Friday, August 17, 2012

This is Summer. Part 2.

Captain Jack reeling in the catch on the Lulu.
From the vantage point of the Lulu lobster boat, we saw both gray and harbor seals basking on a rocky island and their little baby pups with whiskered noses splashing in the ocean waves, three bald eagles perched above, and slews of indigenous sea birds. We asked dozens of questions of Captain Jack as he educated about the Maine lobstering industry, reeled in a trap of these fascinating crustaceans and taught us about their anatomy, mating habits, incredible regeneration abilities, and Maine’s conservation efforts.

We walked with Sam Dog to Bar Island, accessible by a sweeping sandbar that is only revealed at low tide. Miss the tide change, you don’t make it back. 

Taking a biking break on the Carriage Trails.
After very active mornings of outdoor adventures, huge mid-day naps were taken sprawled across the couch or bed of the adorable downtown Bar Harbor apartment we stayed in.

We found a great dive bar with “awesome hour” where we relaxed and played Finger Ringer and Rummy 500 while snacking on shoestring French fries served in a metal dog bowl.

Our bikes took us along the miles of carriage roads that wind through Acadia, making a big loop through the mystical scenery of Witch Hole.

Our Jordan Pond table view.
We discovered Acadia hiking trails that took us along boardwalks above marshes, through knotty pines, and along cobblestone seashores, finding perfect nooks for picnic spots to eat our home-packed lunches along the way.

After one bike ride we snuggled onto an outdoor table bench at the Jordan Pond House where we indulged in their famed hot popovers with homemade strawberry jam, decadent sandwiches, and fresh squeezed lemonade and blueberry herbal iced tea while taking in the beauty of the pond, Bubble mountains and surrounding forests.

The crisp, fresh water of Echo Lake reflecting the astounding green covered mountains that hug it turned a tootsie dip to test the water into a swim in my clothes I just couldn’t resist. I dried by the wind and the sun of the topless Jeep while we explored surrounding harbor villages.

An unplanned, irresistible dip in Echo Lake.
I abandoned all my anti-inflammatory, no sugar, no dairy diet restrictions for the week and indulged in wild Maine blueberry pie and more ice cream. The second ice cream night was shared scoops of the flavor “I Haven’t Decided Yet …” from CJ’s Scoop Shop made with Reese’s peanut butter cups, Oreos, cookie dough, chocolate chips, chocolate swirl, ya know, everything but the kitchen sink. I went all in.

One solid rainy day met a patio breakfast of berry muffins and crab and cheese omelet with our feet in a flood puddle but our heads dry from the rain. With full bellies the rest of the day was spent reading, writing, and napping inside to the soundtrack of the raindrops and thunder. We capped the night with pizza and a showing of the new Ferrell/Galifianakas flick The Campaign in the historic, though musty, Criterion Theatre.

Boardwalk trail near Sieur de Monts Springs.
I tried to catch another sunrise, leaving Sammy and Craig to sleep as I ventured out to Cadillac Mountain at 4:30 a.m. However, the dense fog made it impossible to see much of anything at all. The higher I drove, the denser it got, so instead I took a walk around the summit through misty clouds and whipping wind with the hundreds of others who had come out in hopes of seeing the sun rise from ocean to sky. Though there was no spectacular sun display, on the drive I did spy a family of deer – a buck with a full set of antlers and his posse peering at me through the forest.

Our bags are packed and early tomorrow we will be on our way home to Connecticut. First will be a stop at Sammy’s now favorite Maine spot: Little Long Pond where she can run free, off-leash bounding through this little piece of doggy heaven where there’s forest and water and mud and lots of other dog butts to sniff hello at.

Happy explorers.
To break up the 8-hour trip, we’ll stop half-way to reminisce around the old stomping grounds of my (and Craig’s honorary) alma mater: the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Kittery, ME and neighboring Porstmouth, NH are on the itinerary.

This summer getaway has been no less than perfect, a far cry from where we were last summer. What’s even more wonderful is that we’re eager to return home to a place that we love just as much and to the people that we miss. What a fortunate situation to be in. We’ve been humbled by the beauty, relaxed by the ocean air, and sated by all the exploration.

Monday brings us back to New York City for another SGN-35 infusion. I’m not exactly looking forward to that, but if it’s that drug that is allowing me to be this active and making me feel this amazing then it’s worth the few days of crumminess it will cause.

To balance the treatment trip, Craig and I are both looking forward to delivering the heaping amounts of donated goods we collected from our generous community of loved ones into the hands of those who need them at American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge NYC – last year’s summer vacation spot. 

Our "Downtown Dog Friendly" apartment on the second floor of the Acadia Veterinary Hospital.  Random, but ideal!             
Looking back from Bar Island to downtown Bar Harbor across the sandbar. 

“Live in the sunshine. Swim the sea. Drink the wild air.” 
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. And the amazing continues! Good luck at your SGN-35 infusion. I am sure they are going to be so excited at the Hope Lodge when you drop off all those goodies!
    -Sarah B.

  2. Karin - Thank YOU for this wonderful virtual tour of Acadia. I've never been there but look forward to it, as I am now R-E-T-I-R-E-D !! Can't wait to see you soon. Judy xoxo

  3. Just a stranger who has been following your blog for some time. I am so glad you had such a wonderful time in Maine. I grew up further down the coast from there but I remember going to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park in the summer and fall, and its beauty lives with me still. I am so glad you were able to have this wonderful time, so richly deserved, in such a special place. Laura

  4. Your trip sounds just perfect, and a much-needed break from the rigors of treatment. Your spot-on descriptions of your time in Maine made me feel as if I were right there with you. Love the apartment over the vet's office. Hope you hit The Trading Post in Kittery. I was there last week while on vacation; cool place.

  5. P.S. check out a book by Trevor Corson called The Secret Life of Lobsters. Fascinating insight into lobsters, and it features a Maine lobsterman named Bruce whose wife Barb is a blog-friend of mine. I had to wait until after vacation to read it bc I ate lobster nearly every day, but it was worth the wait. Great read.