Sunday, September 20, 2015

Back to the USA

Brian here:
Well, we are back on United States soil.  Our six weeks' sojourn in Canada was wonderful!

     Our 50 straight days of sleeping in the back of the truck streak ended in Saint John, NB on a rainy day.  We decided to not fight trying to set up in the rain, and felt we had earned an evening without getting wet.  We still had to move just as much stuff around, though.
     We had some Canadian money left, and decided to treat ourselves to a good lunch at a restaurant in Saint Andrews, NB.  There was a nice view of the harbor area (not that we haven't seen lots of them), and it was nice to continue our visit to 'civilization'.  Luckily, our border crossing was easy, and we camped in Maine near the border.  We didn't go far into Maine just then, because we wanted to go back across into Canada to visit Campobello Island the next day.
     It was a treat to spend time at Campobello.  The 'park' is run by a non-profit, but is supported by both the Canadian and US governments.  It is the only International Park that is located entirely in one country.  The Roosevelt 'cottage'  has 34 rooms.  We would settle for one of them!  The grounds are maintained nicely, with flowers all around, and there are nice walking trails.

 FDR's Cottage on Campobello Island

View through dining room window of Hubbard Cottage 

fireplace in Hubbard Cottage

"Sunsweep Scultpure" on Campobello Island - the other two parts of the sculpture are at Lake of the Woods, Minnesota and Point Roberts, Washington

    There is a daily "Tea with Eleanor" in one of the cottages, which we were lucky enough to get to attend.  One of the staff talks about Eleanor's life, and they serve tea and homemade Ginger cookies.  Most people that come to the Island know about FDR, but Eleanor was also an amazing person,  Although the tea sounded pretty dull before I went, it was very enjoyable.
     After another uneventful border crossing, we camped in the same park - it was pretty much deserted, which is the way we like it - we continued on to Acadia National Park.  It is one of our favorites, and it has been 27 years since our last visit.  Our hope was that September would be less busy than the summer months.  I guess we were right, but it was more busy that we would have liked.  I think the other old people have the same idea that we did.

Schoodic Point, Acadia National Park

     We tried to get tickets for a ranger-led boat trip to Little Cranberry Island on our first full day there, but they were sold out, so we bought tickets for two days later and set off for some of the areas of the park that are not as well known.   On the way to visit another lighthouse, we stopped at a cache on the grounds of the Wendell Gilley museum dedicated to bird carving.  Doesn't that sound exciting?   Hey, it wasn't crowded!   We were interested in the concept of the museum, so decided to give it a try.   There were some amazing carvings, but a special exhibit on a local artist, Ashley Bryan, was also fascinating.  He has done many different types of art, and lives on Little Cranberry Island now.

Bass Harbor Lighthouse, Acadia NP

 Great Head, Acadia NP

 Jordan Pond and the Bubbles (mountains)


  After a visit to the lighthouse, we skipped the Granite Museum, and headed back to our campsite for a shower.

     Mount Desert Island is a beautiful place, which is why a lot of it is the National Park.  We did the 'auto tour' the next day to re-visit places we have been to before.  Although we weren't used to the number of people at most of the places, it was better than it would have been during the summer season.   The only time we spent in Bar Harbor was to get groceries so we could cook over a fire instead of on the Coleman stove.  Cadillac Mountain, Sand Beach, Otter Cliffs and Thunder Hole haven't changed much, but Thunder Hole didn't impress since the conditions were just wrong for it to make the noise that it is famous for.

View of Frenchman's Bay and Bar Harbor from Cadillac Mountain

     On our boat trip the next day, we were able to see harbor seals and gray seals.  On Little Cranberry Island, we were able to explore a bit, and saw the church that Ashley Bryan attends, and saw some of his artwork - stained glass made out of beach glass that he discovers on the island.

Ashley Bryan's work in church on Little Cranberry Island

Not the best picture of a gray seal

     We had and early dinner of lobster, which in both of our opinions, is highly overrated for the amount of work involved.  But what tourist could visit Maine without having one?   Our day was ended with a ranger program about the stars.  We laid on a beach, and he pointed out constellations, and some of the stories about them.  The Milky Way was quite impressive, and the conditions were right for us to see many stars that are usually too faint to see.

When in Maine . . . you are required to eat a lobster dinner

     My high school friend, Paul Minot, lives in Waterville, Maine near Augusta, so we stopped to see him.  He is in a band again, and they had a gig at a bar, so we went to see them play.  We stayed up WAY past our usual bed time, but had a good time.  The band has a member  born in each decade from 1955- 1990, so the music mix was varied.

   Since Paul had to work both days over the weekend, we are staying so we can visit on Monday.  He recommended the Maiden Cliff hike yesterday near the Camden Hills on the Penobscot Bay, so we headed out to see what it was like.  As with most hikes, the reward of a spectacular view at the end of the hike was worth the effort (well, not the end of the hike, but the farthest point from the parking- you still have to hike back to the car).  We went to a local church in Camden after showering at the State Park,   Chinese take-out was ready when we got back, and we spent the evening talking before we noticed how late it was!

views from Maiden Cliff

interesting tree along the trail

Kris here . . .
     Animal sightings at Acadia NP included a pair of osprey and a red fox on the side of the road after dark (Brian had to brake for it and we only got a glimpse).  We had a pretty good workout while hiking around Great Head.   We have visited Acadia on two previous trips (1978 and 1988) and were happy to see it again.  Now that we are back in the US and have the phone turned on again, it was nice to hear the voices of our children and grandchildren.

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