Day 6 – Exploring Bar Harbor & Acadia National Park
Waking up in Bar Harbor was wonderful. We made some breakfast and got ready for our day before hopping on the 9:40 AM shuttle bus into Bar Harbor. We spent the morning walking around and visiting a few shops, including the Bar Harbor Tea Company and Bark Harbor, where I spent way too much money on Reagan. The owner at Bark Harbor was excellent, and she was more than helpful when picking out what gifts to take home to our ever so energetic pup.
Before we knew it, it was time for lunch. We had passed a place the night before that we wanted to try out for lunch, so we stopped in at Bar Harbor Beer Works. We ordered the biggest pretzel I have ever seen in my life, my second ever beer flight, and some burgers that were simply mouthwatering. To top it off, since it was just the beginning of their down season, we had no wait to get a table. After lunch, I got ice cream at CJ’s Big Dipper (Jake did not as he doesn’t like sweets).
After our bellies were full, we decided we wanted to go check out Thunder Hole. Thunder Hole is in Acadia National Park, which is a short bus ride from “downtown” Bar Harbor. Before we reached Thunder Hole, we stopped at Sand Beach, where the sand is mainly made up of shell fragments and the water is a brisk 55 degrees in the summer. We did go out to touch the water, but there was no way we were going for a swim. However, there were people going out into the water.
From Sand Beach, there is an ocean-side trail that you can walk to Thunder Hole, and then on to Otter Cliff (about a mile), but we decided to hop back on the bus since it was raining and I had a few bags from shopping.
When we arrived at Thunder Hole, I was expecting some big crashing waves and water being catapulted into the air, but that was not the case. We were told it was low tide so it was not that impressive. They were right. I was able to get some beautiful pictures and a video at low tide, but we decided we needed to come back at high tide when the water would be more active and exciting.
Before hoping back on the bus, I stopped in to the gift shop (which was super hot inside because the AC was out) and bought some waters and a few postcards. The bus picked us up and dropped us off at the entrance to the campground on the ocean side, and we walked up to our campsite.
We changed our clothes and had a drink before hoping right back on the bus back into Bar Harbor for dinner at Stewman’s Downtown, which was right on the water. Once again, the food was incredible and the views were wonderful. We ended up sitting right next to a couple from New Jersey, but the husband had worked in Richmond many years ago.
After dinner, we were deciding what we wanted to do since the buses stopped running at 7:45 PM, so we called an Uber to pick us up and take us back to Thunder Hole, as it was now high tide. Luckily, we got the same driver as the night before (Steven) and offered him $30 to turn off his Uber to take us to Thunder Hole and then to the campground after. You are only able to get cell service in the town of Bar Harbor, so we wouldn’t have been able to get a ride back unless we offered him some money to help us out.
Steven happened to be a professional photographer and decided to walk down with us to the water to get some pictures. I was quite disappointed when we returned to Thunder Hole and the water wasn’t any more impressive than low tide. The pictures that we had seen of Thunder Hole were pretty neat and our experience (at both low and high tide) was alright, but what the travel brochures and information on Thunder Hole seem to neglect to mention that the best times to visit, to see in its glory, are when storms (and I mean big storms, like hurricanes) are approaching.
We left Thunder Hole and headed back to the campground, but Steven missed the turn and we ended up getting a nice little detour around the island. Once we were back at the campsite, we made some dinner and started packing everything up. We were getting up at 4 AM to see the sunrise from Cadillac Mountain, so we made sure everything that we could pack was packed and ready to go.
Day 7 – Cadillac Mountain & Cape May, NJ
Our alarms went off at 4 AM, we dressed and finished packing up. We were on the road by 5 AM, and a good thing too because when we reach the top of Cadillac Mountain people we already there and picking their spots for an epic sunrise. Cadillac Mountain is a part of Arcadia National Park and looks over the entire island and down on Bar Harbor to the east. When the sun rises you are the first to see it on the east coast of the U.S., as it is the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard.
Hundreds of people ended up being there for the sunrise and it was a beautiful sunrise. There were some clouds blocking right where the sun came up, but it was still beautiful.
When we got back to the truck, we set our destination to Cape May, New Jersey as our “halfway” point back to Northern Virginia. It was a long and interesting ride (about 12 hours). We saw several accidents that held us up a little bit, but we finally arrived around between 5 PM and 6 PM. New Jersey was much more humid than Maine and the mosquitoes were out in full force.
After setting up camp at The Depot Travel Park and taking showers, we grabbed an Uber, and headed out to dinner close to the beach. We decided on Iron Pier Craft House, and sat at the bar. The entire place was neat looking with Edison lights throughout with an old school feel, and they even had a guy playing music. There was a Bachelorette/Birthday Party gathered at the bar as well, who were super entertaining to watch the entire time we were there.
The food was pretty dang good. We had a cheese and fruit platter to share, then Jake ordered their Sushi and I tried the Shrimp Mac and Cheese. Everything was so good! Once we paid our check, we decided to walk to Washington Street, which is a few pedestrian streets of shopping. I was able to grab a shot glass to add to my unhealthy collection, as well as a few gifts for family. It was a really nice night so we enjoyed walking around for a little while before getting a Lyft (no Uber was available) back to the campground.
Unfortunately, the campground did not allow campfires so we sat under the awning and had a few drinks before we decided to call it a night and head to bed. The next day was to be a bit shorter travel wise.
Pros of The Depot Travel Park:
– Nice, well kept bathrooms
– Electric and water at every site
Cons of The Depot Travel Park:
– No campfires allowed
– 5 MPH speed limit, very strict (Jake’s truck idols at 10 MPH)
– More of an RV park – no other tent campers
– Not much of a camp store, just a check in house
Day 8 – The Drive Home
At 3 AM we were awakened by the tornado sirens that were triggered by the storms rolling through that night, which if you’re camping and those go off, it’s a little scary. Trying to go back to sleep was a little difficult after that but we managed. It was a rainy day when we climbed out of the tent. It took us a little while to pack up because of the rain and we were exhausted. Once we did, we left the campground and had breakfast at Dock Mike’s Pancake House (which is cash only btw). The service was very quick and the food was pretty dang good too!
We gassed up the truck and caught the 10:30 AM Lewes Ferry to Delaware, an hour and a half trip. The ferry was nicely equipped with a restaurant, a bar, and a gift shop.
After picking up Reagan in Maryland and eating some lunch, we finally arrived home around 6 PM.
Our plan is to one day go back to Maine to spend more time in the North Maine Woods and Bar Harbor, as one week is not enough time to explore either place.
We are excited to share our next adventure with everyone sometime in 2019!