A few weeks ago I embarked on a whirlwind trip to New England. This was the first time in such a long time that I went somewhere truly new to me. My cousin, Annie, recently moved to Boston, Southwest had a killer deal on airfare, and Acadia National Park is only five hours away from the city. If that isn’t a perfect recipe, I don’t know what is.
Thursday I got up at the crack of dawn, called an uber (who i’m 99% sure was high at 5:30am), and got to the airport. I was running late so it was a bit stressful getting through bag checks and security but all that was rectified when my flight was basically EMPTY. I’m talking window seat and an entire row to myself, people. Pure luxury. I watched the sun come up with two complimentary cups of coffee while I watched Hawaii 5-0. Living. The. Dream.
A few short hours later I arrived in Boston and got a much more sober uber driver who spoke zero words to me (which is always fine with me). Next stop, Annie’s work to meet for lunch and drop off my back breaking bags so I could navigate the city with a bit more ease.
We grabbed lunch and coffee at Tatte cafe which was not only adorable, but delicious and then I dropped her back off at work and made my way to the train station to try my hand at public transit for the first time. I was terrified but when in Boston? I only made a mistake once and after texting “HELP” to my cousin, realized I could easily hop off at the next stop and get going in the correct direction. Problem solved. I ended up spending the afternoon at a quaint shopping district that had a Patagonia, Arcteryx, and The North Face along with a bunch of other nice local stuff. I grabbed yet another coffee near Berkely and then took a train to REI to pick up a couple items for our camping trip.
After I walked a million miles, I met back up with Annie to grab dinner, get cleaned up and then head to Cambridge to see the marvelous Margaret Glasby perform at the Sinclair. If you ever have the chance to see a show while you’re on vacation, I definitely recommend it. It’s so fun to completely blend in with the local scene. However, after being up at 5:00am and not going to bed until 2:00am you might be a little exhausted.
In the morning we dragged ourselves out of bed, packed up all our stuff for camping, grabbed coffee and breakfast sandwiches, and got last minute groceries before hopping on the road towards Maine.
We made our first stop in New Hampshire. My rule is that you can’t mark a state off your list of places you’ve been to unless you stop and DO something in that state. So we found another coffee shop that looked promising. Our chai lattes from the morning left much to be desired and by mid day we needed a pick me up only coffee can cure. The White Heron was perfect!
Next stop was in Freeport, Maine. I’m a sucker for LL Bean so I made sure stopping at the headquarters was on our to do list. This place was insane. I was on cloud nine I’m telling you. Plaid, flannel, denim, cozy sweaters, jackets, coats, BOOTS. It was a blast. And obviously the fact that there is a giant bean boot right out front is exciting. I spent way too much time (and money) there. But it’s vacation. There aren’t any rules on a vacation right? Right.
I finally managed to get out of the labyrinth of outdoor goods and Annie and I decided it was time for me to experience a lobster roll while I was was up north. Bad idea. It was the nastiest thing we’d ever had. So if you love lobster, please do not visit Days Takeout in Maine, no matter what lies Yelp is telling you. We had some blueberry crisp to get the taste out of our mouth and started our last push to Acadia.
We arrived after dark and set up camp as quick as possible so we could eat real food before bed. Besides a rude awakening at 3:00am by some light rain, we had a solid sleep after a major travel day.
We awoke - for the second time - to attempt seeing the sunrise over the ocean that was a short three minute walk away from our campsite. It was too cloudy after the night’s misty rain, but the foggy, dreary beach was still magnificent. After a while we decided breakfast was needed so Annie started on eggs and pancakes while I broke down camp. It was so delicious. Also our instant coffee somehow turned out to be the greatest camp coffee I’ve ever had, so that was a happy surprise!
Our first trail of the day was the Wonderland trail. A short mile and a half jaunt around the seaside. There were plenty of spots to walk out to view the water and also the easy trail wound through beautiful trees and wild flowers. Definitely a recommendation for all hiking levels.
The second hike we did was slightly on accident. After a wild couple of days, my back and legs were pretty worn out so we decided to take it easy on our hiking endeavors. Except we did the wrong one and went on a much more intense hike than originally intended. The Beehive trail was well worth it though. You literally are climbing up metal rungs on the side of a cliff with a sheer drop off below, while simultaneously trying to take in the breathtaking view of the bright blue ocean surf in the distance. Insane. It’s only a mile and a half trail but it’s an almost completely vertical ascent on the first half. Do not try this if you are scared of heights!
We drove a short distance to the famous Thunder Hole which was crowded and full of tourists but it was beautiful regardless. The walkway out to the ocean was closed due to the last impacts of Hurricane Jose making the waves too intense to stand that close. Instead we climbed up on a large rock around the corner and got just as good a view.
And just like that our time in Acadia National Park was over. We drove through Portland, Maine on the way back for dinner and some horribly underwhelming ice cream and eventually arrived home, exhausted as usual.
Sunday we grabbed a coffee and headed towards the city to meet for worship service. It was a fantastic lesson and the congregation was tiny and friendly. It’s so neat getting to visit with other groups around the United States. Especially when most north east Christians meet in hotels and meeting rooms instead of having fancy buildings. Lunch was grabbed at Boston Public Market and then we enjoyed our sandwiches in one of the many public parks Boston has to offer. A second park had caught my eye while googling “things to do” around the area. We took a short walk to Christopher Columbus Park and just relaxed and shot photos while we enjoyed the coastal breeze.
Our day was pretty much spend perusing a few historical areas, drinking cappuccino, and then grabbing a pizza on the way home. We took it easy and turned in early so that I could get a handle on packing before my early morning flight.
Boston was such an amazing city. I never expect to fall in love with metropolitan areas, but this time I really felt a connection to it and I will definitely be back. New Hampshire and Maine were more beautiful than I could handle. The whole time we were in Acadia I felt like my brain wasn’t registering that I was really there. Does anyone else ever feel like they aren’t quite experiencing a new place because the place you’re in is so overwhelmingly gorgeous? Thank goodness for pictures so that I can relive it all whenever I choose.