Psst! I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: Maine has really excellent fresh lobster, in abundance.
No, seriously! It does! And I have enjoyed it at just about every meal. I’ve had lobster and eggs for breakfast. I’ve had a lobster roll — lobster meat on a split-top hot dog bun — for lunch. (The Fish Net in Blue Hill makes the best one.). I’ve had baked lobster, boiled lobster, and steamed lobster. I’ve bought live lobsters directly from a lobsterman. I’ve eaten lobster on a beach where we’ve recycled the remains to the denizens of the deep. And, for my first boiled lobster of the trip, I foolishly failed to bib up and ended up coating my shirt with water and lobster innards with the first crack of the claw.
After so much lobster, I’ve got just one question: how much lobster do you need to eat to risk a bout of gout?
Yesterday we ventured over to Acadia National Park to hike up Mount Cadillac — the towering peak situated right on the coastline that is the first place in America struck by the rays of the rising sun. It’s a popular destination that offers staggering views of the jagged Maine coast. Most people drive up to the top — but heck, anybody can do that. Hiking up is more fun and a bit of a challenge, besides.
We chose the south ridge trail, which begins along a road and, for the first mile of so, takes you through a dense, almost primeval forest. At that point you emerge above the tree line and are exposed to the first of the sweeping vistas that this hike affords — with views that just get better and better as you gain altitude. You follow blue trailblazing signs painted on trees and then on the granite of the mountain itself, as well as rock cairns that also mark the way.
The trail takes you along the granite spine of the mountain, shown in the first picture above, and you actually feel like you are moving from knob to knob on the gigantic backbone of a huge, hunched-over creature. Eventually you are treated to a commanding view in all directions and can see dozens of miles to faraway peaks in the Appalachian chain. You also pass a beautiful pond that is covered with velvety, impossibly green shoots, shown toward the middle of the photo below, and you wonder: “what is that doing way up here?”
It’s not a difficult climb, but it’s a rewarding one nevertheless. When you reach the top, having clambered up the last few rock faces, you can stare slack jawed in any direction. The rocks at the top are covered with people, and no wonder — the scenery is spectacular. It’s one of those spots that simply can’t be captured in a photograph. But I’ll always remember it.
Yesterday we met up with some new friends for a picnic lunch on a public beach in Bernard, Maine. We sat on the smooth rocks, ate sandwiches, macaroni salad, and excellent raspberry pie, drank iced tea and lemonade, and watched the tide roll in.
It’s the first picnic I’ve been on in years, and it made me remember how much fun picnics can be. Eating outside also is good for the appetite. Everything seems to taste better in the sunshine and salty air.
This tilted, hand-lettered sign on the access road to the Claremont Hotel in Southwest Harbor is probably intended to address traffic speed. I laughed when I saw it, however, because you could also take it as instruction on the pace of life up here in the Pine Tree State. It’s deliberate and easygoing, with lots of walking — actually, sauntering might be a more accurate word — and looking in storefront windows and checking out boats on the water and reading books on screened-in porches.
So what if the cell phone reception is iffy? There’s seafood to be eaten and cool breezes to enjoy. Taking it “slow” is the way to go.
There’s a community boat dock in Southwest Harbor, Maine. And when they say “community,” they mean community — every square inch of mooring space is taken, and then some.
I found this completely engaged community dock curiously encouraging. Obviously, the boaters of Southwest Harbor, with diverse crafts of all shapes, sizes, and conditions, can get together and make accommodations tthat permit their mutual use of, and benefit from, this single dock.
Who knows? Maybe there’s hope that the rest of us can do likewise.
The day began with a sense of awesome quiet along the waterfront and ended the same way — with a beautiful color show from Mother Nature thrown in for good measure. Peaceful, calm, tranquil — choose the synonym of your preference to describe a placid setting, add boats and salt water and wonderfully fresh seafood and locals who speak with a charming accent to the mix, and you have largely captured coastal Maine outside of Bar Harbor. It’s a great place for a getaway vacation.