Acadia, Maine

Although Kai and I have been together for two years, he only managed to come visit Maine for the first time about six months ago. Two summers ago a trek across the Atlantic together seemed a bit too soon, and I really wanted the sun to be shining on his first visit – so we waited until the summer of 2017 for his first trip to Maine (yay). I had a Maine bucket list for him that was about a mile long (you can read one of my favorite Maine bucket lists here) which was a bit ambitious since we only had about 10 days together on the east coast. However, we did our best to tick our way down the list, which included going for a ride in my dad’s Firebird, playing ski ball at Old Orchard Beach, watching fireworks, getting an ice cream at the Diary Corner, spending a day at the lake with my family, eating lobster, going to a Red Sox game, basking in the sun at the beach, having a camp fire with s’mores and sparklers at night, and visiting LL Bean at an ungodly late hour – just to name a few! While he was visiting we also wanted to do something that was new for the both of us, and so we booked a three night adventure in Acadia, Maine, with plans to hike, eat, and swim!While all of Maine is referred to as Vacationland (my parent’s little slice is especially pretty) even those who already live in the state often have a favorite seaside town or lake district they like to escape to in the summer. Before my family moved to Maine, we used to vacation in Scarborough (where my parents now live!) and then once we moved to Scarborough, we would drive up the coast to go camping in Damariscotta. However, despite spending the majority of my adolescent years in Maine, I never made it all the way up to Bar Harbor, the blue seaside town right next to Acadia National park. And so Kai landed on this destination together, one we were very excited to visit!I have to kick this post off by being truthful: I’ve had some lousy weather luck this year. Every vacation I’ve booked in has been rainy, windy, overcast, or overall crappy. As I type this, I am in the Dominican Republic, and despite the weather app showing a gigantic sun every day leading up to this trip, it has seemed like monsoon season outside for the past 24 hours I’ve been here (crossing my fingers for nice weather when we shoot this weekend!) There was a huge wind storm in Greece over my birthday, it rained a ton while I was in Maine over the summer . . . BUT that said, I travel a ton, so I can’t expect the weather to be ideal 365 days a year ;) ANYWAYS, the point I am getting to is that while we were in Acadia, the weather forecast was bleak. It rained each night, and every day a thick layer of fog descended on the town and surrounding landscape. Did this inhibit our fun? No way! But I was a bit bummed Kai did not get to experience a beautiful, sunny Maine weekend. That said, the trip produced some of the most beautiful pictures I have ever taken, with a thick veil of lazy fog drooping over the landscape. So feast your eyes on our trip, one that was both overcast and wonderful :)We kicked off the trip with a pit stop in Camden, Maine. The drive from Scarborough to Bar Harbor is about 3 hours, so we welcomed a beer stop in the sun along the way. Also, the weather on this first day was bright and beautiful (the fog was just starting to land mid-drive) so we didn’t want to spend too much time in the car.We wandered down to the water, where we found a cute cafe with deck seating, and promptly ordered some beers and Cape Cod potato chips.As we finished our drinks, we could see the fog slowly settling in along the coast.However, once we got back in the car and started to cruise a bit more inland, the clouds dispersed – we had high hopes the weather might corporate that weekend!When we got to our hotel, the sun was just starting to dip (thanks to multiple ice cream and beer stops along the way!) We were staying at the Holiday Inn in Bar Harbor, which was beautiful, close to town, and perfectly situated on the water. It was formally the Regency, and it still has a lot of five-star hotel touches, despite the name change.On our first evening, we went on a relaxing night swim in the hotel’s outdoor pool, followed by pizza at one of the best joints in town. My sweet friend Jess, upon hearing that Kai and I were going to Bar Harbor, gave us a long hand written list of recommendations, as she’s spent many summers in Bar Harbor in the past. Rosalie’s was high on her must-do list, and Kai and I love a good fat-fest while on holiday ;)So we popped into Rosalie’s and ordered a custom pizza, with everything but the kitchen sink (but really just fried eggplant, broccoli, pepperoni, and red onions). One thing I love about Kai is that he’s pretty easy-going about food – the first time we ever got ice cream together, he said ‘which two should we get?’ and we picked out two flavors together to share (aka I picked them out). It was love at first ice cream ;) and our food life has been a huge success ever since!Ohh, and just to be safe, we got a large pizza. Because you need to get a large when you’re talking about the BEST pizza in the world!After eating all but one slice of this gargantuan beauty, we hit the streets of downtown Bar Harbor for a walk.Which turned into eating even more ;)There was a night concert going on in the park, so we stayed to watch the end while eating our ice creams before heading back to our hotel.The next day, we got up bright and early for our first hike. Kai picked all of our routes and drove us to the trailhead, while I made sure to pack snacks, sunscreen, sweatshirts, and an umbrella!It was a very foggy day, but the rocks weren’t wet, so aside from having low visibility, we had a warm and fun hike :)I loved pointing out budding raspberries, mushrooms, and blueberries to Kai. Although I haven’t lived in Maine for some time, my Girl Scout training always pop back into mind when I am venturing through the wilderness in Maine.After a good 3 hour hike, we decided to head back to the car and find a snack. We popped into a little place (that we chose based on vicinity to our parking spot) and ordered some wild Maine blueberry pie. It was divine!Afterwards, we got out first peak at Thunder Hole, which is a rock inlet where waves produce a thunder-like boom. However, we didn’t stay too long as we wanted to come back and snap some photos later in the trip when the visibility was better.Next, we drove over to Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, a small lighthouse built in 1855, perched on the south side of Mount Desert Island (for those of you who might be confused, Mount Desert Island is the largest island off of the coast of Maine, and falls within Acadia National Park).
The weather was moody – clearly the kind of forecast that called for the construction of a lighthouse on the island.We scaled down the rocks, and were rewarded to some beautiful lighthouse views.
Our final stop of the day was Stewman’s, a famous lobster pound in Bar Harbor known for having some of the freshest and yummiest seafood! They don’t take reservations, so be prepared to wait in a line that wraps out the door and around the deck if you want a Maine-fresh lobster. While we waited, I snapped photos of the harbor, which were incredibly dreamy.
Stewman’s hack – sneak around the back and into the bar, and order a beer for while you wait in line ;) It made the mosquitos and queue much more tolerable, and there are a ton of local brews to choose from!Once inside, you will be asked to order at the counter. You pick what size lobster you want, and watch as before your eyes they fish a big fresh one out of the crate, pop it on a plate, and send it out back to meet its fate (what a sad, beautiful rhyme!) Kai had never had a lobster before, so he ordered a large, whole lobster. I opted for the lobster BLT which I had been told was fantastic, along with a lobster stew (you can never have too much lobster!)
We sipped some beers on the covered patio, taking in the beautiful view, and before long our food arrived.My heart melted upon seeing this guy in a lobster bib for the first time – it’s like he was officially baptized with Maine’s holy water (erm, bib ;)My sandwich choice was a win, and was packed with SO MUCH lobster meat. I could really only eat half, and spent the rest of the meal crying because I couldn’t fit the rest in my stomach ;)By the time we got back to our hotel it was dark (in the summer, the sun sets in Amsterdam around 11pm, so I am always so confused when it goes down in Maine around 8pm!) and we hit the hay pretty early so we could get up the next day for . . . drum roll . . . yet another hike!

The next morning, we hit up 2 Cats for breakfast, another fabulous recommendation on the lovely Jess’s list :)Once fueled with coffee and croissants (and loaded up with homemade 2 Cats hot sauce to take back to Amsterdam!) we hit the mountains, this time embarking on a slightly more difficult hike.I’m sure the views from the top were beautiful, but the fog was still quite thick, and so even from the mountain’s summit, we couldn’t really see more than 10 feet in front of us.After our hike, we threw on out suits with the intention of going for a dip – however the beach was pretty cold, so we went for a long walk along the cost instead.Can you see the tiny dew droplets sticking to Kai’s hair in this photo? :)Afterwards, we started driving back towards the hotel, and again passed Thunder Hole – so we decided to stop, even though the fog still hadn’t cleared (ohh well!) But to be honest, the mist helped produce some beautiful photos, so while at first we were dismayed we couldn’t see that far out to the sea, the sky and ocean blending together in one light mist was perhaps even more stunning than on a clear-blue day.

As I’m a little sea monkey who grew up on the coast, I started playing on the rocks, which really freaked out my boyfriend from land-locked Munich ;) So instead, he convinced me to pose for some rock glamour shots – which I’m glad we did because they came out really nice :)(except in this above shot, I am fixing my bra, but I guess you wouldn’t really know that unless I told you, like I just did ;)I honestly think we skipped dinner that night – after so much rich food, we were happy to have some snacks in the hotel room and call it a day! The next morning, we woke up for our final hike.Which was miraculous, because along the way, the sun came out!We scampered back down to the bottom of the mountain, basking in the sun’s rays for the first time in three days. We knew we wanted to eat a late lunch in the sun, so we found a parking space in downtown Bar Harbor, and strolled around for a bit before finding the perfect final lunch spotAs pretty as Bar Harbor was in the fog, I was happy that Kai got a chance to see it in all of its sunny glory as well!We decided to enjoy our last meal at Side Street Cafe (last shout out to Jess for the reco!) where we indulged in lobster mac’n’cheese, Maine crab cakes, and fish tacos. It was delicious and unhealthy to the max, however after so much hiking, it was hard to feel guilty!We finished our Acadia trip with two more memorable moments – we drove up to the top of  Cadillac Mountain and took in 360 views of Bar Harbor and Mount Desert Island in all their sunny glory . . .  . . and we found a small watering hole on our way out, where we hiked into the woods, lounged on the rocks in the sun, and dared to jump off of the steep cliffs into the lake. It was the perfect way to end our trip, even if we were slightly damp for the car ride home ;)
I can’t believe it took me almost 30 years to make it up to Acadia! It was an awesome long-weekend in my home-state, and I think I’ve found one of my new favorite parts of Maine :)

xo Ali

 

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