Our wake-up time was about twenty minutes later than normal on this rainy morning (“A Rainy Morning with the Jesuits”, perhaps?!). We began the day with a twist—we had breakfast in our room. The meal consisted of grape juice (not the fermented kind, for once!) and crackers topped with Sunset Acres Farm’s delicious goat cheese.
Our first stop, after picking up some coffee and tea at the Independent Cafe, was the Bar Harbor Farmers Market. We were anticipating seeing the goat farmers again and trying some of the more unusual flavors of goat cheese, like chipotle lime. What we weren’t expecting was the array of absolutely beautiful, unblemished, colorful produce that we can almost never find at home! Imagine bright orange (and purple) carrots with full green tops! All kinds of squashes and beets, ripe tomatoes, corn! Smoked bones so fragrant they immediately brought to mind a warm meal cutting through the chill of a fall day. Homemade jellies and jams and … of course, goat cheese.
We met up with Ann again and sampled most of the farm’s spreadable goat cheese flavors, and one firm goat cheese variety laced with vegetable ash that was pungent and delicious. We bought five tubs without knowing how we were going to store them or get them home, but that might not be a problem since we’ve been eating the cheeses day after day (although we do want to bring some home for neighbors).
Ann said that if we couldn’t make the market next Sunday, she could leave some more cheeses for us at a local shop that stocks their products, which sounded good to us. Rain was threatening, so we headed out after buying a small bag of Lucy’s Granola for trail snacking. We began to feel sprinkles on our faces as we wandered through the back streets. By the time we reached our hotel the deluge had begun and we were drenched.
Rainy middays are often best spent at Jordan Pond House snacking on tea and popovers. We found parking easily, and joined the rapidly forming line around 11:05am, 25 minutes before opening time. While Rich held our spot in line, I bought the “Bridges of Acadia” jigsaw puzzle from the gift shop that we’d been looking at the night before. Our blueberry tea (and coffee for R) was warming and soothing, the popovers hot and fresh. The rain was still coming in sheets, windblown, even forcing its way inside some of the windows at times, then dying down as the sky brightened for a moment, only to come roaring back again. We ate leisurely, enjoying every last bite, with no desire to go back outside. Eventually the volume of rain lessened and we were ready to leave.
We thought we’d take a drive to nearby Northeast Harbor to scout out a few survey marks. The first was a sought-after USGS BM, K 20, situated near the intersection of Route 3 and Cooksey Drive. The USGS description was poor/incomplete and I think we’d driven by once before to scout the location, only to find that the situation was near hopeless. However, this year I saw a new recovery for this mark entered into the MDOT database. Patriot Land Surveys in Bar Harbor had provided a new description and coordinates.
The rain had almost stopped at this point, and Rich noticed a spot of blue sky. We entered a wooded section in the triangle formed between the two roads. Fortunately, it’s mostly open woods that are easy to navigate, even when everything is wet. It took a few minutes of tromping southwest from our starting point, but soon enough we spotted pink flagging tape and a standard USGS metal witness sign on a tree. The mark was found in excellent condition and very solid in its setting on the outcrop. We also found a MAG nail set into a rock a few yards away, with some pink flagging tape attached, and some pink flagging tape tied to the nearest guardrail post along Route 3.
The weather was now sunny and beautiful, and Rich and I were both up for a few more hunts and poking around. We found two MDOT marks (one a disk, one a drill hole surrounded by a chiseled triangle) in Northeast Harbor. Then we went on to hike Asticou Terraces up to Thuya Lodge and gardens, with the goal of determining whether it was something my mother might be interested in doing. Somehow I’ve never done this hike before!
I definitely think my mother, as well as anyone who has only a few days to spend here, should do this hike because it encapsulates, in a beautiful microcosm, so many of the iconic things about Acadia: the views of mountains and water, the intricate stonework and generosity and hard work of those who made these thoughtfully designed trails possible, the aroma of the spruce and balsam and salt air, the historical interest of the lodge, the carved monument and lookout huts, the care with which everything is created and maintained.
After a brief rest and walk to the store mentioned above (A&B Naturals) and the grocery store, we went to Red Sky for dinner. As soon as we entered, we actually ran into the two people whose photos we had taken at the summit of Acadia Mountain yesterday. They were trying to get a reservation and asked to be called if a spot opened up soon (I don’t think it ever did).
Aside from some extremely annoyingly loud people sitting too close to us, the meal was awesome. We started with a smoked salmon mousse on thin toasts. Then we had a delicious salad of fresh greens, cranberries and blue cheese with a balsamic vinegar dressing. Rich’s entree was his favorite lobster risotto with asparagus, and I had the roasted half chicken from, again, Sunset Acres Farm! (Rich commented that it was probably the chicken we saw running around there on Thursday, and from how fresh it tasted, he may be right). The chicken was served with a tart cranberry sauce and nutty rice with toasted almonds, and some raw kale. To drink we had the Bug Lager and New Guy IPA. Rich chose dessert tonight, and he had a sweet tooth, so instead of our usual cheese plate we shared the bittersweet Belgian chocolate pudding with whipped cream, ginger biscotti, and mint garnish. On or drive back it was an exceptionally dark night and already cold, a windy 52°.