Maine Adventure : Acadia National Park and the Maine Coast

What’s a wife to do when her husband says. “Let’s go on an adventure to Maine! Can you be ready in 4 hours?”  Of course I say, “Yes, but I’ll need more than 4 hours.” Being the miracle packer that I am, I had us ready in about 6 hours and headed out when the sun broke the sky the next morning.  We had the general idea of heading to Acadia National Park and meandering our way home. The amazing thing about winging a vacation is that you never know where you’ll end up or where you will stay. It brings about a true sense of adventure. (sometimes anxiety on my part because I am a natural planner, it breaks down my grip on control and helps me just trust that it’s all going to work out.)

The trip there was LONG, a mere 16 hours. We stopped in Springfield, MA for the night where we stayed at the Sheraton Monarch Place.  It was just ok. It was pretty far off the freeway and in the downtown area, I would probably NOT stay there again.  As with any LONG trip we were up again traveling. Dunkin’ Donuts coffee was to the rescue for us.

 

We found some great places to stretch our legs as we traveled. My favorite stop was at the Portland Head Light. We were just driving along the coast and looking for a place to picnic when I saw the sign off the road about this location. The weather on this whole trip was FOGGY and so it was really amazing to pull into the parking lot and look for the lighthouse and barely be able to see it. You “GET IT” about needing lighthouses on days like that! There was ample parking and plenty places to picnic. There were also food trucks available with lobster rolls and ice cream. This was a great stop and we really enjoyed the up close and personal views of the lighthouse. It’s a must stop in Portland, ME.

 

 

 

 

This was still considered a travel day as we were trying to make it to the Acadia National Park area BUT who can go to Maine and not head to Freeport,ME and shop at the L.L. Bean Outlet? Heck, we knew if stopped we would not make it to our destination until the sun had set but we had to go. It was totally worth it! I learned how L.L.Bean supports and helps so much in the environmental areas of the state. I really feel buying from L.L.Bean is like spending money to get what I want and to support environmental issues! Thanks L.L. Bean!

Abbie, our T1d, was not feeling the best after our stop at the outlet stores and began to slowly have a diabetic crash. It was the kind that  ruins a day (the week actually) , makes everyone stop and remember that she really does live with a terrible, life threatening illness. She was unable to speak, feel her hands and there seemed to be NOTHING we could do to get her blood sugar levels up. We found a nearby exit that had a hospital and sat at a Friendly’s parking lot watching to see if we could get some positive glucose response. Thankfully, I was able to speak to her doctor and we got a slow trend upwards. That took 2 hours out of our travel northwards but I’d stop the world to help my girl!

 

 

 

 

If you’ve read this far you know we had no lodging plans. Uh, we stopped at a lighthouse, outlet stores and had a major diabetic crash, it’s probably a good thing we were winging it! I got on my KOA app and found the KOA Woodlands. They had a glamping cabin available and I snagged it! We were dead tired when we made it to the KOA and honestly, I was nervous about booking something I had never seen or stayed in. We had no idea what to expect. IT WAS AWESOME!! Seriously, I was so happy with it.

We walked into a screened in porch with a picnic table. The tent had heavy duty Velcro and a zipper to enter into the living space. The floors are made of wood and the tent was canvas. It was set up with a master bedroom, bunk room and living room area. There was plenty of space for the family to spread out and get much needed breathing room away from each other after the 2 long travel days! The only thing this glamping tent lacked was a bathroom but even that was just short walk away. BONUS feature: the Kerig coffee maker!!  I would recommend this KOA style of glamping.

 

 

 

The next morning was Acadia National Park! We were so excited to finally make it to this destination. Due to how much I have to say about Acadia I am writing a separate blog about it and you can read that here. Acadia National Park

Abbie struggled with T1d lows our whole time in Acadia NP and sadly was unable to do any of the “hiking” trails. It was a real downer. She told me I should crowd fund her way back there so she could actually enjoy all the facets of it.

Bar Harbor, ME has sooooo much you could do and enjoy. We are the outdoor, adventurous types so we left those things for others to do, but there is whale watching, boat rides, and shopping on the quaint streets. If we would have had more time in the area we would have certainly enjoyed trying out some of those things. (I really wanted to whale watch but the tours were full because the prior day was cancelled due to weather.)

**ONE THING YOU HAVE TO DO IN BAR HARBOR! ** You MUST go out and explore the tide pools at low tide. If you park on West Street and walk out on Bridge Street you can access the sand bar. REMEMBER, YOU CAN ONLY DO THIS AT LOW TIDE. You can walk out to the island and wade in the pools using the sandbar.

We were on a mission to find some starfish. We are from Ohio and had no idea what to look for, so prior to going we asked some park rangers how to find sea life. The ranger told us to wade out to at least our ankles/mid-calf and lift up the rocks and look under them. It took us awhile but we found one!! This was a highlight of our trip!

 

 

 

 

Who can go to Maine and not have some lobster? Maine lobster is certainly something you have to try when you are in Bar Harbor, Maine! We had it two times while we were there. The first time we tried it, we ate at Peekytoe Provisions. I can’t recommend this location to you. The food was just ok and expensive for what you got. The service was marginal and the atmosphere was cafe’ style. It was very disappointing.

Our second time was JUST YUM! Down East Lobster Pound was a perfect spot to grab some lobster. We got 2 lobsters, corn on the cob and slaw for $19.99. I did ask them about the price and it is MKT PRICED daily so call before you go if you want the current market price. The family has been in business for quite sometime and they are willing to share their knowledge with you. We asked them tons of questions about lobsters and crabs and they were willing to give us all the skinny on the how and why of lobster fishing. A++ service and friendliness.

 

 

 

We were sad to be leaving the Acadia NP area but we had the notion to hit Niagara Falls before we got home soooo we had to start that meandering home thing.

Honestly, we got onto the road as said, “Shall we take the coastal road or the main freeway?” We opted for Route 1 down the coast. Since we had no plans and were just road tripping, we took our time cruising down the coast checking out the sights. We came to this point in the road where we were crossing a LARGE suspension bridge. Curiously we were taking in all the parts about it, thinking WOW this is in the middle of NO WHERE and it’s amazing! As we crossed the bridge we saw a sign about Fort Knox and decided, “Hey, lets stop and check it out!”

Penobscot narrows bridge and observatory and Fort Knox is a MUST STOP for any family! We love history and this was just the place to give us that history fix we needed. The bridge in and of itself is amazing, and is taller than Lady Liberty! They have an elevator that takes you to the top where you get spectacular views of Maine.

 

 

 

Fort Knox Historic Site is full of nooks and neat historical things to see. It has amazing architecture and the structure is massive. I was really intrigued about the Hot Shot Furnace, while this one was never used I learned about how these were utilized in the protection of territory. This was one of the best forts I have explored in awhile and it was really fun to be able to check it out. I ALWAYS give a good scare to one of the kids if I can in old spooky forts! Lord, please forgive me.

Every night since we left we had no idea where we were going to be staying and this night was no different. We had spent A LONG time at the Bridge and Fort and time was ticking. It dawned on me  that it was a Friday night in Maine during high tourist season. I quickly started to google and map out some locations we could stop and would you believe we found a cottage by the sea? Yeah, me either! It was not the cheapest night we had on the trip but it was a lovely stop.

Colonial Gables Cottages in Belfast, ME, were just a wonderful place to rest after all our adventuring in Acadia NP and the fort area. We were able to kick back and use a full kitchen, shower in a bathroom INSIDE our cottage, and sip coffee on the porch while we watched the fog roll in and out. I can’t tell you how refreshing this stop and stay was at this property. While it is not the Ritz Carlton, it is clean, updated and relaxing. Heather at the front desk was informative and helpful about the area and gave us some great tips for our evening. Sometimes those little mom and pop places can be just what your road weary traveling soul needs.

 

 

 

After our restful night and hearty breakfast cooked on a real stove we loaded up and headed to Niagara Falls and Canada! We were sad to say good-bye to Maine and all the beauty and adventure we had there. I am certain we will return to this WONDERFUL state where adventure can be had on every corner! #visitmaine

You can read about Niagara Fall here and how the rest of the trip went!

Happy Adventuring,

Brandy

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