Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Bar Harbor and MDI Adventures

Like the rest of 2021, this month has been flying by at warp speed.  Eliot and I have been trying to take time to enjoy the season before it's come and gone.  The weekend before last, we decided to take it off to go up to my hometown of Bar Harbor and Mt. Desert Island.  Our weekend getaway had a dual purpose; it was mostly to visit Acadia and see the leaves, but we also wanted to visit my parents and Nana.

Like usual, we had planned to drive up Friday night, but we had too much to finish with our businesses before we could leave our house.  When it got past dinnertime, Eliot and I made the call to stay at our house Friday night and get as much finished as possible.  Then, we'd also get to sleep in our own bed another night.

Saturday morning, we got up earlier than usual, showered, checked the house and packed the truck up.  Eliot took everything to the post office while I was finishing a few things up at the house.  Then, we both piled into the truck and got on the road.  We left later than we wanted to, but we were going to make the most of our short weekend!

On the way up, we stopped in August to get pizza from the pizza place Eliot likes.  We arrived there just after noon when they were opening.  We ate in the car and then got on the road.  Eliot drove the rest of the way home from Augusta to Trenton.  We arrived at my parents' house right at 2:00 pm.  After a quick stop to use the bathroom and drop the truck off, we hopped into Mom and Dad's car and were on our way!

By 3:30, Eliot and I were pulling into the Witch Hole Pond carriage path entrance.  We walked in our usual direction, taking time to stop and enjoy the scenery.  I took a bunch of photos of the trees and leaves.  We stopped at the edge of the pond like we usually do, taking in the gorgeous view and autumn scenery.  

When we reached the crossroad, we took the route to walk up to the Paradise Hill scenic overlook.  It's quite a hike up the hill, but Eliot told me how pretty the view was as he's gone up there a few times while running.  We weren't in much of a hurry so we took our time climbing up it.  When we reached the top, we stopped again to take in the view and to take a few pictures of the scenery and our little plush donkey friends. (They rode along with us in our backpacks.)  He was right; it was beautiful!

After walking back down the hill, we decided to take the same way back that we'd walked on the way in.  It was about one mile back in that direction, versus about two to complete the loop.  The sun was setting and we didn't want to lose daylight.  The walk back seemed much faster as we passed familiar landmarks.  

When we reached the bridge to cross back over to the parking area, we stopped to take a few more pictures and take in the view.  It's been at least two years since we walked Witch Hole Pond and I'm really glad we took some time to do it!

We got back to our car and left around 6:00 pm- right as the sun was setting.  We were driving back towards the road when Eliot suddenly screamed "watch out!"  He scared the crap out of me, but there before us was a giant buck crossing the road.  I stopped short of him by about 30 feet and thankfully, the truck approaching us in the other lane also stopped.  We all sat watching the deer as he finished crossing the road and climbed into the grass and down into the pond below.  It was really awesome to see such a magnificent creature so close.  As many deer as I've seen on the island, it's rare that I actually see a buck with antlers!

Eliot and I got home and told Mom, Dad and Nana about our walk and our encounter with the buck.  We had decided that we were going to go up to Ellsworth to get something for dinner and that's when Mom and Dad surprised me and told me they were getting me another lobster!  They assured me that I could easily take it home with me, so Eliot and I stuck with our plan.

We went up to explore Walmart for a little bit.  Then, Eliot went to Dairy Queen to get his dinner and his cheese curds.  I called my meal in while he ate.  Then, on the way home, we stopped by China Hill to pick up my dinner.  It was so good.  I love their Chinese food and I always try to get it when I go home.  Then, we spent the rest of the night hanging out with Mom, Dad and Nana before bed.

On Sunday, Eliot and I slept in more than we planned to, but I was so tired.  Plus, I knew I needed rest in order for us to drive home safely later that night.

We showered, got dressed and headed into Bar Harbor.  We had planned to go to the Pink Pastry shop for a late breakfast, but when we arrived in town Eliot saw that the Epi was open.  We parked at the bank and walked over.  Sure enough, it was open until 3:00 pm.  (It was about 2:00 pm but it's usually closed on Sundays so it surprised us.)  We went in and ordered our food.  After talking to some of the workers, we learned that the following day, Columbus Day, was their last day of the season.  

Something that I'd heard a few weeks prior, was that it was up for sale.  This has happened a few times since the original owner, John, sold it years ago.  Every time someone else takes it over, I pray they keep the same menu.  I've been going to Epi as far back as I can remember.  My grandparent's store was literally right next to it.  I can remember Dad, Jeremy and I going their each day we worked at the store next door.  I also went there when I worked at Sherman's for two summers.  I had friends who worked there.  It's a part of my life and I always look forward to going.

I'm so glad we got to eat there.  Eliot and I don't know what it's fate will be, but having lunch there gave me a little bit of time to silently say goodbye in case it was necessary.

Eliot and I both took a few photos.  We sat in my favorite booth, the one right up front at the window.  I can't tell you how many times I've sat there.  I pointed things out to Eliot... things I remembered, things that have changed.  Before leaving, Eliot and I both bought t-shirts with the Epi logo on the front and back.  Hopefully, someone will buy it and continue the legacy so we'll be able to enjoy more meals there.

After leaving downtown, I drove down the road to a trail Eliot's never been to.  I think I've only been there once, back when I was in high school or college and we took Lucky with us for a family picnic.  There's a trail called Compass Harbor Trail that's not as well known.  There aren't any signs for it.  The parking lot is pretty small, but when we arrived it was decently full- maybe about 8 cars.

Eliot and I made our way down the trail towards the ocean.  The trails were really quiet since everyone there was pretty spread out.  When we finally arrived at the end of the trail, the pathway to the very end of the point had washed out.  When I was last there, you could walk across it, but this time we found a pit about 10" down.

Eliot and I found the stairs and took another way to get up on the peninsula and the rocks.  We sat there for a while enjoying the view of the ocean and the quiet cove.  A few boats passed by.  We saw the Margaret Todd ship.  We got to see the outer Porcupine Islands that I'm not as familiar with.  We sat there for a while before we decided it was time to move on.  We still had one more stop and they closed at 5:00.

We made our way into Acadia National Park and arrived at the Jordan Pond House parking lot just before 4:30 pm.  Both the parking lot and the entrance were packed, but we still headed in.  Unfortunately, when Eliot arrived at the check-in counter, they had stopped taking names for the day.  We weren't going to be able to get popovers after all.  I was pretty disappointed, but there wasn't really anything I could do.

There was a giant line to get into the gift shop, so we didn't bother with that.  Instead, we walked up to the upper deck and sat at the overlook.  I took a few photos of Jordan Pond and the restaurant while sitting there.  We actually met a group of ladies who had traveled from Tennessee.  One of them stayed behind while the others walked down to the water.  We talked to her and I answered her questions about the area (I had told her I grew up there).  She thanked us when the others came to get her.  Eliot offered to take a picture for them and they were thrilled.  After, they went on their way and we wished them well on their trip.

After a few more minutes of taking in the scene, Eliot and I decided it was time to head back to my parents' house.  However, we took our time.  Eliot drove and we stopped at one of the overlooks on the road above Eagle Lake.  I also had him stop when we were overlooking Paradise Hill and the bluffs.  (Yes, the same overlook we were at on Witch Hole Pond... but the park road is lower than the Carriage Path.)

While we were at Paradise Hill, I got out and took a few photos looking out at the ocean and some back at town.  While I was up there, I heard sirens from the road below us.  You can't see the road from this location, but the main road into Bar Harbor is directly below you.  The whole time, I had a bad feeling in my gut.  The sirens got louder as they approached, but they didn't fade off into the distance.

My bad feeling was confirmed when Eliot and I arrived back at the turn to get back on the main road.  We were heading in the direction opposite town anyways, but there was a park ranger in the road making everyone turn left.  He was also directing cars heading into town to go into the park to take the Paradise Hill road into town.  They'd completely blocked off the road to the bluffs.

Eliot turned left and we continued on.  I called my Mom just in case they were listening to Dad's scanner (he was a volunteer firefighter).  That's something I often do when there's an accident or something going on while I'm visiting them.  Mom answered and said the scanner wasn't on, but she was happy that we were ok and on the way home.

The ride home took longer than it should have.  Eliot and I stopped one more time before arriving home.  There's a small creek on the way into Bar Harbor that I've often admired.  It's a beautiful picturesque place, and the trees near it were so colorful- probably the prettiest trees on the island.  I happened to see them on the drive into town, and I wanted to stop.  (I always say I'm going to check it out, and I never have.)

Eliot and I parked on our side the of road, near the ocean inlet, and then waited for traffic to clear before crossing the main road.  We really enjoyed the beautiful view of the creek; I think Daddy calls it King's Creek.  It was actually kind of funny because we were only there for a minute or two when the ladies from Jordan Pond pulled over and filed out of their rental car.  Apparently, they'd seen us when they drove by so they turned around.  They figured that I was local so I must know something that they didn't.

We talked with all of them for a few minutes, and Eliot took another group photo.  They offered to take a picture for us, but we said we were all set.  (We probably should have taken them up on it though!)  They enjoyed the beautiful trees and the photos were stunning, but nothing compares to how pretty it was in person.  

While Eliot and I talked with them, I heard the unmistakable sound of sirens getting closer.  I stopped to watch them go by and they were from Ellsworth.  (I immediately knew that wasn't a good sign.)  The ladies didn't think much of it, but they were aware of the road closure and that something was going on.  Eliot and I said goodbye to them once again and wished them a safe and fun rest of their trip, and they were on their way- beeping farewell as they passed by once more.  We stayed for another minute or two before we crossed the road back to our car.

By the time we reached the head of the island, there was a ton of traffic.  I wasn't sure what the backup was, but we drove safely.  As we approached the first bridge, I could see that the sun was setting.  (It was right before 6:00... right when the sunset was scheduled.)  A bunch of cars had pulled over to watch the sunset over the ocean. Eliot navigated the cars and people like a pro, and before I knew it we were on the other side of the bridge and back in Trenton.

We visited with Mom, Dad and Nana for a bit and told them about our day.  We talked about Epi, walking Compass Harbor and going to Jordan Pond House.  We also told them about meeting the ladies and then seeing them again at the creek.  Mom said she would watch the news that evening to find out what had been going on down at the bluffs.  (Unfortunately, we later found out that it was a bad accident and someone passed away.)  Eventually, we had to get on the road so we packed everything up in the truck.  Mom and Dad helped pack all of my leftovers: lobster, Chinese food, pizza, and half of my Epi sub.  (I had enough food for the rest of that week!)  

Eliot and I left Trenton later than we'd planned to, but I'm glad we got to visit with my family.  The ride home was uneventful other than seeing a few deer on the side of the road.  Eliot drove home since I was exhausted.  We arrived home at 12:30 am and promptly went to bed as soon as I was finished unloading all of the food.

It was a late night, and super quick trip up and back, but totally worth it!  °o° 

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