For Purple Mountain’s Majesty…From Sea to Shining Sea

19 Jun

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Today began with another delightful breakfast provided by the inn where we stayed last evening.  Jimmy had the french toast and I had the crab souffle.  We both skipped the healthy option…why start now?  We had an opportunity to chat with the innkeepers at breakfast, and learned they were from Boston and ran the inn as part of their semi-retirement.  It is only open for the season, and closes down in October as most of the inns on the island do.  They spend about 5 months out of the year in Maine with the inn, and they spend their winters in the Virgin Islands!  What a retirement!  Our server was a girl from Bulgaria who lives in the US during the tourist season working at the inn.  At the conclusion of the season, she goes back to her home country for the remainder of the year.  This is her third year to work this way and she says she really enjoys it.

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Fortified with breakfast, we walked down the harbor to the sandbar that allows access to a little island during low tide.  We knew the tide was going out based on the tide charts, but we were a bit too early to walk all the way across. We were warned that we’d have to watch our time if we did walk across.  There is a 16 foot change in depth of the water between high tide and low tide, and that once the tide came back in, we’d not be able to get back across.

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Back in the day when the island was still a remote destination for the “Rusticators”, there was much discussion about building a bridge over to the little island.  Some thought that the island should be developed and a bridge would be necessary.  They wanted to be able to access it quickly, not having to wait for the sand bar to appear at low tide. Yet others wished to preserve the untamed  wilderness just as it was so that the area could continue to be a back-to-nature retreat for city dwellers.  The discussion ended when John D Rockefeller quietly bought up half of the island (the half that contained the sandbar) and no development was pursued.  After seeing the sandbar, we drove into Acadia National Park, the jewel of Maine!  Pictures cannot adequately depict the beauty of this place.  I thought so often about our awesome Creator as I viewed His handiwork!  Our first stop was the summit of Cadillac Mountain.  During certain times of the year, this is the first place that it is possible to see the sun rise in the US.  It’s an easy drive to the top and you are rewarded with incredible views in every direction.20140619_092151_1

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Our next stop in Acadia was an area of the park containing gardens of indigenous plants.  They were all labelled and we enjoyed walking through the different garden paths.

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From there, we parked the car and hiked the Ocean path that rims the ocean.  Beautiful shoreline views were our reward!

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By this time, it was approaching lunch.  We’d made reservations at Jordan’s Pond, the only restaurant within the park.  Since the late 1800’s summer vacationers have been enjoying lunch on the lawn at Jordan’s Pond.  They are famous for the popovers served with butter and homemade jam, and for their fresh squeezed lemonade.  We were seated at a table with a front row view of Jordan’s Pond (actually a very big freshwater lake) and started right away on a popover and a glass of blueberry iced tea!

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Lunch under the umbrellas on the lawn of Jordan’s Pond

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We ordered and when our food was delivered, we were impressed with the quality of the food.  Sometimes the food at parks is not the best, but this was really good!  I had the chicken salad and Jimmy had crab/lobster cakes.20140619_131549_1

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And we managed to eat dessert as well, mostly because we were enjoying the scenery so much and we had such a great table location, we just didn’t want it to end.  I had the flourless chocolate cake and he had the berry crisp with ice cream.20140619_134351_1

 

 

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After lunch, we walked along the shore of Jordan Pond and explored a section of the old carriage roads.

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20140619_141015_1We could have spent much more time at the park, but after a full day, we headed to our next destination (and sadly final night on this trip).  We headed south and took the secondary roads again that afforded us the best view of rural Maine.  We made one stop on the way to Deer Isle to get a glass of iced tea.  It was a cute little co-op that sold a little bit of everything.  Much of the produce was from local farmers, and they had pictures and descriptions of the farms hanging above the produce section.

 

 

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Our destination for the night was The Pilgrim’s Inn on Deer Isle.  As we approached the island, we traveled over a cool suspension bridge and through a narrow section of road lined with stones that wound its way over the bay.

IMG_5111_1We arrived shortly afterwards and were given a tour of the house.  The inn sits on a hill overlooking the bay to the front and an old mill pond to the rear with a narrow strip of land just wide enough for the road to span to the other side.  The house was built in 1793 and the family had 9 children.  It’s a very large home and that may explain why.  After the original builder of the home passed away, his granddaughter inherited the property and was the first one to turn it into an inn in 1889.  She named it “The Ark”.  Guests arrived by steamer from Rockland, Portland, and Boston. “Between huge meals, the guests occupied themselves looking at stereoptic pictures or playing cards in the parlor by the fireplace, or taking walks around the mill pond.”  Sounds a lot like what vacationers still do, especially the huge meals part!  The inn retains much of its original features.  Wide plank floors, original fireplaces, original plaster walls and ceilings.  It’s really cool to step back in time for one night.  There’s no TV in our room, but the views are much better than anything on TV, and we are able to have WiFi in the room.

 

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original fireplace in our room

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the rear of the house facing the old mill pond

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mill pond

 

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looking toward the inn from the road that crosses the bay

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wild lupine growing on the banks of the mill pond

IMG_5078_1An interesting bit of history occurred here in 1895 while the inn was still called “The Ark”.  A group of townspeople gathered to choose the first “America’s Cup” sailing team to ever come from one community in the US.  The “Deer Isle Boys” as they were called, went on to win the cup in both 1895 and 1899 with the yachts the “Defender” and the “Columbia”.

After we settled into our room, we got back into the car and drove on down to Stonington which is right on the ocean at the far end of the island.  Stonington is a village of hard-working fishermen and lobstermen.  Many of the homes’ front yards contained stacks of lobster traps.  The downtown area on the water was not your touristy “gussied-up” village, it was a real community with places that real people would shop and eat.  That’s what made it so charming.  It is not at all geared toward the tourist, because this is a very rural area, away from the usual touristy crowd.  But that is largely why it was so appealing.  We drove for quite some time and I took many pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites.IMG_5079_1

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a dock full of lobster traps

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Suzy’s Scissor Shack (Barber/Beauty shop)

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Not only can you have your car repaired, you can buy a lobster while you wait!

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We really enjoyed our tour of the little village of Stonington, but had to get back to the inn for our dinner reservation.

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the rear of the house containing the restaurant, which is open to the public. We ate dinner here.

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Seafood chowder

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chicken pot pie and salad

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Grilled halibut over lobster risotto

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banana cake with caramel sauce served with vanilla and banana ice creams

After dinner, we retired to our room where I am enjoying this view while posting this to my blog! IMG_5120_1

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One Response to “For Purple Mountain’s Majesty…From Sea to Shining Sea”

  1. Sarah June 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    What a great food day! Haha All of the pictures are beautiful!

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