).

BW appears to be wearing a hugely extravagant floral hat!
Interesting fashion statement for a hike.
Or any other time, really. :-D

Another souvenir picnic lunch...


The tamari pumpkin seeds, dried apricots & mangoes, and sun dried tomatoes were leftovers from our road trip/airplane survival kit from home. The Green Superfood Energy Berry bars and banana remnant came from Whole Foods, and the mini cinnamon raisin bagel was a freebie from the Highbrook. The Ryvita crackers from Bangor you've already met (and will get to know well, for they followed us everywhere! LOL)

We ended up eating our picnic lunch with one of the locals. We were joined by this lovely dragonfly who posed patiently while I tried to get a decent closeup in the bright sunshine...

Apparently clover blossoms make a nice picnic treat too!

Coming up next... Asticou Azalea Garden. It's a beauty, so don't miss the bus! ;-)

8 comments:

  1. Beautiful, I love the picnic picture and the dragonfly.
    I'm glad you're going to try some kumquats, I think it's always good to broaden the old horizons. Let me know how you like them.

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  2. I especially love the dragonfly! We have a lot of clover in our yard and they tend to come out in hordes sometimes. They're so cool looking!

    This looks like a gorgeous hike. How relaxing it must have been!

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  3. Hi Laloofah!

    Hope you weren't too loud when you ordered two vegans...don't want to give omnis any ideas...I bet we taste pretty good! LOL

    Thanks for linking to the map; it was fun to follow along with the pics, which are all gorgeous; it looks so beautiful.

    I especially like BWs new hat...suits him. Great shot of the trees and stones...looks like the type of thing that folklore are born from. Those little flowers do look like little green twinkling stars. And that dragon fly is so cute; they are one of my fav insects.

    You're really giving me vacation-fever! I'm staying tuned for more Acadia and the continuing story of Charlotte and Tamarind.

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  4. Tree puns. Reminds me of Kirk Robinson. I too have photographed that type of dogwood tree. What kind?....of course you're asking the wrong girl. I was thrilled to figure out it was a dogwood I was capturing. The petals just scream to be photographed.
    I'm sure "Bubbles" is delighted now that everyone knows one of his nicknames. That little kitty is out of the bag.
    Aren't Maine bus drivers, toll takers, shop clerks the best to engage in chat? Sounds like Charlotte was a perfect Maine "hostess". When I moved back here from PA I was so glad to be reminded of this downhome "folksiness" that is missing in many other places.
    Hike on....have my sensible shoes on in anticipation of next post.
    Sue

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  5. Gilding Lilies - I fear there's nary a kumquat to be found in my local town, and I checked in three stores! I guess the season for them is brief and I missed the kumquat boat this year. I'll try again next year!

    Molly - This just goes to show how little I know. I almost didn't post the dragonfly photo because I wasn't happy with how it came out. And it's the photo that appears to be the favorite! That happens to me quite a lot - which may explain why I post so many photos! LOL Lucky you to get so many dragonflies! We have them here sometimes, which is amazing since we're far from any water! Most of the ones I see around our place are blue, but I've seen green and gold ones too. I just love them!

    It was indeed a very relaxing hike! The weather was perfect and there were no bugs! (Except the pretty dragonfly!) :-)

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  6. Rose - I think I've seen a bumper sticker with that claim. ;-) (Ordering "two Vegans" did sound cannibalistic, which isn't vegan at all, yet we were ordering a vegan dish called "The Vegan," but it sounded cannibalistic - see this disturbing thought mobius that dish's name got started in my head? LOL)

    I'm glad you used the map to follow along, and that you found the photos beautiful - because the place sure was, and I was hoping to capture it as best I could! :-)

    BW will be so pleased you admired his bodacious fashion statement. LOL And isn't that tree couple and their stony-faced friend the coolest? I was sure happy I noticed it and got a good shot of it!

    Yay for vacation fever! I hope you'll get to "take the cure" and go on a fun one soon (and blog about it, of course!) I can hardly wait for our next one myself, though I have no idea when it might be - and I can't possibly go anywhere till I get my posts for this one finished! :-)

    Sue - I remember Kirk Robinson, but never knew him well. Was he a punny guy? :-)

    So is that a dogwood?? I agree that the flowers beg to be photographed! They almost look artificial, they're so perfect.

    BW doesn't mind my tabloid blog publishing his "Bubbles" nickname. ;-) Especially since I seldom call him that anymore, having switched mostly to "Beeberz" a while back.

    Charlotte was definitely a great Maine hostess! You'll enjoy "the rest of the story" (typed in my best Paul Harvey voice). There was only one unfriendly proprietor we came across, the owner of a fun shop in Bar Harbor called "Suncatchers." It sold just what you'd think (along with lampshades), and it was so pretty to be in! He apparently was also the craftsperson who made them all, and most of them were really beautiful (with eye-popping price tags!) But he was such a sour old grump - wouldn't make eye contact, wouldn't allow photos (okay, I can understand that, but must my blog suffer for it? LOL), just grunted at all my effusive compliments for his creations... bah on him. At least he was an exception!

    Your sensible shoes are about to come in handy, I'm off to publish our next stop! :-)

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  7. Am enjoying the continuation of your trip. I saw the comment about Bubbles and your reply but I'm still thinking there's a story behind that nickname. Since the kitty is out of the bag anyway, we may as well hear the history.
    My favorite photo was absolutely the handfasting trees. That really struck a chord with me and I loved all the comments you made about them - sappy true, but very fun.
    Given your gift to me of "free thyme" yesterday, I especially liked your puns (but just like yesterday - it's a good thing you add the "pun intended" next to the puns or they'd blow right by me!!! LOL

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  8. AdventureJo - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! :-)

    I wish I could tell you a highly entertaining anecdote about the "Bubbles" nickname, but I fear there isn't one! (Or if there had been, it's now lost in the Sands of Time. Or is that Sands of Thyme? LOL) I think I came up with it when we were dating, along with some other "B" names that were shorter and easier to say than the tedious four-syllable "Bee Double You". "Bubbles" occupied the #1 spot for a while, but was later bumped in favor of "Beeberz," "Beedub," and the simple yet efficient, "Bee." :-)

    Yay, I was hoping someone would cast a favorite vote for the handfasting trees! I was pretty smitten with that one myself! :-) And it's a bonus that you found my puns amusing too - "newlywoods" being, I believe, my personal best. LOL

    I'll try to keep pointing out my puns in subtle and not-so-subtle ways for the pun-impaired among us! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

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SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

SOME CURRENT & RECENT READING...

  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD & EVIL ~ John Berendt
  • MY NOTORIOUS LIFE: A NOVEL ~ Kate Manning
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT CAN'T STOP TALKING ~ Susan Cain
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY ~ Erik Larson
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"