You leave the butter out all night and it is not soft in the morning
There are as many butterflies as people
There is a crosswalk for every person (and they stop for pedestrians)
You see school buses travel through the forest and you think, this place is too pretty to have school
There are more lobsta pots than people
You can see the sunrise before the rest of the country
Your cell phone never works and you don’t care
Today was a great day. My dad and I hiked to Bubble Rock in Acadia National Park and we met three 12 year old boys who were interested in the same video games as I am. We had a great time racing around the summit. They were camping with their dad and then we rode with them up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain. Then they wanted to come and see the boat so we all drove back down and surprised my mom on the boat. They thought the idea of living on the boat was totally cool.
The next day we went back into Acadia and my dad and I hiked from Sand Beach to Otter Cliffs and had a picnic. We saw so many rockclimbers. It was really cool.
Then we met up with my mom at Jordan Pond and hiked about half way around it at sunset.
When we got back to the boat, we were treated to a fireworks display right above the boat. It was really neat because it was foggy on the surface of the water but you could see the fireworks in the sky really clearly. They went on for about 15 minutes and were super professional. It was because someone was getting married at the hotel on shore.
In 1977 Bob Berg, founder of Flying Dutchman International, commissioned Robert Perry to design a new small luxury cruising yacht for him. The result was the range of Babas. Production soon started in Taiwan in the yard of Ta Shing. This yard is still producing high quality motor yachts. The yachts were transported to Seattle in the USA, the home of Bob Berg. Many of the Babas produced still reside in the Puget Sound area. The name of the boat came from the way the Taiwanese workers pronounced Bob Berg’s name, Ba-Ba, which means “father” in Mandarin Chinese. Learn more about Babas in Robert Perry’s book Yacht Design According to Perry: My Boats and What Shaped Them.
I am indebted to my friends Jon and Sharon for introducing me to the carriage roads in Acadia National Park. Most everyone knows I love to ride bikes. My friend Jon encouraged me to rent a bike and explore the carriage roads. My friend Sharon loaned me her book, Mr. Rockefeller’s Roads: The Untold Story of Acadia’s Carriage Roads and Their Creator. So I read the book and then went for a ride. The book was written by John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s granddaughter who is a landscape architect. She started doing research for a graduate school project and ended up writing an intriguing book about the development of Acadia National Park as well as the roads. While I knew that Rockefeller was a major financial contributor to the park, I had no idea how hands on he was in the development of the roads. He worked directly with the crews who built the roads and spent a great deal of time picking scenic routes through the park. You can read a short history of the carriage roads on the National Park Services website.
I packed a lunch, rented a bike, and loaded it on the special bike shuttle run by the Island Explorer Bus service. I started out at the Eagle Lake Entrance to the roads and rode first up to Aunt Betty’s Pond. I have two wonderful Aunt Bettys so it seemed a great way to start. Generally I followed the Around Mountain Road which is a longer loop. It is very scenic and it included crossing several of the beautiful stone bridges. I had lunch at the waterfall bridge. I finished the day with a trip down the western side of Jordon’s Pond and Eagle Lake. The roads are engineered to blend in with the Park’s natural beauty. Even the drainage for the roads is blended carefully into the surroundings. I probably wouldn’t have noticed how subtle this work was if I hadn’t read Sharon’s book. The gradual grades make for pleasant uphill climbs and easy downhill runs.
A view of the Western Way from the Carriage Road
I can help but think about the foresight of people like Dorr and Rockefeller who recognized the natural beauty of Mt. Desert Island and took action to preserve it for the public at large and for future generations. Their thoughtful philanthropy has created a truly unique experience for any visitor to Acadia.
Our good friend Dana from Alexandria sent us an email introducing us to his best gal pal, Sharon, who lives in Maine. We made the connection and we had no idea just how much we were getting in Sharon. She has lived here forever, is an artist, a builder, a custom furniture maker, a caretaker, a professional skier, a sailor, a woman who knows a lot about all aspects of Maine and, in fact, beyond. She is the quintessential tour guide and we totally scored by having her in our court. Thank you Dana. Sharon has ferried us all over Mount Desert (pronounced dessert) Island, particularly Acadia, and beyond, taking the backroads and showing us the Maine that the tourists don’t get to see. On our first day with Sharon we went to Thuya Gardens and Lodge near where we were moored in Northeast Harbor.
In the Thuya Gardens
Utterly spectacular. Then she took us to the nearby Asticou Azalea Garden which stood in stark contrast to the first. This place was entirely green, lush with moss and low hanging trees and a frog pond and stepping stones to cross. It must be fabulous when the azaleas are in bloom.
Asticou Azalea Garden
We lunched at the bakery with the crazy good donuts and then drove to the peak of Cadillac Mountain, the tallest mountain on the US Atlantic coast. Stunning 360 degree view of Acadia. Thank you Sharon for a great day.
On top of Cadillac Mountain: Matt,Graham, Amy, and Sharon
The next day we moved up to Somesville and anchored in the blowy, windy anchorage of Somes Harbor and stayed aboard to watch the anchor all day. That night Sharon came to Troubadour for Matt’s homemade pizza. She loved the woodwork and brought us more fabulous books and magazines on Maine and Acadia National Park to study.
View from Somes Harbor looking back down Somes Sound
The next day we met up at the Somes dock at noon and off we went to climb Beech Mountain to Fire Tower.
Beech Mountain Summit
Matt and Graham took the steeper but shorter hike and Amy and Sharon took the less steep, but longer path. Wow. A workout either way but well worth the view once you got to the top. Incredible views on the way of Long Pond.
Because she is a local and so well connected, Sharon took us so many places that we would never have seen without her. She showed us a home she is working on which was right on the water. It is very small but has a million dollar view and the windows she installed are big enough to hand the kayaks through. We took another hike at Wonder Land to a rocky beach with an incredible view. It was almost unreal; we wanted to pinch ourselves to know that the beauty was not a painting. Sharon described the different foliage and fed us rosehips. Graham said they tasted like a tomato and a pepper had a baby.
After that we had a quick trip to Sharon’s estate to pack a picnic dinner. She has a barn which she built where she keeps her studio. There is everything in the world you can imagine in there. She is truly a jack of all trades and a master of many. Her home is next door, painted in the same comforting yellow. Windows everywhere, and books, and art and marbles, and clocks, and colored glass fired onto copper. Somehow your senses are completely tantalized by being there yet not overloaded. Sharon made crab salad sandwiches and packed the sweetest peaches we had ever tasted for dessert and off we went to a her friends’ cabin for a sunset picnic. This place was so off the beaten path that we would never, ever have seen it, much less had the privilege of going inside. We enjoyed our feast on the deck at sunset – couldn’t have asked to a better end to the day.
Sunset on the deck
But it didn’t end there! Earlier in the week, we decided we would like to see Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None at the local theater. Knowing it would cost $60, it was going to be a special treat. Just one more thing that was amazing about Sharon is that she had 18 free tickets to the show compliments of a friend so we ended a great day with a great whodunnit that was enjoyed by all.
We are finally in Maine and, well, I do like the change in weather. I really can’t believe we are in the second most northern state in the continental US. My mom and I have never been here before but my dad has been here once. We are all loving it. our cruising friends, Jon and Jill urged us to get here in June and we didn’t make it here till August 20th. They said the more time you spend in Maine, the happier you will be. Boy were they right and we only got here yesterday. We are tied to a mooring in a beautiful harbor in Falmouth. The marina has free launch service so we don’t even have to splash the dink which is great for me because that is my job. And they have the nicest newest showers and bathrooms we have seen anywhere in 11 months of cruising. My mom has been to the restaurant at the dock which is fancy and has a 180 degree view of the harbor but all of us are going to go for lunch tomorrow when my dad’s friend from high school drives here from where she lives in Maine. After she leaves, we will make another passage – this time to Acadia National Park, the first national park east of the Mississippi River. Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park is the tallest mountain along the eastern coast of the United States. During certain times of the year, it is the first place in the U.S. to see sunrise. We can’t wait!
We stayed in a beautiful harbor in Casco Bay, our first stop in Maine. We had perfect days and crisp night air. The scenery is not to be believed in Maine. Their license plates boast “Vacationland” and the bumper stickers say, “Maine, the way life is supposed to be” – both true. We had a mooring at Handy Boat Marina with a free launch boat to bring you in and back – such a luxury not to have to splash the dinghy. The showers, laundry and bathroom facilities, all brand spanking new, were the cleanest we have seen in a year.
We restocked here in hopes that we could just live off the boat fridge for our next passage and beyond as we went up to Acadia National Park. We walked a few miles to get to the grocery store and Walmart (which I mention because it usually conjures images of strip malls and highway) and it was one of the most beautiful treks ever taken. Tall, tall trees on both sides, sometimes we walked over water that spread wide beneath us, kayakers galore.
Troubadour on her mooring in Casco Bay
As we sat in the harbor and watched the sunset, Graham and I counted all the different colored hulls. In Georgia, I wrote about the ANN-KRISTIN, a red-hulled boat, notable for its name and its color. In Falmouth, on our mooring, we saw at least 5 red boats and several that were green and bright blue. Maine is full of beautiful, brightly colored boats. People are very into the water here. Matt was on shore running an errand and came across a Yoga class. Nothing unusual except the class was on paddle boards!
Yoga class on paddle boards
Before we left for Acadia, we had lunch with Shelly, Matt’s high school gal pal from Iowa who lives an hour south of where we were anchored. She is a kick in the pants and we all enjoyed our time at the restaurant at Handy Boat which has a 180 degree panoramic view of the harbor. She came out to the boat and loved it; of course we had fluffed our throw pillows for her arrival.
Amy, Shelly, Matt, and Graham after a relaxing lunch on the water.
I have written before about green flashes. A green flash is a phenomenon that happens when the sun sets on the water and for a second appears to flash green. We always sat around in the Bahamas, or really anywhere we are where the sun is setting on water, holding our collective breath and waiting for the green flash. In our passage to Maine, I called Matt and Graham to the cockpit at sunset because I was certain we would be able to see a green flash on this perfectly cloudless night. They came, they watched, they saw. I had my head down and missed the whole thing – ugh!
Sunset on the passage from Provincetown to Casco Bay
On watch Graham and I stayed up till 4 am and read a book aloud from beginning to end. It was great, a cherished moment to be sure. It was a teenage book but not science fiction or fantasy. It is unlike the books he tends to read and deals instead with real life issues and feelings. How great it was to read the whole book together and flounder through the spectrum of emotion as the plot crescendoed and then resolved. I know these days of reading books aloud together won’t last forever but I will treasure them always.