Bar Harbor is located at the north-eastern tip of Mt. Desert Island along Maine’s Atlantic coast. It is a picturesque little town with colorful shops, restaurants and a heaven of lobster lovers. We of course would go nowhere close to a lobster. But thoughts of lunch was for later as we drove into the town. We saw at least fifty or so inns dotting Rt 3 leading into Bar Harbor and very few of those were name brands. I guess there is a lot of charm in going to these small inns and B&Bs. The sun was high and bright but there was a little crispness to the breeze. As we parked the car and started walking down the street away from the water, we got a few greetings, something of a surprise for an urbanite. Where in New York city or Philadelphia would you be greeted on the streets – everyone wants you out of their way. But here the pace was enjoyable. Couples old and young, middle-aged with strollers all had a smile to share. In this short time we live, we are encumbered by who we should greet, whose post we should like, whom to wish a greeting or who to call on their birthday. We make more assumptions in a large span of time than we could dissolve by making an effort to know the other person with a quick phone call. Such is life – self-centered, calculating and judgemental. You are touched by a few and those few you should strive to keep in your life! Anyway, I digress literally. We were heading down the street in search of ‘Eden’ which was a vegan place. After walking about 5-6 minutes we saw the shops running out so we decided to get back to the main district hoping to find something palatable for us. We saw a Subway and that was some relief. Not that a Subway is my favorite. I would eat a soup and salad at an Olive Garden anytime or any other place that makes the ingredients known, but where do you find a Darden restaurant in the midst of a small town?
There were a lot of coffee and Fudge shops. Ice cream shops were too many to count. The locals know what a tourist likes on a hot summer day after a lobster lunch. In any case, we were the outsiders and the odd people out. Who would want to eat any thing other than sea food in a coastal town? Ha, ha! The water presented itself to us as we started to descend downhill the road. There were a lot of white boats .Yes, thinking about it now, they were mostly white – maybe even 99% except the coastguard run ones. A large cruise ship was docked far off. The water was bordered by a board walk adjacent to a large hotel – the Bar Harbor Grand hotel, much like the Grand Hotel on the Mackinac Island in Michigan. The marriage had just finished as we saw the bride and the groom walking on the path. A silver white tree all devoid of its leaves stood on the edge jutting into the blue sky – it was an eye-catching piece of God’s work left standing behind in an area where man’s creation abounded – buildings, boats, piers, etc. But the blue sky and the blue waters were impeccable. We always have wondered how and why the water and the cities at large are cleaner as we proceed north. It was time for lunch and the veggie sub was good enough. There wasn’t much to do as the tour boats had left by then and then next evening sail was at 6:00 PM. We decided to continue on our tour of the island and come back later for the Sunset sail. The clouds had built up and we had some misgivings whether or not the evening sail would be worth coming back for.
This time, going down south we stopped at Seal’s cove all the while drive along the Acadia national park. Each and every entrance we passed was blocked. They do a good job of a shutdown leaving no gate opened! One thing you notice as you drive through the island is that there are no large houses. Small is pretty and good enough and most homes are all white with white sidings. Or at least that is what I noticed. A couple of stops near the water at it was already 4:30 when we were at the southern most tip of the island. We passed the Asticou Azalea gardens which was attracting a lot of drivers to stop. It should have been very pretty but we didn’t want to miss the boarding time. A 90 ride on the Margaret Todd windjammer (a sailing boat) costs about $37. Luckily the clouds had made way to a lot of the blue skies, that was encouraging. The Margaret Todd is a schooner that is 151 feet long and is masted by four huge sails covering all of 4000 sq. ft. The sunset said is marketed well enough as romantic, quiet and filled with music. But I knew we wouldn’t see the sunset as the horizon was still covered up. In any case, about 150 folks were already in the boat displaying an alarming lack of diversity! We were the only caucasians on board, but we were greeted all the same with shouts of welcome by the sailors and staff. The lady at the counter promised this to be a good evening for viewing the sunset and I didn’t question her one bit out of courtesy. I did want to be on the water. A few motors got us out of the pier and then the three boatmen asked help to raise the masts. It should be an arduous task when you have to do it all by hand. I wondered what it will be on a windy day in the middle of a not so quiet sea. The sails did little to push the boat as we were in the midst of the body of water already. One of the staff was strumming the guitar and singing along very nicely. It added well to the calm surrounding us. We saw a few otters and other sea life. The skies were slowing turn orange but it was nowhere as spectacular as it would have been if that ball of red was dancing its way down to the other side of mother Earth.
The drive back to the hotel was about 1 1/2 hours and we decided to have dinner at Taste of India. It took about 15 minutes to find parking, but the food was decent. A hot soup is more welcome than a cold salad anytime for me. Our one full day of a fall tour was all but over but for some excitement. My GPS wouldn’t turn back on – apparently it had run out of battery. I had my backup battery and a charge pin that would fit into the Garmin and that had charged it at home, but the Garmin refused to kick back to life. I thought it had turned into a brick at the wrong time and just over 2 months of purchase. Thank God for the maps app on the iPhone, we found our way back to the Courtyard without much hazzle.