Bar Harbor, Maine (September 22, 2022)

We woke up anchored off Mount Desert Island to pouring rain, fog, and gusty wind! The kind that turns umbrellas inside out and dampens spirits. Perhaps Fiona didn’t get the memo about not causing problems this far north. We decided, what the heck, we didn’t have anything to lose, we’d tender ashore and take the tour we had previously chosen. Cyd and Ricky had already gone to town but were so discouraged by the weather that they were headed back to the ship on one tender as we were heading to town on another. Cyd texted about our whereabouts and once she and Rick heard we were going to go ahead with our plans, they caught the next tender back to town and joined us. Walter, recovering from emergency surgery a few weeks ago, decided wisely to stay on board. Hettie and Ronnie ventured to town once the weather let up. Although the rain, wind, and fog persisted, we are really glad we decided to forge ahead.

Bar Harbor’s claim to fame is being the gateway to Acadia National Park which encompasses a scattering of small islands, the Schoodic Peninsula, and nearly half of Mount Desert Island. We had a terrific guide who drove us along the 27-mile Park Loop Road to the top of Cadillac Mountain, the highest point on the island, and back. The drive took us along oceanside cliffs and through mountain forests. He said the mountain is called Cataract Island when the weather is like it was today. Get it? Funny man our driver. We saw just shy of nothing thanks to the fog but enjoyed his good humor and descriptions of what would have been spectacular on a sunny day.

Our guide explained the cottage culture that grew up here. By cottage we are talking about a 10,000 to 40,000 square feet summer getaway for the over-the-top privileged few. Think of names like Pulitzer, Vanderbilt, Rockefeller, Morgan, Astor, Ford, and Carnegie. We drove past some of these cottages, still in use today, as well as the charred ruins of many others that were destroyed in 1947 by a month-long fire that swept the island. All said and done 67 cottages and five hotels were burned to the ground. By the mid-1940s the Great Depression and the newly‐introduced income tax had taken a toll on the opulent lifestyles of the ultra rich, so most of the owners took the insurance money and did not rebuild.

Acadia National Park is part of the legacy of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the other wealthy cottage-owning businessmen who established it. A standout feature of the park is the interlaced system of hiking trails and carriage roads. Carriage road, like cottage, is a misnomer of grand proportion. The roads are 16 feet wide with drainage part of the design and are considered the best example of broken stone roads in the entire country. Locally quarried granite was used to build the roads and 17 unique bridges. Motorized vehicles are prohibited. Think bikes, horses, cross country skis, carriages, sturdy footwear, and sleighs.

After our tour we strolled around the charming town, bought sweatshirts anticipating an adjustment in the weather forecast, browsed the cute shops, snacked, and took a walk along a beautiful path that ran right along the shore. Cold and wet, we headed back to the ship just in time for tea and scones followed by a warm shower, cocktails, a delicious dinner, and great entertainment.

We got the word around dinnertime that storm warnings had been issued for the Atlantic provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, and parts of Quebec. EXACTLY where we are headed. For the safety of the passengers and crew, the captain announced, he was taking Halifax off the schedule, and to buy time while the weather makes up its mind he’ll set a course south to Portland, Maine rather than north to Saint John, New Brunswick. Sounds like a plan.

… Oh Really? …

Cadillac Mountain enjoys the first sunrise in the country. Who knew?

Acadia National Park is one of the top ten most visited parks in the United States.

Lobster is the second industry here.
We saw lots of lobster boats and immediately decided we needed a lobster float as a souvenir.

Bar Harbor has 12 foot tides.


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