Author Topic: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR  (Read 9146 times)

Offline Yehoshua

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Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« on: October 09, 2015, 08:38:51 PM »
Planning
As has now become a tradition on Chol HaMoed, we decided to take a mini 2 day/1 night trip from PHL. Last year we went to Montreal over Succos and Miami over Pesach (to visit relatives). This year it was time to go leaf peeping in New England.

Last year when I was looking into going to Maine US Airways had blackout dates for award travel basically nixing the idea of going to any city in New England. This year, after getting rid of black out dates, there was lots of availability (interestingly though all the Canadian cities that had lots of availability last year were completely unavailable this year).

I booked the flights at the end of July when we decided to go. I really wanted to go to Acadia National Park in Maine and see the famed fall foliage, something that Angelinos donít see unless they travel to it.  Being only 4.5k avios away, yet over $800 for the non-stop flight, it was a pretty simple decision to go with avios.  Initially I booked a flight into Bangor (BGR) and returning from Portland (PWM), which is a 2-hour drive from BGR, given that there was no availability on the flight we wanted from BGR itself. The car rental did not charge a one-way fee, so that was good. However, about 5 weeks before the trip I checked availability again leaving BGR and found the flight I wanted available. Even though the flight left 2 hours earlier that the flight out of PWM, we wouldn't have to make the extra 2 hour drive making it worth the $11.20 change fee to cancel and rebook.  I also changed the car to return at BGR and the price was even $1 cheaper.

For a hotel, we decided to stay in the 3-week old, Category 5 Residence Inn by Marriot in Bangor using a free night certificate. Even though staying in Bar Harbor would have been way closer to the park and would have saved us 2 hours of driving time, I really wanted to be in Bangor so I could daven with a minyan on Chol HaMoed.  Alas there was no minyan, but we kept our reservation and just drove to the park twice.

Now on to the actual trip!

Wednesday, September 30, 2015, Acadia NP Day 1
Our flight from PHL got us into BGR on time at 10:50am on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately for us the weather was not cooperating, and it was raining. Heavily.  After getting our rental car keys (and failing to get a free upgrade from our tiny Chevy Spark), we suited up in rain gear, walked across the street from the airport, picked up our car from the open-air lot, and drove the 10 minutes to the hotel.


Our ride to BGR




Now that's a small airport!




Residence Inn, Bangor: Outside shots












Residence Inn, Bangor: Inside shots












Residence Inn, Bangor: Our room

Even though it was only 11:30 in the morning, we were able to check in to the hotel, and wow was it new! The hotel smelled of fresh paint, and they were still finishing up building the restaurant off the lobby. We were given a standard suite on the 4th floor (out of 5) and settled down for a few minutes before heading off to Acadia NP.

It poured the whole way there. Plus, because our car was so darn light, I had to go a good 5-10 MPH below the speed limit to keep from getting blown off the road in the strong winds or otherwise sliding on the slick roads.


Our tiny car


On the road to ACP


Acadia National Park

One thing to note about Bangor and Acadia NP: cell phone service stinks. Most of the time I had 2G or 4G service with T-Mobile in Bangor, roaming on AT&T in Bar Harbor, and absolutely no service in the park itself. Verizon wasnít much better, with 1x Service in some areas of the park and 3G service in Bangor. Make sure you pre-load maps so you donít get stuck without them.

Our goal was to head to the visitorís center first, pick up park maps, and head out from there. Unfortunately the visitorís center in Hullís Cove was not the address we put into the GPS. We put in the Parkís address which lead us on a circuitous route to the middle of no where (we took ME-102 instead of continuing on ME-3 to Bar Harbor for what itís worth). Fortunately the signage is very good in the park, so we just followed signs to Bar Harbor and found a small visitors center there. While not the visitorís center for the park, it is the center in charge of the shuttle buses into the park, and they were able to sell us a park pass and provide us with maps.

As it was still raining at this point, we decided to just eat our premade from PHL sandwiches in the car and drive around the town on Bar Harbor before entering the park.  After we finished eating we started driving the Park Loop Road. We did the one-way, clockwise part first. The road is a 2 lane, one-way road, so thereís always a way to pass slow vehicles.  There are many places to turn off the main road and stop as well as great views from the road itself.  Since it was raining, we decided to skip any hikes we may have wanted to do and play it safe. On a normal, dry day it takes 1.5 hours to drive the loop without stops, or about 3 hours with stops, obviously depending on how long you want to stop.




Park Loop Road

The first place we stopped and actually got out of the car (as opposed to just driving to an overlook and looking from the car) was Thunder Hole, a blowhole right off the road.  Even though it was pouring, there were a fair number of people braving the elements to see the blowhole. The parking lot is off to the right side of the road while the blowhole is to the left down a few cement stairs.  It was extremely windy at this point, so after spending a couple minutes there, getting some lousy pictures without any waterproof cases on our camera, we got back in the car and continued to Jordan Pond.


Thunder Hole


View from the road

Jordan Pond, our next stop, is on the two-way section of the park loop road. We stopped at Jordan Pond House, a restaurant/gift shop/lookout, and went to ask them about hiking around the pond. Although at this point the rain had slightly lessened its intensity, by the time we were ready to start out it was back to raining cats and dogs so we just decided to skip it.

At this point weíd only seen a couple of cars the entire day. Most people were smart and decided to skip the park on a day like that making it a pleasant driving experience for us.

Our plan was to finish the park loop and drive back to Bangor. That didnít happen. We had just started out from Jordan Pond House when we saw a ranger who had closed a gate blocking the road. Apparently some boulders had fallen on the road and it was impassible until they cleared it, so we were forced to take a detour. Given that the road we came in on was one-way I was curious as to how to get back to Bar Harbor. Turns out ME-3, the road you take onto Mt Desert Island (where the ANP is located) goes though the park to the towns at the bottom of the island that are not in the park itself.  While the park loop road takes a long time winding its way along the coast Route 3 is straight, direct, and a whole lot quicker.

On the way back to our hotel we decided to stop in a Shawís (supermarket) for some supplies for dinner. Weíd brought some Wacky Mac with us, but we needed butter and milk to make it, as well as some veggies. After being bageled by a frum guy named Avraham who works there, we were on our way back to the RI for the night.


Shaw's

Having spent the entire day sitting either on a plane or in a car I needed a workout. The hotel as a small but equipped gym overlooking the indoor (and thankfully not in use) pool.  After a great workout, it was back to the suite to make dinner. Thatís another reason we wanted to stay in a RI: They come equipped with a stovetop (as we were the first people to ever stay in our room it was yet unused), so making dinner was easy. We brought a pot with us and a few minutes later had a piping hot bowl of mac and cheese.
We spend the rest of the evening relaxing before retiring for the night and getting ready for an early start the next day.

Thursday, October 1, 2015, Acadia NP Day 2
The goal was to be out of the hotel and on the road by 9:00am. Our return flight was a 5:35p, and we wanted to take advantage of the not rainy weather to see more of ANP.  Even though it wasnít actually raining (it was just cloudy), it was quite cold for Angelinos, with the temperature hovering around 40įF making me exempt from sitting in the succah (hey, you gotta love subjective cold).  That worked out well, since the hotel provides fee breakfasts, which had a majority kosher items.  While there were non-mezonos cereals I could have taken advantage of had it been warmer, I was able to enjoy the bagels and cream cheese instead.








Breakfast at the Residence Inn, Bangor

After a very filling breakfast we packed up our things, checked out of the hotel, left some things in their freezer, and started driving at exactly 9:00am. You gotta love it when things work out to the minute.


Seen on the road to ACP. Now that's a really small airport

This day the drive was a lot more pleasant. There was no traffic (is there ever in Bangor?), no rain, and open road. Our first stop for the day was the Bass Harbor Lighthouse.  While not the only lighthouse on Mt Desert Island, it is one of the more popular ones. We probably spent about 45 minutes there, walking the short path down to the water and the path down to the lighthouse itself.  This lighthouse is still in use, which is pretty cool.






Bass Harbor Lighthouse






Seen along the path down to the water at Bass Harbor Lighthouse

Next we drove to Cadillac Mountain, the tallest peak in the area at a whopping 1530í. While not from CO, CA does have some serious mountains making this more of a hill to us, but since it was the tallest thing around it appeared high. Itís also the first place to see sunrise in the US (not counting some random Islands in Alaska that are technically past the 180į longitude line).  There are many views on the road up the mountain as well as at the top. There were a lot more cars since it wasnít raining, but we had no problems finding lots of parking.




View from the way up Cadillac Mountain

The peak of the mountain/hill was quite windy and cold (around 42įF), so we didnít stay long. DW and I took some pictures at the peak before she headed back to the car to warm up and I took the very short loop walk around the summit. It offers more unobstructed views and a few informational signs. I learned the reason that the town is called Bar Harbor: there is literally an island that is shaped like a bar right off the coast of the town. Pretty cool!




Views from the peak of Cadillac Mountain

After we drove down and took lots of pictures at the views along the way, we headed back to Jordan Pond to get our hike in. The two-way section of the park loop road was opened again, so it was a quick 20-minute drive to Jordan pond and the Jordan Pond loop hike.

We didnít have a lot of time left at this point, so we wouldnít be able to do the entire 8-mile pond loop. Instead we just started off going clockwise and turned around when we needed to. The part of the hike we did was a lot of fun though. The hike starts off on a gravel path that eventually turns in to a boardwalk of sorts. Basically itís just 2 think logs wide (with odd spaces between them) and runs a couple inches off the ground. Itís not totally secured, some parts wobble, but itís not too hard or too far of a fall should you fall off.  We encountered a lot of people going the other direction, so perhaps we were doing it backwards, but it didnít appear to be the case.




North Bubble and South Bubble at Jordan Pond




Jordan Pond hike

We continued for about 30 minute before we needed to head back to the airport. The drive back was smooth. We stopped at the hotel to pick up our frozen items (itís right off the freeway so super easy to stop at for a minute) and headed to the airport about 1 hour before the flight.

We returned the car, got our boarding passes (no mobile boarding pass scanners at this airport) and were informed our flight would be indefinitely delayed.  There is also no TSA Pre-Check in BGR, though they do have ďenhancedĒ security for TSA Pre-Check flyers that doesnít require you to take off your shoes or pass though the body camera.

Our flight ended up only being delayed 1 hour, and we enjoyed some gorgeous sunset views on the way back to PHL. While the ride was quite bumpy due to us flying in a storm, we made it back safe and sound.


Sunset at BGR

So you may be wondering, for those astute readers amongst you, that I mentioned that the purpose of this trip was to go leaf peeping, or looking at the leaves that have changed color for autumn. Unfortunately we were a bit early. While some trees had started to change color, a vast majority of them were still bright green. While these types of things can never be planned, it was at least nice to see something. While I believe we saw a good portion of ANP, there is a lot we skipped and can look forward to returning one day, maybe later in October to see the leaves in all their fall glory.

End.

Offline ual902

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2015, 07:44:03 PM »
Thanks for sharing and Very nice trip report, as someone who's  been to the main National Parks such as Banff, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, New Zealand glaciers and Iceland etc.. will I be impressed with Acadia National Park? worth a drive up?.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2015, 08:04:21 PM »
Great write-up Yehoshua, too bad you got the rainy weather again. I couldn't help but remember, the rainy days you got when you went to GIG as well. Pics are nice.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2015, 08:12:10 PM »
Nice quick TR! Thanks for sharing. Like the hotel situation, but too bad on the rain. Glad you still got to do some fun things in the park.

Offline VacationLover

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2015, 10:53:05 PM »
Nice. It must have been FREEZING!

Offline Marco Polo

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2015, 11:01:52 PM »
Very nice TR!
Quaerite et Invenietis.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2015, 11:14:48 PM »
Thanks for sharing and Very nice trip report, as someone who's  been to the main National Parks such as Banff, Yellowstone, Glacier, Zion, New Zealand glaciers and Iceland etc.. will I be impressed with Acadia National Park? worth a drive up?.
I've been to Banff, Yellowstone, Zion, and many other US NPs. I went for the leaf peeping, though we were a couple weeks early this year.  I don't know you'd be impressed, but it's definitely very pretty.  It doesn't have any unique landscapes that Teton park or the lakes (like Lake Piru) in Banff have to offer, but if you're close by (like in BOS) I'd say it's worth a visit.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2015, 11:15:39 PM »
Great write-up Yehoshua, too bad you got the rainy weather again. I couldn't help but remember, the rainy days you got when you went to GIG as well. Pics are nice.
Yeah, but at least I expected it here. Also, despite the rain we were still able to get one day without. Rio OTOH.... Glad you liked the pics.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2015, 11:17:00 PM »
Nice quick TR! Thanks for sharing. Like the hotel situation, but too bad on the rain. Glad you still got to do some fun things in the park.
Thanks!

Nice. It must have been FREEZING!
It was quite chilly on the top of the mountain.

Very nice TR!
TY

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2015, 12:45:54 AM »
Nice TR! Thanks for sharing.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2015, 12:46:55 AM »
Nice TR! Thanks for sharing.
Glad you enjoyed. Now I'm waiting for one from your chol HaMoed trip.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2015, 12:50:50 AM »
Glad you enjoyed. Now I'm waiting for one from your chol HaMoed trip.
Not so experienced as you in writing TR's

Hope to have one in a couple of weeks when things settle down at work.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2015, 01:51:33 AM »
Not so experienced as you in writing TR's

Hope to have one in a couple of weeks when things settle down at work.
Sounds good. I'll remind you should you forget. Brief summary, was it nice?

Offline Joe4007

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2015, 02:01:36 AM »
Sounds good. I'll remind you should you forget. Brief summary, was it nice?
You do that.

Was beautiful. Totally different terrain than we'd ever seen before.

I don't mean to rub it in, but although it was cold (after your TR, I now feel better for not having a Sukkah ) we had the most amazing weather.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's Acadia National Park | Bangor, ME Mini-TR
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2015, 02:04:45 AM »
You do that.

Was beautiful. Totally different terrain than we'd ever seen before.

I don't mean to rub it in, but although it was cold (after your TR, I now feel better for not having a Sukkah ) we had the most amazing weather.
Don't worry about rubbing it in. I'm glad you enjoyed and had a good time. Patagonia is on my to 10 list, and has been for some time. Hopefully we'll make it within the next 8 years while our reciprocity fees are still valid.