Last full day in Maine. 😦 We did the 11-mile Lake Auburn Loop. Billed as “easy”; but this word “easy,” I do not think it means what they think it means. I’ve gotten a lot better about hills these days, but I was defeated by one stretch of this loop. That said, the part by the lake sure is indeed easy and beautiful.
But, hills or not, 11 miles is piffle to us after two weeks of nearly non-stop wrecking our bodies! So after a light lunch to satisfy our “apatites” we did a little walking and rockhounding in a place called Mount Apatite. I don’t think X found any apatite, but there was plenty of mica, as shown here.
The final totals are 87 miles biked, 22 brewpubs.
It is super relaxing to spend two whole weeks doing nothing but some of your favorite things. No flights, no foreign language, no jet lag, no “big sights” to take in. It’s an immersion in real life. Two places I was happiest were Bath and Schoodic. I loved Acadia and Bar Harbor and felt we barely scratched the surface. X thought we should do lots more taking advantage of that AMAZING bus. The area has an entirely free bus, with commodious bike racks, that goes all over the park. You can totally over-exert yourself and just bus your way back home. Not that we did that. Well, not more than once. Twice. Anyway – I LOVED the Bar Harbor Motel. I loved their bike storage, their location RIGHT by a bus stop (not that we needed it, well, not more than twice), everything about their service and amenities – I even loved their breakfast, and I HATE hotel breakfasts. I avoid hotel breakfasts. Yet I always looked forward to this one. Plenty of everything, no fighting people, wild Maine blueberries by the bucketful everyday!! Cereal ALL DAY LONG!
I think we need to go back. I think next time I would break up the trip by stopping over in Bath.
Kennebec River Rail Trail, Augusta
Day 12 we left Bar Harbor, and rather than schlep all the way home from there, broke up the trip with a couple of nights in the Augusta/Aurora area (say that 10 times fast).
We did a pleasant 12-mile round trip on this lovely, flat, straight rail trail, and spotted a bald eagle. He’s actually in this picture. He’s on one of the near islands.
There was a brew spot at the beginning of the trail in Augusta where we had a lovely pizza lunch. There was another at the end of the trail and another in the middle. But we didn’t hit the one in the middle, because when we hit the one at the end, it happened. I reached peak beer. I looked at my pretzel nuggets and my flight of four, and I said, if I drink any more beer on this trip, I am going to hate beer. So I stopped. My passport ended up at 22 – far short of the t-shirt winning 30, but beyond the cap-winning 15… maybe they’ll round up?! I’ve sent it out and time will tell.
Miles biked: 76
Brews: STOPS at 22. I know when to say when!
Grindstone Point, Winter Harbor, Schoodic Peninsula
Most of the park is on the Mt. Desert Island peninsula; but a little bit is on the Schoodic Peninsula to the east. It was SO peaceful here. We did an easy 10-mile loop with a detour to the spot shown above, Grindstone Point. We had it entirely to ourselves. We saw loons (pretty sure). Driving along the peninsula later, we saw dolphins (pretty sure); and so many beautiful, quiet spots. I loved it here.
Miles biked for the trip up to 64.
We hit a couple of brew spots in Ellsworth that evening; total up to 19.
Sand Beach, Acadia National Park!
Biked about 10 miles from the motel to Seal Harbor, with detour into Bar Harbor and stops along the way for highly touristed sights like this beach. 10 miles was enough, given the wreck of a hike we’d been on the day before – took that oh so wonderful bus back.
Miles biked for the trip up to 54.
Brewpubs stands at 17.
This is the day where I, Tytania, city girl who DOES NOT LIKE CLIMBING MOUNTAINS, found myself hiking up to THE highest point in Acadia National Park via THE most difficult trail.
We had taken a nice little walk to a place called Bubble Pond. Then X looked at the map, pointed to something called Cadillac Mountain, and said, “This would be the most direct route back. It will be steep, but short.”
I distinctly remember asking, “Do you think I could do it?” and he said “Yes.” (I also asked “Do you think I’ll bitch & moan?” and he said yes to that too.)
It was crazy. I’m not the only one. A girl passing us by on the trail said, “Boy, this trail is crazy.” See? It was freaking HARD. I was expecting a steep walk, like, on a TRAIL. This was rocks, hoisting yourself up rocks, inching your way across rocks with barely perceptible footholds & handholds… I kept thinking, “This isn’t even a THING.”
Oh blissful moment when we discovered on the map that there was going to be a ROAD with motor vehicles at the top of the mountain. The possibility of buses! Hell, I’d hitchhike back down. Turned out no public buses, but a much easier trail to get down; and then a bus to get back to the motel.
Then to Bar Harbor and this – sauvignon blanc and lobster gnocchi. All’s well that ends this way, that’s for sure.
… by way of the Penobscot Narrows Bridge & Observatory! Whooooooa!
2 brewpubs on this date, including an interesting one just over the above bridge in Bucksport, called Friar’s Brewhouse Taproom, run by actual friars. The beer was delicious, even a funky one brewed with Brett, which in other breweries I have found nasty. The food looked sooooo good, a tourtiere and a gumbo were on special… but we were full from lunch. The food always looked good in the places we only stopped to drink at.
And again no biking on this day. My biking feet were starting to get itchy. Totals:
Miles biked: 44
Spent hours at the Maine Maritime Museum in Bath. It included a little cruise on the Kennebec River for a close-up view of the Bath Iron Works, a working shipyard. We are crazy about viewing any kind of manufacturing. Shown above is just a little something they’ve been working on.
I loved hanging around Bath. They are the home of Halcyon Yarn; it was actually open and I browsed, but was too overwhelmed to buy anything. Also in Bath and open for business was Now You’re Cooking catering to another of my weaknesses, Kitchen Crap. (X and I always exclaim “Kitchen Crap!” whenever we are in a new town and spot a kitchen crap store.) They had a pierogy-making class scheduled that night (fully booked, alas). Other cute shops, and finally, the lovely Bath Brewing Company where we had a flight.
We went to Boothbay Harbor just to visit another coastal town, and to track down another brew spot, but they turned out to be closed. Boothbay is not somewhere to which we’d return. We had a nice dinner in a tavern, but it was the most Tourist Central place we found on the whole trip, much worse than Bar Harbor (except maybe when the cruise ships come in).
1 brewpub and no biking on this day. Totals:
Miles biked: 44
Here we are listening to the audio during the Allagash Brewery tour. X organized this. X normally doesn’t plan a thing, so this was a rare event indeed, which I enjoyed! It was a great tour. Allagash White is a fine beer. And the brewery is in a district with 4 or 5 others, so we hit about 5 total for the day – I was starting to think I really could get that t-shirt!
Miles biked, total for trip, stands pat at 44.
Brewpubs total for trip jumps to 14.
Last full day in Portland, we biked to nearby Mackworth Island, a peaceful place without cars. Portland has good bike infrastructure and it was easy to get to. On the way back we hit several breweries in a little hipster district and ate good food truck.
Miles biked Day 5: 12, bringing total for trip to 44.
Brewpubs Day 5: 3, bringing total for trip to 8.
It doesn’t get much more scenic than that, making Portland Head the most photographed lighthouse in Maine. Guilty as charged. September 14 was Open Lighthouse Day, with a large number of lighthouses open to the public. The day exceeded X’s expectations as we got to enter not zero but three lighthouses. He had been discouraged by how many required reservations or boats. But we got to climb up Portland Head, Spring Point Ledge, and Bug Light.
Miles biked: 0. Total for trip stands at 32.
Brewpubs: 1. Total for trip now at 5.