Left for a sailing vacation in Maine Friday morning and stayed at two KOA campgrounds enroute where we were the first boat camper to stop for a night. Quite the novelty I must say! Arrived safely on Mt. Desert Island today and checked into our cabin, which is absolutely beautiful. It will be a great base camp for the next two weeks!
True, this is now our idea of camping in the summer!
Today was the day scheduled to launch SunShower in Northeast Harbor at high tide about 10:00 a.m. She made the long trip from Virginia with no adverse effects. When we got the slip assignment, we told Shawn, the Harbor Master, launching would be a new experience for us since we had never put in at a ramp with no side dock. He quickly volunteered to take his boat over to the ramp to take SunShower to the public dock close to the ramp. What a great help that was; it made the job a whole lot easier! We had SunShower in her slip and rigged for sailing by 11:00 a.m. and headed to the cabin to drop off the trailer. After lunch, it was back to the harbor to get our first sail underway. A new experience for us was....the FOG! As we motored out the harbor channel, it was so foggy, we did not know if we could sail. But, the fog comes and goes and we had a wonderful first sail (wind 10-15 mph) in the area between Northeast and Southwest Harbors. We even saw sunshine at times as well as quite a few sailboats; most of them in a regatta. In the area we sailed today, there were hundreds of lobster traps with their large colorful buoys! They present quite a mosaic to navigate.
Not a sailing day...fog...lot's of fog!
Very nice clear day with 5-10 mph winds. We sailed out into the Atlantic around Great Cranberry Island but the wind died. It would have been a long sail around Baker and Little Cranberry Islands with the wind conditions so we decided to take the tricky cut between the two Cranberries. As luck would have it, the lobster boat "Hope" came in behind us before we really got into the cut and guided us through....a super gesture that made our sail a lot easier. There is nothing like local knowledge no matter where you are sailing! It was a nice afternoon of sailing and we came back to the slip by 4:00 p.m.
We went to the farmer's market this morning in Northeast Harbor. It was small but they had a variety of vegetables, cheeses, meats, and bake goods. We got some good looking organic salad, swiss chard and white turnips plus strawberries. The turnips and greens we cooked for dinner and they were delicate and delicious.
|Northeast Harbor from Thuya Gardens|
In need of our weekly pancake fix, we googled "best Bar Harbor blueberry pancakes" and the consensus was Jeannie's Breakfast....so we went to sample her fare. All we can say is that folks who think her pancakes are great must be making their own at home with Bisquick! A stroll around Bar Harbor got Gretchen in the 7000 step range for the day and we headed back to the cabin for lunch followed by an afternoon of sailing.
After breakfast, we walked up the adjacent road to take a walk on one of the famous Arcadia NP carriage roads which lies up the mountain from our cabin. We had a most enjoyable walk; think cool, shade and low humidity. Gretchen arrived back at the cabin with over 11,000 steps! After lunch, we headed to the harbor for a sail not expecting much with winds forecasted in the 5 mph range. But, the winds were in the 10+ range and we had a delightful sail to Southeast Harbor and around Greening Island this afternoon. One thing about being on the coast is there is wind every day. We have sailed more this week than we could sail all summer on SML. All sailboats have their pluses and minuses, but a trailerable boat like SunShower can go to places where sailing is great all times of the year.
The marine forecast was nice with winds building to 20 mph in the afternoon. So we went sailing early. The winds were 10-15 mph out of the SW. We headed up Somes Sound. It is a beautiful spot where you enter the Sound through "The Narrows" shown below.
The College of the Atlantic is on the shore of Frenchman's Bay just west of Bar Harbor. We decided to walk through their campus. It is a very small private liberal arts college ( 400 students) with an emphasis on the arts, ecology, and international studies. We noted that the buildings all seemed fairly new during our stroll. The reason was the College was founded in 1969! Gretchen logged 8,600 steps so life is good.
The weather today was questionable with high winds and storms possible this afternoon. But when we got up this morning it seemed like a great sailing day at least until 2:00 p.m., so we headed out. And it turned out to be a wonderful day on the water. Sunny, warm with 15 mph steady winds was all the weather we encountered. We sailed around Sutton Island and the East Bunker Ledge with its pyramid shaped marker and back to the harbor. The entire time we were traveling at 4,5, and 6 mph on all tacks in a steady wind. Sailing does not get any better than today.
The marine forecast improved over night and we thought sailing was a possibility....but on the way to the harbor, it began to rain and the harbor was fogged in. So we continued on Route 3 and explored the areas on the southern tip of Mt. Desert Island before picking up the Arcadia NP loop road at the Abbe Museum. We stopped at the Thunder Hole and ate lunch on the rocks overlooking the coast. The weather was clearing but there was no wind. So we gave up the idea of sailing and walked a carriage road loop near Jordan Pond. Gretchen logged over 13,000 steps today. Then we headed to Bar Harbor to pick up the pie we ordered yesterday; yes indeed it is a rhubarb pie! It looked so good, it forced us to make a pot of coffee back at the cabin and have afternoon dessert! It not only looks good, it is wonderful.
Tonight we had dinner at Eden, a vegan restaurant we discovered on our last trip to Bar Harbor. It is still a great place...our selections included vegetable cakes, a porcini mushroom and tomato tartlet and almond & panko crusted seitan cutlets with smashed potatoes and sautéed greens. The seasoning of the dishes really show the range of taste possible with vegan foods. We surmised that if all towns had a restaurant like Eden, there would be a lot more vegetarians walking around the planet.
What a day of sailing today! We put a reef in before leaving the dock and sailed 4-5 hours with 15 mph winds and a few gusts of 20+. Never thought about shaking out the reef and sailed on all points of sail doing 4-6 mph. We circumnavigated Sutton Island clockwise and counterclockwise and I would guess we traveled a total of 20-22 miles. It was a super day on the water.
Tonight we are off to the 40th Annual Arcadia NP Outdoor Concert, an event of the Bar Harbor Music Festival featuring the Festival String Orchestra. The concert was held in the Blackwoods Campground amphitheater and included Mozart, Bach, Dvorak and a world premiere composition called "O Virtuous Light" by Edmund Cionek. It was a grand night of music under the stars and the oboe soloist for the Bach concerto, Gerard Reuter, was simply unbelievable!
A day with no wind....not a ripple on the water and all flags were drooping! Is this the reason people like motor boats? So we hiked the carriage roads and took a stroll around the Asticou Azalea Garden this morning. The Gardens have a Japanese influence and are a beautiful, peaceful place even when the azaleas are long gone. They were designed for the Rockefeller's by Charles Savage, the same landscape architect that did Thuya Gardens.
Today was the last day we had a slip at Northeast Harbor. We had hoped to get a sail in but the wind never materialized. But we cannot complain; we had a great sailing adventure during the last two weeks! The area bounded by Northeast Harbor, the Cranberry Isles, Southwest Harbor and Somes Sound is a great place for day sailing. We recommend it to all trailer sailors. Northeast Harbor is a fine place,to put in and keep your boat; although the marina does not have showers if you plan to stay on the boat. We readied SunShower for traveling, ate lunch, took a stroll around town, motored around the Harbor one last time and pulled the boat out of the water at mid-tide. After dinner tonight, we went to the top of Cadillac Mountain for sunset; how could we be in Arcadia and not do that?
Tomorrow morning we bid farewell to Maine. We had a super experience trailing SunShower north for the first time...we could not have picked a better place than Northeast Harbor to sail out of, and the cabin we rented just a few miles away was a superb home away from home. BTW, sheep's milk cheese seems tolerable to this lactose intolerant person!