On to the second half of our Maine road trip… This was our first road trip as a family and we had so. much. fun. It was an amazing adventure. We loved it so much that we’re planning another New England road trip for this fall. This time we’re headed to Boston, Massachusetts then to North Conway, New Hampshire, and ending at Burlington, Vermont.
The first half of our Maine trip, which includes our time in Block Island, RI, and Ogunquit, ME, can be seen here: http://www.aprilziegler.com/maine-vacation-recap-block-island-ri-ogunquit . The photos below were taken with my DSLR, point & shoot (fuji x100t), and iPhone.
Bar Harbor, Maine:
We left Ogunquit and headed north, but we couldn’t not stop in Freeport… home of L.L Bean and, more importantly, Maine Beer Company. It was about a 4 hour drive between Ogunquit and Bar Harbor, so we didn’t arrive until around dinnertime. We stayed at the Bar Harbon Inn, which we chose largely based on the location… it’s right on the water and downtown. The Shore Path runs right in front of the hotel, which is a beautiful walk. The rooms could use some updating, but were clean and our garden view room had a door where we could walk right out of the room to the garden. It also had a decent continental breakfast included which we always love when traveling. Right after we arrived, we walked through town to check everything out and had dinner and ice cream at Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium, which became a nightly stop for us during our stay. You can’t walk past that place and not crave ice cream… it smells incredible!
We hit Acadia National Park, planning to drive Park Loop Road and just stop at places that interested us. Our first stop was the Wild Gardens of Acadia, which Charlotte loved walking through and exploring the little paths. We then headed to Sand Beach… it’s stunning! We took Great Head Trail from the beach and hiked a loop that ended up back where we started. The trail wasn’t too difficult, but there were a few steep parts and big boulders which you can see below. Charlotte, at age 4, didn’t have trouble on it, and we saw several other couples with small children. The views were unbelievable. I don’t think they can be adequately captured in photos. Acadia is just breathtaking. We stopped at Thunder Hole but make sure you check the timing of the tides because the tide was out when we were there so there was no thundering going on. We went to lunch at Jordan Pond House, where we had to try the famous popovers (they’re famous for a reason!). We walked around Jordan Pond and could see the Bubbles in the distance. We asked a ranger about other kid-friendly hikes and he recommended the carriage roads or Jordan Stream Trail so that’s where we headed. It was another beautiful and easy hike and Charlotte loved the boardwalk parts of the Jordan Stream Path.
We started our day with Diver Ed’s Dive-In Theater. It’s a short cruise out into the Frenchman Bay for kids. Once you reach the dive location, Diver Ed goes into the water and retrieves many different kinds of sea creatures… you can even see him and his little minion helper underwater on a tv screen in the boat. When he gets back on the boat, he explains the different animals and the kids can even touch and hold them. Charlotte loved this so much more than I even expected her to. I definitely recommend this to people with kids.
After the boat, we stopped at the land bridge. When the tide is out, you can walk along the land bridge to Bar Island. Charlotte liked checking out the stones and shells that were left behind.
Then we went back to Acadia to do a little more hiking. We did the Gotham Mountain Trail, which took us up the opposite side of Sand Beach as the day before. Though it was rocky, this was another kid-friendly hike. There was some scrambling and an option to do the Cadillac Cliffs trail which is a little more difficult. Charlotte and I stuck to the easier route. The top has beautiful views of Sand Beach and the surrounding areas.
The last photo from this day is actually from the following morning. We got up early to try to catch the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain, which was a total bust. It was complete fog. Fog so heavy that it was hard to see while driving up the mountain. It was disappointing, as I’ve heard how beautiful it is but unfortunately it was our last morning in Bar Harbor. We only had time to have breakfast and get on the road to Portland.
Being a travel day, this is the only photo that I have to share. It was a drive from Bar Harbor to Portland, almost 4 hours. We went directly to Bissel Brothers since this was the only evening that they’d be open while we were in Portland. Priorities. Then to our hotel, the Hampton Inn Downtown Waterfront. Our hotel was a great location in Old Port, very close to the ferry and walking distance to downtown. We walked around town bit to check out the area but there was a festival going on so things were pretty chaotic. We really liked just walking downtown and Commercial Street reminded me a lot of the Old City part of Philadelphia.
We started out the day with a visit to the Portland Children’s Museum, which entertained Charlotte for quite awhile. It was similar to the Please Touch Museum that we have in Philly. Very cute place.
And then we headed to Kev’s choice for entertainment… a tour of Allagash Brewing Co. While Kev tends to prefer craft beers that aren’t nationally distributed, it was really cool to see the brewery.
Lastly, we took a chance on the weather since it looked like it was about to rain and headed out to Portland Head Light, which I loved. I’m not quite sure why, but I love visiting lighthouses… if you couldn’t tell by the abundance of them on our trip. Five, in fact. Portland Head Light is really cool, and there’s a little path that you can take along the cliffs with gorgeous views of the water and lighthouse. After all that walking, we were ready for a snack and there’s no better place for a snack in Portland than DuckFat. It was as good as they say it is and we got to sit in a cute little table outside.
Our last day in Portland, which also happened to be my birthday! We took a ferry over to Peaks Island and rented bikes to explore the island. It was really fun to get to ride with Charlotte on the tandem bike. When back in Portland, we went to Portland Observatory and luckily for us it was free to climb to the top since it was Flag Day! Very close to the observatory is Standpipe Park, which reportedly has the best views of the city. It seems like it’d be especially pretty to visit at sunset. We ended my birthday with dinner at Fore Street which was amazing. Really delicious and everything is presented in a way that’s almost too pretty to eat. It was a perfect birthday dinner and a great way to end our trip.
13 days of travels. Days packed full of new adventures…
…1475 miles driven, 64 miles walked, 6 cites, 4 hotels, 2 islands, 4 ferries, 3 swimming pools, 7 beaches, 6 breweries, 5 lighthouses, 3 mountaintops, 2 ponds, 1 boat cruise, 1 bike ride, 1 kids museum, 1 national park, 1 birthday celebration, an uncountable number of uneaten kids meals, a back-aching amount of piggyback rides, a bunch of bedtime snuggles, an unmentionable amount of ice cream, a lot of laughter. Amazing, AMAZING memories. This trip has made my heart so very happy…