2019 Epilogue 

I got an email from Ollie at Windward Cottages. The subject line said “left in cottage.” I thought “what could we possibly have left? I thought we did a “last sweep” and I looked through drawers and closet and think Joseph did the same.  

Of course I figured Joseph did it. 

When I opened up the email, I saw “undergarments” and cringed. I know I took the last shower, so whatever was left was mine. Did I leave my bra or panties or maybe (I hoped) I just left socks. No such luck. 

I was too embarrassed to call Ollie myself. I asked Joseph to do it. 

When Joseph came home tonight, he had a sheepish look on his face. I cringed again. “Did you talk to Oliie,” I asked. “Yes,” he said, and burst out laughing. 

Fortunately, I didn’t leave everything. Unfortunately, it was my sports bra. Now, dear readers, I’m a big girl, so my bra is big to begin with. But my sports bra, with everything structural that holds my everythings in and up, is huge!!!  

I just wanted to crawl under the chair and stay there until the red in my face became at least a nice shade of pink.  

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https://www.decoratorsbest.com/products/fabricut-cemita-potpourri-fabric 

https://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=1063 

https://www.ellsworthamerican.com/living/arts-a-living/retired-cryptologist-traces-former-naval-bases-history/ 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/collections/201908/why-we-cheat 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/fulfillment-any-age/201703/10-ways-make-it-through-your-life-s-transitions 

 Beating Dorian 

All week I watched the path of hurricane Dorian. I wondered if we would get stuck in the hurricane – or it’s aftermath – on our way home. We didn’t. Leaving yesterday was smart. We had perfect weather from Bar Harbor all the way down the coast. By today the coast of Maine, including Downeast, was engulfed in the hurricane on its way to Canada. 

We lucked out with perfect sunshine-filled New England weather all the way home. 

We left Amesbury, and stopped in Newburyport to get bread. I wanted to make it a quick stop and then go to Salem. Joseph talked me out of it – and I’m glad he did…for two reasons: 

1 – We got home at 8:45 – and that was late enough. Adding a stop in Salem would have gotten us home much later, and probably cranky. 

2 – Since we weren’t going to Salem, we walked around and I stopped at Clays – where I found a fabulous jacket for $100. Almost as good as being at a Dillards sale! 

The ride home was fine until NY  where one woman nearly slid into the side of my car. It was like she was planning to change lanes and didn’t see me until the last safe second.  And there were kids in the car! I was driving and it scared the crap outta me. That was one. 

The second time, still while I was driving on the Garden State Parkway, some young woman didn’t bother to yield while merging. I almost ran into her back end. But here’s the weird thing: once on the parkway, she slide across lanes to the turning lane for the rest stop. That didn’t make sense to come onto the parkway just to get off. 

However, we got home safely, unpacked the car, and put away any food. Then we enjoyed a drink while watching a movie about George Burns, including his relationship with Gracie Allen. 

Another good vacation! 

Joseph and I thought about a “last hike” in the early morning

Joseph and I thought about a “last hike” in the early morning but opted for Common Good, the soup kitchen in Southwest Harbor. The soup kitchen takes care of Mainers who need food, especially during the winter months. I see the same volunteers each year, and some new faces. They are dedicated, and the community is equally dedicated in its support.  

We had a couple popovers and I had a little oatmeal. There was an old guy playing guitar when we sat down and I think he was duplicating practice in his living room. I don’t know if it could be worse. OK, maybe if he was louder. But then he left and another guy started and he wasn’t very loud either, but at least he was playing actual tunes. 

Back at the cottages, we stopped in to talk to Ollie and made our reservation for next year. Then it was back to the cottage to shower and pack. We left the cottage around noon. We picked up a Grandpa Jack sandwich Mother’s Kitchen and drove to Thompson’s Island to eat it – dragging out our 2019 MDI departure just a little longer.  

Then it was onto Bangor and I95. The weather was beautiful and the trip was easy. Joseph drove to Bangor and I picked it up from there.  

We stopped over in Portland to get a few donuts from The Holy Donut. Then onto Ogunquit for meet Robert for dinner at Roberto’s. It was so funny when we got there before Robert and sat at the reserved table (which we were told was Robert’s). Suddenly, thinking we were wrongly taking the reserved table, everyone from the owner to the server was on top of us. They kept asking “are you with Robert and Michael?” Yes, we assured them. However, until Robert got there, I don’t think they trusted us. It was funny. So when Robert finally got there, everyone – from owner to server to us about showing up for his reservation. 

Michael couldn’t join us for a medical reason and that was a little disappointing but…what can you do. I liked talking with Robert about everything from vacation in Maine to politics.   

We finished dinner and headed to our overnight at the Fairfield Inn in Amesbury MA 

The Big One 

Today is our last full day in Maine. That means two things: The last hike and the “special” dinner.  

For the hike we chose my favorite: The Jordan Pond. This one travels the entire 3.5 miles shoreline of the Jordan Pond. Joseph and I usually start on right (western) side because it’s a little tedious – easier to do when we have more energy. It starts like a nice walk along the shore but then the “boardwalk” starts. The boardwalk (two or three side-by-side planks) is designed to keep walkers off the marshy sections and preserve the ecology. A few years ago the boardwalk was relatively short and fairly low to the ground. Now the boardwalk is longer and higher. As a result, the hiker’s focus in on not falling off the boardwalk instead of enjoying the amazing scenery. 

This year the boardwalk ended with a sign that goes away from the pond and into the forest for a considerable distance. So, for about 10 minutes, we walked on soft needles and over tree roots. Then we were back on the path – just in time for the boulders. I think Joseph really likes this part the most. It’s a challenging trek over the through huge boulders.  

This year we watched a guy leapfrogging from boulder to boulder to get to one that was like an island in the water – all for a good photo. His friends were harassing him for doing it and he was teasing them into joining him – they weren’t buying it.  

I jumped into the conversation, telling him I thought he was impressive. His friends laughed and one of them said, “Yeah – stick around to see how he gets back!” I laughed and responded, “I think I will because I’m wondering how he’s do it!”  

The guys took their friend’s picture and, amazingly, he leapfrogged back to shore. One thing I was thinking is that, as he got to the last one on the shoreline, all his guys stood in place and watched. Not one of the guys moved. If it was girls, I think they’d be there to catch her – just in case. I thought it was curiously funny. 

A little later we met a couple, about our age, who was walking the opposite way from us. They wanted to know if there was a trail that would enable them hike up to the carriage road above and avoid the boulders and boardwalk. As far as we know, there isn’t. 

That’s one of the things about hiking here (and, I guess, anywhere). You can get lost or make a mistake and then you’re stuck. We’ve done it. Once we took a wrong path that ended up at a different parking lot. Another time we unexpectedly took a path that ended up going to Dorr Mt – the 2nd highest in the park. That wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was that we didn’t go back the same way and ended up on a path that we weren’t sure was a path. It was late in the day and I was scared that the sun would set and we would be lost in the park…and stuck there overnight. 

Stuff happens on hiking trails and there is often no cell service. Hiking is not for the faint of heart! 

I don’t know what happened to them but Joseph and I continued on the path. The second half of the path is a well-traveled flat walk on a gravel path. The views of the pond – especially during the days when the sun is shining brightly. During those days and during midday hours, the sun dances on the pond creating the most amazingly beautiful picture. 

The hike took us about 2 hours. When it was over, we broke from precedent. Joseph and I usually get popovers at Jordan Pond House, but it was too crowded. Instead we drove to the Asticou Inn in Northeast Harbor. A half-sandwich and 2 popovers later, we drove back to the cottage. When we got there, first we took a little time to clean out the kitchen cabinets, the first step in our packing-to-go-home process.  

Our dinner reservations weren’t until 8, so we watchged some TV. Actually, I found a copy of Must Watch Dogs in the cottage office. Knowing how that is one of the most hated romantic movies, I watched try to figure out why. I couldn’t. The script is dopey, but the performances are good. And I like John Cusack. So it wasn’t an Academy Award winner, but it was a cute movie featuring actual older people who are dating and dealing with previously married angst. 

Our “last night” dinner was at Red Sky in Southwest Harbor. They were having staffing issues (a common problem here) but did their best to accommodate and serve us. As a result, we were understanding and patient. We had a good table and had plenty to talk about while waiting for someone to take our drink order: Joseph got a beer and I had a limoncello something – good but a little too sweet for a second one.  

Joseph had seak and I had peekytoe crabcakes – which were mostly crab and perfectly seasoned; they were totally worth the cost. So was the vanilla and peach cake I had for dessert – glad I ordered that instead of the gingerbread cake Joseph got. 

Great end of vacation day! 

We’re starting to think about home

We’re starting to think about home – both sad to see our vacation ending and glad to be back in our own beds. 

After yesterday’s long hike, we opted for a much shorter and easier trek to Compass Point. It’s the site where George Dorr’s family had a “cottage” in the late 1800. The place was razed in the 1950’s but the long set of steps to the harbor and some of the foundation still remain.  

We went to Café This Way for breakfast. I had Green Eggs and Sam – an omelette with spinach, artichokes, calamite olives and feta. Sometimes you get an omelette like that and you can barely see the goodied and it’s only sprinkled with cheese. Not this one! I could taste every one of the ingredients and the cheese was chunky. So good! 

We walked around Bar Harbor, but it was packed with vacationers and cruise people, so we didn’t stay long. We went back to the cottage, watched the last of Big Little Lies, ate sloppy joe casserole for dinner and just relaxed. Good day and night! 

I cannot believe it’s Tuesday of the 2nd week

I cannot believe it’s Tuesday of the 2nd week here. It’s going too fast! I asked Ollie about his openings before and after our two weeks – thinking we could add another week. I think what’s happened it that Joseph and I have certain hikes we like to do every year. And then there are new things that pop up (like the Design House and FlashInThePanOr new hikes. So we pass on some “standards” to make space for the new. Then we miss the old ones. So maybe we need three weeks… 

Today we did our most ambitious hike yet – the Ocean Path. It’s Joseph’s favorite. The path starts at Sand Beach, for almost two miles. It mostly follows the Park Loop Road, meanders through a forest and above the shoreline – for fabulous views all the way. It ends at the Otter Cliffs, where Joseph and I usually stop for water and a snack before heading back.  

It’s not a hard hike, but it is tedious in spots and does require some climbing over boulders. And it’s long – for almost two miles each way.  

Because it’s so pretty, it’s popular with many visitors with kids and the cruise people – at least for about ¾ of a mile to Thunder Hole. So it’s very crowded and not too pleasance. So for the past few years, we’ve been doing this in late afternoon. We usually get to Otter Cliffs around sunset and return in the afterflow. 

This year we changed it up and decided to go in the early morning. It was a little crowded – we got the last parking lot parking space. By the return trip, the last leg before returning to the car was crowded with a lot of cruise people. By then, for us, it wasn’t bad – especially since all Joseph and I wanted by then was food and rest.  

We headed into Bar Harbor and we were too late for breakfast. So we ended up going to Mother’s Kitchen and getting a Grandpa Jack sandwich (meatloaf on sourdough bread). When we ordered, I could tell Joseph was starving and ordered a scone, a brownie, and two cookies. I presumed they were for dessert, but he ate them on picnic benches while waiting for our food. He didn’t eat alone either – the fruit and nuts we had on the Ocean Path didn’t fill either of us up. Happily for me, I didn’t much like either the scone or the brownie, so I just tasted them and split the cookies – some of the best ones I’ve had in a long time! Sascha does a fabulous business in the little shack, and for good reason. Her cooking is some of the best on the island. 

After lunch we just relaxed, delving into our second binge watch of vacation, Big Little Lies. I wasn’t sure if we’d like it, but as Joseph said, it’s “intriguing.” 

We left at 6 to pick up Ollie for dinner. We headed into Ellsworth and Finn’s. I had the Fish and Chips, and we split a slice of blueberry pie for dessert. Both good, but spending time with Ollie is special.  

Ollie’s new friend, whom he met on a Road Scholar trip, is coming into town. I was hoping to meet her, but she’s coming in on Friday night. We’re leaving Friday afternoon and will be in Amesbury MA on Friday night. 

We asked Ollie if it was a “serious” relationship. He seems to like it the way it is because he has someone to talk to and travel with and that’s good for him at this point. He doesn’t want to move to CA and she’s not moving to ME. So this seems to be working for both of them. 

Something else Ollie told us the other night. She’s the same age as he is. He said that “when you’ve sat next to the bed and held your wife’s hand while she was dying…” And since he’s done that twice, he has no interest in doing it a third time.  

The other thing he said, something his brother told him, and the reason he’s doing so much travel in the off-season: “There isn’t much time between ‘I can’ and ‘I can’t’.” Something for Joseph and I to consider! 

We got back to the cottage and watched two more episodes of Big Little Lies. We’d been discussing where we would have our last MDI dinner and decided on Red Sky in Southwest Harbor. I was a favorite of Susan Howard but we’ve never been. Susan died unexpectedly at the end of last year. She was on our mind this year. Joseph made a reservation for Thursday at 8. Then we headed for bed. 

Labor Day 

It was supposed to rain today so we didn’t plan a hike. Instead, we planned a trip to the new Bar Harbor Historical Society’s new home – currently being used as the fundraiser design house LaRochelle. What a history!  

We left there, went to Havana so Joseph could get one last Havana burger and beer at this place. I had some cheese thing that I shared with Joseph as an appetizer. It was freezing, so I had an earlgrey instead of a cocktail.  

We got back to the cottage and I defrosted a pork chop leftover before leaving for Schoodic and the “FlashInAPan” band event. Donna Debs told us about the group. Initially it was to be an open air event, but with the imminent threat of rain, the band decided to move it indoors to Hammond Hall in Winter Harbor. I was glad – It’s cold here and the rain made it a little bitter. Indoors suited me! 

What an unexpected treat this band was! Whodathunk there would ever be a group that played steed drums? But there they were – about 15 locals, ranging in age from teens to retireds – making joyful noise and encouraging everyone to join in by dancing…and plenty did so, including me and Joseph and Donna and her spouse, Ray. They played about 90 minutes and it was clear that the audience knew and loved the group. I was amazed to see all ages of people dancing – from toddlers to older folks – and so many dancing alone – and with happy abandon. I was reminded of that quote “Dance like no one is watching” – because they did! 

The Design House and the steel drum band were both something different. It was an unusual Mt. Desert day, but a good one! https://www.wabi.tv/content/news/Designers-transform-historic-seaside-home-in-Bar-Harbor-512653671.html 

Joseph and I eased into the day

Joseph and I eased into the day. Ollie stopped over and asked us if we wanted to go lobstering with him; he was leaving in about a half-hour.  I wanted to go, but was still in my pajamas, Sunday morning style and not moving too fast. So I passed. A little while later I watched Ollie leaving the shore, taking the motorboat out to the lobster boat, boarding, and disappearing into the beautiful blue horizon.  

About an hour later, still in my pjs, I watched Ollie returning. It would have been a nice afternoon, but I just couldn’t make it happen for me. In fact, I was moving so slow that, by the time I was ready to leave the cottage, Ollie was already getting back! 

Joseph and I decided to take hike – choosing the Jordan Stream – a little traveled but very pleasant trip through the forest following the Jordan Stream. We picked it because the island swells with travelers, so the roads and most of the trails are packed. 

Jordan Stream starts, as many hikes and carriage trails do, at the Jordan Pond house – a go-to place for many of the Labor Day weekend vacationers. Since it’s a hub, and since a cruise ship was docking in the morning, we knew Jordan Pond would be exceptionally crowded. 

Uninterested in being part of the crazy “find a parking space” hassle, Joseph and I took Ollie’s suggestion and went to the Hull’s Cove Visitors Center. There we picked up an Island Explorer bus that did the driving for us. It was a good idea – except that I white-knuckled it all the way. Not that the ride was bad or the driver reckless – they weren’t. But I’m not good about heights and the bus is tall enough to see way over the stone barriers that keep visitors from falling off the road and down the mountain. So I was very aware of how high I was and how deep the valleys were below me. 

Still, I refused to close my eyes – just because I feel like it’s unhealthy to cater to that weaknessJoseph later told me he knew I was nervous because I was squeezing the crap out of his hand. Good thing he isn’t doing any massages this week!   

When we got to Jordan Pond, the place was packed! I was glad we just got dropped off the bus. I had to use the bathroom and there were a half-dozen women in front of me. And I overheard the reservation person tell another visitor that it would be 65 minutes to get a table for popovers. Ugh! 

Once we headed to the path behind the building, it was like we were the only ones there. Well…we were! During our two-hour hike, we only saw five people and four dogs – and a couple horseback riders on the carriage trail above the stream. It was a perfect day for walking a dog along the path.  

The Jordan Stream Path has always been a favorite, but the national park service has made changes that has altered our view of it. At first I thought the changes were good – more “boardwalks” over marshy areas that made sections easier and more pleasant. But about 2/3 of the way, there were some changes. It seems that whoever is making decisions about the paths are honoring the ecology and not the visitors – people with probably awesome book smarts and little common sense.  

As a result, the NPS folk rerouted the path away from the stream and more into the forest. As a result, it was longer, harder – walking over lots and lots of exposed tree roots – less safe, and way less scenic. At one point Joseph fell getting off one of the boardwalks. I was behind him and watched him go down – half on the boardwalk and half on the ground. Even though he was wearing jeans, he scrapped his leg pretty badWhen the love for the ecology overshadows the love for and safety of the people enjoying the ecology, it’s a problem.   

Usually we walk past the stream to the harbor and then take the carriage trail back. We didn’t do that today. Because it took us longer, and because we couldn’t get an answer to the “how late are the buses running” question, Joseph was afraid we’d miss the bus back to the visitors center. And he wanted to take care of his leg. So, when we got to Bryce Harbor, Joseph flagged down a bus heading to the next stop, Seal Harbor. I was glad – Seal Harbor was about a half-mile down the road. There was no other way to get there except walking on the road. For as crowded as the park was today, I wasn’t looking forward to it. 

The bus was empty when we got on, but by the time the driver made the last stop, there was standing room only…close standing room. We passed by entrance to Cadillac Mountain entrance and I saw flashing lights and park guards in the street. It looked like there had been an accident. There wasn’t – it was just too crowded on Cadillac and the NPS wasn’t allowing anyone else to go up the mountain. First time I ever saw that happen! 

We finally got dropped of at the Visitor’s Center. We were going to the Walgreens in Ellsworth for first aid supplies so we went “the long way” on route 3. We usually take back roads on the island but at least once a trip we do this just to see what’s going on there. 

Today, as we passed the Best Western on Rt3, I remembered the year we stayed at Eden Village and drove to Camden for the day. We stopped in Belfast on the way back to Bar Harbor and our car, a blue Caravan, broke down. It still ran, but the headlights stopped working. We drove all the way back to Bar Harbor with no lights. It was the grace of God that we weren’t in an accident. The freakiest part was that the car died just as we pulled into the gas station in the village. We took a cab back to cottage, and it cost us a small fortune. 

The next day we asked the owner of the cottage to drive us into the village. He refused. I was so angry I told Joseph we would have to walk. He had no idea how far it was (neither did I). We started walking…along the highway! We got as far as the Best Western and stopped there to find out how much further it was to Bar Harbor. When she heard our story, she called her spouse. Turns out he worked at the post office and was going into work. He gave us a ride. The mechanic at the gas station was awesome. He fixed the car and didn’t overcharge. In the years afterward, whenever I passed his shop, I’d ask God to bless him. I’m thinking he sold it a few years later to a bank. I hope they paid him well for it. We never stayed at Eden Village again. 

So today I thought I’d see how far we walked that morning. I was shocked to track 2.8 miles between the Best Western and Eden Village. It was about another 3-5 miles to the gas station. What were we thinking? And how blessed were we that year?!? 

 In Ellsworth we got the supplies we needed and headed back to the cottage. I would have stayed there, BUT there was word that the Northern Lights would be visible. So we ate some spaghetti and then headed to Seawall. 

It was almost 10pm when we found a parking area that was dark and suitable. We weren’t the only ones there looking for the celestial treat. It could have been awesome, but it wasn’t. After a couple hours, one-by-one each of the cars left. Die-hards, Joseph and I were the last to leave – cold and disappointed – around midnight. 

What a day!  

Sunset on Schoodic 

This is one of my favorite days – the Schoodic Peninsula trip. It focused on going to Mass at the tiny but oh-so-charming St. Margaret Church on Grindstone Neck in Winter Harbor Maine. Only open for one hour a week during the summer, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This  Saturday is the last service of the season. 

We started the morning with breakfast at The Riverside Café in Ellsworth. My Mexican Benedict was really good and I split it with Joseph, who ordered the frittata – which wasn’t as good…too bland…some hot sauce helped. 

Next we did our laundry and, while it was in the wash, walked across the parking lot to visit the Maine-famous Reny’s department store – a unique store which sells everything from shoes and clothes to food and toys. You can just about anything at Reny’s – and we bought napkins and water. 

Once the laundry was finished, we headed north to the Schoodic Peninsula. We drove first to Frazer Point, a peaceful park where Joseph and I once took TaiChi lessons. It’s still one of the prettiest places on Schoodic, though not as famous or as visited as Schoodic Point (and I like that!). 

The Point was next, but we didn’t stay there long. We opted instead to poke around Prospect Harbor, where we stayed for 5 years, and the old naval station.  

Prospect Harbor is pretty much the same. I couldn’t find the house of Marie and Herb Kunkle, a former acquaintance who first told us about Prospect Harbor. I wondered if it was their house for sale because (1) they’re in their 90’s now and probably not traveling the same as they did 15 years ago and (2) Peter Drinkwater’s sign was pointing to Whitten Road, where their house is. However, I didn’t find the house for sale, and time was starting to get short. 

Next  we headed to the old Naval Station and Rockefeller Hall. This place was once a “secret” Naval base where those stationed there got training in things – like cryptology. It was decommissioned about 15 years ago and I’ve driven through the huge property. It was the first time I got to see what’s inside Rockefeller Hall, now a museum honoring the work and service of the military men who served there.  

Today it was open, and Joseph and I were excited to go into it. It’s not an extensive museum – maybe because everything was considered secret, but it was interesting enough to jiggle my curiosity about what really went on there – and how it’s impacting my life today. 

Because of that stop, we didn’t have time to take one of my favorites – a walk along the prettiest part of the road that follows the ocean, including the beautiful Blueberry Hill.  

Instead, we headed into Winter Harbor where we took a few minutes to check in on Peter Drinkwater’s 5&10 – another old fashioned place that makes me think of what life was like in the 1940’s. Peter also runs a real estate company, and his name is on signed everywhere. 

Then it was off to St. Margaret’s where the 4pm mass is – to me – special. The prient who offers the mass is an old guy, a retired school principal, living at St. Joseph’s in Ellsworth. He’s a brash kind of guy and doesn’t stand on ceremony. When he started to process down the aisle, he couldn’t pick a song anybody knew….twiceFinally he hit on a song everyone knew the tune of and, with the song books, we could sing. I laughed when he waited for the gifts to be brought to the altar. He checked his watch – and I wondered if he had some dinner arrangement in Ellsworth so he wanted to get through the mass. I was convinced of it when he gave a very short sermon.  

After mass we helped close the place up for the winter – something Joseph and I have been doing for several years. The “mover and shaker” of the Saturday Mass is Rose, a school teacher. She made me laugh when she told me she recognized me when she looked up while doing one of the readings. She knew she’d have help closing up. 

Surprisingly, after both mass and close-up, we were back in the car before 5pm. Fast! 

We headed to Birch Harbor and the Pickled Wrinkle for a drink and dinner – Haddock bit appetizers, salad and pizza. Then it was back to Frazer Point for sunset. We didn’t actually stay there but, instead, drove down the road and pulled over to catch a beautiful sunset with a pink, swirly-cloud afterglow. 

From there we headed back to the cottage, taking the Mud Creek backroad to avoid the holiday traffic in Ellsworth. We had a drink, watched a little tv and then headed for bed. 

Vacation is half over! 

The weather is back to perfect …

The weather is back to perfect – about 75 degrees and sunny with a gentle breeze. This is Maine to me, and I love it. We had an easy morning of reading and talking, with blueberries first and later eggs over easy for breakfast.  

The Labor Day weekend starts todayThat means big crowds – and we noticed the beginning influx of long weekenders yesterday. So we’re planning accordingly. 

Acadia and Bar Harbor are becoming more and more popular. The newspaper said that the crowds for the July 4th weekend were the biggest the island ever had.  I thought this area was something big when we first started coming. There were crowds, but nothing like other vacation places – and nothing like my childhood and young adult haunts of Wildwood and Avalon.  

These past few years it’s been changing  – at least for the weekends – even though this time of year is considered the beginning of “off season.” Maybe it’s because many of the cottages are willing to rent by the weekend instead of full-week-only rentals. So that encourages more weekenders. 

Some year I’d like to stay long enough to see the fall changing of the leaves. It’s started already, but it’s one tree here and there. I’ve seen pix of the fall, and it looks like it could take your breath away. 

Since we knew most of the Acadia hikes would be crowded, and parking at Jordan Pond House would be impossible, Joseph picked the Day Mountain Carriage Trail for today’s hikewhich starts at the Wildwood Stables. It’s a big one for carriage rides and people on horseback. Not so much for hikers. The book isn’t very encouraging either – says it’s a “dusty trail” and not used much for just walking. But I don’t think it’s more or less dusty than any of the others.  

It took us a long time to get there because, for some strange reason we missed the Acadia Park entrance. We ended up driving almost to Bar Harbor, got on the Park Loop Road at Sand Beach – 7 miles from the stables. Once on it, I was stunned by the traffic. I’m not sure I ever saw the loop road so crowded. The lot at Sand Beach was full, and there must have been a hundred cars parked on the road – maybe more – making the two-lanes-one-way road a single lane. Also, because it’s near Thunder Hole, the tour buses were also clogging up the road. It would have taken forever to drive the loop road with all the holiday weekend traffic.  

We got off at Otter Point and back on the highway. It was only a few minutes to the entrance of the park, and a few minutes more to the stables. We were able to find a parking space, took a little time to add some sunscreen and we were on our way. 

The trail is mostly uphill – 1.4 miles on the east side of the mountain. Not easy, but also not particularly hard with today’s weather – something several of the horseback riders who stopped to chat with us also commented on. And it’s very pleasant.  

Joseph and I stopped at the halfway spot. The summit would have been another 1.5 miles up – and we weren’t up for doing it. It’s a great one for bikers, and we saw a lot of them.  

So we sat on a boulder, ate some nuts and drank some water, and started back around the mountain. It’s downhill for the first half, but uphill for the second part. By the time we finished and headed back down to the stables, we were ready for dinner.  

On our way home, we stopped in Northeast Harbor to get some dessert – carrot cake, macaroons, brownies – to add to our [what Joseph calls soul food] dinner of chili dip and fresh corn. Ollie was joining us and it’s always fun to chat with him. I warned him that it wasn’t a gourmet meal, but the point was getting together.  

Still, Ollie loved the chili dip – cream cheese, topped with chili, topped with cheese and microwaved into one of the best kinds of comfort food, served with chips. Something he can make himself on a busy cottage weekend or a cold winter night. And, when I put out the dessert and he said carrot cake was his favorite, I was tickled. 

We talked about Mt. Desert, the cottages, our experiences this past week, his new sweetie Gayle – who is coming in to visit soon – and different hikes. It was a good time! 

Another good day!!