Bahhh Habahhh

That’s how the locals pronounce it, Bahhh Habahhh. It’s one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit along the East coast of the United States. Situated on the northeastern coast of Mount Desert Island in Hancock County, Maine, Bar Harbor is the main hub for those visiting The Acadia National Park.

IMG_3818We left Portland Maine with one extra Bus Rider, named Maricela, whom we met during our five month rest in Austin, TX. A dear friend and fellow creative spirit, we convinced her (without much convincing) to take her vacation with us. She said yes and planned to join us for ten days.

Our time with her began on Mount Desert Island where we camped just nine miles north of Bar Harbor at Mount Desert Narrows RV Resort, using up the last of our ReadyCampGo.com membership for $25 a night. We spent a bit of time in the quaint little town, walking the main drag filled with tourist shops galore. We stocked up on groceries at the only local grocery store, got a coffee at Choco-Latte, and walked the famous sand bar during low tide.

Most of our time however, was spent in the surrounding National park. We bought a seven-day park pass for $25 and trekked up and down the island, exploring the rocky coast line, thunder hole and Sand Beach which is nestled in a small inlet between the granite mountains and rocky shores of the park. This gorgeous 290 yard long beach is one of the most popular points of interest on the island and we spent most of our time here. We’d packed a light supper and made our way to the beach around 3pm to avoid the day time rush and stayed until sundown, climbing rocks, reading, eating, resting and when we were brave we’d take a dip in the icy blue waters.

IMG_3842Most meat eaters flock to Maine for the Lobster. We have a few meat eaters in our lot and decided to take in the local experience of a lobster boil. After investigating all the options from dining out to a home boil, we decided to go DIY. We found a local fisherman and picked out three fresh caught lobsters at $40 total, as well as a pound of fresh clams at $6.99. We took them back to the bus, pulled out our big ol’ pot and boiled them in a water, beer, butter, and Louisiana Slap Yo Mama spice mixture. We accompanied the fish with corn, potato, onion and a salad. The process was actually a bit horrifying and once the meal was complete and ready to be served, a few of us could barely eat. The experience convinced us girls that we probably would never do it again but the fella’s seemed to take it all in stride, engaging fully in the experience. And, that’s just it… An experience.

IMG_3881Our final morning was spent on Cadillac Mountain,  in Acadia National Park, which sits at 1,530 feet (466 meters) above sea level. It the highest point along the North Atlantic seaboard and the first place to view the sunrise on the East Coast. We woke at 4:30am to drive the half hour from our camp site up to the top of the mountain. There was road side parking along the way and a big lot at the top. We wound all the way up to find the hill packed with tourist it was very windy and cold and the view was somewhat lacking. We sat for a moment, but decided to stay would be a disappointment, so we drive down a bit to see if there was more texture and less people. We found just a few turns down the hill that there were not as many people and the view was actually better. The sun was distant and it was a cloudy day but the water sparkled none the less and we were glad that we had made the effort.

Our time in Bar Harbor and The Acadia National Forest felt a lot more like a vacation than we’ve ever had, mostly because we were on our own, flowing in a sea of tourist, with no hosts eyes to see life through. However, it was a much-needed time of reflection, reconnecting with nature, pioneering and time to spend with one another without any other distractions.

It will forever be one of those memories that our family holds dearly.
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Portland, Maine So Far, Yet So Close.

We met singer/songwriter Connor Garvey, one cloudy morning in Austin Texas. He came to our bus with our folkie kinfolk, The Lovebirds and Matt Nakoa to have breakfast. His bright smile and zest for life caught our attention as he shared his story of growing up an Irish kid near Portland Maine. We found out that we shared a few mutual friends and fellow muso’s, Putnam Smith and Heather Styka. So, between the rest of the breakfast crew there was much laughing and joking with reference to what we all decided to call the Maine Mofia. After breakfast we exchanged information and hoped to visit Connor when we passed through his state.

IMG_3773The weather was unusually hot when we arrived but Connor welcomed us with a cold fruit smoothy and that same bright smile. After we settled the bus, we all put on our bathing suits, hopped on our bikes and rode to the little town beach near his house.

I almost don’t want to tell people about this beach because I don’t want to spoil it for the locals but Willard Beach is a soft white sandy beach and has great views of the Casco Bay Islands, plus you get to watch the ships and boats come in and out of the harbor. The only down side was that the water was about 55f, the coldest we’ve ever felt, maybe even colder than Barton Springs in Austin, TX. None the less, it was refreshing. And, Connor, an avid surfer, jumped in no holds bar, as did our son, Banjo and swam their little hearts out.

IMG_3705Later that evening we drove an hour northeast to Durham, ME to visit our mutual friend, Putnam Smith at his log cabin in the woods. The last time we saw Putnam was five years prior in Green Bay, WI. So, we were excited to see and hear about all that had transpired in life, love, and music since our last visit.

He took us on a tour around his garden and showed us his 100-year-old antique letterpress, explaining the intricacies and process of creating his CD artwork with the press. Then he made us a lovely dinner and we shared songs late into the evening. Putnam is an accomplished banjo playing, songwriting, old-world troubadour fresh from the 19th Century and it was a delight to swap songs and be invited into his experience.

IMG_3772The next day we met up with Craig’s old band mate, Andrew and his family for dinner. These fella’s lived and played music together back in the late 90’s, in a world punk band called Ballydowse. Those were significant years in Craig’s journey and during that time his friendship with Andrew was meaningful and important. As life moved on, throughout the years, Craig would remember his friend fondly, but at times, the distance between them seemed so far away. And yet, here they were, just like yesterday, stories intertwining finding that close bond once again renewed.

The neat thing about seeing an old friend, who we haven’t seen in years and years was finding that although life looked completely different from before there was still that sweet common thread that once wove us together and that was a beautiful thing.

We spent the next few days hiking Fort Williams, sharing delicious meals, and catching up on story, enjoying the goodness of friendship and as we pulled away a little piece of our heart stayed behind.

Portland is a pretty cool city, that’s for sure, but Portland with all of these kinfolk as inhabitants is even cooler. It’s a place that feels like home and we are so grateful for our time and friendships there.