Holy heck, how has it been a month since my last post?!
These past four weeks have been a whirlwind. A blur of pink and white and gold, of champagne bottles being popped, rings being exchanged and gifts being given. A blur of kisses and white dresses, cakes and sweaty dance rooms floors. A frenzy of bridal showers, rosebud drink stirrers, and prenuptial bonfires. There has been a lot of love exchanged and proclaimed, in beautiful parties with many loved ones, and in small intimate ceremonies made for two...but those details will be shared in a different post. This post is about our very first vacation together, our adventure to Bar Harbor, Maine.
Before the craziness got crazy, Phil and I had planned a trip for his 35th birthday. Our Khloe dog had passed away in May, and we decided a few months later that we should take a small trip. We have been together for almost three years now, and in that time we never spent one night away from Khloe. We couldn't. She was a dog of habit, and if her life was changed at all she didn't respond too well. She needed to be carried up and down stairs, she needed to be helped up from the spot she was laying in, she needed her bedding changed because she often had accidents. We had to do what was right for her, she was an old lady and needed to be treated like one. I didn't write about Khloe passing because it was pretty hard to do. She was really the center of our universe, especially Phil's. He raised her for the 16 years she was on this earth, and losing her was like losing a limb. He really had to learn how to live with out her, and that took some time.
When we talked about where we wanted to go on our very first trip together, we came to the mutual decision that Maine was the best choice. It is a nice drive up the coast, the scenery is breathtaking and there is something very ethereal about the state. We wanted to take our time getting there, enjoying the scenery and little towns along the way.
We left on Friday morning around eight o'clock, grabbed a coffee (and maybe a Dunkin Donuts breakfast sandwich) and hit the road. We took route 1 the whole way from Newburyport, Massachusetts until it breaks at Ellsworth and turns into route 3 which leads straight to Bar Harbor, Maine – our destination. I'm not going to lie, we were expecting route 1 to be much more...shall we say, picturesque? It was definitely better than seeing only highway for five hours, but there were a surprising amount of abandoned homes and farms and shops. I mean, I guess thats what happens in the middle of nowhere (and part of me finds that stuff kind of intriguing) but it certainly made the nicer towns look especially nice!
We made a few stops along the way, once for a pit stop (or pee break...) in Wiscasset which was a really adorably quaint town on the water. We made a mental note to stop there on our way home, but decided to keep heading north. We stopped for lunch in Camden, and ate on a rooftop deck at the Camden Deli in the beautiful downtown. This is a seaport town that is truly classic New England. I also read that the Rogers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel” was filmed there, so theres that theatre nerd fact you were always hoping for.
After our stop in Camden we made the trek to Bar Harbor. After a few hours of “not so nice” towns, we were a tad nervous for what Bar Harbor was going to bring us. Much to our pleasant surprise, Bar Harbor is a bustling town with beautiful streets full of shops and restaurants and an even more breathtaking landscape. Acadia National Park is just a couple miles from town, and if you neglect your vacation research and forget to bring any sort of hiking boots (like moi) you can just drive your car through Acadia and appreciate the natural beauty from the road. If you like to get out of the car and have a little more of an adventurous lifestyle, I suggest packing more appropriately than I did – perhaps some sturdy boots, a backpack and some binoculars – and you will appreciate this place much more. Next time, the heels stay home and the boots come out.
Not that heels cant be appropriate for Bar Harbor because they totally can be. We stayed at the Bar Harbor Inn, which was right on the ocean and we splurged for a room with a private deck and a fire place. I definitely recommend the splurge! The Inn was exactly what we were looking for on our little getaway. It was private and quite, but walking distance to the restaurants and the harbor view couldn't be beat. Our room was nice and big, with an even bigger bed. I loved the fireplace and our private little deck was perfect for a glass of wine in the evening or a cup of coffee in the morning. We both said that when we go back, we will always come back to this Inn.
On our first night in Bar Harbor we decided that our very late lunch in Camden left us not very hungry, but definitely thirsty. We wanted to grab a drink somewhere and sit for a spell. We happened upon the most adorable hole in the wall bar that serves a long list of carefully crafted cocktails, and a great wine and beer selection (and popcorn, because who doesn't want popcorn with their gin?). The bar is long and narrow, with one open window seat at the front. We snagged the two seats over looking the street and sipped on some fabulous mixed drinks. My favorite was called the Bee Hive – vodka, Honey Maker mead and St. Germain. First off, you had me at St. Germain, secondly – Honey Maker is made in Maine, so that is also fantastic. I had far too many of those little babies (if you cant tell by the picture of the one half-imbibed...I couldn't even pause long enough for a photo). We made a stop at The Cottage Street Pub every night we were in Bar Harbor, which makes us sound like big 'ol lushes, (which we aren't, I promise) but it was just that adorable, cozy and delicious.
The restaurant scene in Bar Harbor is very much kid-friendly. When you don't have kids yet, thats not always what you're looking for, but its definitely a family friendly place, which is great. We ate a few times at a place called Geddy's, a fun and colorful spot with a giant light up Moose on the roof and big red lobster claws on the side of the building. The inside is like a crazy game of I Spy. Remember those books? Pages with so much stuff on them you cant find one thing? Yeah, that was the inside of Geddys...but fun. Doesn't that sound fun? Not really? They had an amazing lobster roll (when in Rome) and really awesome calamari. It was such a simple calamari dish, but they added some sweet thai chili sauce and it was amazing. Maybe I was just extra hungry...but I am hungry right now, too, and I would eat three of those appetizers.
We also ate at the restaurant in the Inn we were staying at. This was definitely the “fanciest” place in Bar Harbor. They have door men and valet parking, waiters in bow ties with service cloths over their arms. There are chandeliers in this restaurant, not flashing neon signs. The food was delicious, the carpaccio was my favorite, and of course the fish in Maine never disappoints. My favorite part of this restaurant, however, was the thirty second walk to pajamas. God I sound like such an old fuddy-duddy.
On our last day in Bar Harbor we did some more of the touristy things like buying a “Bar Harbor 2014” kissing moose Christmas ornament (because, why not?) and grabbing an ice cream cone at Ben and Bills Chocolate Emporium (do me a favor and just walk by it - a whiff of hand made chocolate and ice cream alone will send you in).
We also happened into a little shop with some very strange merchandise. The Rock and Art Shop (quite literal, aren't they?) definitely have their fare share of rocks and art downstairs, but upstairs there is a whole other level of weirdly awesome stuff. There are fossils and skulls, shrunken heads and petrified whale penis (you read that right. Petrified whale penis from the 1930's. Wtf?!) stuffed owls and giant antlers. There is even a teeny tiny evil looking mermaid – my personal favorite. This shop was so awesomely odd that we spent almost an hour looking at everything. The man that was working in the store at the time is actually one of the owners. He told us that he and his sisters own three other stores around Maine, and that he does the scavenging for these bizarre artifacts and natural history pieces. He was so sweet to let us take photos of the upstairs room, so we wanted to buy something as a “thanks for letting us pester you” and also because – I WANTED EVERYTHING! I think this shop has started a love of weird natural history stuff in me, because seriously I was about to walk away with a pickled siamese twin pig...but we settled for a red fox skull instead. I'm okay with that decision.
On our last day, we packed up our kissing moose ornament and our red fox skull and started the long haul back home. We sipped on coffee and talked about our trip and all of the things that Bar Harbor has to offer. This is one of those places that you could visit every year and always have something new to do. We will definitely be returning someday, with our hiking boots and a couple backpacks. Also, to buy a ginormous goat skull with awesome horns.
We did make one last stop on our way home in Wiscasset, the tiny town we drove through on our way up. We stopped for lunch and to stretch our legs. We popped our heads into a couple adorable shops, and one bakery and sweets shop called Treats of Maine that I could sit in for hours. They used old general store counters and glass jars filled with cookies and baked goods. There was a room for a large wine and cheese selection, and floor to ceiling windows with stools and a counter to sit at. Yup, I could live in there.
There was a small seafood shack called “Red's Eats” that had a line so absurdly long it made me want to stand in it just to see what the fuss was about, but alas, we didn't have two hours to wait in that line so we settled on the restaurant across the street called Sarah's Cafe. I later read on tripadvisor (which I will be consulting on our next adventure) that Red's has THE best lobster roll in New England. After witnessing that line, I believe it. Ah, next time, Wiscasset. Sarah's Cafe did have a nice deck with a sea breeze and a great view of the ocean, however – so I was not disappointed with our decision.
Bar Harbor was everything we had hoped it would be – it was beautiful and relaxing with a little bit of excitement and some weirdness thrown in too. It was a perfect place for our first adventure. We are quickly learning the ropes of this blogging thing together, and that is an adventure in itself. We hope to go on many more trips and share them all with you, and as we go along we will learn how to really capture a location, a hotel, a restaurant and a city to show just how amazing that place can be. Every post is a huge learning experience for us, and I truly love that.