Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog

biking in Acadia National Park
July 19, 2010, 12:05 pm
Filed under: Travels

Seeing that the Obama family has followed our lead by vacationing in Maine, I’ll summarize our stay there. Without benefit of Secret Service, we also enjoyed Bar Harbor’s ice cream shops, patio cafes, bars, and easily walkable downtown and waterfront areas.

There must be a restaurant there that doesn’t have lobster on the menu, but everyone we visited or walked past did have lobster.  In the less touristed areas you can buy it from the fishermen or at a local store, for as little as $4.99 a pound.  This is the same price–or less than–it’s been for about two decades, while fuel and other fisherman costs have gone up.  I read in a local paper the goal of a sales relationship with China, where fresh lobster is popular.  Such an increase in demand would boost prices.

We stayed there three nights and two full days, at a motel with cabins a few miles outside Bar Harbor. Lovely bay views; no a/c but it was just cool enough at night to be okay. Breakfast was great at Two Cats (great food and Fair Trade coffee)  and Cafe this Way (good value breakfast from sustainable sources).

On the second day we rented “comfort bikes” for the day. The Bar Harbor area provides shuttle buses all over the place, including one with a trailer for bikes. They load your bike and take you into Acadia National Park. After we started the ride I resolved to ride to work more often. The uphills were arduous mainly because it was hot and humid, and a few times I chose to walk the bike. The downhill descent was glorious and breezy. I did have to slow my bike down to avoid losing control on the gravelly road. The lakes and ponds are so pristine because people and pets aren’t allowed to take a dip; it’s the fresh water source for surrounding towns.

We stopped for lunch at the cafe at the Jordan Pond House. Not cheap but not a ripoff, either, and the food was good. Our waiter told us lots of students work at the park in summer: Americans earlier in the season and Europeans later, after the US kids go back to . This year they have groups of Serbians, Poles, Russians, and others. Our waiter has finished at Colby College and is on his way to a consulting job in Boston. After lunch I was still able to bike but was less interested in the scenery. My max for the day was about 4 hours. I could feel it coming on, the way I do hiking: I’m not just tired, I’m reaching my limit, beyond which I might just collapse and need to be hauled out, or might try the patience of my companion.

The next day I wasn’t nearly as sore as I had expected. I liked the soft seats and upright riding position of the bikes. Raleigh was the brand, I think.  We drove on the Park’s roads to see views not accessible to bikers, and heard the thudding waves into the “thunder hole,” even though it was low tide.  We stopped in Northeast Harbor, one of the towns on Acadia’s Mount Desert Island, for a stroll by the upscale clothing stores and antique stores.  Clearly not a tourist destination–no parking meters or time limits on the main street.  Visited a stone United Church of Christ church, up on a hill.  Charming dark wood ceiling and pews inside.  In the pew racks were laminated flyers for parents (and others) noting that children belong in church, and advising parents how to help them appreciate and learn about the liturgy, and no doubt advising non-parents to show some hospitality and forbearance.  Opening sentence:  “God put the wiggle in children and children are welcome in God’s house.”  We took one across the street to the public library and had it photocopied.  I’ll think about how to translate it into a UU context.

After lunch we watched a little of the World Cup in our restaurant’s bar and drove along the coast for some stunning views before heading to the hills a and then back to the coast for a visit with friends near Brunswick.


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