Sunday, August 19, 2018

Maine - Orland


On July 19, 2018 we drove north on Highway 1 to Orland, ME. Passing through small towns and catching glimpses of the ocean and the many bays that make up the coast line. The large cranes (top right) are at a ship yard in Lincolnville, ME. Did you notice the extremely tall mast in the bottom left picture?
On the last stretch of road before the campground we crossed the Penobscot Narrows Bridge. The 2,120 foot long bridge opened in 2006. It is one of only three cradle system bridges in the U.S. Boston, MA and Toledo, OH are where you will find the other two. The one difference of this one is it has an observation tower. It is the first bridge in the U.S. to have one and the tallest public bridge observatory in the world. The tower reaches 420-feet. There is an elevator that takes you to the windowed observation room. It had been our plan to go, but the days we had open were rainy and foggy. You couldn't see the river from the bridge so there would have been no view from the top!

Balsam Cove Campground is on Toddy Pond. Even though the body of water is 10 miles long it is still called a pond. In Maine if a body of water does not have a river running in or out of it, it is called a pond and not a lake. The things we have learned on this adventure.
The majority of the campground is seasonal sites, they are all kept up very well. There is a beach and swimming area along with boat docks. There are plenty of activities, the weekend we were there was "Christmas in July" with the seasonal tenants decorating their sites for the Holiday! We were in Site 62, a gravel pull through that wasn't exactly level, basically the whole site is gravel with some grass struggling to grow. We had full hook ups. There is a picnic table and fire ring. The WiFi was okay and our Verizon signal was weak. Laundry room was clean. We paid $46.47 a night with our Good Sam discount. There was plenty of places to walk the dog, plus a fenced dog park.

We spent one whole day at the Celtic Festival in Belfast, ME. What a cute little town right on the water. There are two Roadside Oddities, a Large Pink Dinosaur and an Elephant on a building.  Being on the Penobscot Bay there were of course ships and beaches.

The festival was on the waterfront at the south end of town. What would an Irish gathering be if there wasn't music? It was the centerpiece of the celebration. Traditional Celtic music could be heard from most any where in the festival. Lots of men in kilts wandering around the tents filled with crafts, food and drinks. Yes, there was a beer tent and yes Guinness was on tap! It was fascinating watching the sheep herding demonstration and how well trained the dogs are. Mielikki watched but not sure she learned anything.
We met some great people and Nancy got a birthday present, a beautiful pen made from a 1938 sterling silver knife handle.

On the river next to the Penobscot Narrows Bridge is Fort Knox State Park in Prospect, ME. It was built between 1844 and 1869. It was the first fort in Maine built entirely of granite. It is also the entry site for the observation tower.

The headstone of  Colonel Johnathan Buck, the founder of Bucksport, ME has quite the legend surrounding it.
It is claimed that Buck, had a witch burned at the stake and she cursed him before she died. Her leg fell off and rolled out of the flames.
Jump ahead sixty years after he passed away in March 1795. His family erected this monument to him and a stain in the shape of a leg appeared on it. Numerous attempts to clean it failed. There is no record of any witch being burned in this area, but the legend lives on.

Nancy's first birthday dinner was at Glenn's Place in Bucksport. You know she celebrates for a week. We started with fried Cheese Curds and Nancy finally got her Lobster Roll. They had German Chocolate Cake, which is what her mom made every year for her birthday! No that is not a Bud Light in that glass. Perfect ending to a great day.

Bangor, ME was a bit of a surprise to us. We were expecting a much more thriving city. We did find a few Roadside Oddities.
The Smiley Face Rock sits along the Penboscot River. There is a 31-foot tall Paul Bunyon statue. Author, Stephen King is from here and we got to see his house, not nearly as scary as one might think it would be. Another church that is open and welcoming, we loved this rainbow "flag" made of doors.

The Chamberlain Freedom Park was really interesting. There is a statue of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. He was a college professor before joining the military. He accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House in Virginia, ending the Civil War. He served four one-year terms as Governor of Maine. He also was President of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, ME, which is where he lived till he passed away in 1914. We visited there from our last stop in Freeport, ME.

He was a staunch supporter of freedom for the slaves and it is said that he helped many though the Underground Railroad.
The park is on a hillside with the statue of Chamberlain at the top. He is surrounded by large boulders with plaques bearing quotes from him or about him.  At the base of the hill is a statue of a man coming up from underground. It is a stunning visual memorial to the Under Ground Railroad.

Arcadia National Park is what brought us to this area. The park was first set aside in 1916 as Sieur de Monts National Monument, in 1919 it became Lafayette National Park and in 1929 was named Arcadia National Park. From the start in 1916 through today it has grown to 38,000 acres that include 33 miles of roadway, 158 miles of hiking trails and 45 miles of carriage roads with 16 stone bridges. The landscape rises from sea level to 1,530-feet and there are eight mountains that are above 1,000-feet.

We spent three days exploring it and could have spent another week at least.
It is a perfect place to celebrate a birthday. Our first day out, July 23rd, we headed to Bar Harbor, ME, which is where the Maine Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carving is. Glooscap is 30-feet tall and was carved from an Elm tree in 1982.
He is the 46th carving on the "Trail of The Whispering Giants." He sits at the entrance to the Bar Harbor Campground. He was placed here in 2004 after the owner of the campground had him restored.

From there we drove the Park Loop Road which runs along the coast, stopping at beaches and overlooks along the way.
Schooner Head was the first stop. Stunning shore line and the fog swirling around us only made it better.

 One would think that it couldn't get any prettier than this, but it does. Otter Cove was next, with water on both sides of the road. No, we did not see any otters.

Walking along the beach you have to be careful where you step so you don't crush the zillion snails that are crawling around.
Purple seashells, beautiful rocks, tide pools and a green crab were just some of our discoveries. The big smiley face someone left sums it all up pretty well.

The seaweed is like nothing we have seen before. The long draping strands look like a wild hairdo on a crazy monster.

Jordan's Pond House is a large restaurant and gift shop. Wandering behind the buildings takes you to a picture perfect spot.

Seal Harbor was filed with boats not seals. There were a number of people fishing with nets and others looking for crabs and seashells.

We ended this day at the Airline Brewing Co in Ellsworth, ME for Nancy's official birthday dinner. A Pasty this time, along with delicious beer and great service. A birthday to remember!

On our drive from the campground we came across a few oddities that are not listed on Roadside. In front of a house is a toilet with an Upside Down Person sticking out of it - no idea why. Across the street they have a Tiny Rocking Horse. The Carved Fisherman is in Ellsworth.

Our second day out we drove Highway 102 through what the locals call the "quiet side". There were a lot less people on this side then the Bar Harbor side. We ran into very few people at most of our stops.

First up was Seawall where we clamored across boulders and seaweed, once again being careful we didn't crush the snails. Mielikki loved it all.

The seaweed was just as crazy and the tide pools were teeming with life.

Our favorite stop of all three days was Ships Harbor. The 1.3-mile figure 8 loop trail takes you through the forest and along the waters edge. The pictures show some of the rougher parts of the trail, but the first portion of the trail that takes you to the harbor is well maintained and handicap accessible.

We were there while the tide was going out. It was so interesting watching the waves roll in and the "river" run out.

The trail leads you out onto the large rocks along the edge of the water where the views are amazing.

Once the tide is out the "harbor" turns into Mud flats. One side of the harbor is a large rocky beach with the other side a large mud flat that is full of life.

As always the trail offered up some interesting tree roots and flowers. There were fallen trees and twisted trunks. Our favorite was the small roots growing over the large one. Reminded us of Gulliver's Travels. Upon Googling Gulliver's Travels to confirm it was written by Johnathan Swift, (memory just isn't what it used to be) we discovered there is a free eBook copy. Sadly, all words with no pictures 😉.

The Bass Harbor Lighthouse was the exception to the quiet side - it was packed with people.
The lighthouse was built in 1858 and automated in 1974. The red light flashes every four seconds. The original fifth order Fresnel lens was replaced in 1902 with a larger fourth order lens.
The lighthouse and quarters are not open to the public as a U.S. Coast Guard family lives here. Can't imagine what it must be like to have people surrounding your house all day long.

We saved Cadillac Mountain for the last day and that was probably a mistake as it was rainy and insanely foggy.
You couldn't see anything on the drive up or from the top. On a clear day you can get a real sense of being on an island as you get a panoramic view of the Gulf of Maine and the many off shore islands.
Several of the islands are home to fishing communities and all serve as nesting sites for sea birds and stop overs for migratory birds.
Sadly not today!

Once we were back down to sea level it was all clear again.

We'll leave you with these two last pics - Nancy's Birthday flowers, she loves wildflowers best of all and this is what Mielikki looked like every night when we got home! We wore her out.

Up next is Bethel, ME on the north side of the White Mountains.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Outdoor carpet
In our travels we have stayed in over 200 campgrounds and our sites have been a variety of shapes, sizes and ground types. Our outdoor carpet has come in very handy for the sites that are gravel, dirt that turns into mud when it rains, cement or asphalt and grass that is really mostly weeds with pickers (like the one we are in at this stop). None of those are very comfortable to walk on and the rug helps to keep dirt out of the RV.
Like campsites the rugs also come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. They range from small door mats to full size approximately 8' x 20'.
When looking for a rug it is important to get a Breathable Woven mat. It is better for grass as it allows air, water and sunlight to pass through. Even with these if you are in one spot more than a week it is advisable to move the rug to help the grass. They range in price based on size from $30 to $100 or more.
The rugs come with small stakes to hold it down, but we found that not all ground is accepting of stakes so we collected rocks along the way to use as weights when we can't use the stakes.
You always want to check the rules of the campground to make sure they allow rugs.

1 comment:

  1. You guys have such educational stops! And I love all your pictures :) Although we're missing the video of Mielikki's sheep herding training. LOL I especially liked the witch's curse story.