Friday, November 5, 2010

happy halloween-iversary!!

For our first hallowedding anniversary, we visited Acadia National Park, Portland, ME and Portsmouth, NH. We also took a quick trip to Salem, MA on Halloween. That was quite a zoo!!

Acadia turned out to be one of our favorite parks. We visited during the last week of October for our first wedding anniversary. Both of the New England cities we visited were very enjoyable and quaint - but Acadia definitely stole the show.

Must see - Sunrise on Cadillac Mountain

Must do - Walk along the rocky Acadia shoreline - (with caution!), climb the Beehive Trail - (again...with caution). If you visit Portsmouth - Halloween is a good time to drop by.

Must eat - The Oar House in Portsmouth. Pricey, but definitely worth it.

Must drink - If you're there around fall time, definitely seek out Shipyard's Pumpkinhead Ale. Best pumpkin beer we've been able to find!

This is one of the few NP trips we've taken that we have not camped. Instead, we stayed at the Hampton Inn Bar Harbor/Ellsworth. It was not especially memorable, but typical of Hamptons, it was clean and the staff was nice.


Our first journey into Acadia was early in the morning - and I must say this is the best time, especially if you decide to spend it on the rocks along the shore. The fog is densest in the morning and it is the perfect scene for a wool blanket and a warm coffee, just to sit on the rocks and watch the waves come in. Take your camera, too.

After the fog lifted a bit, we explored Sand Beach for a while and saw some deer roaming the grass behind the beach. We took the short hike around Great Head which offers some beautiful ocean views. We then headed down park loop road a bit, stopping for a quick look at Thunder Hole (at which I received a very cold and wet greeting observed in the photo below).

After we exhausted our motivation for exploring and our stomachs were empty, we headed to Bar Harbor, which is a must-stop if you are spending time in Acadia. It's a great (touristy, but great) New England small harbor town. We steered clear of the fine dining and chose to eat at Geddy's Pub which was a perfectly relaxed atmosphere after our long day and provided an excellent selection of alcoholic beverages.


Our second day in Acadia, we tried our hands (and feet) at some more difficult hikes. We started (late, unfortunately) at Cadillac mountain. It was cloudy, and we missed the beginning of the sunrise, but it was still amazing. I don't know what it's like in summer, but I would most definitely take an extra jacket and was certainly chilly when we were there! We headed back down towards sand beach and explored some of the options for trailheads. We ended up starting the Gorham Mountain Trail and heading straight for Beehive Mountain. I have to admit, I am not really excited about climbing in high places. Despite this, M talked me into doing the Beehive Trail, which has several iron rungs to climb and some very narrow paths up the side of a steep mountain, many of which have barely enough room to even sidle along, and ends with a rock scramble to get to the top. I, myself, did not make it to the top. I stopped riiiight here.

And I let M have his way with the rock scramble. If you're not as neurotic and terrified of heights as I am - this hike would surely be a blast. I even had a little fun in the midst of my freaking out. After the long hike, we headed back to the seashore to visit Otter Cliff. Another test to my fear of heights, but certainly one I was glad we pursued.

We sat on this cliff for quite sometime relaxing and enjoying the ocean view. Bottom line - we'll definitely be back. This is one of the most beautiful places we've seen, and it's much closer for us than most of our Nation's NPs.