The Mile High Club?

Joseph on Eliot Mountain

When two people engage in sexual activity in a plane traveling a mile above the earth, they become members of the mile high club. I’m wondering if that same moniker applies if the “mile high” is a mountain.

That’s what I was thinking about as Joseph and I were hiking up Eliot Mountain, the new trail I discovered while at the Thuya Gardens.

The path wasn’t as well-marked as those in the heart of Acadia National Park, but following the cairns, we found it easily enough. Since it was later in the afternoon, we elected to take the shorter of the paths (vs the one that would take us to the beautiful – but much longer and more strenuous – Little Long Pond).

Me on the Summit of Eliot Mountain

Eliot Mountain was quiet and peaceful and sort of deserted. We only saw one other person on the path, a man with his dog. I found myself wondering if the mile-high club include mountains?

You see, I’m never likely to have sex on an airplane. I’m not a good flyer – I almost never fly. But a mountain? I climb mountains at least once a year. I could do that…

Does it count?

#Maine Diaries, #Annmarie Kelly


leslie handlerHow do you deal with the tough stuff of life? Leslie Handler does it with humor. We’re talking with Leslie about her life and how she manages to give even the bad stuff a light touch.

Leslie is a 2015 Society of Newspaper Columnists award winner. She’s an international syndicated columnist with Senior Wire News Service and a frequent contributor to WHYY and CityWide Stories.  She freelances for The Philadelphia Inquirer, ZestNow, and Boomercafe, as well as blogs for HuffPost. Her book, Rats, Mice, and Other Things You Can’t Take to the Bank, is available on Amazon and where other fine books are sold. Leslie currently lives smack dab between Philadelphia and New York City with husband Marty, dogs Maggie, Hazel, and Ginger, a collection of fish, said husband’s cockatoo who she’s been trying to roast for dinner for the last 33 years, and a few occasional uninvited guests. You may follow her blog and read previously published essays at:

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RadioWrap-Up: Life in the Sports Lane

AnnmarieKelly.WCBM_..web_-150x120Diane McGraw talks about her life in sports

Annmarie was invited Diane McGraw to Happy Hour and they talked about everything sports – the upcoming World Series, what it was like to be part of that World Series experience. Diane was married to Phillies relief pitcher and legend, the late Tug McGraw,during the winning Phillies 1980 World Series. Diane also talked about how she became one of the first women executives in sports entertainment and her fabulous “Dare to Dream” mentoring program for young people.
Diane also wanted you to know about her event next weekend. It’s the PA Sports Hall of Fame Induction ceremony weekend, October 23-24.
I found two articles about women in the early days of women in sports that show how different it is for women in journalism and management today compared to what it was even just 30 years ago: Female Execs and Women journalists. And I found this fun article about the Chicago Cubs prediction: BackToTheFuture
n talking about the debates, and socialism, I mentioned some research about income tax and who pays what. here’s the research report: PEW Research
If you missed the article about the Checo kid who got the Papal blessing: Pope Francis
About the Thriller dance, here’s the one I danced last year: Thriller Scranton. It’s hard to see me, but I’m in the center, jut north of the middle in a black shirt and jeans. if you want to dance Thriller, here’s info: Thrill the World. BTW: If you have any suggestions for how to bring this to West Chester next year, let me know at
My quote for this week is from speaks-to-my-heart and it’s great for us midlife women who want to live out loud and in living color.

“You can’t hide your true colors as you approach the autumn of your life.”

RadioWrapUp with Bea Joyner

AnnmarieKelly.WCBM_..web_-150x120We had an interesting conversation with Bea Joyner this afternoon about Self-Esteem and Emotional Intelligence. I asked Bea to stop by our Happy Hour for two reasons…because we’re in the last quarter of the year and, before you know it, we’re going to be dealing with holidays, our families and then our New Year’s resolutions. So we need to start now to shore up our self-esteem so we can deal with the family crazies and also hit the ground running for next year’s goals.
The other reason I asked her to come here today is to talk about millennials in the workplace. We’re all dealing with them – whether it’s working in a company with them side-by-side or they’re the people who are selling us products and services. Bea has some good insights and tips on both and she’ll be here in a little bit.
We talked about two studies. Here they are:

I talked about the shooting yesterday. I found this list of school and mass shootings. It’s disturbing to note that most of the shooters were between 16 & 25 years old – kids with their whole life ahead of them. And, while the politicizing of it always goes to gun control, we aren’t talking about two things: mental illness and emotional intelligence. Coming from a family where there is mental illness, I’ve done considerable research on that topic. I’m not a psychologist or psychiatrist, but from my own personal experiences, I believe there is some connection between mental illness and the lack of emotional intelligence…and that one of the other is acerbated by the “everybody gets a trophy” cultural rut we put millennials into during their developmental years.
When Pope Francis visited Philly, he stayed at St. Charles Seminary in Overbrook. It has quite the history. Here’s the link that tells you more: St. Charles Borromeo
If you havne’t read the Maine Diaries yet, check them out: Maine Diaries
Today’s quote is a twist on John Lennon’s “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” I don’t know who said it, but whomever it was said,

“Life is what happens while you’re looking at your smartphone.”


Rainy Last Day

Rainy Clarks Cove
Rainy Clarks Cove

The weather people were finally right…they said it was going to rain and it’s pouring down in buckets!

We started getting some packing done and the cottage looks a mess. Time to go home…

Joseph likes to “ease back” from vacation and likes to break the 13 hour trip home into two days. I’m mixed about it. I like two shorter drives, but also I like making the most of the last Friday here. So we usually wait until the end to decide. Last night, after listening to the weather report, I made a reservation at a hotel in Amesbury MA for tonight.CafeThisWAy

Since this is turning out to be the last day, this morning we drove to Bar Harbor and had a pretty hearty breakfast as Café This Way. Joseph and I split a jalapeno omelet and a breakfast burrito and took our time, enjoying the ambiance of the place and trying to get our heads around vacation being over. For some reason, and this is unusual, we are both just not ready to leave. We bought a few souvenir things and then headed back to the cottage.

As we passed the cottages office, I saw Kelli. So we stopped in to say goodbye. We really enjoy talking to her and Ollie, who came by with the 2016 book so we could get our cottage reserved, so it was easy to stay with them longer than we expected. In fact, Joseph and I were there so long that, but the time we said good-bye and started walked back to the cottage, we realized were at least a half hour past schedule.

Once back inside the cottage, we raced to finish packing and loaded up the car. We left Mt. Desert Island around 3:30pm.

We drove west to Bangor and then onto I95. We stopped at Trader Joe’s in Portland so Joseph could get a stash of the two locally brewed beers he liked so much. “Mo” and “Rising Tide” must be sooooo local that they aren’t sold outside of Portland. We couldn’t find them even as close as Mt. Desert!

Then it was on to Kittery and When Pigs Fly. I called ahead and asked them to reserve a few loaves of their low-carb bread. That’s because it’s so good and so popular that it goes fast. When I went last year they were out by the time I got there. I didn’t want that happening again. It’s way too expensive to ship and, most importantly, the quality is impacted during shipping. We also picked up a couple jars of dipping spices (Dip-Me-Daddio) and their special “hot honey” that we like on a lot of things…but they say to try it on pizza. PIZZA???

By the time we left there, it was 7:30 and dark. Extraordinaire was closed, so I couldn’t get any of the ceramic “bathing beauties” I love so much. BIG disappointment!!

Joseph and I didn’t even try to stop at Robert’s house…guess I’ll have to wait until next year to see the rest of the property.

Gorham Mountain

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Gorham Mountaintop

The weather says that we’re going to have rain on and off for the next few days. I don’t like to hike over wet boulders, so we decided to take a hike up Gorham Mountain. It’s a good upward climb, but one that we haven’t done since our earlier days here. It’s considered moderately challenging. After doing Connors Nubble yesterday, we felt like this would be a piece of cake! OK, more or less…

We started in mid-afternoon. I was dilly dallying all morning and, as we started the hike, was in a fairly unpleasant mood. I’m not sure why, but it’s likely because it was hot – 85°. It’s Maine, it’s September…we should have 60° hiking weather.2015-09-08 001 2015-09-08 002

We were barely on the trail for twenty minutes when I noticed I was sweating into my Tilley hat and the sweat was trickling down my face. In addition, the park people have been changing the names of the paths (back to the original names) and they don’t match the book we have (A Walk in the Park @2000). So, because we were following the book, we took a wrong path. When we ended up on Park Loop Road, we had to turn around, go back and start over. It added to my annoyance!

When we go on the actual path, I plugged in earbuds so I could listen to my success playlist. I didn’t want to interfere with the nature sounds, but I also needed a boost, so I tucked the buds into my hat and turned up the volume. I was able to hear the music as soft upbeat background, which put me in a better mood and I felt more energetic.

Joseph on Gorham
Joseph on Gorham

About half-way up the mountain, I started seeing ocean views and there was a breeze. The elevation got my heart pumping. I don’t know if there is anything as good as exercise to dispel a foul mood…mine gradually dissipated through each set of boulders I climbed.

Sand Beach from Gorham Mountain
Sand Beach from Gorham Mountain
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Can you see the “tiny houses” visible in the background?

Then Joseph and I got to the top. The views at the top were worth the climb. I was looking down at treetops on one side and the ocean on the other. The hillside houses looked like they were part of a model train display. In fact, from that elevation, everything looked like it could have been part of a toy display at Christmas.

We stayed on the mountain long enough to get our fill of the aesthetic as well as eat a couple cheese sticks and drink some water. The hike down wasn’t too bad and I’m glad I had my hiking stick with me.

Connors Nubble Challenge

At the top of the mountain!
At the top of the mountain!

My Favorite Acadia Hike

Joseph and I do this hike, Connors Nubble, almost every year. We didn’t last year because I hurt my shoulder on the first day of vacation and I didn’t want to put any stress on my arm. That was a good thought, because when I got home, I discovered that it was a torn rotator cuff. So, after not doing this pretty strenuous hike for two years, we weren’t sure we still could. You know how it is, when you miss something, you aren’t sure you can do it again. We wondered…and took the baby aspirin with us! EagleLake.ConnorsNubbleTrail

We started out around 12:30. From the base of the trail, Connors Nubble is a 3.3 mile hike around Eagle Lake and up the mountain. 3.3miles doesn’t sound too bad. Except it’s not a straight walk. The beginning is easy enough. It follows the lake (with great views) for about ¾ miles of forest. If it wasn’t for the beautiful scenery of Eagle Lake, it could almost be boring.

That easy trail is followed by ¾ miles of hiking over big boulders. There are parts of the boulder section that really challenge both of us (that section always does!). It’s a bit testier for me since I wear hiking shorts and don’t want to scratch my legs or knees. Yes, I know I could wear jeans, but they tend to get hot…and my hiking shorts have lots of pockets to put my phone, camera, food, etc.

Eagle Lake
Eagle Lake

The boulder section ends with another short forest walk. If hikers get this far and decide they’ve had enough, there’s a trail that enables hikers to turn away from the lake and head for the carriage road. It’s always a little tempting…except I know what’s at the top. I keep going.

Joseph taking a boulder break
Joseph taking a boulder break

Once the trail turns, I figure that it’s about a ½ mile up the mountain to 588′ the summit, a combination of forest path and boulders.  It was during the ascent to the summit that we felt seriously challenged. The higher we went, the steeper the trail got, and the stronger the winds. The latter felt good…we’d been walking long enough to work up a pretty good sweat. But it was dicier the higher we went.

As we got closer to the summit, and for the first time, I had a little height issue. That happens to me sometimes, especially on tall bridges, but I haven’t actually experienced it on a climb…until today. As soon as I realized it, my strategy was to stay focused on the path beneath my feet…and not on how high I was or the drop below (remember, the summit is almost 600 feet high).

This is a picture of Joseph doing something I would never do…stand on a precipice. He had no fear, but it was so windy that I got nervous for him. Still, I couldn’t resist taking this picture because it looked like Joseph on top of the world…and I loved that!

While Joseph stood on the top surveying all that was below, I sat on the bottom rocks of the cairn (with the summit-height sign). To my left was Cadillac Mountain. At first I wasn’t sure that was it, but then I could see looked like tiny shiny bugs inching along in a procession of purpose. They all had one goal: make it to the top and see the spectacular views.I’ve hike and driven up Cadillac. I like the drive because it’s faster and way-easier.  The hike up is no picnic, but the walk down, if it’s on the road and around the mountain, gives spectacular views of everything…the mountain, Bar Harbor, Frenchman’s Bay, the Porcupine Islands and more. It doesn’t cheat the hiker out of anything!

Eagle Lake atop Connors Nubble
Eagle Lake atop Connors Nubble

I’ve heard that Connors Nubble has views as good as Cadillac but without the people. The latter is definitely true. Unlike Cadillac, the only way to the Connors Nubble summit is on foot. But, as fabulous as the views are from Connors Nubble, Cadillac still offers a few more.

Viewing Cadillac Mountain from Connors Nubble
Viewing Cadillac Mountain from Connors Nubble

We stayed on the summit long enough to drink a bottle of water and eat a couple cheese sticks. Then we decided to start down, which is the scariest part of this hike.

Starting down at the summit means looking down at a 500 feet+ drops where all I can see are the treetops and drop-offs below me. The path down is steep and skinny. No stopping for pictures here! I don’t remember how I got down in the past, but this time I know I slithered down the first few legs of the downhill on my butt. I didn’t much care if I wore out my short…they’re designed for hiking, so I figured they’d be fine. It was a little dicey but I kept reminding myself that I’ve done this same hike at least a half-dozen times…and I could do it again. And I did!

Once that first downward trail was over, the rest of the descent was fairly easy. And it dumps onto a carry road, which is mostly a bicycle path. Joseph and I walked back to the car on that easy road.

The fitbit said it was over 12,000 steps and 50+ “stairs” and it took 3.5 hours to complete, including the 15 minutes we stayed at the summit.

Eagle Lake from the forest
Eagle Lake from the forest

Once on the carry road, Joseph and I  were so excited that we did it! So, once we left the park, we headed for a local pub to celebrate with a couple drinks and appetizers. Before heading back to the cottage, we stopped at the Hannaford in Bar Harbor to pick up a couple food things. While we were there, Joseph checked red box and found a movie I’ve been wanting to see for months: Big Eyes.

One last stop at Mt. Desert Ice Cream. Joseph got a maple something. I got a combo of 7 layer and salted caramel – the latter is a favorite but not as much as their ginger ice cream (which wasn’t on the menu). The ginger ice cream here is the best and most flavorful I’ve ever had anywhere!

Back to the cottage for a light dinner of leftovers, Mt. Desert Ice Cream and BIG EYES!

My Barr Treat!

On the Barr
On the Barr

I waited years. Even tried to grow one….thought it wouldn’t happen. But, finally! I saw one!!

Joseph and I were in Bar Harbor at 8am so we could get to Barr Island. It’s a small island across from the village of Bar Harbor, only accessible by foot twice a day. At low tide the water recedes to unveil a wide walking path across Frenchman’s Bay allowing hikers to explore the island’s charms. It’s one of those things that has to be timed pretty tightly. Once the tide starts rolling in, it quickly covers the path and the only way back is by boat or kayak…or waiting until the next low tide. There are stories of people being marooned on the island and Mainers joke about them.

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Bar Harbor from the Barr

Joseph and I didn’t want to be one of those and we thought we’d go with a ranger. But when we got to the town slip…no ranger. So, after checking low tide charts, we decided we had plenty of time walk over and back.

It was a decent stretch of the legs and I was glad for the early morning cardio. Joseph and I walked the bar and hiked to the summit where I took some pictures of the coastal village. It was OK, but nothing to write home about, until, on the way back…there is was…

The Last Lupine
The Last Lupine

Until today, I’ve only seen pictures of them and have yearned to see their beauty up close. They bloom in late spring and are long gone by the time I get to Maine. I’ve tried to grow them at home, but it’s just not the right weather.

But today…today

OK, I’ll admit it. It was only one lupine in a field of dead ones. And it wasn’t even fully bloomed. But it’s a purple one, and it stood out like a fabulous testament to persistence and resilience! I couldn’t have been more excited. I’ve waited years for this day!!

Joseph thought I was a little over-the-top, and yes, maybe I was. But this one little lupine made the frenzied early-morning scramble and the empty-stomach, no-water hike worth it. Now I’m even more excited than ever about being here some day and seeing a whole field of bloomin’ lupines!

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Cairn Field

As we walked off Barr Island and back to the mainland, I saw two fields of cairns. On the trails, they are purposeful as they provide direction. But here they were just for fun. I loved the!

Joseph and I topped the morning off with a trip to the Mexican latte lounge for a cup of spicy hot chocolate. A nice ending to our early morning excursion! And I think I’m going to start adding cocoa and cayenne to my morning cup of tea…

Still moonin’ over my first little lupine…

Schoodic Saturday

Walking a path on Schoodic
Walking a path on Schoodic

Ellsworth was today’s first stop, for breakfast at the Riverside Cafe, on our way to the Schoodic Peninsula. Schoodic was once privately owned land that was donated to the county. The main towns are Winter Harbor and Gouldsboro and there are several small harbors including Birch and Prospect Harbors and Corea. Joseph and I rented a cottage in Prospect Harbor for a few years. It was right on the ocean with amazing scenery. We could watch the lobster boats on the horizon, just going out for the day. They would pass in front of the rising sun which came up on one side of the backyard. We could even watch it though the front picture window, though we seldom did. It was much more exciting (and romantic1) to watch the day begin while sitting on the rocks at the end of the backyard. At night Joseph would fire up the pot belly stove and open the doors so we could hear the waves crash against those rocks. The peacefulness of it was spectacular.

Wonsqueak housing
Wonsqueak housing

Until a few years ago, the US Navy had a base there. There was even base housing. The small white clapboard singles sat in a horseshoe on a small hill near the town of Winter Harbor. Their location lent itself to great ocean views. When the Navy moved, the little houses were going to go up for sale at a price Joseph and I could afford. We thought about buying one.

Flowers blooming amid the coastal rocks...amazing!
Flowers blooming amid the coastal rocks…amazing!

Then Mr. Dixon (former owner of the 76ers and a longtime summer resident of Winter Harbor) bought all the houses. With a great philanthropic gesture, he turned the houses over to the town so they could sell them. When they finally went up for sale, the price nearly doubled; Joseph and I changed our minds.

Actually, I’m glad we didn’t buy one. The main town consists of about 6 buildings that are either restaurants or art places…and one tiny 5&10. The whole Schoodic area is incredibly beautiful but is also very secluded. The hikes are in mostly wild sequestered places. Probably because I read and watch so many mysteries, I often didn’t feel safe in the woods. But the trade-off to those feelings was the beauty that was everywhere – raw and bold.

Joseph at the causeway near the new campgrounds
Joseph at the causeway near the new campgrounds

The main attraction for visitors is the Schoodic portion of Acadia National Park. There is a six-mile road that loops around the prettiest parts of the peninsula. It includes a few hiking trails (you can find a thrill on Blueberry Hill!), Frazer Point (a picnic area), and Schoodic Point, a great expanse of rock and very popular for it’s beauty and also because it’s one of the few places where you can get cell service. One year we even witnessed a wedding on one of the side sections.

Schoodic Point
Schoodic Point

This year we found out that the park service has expanded! Now there is a campground within walking distance to Frazer Point and some new trails and a causeway.

Watching sailboats on Frazer Point
Watching sailboats on Frazer Point

Joseph and I walked around there and then went to Frazer Point and watched sailboats. Then we drove to the point. From there we walked a few miles down past Blueberry Hill and back. Then we sat on the rocks and read books.

Sunset on Schoodic
Sunset on Schoodic

As it started to get cold, and with over an hour until sunset, we drove to Birch Harbor where Joseph and I each had a drink and we split an appetizer. Then we drove back to the point and watch the sunset over Cadillac. The beauty of it, and the stillness, brought on a peacefulness that was almost prayerful.

Joseph and I would have stayed longer but the cold out on the rocks got to us. We left, drove around Winter Harbor (which takes about 3 minutes!) and headed back to Mt. Desert and our Town Hill cottage.

I Confess…

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Sailing at Schoodic

It’s My Dirty Little Secret

OK, we all have one. I’m confessing mine. It’s television shows. And not just any television shows. Mindless ones. It’s an addiction…no, it’s my tranquilizer. Some people drink, others smoke or take drugs, some gamble. I watch TV.

When I was in my early twenties I had my tonsils out.  As I sat in the hospital room waiting to be wheeled down to surgery, the woman in the next bed was moaning like crazy. I was so jumpy that the nurses wanted to give me something. I told them ‘no’ but to get me a TV and earbuds. That was all I needed. I don’t know what I watched – and it was before cable so it wasn’t like I had tons of choices. Mindless…

The most difficult part of being in the cottage on Clarks Cove has been falling asleep without the TV. In past years I’d watch TV in the living room until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and then I’d go to bed. But, in just the few steps between the chair and the bed, I’d wake up. I tried everything…a DVD in my laptop (the light bothered Joseph), a music CD (music wakes me up)…I even took to praying the rosary as a form of meditation. That eventually worked, usually in the 4th or 5th decade – and I felt plenty holy but not rested!.

This year, the iPad, Joseph and amazon solved the problem! I was able to get in bed and watch old shows online, like Blue Bloods, Ghost Whisperer and my favorite, Medium. With that device in place, every night I was asleep in minutes. I don’t think I ever even got to the end of the first segment on any of them. In fact, I got interested one particular episode of Medium and had to run it five times until I got to the end. And if I woke up during the night, it was a “rinse and repeat” deal…and I was out like a light!

I know. I know. Falling asleep with TV is supposed to be bad for the body and the psyche. I think about that and I hope I’m not undoing all my vision board work. However, I don’t think I am…I’ve been doing this TV thing my entire adult life. And I’ve been doing vision boards almost as long…and I know they worked then and still work.

But now YOU KNOW my dirty little secret!!

Do you do the same thing? If not, what’s your “dirty little secret?” Do you have any “ticks” that you are willing to finally share? C’mon…come clean! The truth will set you free. OK, maybe not, but I’ll bet you aren’t the only one doing it!