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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Jersey Shore

IMG_3023Most of our stops we neighbor alongside a host family, experiencing their local view of their town and area. That is our preferred way of travel.

However, once in a while we either can’t find a host in a specific area or need some family  time alone. And so, we will search out a state park or RV park to rest in for a bit. State Parks would be our first choice as they tend to offer large sites with loads of outdoor opportunities including hiking, biking, swimming, etc. And, they are usually in our budget of $18-$25 a night. But occasionally the State parks are booked and we have to find an RV Park.

RV Parks can get expensive, up to $80 a night. Although most of them include a coin laundromat, pool/spa and workout facility, they tend to have small sites with only limited outdoor space. Most RV Parks have week and monthly rates, which cuts down on the cost but our typical stay of 2-5 nights usually doesn’t offer any discount. That is until we found ReadyCampGo.com through fellow travelers the Turtletells. We purchased the smallest membership for $50 that includes 15 nights camping at any Thousand Trails/Encore RV parks for $25 a night.  We originally purchased the membership for our recent jaunt down to Key West, where we stayed a week for $168 and have used it on a few stops along the east coast, including two nights at Lake and Shore Outdoor World in Ocean View, NJ.

IMG_3030After a month in the hills of Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania we were needing a little beach break and thought we’d explore the Jersey Shore. We arrived at the campground, took a look around and jumped in our van, driving down to Cape May with the anticipation of a wonderful day at the beach. What we found however, was a beach attendant guarding the shore, selling beach tags that cost $6 a person (that would have been $30 for our crew) to sit on the beach between 9-5pm. So, with pretty smiles and puppy dog eyes we convinced the beach attendant to at least allow us to have a quick gander at the beach and dip our feet in the water. He said OK, but only for a moment. We stayed long enough to take a selfie before heading back to the campground, baffled and a bit miffed by the protocol of the Jersey beaches. Once back at the campground we began to strategize for our next and final beach day, deciding that we would enjoy the amenities at the campground, which included a lovely lake beach, pool, water slide and spa, and then head down to the beach at 6pm for an evening swim, picnic and sunset.

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We couldn’t have planned it any better! We enjoyed sleeping in, breakfast and lunch at our campsite and relaxing day poolside. I packed a light supper of veggies/hummus, fruit, bread, tuna, and chips and we meandered our way down to Cape May. Parking was a breeze and the beach was empty, giving us multiple choices for seating.

Sunsets have been a commodity on the east coast and we’ve only been able to catch them if we are inland. At the beach, the sun sets behind the buildings, so as you look out over the water, you don’t see the sunset, only the glow of the sun hitting the clouds on the horizon and painting a picture in the water. Sort of like a Monet. So, we’ve learned to enjoy the subtle colors of what we call the “backwards sunset” for what they are, beautiful pieces of art and a new perspective on life. Of course, sunrises are in abundance on the east coast, but we’re not really morning people. 🙂

IMG_3123At one point in the evening a large tractor began weaving up and down the beach interrupting our solace but we had fun with him and would dance and wave every time he passed our little area. Our hunch was that the six dollars/per person for a beach tag maybe went to pay the beach combing Zamboni guy, but we weren’t sure.

Then later in the evening we took a drive up to Ocean City and strolled with hundreds of others up and down the boardwalk, then drove a bit further north to Atlantic City to see the wonders of the Taj MaHal. All of which was a bit overwhelming but an insightful cultural experience none the less.

If we had to do it again, we would probably do it exactly the same way, as the memories we take with us from this little part of the world are priceless.