After 2 days in Portland and beginning at noon we drove up the 3 hours towards Acadia National Park, a 47,000-acre situated primarily on Maine’s Mount Desert Island.
About a 20 minutes’ drive north of Portland, we stopped for a quick lunch at the “Famous L.L. Bean Boot.”
At around 3pm and before reaching the outskirts of Acadia, we took a 45 minute detour to the southwest point for a photogenic shot of 19th century The Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse.
Nobody tells you this but after a 5 minute hike from the parking lot and down a flight of wooden stairs, you need to also venture onto the precarious rocks to get the viewpoint everyone raves about.
We then headed into Acadia proper on Mount Desert Island where by 4pm we showed our park pass (which you can purchase beforehand online) at the gate and continued onto the summit of Cadillac Mountain.
This is the highest peak in the Northeast and the first place to view sunrise in the United States from October 7 through March 6.
From the parking lot you can take an easy scenic half-mile hike around the summit.
You can also easily detour out from the summit loop for adjacent hikes.
Then we drove back from the summit onto the scenic drive along the 27 mile long Park Loop Road.
Jutting out from this road are also countless non-vehicular carriage paths that you can detour off for bike and horseback rides.
Midway through the loop we parked at Jordan Pond House Restaurant, a historic place to stop for tea and lunch in Acadia.
And from there you can hike the serene 3.5 miles around Jordan Pond, which took us about 1-2 hours the next morning.
Back on Park Loop Road and on our way from Jordan Pond we then stopped at Thunder Hole, a natural rock inlet which physics cause waves to crash with the sound of thunder.
There are times posted everyday when to show up for the biggest and loudest-sounding waves.
After a full loop around Acadia with its numerous detours, we finally checked in at our lodgings at Atlantic Eyrie Lodge, located in the quaint bayside town of Bar Harbor.
Just walking here and you can get a feel for the small town vibes that have been emblematic of the New England character. It’s also a wonderful place for sunset….
…and for moonrise.
- At time of posting in Acadia National Park, it was 16 °C -
Humidity: 96% | Wind Speed: 10km/hr | Cloud Cover: cloudy
After nearly 3 days in Rhode Island, we head onwards to my first time ever setting foot in Maine.
While the COVID rates here have remained low like the rest of the Northeast, they’re not quite containing it as well as NYC, CT or Rhode Island…
But luckily for us when we arrived at our hotel in downtown Portland, the AC Marriott, we found out that TODAY would be their first day reopening after a 1-2 month lockdown. This meant our room definitely would be clear of COVID-19 as nobody had stayed there for more than enough time for a lonely virus to die off on any surfaces (usually 3 days).
When you check in, they make you check off and sign this on the honor code (they don’t check for your results otherwise):
After 10 minutes settling in, we walked out to explore Portland, beginning with a 15 minute walk to the Portland Observatory (closed due to COVID):
We then walked 10 minutes towards the water and the majestic scenery of the Eastern Promenade:
It’s a dog paradise still at East End Beach:
Weaving along the coast back to downtown Portland, we came across a series of abandoned railroad carriages:
Once back in downtown Portland, we strolled around the charming cobblestone-lined paths of Old Port, a quaint historic tourist district that before the pandemic also had functioned as a hip nightlife hot spot for locals.
As of the time of positing the traditional seafood spots by the waterfront have just begun reopening for outdoor and partial indoor dining.
When restaurants like Scales was too full, we managed to get seats at the last minute at DiMillo’s On The Water.
When in Maine…
…you do it right…
…and I definitely do it right.
The next morning we wandered past Old Port into the more modern Downtown Portland where I sampled some of my favorite espresso so far at Speckled Axe.
In the area and under better circumstances (aka if there were no pandemics), you can visit the magnificent interiors of Portland Museum of Art…
…and Victoria Mansion, one of the most historic homes of the 19th century.
We then headed back to Old Port for an outdoor seaside lunch at Gilbert’s Chowder House:
…and we followed up with Duckfat‘s famous fried donuts served with caramel dipping sauce.
Heading out of Portland at 2pm, we drove 10 minutes to Bug Light Park, named after its tiny 24 foot tower that has a direct view of Portland Harbor.
The much larger and historic (and Maine’s oldest) Portland Head Lighthouse, built in 1791 and located within the 90-acre Fort Williams Park, is another 10 minutes’ drive south.
After a 20 minute cliff walk at the park, we drove back to Portland and showed up about an hour late to our online reservation (whoops!) we had made for a tandem kayak at Portland Paddle.
Luckily for us in the era of COVID they honored our reservations as demand here still remains low.
We spent about an hour kayaking in the bay, going as far out west as an abandoned railroad bridge by I-295 and as east to Pomroy Rock.
Another thunderstorm then arrived in the evening, so we sat that out back in our hotel before compelling ourselves to walk in the rain for our 8pm reservations at Scales.
Remember the Baked Alaska we had 3 years ago at Eleven Madison Park and 10 months ago in Greenland? We had it again here!
But this has been the running theme of Portland thus far:
Finally on day 3 of our time in Portland, we decided to finally honor all the recommendations for us to try The Holy Donut the next morning, especially their Vegan Fresh Lemon, Vegan Chocolate Caramel, and Maple Bacon potato donuts.
And I’m glad we did, physically distanced lines outside and all.
This is a great send off for the road as we now drive up the 3 hours north to Acadia National Park!
- At time of posting in Portland, ME, it was 16 °C -
Humidity: 66% | Wind Speed: 11km/hr | Cloud Cover: thunderstorms