23 August 2014

Please excuse my measly attempt at an authentic New England accent...
Brace yourself, this is going to be one very long, exciting and picture heavy post!

I was toying with the idea of breaking the trip up into several smaller posts, but figured I wanted everything located in one post so that it would easier to access in the future if need be.
These weeks have been so crazy busy lately, that I'm just lucky if I know what day of the week it is. The first week of August I was soaking up some Carolina rays (or lack there of) in Myrtle Beach, came home to Boston to move over one street the next week, and then went to Vacationland to celebrate my Oma and Opa's Golden Anniversary in Bar Harbor for another week! Why I haven't been there before, I don't know. Having lived in New England for the first seven years of my life, and for the past year, Bar Harbor is a New England staple, and a MUST SEE!
The primary purpose of this trip was to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of my wonderful Oma and Opa with 17 other adventurous, fun, and nature loving family members whom are located all over the country. We're talking CO, KY, OH, PA, MD, NJ, ME, and MA. Lucky for me, travel time only consisted of a five hour drive from Boston to Bar Harbor which I didn't even have to do (thanks bro!). However, for other family members, they found themselves with some 12 hour+ road trips and/or very lengthy flights! Fortunately, everyone made an effort to head out to the very east end of the country to collaborate and celebrate! We are very fortunate!
Because this blog serves as an online public diary for myself, I'm going to list the day by day activities and excursions that we spoiled ourselves with. That way, the next time I travel to Bar Harbor I will be able to locate all of our memories and adventures in one spot. This can also serve as an itinerary for you if you ever find yourself up on Maine's rocky coast looking for fun things to do.
The first day consisted of traveling out to the island itself. After a much needed, hardy breakfast at the Cockpit Cafe, my siblings, cousin and parents began the four hour drive from Southern Maine. Unfortunately, we arrived a little later than expected and missed the carriage ride through Acadia park with other family members. We checked into our rooms at the Bar Harbor Regency, and waited for all of the family to arrive so that we could head out for that night's activity - The Great Maine Lumberjack Show! The lumberjack show was cute, and fun for all! They had competitions that included axe throwing, log rolling, underhand chopping, crosscut sawing, pole climbing, and much more!
  The view from my room!
On day two, we all woke up bright and early, grabbed a bite at the beautiful and plentiful hotel breakfast buffet and then headed out to Acadia park for a gorgeous morning hike! All 18 of us tied up our boots and headed out to the most challenging hike in the park - Precipice! This trail was extremely fun thanks to the rungs and ladders that are needed to hoist yourself up the extremely steep and vertical trail. The entire hike is extremely gorgeous and exposed giving you beautiful views of the ocean, mountains, and rocks! We were pretty dang happy when we got to the top. 
  That view!
All the cousins!
Reunited with my beautiful sisters!
Next, after the hike and a quick lunch, we headed back into downtown Bar Harbor to catch one of the more favored activities of the week, the Lulu Lobster Boat Ride! I think it's safe to say that we all really enjoyed this boat tour. Captain John took us out on his lobster boat and explained every last itching detail that anyone may ever have about lobstering. He was extremely knowledgeable about the anatomy of lobsters, the history, the rules and regulations, as well as conservation. We also cruised by a lighthouse to see some seals and bald eagles, score! Captain John pulled one of his own lobster traps out of the water to explain to us how the traps worked and showed us some of his lobster prisoners, which he threw back in the ocean! Yay Captain John! I highly recommend taking this tour. It was very informative and interesting, not to mention tons of fun! Once back on land, we feasted at Stewman's Lobster Pound where I had the most delectable blueberry margarita and grilled cheese. I guess now is a good time to put out there that I don't really eat meat.. ever ...except for bacon. 
  Lobsters tend to hang out around rocks, hence all of the lobster buoys!

Day three was the actual day of my Oma and Opa's 50th wedding anniversary, so we started the celebration out with a beautiful and traditional church service in downtown Bar Harbor. 
Church was followed by a brunch at the Jordan Pond House where we were introduced to popovers. Yum, yum, triple yum! It's basically a hollow bread roll that you eat with butter and jam. We played around there for awhile and then some of us went off to find Sand Beach and Thunder Hole, and others went to hike the Bubble Rock Trails. 
  My sister - the Etch A Sketch Queen!
 Later that evening we all found ourselves back at the hotel for the fancy feast celebrating two amazing, and inspirational people. The restaurant at the hotel, La Bella Vita Ristorante had a selection of Italian favorites that we had picked out ahead of time. After the meal, we presented fun anecdotes about our Oma and Opa, and played a fun version of catch phrase that was altered to fit words that described them, as well as a little trivia. 
  Sister selfie #noshame
The fourth day was the last day at the hotel, and is when the families all went their own way, either home or to a campsite for some more island fun. Before we checked out, we ventured out to Bar Island during low tide. At this time, the island becomes completely accessible by foot and you are able to cross the land bridge to the other side. 
Later in the day, my brother, mom, and myself went over to try out the Beehive Trail which closely resembles Precipice with all of the rungs and ladders which are needed in order to get to the summit. This was also a favorite due in large part to the exposed face and steep, and challenging obstacles. Once the day came to a close, the three of us headed to Cadillac mountain (tallest mountain on the island) and then towards the Southwestern side of the island to stay at Quietside Campground for the next three nights.
View from Cadillac Mountain.
We started day 5 off with a filling breakfast at Common Good, which is a free will donation soup kitchen that offers hot popovers, coffee, juice and oatmeal to campers and hikers looking for a hot meal. Great cause, friendly volunteers, and delicious food. Doesn't get much better than that. 
We headed off to Echo Lake in attempt to find the rungs and ladder course that goes up Beech Mountain. Guess what.. we hiked up and down the mountain once before we found the ladder trail. So we hiked that mountain twice. 
In the evening we just barely scored some tickets to the Whale Watching tour, which we were so lucky to get thanks to some last minute no call, no shows. I think we had the best whale sighting that company had had all summer! The whales were all out and about, blowing water, killing us with their stinky breath, and showing off their flukes. One of the whales even breached! Not only did we get spoiled by amazing whale sightings, but we also saw tons of seals that were playing around the boat, and a herd of dolphins that came splashing towards us. Too cool! The day came to a close and we fed ourselves some delicious American food at a fun 50's nostalgia restaurant, Route 66.
Like day 5, we started day 6 off with breakfast at Common Good as well. Breakfast was followed by a very steep hike up Dorr Mountain. This trail was basically a rock stairway all the way up. My thighs are feeling it today. 
We had an appointment with Atlantic Climbing School in the afternoon. This is also one of those activities that is ranked very high on my "loved" list. I don't know if it was the breathtaking views off of Otter Cliffs, our amazing climbing guide, or the fact that I was literally hanging off of granite pulling my body weight up a cliff as the Atlantic Ocean splashed below me. It was an amazing and beautiful experience. Because we only had a group of three we were able to get four climbs in each, one of which we climbed our way out of the cliffs! 
I love this picture of my brother - where the sky meets the ocean!
Afterwards we treated ourselves at Portside Grill and grabbed some ice cream. In the evening, we went to Improv Acadia to enjoy a good laugh at the end of the day!
Our last day. Sad. We once again, enjoyed some Common Good and then headed on our way back to Southern Maine.
Have you packed your bags and booked a flight already? It's a beauty!
After a week in Myrtle Beach, followed by another week in Bar Harbor... I don't think I want to go back to work.

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