I barely know where to start with recaps of my family vacation to Maine. We crammed so much into seven days — and have 600+ pictures as proof. I really can’t do it all justice, so I’m going to concentrate on the highlights in one post and the food in another.
My dad’s sister has spent the past nine summers in Maine, but my sister’s been the only who has been able to visit her so far. Finally we were able to plan a trip this year that included my parents, my sister, my sister’s boyfriend, Dan and me.
The motto on the Maine license plates is “Vacationland.” After spending a week exploring Mt. Desert Island and Acadia National Park, I’d have to agree with that title. Here’s the day-by-day breakdown.
Day 1: Rainy Relief
The first whole day of our vacation was chilly and rainy. It put a bit of a damper on our plans for hiking, but it was actually a welcomed change from the Kansas heat.
We made a few quick stops along Loop Road in Acadia National Park, but then continued into Bar Harbor to look around and keep dry in the shops.
Day 2: Perfect Weather
By the next morning, the sun came out and temperatures were perfect for hiking along the coast on Great Head Trail in Acadia National Park.
The route took us through Sand Beach and the up the cliffs that line the Atlantic. There were some boulders to climb around, but the “moderate” 1.4-mile trail was probably the easiest we did all week.
Afterward, we went to lunch at Jordan Pond House, which is the only restaurant inside the national park. I’m going to save the recap of that for tomorrow’s food post — but it involved picking fresh blueberries!
For the final stop of the day, we went by Echo Lake to lay out and take a little dip in the water.
Day 3: Early Morning
On the third morning, we woke up just after 4 and drove to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park. From there, we were the first ones in the continental United States to see the sunrise.
True to the forecast, the sun made its appearance 5:19 a.m.
After that, Dan, my dad and my aunt went into Bar Harbor to spend the morning fishing in the bay. My mom, sister, sister’s boyfriend and I went back to our condo for a few more hours of sleep. We had to be well-rested for our afternoon of rock climbing!
Our instructor from the Atlantic Climbing School gave us all the equipment we needed and everything we needed to know to rappel and then climb the 60-foot cliffs along the sea.
The rappelling was pretty intimidating at first, but the climbing was what challenged me the most. I’ve had experience with indoor rock walls, but this is totally different!
Somehow, all four of us managed to make it down and up two separate walls! Success.
That night was the main lobster dinner. Although I didn’t partake, I did enjoy the view from our outside table.
Day 4: Sea Kayaking
Continuing with our theme of non-relaxing vacation events, we went on a four-hour kayaking expedition on the fourth day.
Two to a boat, we rowed out into the bay. Along the way, we saw a few bald eagles, osprey and one seal. We also made a brief stop by one of the many islands and combed the beach for some cool shells.
It was also a prime time for a group picture. (My parents went kayaking the next morning.)
After cleaning up that night, we went to the 10 o’clock show at Improv Acadia. The show features cast members from Second City, who spend their summers performing in Bar Harbor. It was easily the funniest show I have ever seen. I didn’t stop laughing!
Day 5: Cliff Jumping
While my parents were kayaking, my sister, her boyfriend, Dan and I hiked the aptly named Perpendicular Trail. From the base to the 946-foot summit, we went pretty much straight up. No switchbacks in Maine!
Unfortunately, it was exceedingly foggy that morning, so we didn’t really get any views at the top.
That was fine, because the hike itself was really pretty. It seemed like we were in a rainforest — or maybe that’s just Kansas’ drought affecting me.
That afternoon, we set out on another adventure with my parents to find this cliff we could supposedly jump off. After taking three wrong trails, we discovered the way. The cliff itself was about 20-feet from the water, but the scariest part was the sloping rock edge.
My dad stepped right up and jumped.
The rest of us followed — although we took varying amounts of time hesitating.
Day 6: Sailing the Seas
For our final day, my aunt chartered two Friendship Sloops — the traditional lobster boats of Maine — to take us out on the water.
The boat my parents and aunt were on was built in 1899. Our boat was a more recent 1970s version, but both were beautiful and relaxing to ride — even though my sister and I spent a good amount of time goofing around.
After the relaxing ride, we switched directions and did the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park. With 30+ ladder rungs to climb and the side of the mountain to hug, it was one of the most intense hikes I’ve ever attempted. The Trails.com description says it best: Not for the faint of heart or weak of limb.
We all made it to the top and enjoyed the fantastic views of the ocean.
In the end, that’s what I’ll remember most about the vacation: Great times with my family, fun hikes and breathtaking views. Oh, and the food… But that’s coming in tomorrow’s post.
What was your favorite family vacation?