Saturday, August 27, 2011

Down East Maine

My next destination was Bangor, ME, so I could visit Acadia National Park. Taking Highway 2 across NH and into ME, I saw some of the most beautiful country ever. But hey, I say that about most places while I'm there. But I did see an unusual waterfall, powerplant and dam, or so it seemed from the highway. But the town was small and there were no pullovers. So when I finally did find a pullout, I had to unhook the car and drive back to the fall.

This is Rumford Fall in the town of Rumford Fall. Right now it doesn't look too significant. Water levels are low and the water is just trinkling over the dam and down the falls.

But this is how it can look during spring thaws and when the rains are heavy.

If you hadn't guessed, Rumford, ME, is largely a logging town.

Besides Acadia National Park, I was also looking forward to visiting the Old Town Factory and hopefully finding a new kayak. Well, when we went on Monday they didn't have what I wanted. They said to call back on at the end of the week to see if they got in any new inventory. I also found out Johnson Outdoor Company, the owner of Old Town, also owns Necky, Ocean Kayaks and Carlisle Paddles.

As you can see there is another blue kayak on top of Max's jeep. Yep, it's mine. They got in one, 10.6 ft Dirigo and that is what I was looking for. Great price too. Nancy was also looking for a kayak, same kind, and since they only had the one, she had to keep on looking. Well, on the way to Rockland she stopped at an Outdoor Store on Highway 1, found her 10.6 Dirigo on sale. So wow, now we both have new kayaks.

Bangor has its own version of Paul Bunyon. Notice his blue ox is not with him. In the late 1800s, Maine was known as the 'lumber capitol of the world', with sailing vessels loaded with lumber were sailing from Maine's seaports to places around the world.

We had a nice spot at the Elks in Bangor. I even had a front yard for Fancy.

Sand Beach at Acadia National Park.

Of course Max and I had to get our feet wet. The water was cold, they say only around 55 degrees, yet people were swimming. I don't swim until the water is at least 80.

There were some beautiful coastal areas in the park.

But it was so crowded. We went to the visitor center and parked the car, deciding to take the park shuttle. I don't know which would have been worse, trying to drive the car through the heavy traffic, sometimes at a standstill, in the park, or the shuttle. Several times at the shuttle stops we had to wait for the next shuttle because it was full. Truthfully I was very disappointed. I would have liked to camp there, but they don't allow RVs longer than 35 ft or over 11 ft 8 in. I know it was beautiful, but I'm sure there are other places just as pretty.

Thunderhole. When the tide comes in, it channels through this narrow flume and blasts the wall at the end. Because there is an undercut and cave the water seems to draw an unnatural force and make a large popping sound as it rushes in. We got to see it at the best time when the tide is almost, but not quite at high tide.

After finally getting on a shuttle, we all decided we were tired of fighting the crowds and just rode the shuttle back to the visitor center. Someday I would like to come back and visit some areas of the park I didn't visit today, but I want it to be later in the fall or early in the spring, not the busy time of the season.

Leaving the park we headed into Bar Harbor. Just another touristy town with lots of shops selling overpriced good and your choice of restaurants. We did find a restaurant advertising lobster dinners for $14.99 and thought that sounded good. I mean, we are in Maine and Maine is lobster country. When in Maine, eat lobster. When we were done eating and just wandering we found a brewery and winery to visit.

Of course I had to buy some and bring it home. I mean, besides lobster, Maine is known for its blueberries (something I didn't know until I got here). The young man giving us our samples said to use the Blueberry Ale instead of water when making blueberry pancakes. He says the ale makes the pancakes light and fluffy and very tasty. No alcohol of course, it cooks out. I'll let you know when I finally make the pancakes if they are as good as he says.

Leaving Bar Harbor, we went back to Acadia and drove to the top of Cadillac Mountain. If was later in the afternoon and the traffic was much better and the crowds weren't as bad either. Cadillac Mountain is the highest coastal mountain on the Atlantic Coast at 1500 feet. Wow, isn't that just soooooo high. But they say if you are here at sunrise, you can be the first to see the sun coming up over America.

Another day had us heading 'down east'. Actually we were heading north, but they call it down east around here. The term comes from 'down the fact that if you are on the water, you are heading east and the wind is pushing you down the coast, and now people just say 'down east'. But our first stop was Schoodic Point, the mainland side of Acadia National Park. Most people just know Acadia National Park as being located on Mount Desert Island, along with Bar Harbor. But across the bay from Bar Harbor is an area called Schoodic Point, which is a peninsula, and the tip of the peninsula is also part of the national park. Above is an inlet which is at low tide. They say the tides are around 10 feet here, so it is quite evident when the tides are out. You also don't want to get caught in one of these inlets in a kayak or you will be dragging the kayak through the mud or waiting 12 hours for the tide to return.

I picked an apple and boy was it sour. Looked ripe, but very sour.

They say this is a rose hip. The wild roses were covered with these. Look at your vitamen C bottle and it will probably say something like 'from rose hips'. So now you know.

At the tip of the peninsula there was nothing to break the atlantic waves from crashing ashore. The rugged beauty was amazing.

Behind me is the same rock from the previous picture, but now the waves are completely covering the rock.

We could see lobstermen checking their traps.

On the way back to the highway we spotted this large lobsterman.

We found another place to stop and have lobster, the Seafood Shack. These lobsters were delivered earlier in the morning and while we were there, another delivery of fresh lobsters was delivered for the evening diners. Our waitress comes from a lobstering family. Her father is a lobsterman and so is her husband. I think to most of the locals eating lobster is no big deal, its just a living.

Down the road was Blueberry Land. We were up in the part of Maine where the wild blueberry bogs are located.

Unlike cultivated blueberries, wild blueberries are small, but supposed to be more tasty. I never knew the difference until I actually saw the two side by side. Needless to say, I now have fresh, wild blueberries in my freezer.

We made it to Machais, which was getting ready for the 38th Annual Blueberry Festival. The town is centered around these falls. They are called the Bad Little Falls.

In conjunction with the blueberry festival is a dance on Saturday night at the grange. Each year is a different theme. This year it is the Blackfly Ball.

The lower level of the Grange, now used as a dining area. The grange, after being abandoned for many years, was condemned, but some volunteers from the Beehive Collective organization. Some 100 volunteers gather each year for a month or so, providing there time and talents to rebuild and restore this building. It has taken 6 years to get it restored to the point it is today. The volunteers are expected to pay a donation of $3-$10 per day while there. The volunteers take the funds and buy food, preparing food for the entire group. The volunteers are allowed to sleep in the grange or they can pitch a tent. Most of the volunteers are young people in their 20s. The Beehive Design Collective is a non-profit political organization using graphic arts to educate the populace and to communicate stores of resistance to corporate globilization. (That description was taken from wikipedia online.)

This is the upper level of the Grange, which is the ballroom and stage. The building was built originally with some type of special bracing which allows this 2nd floor to flex as much as 8 inches. The building is wider at the top, allowing it to bow inward. Last year they said there were over 200 people up here dancing and you could visibly see the building flexing.

Much of the cooking is done outside using very large pots. Some literature I picked up says the food provided is all vegetarian. These kids consider themselves activists in all things concerning the earth and how it is being used and abused. I don't agree with their politics, but it was interesting talking with them. The young man who gave us a tour and seemed to be in charge, works in Boston as a waiter. He saves his money so he can come up here every summer for a month to volunteer and help rebuilt this community. I was impressed to see so many young people willing to pay their own way to come and help out. Go check out the for more info on the organization.

Down the road was Jasper Beach, so named for all the small jasper rock comprising the beach.

The mound was the location of Ft. Machais/O'Brien, first built in 1773 following the first naval battle of the Revolutionary War. Not far from here Ichobad Jones was bringing supplies with a British escort. There was a disagreement between Captain Jones and some of the local patriots. The next day a battle ensured near the mouth of the Machais River, with Jeremiah O'Brien leading the patriots, hence, Machais is considered to be one of the birthplaces of the U.S. Navy.

1 comment:

Barbara and Ron said...

That is so strange. When we were there it wasn't crowded at all and that was for the 4th of July! I loved the coastline in Maine. Love the picture of you eating the sour apple.