Week 3: Maine – New Hampshire – Vermont

The next morning was very rainy. We had a whale watch tour scheduled out of St. Andrews by the Sea but it was canceled for weather. But our Airbnb host in Acadia said the Airbnb was ready for us, so we decided to drive to Maine and get there as soon as possible. Luckily the weather started to clear up once we crossed the border. As much as we loved Canada it felt good to be back in the USA. We made it to our Airbnb around lunch time and then drove the 4 miles from the house to Bar Harbor to go to the grocery store. It was so crowded in town! Later that afternoon my husband and I took a walk from our Airbnb and found this great little gourmet food shop where we got iced coffees and cookies and had them in their garden. It was delicious! Then we found a trail that took us to beautiful Otter Cove. It was so great that all of this was within a half mile of our place.

Unfortunately my older son had been having some issues with his braces so the next morning we were able to get him a dentist appt in town. She referred him to an orthodontist about an hour away, so while my husband took him, my older son and I walked from our Airbnb out to Otter Cove and then over to the Gorham mountain trail. It was an awesome trail with great views. Afterwards we crossed over to Ocean Path and saw some the cool coves and Thunder Hole, which was really crowded and we didn’t get to hear the waves crash loudly against the rocks, which is why this spot is so popular. On our way back from our hike we stopped at the Otter Creek market near our house and picked up fresh lobster dinners and lobster Mac and cheese. So good!! My husband was back by then and so after dinner he and I took the drive up to Cadillac Mountain for sunset (the boys were tired and didn’t want to go). You have to reserve entry for Cadillac mountain in advance, but I did so months ago to make sure we could see the sunset. As we drove up the sun was already setting and beautiful. The clouds were thick at the top so you couldn’t see much except when the blew past. It was pretty cool to be “in the clouds.” I also had tickets to watch the sunrise from there the next morning, which is a pretty popular thing to do, but it was going to be rainy and we were tired so we skipped it. 

We had a lazy morning the next day and after lunch we walked about 2 minutes from our Airbnb to the Cadillac Mountain trail. We told the kids we were just going to go about a third of the way up to the Eagles Crag loop, but the trail was so nice and easy we all decided to keep going to the summit of the mountain. It was definitely worth the trek! There are amazing views all the way up and it’s not too challenging of a hike, at least compared to the ones we are used to in the Adirondacks. Plus there is a store at the top for snacks and a place to refill your water bottles. At the top we got some ice cream and locally made blueberry popsicles. It was an awesome day, except that near the top I dropped my cell phone and the screen shattered – bad. The phone was older and kind of on its last legs already so I wasn’t too upset. 

The next morning my younger son and I made the 40 minute drive to Ellsworth to the phone store to get a replacement phone. My husband and older son did the hike to Gorham Mtn since we told them how cool it was. When we got back they were still out so we got lunch at the Otter Creek market (an amazing lobster roll for me) and then checked out a cool swimming hole by our house that the owner told us about. The water was freezing so we left and went to Seal Harbor to hang out on the beach for a bit. 

That afternoon my husband and other son were back after an epic hike. We decided to check out the bookstore, “The Naturalist’s Notebook.” It was a children’s bookstore focused on science and nature that was all decked out with games and activities. It was almost like a home-grown science center! We had a lot of fun checking out all of the exhibits. Then we headed over to the National Park Visitor’s Center since it was later in the day and we thought we could finally find parking. Acadia was VERY crowded and we learned that unless you get to the trailhead and visitor center parking lots very early or very late in the day, you would not get a space. We were so glad our Airbnb was walking distance to a lot of good trails. We did find a space but the Visitor Center was disappointing. There was no film or cool exhibits and they made you get a park map directly from a ranger (they didn’t have any out in displays), which meant I had to stand in line for 30 minutes while rangers talked to other tourists about their itineraries, just to ask them for a map.

Later we had to drive back to Ellsworth to pick up my phone so we had a nice dinner in that town, which was cute and not as crowded as Bar Harbor. We stopped at a local ice cream stand for fresh Maine blueberry ice cream for dessert!

The next morning my husband and I walked from our Airbnb to do a hike along to coast to Otter Cliffs. It was so beautiful and afterwards we stopped for a great lunch at the little gourmet shop near our house. Later that afternoon we took the kids over to Jordan Pond and we got popover sundaes at the famous Jordan Pond House, followed by a nice hike around the pond.

For our final morning in Acadia we got breakfast at Mt. Dessert Bakery (highly recommend) and then took a Puffins and Lighthouses boat tour. We got to see some cool wildlife and lighthouses by boat for a different view of the park.

On our drive into central Maine we stopped for one last lobster roll for lunch, and then drove through the town my grandfather was from, Sangerville. We stayed at a cool Airbnb near Moosewood Lake. The property was near a smaller pond and they let us use their kayaks. The next morning we took a beautiful drive through Maine, stopping at Moosehead Lake and some other sights, trying to spot moose along the way. We finally spotted one about 10 minutes into the New Hampshire border! We were super psyched as we drove up to Mt. Washington.

We decided to take the auto tour rather than driving our car, to put less stress on the car and so we could relax and actually enjoy the drive. It was the right choice as the tour guide told us a lot about the history of tourism up the mountain. It was hard to believe people would go up in horse drawn carriages. The weather was truly bizarre up there with huge winds and temperatures 30 degrees lower than at the base, and you could cross to the other side of the mountain to get calmer weather and a beautiful view. We had dinner that night at a disappointing restaurant and checked into our hotel.

The next morning we headed over to Franconia Notch State Park. We first did the Flume Gorge Trail which had some cool waterfalls through a gorge. We also checked out some other parts of the park, and spent the afternoon swimming at the (freezing) lake there.

The next morning we got some tips from our hotel manager about places to stop on our way to Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont. We stopped at the quaint town of Littleton, NH, which was where my one of my favorite childhood movies, Pollyanna, was set. They had some great little shops including, Chutters, which had a mile long candy bar! After filling our bags with all the candy of our dreams, we headed back in the car for the drive to Vermont.

As we drove through Vermont we passed Goddard College where Phish got their start, and we made sure to check out the music building where they used to practice. Shortly after we saw a huge black bear lope across the road! At Ben & Jerry’s we took the short factory tour and had an ice cream lunch and then checked out the flavor graveyard. For lunch we stopped at a great little Vermont country store. It was a very Vermont-y day.

We landed in Manchester, which was a town we stayed in when our youngest was only 4 months old. We went to the awesome Northshire bookstore which is one of my favorites. The next day we did a couple hikes near town, and on one of them we met some Appalachian Trail thru-hikers. After chilling at the hotel pool we got the kids some pizza and my husband and I went out to a fancy dinner. There was a street fair in town we stopped at afterwards and listened to a fun band.

The next morning everyone was thrilled to finally be heading home. Luckily we were only 3 hours from home and we made it by 11 am! All in all it was a fin trip, however I would not recommend 3 weeks in a car with no A/C and everyone having colds. Our favorite part was Acadia NP and we were so thrilled to have seen a moose!

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