Bar Harbor: A Weekend Escape
When you start working a 9 to 5 job, weekends turn into the time you do everything you were too tired to do during the week. But, without ever doing anything over the weekends, time seems to never stop moving, and you start feeling drained and helpless. We absolutely refuse to feel this way about our lives, so we take advantage of what little free time we have!
Naturally, we wanted to escape to a place that felt more relaxed and friendly, so we picked Bar Harbor, Maine. When we take weekend getaways, we also like to feel more in-touch with ourselves, so we usually opt to go somewhere that is focused on nature and somewhere that we can camp. This time we decided to stay at the Oceanside Kampgrounds of America (KOA) which was just right over the bridge onto Mount Desert Island, home to Acadia National Park and the beautiful Bar Harbor. Another factor that we focus on is our ability to enjoy the journey as well. You only have 48 hours to fill with adventures, so if you don't appreciate getting there, your trip is drastically shortened. On our way there, we definitely took our time enjoying the countryside, and we even stopped at Montsweag Flea Market to talk to some locals and see if we could hunt down any good souvenirs.
Once we arrived at Mount Desert Island, we drove all over the island checking out the gorgeous views of mountains and water, and we even stopped off at a playground to get all of our (mostly the guys') energy out before settling down for the night. Turned out that the playground wasn't enough to ware us out, so we kept driving and came upon a rocky beach on the East side of the island where we eagerly jumped in the freezing water to cool off from the major heat wave. My friend and I tanned on a massive rock with our pup, Delores, while the guys swam back and forth to the beach.
Soon enough, it was time to check in to the campground, so we drove over to set up our camp for the night and cook up some good-ole-fashioned hot dogs. Our campground could not have been better! We reserved just a regular view campsite, but when we pulled up, we were so close to the water that there was a path leading straight down from out camp to all the rocks. So, after enjoying an awesome sunset over the water, buying a pie from a local pie salesman, and hanging out around the campfire, we crawled into our tents (hammocks for the guys) hoping to get some rest for the early morning to come.
The primary reason that we went up to Bar Harbor (about a 6 hr drive from home) was because one of our new found friends wanted to see the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. The sunrise here is notoriously stunning, and it is also one of the first places in the United States to see the sunrise. When we got to the camp the day before, we asked one of the park workers what time she recommended we get up to see the sunrise, and she begrudgingly said 3 AM. Now, I love a good sunrise, but 3 AM is not exactly my ideal wake up time. However, I toughed it out since I knew we needed to get there early to ensure we had a parking spot and could hike down a ways to enjoy the scenery in peace. During the summer, it is possible to have around one thousand people at the top of Cadillac Mountain all to watch the sunrise.
If you're a grumpy morning person like me, I promise you, wake up for this one. It is one of the most breathtaking views I have seen through my entire life. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
We probably spent a good two hours wandering around the summit trail hopping over rocks and just generally enjoying the view. Unfortunately we had to leave to check out of the campsite, so we reluctantly drove down the mountain and headed back to take down our tent and gear. By the time we had showered and gotten everything packed it was still only about 8 in the morning, so we got our game on with a competitive (probably too competitive) game of corn hole. Not sure how, I guess the inner child came out of all of us, but we played corn hole for over an hour until we realized we should probably start heading back home.
TIP: Bug spray will be your best friend! The mosquitos are awake and hungry for the sunrise, so definitely apply a ton of repellant.
TIP2: Don't forget your sunglasses or you really can't enjoy the sunrise to it's full potential.
TIP3: You're on a mountain - it will be much windier and colder than it was at the bottom, so don't forget a jacket and long pants!
Once again, we took our time getting back, and even stopped off in Portland for some classic lobster lunches! We decided to eat at J's Oyster because it had outdoor seating, so that Delores could hang out in some shade while we ate. The staff there were SO friendly, and even gave her fresh cold water and treats every few minutes! Obviously, the lobster was fantastic as well, but you can't really get a bad lobster in Maine....