I know, the suspense was killing me too as we waited for the sun to rise on a “beautiful” morning at Acadia National Park in Maine! Depending on the time of year, Cadillac Mountain claims the first place to see the sunrise in the United States. Which we thought was the perfect beginning to our cross country move from New York City to San Diego!
We began our trip to Acadia driving from the Green Mountains in Vermont, across the skinny part of New Hampshire (You MUST stop at The Water Wheel on US Route 2! Great breakfast and massive portions tucked inside an adorable little barn!) , to get to a very beautiful Maine; neither of us had ever visited any of these states! (What a BEAUTIFUL part of our country)
Sidenote: There is VERY LITTLE to no service on much of this route… We really enjoyed that fact until it came time to find a hotel or gas station we desperately needed!
As we got closer to Acadia, we were pretty much following the storm there and were welcomed with open clouds filling the skies with a downpour of rain! Yes, our first day on our cross country trip and it was pouring! Go figure, we had only set up our tent yet once before and had no rain coats or umbrellas! Luckily, there was an L.L. Bean outlet about 30 minutes outside of the park where we picked up some handy, inexpensive rain coats! (I guess ponchos would have worked just as nicely and probably a little cheaper, but for $30 we decided in case it rained more on our month long adventure, we had better invest!)
I have to admit, looking back at the pictures, I actually really enjoy how the rain and clouds delivered such a nice ambiance to the coastal environment. Finding our campsite at Blackwoods Campground was really simple and setting up our tent was wet, but relatively quick! Love our REI 2 person tent! We walked around for a little while nearby the campsite to explore and find the coastal cliffs not too far off!
Since it was already late (& raining) we decided to wander over to the little town Nick’s aunt had raved about, Bar Harbor and get a bite to eat! It was a short drive from the campsite and this town was absolutely adorable! The cutest little shops filled the main street and you could feel the small town vibe practically running through your veins as you meandered through the homemade knick knacks lining the storefronts.
Some Highlights of Bar Harbor:
The Chocolate Moose
We picked up a delicious bottle of Bartlett Maine Wine – Pear (a dry wine so it wasn’t Nick’s favorite, but I think it was oh so good!) They had what seemed like endless amounts of delicious treats, chocolates, wines, and “mainey” snacks!
In The Woods
An adorable store filled with wooden wonders that I could actually spend a year in if it weren’t for Nick tearing me out the doors after 35 minutes of obsession. There is a super cute rocking horse in the “maine” room (I can’t help the puns) and pretty much everyone can try it on for size!
This restaurant was out of this world delicious! We don’t eat fried food (doesn’t do well with Nick) and they had wood grilled wings that were mouth watering delicious! We highly recommend this place! Their portions are so large and everything was memorable from the fantastic service to the delicious food, they really gave an enjoyable experience!
FINALLY THE SUNRISE PLEASE
Honestly, let’s get to the maine reason we were here, at this national park, on this day, at the very beginning of our trip! The first sunrise in the United States and a beautiful one overlooking the Atlantic Ocean! We set out for the North Ridge trail to Cadillac Mountain at 3:30 in the morning (4.4 miles round trip) we had to make a 5:12 sunrise! Accompanied by our headlamps, some water, and a blanket, because it was hard for me to leave the tent so early in the fog and mist that filled the morning air. The trail was gradual and fairly simple to follow, even in the dark of the night. As we gained in elevation, I was quickly gaining in nervousness and frustration, as I realized the fog wasn’t dissipating and the sky wasn’t growing a lick clearer. Still, I held out hope for the MOST SPECTACULAR sunrise to begin our journey, it was July after all, summer for goodness sakes! How could the sun not rise and fall beautifully before my eyes? We reached the summit of the mountain and I sat in awe, absolute astonishment at what lay before me! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING LAY BEFORE ME! The fog was so thick, I could barely see my own hands touching my nose!
So….. we waited! For about 30 minutes after the supposed sunrise and before we gave up hope, we had some fun on the summit! There is a little trail at the top that’s about a half a mile and I am pretty sure we walked it 3 times impatiently.
Knowing that we had to get back on the road because we had tickets to a Red Sox game in Boston that evening, we decided to head back down the mountain! As we trekked back down the beautifully pink, granite mountain I began to sing in my best Beatles’ voice “Here comes the sun…. do duh do do” Nick probably wanted to punch me in the throat for dragging him up that mountain top, let alone for joyously singing a sarcastically(and terribly), but low and behold there was FINALLY a break in the fog and big pink sky in the horizon!
We couldn’t have imagined a better trip to Acadia National Park and hope to be back someday in the future! Our stay here was nothing short of interesting, perspective building, and quite memorable! While our sunrise wasn’t exactly what we were expecting, we had a fantastic time making fun of our “luck” and how ironic our morning had been that day!
Until next time Acadia, with love.
Some things you should NOT forget when traveling to Acadia:
- Head Lamps (especially if you are planning on hiking Cadillac Mountain for sunrise)
- Rain Coats (Even in July it was quite cold and poured rain our first night)
- The Tide Charts (You can walk out to the island during low tide- aka you can walk on water! Okay not really, but that’s my take on that)
- To enjoy the amazing history that fills this park, there are so many cobblestone roads and an enormous amount of learning to be had at this park!