Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Perfect Afternoon – Hiking, Lunch, and Wine

By now you probably recognize there are two things about Maine we really love – hiking in the national park and eating. I will not torture you with pictures of our plates full of succulent sweet lobster on a platter (even though there are plenty to post), instead I will tease you with other culinary delights we have recently found.

The hike we chose for the day was an easy one – just a few miles around Lower Hadlock Pond. The hike was easy and very scenic and not another soul to be seen.



There is nothing we like better than finding a winery with good food. O.k., maybe a winery with free food. Maine may not be the state that comes to mind when you think of wine but we don't let that particular detail stop us from pulling into the driveway and stepping up to the tasting bar. Recently, we discovered the Bar Harbor Cellars and Sweet Pea's Farm Café – a place we have passed many times but never stopped.  What were we thinking?

 











The cellar and café sit perfectly located between our favorite hiking trails and the campground. It was on our way home just when we were feeling a little tired from the morning hike and feeling hunger pangs from a boring breakfast, the cellar and café appeared.

The outside patio is the perfect location for relaxing under the umbrella with a delicious lunch and delightful glass of wine. We were surprised about the creative menu with numerous dishes coming from their wood fired oven.  An order of Riesling, Gewurztraminer, grilled eggplant and vegetable pita and wood fired pizza was the perfect combination. The great food, pleasant patio and tasty wines will keep us coming back. After all, we haven't tried the popover breakfast yet. 



Now we have even more motivation to hike.







Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All Settled In

 I can say with confidence that after a month living in Trenton, Maine (at Narrows Too Campground) that we have settled in. We are in a great location and are enjoying the activity that flourishes in this area during the spring and summer. With the hard Maine winter over and snow long forgotten the warm weather has rejuvenated people and they are buzzing around with kayaks on the top of cars, campers in tow, bikes hanging off the family truck, and fidos' head hanging out the window (which pretty much describes us).

The little town of Trenton (population 1,481) is perched on the last point of mainland before entering Mount Desert (pronounced like the sweets you eat after dinner) Island making it truly the “Gateway to Acadia.” The views of the mountains and water are great and we never get tired of them. The campground we are staying at sits on a bay which not only provides more quintessential Maine water views but a superb swimming hole for our pooch. The tide comes and goes twice a day so the scenery is quite dynamic. Not to mention the fact that we are right at the entrance of the RV park so we see rigs come and go every day.  This is RV workamper village!



The town has three lobster pounds to keep our seafood appetite satiated. It's the kind of homely town with a pancake breakfast at the firehouse, white clapboard houses with summer flowers in the planters, and boats bobbing in the water. Perfect summer home if you ask us.


We discovered a nature trail a few miles away which has become a hit with Spirit. The community trails wind through the pine forest and lead into a natural bog. The trail is lovingly maintained by volunteers and plants are nicely marked for curious hikers looking to learn about the flora.

A little rest after our hike.
What dog doesn't like a bog?
The summer is bound to fly by so we will continue to make the most of our days off. We are looking forward to an upcoming visit by some New Orleans slash RV'ing friends so we can share our piece of paradise with them.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sunday, Fun Day


Last Sunday was our day off and we were so excited to have a free day. Not that our work schedule is that hard but it is “work” after all.  On our days off and when the weather god is good to us we get a day with glorious sunshine and cool temperatures – perfect for outdoor activities.

Sunday is also the farmers market in Bar Harbor and I am not one to pass up a farmers market.  It is still early in the season here so the fresh produce has not rolled in yet but the fresh bread and goat cheese was enough to keep me happy.


After the market, a stroll downtown was in order to see what was happening.  There is so much energy on sunny summer days that the happy vibe becomes contagious.  The Village Green and Agamont Park are perfect places to plop down on a bench and enjoy some people watching or a shady seat while having a picnic lunch. Agamont Park is a hub of activity. It faces the busy harbor where the whale watching cruises depart, the Margaret Todd schooner sails by, and lobster boats buzz in and out.  On some days, cruise ships are in port making for more activity with tourists busily buying Acadia National Park t-shirts and Bar Harbor shot glasses.

Village Green
Agamont Park 
We decided to pop into the local pet store “Bark Harbor” (very clever naming don't your think?) and pick up a present for a friends new lab puppy. What could be a more appropriate gift from Maine than a pink collar with lobsters on it?

Even as the clouds rolled in and started to block our sunshine our day remained perfect.  Can't wait for another day off.



Sunday, June 15, 2014

Witch Hole Pond

There is nothing better than waking up on a cool sunny morning and going for a walk in nature. Luckily, we are just fifteen minutes away from the entrance to Acadia National Park where we can be surrounded by pine trees and blueberry bushes and smell the salt ocean air.

The carriage road around Witch Hole Pond is one of our favorite places to walk. On days when we have to work (boo hoo) we take the quick 2.5 mile route so we can hurry back for our eight o'clock clock in time. There is a great view of Frenchman’s Bay and the fog lifting over Witch Hole Pond is quite lovely.


Ah, but the other day work was not nagging us so we took our sweet time leisurely strolling the 5-mile road that takes you by the Duck Brook Bridge and past many shallow ponds. We passed a few bikers and dog walkers but for the most part the path was ours.



In a few weeks this quiet path will be transformed when summer vacationers begin arriving in droves and this popular area fills up. Not to worry we have found many trails that will suffice and our early morning wake up calls from Spirit will allow us to finish our walks before most tourist have had their blueberry muffin.

No matter what, we are appreciative that Acadia National Park is at our doorstep and ours to enjoy.

Someone wants to sign up as a volunteer to rid the pond of floating debris.








Thursday, June 12, 2014

Come and Join the Village

Have you checked out RVillage yet? Well, you should. This creative and fun new venture is a great way for RV'ers to meet and stay connected while on the road. RVillage is a social media opportunuity that acts as an avenue to meet others with similar interests or in the same RV park as you. 


So this is how it works. Log-on to the website and complete a personal profile (which is free and easy). When you arrive at a new campground, log-on to the website and “check-in” to the park you're staying at. You will be able to see who else is there and send them a message if you wish. 
           
One great feature of RVillage are all the “groups” that have been established. These groups help you find people with similar inerests. The myriad of groups runs a wide spectrum from “Christian Caravan” to “RV Happy Hour” to “RV Fishermen” and a whole lot in between. Can’t find a group to fit your bill? Feel free to create a new one and invite others to join in. And as they say on the website “It's not only about the places we go, it's also about the people we meet along the way.”

Here is an example of just some of the existing groups . . .

GROUP DIRECTORY


RVillage also has mapping tools that allow you to plan a route to your next destination and track your friends as they move across the country and plan future get-togethers.  We have been on RVillage for a while now and have met numerous other RVillagers. It just so happens that our next coach neighbors here in Maine (Pennye and Jerry Rose) are RVillagers as well. Once I saw their profile it was easy to start up a conversation since I already knew something about them.

RVillage is dynamic and always adding features that enhance communication between RV'ers and parks. In just a short time RVillage has grown to over 8,000 members so hurry on over to RVillage and join in.



Monday, June 9, 2014

RV Park Review – Camden Hills State Park (Camden, Maine)


We have been to Camden many times before and have always loved it. The town is charming and there is so much to do in the immediate area and the surrounding towns of Rockland, Rockport, Owls Head, Lincolnville, and Belfast . . . just to name a few. But this last visit was especially great because of the campground we stayed at – Camden Hills State Park.

We stayed at this park nearly a month ago (click here for the post link) so I'm a little behind on writing this post but I really wanted to share this great park with you. Do I write RV park reviews on every park? No. Sometimes I forget to take pictures or I am so busy with writing other blogs that I run out of time. But this park is definitely one we would go back to and probably takes some planning due to its popularity during the summer.

Overall, we really liked this park. Camden Hills State Park is located three miles from downtown Camden but the 5,700 acres provide you with that serene feeling that comes with being in the peaceful woods. We arrived just a few days after the park opened for the season so the campground was especially quiet (and not all of the park was open yet. Our large back-in site (#54U) was tucked into the woods with plenty of space for us to enjoy being outside and enough trees and space for privacy. But, one of the real pluses of this park were the miles and miles of hiking trails just outside our doorstep. This factor gained the park a two paws up from Spirit.

Camden should be on everyone's list of places to see if you are traveling the Maine coast. Within 10 miles are great museums like the Farnsworth Art Museum, the Maine Lighthouse Museum, the Sail, Power, and Steam Museum, and others. There are attractive lighthouses and great restaurants. In neighboring Rockport is Shepherds Pie - one of our favorite restaurants and the Market Basket a great shop for pastries, sandwiches, wine, and coffee. Downtown Camden has a great wine and cheese shop called Lily, Lupine, and Fern and excellent clam chowder at Cappy's Chowder House. If you are looking for a great place to paddle or cool off in the crisp Maine water, check out Lake Megunticook just five miles away from the state park.

This park had one of my favorite campground features - you are allowed to gather fire wood!
One of the best features of this park is the tour road to the summit of Mt. Battie (elevation 800'). The views are spectacular and is a “must see” if you are in the area. If you would like to burn a few calories try hiking the trail to the top for a truly rewarding experience.


Reservations can be made on-line but only about half of the sites are reservable leaving the other half for walk-ups. I would advise making reservations if you want to stay over a weekend or during the summer season as this park really fills up. You can stay up to 14 days which would definitely require a reservation in the summer. Although the park accommodates larger RV's, there are a limited number of sites for those over 35 feet and the gravel roads are easy to navigate in a big rig.

Sites and patios are gravel and level with a picnic table and fire pit. Approximately, half the sites have water and 30/50 amp electric and the others are no hookups. There is a dump station and water spigots are scattered throughout the campground. Free showers are located in the bathhouse/restrooms.

Nice large pull thru site.
Back-in site with water and electric.

There is no cable and satellite can be difficult due to trees. There are nine sites (55 - 63) located in an open field that may be able to pick up satellite. Our antenna found one major network and a few PBS stations. The Verizon signal on our phone and wifi on our hotspot were strong.  The park does have free wifi at most campsites and our signal was very strong.  (Sites #68-81 do not have wifi).

Site 55U is located in an open field in the front of the park.  The site has water and electric.
There are really no amenities at this park other than the tour road to Mt. Battie, a swing set from the 1970's, a picnic shelter, and the trails.

What we really liked was the convenient location to downtown Camden and other cute towns, there are hiking trails just outside your doorstep, and you are within five miles of a grocery, restaurants, attractions, etc. The sites are large and have nice privacy. And the price was right at $27/night.

The not so good is that there is no sewer hook up. Had there been sewer at our site, we would have stayed a lot longer. The lack of television options was a bit of a bummer but we didn't seem to mind for the four days we were there.

Spirits two cents . . . this park was a winner for her. The miles and miles of trails are great for walking dogs and the campground is large enough to go for a good walk. We read there is a dog park in Camden but we did not visit it. Our site was large enough for her to be on a 40' long tether and not even come close to the road.   

A typical trail



Thursday, June 5, 2014

A Walk in the Woods

Betsy, Spirit, and I have been loving spending time in the woods exploring Acadia National Park (NP). The park spans more than 47,000 acres and is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts like ourselves. The promise of sunshine has pulled us out of bed early and we find ourselves eagerly lacing up our hiking shoes to go play. While the weather has not always cooperated with our plans of being outdoors the damp and drizzly days have not kept us inside either. We persevered and found that raincoasts and good timing help keep us dry. But lets face it, even being wet is better than sitting in the motorhome wishing the weather was better.


We quickly learned that damp, rainy days are not the best for hiking the trails, especially those deemed moderate or steep. We came to that conclusion while sliding down the slippery granite rock face after submitting to the St. Saveur trail at 679 feet. (Don't laugh all you people out west climbing multi-thousand foot peaks!) The morning started off rainy but soon the sun peeked out through the clouds and we hit the trail.


The damp, cool woods felt nice and we quickly
summit-ed the trail. We admired the spectacular views of Somes Sound and patted ourselves on the back for such an invigorating walk. And then we noticed the blue blazes of the trail switched from being painted on pine trees to the smooth granite rocks that pointed us downhill. We had the distinct feeling this was going to be trouble as the early morning rain was still evident on the rocks. Spirit bounded effortlessly down the rocks while we held on to every, and any, bush we could find. When we couldn't find a bush our fingertips went into rock crevasses for help. Granite is a prominent geological feature in Acadia NP and many trails traverse rocky features.

Wisely, we switched our rainy day tactics to involve walking the Carriage Roads which we love just as much as the trails.  With 130 miles of hiking trails and 57 miles of Carriage Roads, there is lots more for us to explore so the weather is no match for us.  And these fantastic views keep us hiking in any weather!