Acadia Adventures 2014—Day 4

Last night we discovered that our usual quick breakfast stop, Morning Glory Bakery, has reduced their hours and doesn’t open until 8:00am on Saturdays. We were supposed to pick up our tickets for the cruise to Baker Island at 8:20, which wouldn’t leave us enough time to eat if we opted for Morning Glory. We decided instead to check out the Trailhead Cafe. They offered an interesting selection of teas and coffees and, more importantly for us this morning, some pastries, breakfast sandwiches, and bagels. They also make sandwiches for lunch.

Rich briefly chatted with the owner, who was surprised to hear that Morning Glory was opening so late on a weekend. (She also mentioned that she plans to steal some of their bakers at the end of the season!). We offered to take a little walk and check out Morning Glory and Matsumoto Joe’s and then return with the details on whether they were open. Well, we confirmed that Morning Glory was indeed closed until 8:00am, and while Matsumoto Joe’s was open and appeared to have nice coffees, they had almost no snacks and no breakfast items. So, as we said, “We went on our hike and returned to the Trailhead!”

We had two delicious bagels (jalapeno and asiago) with cream cheese and learned a lot from the owner. Although she has a brusque manner and sometimes responded in odd ways to our questions, she was helpful and friendly overall. She told us about some of the old restaurants in town, how she owned the Opera House for a time and owns the Opera House building (of which the Trailhead occupies a part), and how they are helping out the people from the Portside Grill which just burned down on Tuesday. She was able to tell us the name of the grocery store before it was Hannaford (Don’s Shop & Save, and then briefly a few other people’s Shop & Save) – which had been driving us nuts trying to remember it. They also serve Dancing Goats coffee, so OF COURSE we had to get it and also buy a pound of beans to take home!

Full of bagels and goat coffee, we went to the whale watch pier to get our tickets for the cruise, only to find out that it was canceled due to the high winds and rough seas this morning. This was a huge bummer! We didn’t have anything planned as a backup because we’d been sure the trip would go as scheduled.

We eventually decided just to take the bus to Sand Beach and poke around there for a while, which is what we did. It was hot and sunny when we left Bar Harbor, but foggy and dark at the beach. These radical swings in weather conditions are very typical of MDI. The air was still warm, even with the strong gusts that were becoming more persistent. We crossed the beach and I played in the icy water for a while, and then we made our way toward the east end of the beach and the access point for the Great Head trail.

Rich had brought along his plastic sandals to wear on the beach, but they turned out to be somewhat harder to deal with than he’d expected so we put them back into his pack and he wore his regular hiking sandals for the rest of the trip. I actually hiked at least half of the route barefoot! I was inspired to do so by the nice feeling of the smooth stone steps leading up to the trail from the beach.

Soon after, however (and we turned left this time, to hike the outer loop counterclockwise) the trail turned into woods road with small and occasionally sharp gravel. I made a great effort but after about a half mile the shoes went back on.

We hiked out to an overlook that I don’t think we’ve seen before and enjoyed the views of the rocks and the ocean, and some fog over the ocean in the distance. Along came a group of hikers we’d seen on the bus. Somehow they missed the summit entirely (I assume they went through the connector, the middle section of the “figure 8”) and they wanted directions back to the parking area.

Our visit to the GREAT HEAD triangulation station was memorable as always, and we noted how similar the conditions were to our wedding morning (although today wasn’t quite as soggy). I went barefoot up here too for a little while. Aside from a rather obnoxious group of law students, everyone was quiet and the atmosphere was peaceful overall. One little girl did ask her mother why I was hiking without shoes. I might be glad I didn’t hear the answer to that.

After returning to the beach we played around for a while at the far western end among the large boulders. The water was still cold (and yes, I went in again briefly)—we later found out it was 56 degrees—but we noticed two girls in bikinis swimming, as well as a few other brave people bobbing in and out of the water, mostly kids.

We were back at the parking area just in time to catch a bus that took us to Jordan Pond, where we decided to get off and spend 20 minutes exploring the gift shop before the next bus came along to take us to our next stop, Bubble Pond. The gift shop was a bit of a disappointment. Maybe we’re projecting, but the new management has changed things in ways that are subtly different but enough to alter the feeling we get when we enter the shop (and, indeed, the Pond House itself). At least it still smells like blueberry and balsam – but those scents might be embedded in the woodwork of the shop as they are embedded in my memory. I can only hope the little sachets that are still sold will keep the scent in the air for a long time in the future. I had wanted to try the Jordan Pond House Blend tea, but it was only available in teabags, and I prefer loose.

The bus was on time and in a few minutes we were resting along the shore of Bubble Pond. Rain that had threatened most of the day with the overcast skies and fog that dampened everything while we were at Great Head finally materialized, in about three minutes’ worth of drops while we sat. The pond was peaceful as ever. In time we realized we were hungry and it was probably time to end our outdoor adventures for today. Eventually a bus came along to take us back to the village green via the visitor’s center.

Fathom is always a cozy choice for supper on a damp evening. We usually order an appetizer and two large plates and share everything. Tonight we had crab cakes, halibut with citrus poppyseed sauce, and seared sockeye salmon with wild rice, plums, and turnips in a bacon broth. Everything was fresh, delicious, and light. We added some more calories with a piece of sweet blueberry pie and tart yuzu sorbet for dessert.

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