I took many harbor cruises in different cities and this one is the best. The 2 hours fully narrated cruise is full of surprise and very vivid. It leaves from Bar Harbor, Maine in search of eagles, porpoises, seals, and other interesting marine mammals and birds. It also feature views of timeless mansions, Egg Rock lighthouse in Frenchman Bay.
What impress me most is mola mola. Molas are slow swimmers and likes to drifting near the ocean surface, but they seldom show up in the coast area in Maine according to the narrator. When I saw it, I thought it was a shark because it has only one fin floating on surface of water. It looked like a dead one because of its slow movement. Unfortunately, I still couldn't get a picture of it.
Another excitement is about seeing a Bald Eagle family. While our cruise got closer, the young eagle flew away, followed by its parents. Later, we saw a even rare picture: a falcon was challenging a bald eagle in its territory. It swooping down and crying out loud, in the direction toward the bald eagle, and repeated several times. it ended as the eagle landed in a pine tree at a lower position while the falcon landed higher on another tree next to it. Their landing position determines who is the boss in this area. Interesting?
There are many other interesting animals and views. I will definitely take the cruise again if I visit Arcadia next year.
September 6 & 7, 2012
As we had already visited Bar Harbor during our Road Trip East in 2007, we decided to visit and stay in ELLSWORTH. When we arrived, we first looked for a Motel to stay the night and after we found one, we wanted to check out downtown Ellsworth. The city has many historic buildings and points of interest such as the Grand Cinema, Ellsworth City Hall, Ellsworth Public Library and the First Congregational Church of Christ. Also the Union River runs through it.
The city is the gateway for tourists visiting Acadia National Park and the Bar Harbor area.
See my Ellsworth Maine pages for more information.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Travelling east on US Route 2, we came to Farmington area and saw the coolest thing - ALPACAS!
It was an Alpaca Farm JUSTA ALPACA FARM which is owned by Fulton Butler and Brenda Simoneau. Of course we just had to stop and see them. Fulton came out and introduced us to his "boys" (Butch, Bandit, Rebel and Ricky) as the "girls" were kept separate in the barn. He got out a bucket of grain and let us feed them. Fulton gave me a handful of grain and I put my hand out to feed them. It was such a weird feeling of their lips on my hand. They were oh so gentle and even let us pet their head. What a wonderful experience. Thanks Fulton!
Alpaca resemble a small llama. Alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. Bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, hats, gloves, scarves and sweaters.
An alpacas' diet generally consists of hay or grasses.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Located in Oxford County Maine, RUMFORD is a town in the Foothills of the White Mountains. It has an important paper industry and is home to the Black Mountain Ski Resort.
We stopped in Rumford during our East Coast Road Trip. There was the Rumford Information Center which was interesting as it had waterfalls behind it and a HUGE statue of Pail Bunyan.
Rumford is the site of the Pennacock Falls. Bands of St. Francis Indians once hunted and fished here, where salmon spawn in the pool below Upper Falls, a barrier that fish cannot pass.
Sawmills and gristmills were built to harness water power from the falls.
In 1882, industrialist Hugh J. Chisholm recognized the falls' potential for producing paper. The first Paper Mill began operation in 1893, drawing an infusion of people and money into the community.
Who knew that there was a desert in Maine? After checking out the outlets around Freeport, ME you can check out a real desert.
More info at-
Budget a full day to visit it unless you want also to take hiking trails and swim. In the latter case, you can even budget a week. Acadia NP strechtes on various islands connected through bridges. There is a main loop, on the eastern island, which takes you to the nicest view points but I would suggest to drive also the less beaten loops. Just loosing ourselves, we saw a breathtaking lupines' field. A very gentle lady explained us they bloom in June but they remain so purple just few days. What a nice surprise, despite of the fact we visited Maine not during the fall (so missing the best "foliage" or Indian summer perhaps in the world?)! Perhaps the best location to stay if you are interested to visit Acadia NP is Bar Harbour.
Leon Leonwood Bean, born in 1872, was a great outdoor activieties fan. In the beginning of 1900 he developed a new type of outdoor boots and patented them. Consequently, he founded his first store, in 1912. Now L.L.Bean is a 2 billion USD sales company and its main store is in Freeport. Actually I did not want to go there as I expected a huge shopping mall full of shouting people. Instead, it is a very peaceful place. It has different buildings according to the different activity (fishing, hunting, hiking, etc etc) and is very pleasant. Selling personell is also very kind and professional. What I found exceptional is the working hours: 24 hours a day 365 days in a year! Since '50s they just closed when president JFK was killed and on LL Bean's funeral day.
Cape Neddick Lighthouse, better known as Nubble Light can be seen from many spots along the coast in York, Maine. The best view is from Sohier Park which offers an unobstructed view with perfect photo opportunities.
You can sit on a bench and watch the waves crashing on the rocks, the seagulls coasting overhead and the occaisonal scuba diving group. There are almost always artists painting or drawing the lighthouse. It's a very peaceful, romantic setting. What you CAN'T do is actually go onto the island the lighthouse sits on. I have heard that once a year they have a clambake in the lighthouse but I've never seen any evidence that they let people over there.
There is a lot of history and stories associated with the Nubble, which I won't go into here. You can read about them online. Nobody lives there now. Rumors that it's haunted, but then there are stories about hauntings in lots of lighthouses in Maine.
Twice a year the Nubble is adorned with white lights: for "Christmas in July", Santa pays a visit on a York Fire Engine. Also, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, for the Annual Lighting of the Nubble. Santa stops by for this event also. There's music and some munchies available, usually cookies if I remember correctly.
There is a Gift shop and a restaurant called "Foxes". Maine has wonderful seafood and Lobster no matter where you go. At Foxes the "Lobstah" selections are divine and the view breathtaking. Foxes has a take out window also, not sure if they have same menu selections as inside restaurant. But if you are looking for dessert, walk up the road to Brown's ice cream instead. Yum.
Portland is the largest city in Maine, on the southern end of the state. It may be a city but don't let that keep you away.
Probably my most favorite small city in the United States....it is built on a slight hill that goes down to the waterfront with a shipping and fishing industry that keeps it alive and well. The city is full of life with great architecture, history, cultural events, wonderful sculptures through the streets and squares, old hotels and two great museums.
Not only that but the waterfront area called the "Old Port" has been re-vitalized with renovations of the original old stone and brick buildings, many smart shops and cafes and restaurants. Fun just to walk along both sides of Commercial St. with it's many cobble stone streets that shoot off of it, with narrow charming places to explore.
The tourist and fishing industry abide side by side in this wonderful quaint envirement. Seaguls, ocean air, smell of fish, hot sun, cool breeze, boats and ships......so much to do and see.
You must also go to the Casco Bay Ferry Lines on Commerial St. and take a ferry ride all around the beautiful islands of Casco Bay.
You can also catch "Whale Watching" trips also.
Prepare to spend a couple of days here, it will give you a mixture of both worlds.
Baxter State Park is an example of how big the United States is. This would be a National Park anywhere else, it is such a huge tract of utter wilderness (over 200,000 acres) with only a few logging roads criss-crossing the northern extremities. The southern end of the park does have a park road and it is here that most visitors come to camp and do some hiking/climbing around the state's highest peak, Mount Katahdin at over 5000 feet. Noted for highly changeable weather and often harsh conditions, the park can be utter paradise on a calm sunny day. Though not right on the tourist path, it is well worth making an effort to get over this way if you love nature.
Driving the 27 mile Acadia Park Loop is a must do in Maine. The park entrance fee was $10 in October 2010. There are multiple look-out points and there are some great historical facts to be learned. Our hotel (Primrose Inn in Bar harbor) gave us a CD to play in the car as we drove the 27 mile route. This was ideal as we could start and stop the CD at the appropriate time and stay in the warmth of the car to listen. Apparently other places make this CD available too. Other places not to miss en-route include Sand Beach, Cadillac Mountain, bridges on the carriage trail and some of the impressive Trump tower like beaver lodges. Thunder hole is unpredictable - we were very underwhelmed and did not stay long.
Bass Harbor Head Light is the iconic image of the Maine coast. It is worth making the effort to see it and everyone says climb down on to the rocks for a good photo. At the lighthouse (which is well sign posted at Bass Harbor) take the footpath beyond the lighthouse - steps will take you down to the rocks for an ok photo angle. Don’t expect to get the best shots at high tide unless you are on a boat. Visit the lighthouse at sunset for potentially great shots but do take care climbing down on the rocks. No photo is worth getting swept away for.
You can cross the causeway from Bar harbor to the island from 2hrs before to 2 hrs after low tide. If you stay at the Primrose Inn, they'll tell you the tide times ! Over on the island, follow the marker cairns to guide you on an easy climb to the summit and a wonderful look-out over the harbor. From Bar Harbor to the summit and back is about 1.4 miles. In October, the view was clear - but cold ! Take hats, scarves and gloves.
We visited Portland in the winter time during our ski trip for Christmas. Portland looks like a nice smaller city, but a lot of things at the shore where shut down for the season. It looks like there might be a lot of tourists during the summer . We loved all the little shops and restaurants in the downtown area of the Old Port.
If you drive across the bridge to South Portland, you can visit the lighthouse in the photo. It is called Portland Head Lighthouse and is located in Fort Williams park on Cape Elizabeth. Some stuff was closed for the season there also. I really want to visit here again in the summer .
Nubble Lighthouse is located in southern Maine, at Cape Neddick, and it is the most beautiful lighthouse I saw on this trip. The grounds are not open to the public but you have an excellent view from the parking (see directions below).
The station was established in 1879. The lighthouse that was built in that year is originally preserved, only that in 1987 it was automated. Construction materials is cast iron lined with brick, the tower has a height of 41 feet.
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